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Opinions of Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Columnist: Kobina Ansah

Once bitten, never shy!

Kobina Ansah Kobina Ansah

By Kobina Ansah

People can be ungrateful, I know. For some consecutive times, a particular group of people can treat us so badly. It’s hard not to say, as a woman, that “all men are same,” sometimes? I know. Our bad experiences may lend credence to this; other people’s experience, too.

However, remember that just as you may wrongly generalize people, so may others wrongly generalize you. Just as you may think that all men are bad, so may another ill-treated man assume all women are bad. But… is such a generalization true? Of course not.

Our experiences are based on who we meet. That is why it is so wrong to stereotype. Coming into contact with one bad nut doesn’t mean every nut on this Earth is bad.

Your experiences, whether good or bad, should help you make some vital decisions in your life. However, you should not generalize every situation you may encounter with regards to your past experiences.

If you went down a particular road, for instance, and got bitten, it doesn’t go without saying that every time you go down that same road, you may have that same experience. Your bad experiences should teach you vital lessons. They should not change you. You are not your bad experience!

I once read a news piece about this young woman who had had five children with five different men and on each count, the men promised her marriage. I gaped. Did she learn her lessons at all?

Our experiences should teach us lessons we shouldn’t ever forget but it shouldn’t change our perception of people. You see, after her first experience, she should have learnt her lessons. Unfortunately, she didn’t.

When we were kids, I was once given a hot chase by a neighbor’s dog after forcing my way into their home. After that harrowing experience, I grew up with a particular feeling towards every dog? hatred and fear. But come on, not all dogs were bullies. Some were actually friendly to hang around with.

With time, I learnt my lesson? don’t barge into someone’s home uninvited! Much as I tried, I did away with that hateful feeling towards every single dog I met down the street. Our bad experiences should not make us feel everyone would treat us like someone did because they bear their names too or even have the same profession. Learn your lessons. Don’t stereotype people!

Draw a thick line between your lessons and your perception towards others. When we allow our bad experience(s) coerce us to generalize situations and put people into stereotypes, we miss out on golden opportunities, trust me. When we permit our unfortunate experience(s) to define us, we never live life to the fullest.

We become paranoiac. We suspect everyone around us. Our bad experiences may forever control our thought patterns if we allow them to. They’d prevent us from ever taking new chances or opportunities because of fear or bitterness. They’d hold our lives back.

Your bad experiences should make you learn your lessons, I repeat. Forgive the people but don’t forget your lessons. Life is always not the same. Having an unpleasant experience with a particular group of people or tribe, for instance, doesn’t mean every single person who belongs there would treat you same. When we stereotype people, we hardly get the best out of them.

The fact that a man treated you badly doesn’t make all men evil. It’s very unfair to regard all men as same because of what just one or two of them did to you. Don’t be all bitter about marriage because a woman mistreated you. Don’t take a revenge on others because of what another did. It’s such a pain to let go of your bad experience but it’s even more painful to let strangers pay for what they did not do to you!

Can you imagine if every employer insulted you in the face because an employee once hurt them? That’s exactly how it looks like when we become all bitter towards others for what they even know nothing about. Treat others as you may have others treat you.

The good man that lives inside of us is like the indelible spots of a leopard. The kindness that sits in our hearts is like how our names have been etched on our minds. We are originally born good. Our experiences make us go bad.

Just as we can barely forget our names, so can we barely let go of the good being in us. Don’t exchange the good inside for a bad experience. Learn your lessons but still be a good person. Don’t stop doing good because someone didn’t appreciate it. Your bad experiences should not change you. They should not define us. No matter how harsh the rains are, they can’t wash the leopard’s spots. Be good in spite of all the bad that has been hurled at you.

Don’t regard every day as bad because one was. Our past should not contaminate our future. We are not our bad experiences! It’s hard to be the good person you were until your bad experience came. However, you can’t let others change who you really are. Learn your lessons but don’t let them get in the way of how you perceive or treat others.

Be that good man always. Don’t let anyone take way your kind heart, young woman. No matter how many times people return your goodness with ingratitude, still do good to others just because they need it… not because you want something in return.

Learn your lessons. However, don’t make others pay for those lessons. Every person or opportunity you meet is new. Don’t mess it up with your bitterness. Yes, be cautious but… don’t be suspicious. Once bitten, not twice shy but… never shy. Happy Easter holidays!

The writer is a playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications (, a writing company based in Accra. Get interactive with him on his Facebook page, Kobina Ansah.