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October 27, 2020

Samra Zafar: Mental resilience during difficult times

Key note speaker Samra Zafar tells her story of how she  broke out of an abusive relationship and gives tips on building resilience during difficult times at Aurora Chamber of Commerce’s 2020 Women's Summit. 

 “It is your birthright to be accepted and valued for who you are,” 

Author of A Good Wife: Escaping the Life I Never Chose, Samra tells us that the game-changer for her was community and human connection. In her darkness, there was hope and good people around her.  Her key message; we need humanity and human connection to move through any difficult time and adversity. Let’s be kinder to each other and unite with each other. 

Community shone light into Samra's darkness. Doesn't this have you humming the lyrics to Indigo Girls Closer to Fine... "Darkness has a hunger that’s insatiable and lightness has a call that’s hard to hear".

This helped her build the courage and strength to make changes that would impact her children and so many others. Samra talked about the importance of strength training for resilience and building your emotional muscle. Choosing to act in times of fear is building emotional strength. 

Samra is blazing her own trail. While her path is messy and filled with setbacks she continues on. When things are tough, she stands in front of the mirror and gives herself a pep talk for the next step to help her keep moving forward. 

Samra's Tips For Building Mental Resilience During Difficult Times

  1. Sometimes dreams can feel lofty and unattainable. Keep your vision on your goal but your eyes on the very next step and keep going.
  2. Be flexible and water-like. Life is unexpected. The key is not to be rigid and resist change but be as water-like as possible and keep going. The more water-like you are, the more likely you are to flow through that bend, go through those rocks. You won’t be stuck. Change gives us a chance to grow. This pandemic helped Samra reflect inwards to figure out what her next path would be. After having spent time alone in Quebec her epiphany was "our power doesn’t lie in being in control of circumstances". A focus on controlling the uncontrollable causes anxiety. By being flexible and listening to our own voice, anxiety is reduced and good things inevitably follow.  
  3. Our biggest strength is each other. The right community is so important. Resilience is not individual, it’s collective. It’s about leaning into each other and rising together. It’s about humanity. Strength is having the courage to ask for help and support. Samra's community is her safety net that catches her and helps her propel higher. Samra's advice is to be authentic and be yourself so you can make genuine connections. Surround yourself with the right people. She reminds us, "when you are being told you can’t do it.. others are showing you their limits not yours". Let’s be kind to each other. Even if we can’t help someone, just stop and acknowledge.  We will come out of this together, stronger and more resilient.

"Women need to support women… instead of competing for the pie. Let’s work together so we get more pie."

Samra's Advice for Our Young Girls

  • Carve your own path.
  • Take risks. 
  • You don’t need to have all the answers. Take joy in learning and keep trying a bunch of things. You’ll find out what you don’t want to do. 

Samra's message around the power of community totally resonates with us! Her hope and determination are amazing. Thanks to Samra for her story and to the Aurora Chamber of Commerce for hosting today's Women's Summit 2020. Samra's book A Good Wife: Escaping the Life I Never Chose is on our must-read booklist. Get it now and let's share this message of community and humanity. 


Explore more insights on personal wellness from SWSCD:

Canadian High Performance Athlete Soren Meeuwisse builds awareness for RED-S Condition

Beauty From Ashes: A Conversation About Body Image

Esther Kearney: Strategies to build mental strength

What's Your Life Theme Song? - Dr. Jennifer Bolt



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