Simply Elsie

As you approach the end of a year you’ll instinctively analyse the last 12 months of your life. I’m sure 2020 will be an interesting analysis… Loved ones we couldn’t visit and in some cases couldn’t say our goodbyes to, job losses, business closures, loneliness, feeling “stuck”: you’ve had it all and never saw it coming!

Even though everything may seem gloom and doom you need to look forward! This is the last thing you’ll want to hear now, but the truth is: you’re not the first and won’t be the last to face adversity! You’ll need time to heal, but that won’t happen unless you look after yourself. You may think some help would come in handy, but no one will be as capable of helping you as yourself.

It may sound harsh, but don’t worry, this is me talking to myself. I’m sharing it with you because it has worked for me so far, who knows it will help you too. This may of course be a biased view, but if you’re struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel think about someone you’re inspired by. What have they achieved? How have they done it? Why was it so easy for them (or was it easy at all)?

It would take me a while to name everyone I find inspirational, but one particular woman stands out: Elsie Maud Inglis. When the First World War started Inglis was already an experienced doctor. She approached the British Army offering to serve in front-line hospitals (alongside other female doctors and surgeons), only to be told to “go home and sit still’. Well, did she? We wouldn’t be talking about her if she had. She persevered! Her offer was eventually accepted by the French Government!

Not only was Inglis’ offer accepted, she was given full leadership of a unit in Serbia, where she decided everything, including the colours of the uniforms! Her original 100-bed hospital soon increased to 600 beds. Her contribution was such that a memorial was erected in Serbia, where she is known as “the Serbian mother from Scotland”.

Needless to say that under war conditions hygiene wasn’t great. Inglis saw soldiers dying from war wounds and she also lost some of her staff to infectious disease outbreaks. Still, she pursued her dream. She did what mattered to her and made a difference to others, despite the challenging times.

I’m currently reading Elsie Inglis: The Woman With The Torch – her biography written by her sister. The more I find out about Inglis the more I admire her personality. Inglis “introduced” me to the suffragist movement, whose primary goal was to achieve voting rights for women. Contrary to the militant suffragette movement, the suffragists fought their cause peacefully.  Elsie Inglis passed away on this day in 1917.

Inglis’s experience is one proof that adversity can and will at some point be overcome. You just need to persist! Rejection is a tough pill, but don’t feel defeated. All it means is that your worth isn’t valued in that particular context. It will be valued elsewhere. You just need to persevere and keep looking. This goes both ways: would you want be somewhere you’re not valued? Of course not! So next time you face rejection, don’t feel bad. Simply appreciate having found out early enough that something wasn’t for you. Trust me: something better awaits you 😊

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