What A Time To Be Alone: The Slumflower’s Guide To Why You Are Already Enough is a delightful guide to self love and acceptance sprinkled with Igbo proverbs and beautiful design and illustration. Written by Nigerian-British blogger and writer Chidera Eggerue, the book isn’t designed to “fix” anybody. “I want people to use the book as a mirror that they can hold up in front of themselves and be able to address their own behaviours,” Eggerue said in an interview with The Daily Vox. The book is packed with important lessons, here are 11 that resonated.
1. Expect better from yourself, not others
Other people are going to disappoint you, it’s a bitter pill to swallow but it’s true. Love yourself, care for yourself, rely on yourself, improve yourself.
2. Start something
It’s always scary to start something new: what if you fail? There will always be variables you cannot control but it’s important to focus on what you can control. As Eggerue’s father always told her: “Finish being where you are first, it will all make sense later.”
3. Own up to your privilege
The world is centred in a certain way so that certain people are treated better than others socially, politically and economically. Whiteness is a privilege. Prettiness is a privilege. Growing up in a country that isn’t wartorn is a privilege. Admit your privilege and unlearn the entitlement that comes with it.
4. Be nice to people for no reason without expectation
Be kind to people, but don’t expect anything in return. Actually, don’t expect them to react in any certain way. At the same time, when other people show you kindness, express your gratitude because you are not entitled to another person’s kindness.
5. But don’t let your kindness kill you
At the same time, there are no rewards for a saviour complex. No matter how good your intentions are, you can’t fix anyone. Be compassionate but it’s not your duty to save anyone from their own unsolved trauma. Always remember, you need you more than anyone else could ever need you, Eggerue says.
6. Don’t perform, live
We live in an age where it’s cool to be unbothered. Contrary to the trend, it’s not that cool to be apathetic, it means you’re dead inside. You don’t have to pretend that you don’t care if you do. Emotions are not that scary.
7. You don’t exist for anyone’s consumption or amusement
You do not owe anyone “pretty” – whichever state you choose to show up in will always be enough.
8. Life is too short to live in a way to convince other people that you’re worthy
You are worthy already.
9. “Where there’s peace, allow it to reign.”
Put your peace of mind first. This means protecting your space and paying attention to yourself, giving yourself love and attention. It also means not giving people a second chance at violating you.
10. Don’t be afraid to raise your standards.
It’s your life, you dictate your standards. Having high standards doesn’t mean you’re selfish or that you’re picky. Your standards are a recognition of your worth.
11. Your tombstone won’t say how many followers you have on Instagram.
Relevance offline is key. It’s always nice to be admired but how do you make people feel when they’re with you? That’s what you’ll be remembered for. “Your tombstone will commemorate the energy you left behind,” Eggerue says.
The book is available at most good bookstores and online for R 250.
Featured image by Tom Oldham