Friday, May 31, 2024

Peace is when I can express my heart and mind without guilt or fear of judgement. Leading an organization filled with individuals from diverse backgrounds in terms of age, education, geography, economics, mindset, and other aspects is no easy feat. Moreover, I was elected to this role during a low point in my life, amidst deep sorrow. In the past, I was a person with a rebellious spirit, burning ambition, and a thirst for validation from others. Of course, these traits have both positive and negative sides if I don't know how to manage them.
I once held the misconception that a leader must be perfect. For instance, leaders should not cry in front of others or express their emotions. This view was utterly wrong. In my early twenties when I was entrusted with leading an organization, I lost many battles against myself due to my inability to accept criticism. I feared abandonment and constantly felt like I was fighting alone. I convinced myself that I was okay with this situation, but in reality, my soul was fragile and far from okay.
I used to believe that intelligence was solely defined by academic achievements. I chased after grades to the point of neglecting my emotions. As a result of suppressing my emotions, I felt unprepared to face problems and challenges. I would often escape, drown myself in isolation, avoid people, and constantly blame myself.

As I've grown older, I've reflect on my past experiences, learned to accept myself, and embrace my strengths and weaknesses. I've begun to learn, and I must continue to learn, to express my emotions authentically. Of course, I'm not alone on this journey. I've found a support system that helps me grow every day through the ups and downs of life.
IoFC Indonesia's School of Reconciliation transformed my mindset. I discovered that learning about emotions significantly impacts one's personality development and that balance in all aspects of life is important. These are lessons I would never have learned in formal education. I've been studying them for the past four years and I believe that I must share them with others.
Nasyiatul Aisyiyah is a youth women's organization of Muhammadiyah (the largest Islamic organization in Indonesia) at the Garut district level. This organization has been a platform for my growth and development. As an organization composed of women aged 17-40 with diverse backgrounds, there will undoubtedly be conflicts. These conflicts will negatively affect the organization's progress if I do not prepare and work on my personal development.

My vision for this period (2022-2026) as the leader of PDNA (Pimpinan Daerah Nasyiatul Aisyiyah) Garut is to establish NA as a beacon of a women and child-friendly movement. Certainly, I hope that everyone involved will share the same vision that before changing the world, we must change ourselves. As an English proverb states, "Birds of the same feather flock together," meaning that groups with similar character and vision will always fly together.
Before helping others, serving the community, and inspiring many people, we, as agents of change, must first put our own houses in order and be willing to learn. I don't want to be an organizational activist who dedicates my life to helping others but feels helpless, fragile, and broken inside.
The collaboration with Creator of Peace Indonesia, through the leadership upgrade event in mid-May, instilled confidence in me. I believe that the leaders and members of Nasyiatul Aisyiyah will spread their wings of change and become agents of peace in their own right, starting with ourselves and then impacting our families, organizations, and the broader community.
This event marked the beginning of our reflection as individuals, as women, and as organizational activists. The event, packed with personal, small group, and large group reflections, serves as a reminder for us to continue learning and growing.
There is hope and a great opportunity to change the world, starting with ourselves. At the event, we reflected on how our roles as mothers, wives, and daughters define peace as seeing them physically and mentally healthy. As women, peace is when we can support and not judge other women, and when we can empower each other. Change is starting here!

Nawangsih Fillah
Chairperson for PD NA Garut

Editor: Ari Budi
Prooftread: Peter Heyes