What Resilience Taught me?
When I felt the call to start Light For Angels in December 2016, I remember how passionate and excited I was about our mission. The feeling of knowing I could make a difference in the world and saving lives was so amazing. I felt a sense of purpose although I was at a point in my life where I have accomplished a lot: got a master’s degree in civil engineering, got a job, immigrated to the USA, etc. The idea of impacting women’s life in Cameroon, empowering and helping them see beyond an unplanned pregnancy, and actually achieved their dream was my bread and butter for almost a year. I dreamed Light For Angels, talked only about L4A, googled everything I needed to know about starting a center, drafted a lot of different things from our mission and vision to our business plan, reached out to friends, acquaintances, strangers, emailing a bunch of people to share with them my great idea and seek their help.
As you can imagine, I moved from high excitement to burn out as I realized not everybody liked the idea or was not that passionate about the mission. From my friends who “abandoned” me along the way, to a deacon in church telling me L4A will not work because I am not a nurse and I live far away from Cameroon. From close friend who brought me fake cases of women in crisis and ending up being a scam to pastors asking me to reach out to organizations that actually promote abortion in Cameroon.
I crashed, I cried, I got mad at my friend, I got mad at Jesus. I did not understand why he would give me a mission like this and not provide help and make my path easier. I was jealous of other organizations having board members, volunteers, fundraising events, funding and most importantly the number of women helped was increasing day after day. I was comparing my situation to others. So I stopped working actively for the mission, I took a step back and asked myself: how can I ask a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy that she needs to see beyond her current crisis and I can not practice what I preach? How can I ask a woman to be strong when she is rejected by everybody in her surrounding, has no place to stay, no money, and is pregnant and I can not be strong when facing struggles that come along with starting an organization? What example am I setting for these women?
I decided it was time to be resilient, it was time for me to keep moving forward no matter what. “Give up” must not be part of my vocabulary anymore. I shall persevere and I must remember what was told to me by Barbra Mwansa, founder of Association For Life of Africa (AFLA), “Even if everybody abandons you, God will never abandon you”.
According to Lexico.com, Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. Resilience for me is the ability to develop a mindset that is stronger than what you face in the world, it’s telling yourself: “ I can do it, I am able to do it and the present struggle is only there to train me and give me skills that I never would have had otherwise”. These are the few lessons learned from being resilient over the past few years:
- You are better than what you think or what you tell yourself
- Asking for help is not a sign of weakness and nobody should be ashamed of not knowing what he/she does not know
- Sometimes taking a break is more helpful than trying to fix a problem right away. A break is a renewal process and we all need it
- Do not extrapolate a situation or make it worse than it is by creating scenario in your mind
- Nothing in this life is easy, nothing
- It is better to preach by example than by words
- You need to have a support system, people who believe in you and are always there to uplift you and give you a “Pep Talk”
- If your work does not draw you closer to God then something must be wrong especially for an organization like L4A
- Coming back home and by home I mean the first reason why you started the work you are doing; is where you will find the strength to conquer every situation that comes your way.
- Who is/are your model (s)? Do you have any? And if you do follow their path, read their stories, there is at least one person in this world who has overcome what you are going through, Be inspired by them.
- Your Goal is your Road map without a map it is difficult to know where we are going and how to get there.
- Maps are on a piece of paper/app, hence your goal should be written too
This post was written by Blandine, L4A founder