‘You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise…’
Maya Angelou

I recently read an article where, in anticipation of Women’s Day, a young blogger decided to reflect and meditate on all the women who had made a lasting impact on her, detailing each encounter and explaining why she was grateful for the women in her life.

I was particularly struck by how she had managed to find personal motivation for celebrating women, instead of just posting a quote on Instagram or sharing a striking image on Facebook and moving along.
I must admit: I am guilty, like many others, of treating Women’s Day as just another public holiday; a day off from work and all other responsibilities; an excuse to sleep in, have a lazy breakfast and spend the day reading on the couch.

But taking a closer look at the true meaning behind the day, I was inspired to draw up a list of my own.
Here are some significant lessons I have learned from the intelligent, powerful, and wonderful women who have helped shape me into the woman I am today.

My Grandmother

Taught me to move through life with grace by giving back

She was a tall, strong, broad-shouldered woman and her presence demanded respect whenever she was in the room. But her face was gentle, and she was the epitome of dignity and grace (who was also known for the naughty twinkle in her eye and random outbursts of laughter, both qualities I seem to have inherited!).

My grandmother lived with our family until she passed away in 2016, and I was privileged to be at her bedside when she took her last breath. During the 25 years she spent in our home, she taught me many things – from cooking lessons to the importance of family, and how to forgive –but the most important thing she taught me was how to move through life with grace and gratitude.

‘Don’t take anything for granted’ she would say. ‘Your life could have been very different – remember to always give back.’

She didn’t only say these words, but instead lived by example and was well-known by every child and adult in our community. From the giant pots of soup, she would serve to the poor all winter long, to the clothing and blanket drives and exciting Christmas parties for the children whose parents couldn’t afford to provide them with a meal – she spent her life giving, sharing, teaching and above all, loving.
Through her actions, I learned that gratitude and giving back have a special way of teaching the heart to love.

My Mother

Taught me to stay true to who I am

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been seen as ‘different’. I never really fit in with the kids at school, I wasn’t into sports or art, I hated most subjects and always found myself daydreaming when I should have been focusing.

Looking at my brother and sister back then, I began to feel miserable. They both had loads of friends; they were doing well at school and between them, played every kind of sport known to man! I felt like an outcast – like I would never be good at anything, or ever find my true purpose.

When I went to my mom with these feelings, she had this to say: ‘Always remember that you are unique. You have something in your soul that nobody else in the world has to offer and you are the only one who can unlock your own potential. Stay true to yourself, don’t try to conform or be like the others. Never sacrifice your beliefs and values for anyone or anything and you will always find your way.’

To this day, I carry those words with me and apply them to my life whenever I feel lost, afraid, or as though I am not enough.

My Sister

Taught me the value of friendship

My sister and I are five years apart. Growing up, we were never really close because of the age gap, but as the years passed, we steadily began to grow closer. Today, she is a mom to two young boys of her own and as I watch their bond develop, I am reminded of how she taught me the value and importance of having one true friend – a person you can trust and rely on in every season of life.

I believe that there are no two people more honest with each other than sisters. Often, they choose not to spare your feelings and let you know exactly how they feel about something, which can be hurtful sometimes but teaches you something in the end. These lessons are invaluable.

My sister taught me how to be a true friend. She taught me how to really listen and give advice, how to hold space for someone in need, how to laugh from the deepest parts of my belly and how to truly share everything with love, care, and authenticity.

Now that I have drawn up my list, this Women’s Day I can reflect on these important life lessons and celebrate the women in my life with a deeper appreciation.

This Women’s Day remember to think about what the women in your life have taught you, and what makes you grateful for them.

With love,


Tell us what lessons the women in your life have taught you.

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