Have you ever criticized another woman at a store, on the beach, or in a cafe because she was a woman? Perhaps you despised her at the time because she appeared to be more gorgeous and thinner than you? Or perhaps you despised her parenting because her children were misbehaving?
Jessica Honegger, author of the book, Imperfect Courage, was once in a similar circumstance in a shoe store. Another mom was out shopping with her children, who were creating a racket, generating noise, and crashing into merchandise. But, as Honegger was falling into critical thoughts, she remembered that this could have been Honegger herself, with her own children, on a different day.
Rather than passing judgment, she began to play with one of the youngsters. She also struck up a conversation with the mother, who revealed that she had recently relocated to Texas from Egypt. Honegger noticed that the mother was doing her best, juggling daily responsibilities while adjusting to a new life. Honegger also learned at that time that if women are to construct a better world, they must look at each other with compassion and understanding rather than judgment. Sisterhood is essential for women. And, at its finest, the Sisterhood may be an unstoppable force.
Jalia Matovu, Honegger’s Ugandan partner, employed fresh women for her workshop in Uganda once Noonday took off. Nakato, for example, was frequently bruised on his face and torso when he arrived at work. Matovu suspected domestic violence but didn’t know what to do about it because she was clearly disturbed. Matovu felt enough was enough when Nakato came at work injured to the point of being unable to open her eyes. “You will assist this woman!” she exclaimed as she gathered her strength and headed down to the police station, demanding an arrest.
Matovu couldn’t afford to pay the cops to persuade them to intervene. What she lacked in financial resources, she made up for with sisterly persistence. So she made the decision to go to the police station every day until they took action. She kept showing up day after day, until the cops could no longer ignore her. Nakato’s spouse was apprehended and imprisoned thanks to Matovu’s efforts. This simply goes to show that when sisters decide to stand up for one another instead of standing back, they can do incredible things.
We are all aware that the globe has various issues, ranging from rural African girls’ education to urban poverty in the United States. However, the size of the task can be frightening at times. We keep focused on our immediate surroundings — our work, our friends, and our family – since it can seem hard to fix the world’s problems.
But the truth is that just because you can’t make a significant contribution doesn’t mean you can’t help. Dee, a friend of Honegger’s, welcomed Ugandan girl Rachel to her house a few years ago. Rachel needed significant brain surgery, and while a charity had arranged for her to be flown from Rwanda to a hospital in Texas, she would need a local foster family to care for her after the surgery.
Dee didn’t have much time or money as a busy mother, but she had a large heart and volunteered to help. Dee had never met Rachel before, but she had spent nights in the hospital with her. For 18 months, she took her home, washed her, breastfed her, and was her companion and foster mother.
During this time, Honegger herself was particularly busy with work commitments, and she felt a little guilty that she couldn’t do much to help Dee. One day, while grocery shopping, Honegger realized that just because she felt unable to make a large contribution, she could still help. She loaded up her cart with groceries and goodies and dropped them off at Dee’s house. From then on, she just kept doing the same, week in, week out.
This story teaches us that even though we can’t all perform great things like Dee, there is always something we can do to make the world a better place. So, what are your options? You don’t need to flip your universe on its head. Consider how you could make a little change in your daily routine that would have a positive impact on the planet. If you’re a photographer, for example, consider donating to Heart Gallery, an organization that creates and displays captivating photo-portraits of adoptable children in order to help them find parents. If you’re an accountant, you may volunteer to help a local charity with its finances.
You have the power to make a difference in our world, no matter who you are or what you do. Make use of it. When Honegger’s daughter was a few days old, she revealed that she wanted she could put the baby back inside her among the grueling turmoil of having a newborn. Honegger’s doctor advised her to give the baby to her own mother and rest. Honegger felt much better after five hours. The task of parenthood remained daunting, but it seemed more achievable.
You can’t always be there for everyone; you’ll burn out eventually. It’s critical to set aside time to care for yourself, so here are some helpful hints for avoiding burnout, including how to pace yourself and take a break.
The first step is to meditate. Meditation for Honegger is simply 10 minutes of expressing her worth in front of God. “In your presence, I have nothing to modify, mend, or prove,” she has found a mantra that she repeats to herself until she believes it. So take ten minutes out of your day to tell yourself that you don’t need to be lighter, more hardworking, a better mother, or anything else than who you are right now. It will serve as a reminder of your own worth.
The second point to remember is to be present. Allow your children, husband, or friends to unplug you if you, like many others, find it difficult to put down your phones and truly interact with those around you. Honegger turns off her phone when she comes home and stays that way till the next morning. Her children have authority to hide her phone if she is caught disobeying the guideline. They’ve only forgotten where they stashed it once so far.
Finally, acknowledge and appreciate your efforts. When Honegger asks her Noonday ambassadors what there is to celebrate on Facebook Live, she isn’t looking for numbers; she wants to hear about the new girl who overcame her fear to lead her first sale, or the teammate who took the risk of missing out on short-term sales to recover properly from an illness. Work is deserving of praise because it is effort that yields results in the long run.
It’s pointless to reach where you want to go in life if you’re not in one piece when you get there. So look for yourself. You will thrive, and you will be able to contribute your best efforts to a world that is constantly changing.
Many women are aware that there is something more gratifying out there. But, rather of pursuing their deepest wishes for a meaningful, impacting existence, they retreat to their safe havens. Huge opportunities await us if we can get the guts to venture out into the world, afraid yet hopeful. Stop allowing fear to hold you back and embrace your courage now.
So give it a shot. Remove some of the bubble wrap that has encased your life. Enrolling your children in a public charter school is a good idea. Shop at a grocery shop where you’ll meet folks who aren’t like you. Make friends with foster families and people from all walks of life in your neighborhood. If you try to remove some of the bubble wrap from your life, you’ll discover that you’ll not only learn more about the world, but you’ll also be better able to contribute to making it a better place.
Check out my related post: Why do we feel guilty?