The Greatest Piece Of Advice My Mum Ever Gave Me

According to my mum, I’ve always been a bit of sponge. When I came out of the womb I didn’t cry like most babies; I stared around the room in wonder, observing and taking everything in (although I do sometimes fear it was more of a ‘yawn – been here, seen this, got the t-shirt’ type of stare). And sure enough, my mum was right – over the years, when people share their wisdom with me, or when I read things that challenge any preconceived thoughts I have about a subject, I listen. I question, I ponder, I absorb. I consider if the advice will make my life better, and if I believe it will in some way or another, I will read more on the subject and try and incorporate the new found wisdom into my life the best way that I can.

Over the years, however, one piece of advice has stuck with me like no other.

We receive a lot of advice from the minute we are able to comprehend language, and, in all honesty, I’m sure I’ve forgotten many of the pearls of wisdom that have been handed to me over the years. And yet the advice my mum gave me has really stood the test of time and is what I come back to over and over again when faced with a decision.

My mum taught me to always follow my heart; as long as I’m not intentionally hurting someone in the process, I should go for whatever it is I wish for.

Sure enough, that’s what I’ve always done.

the greatest advice

Soaring above the clouds – my favourite place in the world

Your Heart Versus Your Head – Which Do You Choose?

We like to differentiate between decisions made by the heart and those that are made by the head. I guess what you can say for sure is that where the head is concerned, more logic comes into play than anything else. You strategically think of what the outcome of your decision is likely to be, and on the basis of this, you go for one thing or another.

Heart decisions are a little more intuitive. There’s not always logic nor reason involved when it comes to matters of the heart. But the heart is what makes me feel the fear and do it anyway.

I followed my heart when I decided back in 2007 to pack my suitcase and move to Dubai. I didn’t have a single contact in the journalism industry at the time, nor did I know whether I’d be able to find a job. But that didn’t stop me – I was determined to live and work abroad for a while, so I booked my ticket and headed there with a heart full of dreams and hope. Sure enough, my gamble paid off and I landed a job the day I was leaving the country. I like to think that it was meant to be.

I also followed my heart in 2012 when I quit my well-paid job to travel around the world. I sold my car, got rid of my apartment and most of my belongings, said goodbye to certainty and hello to freedom. I wondered whether giving up a stable, high-paying job when people were struggling to find work was a huge mistake. I also wondered why on earth I wanted to give up the apartment that I had painstakingly decorated and made into a cosy little nest of my own. But my heart wanted adventure and travel, and the longer I ignored it the louder it told me to go for it.

So yet again, I ignored my logical side and followed my heart.

I never did end up going on a trip around the world at that time, though, as I met my now ex-partner and ended up back in Dubai within months of selling up and leaving. Yet again, I followed my heart, but, this time, it was for a man. I had three wonderful years together with him and even though we’re no longer a couple, I don’t regret any of it.

My mum and I, circa a very long time ago

My mum and I, circa a very long time ago

I’m A Heart Person And Proud

Time and time again over the years I’ve made decisions on the basis of what my heart is telling me, even though in many instances these decisions seem a bit “out there” or “risky.” And yes, things haven’t always worked out the way I envisioned they would, and yes things have sometimes been uncertain and difficult, but I have no regrets. I’m the woman who moves countries because it feels ‘right’ to, I’m the woman who speaks up even when it’s probably wiser that she doesn’t, I’m the woman who quits her job if it’s no longer fulfilling her.

Yes, it’s landed me in trouble at times, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. At least, I can look back over my life and know that no matter what, I always went for what I wanted.


I like to do this loving kindness meditation when someone has hurt me

Never Hurt Anyone – Even Those Who Hurt You

The equally important part of this equation is that my mum always told me to never intentionally hurt people. We’re only human, and we sometimes hurt each other without meaning to, so while none of us will ever go through life without causing someone pain in some way or another, she always cautioned me to be careful and try my best not to.

Therefore, even when people hurt me intentionally, I still don’t hurt them back or plot revenge.

Why? Well, there’s enough pain in this world as there is, and I also believe that hurt people are the ones who hurt others the most. And this is how the cycle of pain continues; it takes one of us to say “actually, I’m not going to respond to this pain by causing more pain,” in order to cut it off at the source. And that’s what I do because it brings me peace. It also means I can look back over my life and know that I did my best not to hurt anyone, which is very important to me.

There have been many instances over the years when people have intentionally hurt me. And in many of those instances I wanted to lash out or hit back (make no mistake, I could have so easily done so in many of these situations). But when I sat and thought about whether doing so would align with my morals and who I am as a person, the answer was no.

So I stay true to who I am and forgive instead.


Why Am I Sharing This With You?

Well, for two reasons. One, I think that all of us could do with following our hearts a little more. From my limited experience on this planet, I feel most of us have deep-seated fears that prevent us from going for what we want – whether that’s due to a fear of rejection, fear of failure, or fear of being ridiculed. But I challenge you to think of it this way – when you (hopefully) get to the age of 80 and you begin to look back at your life, what things do you think you’ll regret the most? I’ll hazard a guess and say it will be things that you didn’t try rather than the ones that you did but perhaps didn’t go the way you wanted them to. You only have to read the top five regrets of the dying to see that this is the case.

By following your heart as much as you can, you will hopefully have no regrets.

So what’s your heart telling you right now? Listen to it. Is there any step that you can take – even a tiny one – in order to follow what it’s saying?

Secondly, I also know that I’ll always regret hurting someone intentionally – even if they’re asking for it. So I choose to meet pain with compassion. Yes, you may feel that you’re letting someone walk all over you by doing this, but I don’t see it that way. I like to do whatever brings me the greatest amount of peace, and not responding to hurtful actions is my way of always being at peace both with myself and with the world. I challenge you to think of someone who’s hurt you and try to forgive them instead of seeking revenge – trust me when I say, it will make you feel a million times better than doing the opposite.

My aim in life is to live a life without regrets. And by doing these two things that my mum taught me so well, I’m hoping that when it’s my time to be a contemplative 80-year-old woman with her bottle of rum, I’ll have none.

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the greatest advice

What’s the greatest piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

  • Mums always give the best advice! My mum told me the same things and it’s never let me down! I loved reading your story 🙂

  • I loved this, I’ve always been a brain guy, I’ve only just started following my heart or vibe, usually it doesn’t make sense and they are just decisions for ‘now’ but at least it’s an adventure 🙂