My mom is without a doubt my best friend. Like all mother/daughter relationships we’ve had our ups and downs over the years but I know she’s the one person I can call anytime I need valuable insight on life and love and everything in-between. Here are all the ways my mom has taught me how to love stronger and be a better person in all of my relationships.
1. She reminded me you should never self-sacrifice in the name of love. Compromise is key in relationships but once you’ve abandoned the things that are important and essential for you to thrive in life in order to love someone else, that’s when you’ve stepped into dangerous territory. She taught me you can love people for who they are but you also must recognize when you need to walk away.
2. She taught me self-care is critical and you must love yourself before you can ever truly love someone else. This is one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned that perhaps I didn’t really learn until only a few years ago. You can’t show unconditional love and support for someone else until you can do the same for yourself.
3. She showed me you can love people in many different ways. Love is a home cooked meal, a small note of gratitude, an afternoon spent at all their favorite spots, a conversation that lasts for hours. She showed me love is simple, yet complex, and can be shown in ways that have nothing to do with money or material items.
4. Her continual reminder: don’t focus on the past or the future but instead live in the present and enjoy the moment for what it is. She just reminded me of this the other day and it’s an essential life lesson I try to stick to. It can be so easy to get caught up in ideas about relationships – where you see it going, how it fits into your life plan, what it all means – but what truly matters is what’s happening in the now and…
5. She always has told me what matters is how someone makes you feel. “But how do they make you feel?” This is one of my mom’s classic questions when talking about a prospective partner. She reminds me that sometimes love really is that simple. How do they make you feel? Do they bring you joy? Do they enhance your fulfillment in life? These are questions she always asks.
6. She taught me early on that a man/partner does not nor ever will define you as a woman. It doesn’t matter who you love – the person you’re romantically attached to will never define you. You are your own person. You have your own history and long list of hopes, dreams, and desires for your future. You are continually evolving and in the process of becoming every single day. My mom taught me that a partner who doesn’t recognize that is not someone who will last in the long-term.
7. She proved you must love with your entire heart and love often. My mom is a huge softie and even though she’s went through hard times with people she always forgives and learns to love again. She’s showed me how much easier it is to let go and forgive and to love people completely instead of wasting time with negative emotions, focusing on grudges and past mistakes.
8. She reminds me to always make time for the people you love. In our family we’ve had a lot of loss and because of this my mom continually reminds me that tomorrow is not promised and your loved ones can be gone without warning. Call people back. Show people love, patience, and kindness. Let go of old grudges and learn to forgive. Don’t wait years to reconnect with someone.
9. She taught me it’s okay to realize you’ve failed. It’s okay to start over. Failure can be humiliating and it can be especially difficult in dating and relationships when you’ve built so much of your life up with someone else, only to realize it’s not working. My mom taught me failure in all aspects of life is an important step in growth. Starting over is not the end of the world but a new beginning that’s waiting to be fulfilled and discovered.
10. She told me to figure out the bottom line in dating and relationships. What’s absolutely essential to having a fulfilling relationship? What are you willing to compromise on and what are the things you refuse to settle on? Be self-aware and learn these things about yourself early on so you limit meaningless relationships or relationships that go nowhere.
11. She believes in never waiting to tell someone how you feel. If you like someone, ask them out. If you want to talk to someone, call them or text them. If you love someone, say it. My mom is big on being direct with people and having clear and concise communication with the person you’re romantically interested in. Obviously, texting someone a million times a day probably isn’t a great idea but the overall idea of not letting things go left unsaid is a key trait
13. She’s taught me when you realize someone is not the right person for you, walk away immediately. Never settle for second best. Why waste time being in a relationship with someone when you know it’s not the right relationship for you? My mom has always taught me that when something isn’t working you have to acknowledge it for what it is and stop making excuses.
14. She valued my independence and rooted for me every step of the way. I’ve always been fiercely independent and even when I made decisions my mom didn’t completely get, she still understood I was going for what I believed in and always supported me. She taught me that sometimes, more than anything else, all a person needs is understanding.