From standing up for myself to giving back to others, most of my strongest values come from things I learned from my parents. Read on for just a few of the wonderful lessons they taught me that I still live by today.
Values I Learned from My Parents That I Live by Today
A few months ago, I shared some of the most important life lessons that I want my kids to learn. The more I think about them, the more I realize that everything I value most in life came from the many things that I learned from my own parents. Below (in no particular order) are just a few of the most important lessons I learned from my own parents. As usual, I’m also sharing some of my favorite inspirational quotes that go along with each one. Enjoy!
Stand up for what you believe in & be true to yourself
I think one of the most important things I learned from my parents is the importance of standing up for what you believe in, even if no one is standing beside you. Never give up your morals and ethics. Fight for what you know is right, even if you’re the only one fighting. Always be true to yourself, even if no one else agrees with you. It’s better to stand alone than to surround yourself with fake friends, anyway.
Help others as much as you can
One of the greatest things that my parents taught me is the value of generosity. I learned that if you can help others, you SHOULD help them. I also learned that we all have something to give to those in need, even if we’re in need ourselves. Being generous isn’t just about giving people money. A helping hand can come in the form of your time, energy, or even just a compassionate shoulder for a friend to lean on.
Be grateful and appreciative
My parents taught me to appreciate and be grateful for what we had, even if it wasn’t always what I wanted. As the quote below says, I ate what they fed me and wore what they could afford, and I was grateful for it. Maybe I didn’t always have the latest fashion trends or the hottest shoes, and maybe I didn’t always get to eat exactly what I wanted every night, but I always had clothes on my back and food on the table.
That said, I feel like the quote below needs a bit of a disclaimer (and it’s a good example of how the things we learned as kids shaped our parenting values by teaching us what NOT to do). I do not believe in the whole “eat what I give you or starve” archaic parenting rule. We know so much more about food aversion and the harmful effects of force-feeding kids today than our parents knew back then. We can teach kids to be grateful for the food that they have on their plates without forcing them to eat things that make them gag.
Better days are always around the corner
We all had good days and bad days growing up. My parents taught me that even on the worst days, better times are ahead. Our winters (metaphorically speaking) may be dark, cold, and bleak, but if we can just hold on, spring will come.
Adversity doesn’t break us
Speaking of rough times, I learned from my parents that adversity doesn’t have to break us. I’m not saying that having bad things happen to you is actually a good thing, or a “blessing in disguise” or anything quite so trite, so don’t get me wrong. I’m saying don’t let that adversity define you. Try to focus on the lesson, not the pain. Don’t ever let that darkness keep you from finding beauty in the world.
True beauty comes from within
One of the most important values I learned from my parents is that true beauty comes from within. Great hair, good skin, the perfect waistline- none of these things make someone beautiful. Being kind and compassionate, helping others without expectations…that’s what makes you a beautiful person. You can hide your dark circles, and dye your hair if you really want to. However, no amount of makeup can hide an ugly heart.
When you know better, do better
My parents were far from perfect, but they did the best they could with the knowledge that they had. Our parent’s generation did things based on what they thought was right at the time. Take the whole “eat what I feed you or starve” thing that I mentioned above. In their mind, that was the right thing to do. As parents ourselves now, we know that they got some of it wrong. We also know better, so we do better with our own kids.
You can’t please everyone, so stop trying
If you spend your life trying to make everyone around you happy all of the time, you’re not really living your own life…you’re living everyone else’s. YOUR life begins when you stop trying to please everyone else and start following your own passions. The great thing about this lesson? It’s never too late to learn!
Find someone who believes in you
My parents taught me the value of having someone in your corner. Someone who pushes you to do better and be better, who holds you accountable to yourself, who lifts you up when you’re down. Whether it’s your mom, dad, sibling, spouse, or a friend, find at least ONE person that makes you a better person.
Dance, love, sing and LIVE!
I think one of the most important things I learned from my parents is that we only get ONE life to live on this planet, and tomorrow is never promised. Don’t spend it hiding in the shadows and doing things that make you miserable. Follow your dreams. Dance like no one is watching. Love deeply, down to your toes. Sing at the top of your lungs, even if you can’t carry a tune. Just LIVE!
Whether it’s our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or even foster parents, our childhood caregivers taught us countless important life lessons that shaped the values that we hold dear today. Sometimes, those lessons made us realize exactly what kind of person we wanted to be when we grew up. Other times, they taught us what we DIDN’T want to be. But one way or another, we owe much of who we are today to the people that raised us. I, for one, am very grateful to my parents for giving me so many amazing values.