Merry Christmas, everyone! If you're anything like me, you're counting down the days to the Christmas holiday ... only a few days left!
Christmas is made very special by a very small group of people, and one of those people (at least for me), is my mom. She's a hostess, a best friend, an entertainer, a chef. She's goofy like a kid-sister, wise like the best of grandmothers, and beautiful, inside and out, and the Christmas season just couldn't be complete without her.
As I've shared in my last article, "Lessons I've Learned from People I Love: My Dad," over the next few weeks, I'm sharing a series of articles reflecting on the various lessons people have taught me. This is my second article, centering on the one woman who keeps it all together. If your mom is anything like mine, do something a little extra-special for her. You have no idea how hard she works just to see the smile on your face.
1. Always look your best; you never know whom you'll meet.
Next time you're in the grocery store, you could run into a potential employer or your future husband. Wherever you are, look your best, so that you’re ready for whatever opportunity may arise.
2. A lady's nails are always painted.
Take a look at any female figure in the public eye. Their nails are painted; a woman of breeding and culture should do the same. It shows that the woman cares about her appearance. If you can't afford to run to the salon, (as most college students can't), run to Walmart, and rope your friends into a nail-painting "party," (accompanied by wine, of course).
3. Sometimes it's better to let sleeping dogs lie.
Now, in the Malueg household, associating with a dog is your first mistake (we’re cat people), but what this idiom means is “don’t provoke trouble.” In this case, there's a Malueg-spin on it: My family (myself included) tends to overanalyze the smallest action, so this idiom is used to mean, “Some things shouldn’t be discussed or analyzed because discussing it would cause more trouble.”
4. Work the room.
Some people really don’t understand this concept; in fact, I’ve known 2 people that were personally offended that I couldn’t spend an entire party in their presence, but here’s the deal: particularly if you’re a host (but really during any occasion), you should have at least one conversation with every single person in the room. Your job (if you’re a host) is to make everyone feel welcome. If you’re a guest, then your job is to make everyone feel equally valued. No one wants cliques at a party; so go work the room and make sure no one is left out and everyone is having a good time.
5. The people who say that other people are dramatic, are usually the ones that are the most dramatic.
Most of the time, when people call other people dramatic, it means “I don’t understand why they’re so worked up,” but not understanding someone else’s emotions doesn’t mean they aren’t valid. If you find yourself in this situation, consider whether or not you're having a meaningful moment. Do you think you're overreacting? Has this person ever allowed you to have a "moment" without usurping the attention? Consider whether or not this person has ever been there for you without inserting themselves. Finally, if you're not getting what you need out of a relationship, cut those ties.
6. The people that are the most severe in their beliefs are typically compensating for their past.
Those that allow absolutely no leeway or flexibility in any kind of belief are generally reacting to their own past actions. Those that are scary-religious probably partied harder than anyone else at school, and those that are scary-anti-religion probably had extremely religious parents. Evaluate your beliefs. Make sure they are more than a reaction. After all, strong emotions are the result of a strong (or repeated) event.
7. Ugly babies make beautiful adults.
... but pretty babies are a bad sign. (Guys, I was an ugly baby, so I’m praying this is true.)
8. State of mind is a superpower.
You have the power. Everything is in your mind. If you don’t want to be angry anymore, don’t be. If you don’t want to be sad anymore, don’t be. You are NOT the victim of your emotions. They do not control you. You control them. I’ve seen this in action; my mother has the will power of 1,000 other women, and I believe in this lesson as strongly as I believe in the woman herself.
9. Do what you can, when you can.
This is probably the most useful bit of information I’ve learned. If someone asks you to lunch but you “just don’t feel like it,” put on your big girl panties and do it anyways, because when you do feel like it, you may be swamped with homework/work, sick, or your schedules may not match up. Do what you can in the present, so that you’ve already checked the box in the future.
10. People are inherently selfish.
I know you’re probably thinking “that’s so mean,” but it’s important to grasp this. Just because people are selfish, it doesn’t mean people are bad. You have to understand the human nature of selfishness to understand that you probably don’t come first for many people. Understanding this makes “CYOA” a little bit more intuitive when it comes to work, girl fights, and the like.
11. Sorry only goes so far.
Sorry is only a word. Words can’t turn back time or fix what has been broken. Saying “sorry” is just fine, as long as you back it up with changed behavior, otherwise, you only said it to make yourself feel better about the situation.
12. If you have the same problem with 3 different people ... you're the problem.
It’s extremely unlikely that 3 people will have the same personalities, pet peeves, etc. So if you find yourself fighting about the same thing with all three people, it isn’t their fault … it’s probably yours. Consider your personal behavior ... it may be time do some self-searching and change some things.
13. Vocabulary is a mark of intelligence.
Speech is very telling. From speech, we can pinpoint geographical locations, emotional tics, and education level. It's also the first thing someone notices (after appearance). Therefore, speech is just as important to first impressions as is good hygiene and an important indicator in the professional world during, for example, interviews.
14. Your friends are flawed, and so are you. Accept them as they have accepted you.
When your friends annoy you or make you angry, remember that they’ve probably felt the same about you. Each of us have things we need to work on, so before you do something you regret, try to take that into account. It will probably humble you, and make the argument seem trivial in comparison.
15. Plan the event, but on the day-of, accept that whatever happens, happens.
Every event should be planned to the Nth degree, but when the day comes, and it rains, or the flowers don’t arrive, or you’ve burned the turkey, there’s nothing you can do about it. Laugh, order pizza, and remember it for a great story later. Everyone will appreciate that mood much more than they would if you were crying or hysterical.
16. Don't put all your eggs in one (friend) basket.
When you find a friend that really "gets" you, it can be easy to neglect all other friends for that one person. That’s neither healthy, nor is it a good investment. More than likely, that person has more than just you in his/her life and probably wants to be able spend quality time with other friends. You should be able to do the same. Additionally, if something happens and you are fighting with this person, you are going to need emotional support from other people. If you’ve neglected all your other friends for this one person, you’ll have no one to whom you can turn.
17. You don’t have to understand.
Sometimes your friends or significant other thinks something is important when you don’t think it’s important, nor understand why they think it's important. But if you love someone, you don’t need to understand. You need to accept that it’s important to them and because you love them, that means it's important to you too.
18. Love is not enough.
In a relationship, love does not conquer all. It doesn’t eliminate religious beliefs or whether or not you want children. It doesn’t dissolve geographical distances or magically offer job opportunities in convenient locations. Love doesn’t remove how you each want to allocate money or discontinue a drug problem. Love is an emotion. It is powerful, but it is not what romantic films make it out to be. For a marriage to work, you need common goals, common beliefs, trust, honesty, AND love.
19. Sometimes decisions should be made in-the-moment.
There are a few times in life when it's just better to wait to make a decision. When you make a decision very early, you can end up artificially limiting yourself, instead of having the patience to wait and make a better, more informed (and potentially less emotional) decision.
20. Our family is unbreakable.
Our home is a safe-zone. Our family is a team. Our bond is unbreakable. We can do anything when we are doing it together.(I know this is a repeat from my last article, but my mom has taught me this too, so I just had to put it in here.)