“Some of our biggest lessons come in beautifully wrapped little packages of experience.”
Of all her body parts, Mma’s hair held the least appeal. It frizzed, broke and resisted every act of taming irrespective of her efforts. This was a cross, a very surprising cross because for years she had been blessed with beautiful hair—long, soft and admirable. Then one day it went away and in its place lay something she never bargained for. And so the trouble began. She tried every available relaxer her hands fell upon to no avail; used every hair product her meager allowance could purchase and still in all its glory stood this annoying veil. Just when she began to grow weary, a savior came—or so it seemed at the time. She learned that highly concentrated cream relaxers, the kind that left your scalp burning and hair properly fried would help tame the errant strands. So buy it she did, with eyes squeezed shut during application and teeth biting down hard on lips to stop the cries of anguish. Such was the price of beauty. Ever since her hair has been described as stupid, silly, and useless… in fact any degrading thing the mind can cook.
The years between were spent admiring people with better hair, with a look of longing in her eyes and dreams of a day when this luck would change. And aren’t we guilty of this? They say man’s wants are insatiable so we grow less desirable of what we have and want what others own. One day during a quick visit to the salon something happened. The young lady assigned to wash her hair took one look and said, “I’m jealous; wish I had your hair.” Oh if only she could regale her with tales of this hair, her admirer was certain to run the other way and learn to appreciate hers. But Mma didn’t say that. She smiled a thank you in response and wondered at this rare compliment. Not too long ago she had a similar conversation with a friend who had told her of his desire to live in a more reserved location with zero noise and more greenery. In turn Mma thought about his house and how preferable his current location was to hers. It was funny really because she’d kept thinking of how grateful he should have been. The irony of her situation finally dawned on her.
Self-love goes beyond wanting what’s best for oneself. At its primal form, it boils down to loving one’s body first and wanting the very best for it. Perhaps we forget that. If the power of life and death lay in the tongue then in her heart was born the desire to profess all the love her lips could proclaim. She did away with all the bad-mouthing and embraced a positive attitude towards her growth and progress. If talking to oneself is considered madness, then Mma was crazy insane for she would smile at the reflection in the mirror telling her hair how awesome it looked. One author writes that keeping a positive attitude makes the universe attuned to our feelings which in turn brings positively charged frequencies our way. Another opines that happy people aren’t the thankful ones, but rather thankful people end up being happy people. If anything, these men had one message in common, and that was one of gratitude at one’s lot. So she determined in the heart to love what she had.
A few months plus another change in hair products after and Mma began to notice a difference. Not only was her hair finer, it also dared to grow over four inches in length! Her joy knew no bound. This labour of kindness and love for that which was hers had not only left her feeling happier, she had also learned a valuable lesson: To he who is found worthy of a little, much more will be added unto him. How could one desire more when the little in possession has been overlooked? If she couldn’t learn to tend the shrubs, ugly as they seemed, how could she expect to grow a garden of beauty that garnered admiration?
We live in a world filled with negativity—from our lips to others and then to ourselves. We profess our faith and belief in goodness and kindness, yet fail to turn those attitudes inwards. We proclaim love as the greatest gift, a powerful weapon even, and still have not sufficiently learned to wield it. A father hopes for a day his child develops a brilliance that reflects on his grades and still at the least provocation calls him a fool and never-do-well. A country prays for peace on one hand and threatens war on the other. With the same tongue we bless and curse ourselves. I’m not very certain how this works for I am just as guilty, but we must put conscious efforts into turning our positive attraction to negativity to positive inhibitions. I have since learned that people as a habit respond better to kindness and we are more attuned with ourselves when we dare to turn all that affection inwards too.
A better life doesn’t always translate to a happier one. The quest for more never really ends when we run blind and fail to see the now. There is more to enjoy where we are right now, we just have to develop a willingness to show a little more gratitude, love and contentment and watch these translate into the most satisfying gift: A happiness born of peace.