THE BLOG

21 Golden Wisdoms From My Grandmother

10/03/2013 08:27 am ET | Updated Dec 03, 2013

Wisdom is perhaps the scarcest resource in our world today. And while Google has become our answer to every inquiry, back in the Old World, Grandma was that fountain of wisdom to whom we'd pour forth our every problem.

My own grandmother lived to be 103. While not particularly educated or sophisticated, Mama de la Mintiu -- as we called her, Romanian for "mother from Mintiu village" -- seemed to guard an elixir of wisdom in her throat. She spoke only when necessary, but her seldom words were guaranteed to resonate great truth.

We all have a "grandma" tale to tell, and chances are our grandmothers' life truths overlap. That's because wisdom is a universal language far superior to discordant knowledge. I've committed my grandmother's invaluable wisdoms to memory and recall them whenever faced with uneasy decisions. These quick, practical proverbs have helped me resurface from turbulent times. It's amazing how a few simple words which we believe with conviction can enrich us with an incredible power to act and an unimaginable strength to recover.

Take a few minutes out of your day to contemplate these 21 profound truths. They can get you back on track, guide you towards the right choices and simplify your everyday life:

Silence is golden. Sometimes it's not necessary to retaliate with words. Silence is the speech of the soul. Understand that, in many situations, you are better off practicing silence than harsh speech which may further fuel negativity.

Respect yourself and others will respect you You will be treated by others in the same ways you treat yourself. Be mindful of the manner in which you carry yourself and present yourself to others. Command respect from those around you through your actions.

Don't become too attached to the material world. This is difficult to do, granted, but it's a lesson we all learn sooner or later. We frequently see celebrities go from billions to zero, and this should serve as a reminder never to hold material wealth too close to our hearts.

If you climb too high, you will suffer a great fall. Living in a society which takes everything to the extreme, it seems we've lost the essence of moderation. Practice a humble harmony in all that you do, from controlling your emotions to balancing your behaviors, from grounding your finances to solidifying your relationships. Moderation is key.

Life is algebra. I was taught over and over again that life comes with pluses and minuses, a constant flux of highs and lows. The most critical lesson to learn from this truth is that out of difficulties do come miracles.

Tolerate others. People will always be, well, people. They will make mistakes and even do things to make us shake our head in disbelief. But remember, you never know what someone else is thinking or feeling. Don't take the actions of others too seriously or personally. Tolerate a person as they are and inspire them to improve by improving yourself.

You will reap the seeds you sow. Take responsibility for your deeds, both good and bad. The thoughts, intentions, and actions you plant today will always have consequences in the future.

Forgive your enemies. One of the greatest signs of strength and resilience is forgiveness. This is because when you forgive, you detach -- from the pain, bitterness or anger associated with past experiences. Forgive those who have hurt you, even if it's the last thing you want to do. You will feel a liberating energy, as if you've broken free of something holding you back.

Never surrender. If there's one tidbit of wisdom my grandmother drilled into my mind, it's the notion of being strong. Never give in or give up, even if your efforts aren't manifesting. Opposition is often a sign to re-evaluate your approach, but never an indication to quit.

You must evolve. The number one law of life is evolution. Everything in the universe progresses and changes with time, and anything which remains stagnant dies out. You, too, must evolve into a better version of yourself, little by little, growing and expanding each day.

Honor your family. Good or bad, normal or dysfunctional, you were born into your family for a reason. Your family members teach you critical life lessons. Accept your family for what it is and embrace the people you call parents and siblings, children and cousins, spouses and in-laws, flaws and all.

Think before you act. If we thought before we acted, there would be much less mistake-making. But often our emotions get the best of us, and we react on a whim which we later regret. Even when you're emotionally charged, take a deep breath and rationalize your situation before proceeding forward.

Inspire and serve. Live as an inspiration for others. See your duty on earth as one of teaching, expanding, and sharing your talents with the world. You were given gifts beyond your imagination, and understanding this can help you live up to your potential.

Build your foundation. A house cannot stand unless its foundation is well-grounded. Similarly, you must ensure your building blocks are firmly in place. In terms of business, family or personal life, always secure your anchors before building upward.

Believe in the unexpected. Just when you think you've got something figured out, something totally unexpected happens and you're left scratching your head. But this is the beauty of life. Have faith that there is a greater reason behind everything and that you will know this reason in time.

Never envy another's success. Being envious of someone else's success entails that you're comparing yourself to them. In reality, you're as unique as your fingerprint and should never measure yourself against anyone else. Strive for excellence, not perfection.

Be a person of your word. At the end of the day, your word is all you have. Make it honest and reliable. Your word becomes your guarantee to your integrity.

Give generously, take sparingly. Give with an unselfish heart but take with a cautious hand. Pride yourself on being your own provider. Never take what isn't yours or exploit a person for what they have.

Don't take shortcuts. Work done right is work done right. There's no way around it. Nothing beats performing your work correctly. It's much easier to get something done the easy way, but much more rewarding to do it the right way.

Stand up for yourself. Do not allow others to affect your well-being. If you feel someone has wronged you, don't keep quiet. Stand up for your value and defend your self-worth in a non-violent but firm way.

Everything comes full circle. Nothing begins which doesn't end, and life moves in perpetual cycles: the same situations, circumstances, and challenges occur over and over again. But each time they return, you are equipped with more experience than before.

A deep-rooted sense of wisdom can endow you with inspiration, tranquility and a way forward. Consider adopting some of my family's wise words into your everyday life for a bit of extra guidance. They are given to you with love.

To Grandma,
Dr. Carmen Harra

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