One of the things that I do to stay positive is to read uplifting articles, which usually rules out the newspaper. A great place to turn for that, I have learned, is the Living section of The Huffington Post (warning: stay away from the current news though, it is always upsetting). A couple of days ago, I read an article there, 18 Life Lessons from Family and Friends, that inspired me to imitate it. Imitation being the highest form of flattery, the author, Susan Orlins, said she would be honored if I did and she told me that her niece had printed out the post and put it on the wall to look at it everyday.
So here goes the partial list of the lessons that I have personally learned from my family and friends because how could I really mention everything anyone has ever taught me:
1) From my mom, I learned how to love my children deeply and fearlessly without holding on too tight, giving them the opportunity to develop their own identities.
2) From my dad, I learned that generosity is not just a personal characteristic but also a daily practice. Running to the store or getting someone their morning tea can be a cherished expression of love.
3) From my sister, I learned that laughter truly is the best medicine. And the best way to start the day. And the best way to end the day. And the best afternoon pick-me-up (you get the idea).
4) From my ex husband (who has taught me more than he will ever know), I learned that someone other than your parents can love you forever, regardless of the conflicts that you encounter or the breakup that you have had.
5) From my son Jonah, I learned that children, despite their different vocabulary and maturity level, can truly understand adults.
6) From my daughter Layla, I learned that you can love someone regardless of the fact that they push you out of your comfort zone on a daily basis.
7) From my grandmother Oma, I learned that sometimes honesty is not the best policy, that you should choose your words wisely based on your audience (a tough lesson for the headstrong, outspoken young woman that I was at the time of her death).
8) From my dog Mona (and my ex boyfriend D), I learned that angels appear in your path when you need them most and then they disappear when their work is done.
9) From my Mr. Big, I learned that you can love a man without wanting to spend the rest of your life with him. That, and wit really turns me on.
10) From my ex boyfriend Marc, I learned that a relationship that has all the pistons firing is so much more enjoyable than one that just has a few. Perhaps unfortunately, I also learned from him that I am capable of experiencing heartbreak (can you believe that it took me this long to learn that?), but as my friend Tobey would say, this makes me human.
From my friends, whom I will try to refrain from naming, I learned the following:
11) A close-knit community can be almost just as nurturing and dedicated to your well-being as your family.
12) No matter how much a man has done you wrong, only you can make yourself a victim.
13) Some people will be in your life for a short period of time and some will be in it for what seems like forever, but each person plays a very special role in your personal narrative.
14) How you tell your personal narrative is very important. Whether you tell a story of woe or a story of triumph can greatly impact your attitude and the course of events in your life.
15) Positive and cheerful people make me feel excited to live my life. Negative people make me want to go home and cry. Guess who I choose to hang out with?
16) When people offer to help you out, accept their offer graciously and appreciate their generosity.
17) A smile, a sweet text message or an encouraging comment can make someone’s day (that’s why I love Facebook!). It’s those little things in life that truly add up.
18) Having a regular ritual of getting together with your friends is soooo much fun and can sustain you throughout your week.
19) Surrounding yourself with smart, funny and witty people is a great way to live your life.
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Okay, your turn, what lessons have you learned from your family and friends? Would you find it inspiring to print up a list and put it where you could see it? I like that idea.
Oh…and maybe someone could share what they have learned from me?
And because this list has made me realize all that I have to be thankful for, I am linking it to Alli’nSon’s wonderful Thank You Journal. Check it out!