Thriving – How to be successful against all odds

Thriving Beyond The Tears-Bruised But Never Broken

How to be successful against all odds

By: Dr Stem (Sithembile Mahlatini, EDD, LCSW)

Beyond the Tears

Imagine that you wake up to discover that your husband has brought another woman to live with your family in your own home. She sleeps in the next room. From where you are, you can see them going into the bedroom, hear them make love, laugh, and carry on, while you cry yourself to sleep every night. Imagine the sleepless nights, the heavy heart, the pain, the heart-to-heart talks and prayers with God that begin to seem meaningless as you live out this BEYOND THE TEARS 6 unending nightmare…years.

Worse, the woman gets pregnant several times in your home, and you are forced to care for her and her children. Your once-beautiful marriage crumbles under your feet…. It’s over; he doesn’t love you anymore. He doesn’t respect you anymore, so he brings another woman into your home. You have seven children to raise; you contemplate leaving, but what about the children? How would they feel; how would they live? Would they be taken care of? Would they understand why you had to leave?

These were the questions my mother had to ask herself when she found herself faced with my father’s decision to become a polygamist. This is what my mother, a woman of God, a beloved daughter, endured when my father, unbeknownst to her, decided to marry a second wife, later a third one and brought the women into my mother’s home to stay.

Thriving Beyond the Tears

That is my life story, experiencing the effects of polygamy on mother crippled me and inspired the writing of my memoir, “Thriving Beyond The Tears: Bruised But Never Broken”. Unfortunately, many of us have experienced painful upbringings that have bruised and broken us down. My mother went through an experience that I can safely call “personal hell” on earth and my six siblings and I were right in the midst of it all, but no one cared or knew the children were watching.

In this article I wanted to encourage you, to uplift you and hopefully empower you if you are one whose past still creeps around and prevents you from thriving. The problem with being a child is, in most cases parents fail to know about or focus on those situations that will have long term effects in their child or children’s life.

The following are lessons I learned from the secondary pain and suffering I endured seeing my mother remained in a domestic violence situation which destroyed her soul and spirit while she fought to stay for the sake of raising us, her seven children.


Lesson 1: I learned that our environment shapes who we become, but we can change at any moment when our past experience and values no longer benefit us.

Lesson 2: I learned that parents are human too; they, too, make mistakes or rescind on their word as my father did when he married two more wives while still married to my mother.

Lesson 3: I learned to separate my mother’s jealousies, rejection and pain so that I could move on and start my own family.

Lesson 4: I learned that whatever I faced, and whatever circumstances weigh us down, we can always choose the way we respond to them. It’s not what happens to you or who said what to you that matters, it is the way you respond that matters.

Lesson 5: I learned that it’s all up to you, well in this instance all up to me. How you live your life is totally up to you. It is totally dependent on your belief in yourself, in the possibilities that are also available to you and your choices.

Lesson 6: I learned that in seeking a better life, our outer circumstances might change while our inner conversation might stay the same—especially if we are holding on to ancient, angry, or painful memories. Learn to forgive and let go.

Lesson 7: I learned that we all face challenges; the key is in how we handle the challenges we will face. I have been a motivational speaker at many conferences around the world, and each time I am reminded of how difficult it is for many people to adjust to life in a different environment, situation, home, school, work, or country. I also continue to notice how a lot of people continue to struggle to find the true meaning of their life, their passion and who they really are. Being open to the idea of change, showing a willingness to start afresh despite your past, background or origin is key. It is work that is self-fulfilling and rewarding. Coming from Zimbabwe to the USA meant, I had to take whatever wo

rk was available. I lived in the church basement for a while, I became homeless for a while. I accepted hand-me-downs and food from the generous people from the church who helped us; whatever it took. I never lost sight of where I was going, and that helps. I never lost hope, and I kept dreaming and seeking opportunities here in America, this land of opportunity; I believed God had bigger plans for me and today I know it was all worth it, he does. This way of looking at life may work for you as well.

Lesson 8: We all have twenty-four hours in the day; how you choose to use your twenty-four hours is what matters. What are you doing with your 24 hours?

Beyond your tears is joy, peace, happiness and yes, success. You owe it to yourself to live the life you were created to have. Wishing you a blessed and Happy Life.

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