6 Lessons From My Parents That Have Shaped Who I Am Today

by Elizabeth McClellan

I never realized the way I viewed the world, even as an adult, would be significantly impacted by the values my parents instilled in me.

We go to college, form our own identities and become mature adults.

Maybe we lose sight of who we truly are, only to realize the person we are is the person we’ve always been.

Although we can't pick and choose what lessons our parents teach us, we can choose to see them in a good light.

1. Don’t devalue your true character.

The best thing my dad told me was, when it comes down to it, you could be the most successful person in the world, but it will never satisfy you the way genuine relationships will.

At the end of the day, your character is what matters the most.

2. Giving up on your dreams is not an option.

My parents are all about goals.

Every year, like clockwork, they bring up the power of goal-setting.

Although I know it's great to do, I just never felt the need to sit down and write out my goals. But this year was different.

I took time with my parents and explained to them what my plan was. My mom told me no matter what my dreams and aspirations were, they would support me every step of the way.

When people support our dreams no matter what, it provides a sense of relief.

I truly believe loving someone means you support all his or her hopes and dreams because it's hard to find one's passion in life.

3. We do not change who we are.

I think the craziest thing about life is, no matter how many ups and downs we go through, we are still the same kids at heart.

We really don't change who we are.

We can make positive changes and better ourselves, but our childhood will always be a part of our identity.

My parents have always said family is forever. Throughout life, no matter how rough things are, my family has always been there.

This has shaped my meaning of family, and it happens to be the reason I hope to start my own family someday.

4. Nobody is ever better than anyone else.

I have been raised to see everyone as equals.

Our generation is brutal to each other. With constant criticism from societal forces, it's no wonder some of us devalue our upbringings and accomplishments.

But we must see the opportunities we are given to make changes, serve others and listen to people.

My family and I were walking in downtown Chicago last December.

We walked past a gentleman curled up in a ball, with his bare hand holding a Styrofoam cup. He was mumbling something, but no one listened.

My parents stopped. They listened.

The man looked at my dad and told him he just wanted a coat. We provided him with a coat, gloves and blankets. I don't know his story and I don't know why he was homeless. But that isn't something I need to know.

I have learned through my parents' example that people are people. We must help each other.

We all need love, and we should all spread it.

5. Vulnerability is necessary.

My dad is not ashamed to let his guard down. This is something many women find to be the strongest quality in a man.

A man who can be emotional about things displays strength, not weakness. However, being emotional does not always involve waterworks. Being emotional is letting yourself feel emotions healthily, and being vulnerable is expressing your feelings rather than holding them all inside.

Vulnerability is strength. Conflict resolution is impossible without vulnerability. So, when it comes to love, you want to make sure you work through conflicts.

Even if it means admitting you were wrong.

6. Never go to bed angry.

I don’t think I have ever gone to bed angry, and I have my parents to thank for that.

No matter how heated of an argument I had with my parents, we always hugged it out.

Even as a 22-year-old, I find myself refusing to go to bed angry at someone.

I make sure to genuinely apologize or make sure things are settled before my head hits the pillow. I want to wake up happy, and every day is a new day.

So why go to bed mad?