What the mother figures in our lives have taught us
The Heights team shares the lessons they’ve learned from the mother figures in their lives.
Mother’s Day can be a difficult time for many people. We’re bombarded by advertising showing idealised families, where everything’s perfect and everyone’s happy, all the time. That might be the case for some. It’s not the case for everyone.
But whatever your relationship with your mother, it doesn’t mean you can’t learn from the maternal figures in your life. So we asked the Heights team to share the lessons they’ve learned.
You might want to keep a tissue to hand.
“Put other people first.”
I'm super close with my mum, we literally speak every day. I've learned from her how to be genuinely kind to other people. Both her and her mother (my grandma) form such close relationships with everyone they meet, whether it's a childhood friend, an Uber driver, or a nurse looking after them—they always treat everyone with such kindness and compassion. They always put other people first and that's something I'm proud to have learned from them.
—Rob, People Operations Manager
“Find a way through it together.”
My Nonna was an incredible cook. She taught me that many problems can be solved with food. It seems silly, but some of the hardest times in my life have been made so much better by cooking a big bowl of pasta, and sitting down and talking to my friends or family about the challenges we're facing, so we can find a way through it together.
—Emma, Social Media & Community Manager
“Love transcends physical loss.”
My best friend’s mama, Nervana, recently passed. She’s shown me how love exists in many forms. She’s taught me the importance of being true to yourself, for yourself, and not trying to please others. She’s taught me about the power of connecting with others. She’s taught me how healing exists in many forms and how to believe in the unconventional. She’s taught me how to be vulnerable and open myself up to new experiences even when life has shown you you shouldn’t. She’s taught me that sometimes you can meet a mama you never knew you had. And recently, she’s taught me about grief, and how love transcends physical loss.
—Julz, Product Manager
“It’s ok to put myself first.”
My mum taught me that it’s ok to put myself first. As a people pleaser in the past, I have learned how important it is to take time for myself and do what I would like to do, rather than always putting others’ happiness first. She has also taught me to love and appreciate my body, and not let unrealistic beauty standards get me down—she’s my top body-positivity advocate.
—Charlotte, Customer Care Team Lead
Always fight for what you want in life. Don’t be afraid to speak up. My mum can be very passionate, loud, and determined, which is something I look up to her for, especially as a woman. Growing up—even for small things like a teacher treating me unfairly, or a friend offending me—she always taught me to speak up for myself. If I hadn’t learned that, I’d never have a chance at getting what I deserved.
—Amalia, Social Media & Community Executive
“What love I can expect.”
My mother has taught me how to be fierce but consistently considerate, kind and thoughtful. She has taught me that there is profound power in living life without a partner, whether a choice or not. She has taught me I don't need to be the loudest in the room to make the biggest impact. She has taught me that creating clear boundaries are important for all relationships in my life (but also to leave room to be silly with the people around me). She has taught me to be emotionally strong, and has allowed me the space to be creative and make mistakes.
Most importantly, she's taught me what love I can expect from those in my life, and that being a woman will never hinder my chances of success even when the odds are stacked against us.
—Ruby, Customer Care Executive
“Live by your principles.”
My mum taught me the power of doing the right thing, even if its not the easy choice, and even when others don't expect you to. Live by your principles, so you can look back and reflect that you never compromised that—an important lesson.
“Treat others selflessly.”
My mother has taught me how to love and treat others selflessly. She’s taught me about the right balance between consideration for others and self-preservation. Through her, I’ve grown to understand the power that spirituality and faith can have in creating mindfulness and peace. She’s also the best cook I know (no bias) so I’ve learned how to understand flavours and appreciate all the different origins of Thai dishes (I still can’t cook though).
—Malini, Marketing Campaign Manager
“How to hold my own.”
My older sister taught me how to be strong, kind and vulnerable, all at the same time. She taught me resilience, the importance of independence and how to hold my own in any kind of situation without being intimidated. She has a fiercely competitive, strong character and taught me to never see gender as a barrier growing up.
She had to play head of the household from a young age and taught me that if you set your mind to it you can overcome anything. She has always put other people (but mainly family) first. All the strength and resilience I have is from my sister and it’s helped me through some of the toughest times.
—Sinead, Head of Brand Marketing
“Nurture, listening, and patience.”
I lost my mum nearly four years ago to the day (April 2nd), but I'm proud to say I learned a lot from her, so it's difficult to narrow it down to one lesson. She taught me the power of many things—nurture, listening, and patience to name a few.
During times of crisis, she was always compassionate and often displayed a 'together' facade to protect and care for those around her—whether family, friends or complete strangers—hoping to find the best in every situation. I'll always remember her winking, smiling or laughing no matter the situation. It would make everything in that moment feel better, even if only for a second.
—Holly, Research & Product Executive
So stay compassionate today. Show some love. You never know, you might be the mother figure in someone else’s life.
For more about the science behind compassion take a look at our interview with Dr James Doty, founder of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University, here.