“God couldn’t be everywhere, and therefore He created Mothers.” – Jewish Proverb.
The last 25 years of my life have been beautiful in several ways and if I have to name someone who has played the most important role in crafting me the way I am today, then undoubtedly, that would be my mother. Her childhood wasn’t smooth enough and therefore, she ensured to provide me with all that she couldn’t have. She made sure to fulfill all my needs and bestowed me with more that what I required. She redefined the meaning of strength and values for me and taught me lessons that help me to strike against all adversities.
As they say, you won’t realize the true value of mother’s love unless you become one. I believe they say it right. Perhaps I can never be as good a mother as mine is, but there are certain things which I’ve learned from her and I want my child to know about those.
Never have regrets. My mother didn’t get all that she perhaps wanted, or needed, but she knows how to celebrate without having regrets. She still cherishes the little things that she received years back, and that makes me realize the worth of those things. Not everyone can get everything and it’s always good to accept that and move on. The mantra of a happy life is not to have regrets.
Don’t compare yourself with others. You are unique in your own ways. I used to see how other mothers compared their kids with the class topper or the best player in school. I was blessed because I never had to face such comparisons. I realized that the guilt of not doing good enough helped me learn to do better. My mother just showed me how to improve in areas I was weak and helped me know that I am unique in my own ways.
Embrace criticisms. It’ll help you to grow. Being criticized can be painful, but that helps us to know our faults and correct ourselves. Perfection is a relative state and every person has flaws. The criticisms can get those imperfections to the forefront, giving us a chance to rectify and eventually grow as a better human being.
Choose your friends wisely. Be a good friend to them. Once you choose your friends, treat them the way you want to be treated. My mother has only a few friends, but they have been together for nearly 50 years now. From her, I learned to value honesty, loyalty and be someone who cares about others’ joy and heartache. I realized that it’s better to have a handful of trusted company than a crowd of acquaintances.
Learn to say ‘No’. You don’t become a bad person by saying ‘No’.
She told me not to be a people pleaser ever. You can’t do everything and you can’t please everyone. By saying ‘No’, you are respecting yourself and your energy. People will respect you more because when you do say ‘yes’, you will mean it. Saying ‘yes’, just for the sake of it, has no value whatsoever.
Do things for others without expecting anything in return. She taught me to go out of the border to help others, without expecting anything in return. When you have expectations, it’s natural that those might not be fulfilled and you’ll end up hurting yourself. If you feel like doing something for someone, then just do it and not think much about what you might receive in return. Moreover, science has proved that altruistic behavior leads to happiness. As long as your actions make sense to you, go ahead and do it happily.
Travel to far off places and tell me stories that no one else knows.
It’s because of her that I get to travel to places and witness the beauty of the world. She believes in the fact that I wasn’t born to be at one place and encourages me to explore all that she could never do. Once you start traveling, you’ll come to know of things and places that no book ever told you about. It’ll be the best chance to discover yourself as well!
Write your thoughts down. They are valuable and they’ll guide you.
My mother always encourages me to write down everything I feel. Since the time I was in 5th standard, I’ve been maintaining a diary and I still write regularly. You should know that your thoughts are precious and important. The best guidance you will ever get is from yourself. Write every thought that occurs and read them later. This way, you can assess yourself as you grow older.
Take an extra step. She has always outdone herself, and that’s what I’m trying to do as well. It’s not easy and you won’t always be able to do this, but when you can, try to do it – help someone cross the road, share your umbrella with someone who needs it, volunteer for a cause you can relate to, call your friend on his birthday instead of posting on Facebook. These extra steps can mean a lot.
Stop being afraid. Do things that scare you.
As I’ve grown by the years, Mom stopped instructing me about things and let me free to try the hard routes. She always says, ‘Do one thing every day that scares you’. Try doing something new. Make your heart race. Push yourself out of the comfort zone. Face your fears. Let it motivate you to be better. The butterflies you feel as you do these things will eventually give you wings to fly.
There is something to learn from every person you meet. Be a student forever in life.
My mother hasn’t stopped growing and she still keeps learning from people half her age or probably younger. That’s one of the most precious lessons and I hope to keep learning from every people I meet. It isn’t always easy to accept the fact that you don’t know something. But it’s quite natural as no one knows everything. Just keep the ego aside, and be open to learn.
She has taught me to believe in myself and follow my dreams, and that’s what has helped me to be what I am today. I want my child to know these valuable lessons while growing up, so that he/she can be a happy and satisfied individual and learn to appreciate life.
And to put it in Jill Churchill’s words, “There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.”