We All Deserve to be Appreciated

We do not have to wait till a person is not around before we appreciate all the good
things they have done for us or others. It is good to say positive things about people in
their absence, however, people need to be encouraged, appreciated or complemented in
their presence so that they will have the strength to continue their good works. As cars
or other machines need fuel to run, as athletes need the screams or cheering of the
crowd to put in much effort; that is how all the people in our lives need to be
encouraged or complemented so that we see more of their positive attitudes.

Sometimes, we need to tell them to their faces; looking right in their eyes and smiling so
that they know all their little efforts are appreciated. Family members, close friends or
colleagues should be the ones who we should compliment and appreciated often. We
tend to overlook all their efforts; these are the people who give us much and due to
familiarity we fail to acknowledge their efforts. We wait till they are not around before
we begin to accept and appreciate all that they have done. When a person is praised or
complimented for a good deed done rather than a mistake they have made; we notice
that they do more of the things that will get them praised rather than the things they
will do to get corrected. We all respond to positive reinforcement; positive attitudes or
thoughts overshadow negative ones.

Photo credit: Getty Images

We all want to feel good and confident about ourselves and one way we can achieve this
is to praise, compliment or appreciate people. One of the best things that can happen to
an individual is seeing that you are the cause of the smile on someone’s face or making
someone’s day. This is better than criticising or pointing out the faults of a person; it
seems easy but it is not worth it. The most beautiful things in life are simple and easy to
give. A smile or a laugh or wishing a person the best in life are all simple. We have to
learn how to look at the positive when we come in contact with a person.

Photo credit: Clipart Library

A complement can help someone have a stress-free day; a hug can make a person feel
wanted or needed. People need these little things to get through the day or the week.
Sometimes, these complements encourage us or the people who receive them to push
harder; or give their best due to the confidence they get out of these comments. Like
children, adults also feel confident and want to prove to our parents or loved ones when
we are having a performance in public- even when we are shaken by the presence of the
crowd: that is what a good comment, complement or an appreciation from someone we
know is telling the truth does to us. It is amazing how babies understand a smile or a
complement. So as we go through our day(s) and meet a friend, a relative, colleague or a
stranger; we should take some few seconds of our time and appreciate their efforts. Let
us tell them what is positive and true about them in their presence: it could be their
sense of humour, their sense of style, their colour choices or their attitude or anything
positive we can find about them. We all deserve to be encouraged to be able to keep
doing the good things we do.

Written by Adwoa Owusuaa

The Youngest Philanthropist in Africa

Philanthropy in Africa seems to be reserved for the elite, those who have affluence and influence. In fact we hear of philanthropy or charity when the one who performs the good act is a celebrity. But there is a new order in the trend as one young Ghanaian boy is making waves in the pursuit of the virtue of charity.

Born of a Ghanaian father and a Togolese mother, Marcus Love Naazii Anafu in his late teens became known as the youngest CEO and philanthropist in Ghana. After having completed his Senior High School education at the Navrongo Senior High School in the Upper East Region of Ghana, he felt touched by the lives of the poor and homeless children living on the streets of our cities and towns. Marcus then decided to help bring smiles to the faces of the poor and less privileged in society particularly children.

At high school Marcus Love Naazii Anafu though being the youngest of his class was the Senior Prefect and out of his experience in leadership and organizing people he brought together some young people who also shared in his dream of helping alleviate poverty and streetism in our part of the world. Having the blessing of his parents, Marcus started what he called the Love Foundation. Stating and defining his vision and mission, this young man on June 6, 2017 got his organization registered as a non-profit organization in Accra, Ghana.

Marcus and the whole team of Love Foundation Club have visited some deprived communities in the country and have made some donations of which one is the “Jesus Akra” village in the Central Region of Ghana which is very deprived and deserted. Marcus Love and his team although not having their own orphanage have adopted one very brilliant but poor girl and also on a mission of saving street children and finding and giving them comfortable living conditions in the orphanages.

Marcus and his colleague team members of the Love Foundation Club out of the dues they contribute have also visited some orphanages in the country such as Lillies of the Valley Orphanage in Accra.

One striking thing about Marcus Love Naazii Anafu is how he occasionally organizes donations and familiarization events for children living on our streets. He recently led the team to embark on an event dubbed “The Street Diaries “. This was an event which was held in the night so as to actually get to know, see and interact with the homeless people on our streets and the plights they go through. He has also led his team of young people to embark on similar events of donation and love sharing with the less privileged.

Marcus is highly acknowledged by a couple of people and media houses in the country. His interview with some of the media houses such as Gh One TV and Radio Univers, just to mention a few are some of the platforms on which he has been accorded the honour of being tagged the youngest philanthropist in Ghana. The international media has also recognized the good works of Marcus Anafu and has accorded him the honour of granting him interviews and personality featured articles. Some of these international media houses are Lesotho’s leading radio station, Ultimate Radio 99.8 and one other leading blog site in the United Kingdom. Marcus has done a lot and in cooperating with his team mates in embarking on other humanitarian projects as well. This has actually inspired other young people to come up with the glowing desire of joining the fight against poverty and streetism through charity. What a great role model is this young man?

Marcus is in fact a light shining in the dark for the less privileged. Let us look up to him and his team of young people as they help eradicate poverty and streetism which is the main objective of his charitable organization.

Written by Elikem Akpakpo

Elikem Akpakpo Discusses “The Better Side of Loneliness”

As if greater than the “City of God”, so many glorious things are told of the opposites of loneliness which are the states of togetherness or being in a company. Loneliness has negative connotations. And never have I heard a teacher, a preacher or an elder ever commend “loneliness” to someone. Loneliness is not like solitude for it is not the individual person that decides to enter into loneliness as in the case of solitude. The word loneliness assumes the person is sad about being alone, and sadness is a negative emotion whereas solitude implies a sense of peace and quiet. Loneliness is said to be the most painful thing in the world. It entails a lot of things. It is the emotional response to lack of companion. Yes, loneliness includes so many negatives. Supporting my intention to come up with something on the positive side of “this sickness of the world” called loneliness is the saying that “every cloud has a silver lining”. Looking at the above statement there exists a challenge to the fact that nothing good has ever been said of “loneliness’. If so, where then lies its silver lining? Hasn’t it got anything good to offer?

Photo credit: Xprezia

Looking at the studies or researches on the negatives surrounding it, I say with my chest out that loneliness is a key to doors of happiness and has great positive deals to offer us and that is if and if it is “true” loneliness. This loneliness is the one described as social pain—a psychological mechanism meant to alert an individual of isolation and motivate them to seek social connections. Loneliness is defined in terms of one’s connectedness to others, or more specifically as “the unpleasant experience that occurs when a person’s network of social relations is deficient in some important way”. And if this social pain and psychological mechanism alerts an individual to know of his state of isolation and motivates them to seek social connections, then can’t we see traces of positive elements in it? It motivates us to seek social connection. Loneliness is about the isolation and the motivation to go into a company. So I ask, if men were not to be lonely, would they seek social connections. And I think this is why God created loneliness within us. One Russian author, Catherine de Hueck Doherty tackles loneliness as a gift from God in her book “In the Footprints of Loneliness.” God made it. But we can go further to explain that because God made man together with this and other emotions, it is good to be “lonely” since everything God made is accepted to be good. So loneliness is also good just like the other emotions we try to attach ourselves to (love, happiness, togetherness, sorrowfulness, etc.). Loneliness is good.

According to the Christian teachings, he became lonely because he has been separated from God, from what gave him companionship in totality. And so in his loneliness which resulted from the separation from God, man craves to go back into union with Him. It is loneliness from its own nature that creates in man the desire to be in a union. It out of this gift of loneliness in the heart of man that religions exist. The loneliness in the heart of man pressures on him the need to look and get closer to a being higher than him; a deity. God has created in us loneliness so that we might seek beyond our communities to really enter into his plan for us. This is the better side of loneliness! Loneliness pressuring man to get close to a higher entity -Religions.

There are many kinds of loneliness in the world and I do not have the courage to distinguish all of them because I might leave yours out. We lump them all under one word, and call it loneliness. And yet there is the need to differentiate. There is the one that seeks into God of which I talked about already. The one that looks for Companionship of human beings (someone to share fun with, someone to share thoughts and even pains with). This is the normal type and it is killed by normal friendships. Then, there is the kind begotten by machines (televisions, computers and others). This is common in the Western world and in Accra, Kumasi, Tamale, Nairobi and Abuja. You know it, I mean in our big cities. Everyone bears his cross of loneliness. The city of loneliness is the city of joy. Walk down with me to the end of my words and you will know of more this. The loneliness of our world is intensifying as we journey into modernity. And because it has become a sickness in our world today, there are some remedies for it just as drinking a lot of water, especially in harmattan remedies the dehydration the season causes to our bodies. In our quest to counteract our state of loneliness we get into friendships to dispel it, we forgive others to kill it and we love God and man to be in communion with one another.

The biggest enemy of loneliness is communication. When loneliness invades our hearts it motivates us to reach out to others in communication. Loneliness then forces people to love and accept others as they are, even their enemies. This is because by its own nature, it reveals the state of isolation of an individual and then encourages them to get to others making loneliness a “catalyst” which forges separate hearts into one. This is the better side I want the world to look at. The motivation it gives us to commune with others.

Photo credit: Corel Discovery Center

Loneliness is a midwife to creativity. By its nature and existence in us which turns us into prisoners of pain or psychological traumas, we do things that open our souls in our quest to conquer it. Loneliness plays an important role in the creative process. In some people, temporary or prolonged loneliness can lead to notable artistic and creative expression, for example, as was the case with poet Emily Dickinson, and numerous musicians, of which even this article also comes from. This is not to imply that loneliness itself ensures this creativity, rather, it may have an influence on the subject matter of the artist and more likely be present in individuals engaged in creative activities. Most of our talents such as painting, writing a book, reading a book and reasoning are discovered or mostly achieved when we are lonely. Loneliness then teaches one a lot of things. And it is an undeniable fact that most of the good books or stories you’ve ever read were written by their writers when they were lonely not just alone. Loneliness makes everybody your brother and sister, Because of the space it creates in our hearts. When it comes to meditations, loneliness is a thing to talk of. For meditations are done when one goes into himself/herself. Whether in public or private. Loneliness can have positive effects on individuals. One study found that although time spent alone tended to depress a person’s mood and increase feelings of loneliness, it also helped to improve their cognitive state, such as improving concentration. Furthermore, once the alone time was over, people’s moods tended to increase significantly. Loneliness is also associated with other positive growth experiences too, religious experiences, and identity building such as solitary quests used in rites (religious monks). Growth in the spiritual life of religious people goes with this. Loneliness is therefore a subjective experience. If a person thinks they are lonely, then they are lonely. People can be lonely while in solitude, or in the middle of a crowd. What makes a person lonely is the fact that they need more social interaction or a certain type of social interaction that is not currently available. A person can be in the middle of a party and feel lonely due to not talking to enough people.

Conversely, one can be alone and not feel lonely; even though there is no one around that person is not lonely because there is no desire for social interaction. Loneliness as a human condition. The existentialist school of thought views loneliness as the essence of being human. Each human being comes into the world alone, travels through life as a separate person, and ultimately dies alone. Coping with this, accepting it, and learning how to direct our own lives with some degree of grace and satisfaction is the human condition. Loneliness is then the true reflection of our nature of being born alone. In conclusion, loneliness though a social pain and also a psychological mechanism is that which motivates one to seek social connections. Loneliness brings out the best in us especially when it comes to creativity. Never hate to be lonely for it brings that which hides in you as you try to kill it.

Written by Akakpo Elikem (Airlly Heritages ™) [elikem997@gmail.com]

The Quest to Become Celebrities; The World’s Standard Leading to Doom

Written by Elikem Akpakpo Kwabla

Today, living in obscurity is as painful to some youths as a chronic headache. Some are very hungry for fame and can’t let go of their appetites of being called celebrities in the shortest possible time. This hunger for fame has landed most of our young people in messy and clumsy situations and some have lost the direction of their lives. One thing that is being crucified on the cross of this shaky desire among the youth is the losing of one’s dignity and the end of one’s genuineness. In the bid to become famous as soon as possible, there arises the need to go in for that which is a shortcut to fame. These shortcuts which our modern world or if I may say, the influence and impact of some aspects of western civilization particularly arts and lifestyles brought into the world and its various and distinct cultures in most cases are those things that our traditional societies and our moral doctrines stand against.

Photo credit: People’s World

Before our present day, becoming a celebrity implies being that musician who sells millions of records, being that actor who hits the screens in award winning movies or being one who excels in standing for only and only good causes in society and among others. Some people become famous because of their natural talents. These people might be famous for singing, acting, or doing a particular discipline of sports. Natural beauty also leads to becoming a famous supermodel one day. People become famous for the good they do. We celebrate people for the good they do. Down the 14th century the word “celebrity” was used to describe rite and celebrations. Around the 17th and the 18th century referring to a thing as “celebrity” became the state of being famous or talked about. Accordingly, celebrity tend to mean “a person who has a high degree of recognition by the general population; a famous person from the 19th century. This implies one can be famous for the wrong reason and one can be famous for the right cause.

Photo credit: Craftsy

But following trends of the order of our new world, some young people have got the whole concept of becoming celebrities wrong. Becoming a celebrity in our country now has to do not with anything morally right and genuine. It is very simple! If you are a lady, merely exposing part or whole of your body [private] in photographs and tagging them “nude pictures” and sharing them on social media will lift you to the zone of celebrities. It will! Yes, you will then be celebrated and in some cases be referred to as a public figure; yes, a public figure. Becoming a celebrity (female) is just about flaunting the sexual parts of your body. This is very alarming, and aside how morally wayward it is making the individual, it undermines our very sense of dignity found in our culture; the respect accorded to womanhood.

Photo credit: Ghana Celebrities

And because the celebrity status is often associated with wealth, some young people particular men in their quest to be known as celebrities seek to find wealth in devious ways and a major and commonest way to go through it is through ritual money or what is known as “sakawa”. Some of these young boys do not actually seek the wealth but that state of being recognized by society. And since we are people who recognize those with wealth than the others, “sakawa” becomes that which they believe will render them that which they want; that recognition they want from society. Even merely posting a video of oneself being silly that later goes viral makes one to be a celebrity, so a lot of the youth are on social media sharing videos of themselves doing this silly thing or the other just to gain recognition. Are we not actually living in a crazy world? A world where you become a celebrated personality by doing those things that we formally and morally raise our eyebrows at?

So pervasive has becoming a celebrity become in our contemporary world that we think genuineness only thrives in the dark. We are chasing not our dreams but fame. And aside religious teachings on the standards of becoming a celebrity in our world today which are leading to doom, we are gradually loosing our dignity, essence and values. The world’s standard of becoming a celebrity is leading us into doom. Let us not pursue fame for fame’s sake, let us pursue our dreams. If by our hard work and fate, fame comes and we are known to be celebrities, great! But if we become famous without our good dreams we face the consequence of living a miserable life at the presence of the whole world like on a stage. I may be short of reasons but have fun thinking about fame or becoming a celebrity in this day and age. Asking if the standards of the world is actually on a path worth not taking a second look at.