Just because we graduate from college and start lives and families of our own doesn’t mean our parents aren’t there anymore. It does mean though newfound freedom of doing things your own way and responsibility…and a lot of it. The road we each take isn’t always easy; we face potholes and detours along the way, but I believe it’s the lessons our parents taught us along the way that help get us through. You can never be too old or proud to go back to the place that built you-or should I say to the people who built you. I am lucky enough to have parents who teach me about life and love everyday, so I want to share with you some the the lessons I always keep top of mind.
- Take Everything with a grain of salt
Undoubtedly you have heard the expression before, but do really know what it means and how to apply it? Life is all about meeting new people, having new experiences and expanding your horizons. While this can be fun and exhilarating, it’s also important to go in slowly and sometimes cautiously. With social media infiltrating our lives we’re exposed to the “perfect lives” of our family, friends and co-workers on a daily basis. When I’m feeling low or unsure about where I’m at in life I remember, “take everything with a grain of salt.” You can’t always believe what people tell you or what you read and see on social media. It can be incredibly hard when we seem to be constantly surrounded by it, but remembering this lesson and taking a step back always helps. Most of the time we’re only seeing what people want us to see.
- Be fearless
This crazy thing called life is revolved around new experiences and navigating your way through the changes and challenges thrown your way. It’s only natural to feel some level of hesitation or nervousness. Fear isn’t a bad thing, in fact it can protect us from getting into bad situations, but be careful to not let fear run your life. Don’t lead a life driven by fear of uncertainty. It can be terrifying not knowing the exact outcome of a situation, but trust yourself and more importantly, your instinct. If worst comes to worst, calm the waters by popping in your theme song and rocking out to remedy those jittery feelings in your stomach.
- Failure is a part of life
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” ~Winston Churchill
Don’t worry about an off week at work, saying the right thing to your friends or missing one soccer game. You’ve faced challenges in the past and you’ll face more in the future. Don’t let one bad outcome or experience consume you. It might be a bad day or sometimes month, but it’s not a bad life. The important thing is reflect on what happened, learn from your mistakes and try again. Your presentation at work went badly? Tanked the interview for your dream job? In the moment it can feel like life as you know it is over, but remember to pause, step back and get perspective. You can’t undo what has already happened, but you can take every step forward to make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future. Failures aren’t the end of your life they’re just a part of it.
- Kindness matters
Cue the sappy song and a lecture from your parents, right? With the recent election we have heard this a lot lately, but I truly believe it. It seems like such a simple concept, but sometimes it can be so hard to find. So here is my lecture passed down from my parents: be kind, people will take notice.The smallest acts like opening the door or listening to a friend going through a hard time set you apart from everyone else. Kindness starts with you and it really is as simple as the golden rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated.
- Be Yourself
I think this one gets more and more confusing as you get older. We hear it all the time, “just be yourself.” Okay, seems simple enough…who else would I be? I think this gets difficult as you get older because you become part of many different groups and you have so many different roles that all require something different. The work Gabrielle is different from the social Gabrielle, who is different from the sister and daughter Gabrielle and academic Gabrielle. In each of these settings I am working and socializing with different sets of people who all require something different of me. As people, we are very multidimensional. They’re are so many layers to each of us, which each help tell our story. My parents always taught me that no matter what kind of challenges or people you face, it’s important to always remain true to who you are. I think this means that while you have different versions of yourself the core of who you are does’t change. People will try and change you or make you feel less for your style, your opinions and the way you live your life or raise your children, but you can’t let them. Be yourself. Don’t let others insecurities or short comings change that.
What are some lessons your parents taught you that you hold close or have even passed down to your kids?