I Hate Motivational Speakers

This post was conspired by Vee’s Confessions of a Millennial and Essenstials of Self-Esteem I absolutely love it there, you should check her out too


The amount of pages I’ve read in these two years (last year and this) would readily surpass the total amount of pages I’ve read the rest of my life and they aren’t a lot. That’s one reason why I find it really curious that people think of me as a reader (or scholar as it’s popularly called in unilag) but I get that I give off that vibe. I do agree that I’m a scholar in the sense that Emerson, R.W. puts it. Other than that, I hold strong objections against that description so back to the point.

In these two years, I’ve read more extensively about the human person and species across some fields and the major one being psychology. I’ve variously thought of psychology as a study of the human mind and that’s essentially true. It deals with the mind (of humans and other living organisms) in association with the body, in association with the surrounding and in relationship with other members of society.

Among the things which I found out during my reading spree were psychoanalysis and ego psychology. Essentially, both of these are approaches to the creation of a better view of oneself. In the latter (ego psychology), the emphasis is on a motivational “push”; and the former concentrates on a “pull.” Here’s what I mean.

Psychoanalysis helps the person to breakdown before rebuilding by “pulling” the person’s attention inside of oneself and finding out what exactly is wrong with her/him and helps them to sort out themselves. In reverse, ego psychology “pushes” the person’s attention outwards by stretching an already weak material so as to project an image of satisfaction to those looking irrespective of what’s really going on inside. Hence, they feed on people’s compliments. This is what many motivational speakers advice, even without knowing it.

You hear or read a motivational speaker or spiritual leader’s expression containing stuff like: “Look yourself in the mirror and say I can do …. Because I’m a ….”; ” Nothing can stop me….”; “I am more than conqueror”; or some other sort of chu wawa. While these things gas you up meanwhile, they have a tendency to fuck up your self worth and esteem subsequently. Here’s how.

The world wasn’t made for you. I once wrote a poem whose message was that evolution and chances are the bases of life. No matter how proper your plan is, no matter how solid the preparation, things may just not go your way because this world is both illogical and subjective. What’s genius music to you may be noise to another person and for that reason alone you may lose what you feel you’ve deserved. Your plans to be early or late may be thwarted by emergencies, and mistakes are inescapable.

When you take into cognisance those very basic life hacks, they make me wonder about the “nothing can stop me” philosophy. When things go wrong, you don’t see it as something that happens to everyone but something that’s peculiar to you because everyone else is doing the same thing: putting up a show when they’re actually feeling like shit!

This is why many people (women I know especially) are insecure and desire compliments and explanations which they know are either lies or exaggerations. This is why people (women I know especially) would rather not hear your trial stories on dates because they don’t want to get that close to you because they don’t want to also tell you about their demons because the motivational speeches and self-help books have suggested that they’re supposed to have no demons. This is why people (especially the women I know) would not go after people they’re interested in because they’re taught that it’s their place to be chased and so they see what they desire but let it pass. This is very personal.

Each time I encounter something like this, I try to do something about it. In myself and in other people. It is what makes me the weird one because I choose to be the person who wants his woman to reciprocate the interest he shows, because I’m one who dresses to fit his pockets, because I’m the one who “overshares” in the first conversation. This is very personal.

16 September 2019, I read in a fashion magazine (I really don’t know who was quoted saying) that “how you do anything is how you do everything.”

Early in life, I had this saying that no girl was out of my league. This didn’t mean that I ran after women or any such thing (I’ve always been a one-woman man); it means that with that confident mindset, I felt like there was nothing I couldn’t do. In that phase, I rarely chased after females because, I don’t really know why, but I got so good at other things. I even developed an accent of English that I couldn’t quite get over.

Later on in life, the mantra changed to no woman is out of my league but they’re just expensive to maintain so I stayed away from women too. I remained a one-woman man. This made me more withdrawn actually. Imagine my surprise when I found out recently that it’s not the ability to reach out but the ability to maintain them that mattered more. That really put a big question mark on my sense of self!

Over time, people have come to equate me to this life jacket that’s proving hard to take off. Slowly, in my attempt to cut my coat to fit my cloth, I’ve shed parts of myself. Some people have told me who they think I am based off what they see and I try very hard to prove them wrong, not because I’m ashamed of who I am but because of lack of choice.

There’s something about not having a choice that is very frustrating and like any other sane person, being denied entry into a certain door makes me curious about its content. I’m honestly looking for affirmation that I still have the choice between being with a woman and being without one. I want to feel again that I’m good enough to have a woman and not that the decision has been wrested away from me by my socioeconomic reality.

16 September 2019, a female classmate said about my best friend: “The Dreadlocked Goat is a ‘working man.’ He’s the type a woman should be with not these boys.” Last week, another female classmate said, “A man who’s got no money has no business dating a woman.” Hardly any woman wants a man who’s incapable of “caring” for her. I met one who was willing to, but — my soul weeps that — I didn’t find her sexually attractive.

Motivational speakers don’t take into cognisance that people are products of their peculiar circumstances and they join everything and everyone everywhere to enjoin their listeners to aspire to a perfect life which is impractical because they’re human and are also susceptible to human realities. Therefore, many people go, like a tweet my best friend showed me last night goes, from being depressed to through hardwork, persistence and shear will power, to being anxious and depressed but cover up the hurt and chose not to share which continues to eat deeper into the person.

Taking only one approach is also detrimental. My advice is: while you put up a front, make sure you have that one person with whom you can share the awkwardest shit, preferably a therapist or a loved one with whom you can be vulnerable. On the other hand, while you psychoanalyse, remember that it takes time to heal and that while you’re healing you shouldn’t entirely exclude yourself from things that happen around you, you’d only be robbing yourself.

PS: how you do anything is how you do everything… It’s more than romance.

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I am a happiness enthusiast.

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