3 Life Lessons My Mother Taught Me That I'll Never Forget

Mothers are special. I know. I had the best one. As adults, we've all learned our best life lessons from them, for some even more.

As for me, my mother's life has marked my own in ways only daughters can understand.

Today, I'd like to share a few life lessons my mother taught me that has molded my adult life into one that seeks to find meaning and purpose in everything I do, think, and feel.

So, here goes...

  1. On family and relationships: "Love is an act of your will. You act not, you love not."

    I'll never forget how my mother took care of us, always looking after our welfare. Every. Single. Day. She memorized our birthdays by heart. I remember how she'd persistently ask me to call my brothers in every special occasion without fail just so she can talk to each of them. She celebrated our little victories with pride and shared our pains in failures or disappointments. Even fatigue never stopped her from making sure we all wore clean, ironed clothes to school; that we brought delicious baons or packed lunches (home-cooked meals she'd prepare in the wee hours of the morning) to school or work; that we came home to sumptuous dinners (despite how simply we lived) at the end of the day. I'll never forget what she told me when I asked her the secret to cooking delicious meals: "You'll always cook well when you love the ones you're cooking for." (Masarap ang luto mo kapag mahal mo ang mga taong ipinagluluto mo.)

    The "love" I've seen, felt, and grew up with was the kind that always forgave, was deliberately selfless, patient and tolerant of our weaknesses, gave until it hurt, and was quick to snatch us back to the right direction when we stray. All because she intentionally loved us, her family. Even in her deathbed, she willed herself to ensure I can personally handle life on my own (without her by my side). She didn't let go until I assured her so.

  2. On dealing with people: "Acts of kindness matter; especially small, unnoticed ones."

    I've seen how she treated people around her, especially lowly people we've met in her lifetime. She's been known to always show compassion and grace. Her ministry was filled with a community of women who were always drawn to her because she genuinely looked after their welfare. She gave until she had nothing left to give. She secretly helped people with every chance she got.

    In her wake, women, children, and families showed up with stories of how their lives were made better because of her kindness. And it was humbling to know. Her life mattered because she never got tired showing kindness when it mattered, where it mattered.

  3. On work: "Whatever you do, put your heart on it. Else, don't do it."

    My mother, she always took pride in the works of her hands—whether it was laundry, crocheted doily, hand-sewn kitchen whatnots, her garden, her cooking—and would obsessively re-do anything that didn't quite look perfect or "best" in her own standards. She shunned mediocrity (Hindi pwede and 'pwede na yan'.).

    I got the best career advice from her: "Never do your work halfheartedly. It reflects who you are and what you're made of." I've always loved that about her. While she never got materially rich (she never complained about it), her personal excellence marked my life and that of the many others whose lives she has touched. She lived intentionally.
We all live cluttered lives these days. Distractions are all around us so much so that we simply forget to to make our lives matter. We need to slow down, really, and take time to notice.
“Understand and be confident that each of us can make a difference by caring and acting in small as well as big ways.” —Marian Wright Edelman


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