Fara Dilla Samsudin, 35, is a “Women Empowered” self-defence instructor at Gracie Academy Singapore. What started as a hobby turned into a calling to empower women of all ages through the art of self-defence. As someone who has worked on independent philanthropic campaigns, Fara uses her social media platform, @looqisan, to reach out to women who are going through personal struggles. She believes that empowerment comes from within and shares some lessons she has learnt throughout her journey. She shares some of the lessons that have impacted her on her path:

Be kind to yourself.

At times, I am my worst critic. I become harsh on myself, thinking it would humble me. Instead, it resulted in low self-confidence. I’ve since learnt to give myself recognition and pat myself on the back for little goals I’ve achieved. I now make it a habit to tell myself affirmations such as, “You did great today”.

By learning to be kinder to yourself, you will be better for others.

Set boundaries.

Boundaries are a great way to take care of ourselves. When I started understanding how to set and maintain healthy boundaries with other people, I was able to better avoid feelings of resentment, disappointment, and anger that built up whenever limits were pushed.

Your personal space should never be compromised, regardless of what people may think about you. Establishing boundaries can be challenging but it is also very empowering.

Choose your battles.

Recognising which battles aren’t worth your energy is important to be successful in life, as fighting unnecessary battles may leave you feeling drained of emotional and mental energy.

Find your own principles, and let them guide your judgement. There were times when I chose to fight for something I thought was worthy, but soon realised I had been holding onto things that didn’t matter. Don’t lose sleep over something you can’t change or doesn’t concern you.

Get comfortable in saying (and respecting) “no”.

Many of us grow up feeling obligated to say “yes” to almost everything, especially when requests come from people we know. We may feel awkward rejecting someone, even when it causes us discomfort. I felt that way until I learnt that saying “no” could bring me peace.

It does not necessarily mean anything negative, rather it is a way of respecting yourself. We need to normalise saying “no” without guilt, and in return, we need to also respect other people’s “no”.

Your happiness is your own responsibility.

While it is nice to rely on friends and loved ones to comfort you, ultimately you are in charge of your own happiness. Don’t depend on people to make yourself feel better, it’s not on their to-do list. When we understand that our happiness is our own responsibility, no one has the power to make us unhappy.

You can’t pursue something without leaving something behind.

Leave your past, failures, unhealthy habits and toxic relationships behind. It can be hard initially, but use them as fuel for you to become a better version of yourself. For you to work on achieving your dreams and goals, you need to divorce yourself from people or things that drag you down.

Let go so you can rise.

Not everything is a competition.

Ever heard of the quote “A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it, it just blooms”?

While competition can be healthy and is proven to nurture inquisitiveness, I  stand by my belief that when someone is doing better than me, it isn’t a competition but proof that it can be done. We need to celebrate others’ wins as if they are our own.

Not everyone will like you (and that’s okay!)

I’m quoting this from my favourite motivator, Lisa Bilyeu, founder of “Women of Impact: “There are people who don’t like you because they haven’t heard your side of the story – be okay with that.”

I 100 per cent agree with this statement. As humans, we are not perfect and we can’t live up to everyone’s expectations. We will have people talking behind our backs or not believing in our methods. They may or may not know the struggles we’ve gone through to get to where we are, but the key is as long as you like the version of yourself, no one else really matters.

Make mistakes.

The fastest way to learn and improve is through making mistakes. I have made a lot of blunders – from small decisions like my Starbucks order to life choices such as choosing who I should let into my life. However, there’s always a learning opportunity and a chance to make things right. Take every mistake as a learning experience to be better and never be hard on yourself.

Empowered women, empower women.

I met a lot of women from different walks of life even before I became an instructor. Most had dreams similar to mine – to be empowered while empowering others. We created a support system, to learn not only about the art of self-defence but also how to stand up for ourselves and others.

After all, when women support each other, powerful things happen. We are stronger when we cheer each other on.

This article was published on Jan 12, 2022

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