11 years ago, I moved in to live with my mum in Nottingham as I was in huge debt, single and unemployed. This picture of mum was taken the day I moved in. She welcomed me with open arms and didn’t judge me, she simply loved me.
This had a huge impact on me and slowly but surely, I regained my self-worth and value as a human being. She was there to welcome me home after a day’s work and would sit with me as we ate and watched TV together.
I made many mistakes in my life and each time mum was there to comfort me and protect me. This time was a bit different as my second marriage had failed and I had spent all my money, I was unemployed, and I was 56 years of age.
My life was over
It looked like my life was over and I ended up painting and decorating just to get by. I did this for 4 years and my mum was a huge support always there to lift my spirits and to comfort me. I’m not sure where I would be right now if it wasn’t for mum.
7 years ago, I was very fortunate to discover some principles and techniques to develop Mental Resilience which have completely transformed my life. I am now in the wonderful position to help others develop the ability to handle stressful situations more effectively and to overcome challenges in their lives.
Today we celebrate Mum’s 98th birthday
Mum is very special and this weekend it’s her birthday and she is 98 years of age. She is still as positive now as she always has been. As many of you will know her favourite phrase is ‘think happy and you will be happy.’
We have arranged a surprise birthday party for her, and my brother Richard and his wife Adele are driving up from London to make it special. Julie has bought lots of sparkly things for the table and room with a nice helium birthday balloon.
This positive mindset has kept her spritely for her age and I know from all the research I have undertaken there is a huge correlation between positive thinking and health. Many studies have shown that when we are more positive, we are healthier.
I have found that our thoughts affect the shape of our cells and also affect our DNA. Things are going on when we think negatively that we don’t yet understand. The more we discover the more we understand the importance of positive thinking and optimism.
What a great example she is
My mum is a great example of Mental Resilience. As a young girl she was captured together with her family by the Russians and sent to Siberia. She lost both her parents in Siberia and she and her three siblings became orphans. The stories she tells of the horrific things she has witnessed and experienced are truly shocking and hard to believe.
Yet she is a gentle, forgiving person and has no hatred in her. She has a strong faith and that has helped her greatly over the years. She loves people and only has nice things to say. I have never heard her say a bad word about anyone.
The importance of forgiveness
Forgiveness is so difficult when we have been hurt yet if we don’t forgive, we only hurt ourselves more. It was described to me this way. When someone hurts you intentionally or unintentionally you spend days, weeks or sometimes years stewing over the situation, getting angry and upset releasing cortisol and adrenaline into your body.
These stress hormones cause untold damage to your body and mind. There is great damage you are causing yourself as you continue to dwell on the harm someone has caused you. But here is the kicker – the person who hurt you hasn’t given it one single thought since the incident.
You get hurt again and again
So, you are suffering while they are blissfully getting on with their lives totally unaware of the anger and hurt you are carrying. Who get’s hurt in this situation over and over again? It’s not them, it’s you! They caused the damage but by not forgiving them you are damaging yourself over and over and over again.
I know it’s not fair but if you don’t forgive you will continue to hurt yourself again and again. My mum has the right not to forgive all the people who hurt her and her family, but she has chosen to do so and because of that she had lived a peaceful happy life bringing up three children and helping all three of us along the way.
Thank you mum
Mum I thank you from the bottom of my heart for teaching me forgiveness and the importance of a positive mindset. You have demonstrated over and over again that maintaining a positive attitude helps you get through the challenges of life with a smile on your face and a skip in your step.
You are a huge influence on my life, and I can just hope that I can be half the person you are.
I love you now and forever.