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Feeling self-worth

Feeling self-worth

What it is to feel high level of self-worth requires having a favourable opinion or assessment of yourself. Self-worth is defined as the sense of one’s own value or worth as a person; self-esteem; self-respect.

Again, it means having unshakable faith in yourself and in your ability to follow through while getting things done. Having a high degree of self-worth means feeling worthy of good things. Self-worth can be assessed as when competing with others, in order to help us feel like we have impressive achievements under our belt, which then makes us feel proud of ourselves and enhances our acceptance of ourselves.

Low self-esteem

Low self-esteem

Self-esteem is what we think and feel and believe about ourselves. Do you lack the self-confidence and self-belief you need to make your own way in this world? At times, we human beings lack self-confidence and do not feel good about ourselves. It becomes a problem when is part of our daily life, that’s when you can now comfortably say that someone has low self-esteem. In fact lack of self-worth, self-esteem, self-compassion, self-respect, self-acceptance, self-respect, self-confidence, self-love, self-care and every other “self” word destroys your spirit and prevent you from moving forward in the way you had once imagined? This is why having low self-esteem has negative touch which makes one feel undesirable. As a result, low self-esteem can lead to dejection, frustration, fear, anger, nervousness and depression. Here, you are trying to live someone else’s life and take their own decisions or opinions about yourself that means you lack focus, your direction in life depends on their decision. However, to eliminate low self- esteem and achieve all the self “words” available, you need to create a unique you in order to attain self-actualisation which makes you accomplish the self -worth that you desire through self-love

Many people suffer through periods of low self-esteem, and often for many different reasons. Such people probably recognize the fact that you tend to judge or evaluate negatively. Moreover, you probably have a low personal value and opinion of yourself, or maybe a low assessment and evaluation of your self-worth. In fact, low self-esteem might be making you feel somewhat useless, inferior, inadequate, incomplete and worthless.

How to develop self-worth

How to develop self-worth

It’s important to note that there are certain easy things one can do improve self-worth. The first thing to do in building self-worth is to stop comparing yourself to others and assessing every of your move. To build your self-worth, one has to change the old ways of thinking, behaving and accept new ways. The guides below should put you on the right path

Be confident:

Be confident

Feeling self-worth can be increased through confidence, so self-confidence is where you feel confidence and have core strength in specific areas. We sometimes feel anxious or scared about executing our tasks whereas people with healthy self-esteem do not let these feelings stop them from trying new things or taking on challenges because they have built their self -confidence. Therefore, knowing how to build self-confidence is key to improving your self-worth and gaining self-respect. One other simple way to build self-confidence is by updating your knowledge and being versatile

Healthy Emotions:

Healthy Emotions

Building self-worth starts with taking care of your feelings. You have to be in charge of your emotions without relying on someone else to make decisions for you especially at difficult times. You need to see yourself as valuable. This is where the process of building self-worth comes into play when you see how valuable you are. How you start building your self-worth will depend on the value you can already identify within yourself.

Read Now: What does happiness mean to you?

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others:

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

There is always going to be someone out there who makes more money, has a better house, drives exotic cars and so. You shouldn’t focus on what other people have but rather what makes you special and important. Comparing yourself to others can easily make you feel insecure, not good enough even less of a human. Get that thought out of your mind and start looking at the positive features you bring to the table.

In addition, you need to be ready by learning how to manage stress, anxiety, fear, guilt, anger and worries in a new productive ways. Learning how to manage them will help empower and strengthen you during difficult moments of your life. This will build more confidence and raise the level of your self-worth or self-esteem because you have taken care of your feelings.

Self-Love:

Self-Love

Indeed, when you lack self-love that means there is a better life than your present life. Again, when you feel you have no value on earth, everything that exists is better than you. It destroys you emotionally, mentally, and even physically and such emotional destruction can be intelligent emotions. For this reason, you are scared of everything and compare yourself to other people’s achievements forgetting your own destiny. It all impacts on self-love, so you need to change your mindset and believe in yourself as well as deserve to be a human being or belong to a class because we all need a support system to achieve our dreams in life. Having fully accepted yourself, it’s now time to acknowledge your true value. To do this, it’s important to begin practicing a little self-love. This basically means treating yourself with kindness, tolerance, generosity, and compassion. Don’t forget we all have flaws. Yes, we all do have limitations and weaknesses because no human being is perfect, just let all those shortcomings go and start being compassionate with yourself.

Importance of self-worth

Now that you have worked on accepting yourself for who you are, you can begin to build love and care for yourself. Make it a goal to extend yourself some kindness, tolerance, generosity, and compassion. As you can see that to achieve self-worth you have to build love, so begin to increase your self-love, start paying attention to the words you use with yourself. Commit to being more positive and uplifting when talking to or referring to yourself.

Self-respect is another essential quality to increase or develop a higher level of self-worth. As noted above, it’s just sufficient to encourage you to work on your self-esteem. Do you know that one other reason why a healthy self-worth is important is that it can positively affect your relationship.

And also, your intelligent emotions of self-worth helps you to trust your own judgment and make better decisions, which are vital leadership skills that can help you advance in your career. Similarly, in your work place, self-worth can give you the confidence to run meetings, support other team mates and have greater self-sufficiency at work. It equally gives you the maximum confidence needed to influence an interviewer’s decision or motivate one in getting task done in the utmost standard at workplace leading to bonuses or pay raise. Let us not forget that to be confident does not come from emptiness, however, to achieve confidence is by being prepared through knowledge and/or skill updates. Furthermore, our words should match with our actions so as to gain respect and avoid attacks from our critical inner voice this how to build self-confidence and maintain a healthy self-worth.

Finally, you have learnt that you need to love yourself, become better at it and then love other people. Individuals with high level of self-worth no longer rely on other people to make decisions for them or live their life for them because they understand the value of self-worth and how to build the self-worth while overcoming the self-esteem.

Everyone is familiar with what love is, the emotional connections involved with love. But in today’s world with how vase we are connected via the internet, our view of love has been blinded by what we see on social media. The increase in failure of marriages and relationships can be attributed to the growing number of fake love out there. The signs of fake love aren’t quite as visible as people may think for the individual in the relationship.

People tend to fake love for a period of time that they can assume another identity or for the period of time the relationship benefits them. It only takes time for fake love to unravel itself with a relationship. It’s important to spot the signs of fake love early in a relationship to avoid the emotional attachment involved with being in love.

Read Now: Signs of Deep love in a relationship.

Signs of fake love

No Honesty

When a relationship is built on fake love it tends to lack the basic fundamentals of a relationship which is honesty. Honesty is what strengthens a relationship, builds the couple, and create a foundation of trust. Spotting this sign early on in a relationship is close to impossible but with time it would unravel.

The feeling of void

Love is fulfilling, it means us to feel whole. Love eliminates our weakness, feels the emptiness and loneliness we feel as humans in order to generate happiness. The happiness that feels your heart by seeing your significant other. The happiness that creates the bond that strengthens the relationship.

With fake love, there is a constant feeling of incompleteness and unfulfilled need for love and this feeling of emptiness in the heart.

Read Now: Who should love more in a relationship.

Toxic

Real love is calm, gentle, and unedged. When the relationship becomes the reason that you are stressed, depressed, and having anxiety. It’s a red flag that shows one of the signs of fake love in a relationship. Relationships are meant to be a mental place of relaxation, a place of happiness, and safety.

Emotional Distance

For a healthy relationship, emotional connection is important. With real love emotional connection and communication are apparent. This creates a sense of understanding in the relationship. When there is little to no communication and connection it’s chaotic which fake love presents. They tend not to open up or express their thoughts and intentions in an honest manner.

The gut feeling

There is always an intuition when fae love is involved. Even if by tiny gestures, at one point you will know when the sacrifice of real love is missing and it will ring as something fundamentally missing.

No respect

To be respected in a relationship is part of love. Your opinions should be heard and acknowledged in a relationship built on love. When your opinions are regarded as invalid or unheard, it results in an unhealthy relationship. This could lead to manipulation which is a sign of fake love in a relationship.

Feeling vulnerable

Love strengthens a relationship by turning insecurities and vulnerabilities into strengths. Love in a relationship creates a safe shape and protection for couples. Fake love makes your insecurities and vulnerabilities more visible than ever. Feeling unprotected while in a relationship are parts of the signs of fake love.

Pain

There is always pain in every relationship, but in an ungenuine relationship the pain seems always to be there. There’s a feeling of perpetual gloom that settles even after you are not present with your partner.

Sense of selfishness

In fake love, both partners don’t see themselves as one. So the selflessness that real love portraits becomes non-existent in the relationship.

“Who should love more in a relationship?” is easily one of the commonly asked questions in today’s world when it comes to relationships. But let’s get a clear understanding of what a love relationship is to get a better understanding of the question.

Read Now: Five signs of deep love.

A love relationship is a relationship between two individuals that goes beyond just attraction, lust, affection, and mutual attachment. Love is natural, mysterious, and equal. Love is about helping each other with your strength to yield a better of yourself. Real love creates no room for weakness and vulnerability because it absorbs all to strengthen the couples in love.

Both men and women have different opinions when asked “who should love more in a relationship?” Often it’s said that men can only love as much as they are given which implies that women should love more.

Whereas women have their opinion on men should love more due to men’s ability to tolerate provocation, rumors, gossips, and more. Other theories are based on men taking advantage of women when women are more passionate about the relationship. Neither can be said to be wrong. Yet, can a successful relationship be built based on these opinions?

Read Now: The signs of fake love in a relationship.

The answer is no. Why? Because love can’t be calculated like a mathematical problem to find the right ratio for two individuals involved in a relationship. Each person’s way of loving is different, constructed by their experience and knowledge of life. To love is about being each other’s half, being each other’s strength, having each other’s respect, and more.

Love is not based on gender so the answer doesn’t lie within a particular gender. It’s not an obligation for one gender love more than the other in a relationship. Love in a relationship exists between two individuals having feelings of affection, emotions, protectiveness, and respect for each other. For a healthy relationship love always finds a way to balance itself while maintaining equilibrium.

“What are the signs of deep love?” has been a question every couple has asked themselves within the period of their relationship. To understand the signs of deep love when it comes to a relationship we must first understand the meaning of love and stages of love.

Katharine Hepburn gave a simple quote which explains what loves means “Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get — only with what you are expecting to give — which is everything.” Katharine’s explanation of love states for two individuals to be totally in love, it would require everything from each individual.

Read Now: The signs of fake love in a relationship.

There are three different stages of love during a period of a relationship. The third stages is usually when the relationship is cemented or broken apart. Couples that stay beyond the third stage tend to develop deep love for their significant other.

So we have an understanding of what love is, and also the point within a relationship we develop a deep love for our significant other. Let’s tackle the first question ” What are the signs of deep love”

Signs of deep love

Complete Trust

Truth is a fundamental part of every relationship. During the early stage of a relationship partners often don’t completely trust each other. This could be due to previous relationships and other incidents.

After a period of time within the relationship. Partners trend to have a clear picture of the significant other which helps them to completely trust each other.

Trust is given and gotten when the love is considered deep in a relationship. Without trust, a love relationship won’t stand the test of time.

Read Now: Who should love more in a relationship.

Safe Shape

At the beginning of every relationship, each partner has insecurities that tend to make them vulnerable. As the relationship grows together with trust, they become a safe shape for one another. A place where they can truly be themselves without feeling insecure.

The vulnerability becomes non-existence just for the simple reason that your significant other is always a pile of support.

Understanding

Understanding is the backbone of every love relationship that aims for longevity and happiness. When you have a deep love for your other half, you have a clearer understanding of who they are.

Not just the person they are, you would equally know their goals, their cause of anger, and so on. Basically you would know your partner’s weakness and strength.

Having an understanding means that you would know where to support your partner to solidify each other and that’s what deep love is all about.

Happiness

One of the packages that come naturally with love is happiness. Happiness is one of the parts of love that fades quickly in a relationship. To be able to sustain happiness in a relationship means to love completely.

When deep love exists within a relationship, happiness is naturally shared. When your significant other is joyful and happy, you would equally feel the same.

Protection

To be protective of your partner means “worrying about them from time to time and hoping and
making sure no harm comes to them”, habits like praying for them regularly, making sure your lover calls you from time to time, knowing their friends and the type of people they hang out with, and making sure they keep friends who are good for them are signs of protection.

Being protective should not be conflated with over jealousness. As overly Jealousness is a sign of an unhealthy relationship.

Love is essential now more than ever in at a time where humanity seems to be plummeting, and knowing these signs are present in a relationship is helpful especially for people who are not sure of the direction of their relationships. Also knowing these signs are there can also be reassuring in long-standing relationships. These signs are not definitive and some of them need not be there for deep love to be present.

What matters at the most is that you experience mutual love and enjoy it and live every moment with
the one you love like it’s your last.

Nudist culture, a culture that supports and embraces nudity, in our society today has been on the rise. From women and men who have body dysmorphia to people who have been fat-shamed, this body positivism culture-esque movement preaches one goal, “Love your body!” Even feminists embrace it as part of their movement and rightly so.

Nudist culture also preaches against slut-shaming in an era where slut-shamers are emboldened by the anonymity social media gives them. But like every good ideology, fanatics or rather people who don’t get the movement end up misusing it and a culture that was meant to uplift and enlighten society ends up becoming distasteful, undermining the whole idea, and making it look like a joke.

Read Now: Understanding the LGBTQ+ community in Nigeria

Nudist culture dates as far back as the 20th century and was a popular movement in European countries like France and Germany. The first known use of the word naturisme (nudism is also referred to as naturism. Naturisme is French for naturism) occurred in 1778. Jean Baptiste Luc Planchon used the word to mean appreciation of nudity as a means of improving healthy living. The International Naturist Federation (Agde, France, 1974) defined naturism as

“A way of life in harmony with nature characterized by the practice of communal nudity with the intention of encouraging self-respect, respect for others and for the environment”

Wikipedia

Modern-day nudist culture, its advantages and evolution in the computer era

Modern day nudism, while still retaining the basic idea of “old day nudism” has evolved as society at large is becoming more aware. Contemporary naturists feel that social nudity should be asexual and should depend on social, cultural, geographical, and historical factors. While the asexuality of nudist culture can be argued, it is obvious that there are limits to it.

A society that has public nudity where there are minors as taboo has every right to mete out appropriate penalty should one falter. With places like the internet where nudism is accepted and where billions of pictures are viewed in seconds, the line between nudism and fanaticism can be blurred. There are simple rules to understand said line.

  • It can be termed nudism where the distributor of such content abides by the community guidelines and preaches body positivity.
  • Even if such content is sexual in nature and still abides by the guidelines it is not fanaticism, but it is also arguably not nudism.

Parents should also find ways to restrict what their under 18s or appropriate minors watch. Applications that allow parents to restrict certain content should be downloaded, and social media community where nudism is appreciated and people are free to share whatever they want to the public should have appropriate settings to give parents control when their children log on to such communities.

Feminism, a movement whose sole aim is to empower women in a patriarchal society, also preaches nudism strongly. Society has always been critical of women’s bodies expecting them to be perfect. Pictures of sexy models are often splashed all over the front covers of popular magazine brands like playboys leaving some women who think they don’t have the “perfect body” insecure. This imperfect idea of the perfect body has stuck like glue sticks to surfaces, and the struggle to get rid of this idea is one of the purposes of modern-day feminism.

While misinformed people jeer and shout “feminism” whenever they see inappropriate sexual content on the internet that is definitely not what feminism is about let alone nudism, and any abuse of nudism can be easily spotted using the simple idea that if it empowers the “subject”(the person who is nude) and preaches love of body then it is nudism. If it has nothing to do with empowerment or appreciation of the body then it is something else. Recognition of the misuse and abuse of nudism should easily be spotted by an honest, critical analysis.

What to do after NYSC is probably one of the most difficult self-question a Nigerian youth could ask themselves. All through their lives, they have only had one direct drive “academic success” and suddenly that’s partially over after NYSC. Some youths in Nigeria suffer from post-NYSC depression due to this particular question.

Read Now: Depression from lens of a Nigerian

This question shouldn’t be hard a question to answer if the educational system and government are structured properly. There are lots of courses still offered in Nigeria universities that provides no job opportunity. Some of these courses have been scrapped off in developed countries.

The government makes it even worse by not developing the sectors that would let an average Nigerian youth secure a job within his/her field of study. Chemical engineers, microbiologists, and co end up as bankers(if lucky).

To secure a job within your field of study, you don’t have to be brilliant just having parents with connections and would do the trick. It’s never a level playing field in Nigeria, the corruption, the terrible government but that can’t stop anyone hoping to achieve success after NYSC. You just have to create your own path rather than waiting for one to be made for you.

List of Jobs to start after NYSC

Digital Marketer

In the current world most especially Nigeria where people put out different content on a daily basis. Digital marketers have never been more needed than now. Digital marketer doesn’t mean an influencer rather an individual or corporation(a group of people) using different digital channels to generate leads and brand awareness.

There are lots of job opportunities for digital marketers in Nigeria. Everybody needs awareness for either their brand or business.

Content Creator

Content creator on social media platforms is one of the low-key ways to earn money when done right. Making short entertaining videos with originality and humor that can go viral. It sounds easy but it’s quite the opposite. Consistency is the key to winning fans over and growing your brand.

Companies looking to create awareness either for their brand or a promo would seek you out for the sole purpose of promotion. The amount that can be charged per promotion is determined based on the followers your brand has attained.

Social Media Influencer

Twitter is the most used social network in Nigeria. Wanting to build yourself as a social media influencer in Nigeria then twitter is the right choice. Being a social media influencer on twitter is more than just have 10k followers on twitter.

To be able to represent a brand or even becoming a brand ambassador as a social media influencer on twitter, you would need to aim at building your audience and brand the right way. Be articulate and knowledgeable, it would help to gain followers the right way. Tweet contents that are helpful, significant, and have originality. Be active on and off social media.

Once your followers are above the 10k mark, companies, and brands that know what your brand symbolizes will seek out for promotion or even a position as a brand ambassador.

Graphics Designer

Graphics design is a lucrative self-empowerment job. You need to have at least a beginners level of understanding of the following software:

  • Adobe Illustrator – For creating logos and illustrations.
  • Adobe Photoshop – For editing photos, logos, and more.
  • CorelDraw – For creating logos, posters, and more.
  • Figma – FOr creating app interface and design.
  • Adobe XD – For creating app interface, design, and prototyping.

To be able to earn to the max as a graphics design take out 6 months and learn every skill required. Most graphics designers in Nigeria take up to ₦5,000 – ₦20,000 a day depending on work location.

Web designer/developer

Every business that needs an online presence starts with a website. Gone are the days that required hard coding of HTML and CSS to make a website. There multiple CMS platforms that enable one to build a website without even writing a single line of code.

Learning how to create a website has never been easier than now. Get started on how to create a WordPress website with ₦18,000. Developing skills required for web design will take approximately 6 months. The average asking price for making a website range from ₦35,000 – ₦500,000 depending on the type of website.

Fashion Designer

Fashion is a border word to explaining lots of different aspects. There are lots of talented individuals in Nigeria both male and female that have ventured into fashion and attained success. You don’t necessarily need to have a big brand to make the first step.

Design your outfit, use either yourself or your friend has a model and share the pictures online. Clients will start showing up sooner than later. Make sure you make yourself and your fashion brand as professional as possible in payment, delivery, and customer service to be able to retain buyers.

Online Dropshipping

It’s no secret that online shopping is becoming a frequent option of recent in Nigeria with the growth of technology. On Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp people are offering different items for sale range from shoes, weavons, clothing, and more.

This offers an avenue to sell different items that you have direct access to or supplier on different social media platforms.

Art sales

Nigerian youths are synonyms to hard-work, creative minds, and mind-blowing real art illustrations. It’s not a secret anymore the world knowns it.

Being able to draw like this 👇 takes real work and development of skill. Having the slightest of any artistic skill, developing it. Put out artworks for clients and be paid a substantial amount of money.

The type of art work to expect from Nigerians.

Catering

Cooking isn’t easy to learn in Nigeria considering there are different tribes and ethnicity. Yet there are those blessed with the ability to cook different types of dishes.

You don’t necessarily need a shop to make a start. Design a food poster on Canva containing different types of dishes that you can deliver, post the poster on a social media platform preferable Twitter. People will make orders, first impression matters in this line of business. As time goes on you would understand your business better and improve in key areas.

Content Writer

Content writing is becoming a necessity for big companies and bloggers in Nigeria. You can write for blogs and earn for as little for ₦5000 per article. Working as a freelance writer on Upwork or Fiverr can pay like $50 per 2,000 worded article.

Blogger

Blogging is quite a slow process at the beginning. It’s not a fast and quick startup like others on this list but if done right it would generate easy and constant income.

Having a successful blog required to research, search engine optimization, creating unique and elaborate content that readers would enjoy.

Monetizing a blog can range from ads to affiliate marketing. The success of a blog is determined by the research done into creating the blog.

Photographer

Being a photographer is more than just photoshop. Photographers are specialists with the camera, using a blend of technical skills and an artistic eye to take pictures of people, places, landscapes, food, and so on.

It’s easy to earn and find work as a photographer on a weekly basis, presenting professional, style and well-detailed photos of the clients assisted work will determine your earnings.

Conclusion

Due to how unstructured the Nigerian government coupled with selfish leaders that govern the national, in truth you can only empower yourself. Creating a path to success is the only to ensure you are at the top.

Everyone would love to have a job in the federal or state sector off Nigeria after their NYSC but the obvious truth is that the possibility of such reality is quite low for the majority of Nigerians.

Picking up a plan early will help in the long run in establish your success as an individual.

For females that are skinny, they often feel it doesn’t matter what they eat, adding weight seems impossible. Having natural fast metabolism and genetics doesn’t soften the burden. Yet there are ways that enable the body to add weight healthy way as we will be discussing in this article.

Healthy Low-Calorie Meals

This is one of the most important factors that play a big role when it’s weight gain. In order to add weight, you would need to make a daily calorie goal. This daily calorie goal varies from individuals. Setting this goal would help you understand how much you would need to eat in a day in order to achieve your daily calorie goal.

The goal can be achieved by eating three squared meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner ) daily. Make sure that the calorie intake are from healthy foods rather than a fatty diet. Get these calories from calorie-dense food such as:

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  • Oats.
  • Eggs.
  • Fish.
  • Potatoes.
  • Red Meat.

Not everyone can simply meet their daily requirements by eating. This is where shakes and other liquid intakes such as milk, fruit juice, smoothie, and yogurt comes in play. It’s much easier to drink calories than eat them. With this method, you could easily meet your daily calorie goal.

Read Now: How to maintain a healthy weight.

Consistent Workout

How to add weight for females the healthy way
Workout equipment

Creating a workout routine that is best suited for you is half the job. It’s best to create a workout routine that you can follow with the week. Three or four times a week is appropriate depending on you. There isn’t a specific workout to follow to gain weight. Download a workout app on your phone to help provide suggestions on possible workouts while tracking your records. The aim is to be consistent so that you can yield the result.

Read Now: Leg Press vs. Squat: Which One Is Best Suited to Your Fitness

It’s for you

In recent times, social media has played a bigger role in our lives. People often do things to seek validating from social media. When setting a weight gain goal especially for females, it best to set a realistic goal. Don’t again to gain weight in order be referred to as “thick”.

Read Now: What is self-esteem?

Make sure the sole purpose of your gain weight is actually your choice not based on the influence social media has on you. If it isn’t your choice you might fall into the trap of not being comfortable within your body hence setting your goal at the idea body description infatuated by social media. To put it simply do it for yourself.

For tips on cosmetics visit Cosmetize.

At some moment in our lives, something is going to go wrong, something is going to happen not the way you expected or wanted it to go, people will walk out on you, you’ll lose things and people and relationships. It’s life and these things are inevitable. But what makes life beautiful is that you get over them, you bounce back after a while.

But what if you don’t? Or can’t ?

We hear about that scary word “Depression” a lot but most people don’t actually know what it means.

Depression is a mental illness characterized by prolonged feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and sometimes self-harm. If you ask anyone who’s ever been diagnosed with depression, chances are you’ll hear a lot of different descriptions of what depression is and feels like.

Having been diagnosed with mild depression in 2017, I could give a personal description of depression as “Feeling like you’re in a deep dark hole, there’s a ladder in front of you that can help you get out, it’s right beside you, but you can’t reach it. It’s just there, you want to reach it but you just can’t muster up the energy to reach it and propel yourself out of the hole” Seems dark right?

Depression is more common in Nigeria than we think or even know. There are more than a million known diagnoses every year and think about people who haven’t even opened up about it. It’s a wonder why mental health and mental illnesses are still so stigmatized in Nigeria. Maybe because of our religious prejudices, or the fact that we lay more emphasis on physical health while ignoring mental health.

What causes depression?

I wish mental illnesses were as straight forward as physical illnesses. When you have malaria, you get tested and you know that you got it from a mosquito, or when you have diarrhea, you know it’s from eating or drinking something. For mental illnesses, it’s not that easy or straightforward. It’s much more complex, there can be a lot of unrelated things piling up to be a cause of any type of mental illness and what causes depression for might not necessarily be what causes it for B and C and D.

A commonly ignored and even unknown cause of depression, as well as many other mental illnesses, is Chemical Imbalances in the brain. When I first got diagnosed with depression and I got my drug prescription, I was confused, depression affected my mind and my thoughts, what do I need the pills for?

My therapist broke it down by explaining to me that all human beings have neurotransmitters in their bodies. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood. Now if for any reason it starts to be produced in smaller amounts, it results in Depression. If it starts to be produced in larger amounts, it can lead to Anxiety. So what the pills do is regulate the secretion of Serotonin with the hopes of getting the chemicals balanced again. So yes, people don’t just get sad and decide to not pull themselves out of it, there are actually chemical imbalances in their brains that stop them from being able to. It’s just as real and treatable as physical sickness, if you can’t dismiss a headache, you should never dismiss anything affecting mental health.

Probably one of the most common causes of depression and many mental illnesses is Certain Life Events. Due to life is so unpredictable and unfair, anything can throw anyone off balance at any time. Death, failing an exam, losing a job, a breakup, parents going through a divorce, bullying… I could go on about all the things that could happen to you in life. I was severely bullied growing up because I was bigger than most, the fatphobic comments came early on and I grew up hearing it up until I graduated secondary school and that had a huge negative impact on my self-esteem and self-image.

Though that’s just me, other people may get bullied and not end up depressed or anxious about it later in life, it doesn’t mean one person is stronger than the other because it didn’t affect them as much. It means we are human and we are different and we may not react to things the same way. For some people it could have been bullying, for some the loss of a parent or a friend, for some a relationship ending could make them spiral and land in that deep dark hole that is depression.

I know a lot of people are thinking “it’s just a relationship, why would you let it make you depressed?” Do most people forget the emotional attachment that comes with relationships, and I don’t even mean romantic relationships alone, friendships are relationships too. Having an emotional attachment be broken out of the blue can be as devastating as anything you can imagine, and that should not invalidate the feelings and struggles of another person.

Read Now: Love in the social media era

What does depression looks like?

I’d be lying if I told you Depression has a trademark look because it does not. Depression isn’t stamped on the forehead and because of how complex it is, some people can live years and years hiding the fact that they are struggling internally without you even having an idea. There are signs you can watch out for though, just some people do not show those signs and that does not mean they aren’t going through it.

Usually, depression symptoms can be persistent sadness, loss of appetite, lack on interest in what the person is usually interested in, weight gain or weightloss, reclusiveness, flaking out on people, signs of self harm or talks of suicide and lots more.

But some people don’t show these symptoms and that’s why mental health is very important because you may never know what is happening in someone’s head before it’s too late.

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Why don’t depressed people open up about it?

This is probably the most frustrating part. Why don’t they tell you about it? Why do they take so long before they open up? For some it’s already too late and their family and friends end up feeling bad that they weren’t aware of the struggle.

It took me ten years, yes, TEN whole years before I could open up about my mental health and actually seek help for it. Not because I liked feeling like slitting my wrists or I liked crying myself to sleep every night, I had a few reasons. I think I speak for everyone who’s ever gone through this when I say, it is not easy to talk about.

Finding the courage and the right words to open up was probably the hardest part of seeking help for me (even worse than group therapy and the mood swings I got from Prozac). Depression is so complex, sometimes you can’t even string up the right words to use when trying to explain what’s going. It just doesn’t come that easy because sometimes even you don’t know what’s going on in your head. You just feel that overwhelming slam of sadness and despair and you can’t exactly point out what’s wrong or why or what exactly triggered it. So people, speaking about mental illnesses is HARD.

Another fat reason why people don’t really speak up is How stigmatized mental health is. In more open-minded societies, it is still not easy for people to open up, now think of how hard it is in the Nigerian society where people will easily chalk up your struggle to non-existent “village people” or invalidate you using the crappiest statements ever.

In Nigeria, mental health and talking about it is so stigmatized, there’s that fear that people won’t understand you or they won’t take you seriously enough. I remember telling someone just a little bit about my depression and all they said was “Stop behaving like those white girls” and really that’s probably one of the worst things you can say to anyone who has come to open up to you. Mental health and mental illnesses are so trivialized in Nigeria, yet we express shock every time we hear someone has jumped off a bridge or downed a pack of pills, then we exclaim “He should have spoken up”.

Nigerians see therapy as such a huge deal, it’s almost like you’re crazy to have to go into therapy for your own health, some even tell you to just pray like an angel would come to you in the middle of the night and give your head a shake so your serotonin levels gets balanced again.

People also don’t open up because they are scared. It’s like being on a wall, you don’t know what’s on the other side, you can only hope that it’s something good and helpful. That’s how it’s like talking about your mental health, it’s either the people you tell understand you and they offer help or they don’t. And there’s that fear that keeps them from speaking up. People are scared of being ridiculed or undermined or just told to “Get over it” or the typical Nigerian; they tell you how they have it worse or how other people have it worse and make you feel entitled to having feelings.

How do I make people open up to me?

The most important thing you have to do is make yourself open to people. Open meaning that they know you will listen and understand. When you create a friendly and understanding atmosphere for people to feel like they can share their problems with you, they will. Creating an environment that makes people comfortable is very important.

You also have to let them know you are trustworthy and you won’t judge. There’s nothing more hurtful and regrettable than being judged for speaking about something as delicate as mental health. So two things, create a warm and friendly environment and let everyone around you know you don’t judge, and everything they tell you is safe with you.

No one likes a blabbermouth Also an occasional “Hello” “How are you today?”, a smile and a hug goes a long way even if it seems cliche. Back when I was still in that dark hole of depression, a smile would have gone a long way. It made me feel cared for in a way. Even if they don’t tell you what’s going on at that moment, a smile or a hug will make them feel like you’re open to listening whenever it is they want to talk.

Life is so short and everything we do has an impact, no matter how little or how big. We have to be there for each other, be kind and caring because you never know what’s going through in a person’s mind and head, so be kind with your words and actions.

For anyone going through anything at all, open up. Speak up, it’s hard but it gets easier after that. In the end, you will be happy you opened up in the first place.

Understanding genes and homosexuality: is being gay a choice?

To understand whether homosexuality is genetics, we must first understand what genes are? Genes are simply a segment of DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid). They are so powerful that they control who we are: our height, the color of our skin, and probably behaviors like who we fall in love with. Identical twins are very good indicators of how powerful genes are. Not only do they look alike, but they have very similar mannerisms, preferences, and habits. This uncanny similarity is not just limited to twins but can be observed among siblings and even parents who share the same characteristic behaviors with their children. So basically we are doing the bidding of our genes and to betray that “bidding” will be betraying our very own nature.

To understand how genes work we first have to understand what they are. Basically, we are just a bunch of cells carefully arranged with cells combining to form corresponding tissues and organs. Almost every cell in our body has 23 pairs of chromosomes in the nucleus. These 23 pairs of chromosomes are made up of materials called histones wrapped around strands of DNA. A short section of that DNA is a “gene”.

These genes contain instructions of basically everything from how and when our cells are formed, to our height, the color of our eyes, to the creation of hormones that are responsible for emotions we feel. It is also good to note that we inherit our genes from our parents. Sperm cells(male gamete) and egg cells(female gamete) undergo meiosis with each gamete containing half the usual number of chromosomes and both gametes later combining to form 23 pairs chromosomes which carry the instructions to “build us” through a process called mitosis. Some times in the process of “copying our genes” mistakes happen. These “mistakes” are called mutation and may produce sickle cells or the 46 chromosomes becoming 47 a condition called trisomy. The point here is to show how powerful genes are and how the process of copying genetics can lead to mutation which has known to be a major recipe for big evolutionary changes.

Remarkably these genes only consist of a small percentage of 3 billion base pairs of DNA. The implication is that a very big chunk of DNA is doing something else other than coding instructions. Why is so much of our genome not being used to code for protein? Projects like the Human Genome Project have begun to unravel the complexity and size of the human genome and hopefully in the future answers to such questions will be known.

Read Now: LGBTQ+ community in Nigeria

How genes play their part in determining sexuality?

Scientists are still on the verge of properly figuring out which particular genes affect certain expressions, but it is very clear that genes are responsible for our nature. It shouldn’t then be a surprise that genes are responsible for our preference, and even our love choices. Animals have been seen engaging in same sex acts with same sex couples even stealing eggs and looking after them as observed in penguins. It has been estimated that a quarter of black swans pairing are of males. The paired males have been known to steal nests from females and also forming threesomes with females to obtain eggs. Mammals also display homosexual behaviour. Males of the American bison, a bovine mammal, engage in courtship, mounting and full anal penetration.

A new study from Science Magazine analyzed the genetics of same-sex sexual behaviors and found that genetics plays a role, responsible for a third of the influence on homosexuality. The influence does not come from one gene alone, but many genes each contributing small effects, and the rest of the influence coming from the environment. The study analyzed the genetic data of 408,000 men and women from a large British database, the U.K. Bio-bank, who answered extensive health and behavior questions between 2006 and 2010 when they were between the ages of 40 and 69.

The conclusion of the study was that genes are not solely responsible for same-sex behaviors, but the environment has some part to play. There have been fears concerning the study of genes and their linkage to homosexuality, with some LGBTQ activists concerned that anti-gay groups will misconstrue such findings like using the fact that environmental factors are also at play in determining homosexuality. What such groups fail to grasp is that no matter how the environment plays a part, genes also play a part, and who are we if not our genes?

Interesting facts about genetics

  • Some diseases are inherited through genes.
  • Doctors may be able to cure diseases in the future by replacing necessary genes.
  • DNA is a long molecule and there are lots of them in the human body. If you unraveled all the DNA molecules in your body, they would reach the sun and back several times.
  • Some inherited traits are determined by multiple different genes.
  • Genes make up only about 3 percent of your DNA. The rest of your DNA controls the activity of your genes.
  • The word gene wasn’t coined until the 20th century by Danish botanist Wilhelm Johannsen.
  • Genes can disappear as species evolve.
  • Octopuses can edit their own genes.

UNDERSTANDING THE LGBTQ+ COMMUNITY IN NIGERIA

To understand the LGBTQ+ community, you must first understand love. Have you ever been in love? You know, felt that heart thudding, ragged breathing, mind disorienting feeling that is love? Yeah, a large number of us have. Also ever heard of the expression, “The heart wants what it wants”? No not the song, the expression. The one that means you don’t choose who you love, your heart is just an independent organ who selfishly picks who it wants you to fall in love with and when to fall out of love with them. Odds are you’ve probably heard it, or not. But what I’m trying to say is, Love is genderless.

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We can characterize love with a lot of things, patience, kindness, it does not envy or boast (yes I am quoting 1st Corinthians). But why do we leave out a very key characteristic of love, the fact that is genderless…and the fact that we can fall in love with anybody and everybody.

WHAT DOES LGBTQ+ MEAN?

The LGBT community exists virtually everywhere in the world. Literally everywhere. And contrary to plenty and wrong belief, the LGBTQ+ community does not only comprise of homosexuals. Yes, when you see that cute colorful flag 🏳️‍🌈 it does not only cover gay people. You’d be surprised at how wide the community is and just how many people comfortably fit in it.

L stands for lesbian. A lesbian is a woman who is attracted to other women. I choose not to use the term “sexually attracted” because that would be meaning only a mere sexual attraction to other women would constitute lesbianism which is in fact totally wrong. There are lesbian couples who believe it or not are not having sex. Does that mean they are not lesbians? Definitely not. A lesbian woman is a woman who is attracted to women, attracted to being an all-encompassing word for love, affection, romance, emotional attraction and then sex.

G Gay is an adjectival word that encompasses the whole term that is homosexuality. But since we already gendered the word by using Lesbians for women, Gay here means a man who is attracted to other men. Just like lesbians, this does not connote only sex, it encompasses everything that is felt in a heterosexual relationship and sex.

B Bisexuality basically is any individual who has the ability to create or have romantic, emotional or sexual attraction to either of the sexes. A man or a woman can be bisexual, the term is not gender specific like lesbian. Fun fact, bisexual people don’t need to have had any actual or specific sexual experiences to identify as bisexual. Know why, just like straight people don’t need to have had sexual experience to know they’re straight, they don’t either. Crazy right?

T The more complex and most often misunderstood member of this community are the Transgender people. It’s an umbrella term for people who are gender non conforming. Often mixed up with trans sexuality, it’s important to distinguish between gender and sex.

Let’s have a little sociology cum biology class. The two terms are very similar as well as very different. Sex is the physical trait that distinguishes males from females; so like a man is a man because he has a penis and a woman is a woman because she has a vagina instead of a penis. Gender on the other hand is a social construct, like many other things( virginity) but I digress. The main difference therefore is sex is your physical construct while gender is a social construct. A good example would be, using our very interesting and sometimes vexatious Nigerian society, it’s often believed a man should not be seen wearing certain types of clothing because it’s not “manly”.

Transgender people are people whose gender identity does not conform with the sex they were assigned to at birth. A worthy mention is The Billy Porter. While Transexual people are individuals who have actually undergone surgery to change their sex to the gender they conform to.

Q Queer people are people who do not exclusively identify as heterosexual but see the terms gay or lesbian as too limiting to describe what they are.

+ Because the LGBTQ community is very large, there are a host of other terms under them. The plus symbol encompasses them all in their entirety, the Asexuals, Pansexuals, Intersex and, Questioning, to mention a few.

THE LGBTQ+ COMMUNITY IN NIGERIA

When you mention the LGBTQ+ community in Nigeria, the chances are you’ll be met by either a frown or some snarky remark which is almost always homophobic. It’s crazy and completely ludicrous to think that in a country as diverse as Nigeria, home to more than 200 million people, there will be not one single person who is gender non conforming or homosexual. Yet as crazy as it sounds, some people legitimately believe this. Nigeria is a country deeply rooted in homophobia and hypocrisy at the same time.

Members of the LGBTQ+ community in Nigeria are met with hostility and constantly live in fear of being lynched one day by some homophobe who believes homosexuality is against his religion.

But that deep rooted hatred for the community, where does it come from? I,like many people, often wonder, why do we accept that one can be born straight but one can’t be born  gay? Why do we accept that there are certain things that can remove the “manliness” out of a man or add “manliness” to a woman? I’ve had multiple discussions with many people and ten out of ten people are against the community because of Religion, Laws, Colonialism and “I just don’t like gay people”.

RELIGION

This comes first because this is every homophobic go-to answer when asked why they are homophobic. A rather weak point because not everyone confirms to a religion. Not everyone is a Christian or a Muslim ( I mention these two because they are the most practiced religion in Nigeria).

Yes, the Bible is homophobic, yes the Koran is homophobic but it can’t be binding on everyone if there are still some people who do not conform to either religion. This emphasis on religion is based on deep-rooted hypocrisy. I once had a conversation with a guy who once used religion as a premise to justify his homophobia. When asked if he found the idea of two girls getting it on exciting or sexy, he gave a definite “Uh yeah, what guy doesn’t?” And when asked what he thinks about two men getting it on, he replied with a nasty comment. The fact that a large chunk of Nigerian men fantasize about watching two girls get it on and even them joining in on the action but frown at two men getting it on borders highly on hypocrisy. Using religion to justify why two men can’t be together but praising two girls being together smells like that putrid air, what’s it called again…Hypocrisy!

When we see people who vehemently use the umbrella of religion to go against the LGBTQ+ community, it doesn’t take much digging or investigation into their lives to see that they are far from “perfect”. You see men and women who are sexually active (don’t get me wrong, sex is beautiful and you can have sex if you want to (as long as you’re being safe) coming out to bash members of the community because they feel it’s against the tenets of religion. Having sex outside of wedlock which is more beautifully called Fornication is a sin if we’re going along with religious tenet, so why should any one who’s fornicating think he’s a better follower of a religion than a member of the community? Also I’m not trying to say every one fornicates but in a day, every individual commits at least one sin. When your mum asks how many cubes of sugar you added to your cup of tea and you say three instead of six because you don’t want her to yell at you, you’ve lied, that’s a sin. Also when your talkative friend calls you and you say “I’ll call you back, my mum’s calling me” just because you don’t want to talk to them, you’ve committed a sin. When you take your sister’s dress and keep it because you like it and you know she wouldn’t give you if you asked, you’ve stolen and that’s a sin. When you kiss a woman that’s not your wife, you’ve committed a sin which is adultery. The list could go on and on. Bottom line is, you can not use religion as a premise to hate or discriminate against gay or trans people if you’re doing all these things yourself. You also should not because not everyone practices the same religion. In the end, we do not know if religion is real or not. It’s all about our faith and in the end, it may have just been a fabrication made to keep all humans in check.

LAWS

Homosexuality is against the law in Nigeria. It’s in the criminal code, the penal code and there’s even a whole act that stipulates jail time for them. It’s commendable that people know these (despite not being able to even state their rights as citizens and where it is stated in the constitution). Jail time is ten to fourteen years which is very appalling and nauseating when you think that rapists don’t even get that amount of jail time neither do pedophiles. Even more upsetting is the fact that less than fifty people in the whole history of Nigeria have been convicted of rape. Yet, we all know that rape occurs ten times more in the country.

I ask myself, why should homosexuality even be a crime in the first place? When you think of a crime, you’re thinking of something that  has adverse effects on the well being of the populace and the society like murder, theft, rape, treason and the likes. So how exactly does homosexuality fit into that? Why should the sentiments of a group of people constitute what is law and what is not?

Earlier in this article I mentioned how homosexuality, bisexuality and the likes are not only about sexual attraction, it has to do with emotional, romantic love and affection between two individuals just like heterosexuality is. So why should two consenting adults face jail time for loving each other the way heterosexual people love each other? Some people are of the opinion that because this has been criminalised in Nigeria, it is automatically a just law when in fact it is the exact opposite. As Nigerian citizens we all have the right to dignity, right to personal liberty, right to the freedom of expression and movement. It is a complete contradiction of these rights to implement a law that mets out jail time to two people who love each other. It is also hypocritical that we have serious crimes that go unpunished in Nigeria but everyone is suddenly up and ready to be law abiding once it comes to the idea of the LGBTQ+ community. In fact, the implementation of these laws have become legalised homophobia which is more dangerous than most people would like to admit.

COLONIALISM

If I had a kobo for every time someone told me “being gay isn’t in our culture. The white people brought it when they colonised us”  I’d have thirty billion sitting comfortably in my account. Really, I’ve heard this so many times, I wish I could get some money each time someone said it to me.

The white people did bring a lot to Nigeria during colonisation, like religion (the one that people use as a premise to be homophobic, they forget it is also not our culture when they use this argument. Quite comfortable isn’t it?) , the language we speak, some of the foods we eat, a lot of the clothing. But one thing I know for a fact that wasn’t brought by white people is homosexuality and gender non conformation. You know why, because being gay and gender non conforming is not something a person learns or is forced into, it is something an individual is born as. History has receipts and records of homosexuality in Africa that dates back as many years before the penetration of Europeans into the continent. Several tribes like the Nupe people in Nigeria, Azande in Congo and Sudan, the Tutsi people of Rwanda all practiced same sex relationships for ritual purposes and for spiritual purposes. Literally a thirty minute Google  search  into the history of African before colonialism would do a lot of good. It’s just plain ridiculous to think that in a country of millions, it is impossible that before the white man came, no two people of the same sex have ever tried or experimented with something sexual or even non conformed with their gender. The possibility of that being a reality is very slim. And that putrid smell is here again, oh what’s it called…hypocrisy! The colonialists brought us so many things in Nigeria. The suit and tie we wear even under the scorching Sub Saharan sun, the English that is not our indigenous language was also brought by the colonialists, why have we not rebelled against them and labelled them “not our culture”?

“I JUST DON’T LIKE GAY PEOPLE”

Another statement that could have easily fetched me thirty billion in my account. After having conversations with people and exhaustively debunking their premises for homophobia, they result to this and I have to say it is the weakest point. People often say that it is not by force to like the LGBTQ+ community. And that pop culture has tried to force it down their throats. Now the thing is, members of the community do not need you to like them. Liking them really does not if we’re being honest. But you don’t have to the or discriminate them. You can either be for or against something, there is no in between. Earlier this year on Nigerian Twitter, a young man was lynched after being tricked into thinking he was meeting up with another gay man. The problem with this is that idea that “I don’t like gay people”. It breeds discrimination and builds into hatred. I have spoken to gay people and effeminate men in Nigeria who cannot leave their houses because they get yelled at, stated at and even stoned when they go out. Yes, people literally hurl stones at them. If you can like straight people, why can’t you like gay people or people who do not feel like they gender assigned to them by society is the gender they choose to conform with? What is the point of hating or just not liking people who have no issues with you and whose personal lives do not affect yours in any way?

THE WAY OUT

On a concluding note, I’d like to remind us all that gay or straight or bisexual, gender-conforming or gender non conforming, queer, pansexual, asexual, we are all humans.

Deserving of giving and receiving love. Love is love and as the Bible we all love to quote so much says, it does not discriminate.

Every individual deserves to live life without the fear of being lynched by someone who believes their way of life is superior to others. In Nigeria and in the whole world, members of the LGBT+ society are beat up, hanged up against and even killed because of homophobia. There should be no room for hostility. And members of the community in a cold blooded country like Nigeria need our help and support to fully incorporate them into the society free of discrimination and prejudice.