How to change your irritating habits

Bishop Charles Ighele

For the past two Sundays, we’ve been talking about how to live with your spouse’s irritating habits. While I still stress on the fact that there are some of your spouse’s irritating habits you may have to AMUSINGLY live with, the fact still remains that most bad habits can be changed, if you make up your mind to do so. But instead of making up our minds to change some of our mannerisms that people have had cause to complain about, many are busy being irritated by other people’s bad habits. It is like the case of the Akwa Ibom man, who was irritated with an Ijaw man for calling the word junction “zonson.” The Akwa Ibom man felt that the Ijaw man should have pronounced the word junction as “yonyon” and not “zonson.” He refused to see the log in his eyes and take steps to remove it.

While it may not be possible for all to change their bad habits, it is possible that anybody who determined to change can do so. I know an Igbo lady, who used to pronounce English words with typical Igbo accent. But as she kept hearing herself speak, she critically began to examine herself whether the sound of the English words coming out of her mouth made good or bad music to her hearers. When she discovered that her pronunciations did not sound melodious, she made up her mind to change. Today, people like to hear her speak because of the beautiful manner she pronounces English words. Take my case, for example. My name is Charles, but for many years, I did not know how to pronounce it. I pronounced it “shals.”This is due to the fact that in Isoko land of Delta State, where I had my primary and secondary school education, many people pronounce the name Charles as “shals.” You can hear someone from Isoko or Urhobo land say “shals say, e no go shop any food until he come from shursh.”

But when I left Delta State for higher school certificate at a federal government-owned school in Sokoto, I forced myself to change the pronunciation of my name Charles, church, chop, etc. Initially, when my schoolmates started laughing at me, I could not understand what was making them laugh. In fact, I thought they had no work to do. I thought they just felt like laughing. When they would say the word is “church” and not “shursh,” I would still repeat the word “shursh.” I thought we were all pronouncing it the same way, until one of them made me understand that there is a difference between pronouncing “ch” and “sh.”

I have seen people who ate with fork and knife, as if they were holding cutlass and spear because they did not ignore their spouses who raised objections to how they hold cutlery sets. I have seen people, including myself in the early part of my marriage; re-learn how to chew food in a civilised manner. Because the body of a human being cannot do anything without the control of the mind, I strongly insist that anybody who has made up his or her mind to change his or her irritating habits can do so. The body has no option than to obey the mind.

As engaged or married people, let us make our spouses happy, by listening to their observations and effecting the necessary changes in our irritating habits. May God bless your union with peace. Amen
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Charles Ighele
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