Do not hurt yourself, sweetie

It wasn’t her fault. She keeps telling herself that, though it’s not making things any easier. She feels like a fool. Belise, 24, third year university student, is interning at an insurance company. She is beautiful. She has been dating this guy, John, for almost a year. John calls her bae and texts her all the time, you know. He texts her things that make her think and long to be near him. He has saved her contact under the name Princess. He is the one who keeps asking the “Do you love me” questions. Belise is practically John’s ideal partner. Belise enjoys John’s company since he makes her feel truly beautiful, he’s fun to be around and makes her feel warm and happy inside. Belise is content with that.

Then out of the blue, his wife contacts her. John’s wife?

John and Soleil had been married for 6 years, before things started getting weird. Things had become strained in the marriage. Soleil read romantic texts and chat messages between the Princess and her husband, and she saw their photos together. It devastated her, but she couldn’t say she was entirely shocked. She felt hurt, angry and hopeless about the marriage. 

John cheated on Soleil with Belise, and contrary to popular belief, it was intentional. John cheated on purpose. Their affair began when they started working together. With the same schedules and working for the same boss, it was inevitable some sort of relationship would form. John could have told her that he wasn’t married or maybe he convinced her that he and Soleil had grown apart weeks before the eventual stolen kisses or maybe he just told her that Soleil was a demon. Hehe. But honestly who even knows for sure? John said he loved Belise. She said she did love him too.

Soleil had suspected infidelity for months. She was on the verge of breakdown, wondering whether she was crazy and if the late nights at work meant something more. Then Soleil finally posed the question that had been nagging at her for months. And baam, the ugly truth appeared. Was it a one-time drunken mistake or a months-long romantic affair? She kept wondering. Then she started thinking about the other woman. The Princess. Who is she? Did she know about me? Does he love her? Is she prettier, smarter? Why was he interested in her? Why her? There were so many questions. How could she live with herself? And the tears would begin. Soleil could imagine the princess. Easy. Desperate. Opportunistic. Conniving. With no conscience about jumping into bed with her man (or other men in relationships). With total disregard of his marital status, she enticed John with her seductive tricks. Hehe. A homewrecker who needs to be slut shamed and loathed with every fiber in her body. Soleil hates her. She stole her man. Soleil feels that given a chance, she would rip her apart.

Soleil finally learned her name. Belise. She found her number and called her. After Belise stopped taking her calls, the accusatory inbox messages on Facebook began. She called her a slut, a loose woman who threw herself at a married man. Hehe. Soleil accused her of stealing her husband, and destroying their marriage. It is pathetic when women engage in social media battles over a man. Proudly proclaiming to be the main chick, dragging each other over men who are not even worth it. Women shouldn’t be engaging in any battle over a man. Period! And if you have ever had a fight with another woman over a man, you already lost. Yes, both of you. The scumbag in the middle is the sole winner, because after enjoying some ass form both of you, he gets an ego boost as you tear each other apart over him. And on top of that, he knows that however things turn out, he’ll have at least one of you by his side. 

Anyways…

It wasn’t Belise’s fault. However, she felt awful about herself.

But let’s be real here. First of all, there is no such thing as stealing someone. How? Did she kidnap him? He went with her willingly, I’m assuming. Otherwise Soleil needed to get on the phone and file a missing person report. The truth and the only reason is that Belise slept with John because he consented. The blame should be his not hers. Belise was single, while John was married. And Belise did not force John’s hand. She did not lure him into any traps. She did not seduce him with some secret sensual powers. And if it wasn’t her, it most definitely would have been someone else. John was looking for an affair, not Belise in particular. Belise just happened to be in the right spot at the right time. Soleil had a right to be angry with both of them, but there’s no excuse for putting all the blame on Belise. If anything, it was entirely John’s fault for having an affair while he was married. Belise wasn’t the one breaking any vows or promises or violating any religious sacraments. 

When a man strays from his marriage, we are conditioned to blame the other woman. So, it was easy for Soleil to think that Belise is a bad person, but Belise was as much a victim in the situation as Soleil was. And you know what? It is not fair to blame the other woman alone. That’s fucked up. I’m not saying that homewreckers don’t exist. But thinking that all other women are homewreckers, is a silly notion. The other woman could have been lied to entirely. She might have had absolutely no clue the guy was in a relationship with or was married to someone else, and she’s probably upset (just like you) that the man she thought was awesome, is actually a scumbag. And it’s not her fault that you had problems in your marriage that made your man stray. She is not what drove your man to cheat. And she’s probably a good person. You don’t know this woman so you have no idea if she’s a bad person. But most importantly, no woman (with a good conscience) wants to be the other woman. Unless she is one of the home wrecking women of course.

So, my point is…

Let’s stop entirely blaming the other woman. Stop condemning her. Stop demonizing her. But why would you even hate her when she (the other woman) did you a favor and prevented you from ending up (if you’re not married yet) or staying with a lying asshole? You should thank her. Think about it. Also, no man should be able to move on with his life so quickly while the woman is being humiliated and enduring the wrath of the mistake, alone. If you are going to hate on immoral people, at least divide the hate equally.

Now for the don’t @ me part of the post: I am well aware that women cheat too. I am a woman and I am writing this from a female’s perspective. And as someone who has dealt with an “other woman” situation, if you find out that he has cheated on you or that he has a woman in his life, don’t hurt yourself going after the other woman. No one ever knows how they’ll react to being cheated on before it happens, that remains to be seen until it actually happens. But when it happens, whatever you do, never approach the other woman. Fight your man. He is the one who betrayed and lied to you. Not the other woman.

Advertisements

Invest In People

​It’s not everyday that you see a dead body. Last night, I did. His name is (or was?) Sibomana. He was crossing the road when a car hit him. Maybe, he was going to the shops to buy something for his wife and their baby. I don’t know. But he died on spot. His lifeless body, covered by a kitenge, lay by the roadside. His sandals arranged by his feet. His head had been crushed and you could see a stream blood running from under the kitenge covering his body, and onto the tarmac. The car was parked, just a few meters from where his body lay. His wife sat there, numb.
It is poignant to watch a vulnerable person like her in a such painful situation.

Sibomana died last night, and I realized how extremely fragile our lives are. I truly realized how transient life is. Every time we are potentially flirting with death. You could lead a healthy lifestyle – drinking 2l of water a day, exercising regularly, eating vegetables & fruits – just choke on your own saliva and die, leaving behind guys who smoke and eat fries daily. At any given moment, one’s life can end in any number of unexpected ways. You don’t even need to do anything risky to die. One minute you could be walking to the shops to buy groceries and next minute a car hits you and you die. Like Sibomana. Or you could be showering, slide on the slippery bathtub floor, snap your neck and die. Or you could be having lunch, choke on a bone and die. Or you could be shot to death. You just have to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and a bullet hits you. Or you could be declared dead untimely. You be screaming but nobody hears or answers you. You can’t move. It’s dark, you’re running out of air and no one can save you. No one knows you’re there. Then your world becomes soft and foggy and everything fades to black. Nothingness. Long and empty. And you’re gone. Or even, you could think that you have superpowers, jump off a very tall building and die.

Though a common preferred way to die, is in bed (pure, perfect, uninterrupted sleep) we don’t get to choose how we die. At the very least we don’t think we will die in a gruesome, brutal way. Yet sometimes, someone is just unlucky and dies in a strange and terrifying way, like Richard. I remember vividly the night when Richard died. Earlier that day, he’d been complaining about having a headache and couldn’t see. That day he was taken to Ndera (the Psychiatric Hospital). He was admitted, was scheduled to undergo head scans the next day. Unfortunately, he died that night and shocked everyone. Death took his life, leaving behind his old grandma who was completely dependent on him. I didn’t make it to his burial but I imagined the profound sadness that enveloped his grandma during his burial. I wished I could restore his life, for his wailing grandmother.

Sibomana and Richard probably never thought they would die that day, just like you don’t think you’ll die any time before your unfinished business. But the truth is that you could. 

Richard’s and Sibomana’s deaths reset an already existing reflection in my head. Why do we fail to show love and care for the people we claim to love whilst they are still alive? Like, someone lays ill in a hospital bed for months, with no caregiver, nothing to eat. Though the person would so much enjoy a visit from relatives/friends, no one shows up. But the very moment the person draws their last breath, the relatives who had not seen him/her in decades show up out of the blue, crocodile tears flowing plenty. Makes one wonder where the so-called relatives and friends were when they were very much needed. The hypocrisy is mad sickening. 

I’ve witnessed where upon the death of an old man, the relatives quickly re-innovated his house, painted it, put electricity and everything, so that the funeral be held in a decent place. They be mourning and groaning inappropriately. The hypocrisy that the mourners display is shocking. One would say that maybe they were trying to make up for what they had failed to do before, but it was too late. The old man was gone. Nothing could make up for the hurt they’d caused him. Yes, we should show love and respect to the deceased, but how about we show the same love and respect whilst they are still alive? How about we come together to help before the person dies?

People matter more than anything, more than money. People matter more than the things we kill ourselves to get. People matter more than another plot you want to buy, or another house you want to purchase. We should place value on people, not on money. We should invest in people. Because when the curtains close, all these things we kill ourselves to get won’t matter if you are alone at your deathbed.

Nothing exposes the ugly face behind the mask of concern that people wear, like death and funerals. That’s why I have always hated the hypocrisy at funerals. Sometimes it feels like funerals are for displaying the mask of concern that people wear and for showing how much they’ve been able acquire in life. Well, people are entitled to honor their loved ones in ways they please… But, funerals ought to be about giving support to the relatives of the deceased and to comfort them while celebrating the life of the deceased. To acknowledge the pain that comes from the demise of a loved one and help begin the healing process.  

Wings clipped

The time: 11 AM. 

Mom gets a phone call. The kind of call that gives you some shivers even before you answer it. 

“She just passed on”

Death has never been a comfortable topic for me, but recently that discomfort has intensified. I’ve wanted to write about Agnes for quite some time. I wasn’t planning on doing it today, but last evening when I read a post about death, I knew I had to write about her today.

Agnes. Very beautiful. God must have been showing off when He created her. She indeed was a lovely woman. She was just 26 years old. She was a student at KIM, in the final year. She had recently got married, last August. She had vowed to have and to hold her husband, for better or worse. Agnes was ready for her happily ever after. But the worst was coming without warning and even so fast, just weeks later.

It’s hard to see someone finally happy in their life and it’s gone so fast. The week after her wedding, she became ill. It started with a complaint of headache. Then it got worse and worse till she fell into a coma. A coma that she never woke up from. Despite all the hard work of doctors, nothing could keep her alive. What pains me the most is that she never even got a chance to enjoy her honeymoon.

We are neighbors with her uncle. That’s how we know her. Mom attended her wedding. After she fell ill, the auntie informed her. Whenever she came from the hospital to visit her, she told Mom about her condition. So, I felt some kind of connection to her because they kept updating Mom on her condition. 

It might sound like cliché but I was devastated after learning of her untimely death. While the loss was not mine, I felt great heartache because I knew there are her loved ones out there whose lives had just been flipped upside down. Her friends who will never get to say that last thing. Her husband who now has an empty seat at the table. Her father who will never hug her again. I ached because I could relate to her as a daughter, a sister, a wife. I can imagine no greater pain than to lose a child. No greater pain than to lose your wife, even more unbearable just after getting married.

Her body lay in a coma on her hospital bed, for weeks. Death was lurking around her. It stayed behind the shadows. It was a matter of when and not if. They knew it was coming. But one can never be ready for it. It still was a surprise when she passed on. Like it had come without warning…

Her demise crushed my heart and made me reflect on life. It reminded me how much of a blessing it is to wake up in the morning and/or return to bed at night. While I have been to many funerals, I have never truly experienced the grief of loss through death. The funerals I have attended have been those of distant relatives or of relatives of close friends. I have so far been spared the loss of someone so close to my heart. But the fear of waking up one day to a gone loved one, still keeps me up. 

I have always felt grief and pain for the losses suffered by those I care about. Though it’s impossible to bear it all, I have felt sorrow for their families. I have felt that heaviness in my chest like someone laid a suitcase on it.

Even after she has been laid to rest, I’m still not over the fact that she’s gone. I deeply hoped that she would get better and they go on their honeymoon. I hoped she would finish her dissertation and defend it. Graduate and get a job. Have babies. Enjoy her married life. Cross that item off her bucket list. I hoped she would wake up to celebrate her 26th birthday, this November. 

But instead, death stole her. Like a thief in the night. It left pain and hopelessness. It brutally kicked her husband into a single life, again. Death robbed him of his love. Sad thing about losing a loved one, you are shaken to the core. He had known her for a not so long time. He loved her much. He wanted to marry her right after completing high school. But she asked him to let her go through college first. He agreed to wait and even paid her college tuition fees. Now that she was almost through, they got married. Then all of a sudden, death reared its ugly head. He had questions but no answers.

The only certain thing in this life is that it will end one day. Yes, it is a fact. No matter what precautions we may take, death happens. Sooner or later. And the best we can do is accept death as a fact of life. It happens. We can’t do anything to change that.

So, live for all the other days, for tomorrow we will all die. 

May God grant Agnes a peaceful rest and be with her family.

Don’t raise a kid who is an asshole

​I swore I wasn’t going to do this. But against my better judgement, I gave in. I was supposed to have written this months ago, but instead I’m writing this today.

Not long ago, we were graced with the presence of a bad child. Felly. In my life I’ve met and dealt with a number of children. However, I can honestly say that I didn’t completely know how to deal with this one. The most ill-mannered, annoying child I’ve ever met. 

Flashback: Mom went mu cyaro to visit and came back with this little girl (her mother was sick). Clo was her name. The little girl was an annoying crybaby. She knew how to get on one’s last nerve. She was extremely clingy. Wherever one went, she went. She never let one leave her sight. And pretty soon you would get so sick and tired of having a tail to you that you eventually just cracked… and hit her. She would scream! But because she was always crying and everyone knew about her; whenever they heard her crying, they thought “Ooh there she goes again!” 

I used to say that I never wished to have a child like Clo. The naughty little girl who was always crying. Whenever she cried, I thought “That kid is just being a brat!” As a child, I was curious about how her mother managed when she was a baby. She must have been that crying baby that never let the mother rest that she had bags under her eyes. I hated her. But then I was a kid who didn’t understand another kid who was just behaving differently. 

Now that I’ve grown up and that I’ve met terrible Felly (thanks to her, I’ve learnt to appreciate Clo), I realize that Clo was never even a bad kid. For real. She did a few bad things because everyone makes mistakes, but for the most part, she was a good kid (minus the crying of course).
Felly is a bad kid, and her mother knows this. One time when my mom and I were visiting, Felly wanted to come over at our place. Her mother couldn’t let her and she was giving us a brief perception about how her daughter behaves, saying she is stubborn, blablaa… And we thought she exaggerated (you know how parents complain about their children but praise other people’s children?) But we were in for a big surprise. 

We thought everyone should be allowed to be stubborn (and annoying) at different points of their life, especially when they aren’t even old enough to understand how stubborn they are being. But Felly is not just stubborn, she is mouthy, selfish, rude, defiant, ill-mannered, and violent. But it wasn’t until she came over that we realized that she truly is all of those things.
The evening she came home, she was doing pretty good, except that she was talking more than we could listen. I gave her a 5 out of 10 (because she kept asking questions).
Here’s the interesting part…the next morning, as soon as she woke up, she came alive like a diabolical creature, hell-bent on destroying the house and wrecking everyone’s nerves. She tried to wake me up. Wow, a total brat! I wanted to snap her neck, in a Damon Salvatore style. My patience began to wear off and that’s where the true test of me standing her began. The 5/10 rating suddenly rose to 10/10. My mom heard her and told her not to wake me up (you don’t wanna see my morning face! Hehe)

She was sneaky, moving into every room just to feed her curiosity (I had to hide all my stuff). It was a damn nightmare. She was deliberately roughhousing. Felly took perverse pleasure in breaking rules. She could not follow instructions from anyone.

The other fly in the ointment for me was that she put on my shoes with her dirty feet. She had been walking around with the feet bare. Then she was trying on every pair of shoes in the house ― mine, mom’s, even dad’s ― with her filthy feet. Asked to remove the shoes, she refused. I froze for a few seconds, weighing my next move. Felly is out of control.

I was struggling with wanting to lay my hands on her. Well, I couldn’t because she is sick. She has this sickness that I didn’t quite understand well. Or it’s some witchy voodoo (I really don’t know. And that could excuse her behaviors, maybe a little bit).

Reacting in an unfit manner was the token of the brattiest behavior. She is, in truth, a very unpleasant child. So unbelievably difficult to deal with.

Let’s say that she grows up (I can tell) she’ll have serious problems later in life. She’s growing up to be an out-of-control adult.
I recall that when I was growing up, all of the adults in the neighborhood had permission to discipline us whenever we misbehaved. Back then there was a shared sense of right and wrong and a real sense of responsibility for the children next door. Unfortunately, you don’t see that very much anymore. Today, you’re not supposed to stick your nose where it doesn’t belong. What other people’s kids do is nobody else’s business. So, why open that door?
Well, every parent owes it to the world to teach their children manners. This bears repeating; every single parent owes it to the world to teach their children manners. Good manners are a way of life. A lasting education. It’s one of your jobs as parents. Manners matter. Period.
So how did we deal with the obnoxious kid we couldn’t handle? We didn’t. That’s her parent’s job. We just let her live it up until we took her back home.

Well if I could rate her bratty behavior on a 1-10 scale, I would give her 63 (since she doesn’t have ANY redeeming qualities).

Just don’t 

It’s a Saturday morning. I have just woke up. Time check: 9:43 AM. Early mornings are not for me.

10:05 AM, there’s a power cut. Musanze is blessed with power cuts which try my patience!

13:17 PM, still no power. Thank you EWSA or REG or whatever that it is now! Power cuts are something we are used to!

My phone notifies me that I’ve 15% battery remaining. The horror! I’m so attached to my gadget…without my cell phone, I feel dead. Unconnected to my friends and the world. I’m that friend who terribly sucks at socializing. I don’t like hanging out and stuff (because my social skills are very limited). I’m always making up excuses…Sorry, I can’t hang out. My great grand aunt’s cousin’s best friend’s sister in law’s uncle’s neighbor’s son’s bicycle is broken. Maybe next time… 

So, my phone (read: social media) is my way to maintain contact with my friends. The very existence of emails and texting is a lifesaver for me. I don’t have to sit and/or talk to another human being. 

I think maybe I would be a better me without my cell phone. Maybe.

I begin to feel lonely. I feel the surrounding quietness suffocating me. I should probably walk to town or visit someone, or go to the market to kill time.

So, I jump out of bed and take a quick shower. One thing I really really hate about this place, is the water. The water is always ice-cold like it’s from the freezer! And when there’s no power, I can’t even heat the water. On such days, I have a cold shower, rocking like SHAKIRA!

I remember that my classmate’s baby is sick. I call her…hoping that she doesn’t answer her phone. Please don’t pick up. Please don’t pick up. Ahhh…

I asked her for directions and went to visit her. 

I walked into her house and had a holy-shit-what-is-this moment! I felt my skin crawl. A wave of repulsion swept over me. I was disappointed by her place. Her home was gross. The house was small but still it was a mess. There was stuff everywhere and that, made it look more or less like a garbage dumping site. Unwashed dishes on the dining table. Sofas stained with baby piss. It was very dirty that I kept wondering what she does during her free time?

When I am in a depressive period, my housekeeping will not win any awards. That’s when I look at my place and wonder if there could be a place worse than mine. But I’ve found it…A home that you never wish to visit again. 

How does someone live in such a place? How do you stay in a house with smelly garbage inside? How do they sleep at night? Why does someone keep dirty dishes and pots with old food in them that has gone mouldy, piling them day after day, instead of just washing them? How long does it take?

I honestly think some people take cleaning as an unimportant thing. Some people have grown up not understanding how cleaning is actually done. They clean like kindergarten kids, leaving a mess than when they began cleaning. They obviously don’t get the fact that the way that people get clean houses is to treat cleaning as an important thing that you schedule and spend time on.

I felt sorry for her poor husband, who lives in such conditions. It wasn’t until I met him that I realized that she met her match. Sigh! They are both filthy. She has been relegated to “someone I know”.

When the I’m-not-doing-shit-today mode (or call it laziness if you like) sets in, you have to really work at staying on top of it. 

When that “You can do that later!” voice kicks in, I have to say to myself “Or, you could just do it now, so DO IT NOW !” I am much happier when my place is clean. It’s often a seemingly small thing that sparks it, from then I make my bed, wash the dishes, wash the clothes, clean the shoes, clean up the house…and I don’t stop until I feel satisfied or good.

By some miracle, it starts raining but only a drizzle. I get a chance to escape from the filthy place.

The funny thing though, as I was leaving they thanked me for visiting them *rolls eyes* and invited me to come back. For real? Thanks! But I would rather stay home and stab my toe repeatedly. 

If you can’t keep your home in habitable condition, don’t invite people over. Just don’t!

Letter to my younger self

Dear Angela,

You aren’t sure what’s ahead, and the unknown scares you. There are times when you won’t know what to do. You’ll lay in bed and stare at the ceiling for what seems like days trying to figure out your life. You’ll wish you could sleep for 2 years and wake up with a degree and money in the bank. What you’re feeling is normal. It’s understandable.
Breathe in. Breathe out. You’ll be fine fine. You don’t have to have it all figured out. Relax, you’ll become an adult and you’ll figure it out. You’ve a whole lifetime.

You’ll fail not once, not twice but many times. Go easy on yourself. Know that anyone who’s ever wanted anything in this world most, had to take risks. Luckily, the failures will leave you with many valuable life lessons. Embrace the difficulties you’ll encounter and learn from them. Good and bad things happen in life, just keep living and do not stress over what you can’t control. Worrying is a waste of time.
You may lose the people you love. You may lose things you have. But whatever happens, never lose yourself.
And no matter how far you go on the wrong road, you can still turn around.

You’ll fall in love several times. Guys no different from any other guy will wander into your life. You’ll give them a piece of yourself, that they didn’t ask for. Just because they did something dumb like smile at you, and your heart won’t be yours anymore. Then you’ll get your heart broken. You’ll wish there was a pill that could protect your fragile heart.
There will be many times when you’ll wonder if you’ll be able to feel anything again or love again. You’ll want to shut down, crawl into your bed and never come out again. You’ll stop believing the love that you hear about in music lyrics and see in movie scenes. You’ll find yourself in a place that’s rather empty. But God will heal the open wounds on that gorgeous heart of yours and patch them up. And you will heal from the hurt and the pain. Each one will teach you a valuable lesson in love.

Schools teach irrelevant things, but not how to cope with real life. They teach how to solve an equation but not how to handle heartbreaks. I would love for you to learn self-love and why it’s important. It’s not only loving others that matters, loving yourself also does. You’ll spend so many years of education but nobody will teach you of self-love, yet loving yourself is an essential part of living. You are worthy of your own love. Take the love that you have for others and turn it back toward yourself. Learn to love yourself so much that when someone enters your life and treats you negatively, you’ll stand up for yourself and let them go. Know your worth so that you won’t be a slave to apologies and not be afraid to walk away when not treated right. Let people in your life who treat you with the love and respect you deserve. You deserve the most pure, whole and authentic love. The biggest mistake you can make is losing yourself in the process of valuing someone too much, forgetting that you too are special (you’ll only understand when you get there).

Do not let loneliness lead you to the wrong person (again). Do not let your past make you shut down on true love. Be proud you risked your heart. And get ready to do it again because that’s the only way you’ll find real and lasting love. Love won’t forsake you. Do not harden your heart entirely. Take the time to heal. Don’t be scared forever. Love will still be out there, hiding somewhere and you’ll find love again. You’ll just need to be patient. Sooner or later someone who fits will come along. Someone who will not be afraid of how much you love and won’t stay on the shores but will meet you in the depth. Someone who’ll accept all of you, the dark, the light and the blurry in between. Someone who’ll be attentive and kind and humble. Someone who’ll not make you sad, someone who’ll never hold you back from the life you’ve always imagined yourself living. Never will he hurt your feelings or make you feel that you’re not good enough. Rather he’ll build you up. Because love is many things but not deceitful. Nothing toxic comes from love. And love liberates.

You’ll get to a point where you’ll get used to everything. People driven by ego and money. Good souls ruined daily. People hurting you and not caring that they did. Promises broken even though they were promised. People you used to talk to often that you’ll never speak to again. But always be thankful for the bad things in life for they open your eyes to see the good things you weren’t paying attention to before.
Hate no one, no matter how much they’ve wronged you. Think positively, no matter how hard life gets. Give much even if you’ve been given little. Forgive all. Always pray for the best of everyone. And give love like your life depends on it.

Enjoy every moment for it’ll never be this way again. Live your life fully. It is far too short to do otherwise. Always find time to laugh.

Love,

Your older wiser self

If Only It Were This Easy

A truly compassionate world would have looked different from the one we have today. People hurt each other and don’t even care that they did. People have become egoistic creatures stepping on each other and only think of themselves. The world would be a better place if we developed empathy.

Empathy: the ability to comprehend another person’s emotions/feelings or problems without experiencing them at that particular moment. It’s to experience the world from another person’s view. To experience life from their living conditions and feeling what it feels like to be that person. It’s complicated at times to understand what someone is going through, if you haven’t been through it for yourself. But once you experience if for yourself, your point of view changes and how you feel about those facing similar situations.

An old lady in our umudugudu must receive insulin injections twice a day. She goes to the health center for the injection, but they refuse claiming that she doesn’t have her insurance (mutuelle de sante) card, even though she had the prescription. She forgot it at the hospital when she was diacharged. She walks back to the hospital and returns back to the health center for the injection. Another incident happened when she forgot her prescription at the health center (blame it on the old age). The following day they inform her that she couldn’t get the injection, on claims that she didn’t have the prescription, which is just crazy. She’s there every day and they know her. She tells them she forgot it there and asks them to check. They say they can’t find it, so she won’t get the injection unless she goes back to the hospital to get a new one. As she’s leaving, she meets this other nurse who agrees to inject her. And he finds it there on the table. This poor woman would have died. This whole thing could have been avoided if they simply treated her like a human being that is sick and needs medicine. If they were compassionate, they would know how it feels to be in that position and give her the injection, then straighten the issue out afterwards.

You pretend to offer someone something that you have no intention of actually offering. You make the other person think that they have a chance with you. You told them things that made it seem like you liked them. Everything was going great (at least the other person thought so). You knew how they felt about you but you used their feelings. You knew they considered you special and knew that you’d never feel the same but you manipulate them into a one-sided relationship. You knew how they felt, but you knowingly played with their feelings. Or someone who cheats on their long-term partner. They claim they weren’t getting enough attention. That their significant other was too busy when they needed them, so they turned their time to someone who gave them all the attention. They didn’t put themselves in the other’s position to imagine how they would feel if it were them being cheated on. There’s no way to sugar coat it, it’s disrespectful and mean. Making an active choice to mislead someone makes you just a user, a liar, a coward. Did you ever think about how that makes the other person feel? How would you feel if that happened to you? How would you react? It breaks their heart. It kills their self-esteem. It emotionally ruins them. You don’t use someone like that. They don’t deserve to be played. Odds are, they tried to be a good partner. They deserve better than being manipulated. If you’re not interested in someone, just grow a pair and tell them. It hurts but being played hurts even worse. The more people are played and hurt, the less likely they are to want to get serious with anyone else. The next time you hit on someone and they push you away, remember that it’s people like you who are killing real relationships. Don’t do it unless you’d be fine with it happening to you. If you were compassionate, you would know how it feels to be played/manipulated and hurt, and you would not do that to anyone.

I find it hard to believe that people don’t know when their actions are hurting another person. Deep down we always know right from wrong thing, but we ignore doing the right thing and we find reasons to excuse that. The I have to think of myself or else I might suffer kind of reasons.

Imagine that sick old woman is your loved one, your mother. Imagine the person being played, cheated on is your brother or your sister. Imagine they are the one going through that suffering. Imagine the suffering in as much detail as possible. Reflect on how much you would want that to end. Reflect on how happy you would be if another person acted upon it, and did something to help ease the suffering or end it completely. If it were you, what would you like someone to do to end that suffering?

We should recognize our commonalities and ignore the differences. We are all human beings. We need food, shelter and love. We all seek happiness. We all try to avoid suffering in our lives. We all seek to fill our needs. We have all known sadness, loneliness and hopelessness. We all feel the same thing. This realization allows us to feel compassion towards one another.

You walk by a stranger who gives you a dirty look. Try to imagine the mood that person is in. maybe they’re having a bad day. Or someone steps on you but instead of apologizing, yells at you to “watch where you put your feet”. It angers you. Try to imagine what that person is going through or what kind of bad things happened to that person. Maybe he just got fired from work and still has debts, or his business is falling. Maybe he’s going through a nasty divorce. Imagine the suffering he must have been going through to treat you that way. Understand that their action was not about you, but what they were going through. They hurt just like you. They feel joy just like you. They worry and feel scared sometimes just like you. They have bad days just like you and have amazing days just like you.

Do something to help end the suffering of others, even in a tiny way. Even a smile, or just talking about a problem with another person.
The golden rule being: treat others as you would want to be treated.
Get out of your own head/mind.
See with the eyes of another.
Hear with the ears of another.
Feel with the heart of another.