A mother is often the first positive influencer in one's life

Mum's favourite poem, when she was alive, was "If" by Rudyard Kipling. She was not an educated woman in the traditional sense, but she'd learnt to be tolerant of others and knew how to remain positive. Another message she tried to impart to my siblings and me was about staying true to yourself and respecting others. It is sometimes hard to stay positive when the world is in turmoil, with wars raging in other countries, and suicide bombers killing and maiming their fellow creatures. And when one seventh of the seven billion people on earth are hungry, it is hard not to think about this, especially as I sit down to eat in a place of plenty. The fall of the dice could have placed me in that seventh part of the globe. There but for the grace of God go I... But I have to think, rather, how lucky I am to be born in a country that looks after its people and tries to maintain some semblance of egality of wealth across all demographics.  It's not perfect, but I give thanks for living in a multicultural country that supports freedom of speech and religion for all.

When I married, another positive "significant other" came into my life:

"Nothing good ever comes from being negative," he said, "but something good can happen if you are positive." I used to shrug off these words as just another mindless cliché—the bain of writers' lives, as they are trying to improve their writing for publication. And I went through some dark periods in my past; there have in fact been many negative phases in my life. Perhaps it all amounts to cycles, as expressed through the lyrics of the song from the fifties and sixties, "To Everything There is a Season".  Positivity didn't happen overnight for me. There was a life crisis in the eighties, when my children were still young. But not long after that I knew it was time for change.