Who Is Yangki Akiteng – I Know Who I am

So many experiences have shaped my character, worldview, outlook on life, ideas about collective humanity, and how I co-exist with all beings and nature itself. But nothing – and nobody – has had more influence on my person as where I was born and raised, and the people who helped me take my first steps on this journey that we call life.

I was born and raised in one of the ‘poorest’ parts of Africa. Herbert D. Prawius says it better when he wrote:

“Life has for the most part remained unchanged for thousands of years. Western technology, medicine, dress culture, and Christianity, found in varying degrees throughout Uganda, have made virtually no inroads among the Karimojong. Geographically, ethnically, and politically, Karamoja is, for all practical purposes, a country within a country. For better or for worse, the land and its people remain a vestige of pre-colonial Africa”.

So poor is Karamoja that even the very poor people in Uganda call this the “poorest part of the world”. But as they say: “One man’s concept of poverty, is another man’s concept of gracious plenty“.

Deep inside my soul, this is who I always want to be… always will be!

As materially deprived as my background was, growing up in this part of the world was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. No pretenses, no trying to impress anyone and no need to appear to be who we were not. We had one very basic qualification for belonging — being a human being with strengths and weaknesses, blessings and struggles, and individual talents and individual faults. This is where I learned to be a simple human being living my truth among other simple human beings living their truth. Deep inside my soul, this is who I always want to be… always will be!

Looking back, no amount of money or material possessions would have given me a solid foundation from which to step out into the big world with so much love in my heart and a big wide smile on my face. I am sometimes asked what I am always smiling about, and I just say “LIFE”. I would have never in my wildest dreams crafted a path more rich in life experiences — lessons, blessings and opportunities — as the one I have walked this far. For that, I will forever be grateful to God.

This is how love gets our attention – how we get out own attention

My primary attachment style is secure – thanks to an upbringing with multiple nurturing caregivers. The African saying, “It takes a village to raise a child” is not just a saying but a reality for most Africans. There is a socio-economic and attachment element to this, but because most African children are raised to seek comfort and care from multiple secure caregivers, they mostly grow up calm, trusting and not resistant to being loved and cared for. Something I’m forever grateful for.

The flip side of my African upbringing is that there was so much pressure then for a woman be married before 20 years of age. At the age of  27, you’re considered “too old” for marriage and children. I felt the pressure to get married but I also wanted a post-grad education, go places, be someone who made a difference and just do me, so I rebelled and found myself a dismissive avoidant. It felt like I had to choose between “being me” and “being in a relationship”, I chose me. But being primarily secure, I struggled a lot and as a dismissive avoidant ex, I didn’t handle relationships and break-ups well.

For many years I ran, I hid and I broke hearts, including my own. But it’s true that there is nothing like the desire for true love to awaken in us the desire to understand the fullness of ourselves, to reconcile the conflicts within, to heal the emotional wounds, to adjust and become the best we can possible be. This is how love gets our attention. This is how we get our own attention. This is how the God/universe gets our attention.

It took me a trip to my native village for me to figure out why my existence had become superficial, empty, meaningless and depressing. Why my job in International Development felt like I was doing work that looked like empathy and compassion but felt like exploitation; and why I felt that I was not fulfilling my purpose in life. This was the only place in the world that I felt safe to just be me.

I made the decision to quit my job in International Development and rid myself of the toxic people in my life. After much inner work, amazing things started happening in my life. At some point (I don’t recall when), I must have become aligned to my life’s purpose because men and women, young and old, friends and total strangers almost instinctively started telling me about their relationship problems. Sometimes it was “you seem like a really nice person, can I talk to you about something'” Sometimes the conversation eased into relationship problems. And sometimes, I’d over hear a conversation and step in with some advice. At first I thought my ability to help others was a result of my many years of relationship problems, but as I continued my “healing and growth process”, it became all crystal clear, this why I was put on this earth.

This is one of the reasons I had chosen to pursue a degree in Psychology. I know that now, but I chose Psychology because I thought I enjoyed learning about why people behave the way they do and do the things they do. I also now know that there was a reason I had to go through the “school of life”. Raised securely attached and feeling loved, accepted and valued, I had no concept or idea how others struggle with being loved, accepted and valued, how they struggle with trusting others and feelings of isolation because of the things they’ve been through. I took these things for granted, and needed enough personal practice (really great and really bad relationships) to be able to walk in others’ shoes, take them by the hand (literally), help them be their best selves and be able to love and be loved for who they were. I can do this, not because I’m “better” than the people I help, but because I am “them”.

What I learnt from my relationship struggles

The school of life has taught me that life provides us with all we need to accomplish our role in the big design of things; to support and help others, to live fulfilled lives and to experience true happiness.

But many of us waste a lot of time and effort wanting to be someone else but ourselves; looking for our passion and our life’s calling everywhere and anywhere but within, and we keep looking and never really being able to find it; all the while the clues lie around in the most obvious places.

Trust me on this… if you want to find those answers, you will.

They may not be the answers you expect or want, but they will be what you need to know NOW in order to manifest and unfold into your own greatness. If you honestly open up your heart and mind, you will see that even the “bad” experiences in your life are there as stepping stones to your greatness, but only if you step on and rise above them.

I always say to my clients, if it happened to someone like me, it can happen to you! You just have to want it badly enough to do whatever it takes.


Dismissive Avoidant Ex – Why I Came Back To An Ex (My Story)