By Leo Babauta
My mom just left our house after visiting for a week, and once again, our lives were changed.
She visits us about twice a year, and every time she does, she leaves us with a new hobby, a new passion, a better version of ourselves.
My mom (Shannon Murphy) makes everyone around her better, and yet most people whose lives she changes don’t even realize it.
So what’s her secret? I honestly wish I knew her special recipe, but I’m going to do my best to share what I know with all of you. It’s amazing, honestly.
Some examples of ways she’s made people around her better:
- She recently got Eva and I into the Fitbit fitness tracker, just by making it look like so much fun when she did it. As a result, we are walking a lot more.
- She had a talk with my 22-year-old daughter that inspired my daughter to pursue her dream job, and begin creating again (as a writer).
- She got my youngest kids into doing crossword puzzles and reading the newspaper.
- On different visits, she’s gotten Eva into sewing, drinking red wine, gardening, and more.
- My mom runs Guampedia, an online encyclopedia about Guam, and whenever she visits, she gets us excited about Guam history and the political status fight.
- She makes people feel good about who they are: for example, she tells other people about how good I am at various things.
I could go on and on with examples, but I’d like to distill the magic of my mom into a handful of ideas that I draw inspiration from:
- She inspires others to become interested in what she’s interested in, because of her excitement. Things just sound interesting, when she’s really interested.
- She is genuinely interested in what you have to say, and you feel like a good person, an interesting person, when she listens.
- She encourages you to grow, to do something beyond your normal, without making you feel like you’re not already great. She’s encouraging without making you feel bad about yourself.
- She’s accepting of who you are, not critical. She’s kind. You don’t hear her badmouthing people, only feeling compassionate for their difficulties.
- She’s always looking to help people, without concern about herself. That’s not to say she doesn’t look out for herself — she does — but it seems like she wants to help without needing to be repaid, nor given credit.
I’m not saying my mom is perfect. No one is, no one is a saint. But these are traits in her that I admire, and constantly strive to imitate. I don’t know if I’ll ever reach those heights, but I’m grateful for her example. Thank you, mom.