In the year 2017 I did a fine job of using enzymes in an analogy to explain the nature of our interactions in the post If You Don’t Belong Don’t Be Long.

What are enzymes?

Firstly, if you don’t know what enzymes are or what they do, you can learn here. They help speed up chemical reactions. Enzymes are specific, they require a specific pH and temperature in order to do the things that need to be done and they are complementary to the shape of the substrate. Substrate is more or less the substance that the enzyme will work its magic on. (My IGCSE Biology teacher would be so appalled)

Anyway, we move on, there is a lock and key mechanism at play. Not just any old enzyme can catalyze the reaction of starch… amylase is needed for that. (Hopefully I have redeemed myself now) When you are stuck at home for extended periods of time, you really do get to thinking. I thought, there’s more to enzymes and their correlation with self development.

How do enzymes mimic our relationships?

Hopefully, I haven’t lost you, you know how enzymes are a shape that is complementary to its substrate? I feel that we are complementary to the people we allow to stay our lives. Pray tell, what gives us our different shapes? We are shaped by our past experiences and traumas and the extent to which we have dealt with said trauma.


Allow me to illustrate with a fictional character called Frieda. Frieda grew up in a home where it was never “that function”, it was dysfunction. She watched her mom receive the bare minimum after doing the most and she would get an earful from her other family members for ever having an opinion or a voice. This dear specimen grew up thinking her contribution didn’t mean much because she would get berated for offering her two cents. Fast-forward to the future…Frieda gravitates towards people who don’t value her because they fit in with the narrative she’s told herself for the past couple of years: that her voice and her contribution don’t matter. People who listen? Acknowledge and appreciate her? They simply do not align with her brand.

I never understood why people stay in awful situations, but now I am getting a bit of a clue.

Be mindful of your mindset

We accept the love we think we deserve.

Stephen Chbosky

If you do not value yourself, you will feel comfortable around people who do not value you, it is a familiar environment that complements the idea you have about yourself. If you believe you are the bees knees, you will not settle for the bare minimum and this allows you to filter out the people who think otherwise.

What do you need to do

Firstly, you need to identify your “shape”. This is basically the ideas you have about yourself, your mindset and the like. I did this little exercise to get me started.

  • Get a blank sheet of paper and write your name in the centre or at the top.
  • Write down all the things you believe about yourself. (The good, the bad, the ugly)
  • Identify the individuals who have had a significant impact on your life.
  • Next, connect the dots! Who exactly made you believe what and when did it happen?
  • Finally, how did it change your outlook on life/ relationships/yourself

Upon reaching this point you will be able to gauge the type of people who complement your brokenness/trauma.

It does not end here, the next step is to realize that a familiar environment does not equate to a healthy environment, just because it feels normal to be talked down and undermined, does not mean that it is normal. Here is the good news folks! You can change your mindset and attract better for yourself, you can change your shape.

Aggressively attack those mindsets, counter them with the truth. Think about how much God values you! Here is a link to a list of wholesome verses to remind you of who you truly are. It is good to remember change doesn’t happen overnight and you are not alone on this journey, if you allow Him to, God can walk you through it.