I attended a mpumiro (a ceremony during which boys who have undergone initiation are re-introduced to the community) in Marimanti, Tharaka Nithi county a few weeks ago.
Tharaka women know how to throw a party – and they can dance. But the highlight, for me, was a man who looked to be about 70-years-old, who gave a speech.
He was a most unlikely feminist. He spoke about initiations in his day – how boys were secluded and told that women didn’t mean much, and that a man’s strength came from a woman’s weakness.
He went on to speak about gender equality, the strengths of both genders and how society can benefit from it.
I had a wide grin on my face when he finished – not just because I was impressed by his views, but because this man refused to let how he was raised shape his attitudes towards life. He allowed himself to think outside the box, explored the options that were out there for him and went with what he thought was best. He can now take pride in being his own man.
This got me thinking; how many times do you blame your parents, your childhood, your upbringing for your problems? For your faulty attitudes towards life?
I can’t count, even on both hands, the number of men and women I have met who use that phrase, ‘But that’s how we were raised’ as an excuse for their bad behaviour or to ward off attempts to get them to have a different view of a situation.
I know many women who continually make bad relationship choices but are quick to blame them on how their parents were or unresolved issues from their past. There are always people in their past who are standing in their way of becoming the people they want to be.
Instead of passing along this blame or carrying it around, how about laying it all flat on the ground, and choosing what you can and can’t change?
Maybe your parents were slow to change; maybe you had an unhappy childhood and saw things that no child should have to see; maybe you were treated badly. I will tell you this: you didn’t deserve that. But holding onto your past and letting your upbringing dictate your thoughts, actions and attitudes today will not help.
Take responsibility for who you are today. Your past may have influenced you in either positive or negative ways, but it’s up to you to decide how far you want this influence on you to go.
That you are aware of your Mummy or Daddy issues or your bias influenced by your past is good. Merely using these as excuses for your behaviour as opposed to working on yourself, however, is lazy.
Ditch the victim mentality. More often than not, the person who holds the key to your redemption is yourself.