Dear World Pulse Sisters,
From the time I announced that I will be one of the speakers to my preparation period to my Aspire speaking schedule, you were there!
As I mentioned before, when I applied as a speaker, I didn't expect to be shortlisted nor be chosen as one of the speakers. All I did was share an idea: A Revolution of Encouragers.
When I received the news that I was one of the speakers, I didn't expect that there will be World Pulse sisters who would attend the conference. A shoutout of thanks to our beloved Jill Langhus for promoting the event on World Pulse and Facebook and for securing 100 passes for World Pulse! Thanks to Dawn Arteaga, too, for reaching out to the Aspire Organizers to grant speakers free passes (since we were not paid to do the talk).
It's my joy that World Pulse sisters could attend to learn from the other speakers and to expand their networks. What I didn't expect was the all-out support you showed when it was my time to speak. Days and hours (and even minutes!) before my talk, I received a flood of messages from the World Pulse team, World Pulse Ambassadors, and Encouragers.
It was already close to 2AM in our country when I finally got to speak. A special shout of thanks to World Pulse sisters from India, Philippines, and especially Australia for staying up late (or early?). I couldn't see anyone while I was talking, and I wasn't able to open the Zoom chat messages. I only knew after my talk that a lot of our World Pulse sisters were actually there!
You have given us a precious gift: YOUR TIME.
THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart to every sister who showed support, gave encouragement, offered help, cheered us on, said a prayer, helped promote, and God knows what else you did to make our Aspire Reinvent talk a SUCCESS! There are so many of you! Just thinking about how much you went out of your way to make Hawwah and I feel heard, seen, and celebrated means so much!
It was you I had in mind, dear sisters, when I mentioned these words,
"An African Proverb says, 'it takes a village to raise a child'. I say it takes a COMMUNITY OF ENCOURAGERS to heal a traumatized woman. It takes a COMMUNITY OF ENCOURAGERS to empower a silenced woman!"
I cannot be convinced otherwise.
I was once that quiet child who was too afraid to utter a word; who from my teenage years battled recurrent depression, and who found comfort by hiding inside my shell. I silently dealt with triggers caused by series of traumatic events that got worse through time. Prayers and journaling helped, but it was through sharing my stories on World Pulse and receiving encouragement that I found confidence in my abilities, and eventually learned to process healing.
Thank you, Encouragers. You are a huge part of my Aspire breakthrough and my reinvented life as a whole.
A few hours before my talk, one speaker took a poll of how the participants feel about themselves. There were a lot of choices: I am happy, I am worthy, I am enough, I am getting there, I am not enough, and so on. I chose, "I am happy" because I feel the World Pulse love across shores and timezones. I thought the majority would answer the same, but the top answer was, "I am not enough".
Come to think of it, Aspire was a gathering of women leaders, CEO, business owners, artists, authors, and other powerful positions you can think of, but the majority feels, "I am not enough". Oh, how society succeeded in breaking us! I used to be that woman, but between the feeling of not enough and being happy, even in downtrodden times, I know today I AM HAPPY. It's because I belong to a community of encouragers.
As I said in my speech, studies show that we can retrain our brains to be happy, and one of the activities we need to do is offer a random act of kindness every day. In that study, researchers asked participants to send someone a positive message. Or in our definition, a message of encouragement. DAILY.
For someone who battled with extreme loneliness, hopelessness, and helplessness (depression), to finally say I AM HAPPY with peace in my mind and heart is a huge breakthrough! In fact, this is not happiness, this is JOY.
Truly, a woman needs more than one encourager, but a community of encouragers. I'm grateful that more sisters are uplifting women on World Pulse.
Let us continue to help women feel heard, seen, and valued. Let us normalize encouraging and start a revolution of encouragement!
Thank you again and again and again and a thousand times more, World Pulse sisters. Let's keep healing more women through the power of encouragement! Let's invite more women to become encouragers!
P.S.I treasure the solidarity of the World Pulse sisterhood. Another Aspire event will take place in December, this time our sister Busayo Obisakin is one of the speakers! Let's hope and pray Aspire will grant us free passes so we can cheer on her as you did for Hawwah and me.
P.P.S.There are a lot of challenges we face today, especially those in Africa, this is the best time to show up and encourage one another. Please join us tomorrow, October 30, 2020, at our Encourager Party, 2PM UTC.