Monday, May 4, 2015

Do You Think it's True? Is Attitude Everything?

Since watching "Captive:  A Journey of Hope and Survival" with ABC's Robin Roberts, it confirmed what I believe to be a key factor to rising above insurmountable trauma.

Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus were kidnapped and held captive for ten years by Ariel Castro, the father of Amanda and Gina's friend. Amanda was taken the day before her 17th birthday and is now 29 years old.  They were tortured, chained, and starved.  A bucket was their toilet and they were allowed one shower a week - with their abductor.
The house where they were held captive for 10 years

From the first day of Amanda's kidnapping, she kept a diary. Over the years she used every bit of paper she acquired to make her journal entries; i.e. take-out food bags.  The journal helped keep her sane and was priceless when writing her memoir.

On each day's page, she used a code to keep 'score' of how many times she was raped that day, many days up to four times.   During their captivity, the girls did not see the light of day.  The windows were boarded up and there were no lights in the room.  The only light they had was from an old black and white television.

Her baby never saw a doctor

On Christmas day 2006, Amanda gave birth to a baby girl, but it was not until May 6, 2013 that the girls escaped.   On August 1, 2013, Castro was sentenced to life plus 1,000 years in prison after he pled guilty to 937 counts of kidnapping and rape.  On September 3, 2013, he was found dead in his prison cell after committing suicide by hanging.

During the interview, the one thing that struck me as unbelievable was their attitude.  There was no bitterness.  No hostility.  No hatred.  They had made the choice to move forward to the future instead of dwelling in the past.  No one would judge them if they had shown rage against their attacker, as many of us felt while watching the interview.

Their recently released memoir, Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland tells their chilling story and may be difficult to read without getting emotionally involved.

The key factor that I believe to be the reason why these girls not only survived, but can move on with their lives, is because they never gave up hope.  They believed they would be found and that their families would never stop looking for them. Because of hope, it helped them to maintain a positive attitude.

I have been interviewing five guests a week for my radio show, Never Ever Give Up Hope.  My guests are people who have not only overcome traumatic circumstances, but they are successful in various arenas BECAUSE of them.  They managed to turn what was meant for harm to something good.

Some of my guests have had severe physical trauma that should have killed them.  Some have survived abuse, neglect and pain.  Some have lost family or friends through terrible circumstances. Some have suffered financial ruin.  Yet, each and every one of them has become successful far beyond what they ever thought possible because they Never Ever Gave Up Hope.

They did not blame others for what happened to them.  They did not throw pity parties.  They chose not to live in the past but to look to the future.  They chose to find a glimmer of hope that would guide them to a positive outcome.  They are winners.  They are victors.

The more people I interview, the more this truth is driven home. 

 "When you buy the thought, you buy the lie."  

Each of us can choose what thoughts we entertain and which ones we disregard.  The more we flirt with those ideas that we will not make it, that there is no way out, that we are doomed.... the more we will believe it.  If we buy that thought, we have bought the lie.

My father drilled into my psyche that I had a choice.  He told me that whatever I feed will grow and whatever I starve will die.  I have the choice to feed my faith or feed my fears.

I DO believe that attitude makes all the difference.  I DO believe that laughter helps get you through the rough spots.  I DO believe in looking to a bright future when you are in the dark.

I DO believe that ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING.   Do you agree?

If you, or someone you know, has an inspirational story to share for my show, please contact me.  I would love to hear it.

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