She showed me what real change is, and it was not money, it was something more than gold. It was a priceless mindset.
My mother not only taught me in words, but also in deeds. There were times when she did not take my side on certain painful issues or when I thought she was too strict but now I cannot thank her enough for how she raised me and for being who she is and setting an example while I was growing up. I have sustained and overcome many challenges because of her upbringing and teachings, her outlook on life and how to walk with diverse people of different personality types. She would handle everyone individually and uniquely depending on their personality type, but always with respect. It was not a cookie cutter or a one size fits all, approach.
Looking back now, I realize that as diverse as the individuals were, and as differently as she walked with them depending on who they were, two things remained consistent: she did not change her character to suit someone else because they were uncomfortable with her, and her level of patience with each person and her tenacity to love them would not be eroded by conflicting personalities. I cannot for a single moment recall her ever taking her personal challenges or pain out on other people. Instead I constantly observed her acts of kindness, patience and service towards other people, and listened to her give reasons as to why people are the way they are, affirming we should always endeavor to have a good heart and treat people decently.
As a youth (and even as an adult) when I was frustrated or angry with someone, she would always remind me to think about the human factor and not take the person too seriously, because who knows what their problems are and what troubles and torments them within ? Who knows what damage and demons they carry?
When I was younger her approach did not make sense to me. When I complained about the way someone treated me, she would brush it off and tell me not to feed into it or pay it any mind, when what I really wanted to do was confront the individual. Sometimes it hurt to apply her approach; it felt like I was letting people take advantage of me. But every time I applied it, I became a stronger and better person. Slowly, applying her approach made it easier to ignore what needed to be ignored, to be forgiving, to keep my heart free of any grudge, anger or hatred, and to just not feed into other people’s negativity. I worked on making greater efforts to be kind, peaceful and more understanding. When I realized that her approach added more to my life and it didn’t reduce me to a doormat or a bully, I fully embraced it.
I realized that Mother had uncommon patience but was nobody’s doormat. She had the strength to not allow the blows others dealt to turn her into a mean, bitter, and depressed person. Even now after all these years, her constant advice is to cool it, take it easy, and avoid instant anger. Her theory is that it is not worth the long-term effects. Instead it is more essential to think things through before taking action and dealing with the person(s) I feel offended by. She does not use the exact term “take a deep breath,” but it is the same approach and advice. She does not have billions in her bank account but she is free of anger, hatred and bitterness. She is rich.
She raised me and changed my mindset, the type of change that money cannot buy, the type of change that will last me a life time, assisting not just me, but humanity.
What or who influences your mind, your heart, your soul, your spirit?
By Sonia Huh (nee Bangura)
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.