Break free from the pressure to be perfect!


Have you ever felt ashamed of your struggles?

That’s how we are conditioned as Nigerians. Ever spoken to a successful Nigerian entrepreneur? Have you realised how they quickly summarise their struggles while detailing their victories?

No one ever talks about the rich man who helped them along the way. It’s always about their mental prowness and “God.”

We are an “illusionist” Society, we like anything that feels real, looks real but isn’t real.
We don’t like to hear the truth but we don’t like to be lied to either. Give us a half dose of truth and we are okay.

What is it about raw truth, about weakness, about failure that terrifies us so badly? Are we really ashamed of who we truly are?

Why do we want to hear people’s struggles only when it ends with “how they have overcome?” What is it about hearing that an entrepreneur is presently struggling, that makes the hearer squirm in his seat?

Considering the fact that we don’t make superhero movies, what drives our need to act a superhero script in real life? Even Americans try to potray their heros with some vulnerability but we feel the pressure to live live devoid of weakness, pain and struggles?

What is it about vulnerability that makes us so uncomfortable?

In most Churches, you cannot be less than rich, healthy and spiritually upbeat. Anything less means there’s either something wrong with you or your Christian Life. If care is not taking, you will find folks avoiding you in the long run.

I’ve struggled with my health for as long as I remember. It’s amazing to watch how uncomfortable it makes people when they hear you have a couple of health issues you’re dealing with.

I used to be so ashamed of my health story which I now believe isn’t even peculiar. I was also ashamed of my story; ashamed of the fact that I’ve fought one too many battles quite early in life.

Once I saw a post in a Facebook group filled mostly with whites and they were asked to list the health issues they were dealing with. With people writing things like fibromyalgia, PCOS, where do you want to write things like ulcer from?

But we are constantly ashamed. Because we are subtly and blatantly burdened with being perfect. Invulnerable.

In Nigeria, a rich person dares not be broke. And to admit it is the height of all blasphemy! How dare he not have more than enough to feed his/herself and us too? What nonsense?
Declaring bankruptcy must done in secret. A struggling or broken marriage is better left hidden. Your constant financial/health battles must be left in the closet of your secrets.
We are so bad that a Caesarean Section is not “normal” childbirth and In Vitro Fertilization is a lesser form of fertilization than the one that happens via coitus.

Why is it okay to share how I overcome but not how I’m struggling?

As a Leader, you must have all the answers. it’s never okay to admit you don’t know.
We all want to appear fortuitous with no bump accross our paths.

What is it about other people’s inadequacies that makes us quite uncomfortable? And sometimes hostile? How do we move forward when our truth is rather opaque?

It is this unrealistic bubble we have created for ourselves that is leaving many of us feeling trapped, stressed and perpetually under pressure.

Break free.

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