16 Aug Reflecting on Women’s Day
Last week, we celebrated Women’s Day in South Africa, and to be honest, I felt rather down about being a woman. I’m usually excited to celebrate this day as its significance is something I never want to take for granted. However, with the current state of GBV against women and children, I’m feeling really despondent and find myself questioning whether there is, in fact, a light at the end of the tunnel. And it’s the little things I’d like to see changing like walking down the street without looking over my shoulder, not having a knot in my tummy when I am walking to my car in a quiet parking lot, etc.
I usually say to women we must continue fighting the good fight but I must admit, my fighting spirit is a bit tired at the moment. Let’s just say it’s “under construction”. And so, if we don’t have the energy to lead a march as the four icons did in 1956 backed by about 20 000 women, what can we do? For me, the following things come to mind:
Empowered women empower women
Society has always pitted women against each other but as women, as people, we are stronger together. Pull other women up with you – be intentional about helping other women and bringing women into spaces where you find you’re the only one at the table. Celebrate each other’s successes, connect each other to the right people and help where you can because, by uplifting other women, we uplift ourselves. Don’t ask for permission, just do it!
Practising radical self-love
Looking after yourself and prioritising yourself is important. It’s a way of fighting the system. So do it, unashamedly so! Fighting for our freedom is an inside and outside job – both are equally important. Embracing radical self-love means to love and care for yourself, while also accepting yourself as you are now. It’s also about accepting that you deserve good things in life and going after it is you want. And to love ourselves and believe we are worthy of our goals, involves unlearning behaviours and beliefs that tell us we are inadequate and inferior and replacing these beliefs with positive thoughts and actions. Just as you would pour into others, you should pour into yourself.
Own your shit!
Know what value you add and own that shit! It’s time to let that humble culture go. Give yourself the permission/licence to talk very openly and proudly about your achievements. This ‘keep your head down and someone will eventually notice you’ mentality served our grandparents but it’s no longer fit for purpose. You need to have a clear visibility strategy in place. How can you make others aware of the value you add, your ideas and your contribution? There, I said it! Own your magic and speak very openly about your magic. Don’t be shy. And don’t worry if others judge you. Believe me, when I started my confidence journey, I was often told I’m too boastful. There will always be the nay-sayers. Choose who you’re going to focus your attention on and don’t let negative people detract you. I’m here to say you have a licence to own your shit and let the world know about the magic of you.
Whenever someone talks to me about their achievements, big or small, the one sure question I’ll always ask them is “how did you celebrate yourself?”. And it’s always interesting to see how that question takes people by surprise. This is a big one for me, my fellow women – let’s normalise celebrating ourselves. We are so good at setting goals and milestones, we put plans in place to achieve these goals. And when we achieve our goals, we move on. The important missing step here is to complete the cycle by celebrating ourselves before we move on to the next thing. Not only does it make us feel good, but when we become clear on what we have done well, we can repeat that in other areas of our lives. We should normalise celebrating ourselves, as we do reaching for our goals. Have a brag list and force yourself to write something in this brag list once a week. Or capture it on your phone. Either way, celebrate yourself. It’s a great habit to build.