”We are the products of our own thoughts”
Christina Rickardsson’s childhood was nothing but a struggle. But thanks to that, she knows what really counts and lives to share her insights.
When self-help experts preach that you’re the captain of your own life – that your attitude and outlook on life is what decide how happy and successful you become – it can easily sound like a bunch of clichés. But when similar messages comes from someone who really lives as she learns, it becomes far more inspiring.
Christina Rickardsson, author and lecturer, had the kind of upbringing we normally just read about in books or see in films. Together with her mother, she lived her fist years in a cave in the wild outside the city of Diamantina in eastern Brazil. That can sound like a fun adventure for a night or two, but this was the life they had. When Christina turned six, they move to a favela in the outskirts of Sao Paulo, which proved to be even tougher.
– We literally had to fight for our lives in the hardest thinkable ways. It was and still today is a very dangerous environment for a kid to grow up in. One day when I was eight, I watched my best friend been shot to death by the military police.
Eventually, Christina ended up in a orphanage and was adopted to a family in Vindeln in the Västerbotten region in northern Sweden. A life extremely distant from the one she knew. It would be twenty-four years before she returned to her roots. An American journalist helped her track down her biological mother (much thanks to her unusual and beautiful name, Petronelia). She now lived in Belize and it was a very nervous daughter preparing for the reunion. Would she recognize me? What will I feel? What would she feel?
– I saw her from a far distance and immediately felt and saw that it was her, my mother. I cried floods of tears of all possible emotions at once. My mother looked at me, I could tell that she was moved, and said ”you have to excuse me for not crying. After all I’ve seen and been through, my tears don’t come very easy anymore.”
This story – the journey from the wilderness via the favela to the well-organized life in Sweden and back again – is beautifully told in Never stop walking, Christina Rickardsson’s autobiography that has been translated into 16 languages and stirred up emotions with readers across the globe. The very title of the book, together with a few more, is the motto Christina today as a writer and lecturer wants to convey.
– Never stop walking and ”the only way to get through is to get through”. Those are my honest beliefs. When life is tough, you just have to keep fighting. Nothing in life is free, you just have to keep struggling and believe in yourself. What I’ve come to realize is that, despite all I’ve been through we are in fact the sum of our thoughts, not of our experiences. If we just learn to think positively, we will in fact be better off than if we don’t.
Read more about Christina on her Instagram @christina_rickardsson
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