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This & That with Alheri: Pain – Useful But Not Always Necessary



AlheriHello friends, my name is Alheri and just like you, I’m on a journey of self discovery. My mind wanders a lot (intelligently, I’d like to think), and when I have random thoughts that I cannot reconcile internally, I turn to my friends for help. Sadly, those friends probably don’t want their ears talked off with my endless philosophical rambling.

Hence, I have turned to you, dear readers with very few answers, and a few good questions. We’ll have fun exploring these topics if you’d join me on this journey. Oh, why “This and That”? Because we discuss any and everything. Also, I assure you, I’m far from boring, and I write quite well. Not convinced? Read to see for yourself.

Last semester I took an African Politics class. My professor was a brilliant middle aged woman who had lived in Malawi conducting research and was extremely passionate about Africa. One day early on in the semester, we discussed colonization in Africa, and my professor said something that stunned me. She said that there are several life skills that she’s gained because she grew up poor with an immigrant mother, who had little command of English and was unable to maintain a sustainable income.

Point #1- How did this relate with British colonization of Africa?

Her point was that we shouldn’t be quick to completely condemn British colonization of Africa because it has yielded some benefits for the continent. Basically, out of painful experiences come beautiful things. After all, resilience if born of pain. Or what do you think?

I thought I was hearing double, I kid you not.

Without colonization, my professor said, Africa would not have access to the Western world as it currently does. Among other things, she said that Africa would have no access to English language and formal systems of education, as it currently does. To crown it up, she stylishly ended the class on that note. (But, best be sure that I vocalised my grievances in subsequent classes.)

That class made me think about the necessity of certain experiences. I have seen several friends and family members endure painful breakups, emotional, sexual and physical horror, financial stress, good friendships turned sour, and just generally stressful experiences.

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

I DO NOT believe that statement.

What doesn’t kill you sometimes does make you stronger. It also could leave you broken. It could leave you paranoid, anxious, and depressed. When people make that statement, they often mean that you have to fight through pain to find the strength inside you. That you’re more resilient than you think you are, and that you’re more likely to experience exponential growth when you go through hardship. All of that is true.

But can we please classify different kinds of pain when we make that statement?

A friend of mine recently ended a simply awful relationship. The supposed boyfriend never called, texted, or acknowledged that they had something going. Yeah, I thought it was stupid too, but you know, hindsight is always 20/20. The good times were really good but the days and weeks of silence were hell. But what did she do? Sister sat there and crossed her legs because she wanted to be the President of the Ride or Die Club. After all, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

Fam, don’t deceive yourself, you will die there and the boy will ride onto greater things.

Please don’t get me wrong. Sometimes, a bad experience can lead to growth. For instance, you go through extreme financial crisis that spurs you to create a business venture, which eventually becomes lucrative.

Or perhaps, you lose a family member and that makes you value your life more. Grief makes you more ambitious, hardworking, and resilient.

But, dear friends, where do we draw the line and realize that certain conditions simply are toxic and we ought to flee as fast as we can? A lot of people have a managing mindset. We manage a bad marriage hoping that it will get better, we manage a horrible, abusive boss believing that he will improve. We manage several unnecessarily difficult situations because e go better.

There’s the argument that we cannot control what life throws at us, we can only control our response. That is true. So, I ask again, when do we run?

Do you believe in ride or die philosophy? When is the appropriate time to walk away? Do painful situations always lead to growth?

Please let’s have a vibrant discussion in the comments section below.

Alheri is a young, vibrant young lady. Her favorite color is purple, and she loves to dance, sing, write and read. She’s very unsure that she’ll do with her life, but she knows that “not all who wander are lost.” She blogs at


  1. winifred

    May 16, 2016 at 9:27 am

    hmmm…dunno where to start from. But truly what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. When they say “what doesn’t kill you” they mean what doesn’t “conquer you”. For instance, if your relationship of so many years falls apart, grieving is the next normal thing that would take place. And for individuals, the length of grieving differs. But as long as it may last, whenever grieving is over, you are done and free! Trust me you will be stronger…So the concept of “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” does not rule out grieve, rather it emphasizes on what comes after grieving and that is Strength.

  2. Tosin

    May 16, 2016 at 11:02 am

    what’s that song – you’ve gotta live and learn…woah woah woah woah 🙂
    pesin must experience heartbreak nah, it’s part of the joy of life lol, abi which stories will you tell your grandkids? 🙂

  3. Halima

    May 16, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    You didn’t lie.

  4. bigeyedgirl

    May 16, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    Definitely agree that though everyone will be tested at some point in life, and working through that will make you stronger, not all pain is necessary, and as you said, a lot of these experiences leave people paranoid/extremely jaded. Especially when it comes to relationships. Sadly, you stay in it even when you know you shouldn’t. So here, it becomes important to have friends that will tell you the hard things when you don’t want to see it.

    Keep up the good work!! Excited to see more

  5. Chiyonçé

    May 17, 2016 at 4:45 am

    I could absolutely relate to this! And your question “When do we run?” is so important. Not to be a downer or bring up “extreme” conditions but domestic violence in (Nigerian) marriages. When is it time for the abused to run? After they’re hit the first time, the third time or after the first beating-induced semi-coma? What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger but one cannot come here and die. Gatts be stronger after jejely ejecting yourself out of the situation.

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