“What I want you to know”

Time brings wis­dom. So we asked four awe­some wise women to share the in­sights they’d love you to know.

Glamour (South Africa) - - News -

Wis­dom to live by

What I’ve learnt

My par­ents weren’t af­flu­ent and they worked hard all their lives, pro­vid­ing me with in­cred­i­ble role models, espe­cially when it came to char­ity. My mom in­stilled the be­lief in hon­esty, giv­ing without ex­pec­ta­tion of a re­ward and “there’s no such thing as can’t”.

I firmly be­lieve that any­thing can be achieved with de­ter­mi­na­tion and vi­sion, start­ing with the days when I was newly mar­ried and run­ning a small busi­ness in Joburg sell­ing bulk prod­ucts at whole­sale prices to the pub­lic, to years of fundrais­ing and or­gan­is­ing events.

I lost my son Brett and my hus­band Peter in un­timely ways, and I had to deal with cancer, but my years of never giv­ing up made me de­ter­mined that I would not see my­self as a vic­tim.

6 Things I’d love you to know

 Get ad­vice from your par­ents and close fam­ily. They’ve been through the univer­sity of life and only want what’s best for you.  Trea­sure your par­ents. One day you’ll blink and they won’t be there.  Move on from the past. Have you made a mis­take? Learn from it and then stop re­liv­ing an event that caused you pain.  Don’t stress about the fu­ture. It’s never pro­duc­tive, so rather tell your­self that you’ll deal with what­ever hap­pens when – and if – it hap­pens.  Know that to­mor­row is not promised. I lost my son Brett to a bru­tal mur­der in 2006, and my hus­band Peter to a sud­den heart at­tack nine months later. Both losses were so un­ex­pected, with no time for goodbyes.  Tell peo­ple how much they mean to you and thank them for what they do – now, when you have the chance!

3 Things you re­ally should worry about

 Your health: It’s your most im­por­tant pos­ses­sion, so make time to care for your­self, just as you care for oth­ers.  Your in­de­pen­dence: Keep on learn­ing and ed­u­cat­ing your­self, so you’re able to run your own life.  Your abil­ity to lis­ten: Re­ally lis­ten in­stead of think­ing about your re­sponse. It makes a huge dif­fer­ence!

And… 2 things you just shouldn’t give at­ten­tion to

 Things that are out of your control! Put them in a bub­ble and blow them away.  Peo­ple who talk be­hind your back: Ig­nore what they say and put your en­ergy into cre­at­ing a cir­cle of loyal friends in­stead.

“Al­ways tell peo­ple how much they mean to you.” –Denise Goldin, 71, phi­lan­thropist "Try not to keep re­liv­ing events that caused you pain."

What I’ve learnt

I grew up in the UK, with a mother who taught me to take pride in my­self and my home. She also taught me to cook and sew, which saved me a lot of money over the years!

I was a teenager when I started work­ing as a cler­i­cal as­sis­tant at an elec­tric­ity util­ity com­pany. I had no for­mal qual­i­fi­ca­tions, but I worked hard and got pro­moted, go­ing from fil­ing clerk to ac­count man­ager, which meant deal­ing with thou­sands of clients. I was a stay-at-home mom when my chil­dren were small, but I re­turned to work when my chil­dren were older.

Life be­comes more and more pre­cious with time and af­ter I was di­ag­nosed with breast cancer in 2001, my hus­band, John, and I de­cided it was time to re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate our lives. In 2003, we came to SA on hol­i­day. We fell in love with the coun­try, bought a house and moved here the fol­low­ing year. In ret­ro­spect, my di­ag­no­sis helped bring me to the place where I feel I be­long.

3 Things I’d love you to know

 Be pre­pared to com­pro­mise for your re­la­tion­ship. Af­ter 44 years of mar­riage, my hus­band loves me for my­self, but it’s al­ways a sit­u­a­tion of give and take. Last­ing love takes com­pro­mise – in­clud­ing the abil­ity to apol­o­gise when it’s needed.  There are many ways to be ed­u­cated. A de­gree is great, but it isn’t es­sen­tial. Com­mon sense, re­spect, cour­tesy and con­fi­dence will also take you far.  Lis­ten to your body, know your lim­i­ta­tions and avoid tak­ing on more than you can han­dle.

2 Things you re­ally should worry about

 Get­ting into debt. If you can’t af­ford some­thing you want, save up or ask your­self whether you re­ally need it.  Tak­ing care of our planet. It may seem far away, but what kind of world do you want to leave to your chil­dren and grand­chil­dren? Spread love and be en­vi­ron­men­tally con­scious.

And… 1 thing you just shouldn’t give at­ten­tion to

The past and any­thing that is be­yond your control. There’s no point in fret­ting over what you can­not change. By con­trast, you have the abil­ity to change the fu­ture by the way you live, right now.

What I’ve learnt

Grow­ing up in Kwath­ema, Joburg, I was the only girl and the old­est of three. As a re­sult, I was con­stantly in the spot­light, and ex­pected to set the stan­dard for my broth­ers, Nim­rod and Msweli. This put me un­der pres­sure, but it also taught me the ben­e­fits of hard work, as my par­ents were lov­ing, but tough about aca­demic achieve­ments.

My mother em­pha­sised strength, in­de­pen­dence and ed­u­ca­tion, and now I’m rais­ing my daugh­ters, Uzile, 12, and Se­sethu, seven, with the same fam­ily val­ues.

Af­ter school, I stud­ied in­dus­trial psy­chol­ogy and com­mu­ni­ca­tions, and dur­ing my fi­nal year, I had an op­por­tu­nity to temp at Boni­tas Med­i­cal Fund. That’s how I got into health­care. I’ve loved the field ever since, mov­ing through the few de­part­ments un­til I found my great­est pas­sion: work­ing on the client ser­vices side.

2 Things I’d love you to know

 No sit­u­a­tion is per­ma­nent. There are sea­sons for pain and sea­sons ➻

“Don’t take on more than you can han­dle.” –Ed­wina Rap­ley, 66, re­tired "Change the fu­ture by the way you live your life, right now." “Get up, get dressed and show up.” – Khabo Pheza, 40, Fed­health Ac­count Ex­ec­u­tive "You can't love any­one else without self­ac­cep­tance."

for joy, and chal­lenges bring your true character, so you can learn to shine.  Don’t give in to self-pity. Get up, get dressed and show up!

3 Things you re­ally should worry about

 Stick­ing to your guns de­spite peer pres­sure. That means know­ing your own strengths and flaws, and ap­ply­ing those so you can get ahead in your own unique way.  Learn­ing to love your­self. You can’t love any­one else without self-ac­cep­tance.  De­cid­ing to be happy. Feel­ing joy is a choice we can make ev­ery day.

And… 1 thing you just shouldn’t give at­ten­tion to

Get­ting old. It’s in­evitable, so em­brace it grace­fully. Just take care of your­self, try new things, and have fun along the way! “Don’t mea­sure your­self against oth­ers.” – Mma­batho Tofile, 41, client li­ai­son of­fi­cer at City of Joburg

What I’ve learnt

As a child, my years of grow­ing up were de­voted to school, chores and play­ing on the streets of Duduza, Joburg. Life be­came more chal­leng­ing af­ter matric, as my par­ents couldn’t af­ford to send me to univer­sity, but luck­ily, my brother, Te­bogo, came to my res­cue and sent me to col­lege to study tourism and hos­pi­tal­ity man­age­ment. Which en­abled me to ven­ture into open­ing a day spa.

My mother has al­ways been my an­chor. She taught me to iden­tify my weak­nesses and to draw on my strengths, and she took care of ev­ery­one with the lit­tle she had. Her ex­am­ple taught me that sac­ri­fice and per­se­ver­ance will help achieve your goals, what­ever your back­ground. My sib­lings also in­spired me enor­mously in the way they han­dled chal­lenges in their fi­nances, re­la­tion­ships and ca­reers.

I got mar­ried when I was 26. A year later, we lost our baby girl due to health com­pli­ca­tions, and I was di­ag­nosed with de­pres­sion. I suf­fered a re­lapse last year, and had to take anti-de­pres­sants and sleep­ing pills, which left me with ter­ri­ble side-ef­fects. Then, one day, I looked at my­self in the mir­ror and de­cided that I would not al­low de­pres­sion to take over my life. I ta­pered down the med­i­ca­tion and turned to my fam­ily, friends and part­ner for sup­port.

Now, at 40, I’m hap­pier than I’ve ever been. I’ve grown over the years and I’m proud of the as­sertive, ma­ture woman I’ve be­come. I don’t let things get me down, be­cause I put God first.

3 Things I’d love you to know

 Don’t mea­sure your­self against oth­ers. Self-ac­cep­tance is key to con­fi­dence.  Face your chal­lenges head on. They can only strengthen and build your character.  Let go of friends who don’t sup­port you or cel­e­brate your achieve­ments. You don’t need that negativity in your life.

2 Things you re­ally should worry about

 The trust you share with your chil­dren. Keep things open, so they can talk to you about sen­si­tive is­sues like drugs and sex.  Your phys­i­cal, emo­tional and men­tal health. If you don’t put your­self first in this re­gard, how will you take care of your fam­ily and your job?

And… 1 thing you should give at­ten­tion to

Cre­at­ing your own hap­pi­ness. Af­ter all, you are the mas­ter of your own fate.

"You are the mas­ter of your fu­ture."

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