So Charming


 Picture Illustration by Eric Olorunfemi


From interacting with different people over the years, I have discovered the reason some heartbreaks happen. See, there’s a tendency to fall for the charm, that oomph, the allure that makes a person so attractive and fun to be around. It’s that thing that makes us say, ‘there’s just something special about that person.’ Another word for it is charisma. It’s when a person has that special something that attracts people to them.

Most of the time, people with charisma need not exert too much effort to attract people to themselves. It’s a blessing, a gift. The problem comes when there’s no good character to back that gift up. As a result, being around that person may be entertaining, exciting, a total blast, but when it comes to the part of the relationship that truly matters, the person almost always disappoints. This covers all kinds of relationships, from work, to friends, to romantic relationships.

I believe that charisma is a gift from God. I also believe it should be laid on a foundation of good character so we don’t attract people just to hurt them. Charisma may attract the people, but it’s the old and tested, sometimes boring, elements of good character (like integrity, reliability, trustworthiness) that will keep the people with you. We must never assume that charisma makes up for bad character. It is true that we are not perfect and we must learn to give room for those imperfections. However, imperfection should also not be used as a license to be careless with the feelings of others.

I have interacted with people who possess both charisma and good character and find it refreshingly different from those who rely solely on charm and wit. Relating with the latter can be full of inconsistency which leads to disappointment, which leads to frustration, which leads to resentment, which leads to anger, which leads to heartbreak.

A very important lesson I’ve learned is that I am not an island and interacting with people is essential on this journey. Since we must interact with people, we must do it with wisdom. We must calmly observe the person so we can tell if we are being taken on a meaningless joyride or this person is genuinely there for us.

A Social Life

I recently experienced something that sent me on a path of meditation which brought about this post.

In my interactions with people, I have made some interesting findings. I have discovered that there are intricacies and dynamics that come with this thing we call a social life. In observing this social life, I have come to find out that the ol’ saying ‘No man is an island,’ is actually true. Whether you’re an introverted person or an extrovert, whether you’re the life of the party, or you’re the one who hides in the corner watching everybody else. We need people in our lives. We need people to keep us company. We need people to help us with accomplishing our goals. We need people to buy our products.  We need people to build a family with. We just need people.

Even if you are the shyest, most timid person, you can’t escape people because, let’s face it—people are everywhere. So the sooner we find a way to deal with people, the better. If you are the sensitive, introverted type, then it takes extra effort to build a social life that you are at least comfortable with.

In my quest to build a social life, I have discovered that people expect certain things. For one thing, they want me to be interested. You can’t be the one who sits away from everybody else and expect people to be endeared to you. Sitting in my own corner all the time makes others feel like I am exempting myself from whatever everybody else is sharing and enjoying together.

Another thing I discovered is that I have to be able to take a joke, to laugh at myself sometimes. People love a good laugh. Taking things so seriously all the time ain’t gonna cut it.

Also in times like ours, a smartphone with all the social platforms on it will go a long way, since there seems to have been a replacement for face to face conversations with messages on the phone.  If you don’t want to be completely cut off, you gotta get the hang of that too.  And the list goes on.

But in all these dynamics; the messaging, the blending, the joking and laughing, I believe we need to understand the motive behind what we are doing. Are we building true relationships and friendships, or are we building ‘a social life’? We have people who laugh with us and sometimes even chat on the phone with us, but that’s where it stops. It just doesn’t feel real. Sometimes, in the name of having a social life, we pretend to be what we are not, we even pretend to like what we don’t, just so we can have a certain person around us. That means the other person’s befriending the wrong person. Are we building true friendships where we can really be honest with each other in a respectful way?

I have come to see that there are times when the so called social life can get really superficial, and does not impact our lives in a true way. It only keeps us busy. In this life, we need to have people who have truly got our back, not just someone to exchange messages with on the phone. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with chatting on the phone. I’ve had to learn that too. Sometimes chatting helps cover the distance when your friend is staying far from you. So you don’t feel like they’re so far away. I only mean that If I’m chatting with my friend on the phone, I’d  like to be sure that I am chatting with my actual friend. I want the one I am chatting with to be a friend I am already building a real friendship with. Shouldn’t the technology be an aid, and not the centre of our relationships?  Which do we want more? A social life or genuine relationships?

I don’t care what people think… Or do I?

Hi everyone! Been a long while. Permit me to use that expression. But it really has been a while. Great to share with you again. And here is the subject of my attention.
It is obvious that being different stands you out from the crowd. It makes you stick out like a red rose standing up from among green leaves. But as a result you are separated from the rest of the pack. It can be lonely when you are so glaringly different from others. When everyone else understands each other and you seem to be struggling to be understood and to understand others. We are not designed to be alone. We want to enjoy the company of other people. Since being different separates us from others, some try to blend in. Like a shape-shifter, changing color and shape to suit the environment.
While some have resorted to blending in, some have resorted to what I’d like to call the ‘I don’t care’ mode. It is a self-assuring, esteem-boosting stance assumed by those who have refused to blend in. It is about being, and not letting anyone keep you from being. You see, the ‘I don’t care’ mode goes like this; ‘This is who I am. This is how I do things. Take it or leave it. I will not change for you. I will not stop because of you. Who do you think you are? Who are you to judge me? I don’t care what you have to say. Your opinion does not matter.’
You get the picture.
I have come to realize though that the ‘I don’t care’ phrase is used in a variety ways. For some, it is a shield, a wall to keep other people from knowing the effect they have. For some it is an excuse to misbehave and anyone who seems to be standing in the way of this semblance of freedom is seen as an obstacle, a kill joy, a thorn in the side. And some really do not care. There are several ways to use this phrase.
This causes me to wonder. I know that it is important for me to be confident and not be swayed by the whims of others. I know that there are different motivations behind the opinions people give. Some opinions are expressed out of fear, some out of envy, and some out of one form of insecurity or the other. But I have come to also realize that some opinions actually come from a place of honesty and genuine love. Therefore, when I listen to people’s opinions and advice, regardless of the source or motive, I need to be able to objectively decide whether I want to receive it or discard it. We sometimes look for excuses not to listen to that opinion because it is true. Can’t they say it nicely? Can’t it be done with tact and grace? Newsflash, some of the things we really need to listen to are not spoken with tact at all. In fact, that person might be the rudest person you ever encountered.
So here’s the deal. I don’t have to be intimidated by an opinion, whether the person is right or wrong. Everyone is entitled to his or hers. Instead, I can use the opinions to my advantage. The one that helps me improve as a person, I can accept. The one of no use to me whatsoever, can remain with the one who has it. Opinions do not need to be worshiped. They just need to be handled objectively.
We can’t put our focus on the opinions of others or we become people-pleasers. However, if nobody but you understands what you are doing all of the time, there might be need to balance it out. Fighting all the time to prove that we don’t care might just be proof that we do care.

Not My Will

The word sacrifice seems sometimes to be such a grand word to me. When statements like ‘it’s a sacrifice’ or ‘we need to make this sacrifice,’ are made, it feels like so much work and I can’t help but admire those who find it easy to release themselves to a cause or to an assignment. I think it comes from the way we have heard sacrifice being portrayed by those who have gone before us. Sometimes making a sacrifice goes beyond inconvenience to downright scary. But I’d like to cease seeing life as one long dragging burden of sacrifices. I’d rather see it as a celebration and expression of living sacrifices.

Once we live as a sacrifice, letting go won’t be so hard, and letting God won’t be such a struggle. There’s freedom in being a living sacrifice. What happens when a person becomes a living sacrifice? He or she will cease to be the problem.
Sometimes, I find that I am the problem. Sometimes the enemy I need to contend with is I. Having me as an enemy in such situations can be trying because; I am with myself all the time. This is where the concept of a ‘living sacrifice’ is significant. I get to sacrifice myself. Through this I become free of the enmity within, then I can be more available to others.

The words ‘not my will’ is not a religious cliché meant to burden us. It’s not an enormous cross we have to lug around on our journey in life. ‘Not my will’ simply means, I am no longer in my way.

Hi Everyone!

There’s definitely a profound influence that stories have. Whether real or fiction, there something about them. These words came to me on this subject. This simple poem is string of thoughts showing what I feel a story does.

There’s Something About a Story – a poem by Evelyn

I’d like to tell a story

About this very thing

To help you see the picture

Of exactly what I mean

It’s the story of a Changer

He goes by the name of Love

There’s nothing like a story

That comes right from above

In this story I am right

Though some may think I’m wrong

Some may think I’m weak

But in this story I’m strong

Some say it can teach a lesson

And that may well be true

A story has the power

To turn the light on within you

Sometimes we find ourselves

Without intending to

We experience someone else’s journey

And find our own too

The thing about a story is

It can open our eyes

And give us information

We never knew we’d need

There’s something about a story

We may try to explain

It can help us raise valleys

And turn mountains to plains

The CRIMSON Story – by Evelyn Olorunfemi

An Ancient Adventure…
When Leon begins to have dreams pointing him to the obscure and despondent land of Mordelan, he is reluctant to receive it. But when he discovers the answers to his questions, he does what no man has done in the last forty years. He picks up and journeys to Mordelan to save them from their worst enemy – themselves.

Read Chapters 1 – 5 of this story on this blog. Check the menu at the top left.