1. “Kill ‘em with kindness.”
This is something my Mom has been telling me ever since I was little. I’ve never forgotten this throughout growing up. People are less likely to be rude to you, patronize you, etc. if you remain unbelievably kind and unfazed. If there was a bitchy girl at school or a mean boy whose goal it was to piss me off, carrying out this advice would always make them leave me alone. How can you be a bitch to someone who is just smiling in your face, unaffected by your shit attitude? If I ever had an especially mean teacher who had it out for me, kindness was always the best tactic. Even the guy I was reporting to at my temp job was impatient and condescending, clearly bothered by the fact he had a temp handling his shit. But rather than getting snotty or disrespectful, like I wanted to, I kept a smile on my face and remained obnoxiously polite. He backed off.
2. “Just because you’re in love with someone doesn’t mean they’re the right person for you.”
She had first told me this after my boyfriend of four years and I broke up. We’ve broken up a couple times in the past that she knew about, but she saw how visibly upset I was now. I didn’t give her very much detail regarding why we broke up, but this was her response — it immediately made me tear up. She was right. I was in such turmoil over the breakup because despite the fact that there was plenty going on to cause it, I felt like I made the wrong decision since I was still in love with him. I thought that was reason enough to be with him, until she told me this. It’s so true — familiarity and comfort doesn’t necessarily mean someone is right for you. You can be head over heels in love with one person for years, but if they are not the one, they’re simply not the one.
3. “Don’t tell people what to do, lead by example.”
I believe she first said this to me because I was upset about a friend. Apparently she didn’t do something that I expected from her. In these situations, it’s always so much easier and more satisfying to retaliate. Like if someone doesn’t answer your texts for hours, when they do respond, you make sure to take your sweet time responding back. Rather than do that, my Mom cautioned, do to them what you would expect them to do to you. Some people will pick up on this, but unfortunately not everyone. The second time she told me this, it was when I was talking about my future kids. I might’ve been saying something along the lines of how I want to teach them to be kind to everyone, but always stick up for themselves. “It’s better to show them than to tell, especially as a parent,” she told me. If they watch you do something kind for a stranger, for example, they’re more likely to reciprocate because the message stuck with them, rather than you lecturing them on being kind. This can work in any kind of relationship.
4. “Bring a jacket.”
I always respond to this with an exasperated “I’ll be fine, Mom” before heading out the door. I’m sure everyone has heard this from their mother countless times, but have you ever took the time to realize that they’re always right? Whenever I’ve dismissed this comment made by my Mom, I regretted it deeply. When I have listened to her, even when I do it just to get her off my back, I end up feeling grateful. Mothers are always right about the weather outside. Period.
5. “You must be content with with what you have.”
I have complained to her multiple times about the reality I’m in. I’m living at home after graduating college, no full-time job, desperately wishing I could just be living in the city already. Of course, this is the same situation practically everyone is in after they graduate. I was just feeling especially bitter because my rich cousin had a nice apartment paid for her in Boston until she found a job. Obviously, that is not a reality for most people. But I can get dramatic and frustrated when things seem to be working out for everyone around me, myself excluded. She finally told me this. “You must be content with your reality and happy with what’s in front of you. You must accept what you already have in this life. When you start to feel satisfied with what you have, then opportunities start to come. You need to be fully at peace with yourself and what life is offering you before something even better arrives.”