2020 is the year of unforgettable lessons. When we wished one another a happy new year in January, we didn’t know how difficult this year would be. A lot of people had plans to succeed, make it big, try new things, improve their lives, make money and enjoy life to the full, but right now, they are struggling to just survive.
From the COVID-19 pandemic that killed people all over the world, to the massive loss of jobs and businesses to the uncertainty that filled the air afterwards. Then the #EndSARS protest happened because Nigerian youths were tired of being harassed, profiled wrongly, accused of things they didn’t do, beaten and thrown in cells if they didn’t part with money.
These youths from different tribes across the country spoke with one voice against the men in uniform who have been harassing and allegedly killing them in their own country. They decided to protest against police brutality. They were organized, coordinated, stood with a single purpose just to effect change in their fatherland so that their children can live better lives.
But the peaceful protest took a dark turn on October 20, 2020 when soldiers of the Nigerian army allegedly opened fire on protesters at Lekki toll gate. According to some of the protesters, they were shot at and some of them died on the spot and their corpses taken away by the soldiers. It was a dark day. Nigerians took to social media to alert the world of what was happening in the country.
As if that was not painful enough to add to an already hard and emotional roller coaster year, some hoodlums took the opportunity to start breaking into people’s shops and homes. They looted struggling people’s shops and carted away their goods as if it was nothing. They inflicted more pain and suffering on their brothers and sisters who were still trying to recover from the financial strain the COVID-19 pandemic had on their businesses.
Right now, there are more jobless people in Nigeria because hoodlums looted and burnt their places of employment. There are men and women battling serious health issues right now because their means of livelihood were forcefully taken away from them by some unscrupulous elements. There’s a sense of hopelessness and helplessness in the air. Many people are struggling to survive in this country. This year has been a tough one.
There is no way to describe how debilitating it feels carrying a crushing load of hopelessness and uncertainty. No one likes going through unending difficult moments in life. When we are in such stressful times, we can feel out of control, hurt, develop self-doubt, experience extreme sadness, anxiety, and fear, coupled with feeling powerless to change our circumstances. Yet, without these types of stressors, unfair situations, and difficult times, we would never grow into the powerful people we are destined to become.
I know that right now, there are no adequate words to heal the wounds that this year has inflicted on us. I know that overcoming difficulties is not as easy as it sounds. I know that the dead won’t rise again. I know that many families are mourning the loss of their loved ones. I know that some families can’t even feed well once a day due to the economic situation in the country. I know that some family members have lost some of their sick loved ones because they couldn’t afford the hospital bills.
But I believe that things will get better. I believe that we shall overcome the difficulties this year threw at us. I believe we will come out stronger and wiser. I believe that the sun will shine after this storm that has turned things upside down in the country. I believe that better days are coming. I don’t know how things will change for the better but it will happen. Life is tough but we are tougher. Tough times don’t last but tough people do. We are a tough people and we shall laugh last.
Stress and hardship, although not enjoyable, pass and as time moves on, solutions come. It is only through a tremendous amount of patience that you will be able to turn your terrors to triumphs. As time looms stagnant, you have to focus on working hard and finding a level of acceptance for the situation you are in, and you will see that things begin to settle and work out. Things may not change in the way you want them to but eventually, you will overcome your difficult moments.
Whatever opportunities are lost or taken away, leaving gaping voids in your life, will initially be filled with stress and heartbreak. However, whatever falls empty will soon become full again. A wise person once told me that whatever I lose in life will be replaced by an opportunity that will be good or better than what I was in before.
Stress and hardship are extremely painful. No one ever promised life would be fair, but if you can keep the faith, keep moving forward and working hard you will come to see that what was lost, or meant for your harm, will soon turn directly in your favour. When you’re stressed, keep your eyes on the ball. If you make the choice to keep moving forward you will create the light at the end of the tunnel.
You need to be courageous. Hardships and major stressors can be completely debilitating. The only way to get rid of these fears is to do the things you fear, face the things you’d rather avoid, and keep moving when you want to freeze. If you allow yourself to stay blocked you cannot grow, and your situation has no opportunity for change. Understand, courage is not something you have; it is something you do.
You must believe that things change. All of us are creatures of habit and most prefer a certain amount of familiarity and predictability to their lives. Change is stressful and can be devastating, but things change so they can get better, allowing you an opportunity to move in a new and better direction. Throughout your life, there will be situations that won’t get better, but you can get better. Keep in mind that endings are inseparable from new beginnings.
It is important to let go of the hurts and the pains you are feeling. Letting go is an essential ingredient to moving through any type of hardship. Hanging on to your difficulties only make you feel more desperate, powerless and needy. Letting go is the greatest risk you take, but it is only through letting go that the space for change and healing is created. Clutching to your pains blocks opportunities, creativity, new solutions, and the exact answers you may be looking for. Letting go is the most courageous act of opening up.
Know that you will survive. Stress and hardship teach you that you are capable of surviving what was meant for your destruction. You can absolutely survive difficult periods in life because there is no other choice. When you have no other choice but to move on, you will, and you will come out stronger and more successful. Nothing teaches you more about getting through your self-doubts than forcing yourself to get through them than deciding to make it against all odds.
When you feel the drowning sensations which come from hard and terrible situations, it feels like you will not make it through. That is how it feels, but it is not how it will be. Hardships make you stronger, more mindful and resilient in your approach to live life to the full. It is in the journey of getting through these hard times that you become more bold and brave in getting your needs met. It is through your challenges that you learn to rise. It may not be easy but everyday is a plus. Once you are alive, you shall overcome your life’s difficulties.
I pray that the remaining days of 2020 will bring us good tidings, peace, blessings, prosperity and joy like a river. I pray that everyone hurting will find healing. I pray that families who have lost loved ones be comforted. I pray that shop owners who have lost their goods will recover from the financial setback. May God heal Nigeria. May God grant us peace. May God soothe our pain, hear our prayers and heal our land. God bless Nigeria!