“I wish someone had told me” is a series of posts that feed into our inquisitive nature at CN&CO. Each week we hear from someone in our network about something interesting or surprising that recently happened or occurred to them – or lessons they learnt. These blogs are a way to pay it forward and form part of CN&CO’s belief that the world can be a better place – and we all have a responsibility to make it so. This week Vumokuhle Ntanzi (from CN&CO partner the IISA) reflects on life and dealing with difficult situations and how you react to these.

It is so interesting how so often we quickly respond, “I am ok” when asked, “How are you?” My favorite is “I am great”, after which I quickly reciprocate with the same question and dismiss sharing anything further.

The other day I realised that my response is now so normal even to those who sincerely care about me. I realised this when my brother asked, “How are you, sis?” three times and I couldn’t pretend anymore. Thank God it was my brother on the other end of the phone because another person would have regretted asking…

After our long conversation, which comprised crying, screaming, pausing and reflecting on a lot of things as he was listening, I realised how ok it is to be broken because you are then able to put the pieces back together differently. Putting back the pieces only happens after realising and accepting the brokenness.

My conversation with my brother happened not long before a session with a life coach.

You know when you cry to a stranger who just told you, “You look stressed”, basing it on whatever he saw. Then he just embraced me with a warm hug and I end up letting it all out. After a super long cry, I remembered I am in the office and I left my makeup bag at my desk and most of all, I just met this person, yet he could see my brokenness.

I’ve never cried so much in my life on a stranger’s shoulders!

After this long cry, I laugh at myself with the thought that a stranger could pick up the brokenness I’ve masked to even myself, thinking it is important to be strong in order to maintain a level of sanity, maybe also for my children and my loved ones.

I had to accept that it is ok to be broken when I heard that my cousin committed suicide because he couldn’t talk about his brokenness.

I had to realise the importance to admit brokenness when I got a message that a friend I was arranging to meet soon had had a stroke and her whole right side is now disabled.

Sometimes we experience things that cripple us, yet somehow put them on a shelf at the back of our minds – which is not healthy and can even be deadly.

If not dealing with brokenness doesn’t literally kill, it invites resentment, bitterness, anger, discouragement and a whole lot of other poison to the body, spirit or soul.

My journey of putting back the pieces differently after accepting my brokenness is accepting my mistakes, moving past regret and not letting my past move me, loving myself regardless, being the greatest mom to my children, being honest and doing my best in what I believe is right.

I have no regrets about my past and never apologise for being me.

I try my best not to entertain impatience, which can lead to saying things out of emotion and using people as emotional punching bags.

I owe it all to realising that being broken doesn’t mean being weak, but seeking new strategies while picking up the pieces.