As every commercial, marketing email, and holiday section at Target will remind you—it’s Mother’s Day on Sunday.
It’s a day we’re reminded to cherish all the gifts our moms have given us (namely, the gift of life), and remember them in spirit or in person.
Whether or not your mom is still with us on the earth, one thing is almost certain: she taught you something. As I was reflecting on this upcoming celebration day, I thought it was timely to share a few relationship lessons I’ve learned from my mom.
It turns out, my mom’s persistent mutterings into my 7-year-old ear weren’t just lip service to help me be a better human—they are actually supported by science!
So yes, in case you’re wondering, keep reading to see how moms are always right.
TIPS FROM MOM
Moms are beacons of wisdom. But to children, their repetitive suggestions and reminders can often feel overbearing and irritating.
The truth is, whether they realize their greatness or not, moms know their stuff. While on the surface these typical motherly suggestions may be simple enough and downright obvious, it turns out science has A LOT to say about some common motherly mutterings.
So here they are in their simplistic but profound glory, 4 Relationship Tips From My Mom:
Put others before yourself
Listen to your parents
As you’re about to see, mothers are basically behavioral scientists because the research shows moms know a thing or two about relationships.
THE SCIENCE BEHIND MOM’S TIPS
What’s interesting about these motherly reminders is they’ve been shown to have lasting health benefits for us and positive effects on our relationships. So while mommas out there may be muttering common sentiments that have been repeated for generations, keep it going—you are raising better humans.
1. Be Kind: It goes without saying—kind people build better relationships. But beyond building relationships, science has found kindness is also good for your health. Even performing just one act of kindness a day increases the amount of serotonin and oxytocin that floods your body—making you calmer and happier.
Check out this quick video on the science of kindness:
2. Show gratitude: It’s almost Mother’s Day, it makes sense to prepare some thoughtful words to thank her for her influence on your life, but recent studies have pointed out how people expressing gratitude often underestimate the impact of their words.
In a study published in Psychological Science (and summarized in the New York Times) researchers asked a group of 100 people to write thank you notes. They had the writers of the thank you notes rate on a scale of 1-5 how the note would be received (1 being poorly or awkwardly and 5 being ecstatically). Out of 100 writers, most predicted the receiver’s reaction would be around a 3.
However, when the recipients received these notes, their reactions were ALL between 4 and 5.
Don’t underestimate the benefits of gratitude—you never know what a thank you note (that takes 1 minute to write) will mean to the recipient.
3. Put others before yourself: This idea is known to many in the business world as servant leadership. My mom is the epitome of servant leadership—if there is one thing I’ve learned from my mom, it is this.
Robert Greenleaf published an essay in which he defined Servant Leadership:
"The servant-leader is servant first...It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people's highest priority needs are being served.”
Since publishing this piece in 1970, there have been numerous studies on companies who employ this type of leadership model and the results are astounding.
On an even simpler level, when it comes to networking and building relationships, this type of servant-leadership style of engagement is still impactful. Whether you’re deferring to the other person’s needs for meeting times or places, offering to foot the bill, or simply ensuring you’re helping that person become the best version of themselves, putting their needs before yours will always reap rewards.
4. Listen to your parents: Recently we’ve been talking a lot about listening here at Contact Mapping...talking about listening—that seems oxymoronic when I say it that way, but you get the idea. And the reason is simple—to be a superconnector, you MUST be a super-listener.
Karl Pillemer, a gerontologist, met with a group of college students at an Ivy League university to share the work he does with the older generation. The most pressing concerns from the students focused on one simple question: “Do I need a purpose to be successful? And how do I find it?”
Pillemer was struck by the confusion that surrounded these bright, earnest, and enthusiastic students. His suggestion to them was simple: Find a maven. And listen to them.
He told the students to find a person who was sitting on the other end of a career or a life who had built the dream they are embarking on now and LISTEN TO THEM. Take heed of what they’ve done, what missteps they’ve made, how they’ve treated others and make a plan from there.
It turns out mom’s suggestion to “Listen to your parents” actually extends beyond an immediate home. It looks like listening to all people who have gone before us and walked a path that we dream of.
Well, my friends, there you have it—Mom IS always right. Science even says so.
Combine Momma's tips with the Contact Mapping app and build meaningful relationships with everyone you meet!