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DR MAX THE MIND DOCTOR: The photo that proves the power of forgiveness

The three most powerful words in the English language are: “I love you.”

But there are three more words I think deserve equal billing: “I forgive you.”

Forgiveness does not evoke the same excitement as love. It may not be the subject of so many films or so many songs are written about it as love.

And yet forgiveness is no less a powerful virtue, as Prince William may have discovered.

It makes sense that he learns to appreciate the Prince of Wales as the complex character he is - as we all are.  I am sure that this attitude has helped William find the satisfaction and confidence now so evident in his way

It makes sense that he learns to appreciate the Prince of Wales as the complex character he is – as we all are. I am sure that this attitude has helped William find the satisfaction and confidence now so evident in his way

On the occasion of Father’s Day last weekend – and in addition to the joyous photos of himself with his children – the Duke of Cambridge posted a charming photo taken by him of his wife Kate of his father Prince Charles.

Smiling broadly, with his arm around Charles, who sits in his son’s shoulder, it radiates warmth, affection and pleasure.

It has been suggested in the past that their difficulties were rooted in Charles's alleged treatment of William's late mother Diana, his affair with Camilla and a childhood afflicted by a bitter divorce.

It has been suggested in the past that their difficulties were rooted in Charles's alleged treatment of William's late mother Diana, his affair with Camilla and a childhood afflicted by a bitter divorce.

In the past, it has been suggested that their difficulties were rooted in Charles’s alleged treatment of William’s late mother Diana, his affair with Camilla, and a childhood devastated by a bitter divorce.

This has led some royal commentators to speculate that the couple has been in a better relationship lately.

In the past, it has been suggested that their difficulties were rooted in Charles’s alleged treatment of William’s late mother Diana, his affair with Camilla, and a childhood devastated by a bitter divorce.

William would now understand that Charles had as much a positive impact on his life as the princess.

While this is all speculation, of course, I have no doubt that Charles has his mistakes, but it makes sense that William seems to have acquired wisdom with maturity and fatherhood.

It makes sense that he learns to appreciate the Prince of Wales as the complex character he is – as we all are. I am sure that this attitude has helped William find the satisfaction and confidence now so evident in his way.

Of course, few child-parent relationships exist without their problems, but blaming parents, or anyone else, is too easy an excuse for when life poses challenges.

Over the past decade, a culture of complaints has emerged in which too many people blame others for their mistakes and difficulties, and they appear to be victims.

In my work, I have seen patients wallow in self-pity, hold onto their grievances like a talisman, and let them dominate their lives.

I tell them that one of the scary things about being an adult is that you are responsible for your own life. Your mistakes are no one’s fault, but yours, but so are your achievements.

The first step out of this swamp is to forgive your parents (or anyone else) for what they’ve done and understand that while people are complex and capable of hurting you, you have to learn to accept that you are in the end about your fate.

This can be liberating. If you forgive someone, they lose control of you. Your emotions are no longer in their grip, your feelings are no longer at their mercy.

Over the past decade, a culture of complaints has emerged in which too many people blame others for their mistakes and difficulties, and seem to enjoy being the victim [File photo]

Forgiveness puts you in a position of incredible power. It neutralizes the culprit.

Perhaps one reason why we are so reluctant to forgive is that we think we look weak, or that what happened doesn’t matter. But that is not correct.

The core of forgiveness is peace and quiet, and isn’t that what we all strive for in life?

I remember a patient who, after many years of therapy, wrote a letter to her father in prison pardoning him for murdering her mother and sexually assaulting her as a child.

He had never repented for his despicable actions, and I was amazed she could. She told me that she found peace by forgiving unconditionally.

“The day I decided to forgive him was the day I felt a weight lift from me,” she explained. “It didn’t matter that he wasn’t sorry. I realized that until I forgave him, he would always have power over me. I was always his victim. ‘

That brave woman showed me that forgiveness is about freeing yourself. It is an expression of power. Forgiving someone and moving on is one of the real achievements of life.

We have to keep hiding

One of the notable results of this pandemic is the effort we have made to ensure that homeless people receive shelter.

In other countries, many have been killed by Covid-19 among homeless people – more than 450 have died in New York – but there have been no confirmed deaths to date on the streets of England.

Now the Treasury has announced £ 105 million for sleeper accommodation. While I welcome this, simply providing housing money is not the long-term answer.

In my work with homeless people in London, I saw many examples of where people got shelter, but because of mental illness, drug and alcohol problems took to the streets again.

To address this scourge, we need dedicated and well-funded mental health services that work directly with homeless people.

One of the notable results of this pandemic is the effort we have made to ensure that homeless people receive shelter [File photo]

One of the notable results of this pandemic is the effort we have made to ensure that homeless people receive shelter [File photo]

One of the notable results of this pandemic is the effort we have made to ensure that homeless people receive shelter [File photo]

At the beginning of the pandemic, ministers urged the public to volunteer in the NHS and the community to help the most vulnerable.

As many as 600,000 people were approved within a few weeks. But according to NHS director Sir Simon Stevens, less than half of this massive force was ever turned on.

What a shame! Still, I am incredibly proud that so many people have responded. It is a great testament to our national character.

If you volunteered and never got a call, don’t despair. While the worst pandemic has passed, much remains to be done: self-isolating neighbors checking whether local charities are in need of help.

Let’s build on this and be a nation that always lends a helping hand.

It has always strangely struck me that while people (rightly) lions the NHS and its staff, they tend to ignore rescuers.

It seems really unfair, since what they do is just as valuable and, to be honest, often much more emotional and physically draining than a doctor or nurse.

Primary health care workers gave evidence to the Health and Social Care Select Committee this week, saying they felt ‘undervalued’ and liked ‘underdogs’ compared to NHS workers.

This is so wrong. Good caregivers can change the lives of the elderly and sick.

Let’s not forget them.

Dr Max prescribes …

Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe

I have just completed this lesser known novel by the author of Robinson Crusoe. It is based on his memories of the Great Plague of London in 1665.

It is fascinating because of the understanding of human psychology in the face of fear, uncertainty and panic, as diseases spread through a community. In fact, the similarities to our own response to the coronavirus – panic purchases, closure, and the wealthy trying to flee to the countryside – are creepy.

Some 350 years apart, and despite everything we now know scientifically and clinically about infectious diseases, some things don’t change …

Why cats leave you feline

For far too long, dogs have the honor of being man’s best friend. But as it turns out, cats can be the purring (sorry!) Companion.

According to a report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group On Cats – yes, there is such a thing – felines are key to defeating loneliness.

MEPs urge more people to spend time with cats through nurturing, adoption, or assistance in a shelter.

I totally agree with that. Cats are characterful and great for people who are house bound or have limited mobility.

For far too long, dogs have the honor of being man's best friend.  But as it turns out, cats can be the purring (sorry!) Companion [File photo]

For far too long, dogs have the honor of being man's best friend.  But as it turns out, cats can be the purring (sorry!) Companion [File photo]

For far too long, dogs have the honor of being man’s best friend. But as it turns out, cats can be the purring (sorry!) Companion [File photo]

I worked in a nursing home where a cat would visit us every day, roam the common areas and residents’ rooms – they asked to leave their doors open for him – and sometimes they crawl on their beds.

It was unbelievable to see the residents come to life as the cat walked by and raised his hands over the armrests of the chairs with the tip of his tail.

He was a tonic to them. When closed, I briefly stayed at a friend’s house while they were away and became very friendly with a neighbor’s cat.

Now that I’m back in my own flat, I really miss him!

Maybe it’s time to introduce a kitten to Chez Pemberton …

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