Five Phrases to Keep Us Grounded

Today I am thinking about the things I learned as a child that have stuck with me all through my life. The little gems of wisdom that we sprinkle on children and hope they stick. These are cliches but they are also accurate and cuttingly quick – why waste your time trying to say it another way? Here’s a few of my favorites and I hope you’ll share some of your own – I’m always game to learn something new

Keep hands, feet, and all other objects to yourself. This was a great one from the wall of rules that our sixth grade class would have to write repeatedly until we learned them. I’ll say they stuck, it has been a long time since sixth grade. I remember Mrs. Richards and I have managed to follow this rule throughout my life. What a powerful and wonderful lesson to remind us to be respectful of ourselves and of other people.

You can always stoop over to pick up nothing. This one I learned in college from a friend’s mother. At first I did not understand it and I mulled it over long and hard before suddenly one day it made sense. What a wise woman, you can waste your time or you can learn from what I’m teaching you that is all your decision. What an elegant way to call someone on their bullshit. 

If you can’t say something nice come sit here by me. Steel Magnolias remains one of my favorite movies and the wisdom of southern women never ceases to impress or delight me. The homespun wisdom of Dolly Parton, the sharp wit of Julia Shugarbaker, and the countless friends I have accumulated over a lifetime of devotion to the cult of southern womanhood. I could write a whole post about the brilliant one-liners of southern women but I’ll hold off with one more.

It’s hard to be a diamond in a rhinestone world. Dolly Parton, the visionary, musician, and living breathing angel among us is full of timeless wisdom that soothes the soul and warms the heart. It is challenging to be authentic in a world that expects perfection but rarely explains what that looks like – for women it often resembles a centerfold, who is also a devoted mother, partner, and void of any challenging opinions like her own intrinsic value or desire for respect and bodily autonomy. None of us fits that mold because we are all complex, unique, and divinely flawed people. Dolly’s words apply on so many levels, don’t they?

Actions speak louder than words. Now wasn’t this embroidered on a pillow in all our houses at one time? This classic is wonderful and holds weight. We can say all the kind things in the world but if we fail to show up for our friends or support our families at times of need what are we doing? You have to back up that lip service with a little hustle and some action. Send a casserole, call a friend, shoot a text. Let people know you’re thinking about them. It’s the only way they’ll know!

What are some other wonderful words of wisdom that you carry with you to help keep you honest and grounded? I am aching to know!