By Celesté Louw

I have always found it interesting that one’s self-perceptions can differ so significantly from how we are perceived by others. It is so easy to compile a long list of our weaknesses, but somehow our strengths take a lot more consideration and pondering. Is it okay to give ourselves ‘permission’ to be great? Should we disregard our concern for being perceived as conceited?

Recently I’ve been seeking answers as to how the CASO project has affected me personally. Yes, our very worthy aim is to improve health, wellness and well-being in South Africa through a multi-faceted, capacity building approach. But in doing so and working through the process with a diverse group of people, this project has also profoundly affected my personal growth and view of life in general. Being exposed to actively collaborate with such an extensive variety of people have taught me some valuable lessons:

  1. Every single person’s contribution is valuable in every situation. It is not always easy for all to speak their mind for various reasons, but when we speak and others actively listen, it somehow validates your presence in the group. Appreciating diverse contributions strengthens confidence and group cohesion.
  2. Believing in yourself is not so hard. We should have some excitement at the prospect of self-development. To change and grow is often painful, but always worth it. For example, it is really fine to have a fear of public speaking (that is – giving presentations ☺), it does get better in time.
  3. Encourage others to be the best version of themselves. It is so easy to look at people and not see them. We all have had our own struggles and life experiences, which really makes us the beautiful person we are. Recognise and treasure those experiences you witness in others. Give compliments and acknowledge a job well done. Be mindful of how others perceive you.

I am now using these personal lessons when developing material for our online learning module which I hope will encourage participants to ponder these same facts. Even more than that, I have internalised these lessons and made them my own so that I may live my truth. I am certain that the profound impact this project has on me personally will ripple out to those I am in contact with.

“And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.”

—Marianne Williamson

One thought on “Personal growth via international collaboration

  • 28 March 2018 at 21:11

    Beautiful reflections, Celeste! Thank you so much…


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