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Jasmine Howson-Wright: Dear Nigerians… Breathe! Here Are 5 Ways to Be Happy

Foluke Jasmine Howson-Wright

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PhotoGrid_1417054093139It has not been easy.
It is not better.
Who knows if it ever will be?

These three phrases, each independent as they clearly are, ironically describe in perfect uniformity, the average Nigerian life. Simply summarized – tough and clueless!

As much as a select minority may be unaware of the pinch or rather dirty slap we have been dealt by our very own Nation/government, the vast majority of us are oh too familiar. Our economy; recession, National news; comedic, Government strategies; invincible, yet food and living; expensive, work; scarce, money; disappearing, exchange rate; suicidal, and hope; dwindling. Stating the obvious much?

I heard on the radio while on my way to work the other day, that right here in the FCT, people have not seen a flinch of power for about five days and I thought to myself, “yet they have bought EXPENSIVE fuel to power their generators for most of those days, if not all”. They could have been one of the families affected by the outrageous salary slashes; an employee who earned N120,000 monthly, would be subjected to a take home pay of 15/20 thousand Naira in the twinkling of an eye. The very same nation where small struggling businesses are reduced to rubble in hours! (I choose to focus on the brevity of time permitting these ruthless acts, as opposed the legitimacy of the acts or rather not) and that is just to mention a few. Everything seems to be going wrong FAST and I feel the need to ask; “are we not entitled to a breath of fresh air in our own home?”

So what then are the chances of one being happy in this nation? How can one breathe?

Roal Dahl said – “It is impossible to make your eyes twinkle if you are not feeling twinkly yourself”.
Loosely translated; Happiness comes from within and no one but you can create that, for you. Being happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect, it only means you decide to look beyond those imperfections.

Dear Nigerians, take a deep breath, release, with a smile and read how I have been able to maintain happiness despite the National weight and madness all around. There just might be a few tips here and there for you too.

Identify the imperfections, look beyond them or just CUT IT!
It’s kind of tricky though, but imagine this scenario – you have got a pile of rubbish right around your feet and in the far end of the corridor, floor is clean or maybe, you cannot even see what’s there. Would you rather stay looking at the annoying pile around you (considering in this scenario, there is no option of cleaning) or, take a giant leap to the other end that is clean or just hopefully so?
I would leap. I have leapt.

Personally, I reduced my intake of political news, political discussions, political anything! Now, you should always be informed, it’s crucial and essential, but dwell on politics or look out for it? Na, I am on a ‘cleanse’. I realized that talks about government and politics got me defensive and eventually leave me upset, so hello? Who dwelling epp? Generally, I realized that being in certain environments weighed me and certain people highlighted the ‘general pressure’, so I politely take my exit. Sometimes looking beyond is just not enough, you need to cut ‘it.

List your better alternatives and work with them.
Remember the song ‘count your blessings name them One by One…..’ Ehen! So fuel is N145 per litre (I do not think this improvement affected anyone as much as it did me, it has passed sha), a particular filing station sold it cheaper; I stopped gallivanting. If I was not buying fuel at that station, I was not buying it at all (no joke but please, my tank was full with less of what I was paying at random stations). I stopped grumbling. Then I recently realized I was getting a little less fuel for same amount at my now convenient station and accidentally found out that another was spot on (you should know the remaining gist), update sharply! Bottom line, I am not whining over a necessity, one less struggle to be unhappy about.
It could be anything really; a better vendor, better hospital, better network? See, the last thing you need in a recession is a customer service personnel talking to you anyhow and still at the end of the day, your problem is not resolved. Kindly port!

Discover your passion and act on them.
The hustle has made the average Nigerian go with whatever. Money has to be made. It is not a bad thing to work and earn money, it’s just that, many do not love what they do, and they just do it to make ends meet. Now we are talking about being happy shey? Money isn’t coming in anymore or, these same jobs gotten to make ends meet are the same, churning people out every other minute. The harsh reality is, depression is killing Nigerians and rendering fathers, brothers, people, mental cases. This is the time, more than ever, to realize what each one is most passionate about, what gives you some (no matter how little) glimpse of hope because, hope is life! Find it, expose it or embrace it, eventually build on it and see it work for you, a more hopeful and happy you.

Now, you do not need to be out of a job to do this. I love writing, it gives me the most sense of fulfillment, it’s my best form of expression, yet, I have a job. I indulge it because when I write, I don’t see the obvious problems; I become a part of the world I create through my mind. It makes me happier. Discover ‘you’ in these times.

Be optimistic.
I particularly love those people who take seriously annoying situations and make memes out of them. Yes, yes, people call it joblessness, and discredit the methods to their madness sometimes, but hey, just take a chill pill, relax a second, be honest with yourself; more often than you would like to admit, those posts had you laughing out loud before sense and reasoning came in, right? I love that spirit! I like to call it – the true Nigerian spirit; that just survives despite all odds. We laugh, we love to laugh, mimic or make fun of situations we have no control over (now the later isn’t what I am advocating though).

I’m saying more often – “it is well’, “it will be better” and not the prescribed, recited church format but rather, intentionally. Positive confessions only work when it is sincere, not scripted. I subscribe to comic channels, follow pages like ‘the trailer jam show’, ‘kraks Tv’, ‘pulse Tv’…etc. Everyone needs a good laugh and a whole lot of optimism in these times.

Pray.
Who is the best to give you peace and restore your happiness, than the one who actually created you? ‘Nigerian you’.

I know it’s really not fun being Nigerian now but, if you do have other tips you’ve employed to stay happy and breathe through all of this ‘mess’, kindly share.

Foluke is unconventional. She is a Lagosian and holds a BS.c in International law and Diplomacy. An actor, writer, blogger, and host with a little more tricks up her sleeve. She is an optimist who loves God, food, love, life and the arts (however it is expressed) but is most passionate about writing and expresses herself best through it. She blogs at www.jasminwryts.com.Email: [email protected] Instagram: @jasminwryts Twitter: @JasmineH_W

9 Comments

  1. ojima atawodi

    October 23, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    ??????choose to be happy..out of everything going bad there is always something good even if it’s one..be thankful for that..

  2. Victor Adegoke

    October 23, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    Be Grateful to God that you can breathe and see another day. When there is life,there is hope.

  3. Tosin

    October 23, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    If you don’t discover prayer in Nigeria….
    maybe praying is just not for you. Some stress will chase you into the arms of God 😀 😀

  4. Marlvina

    October 23, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    We should learn to adapt the attitude of appreciation. I keep telling myself, it could have been worse.

  5. Marian

    October 23, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    We just finished a 3 part series in church on happiness. (Mostly applicable to Christians).

    Happiness is an outcome. It’s not immediately accesible.
    Matthew 5 ( The Beatitudes)
    1. Poor in spirit: acknowledge that no matter how much or little you have, you depend on God.

    2. Mourners: emotionally connected. They don’t hide from the grief, sadness in the world. Fear of death will rob you of the joy of life.

    3. Meek: proper estimation or evaluation of oneself within the broader context of God’s creation. Don’t strive to be more than what God has called you to be. Content people.

    4. Happy are those with no guilt no regret and a clear conscience.

    5. Mercy: Happy are the relationally generous. Not seeking revenge. Forgiveness. No revenge.

    6. Pure in heart: purify your mind. Morally and ethical purity. Purity leads to clarity. Renew your mind.

    7. Peacemakers: troublemakers are troubled by the happiness of happy people. Happy are the reconcilers.

    8. Persecuted: you are going to suffer in this life for doing the right or wrong thing. If you suffer for doing the right thing, you have peace with God. Happy are those who chose to pursue righteousness.

    The Big Picture: Happiness is an outcome/result.  Something now that leads to an outcome. You sow and reap your way to happiness.

    Happy people are at peace with:
    –  Themselves
    – Others
    – God
    Peace with God paves the way for peace with ourselves and equips us to make peace with others. Peace with God begins with Faith in Christ.
    Peace with God is sustained by submission to Christ.

    • Ozyy

      October 23, 2016 at 9:24 pm

      Do you go to Family Worship Center, Wuye?

  6. Hot Sumtyn

    October 23, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    This is trash! Nigerians always finding the “light at the end of the tunnel” is one of our many problems. Because we’re always looking past horrible situations, these people think we’re made of steel. BE ANGRY Nigerians, anger leads to revolution and revolution brings change, we should not accept being treated this way, we deserve way better than this. VEX!

    • Alvin

      October 24, 2016 at 11:10 am

      You have a problem.
      You should be in a therapist’s office, not here.

  7. Yummychickcummummy

    October 24, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    . Our economy; recession, National news; comedic, Government strategies; invincible, yet food and living; expensive, work; scarce, money; disappearing, exchange rate; suicidal, and hope; dwindling… Love this.
    I spend like 70%of my salary on food n fuel cos of the inflation in the commodities . It is killing me. But it is well.
    No matter how tough things might be, being positive abt it goes a long way!!
    This shall pass

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