I wrote this article in (2012), and the boots in the picture are the ones that housed my feet when I was a corps member serving my country Nigeria in...
‘’To discover your SELF, you need to let go of who you think you are, so you can become who you could be’’
Growing up, I had always succeeded at all I was doing that I barely recognise the challenges I went through before achieving those feats not until the second term in my first year in senior school. I had just received my result and had performed badly in some of my best subjects. There was a sense of guilt that I had not studied enough and to make matters worse my teacher had reported me to my Dad that I had some new friends and that was the reason for the poor results. I was scolded by my Dad and in a bit to put me back on track, words were thrown at me out of anger and this made me feel guilty and hence regrets.
The following years and all the way up to when I sat for my WAEC, it was a bit of struggle as I always had this fear that I was going to fail my exams which stemmed from my regrets of failing that one time. This developed fear and regrets got the best of me again. When results were released, one of the core subjects was OUTSTANDING and I was entirely devastated. At home, things got worse as my failure was blamed on how I have not been serving God enough. This created more regrets as I thought God was punishing me for my mistakes in those forming years and a misguided opinion of my spirituality.
Regrets led to condemnation in my subconscious. I had to go back and resit for my WAEC, was registered in a different school where I had to wear the school uniform, hence shame and reproach set in as I was always asked by people, who knew how brilliant I was, if I’m yet to finish as they thought I had finished the previous year. This caused a scar and a sense of inadequacy. Also, seeing my mates who went to my former school already in pre- degree or in their first year brought more shame and regret. I became a menace to myself and everyone around me. Eventually, I passed my WAEC with B’s and C’s hoping to study Electrical and Electronics Engineering.
As it is common in Nigerian Universities, you are given a different course other than the one applied for because you didn’t meet up with the cut-off. I got accepted to Physics Electronics and subconsciously was still dealing with my regrets. All the while, I had always wanted to go study abroad and was always applying every year hoping that will make up for my so called regrets. I can remember in Year 3, when I went to seek advice from one of my lecturers on how to go about my mission, he replied with this statement in front of my Mum that “a goat in Nigeria will still be a goat abroad”. That sent a bad vibe down my spine that those words kept re-echoing in my head even when I eventually travelled to go study my course of choice abroad. I would have love to go in depth on some things that transpired but I will stick with the summaries.
Every examination was a battle as I was constantly battling with the fear of failure which stemmed from my previous regrets, made a great load of wrong decisions and this went on to affect my relationship with everyone around me, family, friends and even businesses that I set up for myself at the time. Over the following years, I was diagnosed with severe depression as I was under stress from feeling inadequate at anything I did. It was during one of the therapy sessions that my doctor began a journey with me to get to the root of my problem, I was able to open up on my past and in the process I was able to identify the problems, one of which was my relationship with my Dad and another owning up to the fact that I was totally responsible for the consequences of my actions. The solutions were to do an introspection and to have a heart-to-heart conversation with my Dad, which began my healing process.
My Dad and I have the best relationship ever since then. I confronted my fears and got to realise that my past failures does not define who I am. Every day presents an opportunity to write a better story for myself and now I’m on a better journey. Today, I am no longer living in regrets and I am living my dream with an astounding knowledge that I don’t see my failures as regrets but as opportunities to move me up the ladder of purpose. ‘’To discover your SELF, you need to let go of who you think you are, so you can become who you could be’’
I am a Dreamer who broke up with Fear, a Business Developer, Data Analyst and Engineer. Follow me on Instagram @iampauldeji and the hashtag #podthoughts.