It could be that superhero husband or father of yours that started cheating on your mum and gives less attention to you and your siblings. It could be that loving mother you once knew who decides to start rocking life at age 40, forgetting she’s a role model to her little daughters. Maybe you had an amazing friend that was tired of being broke and decided to heed the advice of some bad guys that do all sorts to make money (Yahoo yahoo, 419).
It could even be your favourite uncle from childhood who once loved his wife and adored his daughters but his selfish desire for a male heir obscured his thinking as he threw out his wife for another woman and beat up his girls. It could be a lovely young girl with a bright future that foolishly falls for Mr. Smooth and gets pregnant; she’s left to fend for herself, so she puts school on pause...
It could be that kind neighbour you once knew who lost his job and felt all hope was lost, became friends with alcohol and started beating up his wife and kids. It could be that sensational pop star you once knew who got caught up with the glamour of celebrity life and now the Rehab is gradually becoming a permanent home. Or is it that great leader you once knew who forgot the sufferings of his people and started pocketing funds meant for development.
These stories are not uncommon and some of the people mentioned recover through the help of friends, family or even therapy. Others simply never do. The most painful thing about ‘veering off the right road’ is the dreadful effects it has on others. Sometimes, the person suffers immediately but other times, much later. Just like a young boy who watched his father beat up his mother and later becomes a wife beater in the future.
It’s easy to say ‘it can never happen to me’ but watch out because if you do not do the following, you might just be going down...
7 important steps to avoid ‘veering off the right road’
- Note down who you want to be
- Stand firm in what you believe
- Constantly evaluate yourself
- Scrutinize the people that surround you, especially those that have the potential to influence you e.g. friends, family)
- Only keep close those whose beliefs are in sync with yours; regularly check up on them and encourage one another
- Be open to criticism but confirm from 2 other people to ensure you’re not being led astray
- Always remember that whatever you do has the potential to affect another person, whether directly or indirectly
Step 1 is important because it defines the characteristics of the type of person you want to be and what you must do to become that person.
Step 2 says that after identifying who you want to be, you must believe that it is achievable and be convinced that you’re doing the right thing before you begin to alter your behaviour towards the desired goal. This is important because you may encounter some challenges that might attempt to distract you, which can only be overcome with a strong belief.
Step 3 helps you to monitor your progress and ensure you’re still on the right track.
Since we’re not an island, we are susceptible to other people’s beliefs but steps 4 and 5 will ensure we have the right people by our side and that we’re constantly motivated to remain on the right track. For those ones whose beliefs are far from yours, try to convince them to stand up for the right things when you have the opportunity (just in case they listen to you one day).
Step 6 is important because that is the only way someone else can help you get back on track if you begin to relapse.
Step 7 is a warning that every action has its repercussion(s) not only for ourselves but others so we must be careful how we act.
Please let us not get carried away by petty things or fall into the trap of ‘everyone is doing it’...’this is the in thing’. It doesn’t pay to follow the crowd (unless everyone is doing the right thing). Even when things are rough, keep believing that someday all will be well and it eventually will.
Finally, it is not enough to know these steps, recommend and preach it. We must do it because that is the only way we can avoid veering off the right road.