"Beautiful people, believing I am enough is an important part of a healthy relationship with myself. Those of us who stand firmly in this belief can be mentors and provide support for others. Those who struggle with this self-belief can seek mentorship and support from communities like this. In building on progress already made, let's hold each other up, let's affirm each other."
We are quoting our guest speaker on our RC's Women's Day 2022 celebration, Sindiswa Calana, a people development and relationship systems practitioner.
Sindiswa is no stranger to some of Stellenbosch University's women and was the obvious choice when the organising committee needed someone who could give that more profound meaning to the theme of "Just Be".
Her "peanut gallery", which keeps her entertained, she says, is also the source of her (and many of us) self-imposed limitations. She encourages people to understand and embrace their inner voice (or voices). "Acknowledge the critic when it comes up. Do not let it doubt your abilities or diminish your confidence. Ask the question: how is it trying to be helpful? Extract the useful information, thank your inner critic for raising some valid points you need to consider and then move on from it. Don't let this "imposter syndrome" sow seeds of self-doubt."
While dealing with her inner critic, on the one hand, Sindiswa encourages us to diligently train our cheerleader voice – the one who encourages you to "be you" and to believe in yourself. "You have to train this voice – like a muscle, so there is no chance for self-doubt to take over."
"Why can't I get the conversation with that person out of my mind?"
"Why does so-and-so seem to think they can make decisions for me?"
"Why did I react so strongly when that person made that remark?"
For Sindiswa, it was a pivotal realisation for her when she realised that many of her frustrations are not about "them" but "her" – "me". The role I've assigned to "me", how I see myself, and the extent to which I exercise agency in my life.
"My relationship with myself is a critical lens through which I view and make sense of the world. The more I understand myself, the better I can own my actions and advocate for myself from a place of self-understanding in a world where it is easy to get lost in the noise from out there – by what standards we should live by, the definitions of self and what we should regard as important. My journey led me inward and to realise that investing in my relationship with myself is not selfish. It is an act of self-love."
Her question to us was: "What is your relationship with yourself, and how does it support you in just being? And remember, to "Just Be" means different things to different people."
One thing she noticed in her life is how easy it is to be kind to others yet be quite hard on yourself. "Each person in this room has overcome, jumped over hurdles, persisted. The women who marched to the Union Buildings would grin from ear to ear looking into this room," Sindiswa said.
She said that when one believes she is enough, she can easier permit herself to be. "In our 21st-century lives, it is easier to be swept away by doing, doing and doing. Our world makes it incredibly easy to be human doings rather than human beings."
That is where self-care comes in. "Being a giver by nature, I realised that giving brings me joy and does not leave me feeling empty. So, I've identified and intentionally engaged in what makes me smile, what makes my heart skip a beat, and what fills me with inexplicable joy. Knowing these things enables me to own that replenishment: it equips me to tell others what I need."
Sindiswa said self-care is no grand gesture. It should be a daily discipline. "To "Just Be", I am grounded in my relationship with myself and believing I am enough; it gives me permission to "Just Be", and self-care fuels the engine for all of it. Tap into that power and let your lights shine – encouraging others to turn on their lights too."