Sitting on a bench in the middle of the quad at my alma mater some 25 years ago, I complained to my friend about another friend who had not been there for me when I needed her. She said “Neen, you have different friends for different reasons. Not everyone can be everything you need.”
Hmm. Not everyone can be everything you need. This was advice I took to heart and carry with me daily. These words of wisdom came from someone I refer to as one of my ‘women of wisdom.’
I am grateful to have collected many of these women throughout my life. Some are good friends, some are family. Some are acquaintances or random people I see regularly at the store, the library, the gym. When you learn to listen carefully, and let the words you need at a particular moment truly seep into your marrow, these words from women of wisdom become a part of your life.
Here are some nuggets I’ve gathered from my women of wisdom. Some of the teachings are small, some are mighty. All of them stuck with me and help me walk along my journey.
What else are you gonna do that’s better than throwin’ the ball around with your son? The laundry will get done later ~ Paula
These were her words when I told her I was overwhelmed with laundry and cooking and cleaning and all things toddler mom related. Having three older sons, she reminded me: all the chores do get done and really, these moments of monotonous ball throwing with a three year old are precious, timeless and more important than a load of laundry. I still cherish my days on the lawn with my now teenage boy.
God doesn’t put us here forever ~ My mom
My sweet mom, talking about death like it’s the most natural thing in the world. And, it is. She originally said this when my sweet Aunt died suddenly and we were all grieving. She said it as a way to comfort us – not to negate the sadness, but to find peace in the understanding of impermanence. My mom taught me to live in this moment and when it’s our time, it’s time to hang out with the big Guy.
They are mother deaf, it’s normal ~ My mother in law
She watched as I stood frustrated in my kitchen calling my kids to come inside for the third or tenth time. As a young mom, I needed to hear the validation of her words – by telling me it was normal, she wasn’t judging me, she was conspiring with me – she got it. I try to pass this on to other moms – it’s normal, it’s ok, we’ve all been there.
Keep it simple ~ My fairy godmother
Oh what a wise woman. After a long day of waiting in the hospital for my own mother to come out of surgery, we talked about everything and nothing. She told me the answer to most things is to keep it simple. I try to do this in every way I can. From raising my kids, to practicing gratitude to holding my plank a little longer. Keeping it simple takes all the bullshit out of a situation and helps us focus on what is really going on.
You have to learn to feel uncomfortable ~ Beth
Beth! As the mom of grown kids, she never speaks with condescension or a ‘been there done that’ attitude. When I was just venturing into the world of parenting teenagers Beth told me to learn to feel uncomfortable. Teenagers push boundaries – discomfort. Teenagers meet new people, with parents you don’t know – discomfort. Teenagers go to parties, teenager’s plans change at the drop of a hat, teenagers drive, teenagers want and NEED independence – from YOU – discomfort! High Alert Discomfort! I am learning to feel uncomfortable. It’s getting a teeny tiny bit easier. Thank you Beth.
I think being vulnerable is the most courageous way to live ~ Sweet Lo
Lauren, my young, hip and creative friend told me this in a serious discussion about authenticity, vulnerability and tattoos. I remember telling her that while I felt my best when I am true to myself, doing what I love, no pretenses, it also makes me feel extremely vulnerable because not everyone likes me in that light. She reminded me that those who don’t like me as my true self aren’t worth the worry.
You know you have everything you need inside you to handle this ~ My wise friend Laurie
We all know this, yes? Somewhere deep inside – take a right at doubt and a left at negative self talk – there it is – what you already know, what you have inside you – your self worth, your answers. You have it, I have it, we HAVE it. She encouraged me. She believed in me, she trusted me. It took my wise friend telling me this to remember to look for it, to believe it, to trust it.
Wise words, wise women. I only mention six here. Only six! I have so many more and I bet you do too. I am blessed to know them, grateful to walk beside them.
Who are your women of wisdom? Have you told them how grateful you are for their wisdom, their teachings, their love? How they have forever changed you? I bet you have. And I bet you are also a woman of wisdom and someone is writing about you in her gratitude journal tonight.
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