We have all heard the saying that Health is Wealth, but what does it truly mean? It simply means that no matter how rich or wealthy you are, if your health is not in top shape, then living life is a waste. Nigeria is a land filled with opportunities; when most of the world is asleep at midnight, Nigeria is still awake to life and freedom to move, yet are we living life that echoes freedom. When it comes to women in Nigeria, are we truly free? Are women free to make their choices the way they want to? Are women free to live their lives the way they truly envision? Is society suffocating dreams and desires, yet criticize or ridicule choices? Is there a double standard of acceptability? Do external appearances set a parameter to judge characters?
We say that we are free. We say we are an Independent country that fought for our rights from British colonization in 1960. We say that every October 1, we celebrate our Independence. We say we are 58 years old, so we are great among nations. Our flag colors have something they stand for:
Green: abundant natural wealth of Nigeria
White: Peace and Unity
But, truly can we say that Nigerian women are truly Independent? We speak of freedom, peace and unity, but who has the most to gain?
Women, we need to rise up. One definition of independence is to live life without the influence of others. Taking charge of your life; your decisions, your choices, your thoughts, your emotions, your values, and your beliefs.
Importance of being Independent as a woman
Be financially independent: when you are not financially independent, you are considered to be dependent on the working male. In a society that is mainly patriarch, you tend to lose power quickly over choices and decisions. Education is key to making rational and smart decisions. Take charge of your education, work, and the money you earn. But as you do so, be vigilant. Pay attention to your emotional and mental health. When you are more financially stable, you rely less on the men around you and there is a sense of personal pride of knowing your self-worth. You are not being tied down and obligated to anyone.
Grow in your independence: As women encourage one another to grow independently, we tend to hone our skills and talents. Do not restrict yourself which can lead to moving away from your path. We need to allow our women have an independent mind to pursue their own interests and find their personal happiness. Short-term happiness is not guaranteed to last a lifetime, but life satisfaction allows you to be more open to what the world has to offer and what you bring to the table. Do not stiffen dreams and goals of young girls, instead, help them navigate through their thoughts and put them into plans, so that when they blossom as women, those thoughts begin to manifest into actions and become reality.
Challenge the status quo: Women need to rise up against discrimination, sexism, assaults, abuse. We need to become educated and speak out against behaviors that are damaging. Challenge the law that is favorable to one gender. No matter what anyone says, fight for what you believe is right. Stand your ground. Know when to speak and know when to be quiet. Know when to rise and know when to be meek. Be attentive and be have a clear opinions about issues that are not in favor of women. Be open to ideas and always agree to disagree, but never be a bystanders on issues that matter to women and the effects of the current results affect the future.
Steps into being independent
We are not perfect. We are all flawed. Accept that past decisions do have consequences in the present, but learn to move from it. Be forgiving. Learn to love yourself. Know that sometimes, life gives you the opportunity to regain control, so never miss that moment. Redesign your perceptions in life and make decisions that are rational. See the bigger picture and make sure that you are a priority. Empty vessels makes the loudest noise, so fill yourself up with keen information that are current.
Reward yourself for each small achievements you make. Do not wait for someone else to notice you. Pay attention to your health and needs. Do not neglect yourself in the process of serving others. Let yourself be a source of happiness. Never feel guilty when you take time for yourself and reward yourself. Think rational in life-changing decisions. Invest, plan and be wise about your spending. Keep your health in top shape as you keep fit, eat right and have time to pamper yourself. Dream big and never limit yourself.
As we celebrate Nigeria today, let us also celebrate our achievements thus far. On this Independence day, let us promise ourselves to do what we can to live our lives independent of others. When we speak out for equality, it means that every man AND woman need to be independent of decisions. So, in order for a country to be independent, a man AND a woman must be independent of their choices, beliefs, thoughts, values and actions. Celebrate life and Celebrate each other. HAPPY 58TH BIRTHDAY, NIGERIA.
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