Adeboro Odunlami: He needs some emotional balance [NEW VOICES]

by Adeboro Odunlami

Perhaps one of the hardest life skills to gain mastery over is ‘Emotional Intelligence and Boundaries’. As basic as it may sound, learning emotional boundaries becomes one of the best life hacks we can possibly have up our sleeves to fight off hurt and pain and disappointment. It may even come in handy to prevent us from doing foolish things.

In a basic relationship between two people, expectations exist. ‘If you do this for me, I’ll do this for you. If you do this to me, I’ll do this to you’. The society has helped us go even one step further to make it so that you don’t have to overtly expect anything from anybody; there’s a template that is impressed upon your mind. I think that’s what is called Social Conditioning.

Templates may be good. They may help you know what is readily expected of/available to you in every given situation. But they are not tailored to realities and peculiarities and so must be modified.

Emotional Boundaries, a phrase I only just coined, is the super-ability to know at what point to stop relying emotionally on another person and at the same time not be offhand-ish and unfeeling towards other people’s peculiarities. It is that thin balance upon which your emotional stability and maturity sits. A little tilt to one side and you become an emotional over-dependent and a tilt to the other you become an emotional goth.

So, for instance, in a basic friendship, you want to ask: How much of my friends’ actions affect my mood? Do their mistakes make me madder than necessary? Do I give them room to be human? How realistic are my expectations? How much power do my friends have over my productivity? How much do I not care what my friends do?

In a relationship-relationship or marriage relationship, you might want to ask: How much of my space has been given up to this fusion? How much can I stand on my own? To what extent does my partner’s shortcomings affect my esteem? How much do I care for my partner? Are my expectations so low that I’d never be surprised if my partner hurt me?

In employer-employee relationship, you might want to ask: What percentage of my employee’s personal wellbeing am I concerned about? How involved in the personal lives of my employees do I want to be? How interested am I in mentoring my employees and to what degree of dedication? How far would I go to see that my employees live good personal lives?

And it goes on. Emotional expectations are natural in our relationships in life but we must learn to know where the dividing lines must be drawn.
Which brings me to the repulsive behavior of the Governor of Oyo State, Governor Isiaka Abiola Ajimobi, towards the shutting down of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) for about 8 months.

Governor Ajimobi is dancing on two extreme ends of the emotional expectations scale.
One the one side, he’s being highly apathetic to the situation of the students. If he would only move closer to feeling something for the students, he would maybe see that not only do they earnestly desire to get back to their education, they also deserve it. He would also see that their parents pay taxes, pay school fees and run around just so that their children can be better enlightened. He would also maybe see that he is only a representative of the collective powers of the people and that he was entrusted to use that power in the best way possible for the people and not to sit on his high horse and determine that any shit he doesn’t give would not be given.

And on the other end, Governor Ajimobi is being too bloody sentimental about the wrong thing – Respect. He has chosen to impute the bruises to his ego or/and his inflated sense of importance, on the office of the Governor forgetting that although he is the Governor, he is not the office of the Governor.

The Governor must therefore psychologically analyze himself by asking these pertinent questions: Do I truly believe that I am serving this State? If no, what does public service require and am I capable of such? What does the pain of the Oyo people mean to me? Do I give a shit about their lives? Who am I and what the hell am I doing?


Adeboro is a graduate of Law, a photographer and a collector of experiences. You probably, most likely, already know her.

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