Most life lessons are often acquired through time, interactions with others, growth and even through mistakes. As I transitioned into womanhood I would often spend time pondering and reflecting on the lessons I learned throughout the years. Even at this junction in my life, I have learned a lot. I also realize that the growing pains of life are not easy for us all. Some of us struggle more than others, and perceive our life’s mistakes as insurmountable. Often times our genetics, personalities, environment, friendships and families have a huge influence on how we perceive who we are and our experiences.
I have also realized over the years that many of us, especially women as a collective, often have the same concerns, hopes, dreams and even obstacles. My mother was a catalyst for this realization as she would often recite the following phrase to me when I was younger; she would often say: “I was a child before I grew up”. She would most often say this when she wanted to encourage me to heed her advice. She was a big believer that although experience is a teacher, it may not be the best teacher in every circumstance. My mother would often tell me that there are some things that women had to be self-protective about and when possible learn from the helpful experiences of others. Over the years I have found that to be true and believe that it is important for individuals when possible to share their stories, testimonies and life- lessons with others. I myself try to share when I can, small pieces of advice that include emphasizing the importance of “developing a relationship with God, self-love, patience, being of service to others and not taking ourselves so seriously” with the young women I encounter. These pieces of advice were both things that were told to me and lessons I too learned over the years. Sharing these pieces of advice with other women has been so liberating and a way that I am able to pay it forward in the spirit of the verse which says “to whom much is given, much will be required.”
Some weeks ago I posed a question to a diverse group of women. I asked them:
different personal and professional backgrounds, I was very curious about what they would come up with. During this process, I also found that each of them when approached expressed how thrilled they were to have the ability to “pay it forward” by sharing some life lessons they had learned.
Manage Your Emotions
“Advice that was given to me by mother: We all have strong and powerful emotions. The trick is learning how to not always act on them. Emotions can guide you but they shouldn't the driving force behind your behavior.”
Elizabeth M. PhD, Nurse Practitioner San Francisco, CA
Wait For What you Deserve
“Be strong enough to let go and be wise enough to wait for what you deserve—Live, laugh & love!”
Elizabeth Olade, Registered Nurse, New York, NY
“As a young Nigerian female immigrant, I wished someone would have paired me with a mentor or life coach to help me better understand/navigate race-relations in America. In High School, I struggled with bullying and all sorts of name calling from my fellow African-American mates and instead of trying to understand where such hatred stemmed from, I subconsciously disassociated from it and labeled it as "their" problem. However, it soon became my problem too because I harbored similar stereotypes.
Although I knew the media played a significant role in shaping both of our consciousness, what I didn’t understand was how deeply embedded this was in our social schema. A mentor would have helped shaped an idea of creating a "Diaspora" type club in High School to address this problem by shattering stereotypes, bridging our history/lived experiences, increasing our self-esteem and most importantly, promoting peace. Today, I plan to do this through an upcoming initiative LEPA (Leading Everyone to Participate in Africa).”
Deborah Chat Dauda, MA/MPH, Los Angeles, Artist, Educator and Activist
“It is most important that a young woman loves herself unconditionally. With this unconditional love, she will learn more about herself, which will enable her to better value her mind, body and spirit self. Her self love should lead to her taking better care of herself; being more self aware of her mind, body and spirit. With all this unconditional self-love, she is bound to attract healthy, loving relationships. It is from the foundation of self love that creates a well balanced woman, which leads to a well balanced relationship and a well balanced family.”
Jadah Parks Chatterjee, B.S., R.N, Registered Nurse & Wellness Coach, Los Angeles, CA
Pursue Positive Relationships
“Take risks, connect with people and get to really know them because you’re not suppose to try to figure out what you’re going to do with your life by yourself.”
Hannah Olade, Career & Education Counselor, Los Angeles, CA
Think before you Leap
“You’ll meet a lot of people who have an opinion about what you should be doing with your life, they’ll present it like it’s wiser than what you’re doing, sometimes who have to ask yourself why haven’t they done it before you make a leap.”
Jessica Muro, Registered Nurse, Los Angeles, CA
“I would tell myself "work hard but don't forget to play hard" Yes it's true the rent needs to be paid the car needs gas but what fun is it to spend all that time putting a roof over your head if you can't enjoy the time spent under it. Make spending time with loved ones and having a little fun as high of a priority as making money.”
Ethel N. Odiakosa, Pharmacist, Palm Springs CA
Ethel N. Odiakosa, Pharmacist, Palm Springs CA
Seek to be Inspired
“With life’s busy schedule try not to miss out on the people and things you care about. We are called to be more than just ambivalent or apathetic about life. Seek to be inspired and surround yourself with activities, people and places that inspire you. Life is too short not to.”
Tiffany Chioma Anaebere, Physician, Oakland, CA
"I wish someone would have divulged to me in love to stop and smell the roses; and not be so eager to run this life's race so quickly"
~Audra Rene Houston, Los Angeles, CA, Author, Entrepreneur & Educator
Take Risks & Invest in Yourself
“Take small risks which might cost you a small amount of money or a moderate amount of time. Study abroad. The time you invest in your interest won’t throw you “off-track” and will be work while.
Basirat Alabi, PhD, Research Psychologist, Los Angeles, CA
Learn From Your Mistakes
"Take one breath and step at a time. Enjoy each day that life has offer. Celebrate the victories, learn from your mistakes, but DO NOT let them define you. Above all, have fun!”
-Ugochi Anaebere-Nicholson, Attorney, Riverside, CA
Savor Each Moment
“Focus on the present and savor each moment. Life always works itself out.”
-Sharee Anzaldo, Registered Nurse and PhD Student, Los Angeles, CA
I hope the quotes shared were impactful and that you too begin to ponder what healthy life lessons you can share with others. Indeed women collectively coming together to share wisdom can be powerful!