All From The Inside Out

The first time I heard the word lackadaisical was in secondary school. I was in SSS 3 and I had just won the Talabi Esubiyi Memorial Essay Competition in Igbobi College. It was 2006. I was 14.

When I was called up to receive the prize, a cash award of N10,000 and a copy of the Oxford Dictionary, I bounced up to receive the handshake from Mr. Falode. I bounced up, with a straight face. You know, badt guy style.

That was the problem.

Reverend Akerele, Commerce teacher and my mother’s friend, was our first period that day. She spent half the period blasting me for being so proud and cocky because I was relatively successful in school. How did she decipher that? I was confused by her reason for concluding that I was cocky: that I looked proud and walked leisurely and lackadaisically to receive my prize.

Damn!

I looked and walked?

She concluded that I was proud and cocky by the way I looked and walked. Whatever happened to “outward appearances do not matter”?

For a long time I just disliked the woman for that. Now however, I don’t. Because I understand a little better.

What goes on in our minds is to a large extent reproduced in our countenance and mannerisms. We look happy when we see our friends and the disgust can barely be hidden when our least favourite lecturers walk into the class. It takes a great deal to master the art of thinking one thing and looking otherwise.

The inside forms the outside.

I was indeed proud and cocky. I was called up from the football field to write that essay. I didn’t know the topic till I got into the classroom and was presented a sheet and a pen. I wrote and I won. I was that good. Of course I was proud. Who wouldn’t be? At 14? Please.

I imagined it would have ever been difficult for people to relate with me as a proud and cocky individual. I would lose many opportunities because people would not want to be associated with such a heap of pride and cockiness. I wouldn’t be able to make friends, let alone keep them.

I would blow up one day, and I would fall. And people would laugh at me and be happy.

I didn’t want that. I needed to look nice and humble. I tried my best. I smiled when I was angry. I hugged people I didn’t like and visited my mates who were beneath the pile to me. I taught people stuff that I didn’t want to share.

They liked me well enough.

But I wasn’t changed. I still had all of my pride and cockiness deep-seated inside me. It got to a point, I couldn’t keep up the facade of humility again. I exploded and the real guy on the inside came out. People were disgusted and I was left alone.

Alone is not a good place to be except God finds you there.

And thank God He did. And He taught me that the defects on the outside are cured by healing on the inside. He taught me to inspect the inside man and rid myself of the darkness there, and see how effortlessly the light will translate into beautiful mannerisms. Beautiful looks and walks.

Introspection is my way forward now. I look on the inside before I react to anything. I want my walk to be like Jesus, who was always pleasant and never offended anyone in speech or behaviour. If I live like that, I will never give a “this is way I am” excuse ever again.

Your relationships with people depend largely on what they can see. But know this, that what they see depends entirely on who you really are on the inside.

I still walk lackadaisically sometimes and my look may be cocky at other times, but I am diligently working to be a better person by transforming my mind to come form with the reality of Jesus Christ.

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