You know those teenagers — the ones you see in high school movies rolling their eyes at just about everything? Yeah, that was me. I didn’t want to hear any advice my parents offered. What could these old people possible understand about my life, my struggles? As it turns out, a lot. Each day, as I face the highs and lows of young adulthood, I realize more and more that my mom was right about everything (literally, everything). Here are 10 things my mom taught me that are still totally true in my 20s:
Beginnings should always be the easiest part.
This goes for all relationships — romantic or platonic. The beginning of a relationship is when you should be in your giddy, blushing, can’t-stop-smiling mood. If it all seems like too much work, it probably is. If you’re struggling now, imagine how hard it’ll be when you want to start building a life together!
Take a deep breath.
When I was younger, nothing got under my skin more than when my mom told me to take a deep breath. Now that I’m older, I can see how stepping back for a second and breathing deeply can completely change your perspective. It’s an amazing coping mechanism for sadness and anger, and it keeps you from doing or saying something you may regret later.
Don’t drink (tequila) and text (your ex).
Okay, so my mom didn’t dish this out until I was in my college years, but it’s too good not to share. Beware of mixing alcohol (especially tequila) and your emotions. Sure, tequila and I have had some good times, but we’ve also had some… not so good times. If you’re having an emotional time, it’s probably best not to mess with the stuff because you will cry, you will call someone you shouldn’t, and you will say or do something you will regret. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Some friends aren’t forever (and that’s okay).
If you told me at fourteen that my best friend at the time would be long gone by now, I would have laughed in your face. Contrary to my beliefs, not every friendship is meant to last. So when my teenage heart was broken after the end of one, my mom reminded me that I should look back with happy memories and remember that not everyone is meant to stick around until the end.
That boy who broke your heart is not your soulmate.
You may think that boy on the football team is your star-crossed lover, but you’re (most likely) not. When he decided to leave without saying goodbye, my mom said the best thing she could have: you’ve got so much growing, learning and living to do. You can’t worry about someone who doesn’t know your worth. So true, Mom!
If it’s not a hell yeah, it’s a hell no.
You know when something incredible happens and you feel the need to dance out of pure happiness? It’s that overjoyed, can’t-keep-still, too-excited-to-breathe type of dance. When my mom gets excited, whether she is in public or now, she just starts grooving. People look, but it doesn’t matter. Now, whenever I’m making a big decision in life I think: does this make me want to dance? If not, I shrug my shoulders and move on. Life is short, you need to dance your way through it.
Life isn’t fair, but you should be.
People are going to totally screw you over. You’ll get a parking ticket and a speeding ticket on the same day. Your ex might try to hook up with your best friend. There will be those days when life feels unfair. My favorite words used to be, “that’s not fair,” to which my mom would immediately reply that life isn’t fair. No matter how cruel life seems at the moment, you’ve got no excuse to hit back. Show life what you’re about – be honest, loyal and kind. See where it takes you.
Do what you can today.
I struggled with major anxiety when I was younger. If I was having a particularly bad day, my mom was the first person I’d call. In between my sobs, she would calmly tell me that I need to focus on what’s most important – the day ahead of me. It’s pointless to worry about tomorrow or yesterday, so do what you can today. If that means you can only get out of bed to make yourself some lunch, so be it. If that means cranking out two essays in one day, good job! Just take it day by day.
Comparison is the thief of all joy.
Do you know why the grass is always greener on the other side? Because you can’t see all the crap people deal with to get their grass looking so good. You don’t know about the hours of blood, sweat and tears someone puts into building their life because you only get to see the highlight reel. Everyone has their own journey, you may be ahead of some and behind others. But comparing your life to someone else’s not only hinders your progress, it takes away your joy.
Be kind to everyone (no matter what).
Everyone you meet — even the people you think you know – is going through something. So if the lady at the bank snaps at you for taking too long at the ATM, smile and tell her to have a nice day. If your sister accuses you of stealing her shirt, offer to help her look for it. 95% of the time, when someone gets angry at you for no reason, it means they’ve got some messed up feelings going on inside. So just smile, offer to help, and move on.
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