Mind Power –Tap into the new sis­ter­hood

The re­la­tion­ship you have with your friends means the world to you. Here’s how to har­ness it so you can all reach greater heights.

True Love - - CONTENTS - By KA­BELO COLLIS

For many decades, pop­u­lar cul­ture has made us be­lieve women are out to tear each other apart; that women net­works are flooded with com­pet­i­tive­ness and are gov­erned by what has been termed the ‘pull her down syn­drome’, mak­ing it im­pos­si­ble for us to cre­ate strong sis­ter­hoods. To­day, this script is fast flip­ping, with more and more women build­ing pow­er­ful unions de­signed to as­sist and up­lift each other on both per­sonal and busi­ness jour­neys. The likes of Bey­oncé Knowles and Ser­ena Wil­liams, as well as Mzansi’s very own Baset­sane Ku­malo and Carol Bouwer’s femships con­tinue to re­mind us that girls do in­deed run the world. Friends and co-founders of ex­pe­ri­en­tial mar­ket­ing agency Cheri Yase Kasi, Tumi Mo­hube and Sun­shine Shibambo, at­tribute the grow­ing fe­male friend­ship cir­cles to the real­i­sa­tion of the im­por­tance of women sup­port­ing each other in or­der to suc­ceed. “We re­alised there’s no bet­ter and more pow­er­ful val­i­da­tion than one that comes from your ‘sis­ters’. Be­cause they, like us, un­der­stand the strug­gles, chal­lenges, sac­ri­fices and be­lit­tle­ment women have gone through and con­tinue to strug­gle with daily, just to be heard and seen. We un­der­stand un­less we form these sis­ter­hood net­works, we’ll never suc­ceed,” ex­plains the cre­ative duo. Ac­cord­ing to psy­chol­o­gist and in­ter­ac­tional the­o­rist, Au­drey Kat­sidzira, women to­day are ex­posed to dif­fer­ent cul­tures. This has led them to re­alise the many shared strug­gles they have with other women – hence the grow­ing de­sire to unify. “To­day’s fe­male as­so­ci­a­tions are pow­er­ful, women not only learn about each other but

ex­pe­ri­ence each other’s jour­neys, which in­creases em­pa­thy among them. Unity has be­come im­per­a­tive and a force to be reck­oned with be­cause, de­spite dif­fer­ences in cir­cum­stances, women still face sim­i­lar dif­fi­cul­ties.”

Life coach No­mase Son­qishe ex­plains that sis­ter­hood is not a new phe­nom­e­non. Women have al­ways gen­er­ally been col­lab­o­ra­tive in na­ture and most grew up ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the power of the fe­male col­lec­tive, re­gard­less of where they are from. “Grow­ing up in black com­mu­ni­ties, whether ru­ral or ur­ban, the power of the fe­male as­so­ci­a­tion was al­ways ev­i­dent. From the un­or­gan­ised women col­lec­tives, who came to­gether to as­sist in their com­mu­ni­ties when there was a wed­ding or fu­neral, to the or­gan­ised stokvel as­so­ci­a­tions whose main pur­pose was to build women fi­nan­cially – sis­ter­hood was al­ways there.” Son­qishe be­lieves to­day’s mod­ern women who are pro­fes­sional go-get­ters con­tinue to pos­sess this sis­ter­hood power, com­ing to­gether in a dif­fer­ent con­text to col­lab­o­rate and share the load in their jour­ney to­wards suc­cess.

BUILD A SOLID FOUN­DA­TION

Com­mon in­ter­est and needs are what Son­qishe says should form the ba­sis of such net­works, as well as a sense of in­spi­ra­tion that will as­sist in the pro­gres­sion of your per­sonal jour­ney. “When peo­ple have the same life or pro­fes­sional ob­jec­tives and goals, their re­la­tion­ships be­come stronger.” Kat­sidzira agrees, stat­ing that mu­tu­al­ity is a key foun­da­tion of suc­cess­ful and mean­ing­ful sis­ter­hoods. She adds, sis­ters should al­ways demon­strate the abil­ity to tol­er­ate their dif­fer­ences. “It’s im­por­tant for sis­ters to al­low each other the op­por­tu­nity to be them­selves and un­der­stand that they may not be able to ap­prove all the de­ci­sions made by their friends. This is an area where a lot of us women strug­gle, as we often want our friends to be ex­actly like us.” The psy­chol­o­gist fur­ther ex­plains that, even though hav­ing com­mon in­ter­ests is part of form­ing solid friend­ships, it’s im­por­tant to un­der­stand we’re not the same, and that’s okay.

Tumi and Sun­shine, who are af­fec­tion­ately known as the ‘Cheris’ in the cre­ative in­dus­try, ex­plain that love, trust, hon­esty and con­stant sup­port is what keep their sis­ter­hood flame burn­ing. “The tran­si­tion from be­ing friends to sis­ters and then busi­ness part­ners had its own chal­lenges and truly tested our friend­ship. But, be­cause the foun­da­tion of our sis­ter­hood has al­ways been strong it made it eas­ier for us to trust each other with our dreams – know­ing that we will con­tinue part­ner­ing to­gether and sup­port­ing each other.”

MAIN­TAIN A HEALTHY BOND

Kat­sidzira be­lieves be­hav­iour is nei­ther right nor wrong, but rather ef­fec­tive or in­ef­fec­tive. “I en­cour­age the prac­tice of non-judge­ment and gen­uine­ness as a ba­sis for in­ti­mate fe­male friend­ships.” She shares fun­da­men­tal guide­lines that will as­sist in build­ing and so­lid­i­fy­ing such bonds:

1. Be your­self. De­spite the dis­com­fort, at­tract those peo­ple who are drawn to the qual­i­ties you pos­sess. Let hon­esty and in­tegrity govern your union.

2. Be will­ing to live with­out other peo­ple’s ap­proval. Many find this to be really hard be­cause as women we are re­la­tional be­ings who thrive on ac­cep­tance. How­ever, you can­not present a fake ver­sion of your­self to the world. It’s drain­ing.

3. Em­brace the dif­fer­ence each sis­ter brings be­cause a dif­fer­ent ap­proach is not in­fe­rior, it’s just dif­fer­ent. Have em­pa­thy for other women and prac­tice com­pas­sion.

4. De­velop trust. Choose peo­ple whose en­ergy you con­nect with to sup­port and demon­strate that they can de­pend on you. Son­qishe says that for such re­la­tion­ships to be suc­cess­ful, women need to shift their mind-set on global and cul­tural be­liefs of what women can and can­not do and achieve. “This will as­sist in un­der­stand­ing and defin­ing the roles we need to play in each other’s lives, al­low­ing us to fully utilise the power we have as a col­lec­tive in or­der to suc­ceed.” It’s im­por­tant for women to start cre­at­ing mean­ing­ful con­ver­sa­tions through our fe­male net­works. “These sis­ter­hoods should give us in­spi­ra­tion on how to get to the next level of our lives. It’s equally vi­tal for us to track our progress as friends against our pur­pose and life ob­jec­tives.”

Tumi and Sun­shine at­tribute their femship to con­stant com­mu­ni­ca­tion and loy­alty.“It’s about har­ness­ing and ap­pre­ci­at­ing each other’s strengths and weak­nesses as well as un­der­stand­ing how we both add value. When the one is weak or feels over­whelmed, the other needs to be­come the sup­port struc­ture. We never com­pete but com­pli­ment, be­cause when one sis­ter wins and suc­ceeds we grow stronger.” Es­sen­tially, Kat­sidzira con­cludes, friend­ships of­fer a safe base for women to de­velop freely. “Be­ing able to sup­port one an­other means women aren’t afraid to see other women suc­ceed, and this en­cour­ages us to cel­e­brate all that we are.”

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