He is a successful banker. At 37, he is already the zonal head of his bank and will soon gain more promotions. He is comfortable, lovable, and happily married. But wait a minute! Happily married? Not quite, he says. His marriage would have been perfect, and he would have been the happiest man in the world but…and there he goes: but, but, but…… if only his wife was a bit more patient, less aggressive, and talked less. His wife nags too much and jumps to conclusions too quickly. Right now, he is not very happy, and his wife is responsible for that.
His wife is a 30-year-old beauty: tall, elegant, and very intelligent. She is a top-ranking marketing manager of a telecommunications company. She makes friends quickly and is popular and well-respected. Her husband would have been the best husband in the world, but, but, but……if only he could be more open and stop hiding his mobile phone from her. If only he could stop calling every good-looking lady around him his sister, stop being stingy with his money, or stop visiting his mother too often, if only……she would have been the happiest woman in the world. However, she is presently not happy, and her husband is responsible for that.
If you are one of the majority in our society who have fallen into this negative mindset, I have good news for you. This year, you can set yourself free from this negative mindset. You can become free to actualize your potential and be the self you want to be. Nobody, no condition, can make you unhappy. Your happiness does not lie in the hands of anybody. Only you can make yourself happy.
I challenge you to take charge of your life. Look around you, and you will be amazed at how quickly we shift the responsibility for our happiness to others or blame others for our problems, failures, and mistakes.
It is called the Blame Game. This is how it goes:
• ‘Ten years ago, my father called me a fool, which negatively affected me. Since then, I have been a fool and will likely remain a fool forever. So, don’t blame me if I am irresponsible or unserious. Blame my father. He caused it.’
• ‘It is not my fault that I lose my temper at every slight provocation. It is the fault of my uncle’s wife who gave me ‘winch’ ten years ago.’
• ‘It is not my fault that I have sat for JAMB more than six times without meeting the cut-off mark. It is the fault of those wicked examiners who did not allow me to cheat in the examination hall.’
• ‘It is my children’s fault that I am not moving ahead in my career. They are just too demanding.’
• ‘It is not my fault but my mother-in-law’s fault that my marriage broke up. ‘
• ‘It is not my fault that I am always falling sick. It is my wife’s fault; she does not cook a balanced diet in the house.’
• It is my wife’s fault that I get drunk every weekend. If she had been a more caring housewife, I would not have turned to drink to drive away loneliness.’
They are many. They always complain about their ex-husbands, ex-wives, ex-bosses, ex-boyfriends, ex-superiors, ex-this and ex-that. The rich blame the poor. The poor blame the rich. They are all playing a game, the blame game!
They derive some comfort from thinking of themselves as victims. By doing that, they have given their power to someone or something else. Let me tell you a secret, my dear friend: even if you are poor or jobless, never see yourself as a victim. When you make yourself a victim, you become powerless, for it is the characteristic of a victim to be weak and helpless. And poor.
I want you to come to the realization that you are in control of your life. Only you can make yourself happy. Today, right now, you can take charge of your life. You can take responsibility for your life, your experiences, your feelings, your emotions, your successes, and your failures. Taking responsibility means never blaming anyone for anything you become, anything you do, anything you think and anything you feel.
You, only you, and no one else creates what you feel, think or see. Your bad feelings, your depressive feelings, your bad moods and your negative mindsets are not caused by anything or by anyone else. They are your creation. And if you create them, then you can change them and make them serve you a helpful purpose. So, put an end to the blame game. You have played it for so long.
It does not work. It never worked. It will never work.
You will see the world in a new light as soon as you stop the blame game. You will begin to radiate positive energy around you. Things will start working out well for you. Like a magnet, you will begin to attract good things and good people to yourself: health, success, happiness, prosperity, friendship, and love. The blame game is over. You are now playing another game: The Happiness Game!
It works. It has always worked. It will always work.
Rivers don’t struggle to flow. Birds don’t struggle to fly. Fishes don’t struggle to swim. And you won’t struggle to be happy.
That, my dear friend, is my wish for you.
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Anselm Adodo is the Director of Africa Centre for Integral Research and Development, Nigeria and founder of Arica's foremost herbal research Institute, the Pax Herbal Clinic and Research Laboratories (Paxherbals). His research interest is Phytomedicine, Taxonomy of African medicinal plants, indigenous knowledge systems, rural community development, Africanized economic models, health policy reform, and education transformation in Africa. Apart from publications in journals, magazines, national dailies and peer-reviewed journals, Anselm has written more than ten books. He is an adjunct visiting lecturer at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan, Nigeria, an Adjunct Research Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Botanists, a Research Associate at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa, and an adjunct professor at Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.