My family has a few “rules of life” or sayings that are known throughout the six of us. If you don’t follow on of these ways of life you will be immediately embarrassed because they are known things in our household. These things have shaped me into who I am as an adult. Now these were introduced to us kids first by my parents, but we have since added to them (I guess you could say something our parents taught us has actually stuck). So anyway the basic philosophy on life is:
- Leave everything and everyone the same or better than how you found it or them.
So this rule started at the beach, when we would take pretty shells home or bags of sand to make “treasures” at home. My mom always told us never take things from the beach because that’s stealing. It’s nature’s things and not ours. But this rule soon carried on to everything in life. You never want to upset someone or make them feel worse than before they met you. This led to us always having a good relationship with everyone we meet
2. “Kill them with kindness”
No, not literally kill. This one applied a lot when we were kids. If we ever came home wining to our mom about a bully, a bus driver, a mean teacher, you name it: my mom’s answer was “Just kill them with kindness.” Of course at a young age I would get furious at this analogy, but now that I’m older I realized that she was completely right. People that treat you bad for no reason are just unhappy with themselves, so why make it worse? Just kill them with kindness
3. Always, always take the high road.
This applies to anything. If, for example, someone chooses to start an argument or get angry at something petty, just take the high road. It obviously means more to that person if they are going to make a big fuss, so rise above it and leave them be.
4. Pick your battles
Arguing over petty things just lessens your credibility. Not only that but it’s exhausting! A fight with your roommate who you won’t ever see again after a few more short months, another argument with your friend, a miscommunication at work, they seem huge in the moment but years down the road they won’t matter. Keep your mind happy and learn to pick your battles or else you’ll tire yourself out for the excitement there is to be had
5. Never, and I mean never, play the victim card.
This is my favorite one and the one most etched into my memory. Don’t be that person who is always injured, is never at fault, is always taken advantage of, always has someone there to save them, always has someone else to blame. Own up to your responsibilities and learn when to take the fall for things that you need to be held accountable for. Being a victim is a choice, and you should never be the victim.
6. Follow through on commitments unless you’re throwing up, bleeding, or dead.
You made a commitment. No matter how small or how petty it is or if it’s not going to get you somewhere, you said you’d do it and you’re responsible to follow through with your commitment. You want to be reliable and dependable.
One story that pops into mind is when I was in 4th grade. I felt a little sick in the morning and told my mom I probably shouldn’t go to school. Well, my mom (coming from a strictly European background) was NOT having that. She piled me and my 3 siblings in the car and we all went to school. I complained of being sick all day, and my teachers were calling home to my mom but, “NO, my daughter will stay at school.” I finished the whole day and came home, still feeling sick as ever. But with these rules you soon realize that complaining isn’t an option. So it wasn’t till a few days later that my mom finally realized that I had a terrible fever and ended up having Mono. Now, don’t get me wrong. I have the BEST mum in the entire world, she would do anything for her kids. She just doesn’t want us to learn to be quitters.
7. If it doesn’t make you happy then simply don’t do it.
Never live for other people, because chances are people are not living for you. If you don’t want to go to coffee with someone, why would you? To make them happy or for fear of the awkward conversation that you don’t actually want to get coffee? Well hate to break it to you, but they probably don’t want to get coffee either. Just say no.
8. Traveling is the absolute best form of education.
You have definitely used those algebra equations in real life right? Probably not. At a point in life you’ll see that what’s important and what makes your thoughts and life richer are learning about other people’s lives and cultures and customs. Traveling the world and seeing that your way isn’t the only way is so important.
9. Never show up empty handed.
Be a good host, be an even better guest.
10. KTTS (Keys to the street) when someone doesn’t treat you right.
This is one of the best “momisms.” Not because she’s not only hip and in on the whole acronym thing, but she’s completely right. If I come to her with petty boyfriend problems she cuts me off and says “KTTS.” And she’s right. Not once has she said that and not been right. Love yourself first! Don’t let someone treat you wrong. The problem may be small now, but it can escalate quickly!
11. Life (and many things in it) is a marathon and CERTAINLY not a race.
My dad loves to say this about drinking of course. But not only about drinking. It’s OK to graduate college a little later. It’s OK to not get married and have kids right away. It’s OK to not have a full time job making 6 figures already. It’s OK to take things slow and do them the way you need to, to feel fulfilled. It’s a marathon and not a race, the only person showing up to YOUR finish line is you.
12. A poor man wears designer while a millionaire wears ripped overalls.
Now this “dadism” is definitely better explained by my dad than me, but I’ll give it a go.. Basically just instill in yourself that having flashy cars, big houses, expensive things doesn’t necessarily mean that you are rich. It means that you spend money. Being wealthy and looking wealthy are two completely different things. Don’t let people fool you.
Now in my family we may joke about these “momisms” and “dadisms,” but they’re truly not a joke. You can apply at least one to every situation in life. So you realize that there was absolutely no room for me to feel sorry for myself throughout my childhood, and in return that meant that of course I don’t have time to feel sorry for others either.
I truly want everyone to be the best they can be, and that certainly will NOT happen if you sit there and feel sorry for yourself.