A Eulogy to Myself

Written because I am no longer waiting for other people to define me

Toyin Zuleiha
Published in
3 min readDec 19, 2022


Photo by Julia Larson via Pexels

In my attempt to define myself through the eyes of others, I often wondered what people thought of me. Do they think I am kind, compassionate, giving, and supportive?

I even went as not so far as to imagine what they would say at my burial. This thought goes to show how much I yearn to hear kind words about myself, words I might only get when it is too late for me to hear.

We are all too busy to even give a thought to how people make us feel. We are too caught up in our world and problems to appreciate them that only when the halting hands of death grab them do we snap into awareness, and it dawns that they are gone forever.

‘I am a selfish person,’ I said to a friend I had just met a few years ago, regurgitating what I had heard all through my childhood. Trying to manage her expectations, but it went south as she always saw my actions that way — selfish. I learned a lesson. Never sell yourself short because some people will believe you.

My friendship with said person got me thinking a lot. I loved her, and I was there as a friend. I am always eager to spend time with them, to listen to them, to support their career and interest, to give valuable advice if I had one, to make sure they don’t feel less of themselves, to insist they show up as their authentic selves around me because I expect nothing less.

But I found a way to still believe I don’t give a lot to my friendships because I have not had a lot of money to give them. I could not afford the most lavish gifts or empty all of my nonexistent savings when they needed a financial favor.

With the rate at which people’s mental health is on the decline and people are struggling not just because of their physical and financial state, I have finally seen the value of what I bring to the table, It is so priceless, the true value can’t be measured.

I now understand how important kind words are, the reassurance and comfort you gain from a listening ear, the courage a friend’s vote of support lends, and the companionship of a genuine heart.

So I am toasting to me, not waiting for others to define me, to not seeing myself through other people’s lenses because I might not be able to afford your aso-ebi for your wedding, but I am the compassionate friend you can count on.

I may not be able to afford the most lavish gifts for your birthday

Or take you to exotic places for vacation

But I am the friend who would listen to you,

Who would give you a vote of my support even when your husband thinks your pursuits are stupid?

I am the friend who insists you show up as your authentic self, with no need for performance or pretense.



Toyin Zuleiha

I like to expand your perspective and world view with my words. How To Put Yourself Out There on Social Media- https://skl.sh/3HOaxr4 course #ZuleihaXpressions