Oftentimes, the only way to learn a life lesson is to try something, fail, and then pick yourself up, brush yourself off and keep going. Sometimes, though, you learn valuable lessons for living from others in your life just by following their example.
For me, it has been at some of the most painful times in my life that I looked toward someone close to me to gain strength, knowledge, and growth.
The following 6 pieces of wisdom are from 6 amazing women who, unbeknownst to them have probably had an impact on many people around them, myself included, by way of their outlook on life.
#1 Survive – from my mother
Even after a great loss, life must go on. You must survive and prosper
My mother lived to be 89 years old. She lost her mom to breast cancer at the age of 9. She always told me in her later years that a day didn’t go by that she thought of her mom. But she grew up, got married, and had children of her own. She lived a very prosperous life filled with family friends and good humor. She survived even after what seemed like the worst thing ever happened.
#2 Have a generous spirit – from my son’s grandmother
Generosity doesn’t have to be given in dollars and cents. It can be given in comfort, time, attention, and caring for someone else.
My son’s grandmother is like a second mother to me. Throughout the years I have not only received the gift of her generous heart, but I’ve watched her help others by taking them in when they had no place to live, feeding them a warm meal when they were hungry, and sitting with them (and drinking lots of tea in her kitchen) while they were too afraid to be alone.
And that is just a few of the ways I’ve seen her help others through her generous nature.
#3 It will get better – from my sister P
When in the midst of a crisis you must try to tell yourself that “this will pass”, and while there is no guarantee that it will, it almost always gets better.
Many times in my past I have turned to my sister for comfort and advice. At the worst of times, hearing her say “it’s going to get better. Just give it time,” gave me that grain of hope that I needed. More so even seeing that she lives her own life with that same approach. Through good times and bad, she has put that positive spin on whatever comes her way with the idea that although it might be bad at the moment, the dust always clears.
It is those moments during a crisis that we tend to panic and believe that there will be no relief from the pain we are in. Obviously, there are situations where this is not the case, but if I look back on every single crisis I’ve ever gone through, I can honestly say that the immense pain that I felt at the time, did eventually subside.
Things eventually did get better. Life went on. Maybe even better than before.
#4 Have a plan – from my sister M
Have a plan. It doesn’t have to be a good one. Or a great one. It may change. Undoubtedly it will change. But without a plan, you can’t see where you might want to go next.
My sister and I both grew up in the same house with the same parents. So how she learned to have some kind of plan and bring it to fruition, ie: moving to the Virgin Islands for a year; and working long hours to fulfill her dream of owning a horse property, while I had none is beyond me.
But as I spent countless hours with my sister, while I eventually matured in my 20’s, and 30’s…and 40’s, I observed and began to follow her lead. I started making my own plans and not just in my head, but putting things down on paper. Setting goals. Gaining direction and staying on track.
Personally, I believe we are all part of a greater plan, but I don’t think that means we should just stand around and wait to see what happens. Listening to our inner voice, being true to ourselves, and following the passions that the good Lord has gifted us are all ways to start putting a plan together.
#5 Listen to children – from my niece M
To really listen to a child may take patience. It might mean we need to slow down or stop what we are doing, ie: texting on our phone…and guilty.
But who knows what moment could be a defining moment for a child?
We have a lot of children in our family. My niece M has two of her own. Throughout the years I have watched the way my niece interacts with all the children in our family. Oftentimes, she listens to the child as if it’s the most important conversation she will have that day. And the children eat it up. I really think it gives them just a little more confidence. Note: I’m in no way saying that other members of the family are ignoring children, just that niece M has really honed her listening skills and I could surely learn something from that.
Do you remember an adult or older person that actually took the time to listen to you like that as a child?
#6 Live and let live – from my niece K
Niece K’s philosophy: You are you. And I am me. You don’t believe in, think, or feel 100% exactly like I do. And that’s okay. Even if you’re not okay with it, that’s okay, too.
Ever since she was a little girl, my niece K has been welcoming of anyone regardless of their faith, ideas, choices, or mistakes. All the while, never forcing her opinions on others. Never forcing others to think the way she thinks.
Instead, she always accepts others as they are. She allows each person to be true to themselves without pressure or judgment.
Do you ever look to other people’s strengths to garner your own?
Happy Mother’s Day