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The Daily Vulnerable by Chude Jideonwo: “Your mother doesn’t know what she is talking about”



One of the interns at one of our companies came to spend an evening with me – he had things that had been worrying him for a while about his life and growth and he wanted to share.

In the midst of sharing, he talked about his mother.

“The other day,” he shared. “She said to me ‘It’s not people like you that do great things. You are not special.”

“She said that to you?” I asked.

He said, yes.

“Your mother?”

He answered again, yes. I had to take that in. It was a reminder to be deeply grateful to my mother, from whom I got nothing but affirmation and validation every day of my life.

“I am going to tell you something very difficult,” I said to him. “Are you ready?”

He said yes.

“Is your mother a billionaire?”

He said no.

“Is she the best in her career, or whatever it is she does?”

He said no.

“You have experience of her motherhood,” I said. “Do you think she is doing a good job of it, speaking honestly, based on all you’ve told me?”

No, he said.

“So obviously, she doesn’t really have the credibility to tell you, you are nothing special and you’re not going to do great things. She is obviously struggling with her own issues, and her inability to love and support you the way that it should be done. So what you must do now is disregard her words, have compassion on her struggle, and continue on your journey.”

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Jideonwo is a storyteller, using the research and evidence on human flourishing to inspire new narratives about politics, markets, faith, identity and society in Africa. He is a co-founder of RED, which he ran for 13 years before stepping down in December 2017. One of its companies, StateCraft Inc. handled communication for the Muhammadu Buhari campaign in 2015 and has worked in elections in Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

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