Tina Turner has had a life, and a career, like none other. The lyrics to her soulful songs have moved, soothed and transcended generations over the last six decades – perhaps unsurprisingly when you reflect on the fact that she's endured more adversity than most.
A difficult childhood saw her mother flee in search of a better life when Turner was just 11, and an abusive 16-year relationship with her former partner and musical partner, Ike Turner, left her with only her performance name and two cars. She staged a musical comeback as a solo artist in 1984 and fought her way to the top of the charts.
Love blossomed, too, when she met Erwin Bach, a German executive for her record company. He supported Turner through a number of serious health issues (including a cancer diagnosis and a stroke) and the suicide of her son.
Now the musical superstar, who recently turned 81, is drawing on her resilience in the darkest hours to write a new book about changing your life for the better. Happiness Becomes You: A Guide To Changing Your Life For The Better is packed with Turner's hard-won wisdom.
Her biggest life lessons seem particularly apt right now, as many of us are forced to embrace change and overcome hardship. Here, she shares just four. You can read more from Turner in the January issue of Red, on sale now.
TINA TURNER'S WISDOM: THERE IS OPPORTUNITY IN EVERY CRISIS
‘I've faced financial collapse, homelessness, abandonment, the premature death of family members, severe and sudden health crises and more. All of the major changes in my life felt like the biggest while I was facing them. Fortunately I came out stronger on the other side of each experience, and I was able to "change poison into medicine", as we say in the Buddist community.
‘It means that when you lift your spirits, you can see hidden value or opportunity in adversity. Then, you begin to find ways of turning any negative situation into a positive force in your life.’
TINA TURNER'S WISDOM: LOOK FOR THE SUNSHINE BEYOND THE RAIN
‘When you’re faced with changes in life that you can’t control, remember that you do have control over how you respond. I know from experience that especially when you’re facing unwelcome changes, it can feel like you’re in the midst of a never-ending storm. But the sunshine will come again.
‘Know that you always have a choice, even when it feels like you don’t. You can choose hope over despair. You can choose kindness and appreciation over anger and resentment. The more you make these sorts of empowering choices, the better things will get. If you stay positive and never give up, you will prevail in the end.’
TINA TURNER'S WISDOM: SELF-CARE ISN'T A LUXURY, IT'S A DUTY
‘I gain strength from my belief that I, like you and everyone else in this world, have a unique purpose in life that only we can fulfil. I also believe we all have a shared responsibility to answer the question of how we can bring more kindness and happiness into the world. That’s what I remind myself of during tough times, and then I do whatever
I can to lift myself up and stay on track.
‘The foundation of that comes from my daily chanting, but things such as going for a stroll, reading, spending time with friends or listening to music can also help rejuvenate me. I want everyone to know that whenever you feel like giving up, remember you are a unique gem, and you can make a difference in the world. So, care for yourself and do whatever wholesome practice lifts you up. If you aren’t taking care of your own needs, you won’t have much to offer others.’
TINA TURNER'S WISDOM: AGEING IS A MINDSET
‘When I was much younger, I never really gave much thought to being in my 80s. But as I grew older, I did start imagining it. After I survived the health issues in my 70s, I particularly enjoyed telling people I was getting close to 80. I liked hearing myself say the word ‘80’, because I think part of me wondered if I’d ever really make it that far.
‘But age is just a number. It’s how we feel in our hearts that’s most important. I feel happy and grateful every day to be alive. I’ve not only survived, but thrived, which is why
I can now pass on to the world this book that holds the treasures of my heart. With all these blessings in my life, how can my 80s look anything but perfect?’
You can read more from Turner in the January issue of Red, on sale now.
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