- The best thing for me and everyone that I love is to put me first– It is no secret that I am a people pleaser but to give of myself I need to have of me to give, not putting myself first has affected me and my loved ones adversely. As long as I can remember, I have always put people before me. I am the first to volunteer to arrange anything from a baby shower to birthday party. I remember a time when I was running from one event to the next to make everyone happy. I had become completely exhausted and depressed because I had nothing left of me for myself and was spending all of my energy on everyone else. Obviously, I had made it my duty to please everyone and I kept telling myself that loved ones should come first. The truth is that I have to come first in order to be able to give the best to my children and the people who I love. My entire life I have made decisions based on others. I have stayed in the wrong situations for people, instead of getting out of these situations for me. This has been a tough year for me and I have had to put my foot down, put myself first and stop giving my all at the detriment of myself and others around me. Once I began making decisions based on me first, I suddenly was in a happy space and everyone around me was suddenly happier as well. When I put myself first, I have more to give and I am living a fulfilling life and those closest to me benefit greatly. Putting me first is not being selfish but rather being fair. This for me is still a work in progress because I am quick to put others first, but I have taken leaps in the right direction and definitely am getting better every day and I am constantly making conscious choices and decisions that put me first in my life.
- I can no longer keep the wrong people for me in my life– The truth is you become like the people you choose to share your company with. I had a number of toxic people that were in my life and they were not good for me at all. I made bad decisions because of the company that I had been keeping and I was putting the wrong people before myself and before the right people. I have had to put my foot down here and keep it down. If people are bad for me, then they do not belong in my life. It is important to be the best me that I can be and anyone who does not allow me to be my best or keeps me from achieving my goals is not worth having in my life. It is not being a bitch, it is being real and painting the picture of my life that I want without being distracted.
- I cannot allow people’s opinions and judgement on other people to stop me from getting to know someone– I formed opinions on one person in particular based on what others had said about this person. I took the time to get to know the person for myself and realised that I had been wrongly informed and misguided. I cannot allow other people to form my opinions because it is not fair, and I could end up not missing out on having good people in my life, this would be absolutely tragic. People are entitled to their own opinions, I am entitled to form my own. I have also stopped listening as people start speaking in a negative or nasty way about others. I don’t care what people think about other people and if it is nasty then I don’t want to know. Like mom always said: “if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it” and most importantly don’t entertain it when people are mean.
- No matter how hard I fall or however terrible the situation seems, it is only as bad as I allow my mind to make it– As I mentioned, I have had a hard year so far. There have been big obstacles and I have had to make huge changes and hard decisions to make. When I have been at my lowest my mind has somehow seen the light at the end of the tunnel. I remember years back, sitting in a Doctors room, feeling miserable, sick and very sorry for myself when I noticed a book on the table. I stood up and bent down to pick up the small white book with navy blue writing on the cover. It was a book of “feel good” quotes. I read “Don’t forget to sing in the life boats”. Suddenly I felt like a I was being a real brat. In my mind I pictured a big ship sinking, people were standing with orange life jackets over their shoulders and fastened around their waists. They were being helped into life boats, some crying, some screaming and some pushing and shoving. I pictured one man with chubby, rosy cheeks, dark hair and a beard sitting in one of the boats. The man began to sing in my mind and suddenly the storm seemed distant and people were instantly relaxed and calm. You create the reaction to a situation and only you can control your reaction and how you deal with it. Breathe, think and then react in best way for you. Always see the light even in a dark night.
- In business and making money, thinking outside of the box and not limiting myself is the way forward– I have learned that there are many ways to make money and to make business work. I have had to diversify my thinking and seize opportunity that really are everywhere. The future is bright and there is so much opportunity to take advantage of if I just stop limiting myself and get out of the box. Thinking outside of the norm and paving the way to a successful future is what I have learned to do.
On this special day, that would have been the father of our rainbow nation, Madiba’s centenarian birthday, I have chosen three of Mandela’s quotes for us to live by.
The very wise Tata (which means father) said many monumental things but what made him such an incredible man was his actions, he united our country and brought peace when it seemed impossible. Madiba changed the world, built our nation and put peace and his people first. Truly an unbelievable hero who’s footsteps will remain in our hearts and on the ravishing landscapes and surreal orange sunsets of South Africa and the world forever.
The first quote I would like to remind you of is: “Action without vision is only passing time, vision without action is merely day dreaming, but vision with action can change the world.”
Mandela was truly a man of action and vision. His vision was to “eradicate racism and establish a constitutional democracy”. He sure had his work cut out for him in a very angry and divided country. He set aside his pain and anger and set out to make his dream a reality and save our beautiful country from its past pain. May I always have the guts to action my visions and may my visions always be positive and make a difference to those around me.
The Oxford dictionary defines his two key words as follows:
Vision: the faculty or state of being able to see, the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom, an experience.
Action: The fact or process of doing something, typically to achieve an aim.
Decide on a vision and make it happen. What do you want to achieve? Picture it repeatedly and make it happen. You are in control of your destiny. Focus on your goal and make it a reality. It is said that happiness is found through helping others, it is truly fulfilling.
My second Mandela quote of choice is:
“We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference.”
If you think that you are only one person and you cannot make a difference, remember our Mandela was once a child born in the tiny village of Mvezo, Eastern Cape who was to become a world-wide hero and change the world. My favourite quote by Gandhi is “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. Change starts with you, stop complaining about things and start doing and being the change.
The final Madiba quote that I have chosen on this significant day is:
“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”
You cannot control everything that happens in your life, but you can control how you deal with what happens. The bottom line is your thoughts and words become your life. Focus on what you want, control your mind, banish negative thoughts and create your own fate. Attract what you want and make it your reality. If you fall, get up. If you make a mistake, learn from it. Leave the past behind you and paint the future you want. Choose your company wisely and surround yourself with the right people for you and your plan for your life.
Start your new chapter today, be the author of your own book, train your mind and silence all thoughts that are not proactive to what you want in your life.
Change starts with YOU!
For such a long time I was completely suppressed by the situation I was in and I allowed people to affect my mind space. The most destructive effect of this negative mind space was on my health. There was a time when I found myself ill every day. Eventually I suspected that there was something seriously wrong with me. I was physically ill every single day. I would literally throw up every day. Fear of some or other dreaded disease set in, and I was wasting hours daily thinking what could be wrong with me, google of course had everything for my symptoms and mostly terminal illnesses popped up. I was spiralling into an unhealthy negative hole that I had created through my own bad decisions. The cure for all the possible diseases that I had thought of was as simple as sorting my head out.
Today I am walking with my head high, loving the feeling of the warm golden-yellow rays of the fiery African winter sun on my face. The South African winter sun shines brighter and warmer than the South African summer sun. If I take a moment to soak in the golden sun’s warm radiance, in the midst of the Fierce, piercing winter wind which chills to the bone, I realise that I don’t even notice the venom in the pitiless wind. In my mind the almost prophetic and luminous sun shadows even the cruellest and most remorseless wind. The winter sky is crystal clear and bright blue, not a cloud or haze can be seen because with the bite of the winter wind, comes the clear blissful sky, that only it can bring, as it clears all dust and pollution as it howls across the dry Joburg. It is in the heart of harsh, bitter Joburg winter that I realise how positivity flows through every vein in my body.
I am truly proud of how far I have come and how much the bad times have taught me. The greatest truth that I have learned is that I create my own reality. If I allow negativity to consume me, then it will consume every part of my life, my mind, my body and even my health.
When I learned that I hold the greatest tool of all, I began to learn how to use it and it was right then that I opened the door to the true positivity and amazing things.
Let me break it down for you. My mind was polluted with rubbish, how could I be happy and healthy whilst my mind was in the trash? The answer is I couldn’t, I was completed focussed on the trash. In order to see the sun shine through the polluted sky, I had to get rid of the pollution, “throw out the trash” – so to speak. Secondly the mind is an incredible thing. What you imagine, comes to light. If you imagine you are sick, you shall be sick. If you imagine being healthy, so shall you be. The mouth too is a powerful tool, if you speak only bad things then that is what you will get but if you speak good things even when your ship is sinking then good things will come your way. Start small, think about your life and what you want to change. For example, you aren’t making ends meet and your bills are piling up. Think about financial freedom, think about how you will feel and picture you what you will do when you achieve it. Most of all picture it in the present, own it in your mind and it will become yours.
Your mind is able to paint incredible pictures, visualise exactly what you want and see it in your mind’s eye and fixate on the beautiful vision you have created in your incredible mind. Speak it, say it out loud. I have learned that the tongue is a very powerful thing. If you say you are broke, so shall you be. If you repeatedly say “why me? Why are things so bad for me? Nothing ever goes right for me?” Do not cry when nothing goes right for you! You are speaking this into your life.
Just before you think that I think you are an idiot for speaking and imagining bad into your life, let me say, I have done it, many times. I would constantly think about how difficult a certain time in my life was and it would become more difficult. Looking back, it was really not that difficult in the first place. I was choosing to see the bad and ignore the amazing parts at the particular time. I am here to help anyone in the situation which I found myself in.
When I started writing, it was out of passion to help people and this is one of the most incredible tools that I can pass on. Stop thinking negatively and expecting a positive outcome. You are completely in control of your thoughts and thereby you are completely in control of your destiny. Get your mind out of the rubbish and into the light. Start making things happen in your life by making it happen through your thoughts, imagination and words. You can change your life right here and right now, so what is stopping you? Be who you want to be, go where you want to go and be the writer of your book.
Take out the trash, before you drown in it. Invite good things in, open your eyes and watch your tongue. What you speak and what you imagine, will be what you get. Start today on a brand-new canvas and paint your perfect world with your imagination. See and speak your desire into being and stop limiting yourself with your own mind. Do not allow negative thoughts to creep in because you are having an off day or not yet where you want to be. The key is to be 100% in control of your mind. Be aware as anything negative pops into your head and fight it off with over powering positivity. Be thankful for where you are and how far you have come.
Don’t hold onto anger towards those who have caused you pain. Anger will only hurt you and will have no effect on the person whatsoever. I believe that every person comes into my life for a reason and if that reason was to teach me a difficult lesson then I have gained through the heartache. Though it took me years to get to where I am, I truly know now that I have gained from even the hardest and most traumatic experiences. I have learnt many a lesson and I believe I am the best version of me today. I am more driven today than ever before, and I am more satisfied with my life than I could ever have dreamed.
I am walking in the glorious sun and choosing to take in the beauty and not the wind that could penetrate my bones if I allowed it. I have chosen to see the beauty instead of the horror. I have stopped noticing the ugliness and I am happier than I have ever been.
When I was a young girl, around 12 or so, I met an old man whilst walking to 7th Street in Melville, a man whose lesson I would remember forever. After walking for over half an hour, first the thrilling downhill and then the burning uphill.
I was finally approaching the end of the uphill, almost at the Café made famous by the into on 7de Laan, a south African soapie, when I bumped into a friendly elderly man. The old man with grey hair, brown pants and a yellowish golf type shirt held a basket of fruit and vegetables in his hands.
As our eyes met, I said, “Afternoon Sir” and he responded with a warm “hello” and asked where I was going. I had explained that I was walking to the shop and then looked at the basket and said “Sir why are you carrying a basket of fruit and vegetables?” The old man uttered the words that I would never forget: “My girl, give and you will receive and always have”, I looked at him, wondering what on earth that had to do with the basket. He continued “I have fed people in need since I was a young man and I have never ever gone without”. I asked him what he meant by that, and he explained himself. He told me about him not being a wealthy man and not ever having a lot but what he had, he would give to the needy daily. He went on to tell me that some days there would be more hungry mouths to feed than food he had to give. He said that these were the days that he would wonder what he would be eating that night because he had given all of his food away. “Somehow, my girl, I have never gone to bed hungry for just when I have thought that it would happen, food would arrive for me.” Completely confused, I did not understand and shyly muttered: “I don’t understand, how does food just arrive?” He told me that it would arrive in different ways, sometimes his son would pop past and bring him food, unexpectedly or his neighbour would bring him over a plate of her delicious cottage pie. He said that it did not matter how the food arrived but that it always did. He said when you give, you will always receive. He said that he had never gone to bed hungry and that his heart was always happy.
The old man explained that he goes to bed happy every night in spite of losing his wife years before. He offered me an apple and I took it and went on my way. As I bit into the sour apple, I repeated what he said in my mind “give and you will always have”. I was rather baffled by how he food would just arrive; however his story has remained in my mind until today.
The bible says in Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
As a young child I was friendly and always wanting to meet new people. I would go to the neighbours and help them with their gardening and I even became wonderful friends with neighbours. My friend and I used to baby sit the two little girls across the road, we were spoilt rotten by their mother, Lizelle and adored the little girls, Amber and Amy-lee.
After school, I went to work with my aunt who worked at a special needs school and helped one of the teachers for the day. I would help my mom and of course still make sure to drive my sister up the wall.
In my adult years I have done everything from teaching Sunday school to volunteer for the SPCA, to feeding the hungry and assisting at orphanages. And of course, my biggest sacrifice, the gift of a second chance in life to my foster children. Through all the years, I have always remembered the old man’s words.
The old man’s words have come to me on many occasions, some days I would not know how my family and I would be eating that night and I would think about the lesson the old man had taught me. His lesson was one that proved true over and over in my life. When I thought that I would not make the next two days, suddenly I would receive. Once a friend paid me back money which I had forgotten about, once a tax reimbursement and sometimes just a friend coming over with something for dinner.
My life with two extra teenagers in my life has not been cheap and has not been easy but it has been incredibly fulfilling and I have never not had. I have given, and I have always had and never gone to bed hungry.
I smile as I remember the old man, his sun blotched, wrinkled face, blue eyes with thick framed glasses, his grey messy hair and his wide smile. The man had given since he was a young man and had lived an incredibly fulfilling life. Giving had given him joy, even after the passing of his beloved wife, and he had lived a life rich in blessing and gone to bed happy every night. I smile as I remember the lesson he taught me and how his lesson has followed me all these years. Thank you, Sir, for your lesson, changing my life and for remaining in my mind to this day, I will never forget your words or your joyful smile.
Friends, I now pass the incredible old man’s lesson on to you. GIVE AND YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE.