1. She taught me to be kind, but not take anyone’s shit.
Because of her, I am able to see the power kindness has to completely transform someone’s day or month or even their entire life. But I know where to draw the line and recognise when I’m not being treated the way I deserve to be. I’ll be nice as pie, but if you mess with me you’ll hear about it.
2. She showed me the importance of forgiveness.
I’m always blown away with the ease at which she is able to forgive and forget. Cruel words, spiteful actions and carelessness for her feelings. Despite all that, she has never held grudges. And because of her I try my best to let things go. To not hold on to hate. To leave the past behind me and focus on what’s in front of me right now.
3. She survived her darkest moments.
Even though she has experienced more than her fair share of grief and heartache, she still manages to smile today. And it’s not forced – I know it’s genuine. Because she never allowed herself to be all-consumed by her past tragedies, and in overcoming those painful times she only grew a thousand times stronger.
4. She taught me how to love and respect my body.
She instilled a positive relationship with food within me since I was young, and I owe my body love to her. She showed me that comparing yourself to another woman is a total waste of time; time that would be far better spent on nourishing ourselves. Because of her, I see that my body is a magnificent creation – one that should be loved, respected and cherished.
5. She let me know it was okay to leave.
She let me know it was okay to stop being friends with people who weren’t really my friends. To break up with a guy who wasn’t treating me well. To walk away from any situation I wasn’t comfortable with. And to have the confidence to pave my way through this life on my own, if I had to.
6. She told me to always hold my head up high.
I remember her telling me to be confident and stand up proudly during my school days. To ignore anyone who tried to make me feel inferior or worthless. And I carry that lesson with me today, always holding my head up high even if I feel a little small.
7. She taught me to make goals and stay focused on them.
Since day one, she drilled into me the importance of always having goals to work towards. Goals that were lofty and hard to reach. Goals that would require much hard work, patience and determination. Goals that I would be able to meet as long as I stayed focused on them.
8. She made me see that anything is possible.
I was never once told that my dreams and ambitions were too big. She always made me feel like I could have anything I’ve ever wanted – as long as I wanted it enough. And today, I encourage myself to dream BIG and then chase all those dreams down, because I realise the only thing standing in the way of those dreams is me.
9. She showed me how to find balance.
How to be a brilliant daughter, a wife, a mother, a friend and a career woman too. How to wear multiple labels in a world that loves to put us into neat boxes, and not get tied to just one role. She made juggling look so simple that I’m not afraid to give it a go.
10. She told me that everything would be okay in the end.
No matter what went wrong or if I failed at something, it was never the end of the world. She taught me that it didn’t matter, as long as I picked myself back up again. Even today when life doesn’t appear to be going my way, I know deep inside my heart that everything will work itself out. What’s not meant for me will leave, and what’s for me shall never pass me by.