Personal Struggles: Reaching Beyond The Self


The Jollof at “our base” or chop bar was special unlike any other day’s; it had the right amount of salt and was very delicious. Yvonne, Mark and I sat at our corner enjoying our food whiles chatting. My two friends had really made my stay in the Norway Brothers Company Ltd quite enjoyable.

With only fifteen minutes break time left, we decided to sit for a while; it was a five-minute walk to the workplace. Mark’s eyes remained fixed on Yvonne as we talked; a habit of his I was used to. It was obvious he really liked her.

Coke or Fanta“, Mark asked a male colleague, who passed by our table.

“Choose Coke; it’s perfect” the guy replied after a quick glance at Yvonne. The laughter of the two gentlemen intertwined in perfect unison. I attempted a fake smile but it failed cos I knew exactly what he was talking about. Yes he was referring to Yvonne and I; the beautiful and dark-skinned Yvonne was ‘Coke’ and I was the Fanta. Nice joke right?

Flashback of The Self

As I sat there thinking of the lame Fanta or Coke joke, pictures of my past rejections started settling in. I thought I was over them, but no I wasn’t. Self-pity and low self-worth were slowly heading my direction.

What happened to all the inspirational messages I had been listening to all these months? I was positive I was stronger. At the moment, series of inspiration wasn’t going to take me out of my dejected self. I had already lost myself to emotionalised thoughts stored inside; they were like indelible patterns too difficult to erase.

Memories, they say can be dangerous; you never know what they would trigger. Well, they triggered emotions I had been battling to suppress for years. Without warning, my eyes were filled with tears. Was I going to cry? No, I chided myself, wiped my face, and forced a smile. I wasn’t sure of the number of times others were chosen over me; as far as I remember, they were countless but it didn’t matter. It was time to work. I remembered I had piled up work to do so I collected myself back to my desk.

Frankly, I don’t recall how I got to the office, though. I found myself on my desk. Myself needed to lean into the comfortable warmth of someone’s embrace but there was no one. The washroom was not an option; it was a necessity and my legs had already carried me there.

“And what’s your name again?” our Manager’s guest asked.

“Martha”, I recall answering in a weak voice. It was the fifth time the fine gentleman in his early 30s had asked of my name. I was sure of it; I kept count of his visits to our office.


Second Yawa (Dissappointment)

“Is Yvonne in”, he asked.

Before I could answer, Yvonne appeared. He straightened himself and smiled broadly. They engaged each other for a while. He went on and on about how beautiful, fashionable and elegant she was. Then I felt myself inwardly complaining about my life.

It was a relief when I heard my favourite sound—the harmonic oscillator of 5:00pm. Yvonne and I said our goodbyes. I started my few-meters journey to the trotro station while Yvonne waited for her dad to pick her up.

On my way home, I realised concentrating on myself made me very flabby. For me to be tolerant, I needed to reach beyond myself. But how can I do that when it is an important facet of my being?

Sir William Hamilton, the 9th Baronet (1788 – 1856) once said that; the self, the I is recognised in every act of intelligence as the subject to which that act belongs. It is I that perceive, I that imagine, I that remember, I that attend, I that compare, I that feel, I that will, I that am conscious.

The Self Game Changer

Stepping out of the heat-filled troski was a great relief; it was good to be home and on my bed.  I replayed today’s incidence and similar ones in my mind for a while.

“You are not taking charge today”, I told the self when the morning air greeted. I read through the note pasted on my door. I could recite them even with my eyes closed. The topic was: ‘Advice to self’. The tall list included;

  • Rejection, heartbreaks, laying off, hurtful words, imperfections, failures, and the likes loom over each day. To focus on them is like taking a drop of poison daily; it damages the system.
  • Take control of what you allow in your thoughts because what you dwell on is who you become.
  • Stop looking outside (comparison) your fence and be grateful for your blessings.

The Self is indeed the greatest hurdle to cross. Who or what was going to help me reach beyond the self’s impulses and desires? I remembered someone who gives the ability to control the self. It was the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22, 23 confirms that He produces in us some character traits that includes self-control. Clinging to the Holy Spirit daily was the solution.

Read a related story: My Reawakening: How Pressure Consumed Me

By Charity Afia Sarpong

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