“Overcoming Adversity”…With Bonnie Henna

Bonnie & IIt has been a while since I wrote a blog. I had run out of inspiration or should I say the willingness to write. It is not because I have given up on writing my blogs. It is because of the adversity phase I was going through in my life. See, adversity has a way of dragging one down. So it happened with me, I felt like all my creative juices were drained out of my system. On the brighter side, the fact that I have managed to write this blog means I have fought and came out tops. That is why I am pretty sure that whatever you going to read here is going to motivate you as well.

Talk with BonnieThanks to a talk I attended on Saturday, 25 February 2012 – ‘Overcoming Adversity with Bonnie Henna’, courtesy of Mokgotsi Women Club. Bonnie Henna is an actress, a motivational speaker and a Spokesperson for Adoption Voice SA. When I got an invite I knew then that this was going to be one powerful event I just had to attend. The house was filled with like minded ladies who each had a positive outlook that read “all is possible only if you believe”. The atmosphere was filled with so much power. The ladies were on fire! As Bonnie was going through her speech I noticed so many smiles, nods, and giggling among us – the audience. I also took note of the attentiveness that reflected the willingness to hear, learn and then put into action the knowledge we acquired on that Saturday morning.

If I was a tape recorder I would publish Bonnie’s exact speech (word by word) here. But you wouldn’t really want me to do that! I mean seriously, it is one of those that stay in your mind for a very long time. All I can say is that she touched on primary issues/topics surrounding adversity. Briefly, she pointed out: Why we go through it; the dos and donts while in the process; the power of positive thinking; then Solutions! Solutions! Solutions!

On why we go through it:

Bonnie said we go through adversity phase so that we can learn something about ourselves. “Adversity produces. It squeezes something out of you”, she said. As you continue reading this blog you will realise that these words summarises her motivation on adversity. As creatures of habits and pleasure – she said – the adversity phase is meant to shift us a bit from our comfort zones. It is not meant to break but to make us. It is during this period that we get to learn more about our strengths as we get tested on different levels of our own abilities. This, we achieve as we fight. Fighting is so important because “adversity battles the territory we were meant to rule”. In the process of fighting we develop as individuals and become even stronger. Let me also put emphasis on the fact that she repeatedly mentioned that inviting God to take charge is so important. As a Christian, Bonnie believes that all burdens should be casted unto the Lord and He will help you through it all.

The DONTS…when viewing adversity:

“Stop being a victim”, she said. I like how she made an example of herself giving natural birth to her first born at home. What I find more interesting in her example is that these words: ‘Stop being a victim’ were uttered by her midwife at the moment she defines as ‘the most painful’. You see as much as the words sound so harsh and insensitive but they are very true. You know why? Because we like playing a victim role. When faced with a painful situation, we like to treat ourselves as victims, thus forgetting the main reason that brought us through the pain in the first place. Like in this case, baby was the reason Bonnie had to go through the pain. At that moment her midwife had to remind her that it was not about her feeling the pain – but ‘the baby’, she had to give birth to, was the focal point. So she stressed that we must be in charge, be a willing participant in order to overcome the pain. “You only come an authority after overcoming” Bonnie said. This simple means power is regained when you’ve won the battle. To keep this blog interesting, below I will put it in bullets form her main points on the ‘DONTS’:  Don’t run from the pain. There is something that is meant to come out of it.

  • Don’t avoid pain. You need to face it and deal with it in order to win the situation.
  • Don’t “why me”. It makes you passive and stubborn, then negativity pours in.
  • Don’t look for someone to blame. This alienates you from taking ownership. Opt for forgiveness. If you don’t, you allow someone else to own it.
  • “Forgiveness is a poison that gives you hope that it will hurt the other person”, quoted Bonnie.
  • Don’t shut it up.

The DOS:

  • Engage. Find the source. Take note of it so that you can be able to deal with it.
  • Be present. Escaping yourself from the situation will not help it to go away.
  • Open yourself to God with honesty. Don’t pick and chose what you should bring to God when you pray.
  • Take responsibility. Make yourself accountable.
  • Watch your thoughts.

The last point brings me to the buzzing word ‘positive thinking’ because that is where she emphasised it a lot. Our thoughts shape our presence and future – said Bonnie. I find this so important as it defines how we view our worlds. In other words, who we are is created by how we think. Bonnie mentioned that the messages that were planted to our minds while growing up play a role on our attitudes towards certain issues. Here she encouraged us to change our thinking by making positive thoughts dominant on our daily basis. This ‘positive thinking’ phenomena will boost your livelihood even after overcoming adversity because “negative messages leave on even after adversity”.


What to do:

  • Become a collector of good ideas.
  • Spend time with people who are moving towards your desired destination.
  • You need that ‘push’ force from them. And that is where you will get all the inspiration.
  • Drain out those negative voices in your head. Success is about what you choose to ignore.
  • Find yourself a Mentor.
  • Remain within the relationships. Don’t isolate yourself. God will send someone. Look out for that too.
  • Uplift someone.

May I please take this opportunity and send my complete gratitude to Mokgotsi Women team for organizing such an event.


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