Because My Mom Said So

The world is a pretty big place and there are a lot of reasons for doing most things. Sometimes two or more people will do the same thing and they will have completely different reason for doing it.

going to the store

Going To The Store

Let’s take something easy like going to the store.

Some people will go because they have to pick up a carton of milk or a birthday present or a snake so they can clean out their drain in the kitchen.

And other people will go there because they want to see what’s on sale, to see if it is something they would like to have.

And others are going to go to the store because it is a safe warm place where they can be out of the elements and where the police won’t round them up for being vagrants.

And still others will go to the store because they work there or they deliver stuff there or they pick stuff up there and deliver it somewhere else.

Lots and lots of reasons for doing something as simple as going to the store.

Every Person Has Their Own Reason

That actually is a pretty simple thing to do. And there are a ton of reasons besides the ones already written down that you could be going to the store. You could even go so far as to say that each person who goes to the store has their own individual reason for doing that.

So for every person who goes to the store, there is a particular reason. And that reason is unique to each individual.

But that is for simple things like going to the store.

What do we do when the issue is a bit more complex than going to the store?

How do we figure out why other people are doing the things they are doing? Even more confounding on occasion is the question of how we figure out why we ourselves are doing what we are doing at any given moment?

red balloon

KAPOW !!!!!!!

Reflex we call it, the idea that when something happens we react to it. Like when somebody pops a balloon with a pin when we least expect it. We just do the same thing over and over again. If not the exact same thing, then the same pattern of behavior.

Take something a bit more complex than going to the store – like relationships. Why do we do the things we do in our relationships? Why does it always seem like we meet the same person over and over again. To the point where we might think that there is only one kind of person in the world. Now we are not just talking about romantic relationships here but all kinds of them.

It usually isn’t just that people pick the same kind of romantic partner over and over again, but the same kind of boss, and the same kind of hair stylist and the same kind of person to be friends with.

It is almost as if they are following a rule that somebody taught them about who to have relationships with.

And you already know that “almost as if” pretty much means they are following a rule and most people don’t even realize that they are doing this.


So where do these rules come from. The ones that tell you who your friends can be. What kind of place you are going to work at. The kind of people you can have a relationship with. Or not.

They come from your parents most of the time. And if not from your parents then from the people who raised you. And they often come from the person whose inherit job it was to steer you in your feelings.



Your mother. And you have the relationships you do because she said those were the ones you could have. And because that is often the kind of relationship she had herself.

Now, these are not always destructive. There are plenty of people who have great relationships with all the other people in their lives and often it is because their mothers had great relationships.

It is just one of those things in life that was a reason for not hanging around someone.

Because my Mom said so.

And usually that settled things pretty quickly. This pronouncement could come in the form of a blessing or it could come in the form of a shunning.

But either way, the fact is, that your Mom’s personal preferences in life have a lot to do with the relationships you have right now. And if those relationships are fabulous, that is fantastic.

But if they are not, then that is a different story.

Things Are Different Now

Truth is, it is OK for you to have your own idea about who your friends are going to be, the type of place you are going to work, the type of establishments you are going to seek out to do business in. And “because my Mom said so” is probably not the best reason in the world for making a choice anymore.

<insert emoticon for sotto voce>OK, if you are a kid reading this, then sure, it’s a pretty good reason. But for everyone else, it is OK for you to make your own decisions.</emoticon for sotto voce>


But Things Might be The Same

Now, if those turn out to be the same as the ones you were taught to make when you were a kid, that’s cool. And if they are not, then it is really alright for you to choose something different right now.

Sometimes the ability to believe that this is an OK thing to do is hard to get hold of. And people spend a lot of time trying to figure out if it is OK for them to make their own choices.

It is OK for you to decide to choose something different in your life. All choices have consequences, of course, but making your own choices, even if they are different than what you were raised with, is something that you can do.

And you don’t need anyone’s permission.

Could be that you don’t need to make any different choices, and that is excellent. But if you do, if that kind of nagging feeling is in your tummy and you are wondering if it is OK for you to select a different course of action in your life – the answer is “yes”

It really is your life

Either way, you are making a choice. Remain the same or change. And both can bring you great benefits.

But peace of heart lies in understanding that you do have a choice.  Might as well choose to have a great day and a great life. Those sound pretty good to me.


44 Comments on “Because My Mom Said So”

  1. Donna Merrill

    What a beautiful post Michael! I love the way you have written this because it is something everyone relates to. The choice: We can stick to what we learned as a kid as long as we are happy. BUT…. I find in so many cases that it doesn’t really work. Peace of heart as you put it always lies in the understanding that you do have a CHOICE?!
    Once we understand that concept, we can change our lives for the better. I know, I’ve done it myself! AND still do because life is full of changes and obstacles. I have the choice to let it knock me down, or stand up to it and change. If I find myself with an empty toolbox in order to make a change, I just go for help.
    I choose to have a great life and will not let anything stand in my way.
    Thank you for this wonderful analogy – it will help many people.
    Donna Merrill recently posted..Why is Self-discipline important to your Business?My Profile

    1. Michael

      Thank you Donna for your kind words today. it is a choice and one we get to make often more than once. It is amazing to me sometimes how much of what we know about our lives we learned from our parents. Lots of times these are great ideas that will serve us well for our entire lives, Be Kind, treat others as you wan t to be treated, wash your hands before you eat, those ideas can serve us for a lifetime.

      But others, not so handy to keep around. And those we can learn to let go of so we have room for more thoughts that DO serve us.

  2. Sarah Arrow

    Michael, I love this post! It’s so hard to get your mother and her beliefs out of your head!
    I love the detail of why and how it is all related together. We really do have to be aware of what we are passing to our children. Is it for the right reason or is it a misguided belief system that will haunt them?

    1. Michael

      Thank you Sarah for your kindness. It can be hard to start listening to your own inside voice, when it seems that the one you are listening to most is that of somebody else. A person can change which voice to pay attention to, it just takes a bit of being quiet and listening to hear which is your true voice.

      1. Kitty

        Michael, that is so true! We DO really have our own thoughts and our own voice, it’s just difficult to hear with all the other noise! Myself, I found that journaling really helped. I made a commitment to writing every day for 30 days and it turned into about two years, after which I started to be able to hear and recognize my own thoughts and opinions without writing it down. Needless to say, my life is completely different (read BETTER) than when I began. Hope this tip helps your readers.

        I love what you’re doing Michael, sharing your ideas and inspiration!

        Love and peace,


        1. Michael

          Kitty, journaling is such an excellent idea for so many people. You’re right about the commitment of doing it, it does take a little bit of time to get into the swing of writing down your thoughts in a non-judgmental way, but when you do, the benefits are simply amazing.

          And the writing does help so much with learning to hear and pay attention to your own voice inside. Thank you for your kind words and for sharing your journaling experience. 🙂

  3. Theresa Torres

    Hi Michael,
    Yes, the people who raised us do have a great influence in our lives and on the choices that we make.
    I think if children are given more support and encouragement, they are more open to trying out new things. They will realize that they do have a choice and can be in control of their lives.
    We can still keep the lessons we’ve learned from our parents and be prepared for new ones that we learn on our own.
    Thanks for your thoughts.
    Theresa Torres recently posted..Energy Cost: Tips to Stay Afloat with Energy Prices RisingMy Profile

    1. Michael

      Hi Theresa,

      Thank you for kind comments today. 🙂 I think you have hit upon it exactly. Given more support and encouragement when growing up, children do become more open to trying new things and when they can do that and see that they are in charge of their lives, their worlds become vast with possibility.

    1. Michael

      Thank you for your kind words, Marquita. Very, very true. Many people do grow up with the intention of being vastly different from their parents and some grow up knowing they are in charge of everything about their lives. That does make for a hugely interesting life for sure. 🙂

      1. Kitty

        Can I just say, that doing the complete opposite of what you were taught is still actually being controlled by those teachings. Instead, if you get in touch with your own values, you might find some things actually overlapping and that’s ok.

        Love and peace,


        1. Michael

          Absolutely right, Kitty. I think that’s kind of why we describe the Universe as being positive. Not just in a way that feels good, as opposed to feeling the bad vibrations of something negative, but in the way that everything we do, is something we do, not something we don’t do.

          You really can’t “not do” something, but you can always do something, and sometimes we find that there are some valuable things from our past that we can integrate into our present moments and have for our life now.

          Thank you again, Kitty.

    1. Michael

      Hi Kostas,

      Thank you for coming by to comment. 🙂 Absolutely right that our parents are our strongest influences, sometimes its “When I grow up, I want to be just like my Mom or Dad” and sometimes its more like “I will never be that way, ever”. I think its a good thing to see that it is OK for us to make a conscious choice about what we do in our lives.

  4. Rosemary O'Shaughnessy

    Hi Michael,

    The important thing for all of us is to be able to be objective and see what are valuable lessons taught to us by our parents. In these times of mass communication a lot of people do not seem to realize there is so much valuable advice from our families etc. Thank you for your advice and guidance. take care Rosemary
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    1. Michael

      Hi Rosemary,

      Thank you for your kindness and for coming by to comment. 🙂 You are right, it is so important to be able to see inside of ourselves with as much objectivity as we can. Doing that helps us to make really good decisions for ourselves.

  5. Srinivas Reddy | Ask Sage

    Hello Michael!
    So good to read yet another insightful post of yours! Indeed, we forget that what happens to us everyday and who we hang with is really a matter of CHOICE. If I settle for a life I’m not entirely pleased with and do it because “my mom said so” then it proves that somebody else is choosing for me.

    Indeed, a lot of us conduct ourselves this way through life. We harbor compulsions, beliefs and attitudes that have little to do with who we really are. This stuff belongs to our mothers, not us. Time to give this stuff up, stuff that does not serve us. Time to be choose consciously.

    Thanks for this reminder!
    Srinivas Reddy | Ask Sage recently posted..Touch Me, Please Touch Me!My Profile

    1. Michael

      Hi Sage,

      It is so true. We act in our lives now with the beliefs and attitudes we learned as were growing up. Sometimes those serve us very well, and sometimes, not so much or worse, they seriously harm our lives in the present moment. Giving things up that do not work for us lets us have lots of room in our lives for holding on to things that do.

      Thank you for your kind words. I hope you are having a wonderful day today. 🙂

    1. Michael

      Hello Jacob,

      Thank you for coming by to read and share your thoughts. 🙂 Your are right, it is vitally important that we learn to make our own decisions and then choose to actually make them. Life is indeed very interesting.

  6. Mario Miranda

    Michael, this is so true, it’s all about options and the choices we make, and just by trying a little harder and getting out of the comfort zone we can make so much better choices. Great site, I’m glad I visited. Cheers…

    1. Michael

      Hi Mario,

      Thank you for your kind words about the site. This is something we have invested a lot of our lives into. You are so right, it is the choices we make and the options we have that make our lives what they are. And it is so nice to have lots of good ones of each. 🙂

  7. Clare@Holisitic Health

    Hi Michael,
    Firstly great to meet you! I love meeting new bloggers in our community! I grew up in a very dysfunctional home and at a very early age took the decision that I wasn’t going to follow that path. I didn’t although it has been very tough at times because I didn’t understand the impact my upbringing had on me.

    I am grateful for the decisions I made to live a different life especially for my kids’ sake. I haven’t got it all right and there have been many bumps along the way but no regrets…..

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    1. Michael

      Hello Clare,

      Thank you for coming by to visit and for your comment. I think that making our own decisions, no matter what age we decide to start doing that is a positive thing. Bumps might come along every once in a while, but bumps on a road you chose on purpose are a lot easier to handle.

  8. John Gaydon

    Hi Michael,

    Great post. I learned that the most important relationship is that with yourself.

    I spent three years unravelling family beliefs, and although you never get rid of all of them, it did make a difference.

    Even after all that I find when others act in the way my parents did when they were counter productive, I want to get away, or tell them to shutup!

    Parents are a powerful influence, but many break free and lead extraordinary lives. I am grateful for my life which has been full of adventure!
    John Gaydon recently posted..Gratitude Taken To A Whole New LevelMy Profile

    1. Michael

      HI John,

      Thank you for your kind words. You are right. The very most important relationship you can have is with yourself. Lots of times, family beliefs seem to limit the idea that it is a good thing to have a great relationship with yourself. That is a wonderful thing you have to be living a llfe of adventure. 🙂

  9. Willena Flewelling

    It’s alarmingly amazing just how much influence my mother’s thinking has on me even today when I am old enough to be a grandmother many times over. It’s also alarming to think of how much I may have influenced my own children!

    At the same time, my mom did encourage me to think for myself, and we have done the same with our children.

    Becoming a critical thinker is another thing. It isn’t a simple thing to step aside from all those voices within, to find my own original thoughts. It’s a process, and an exciting one!

    Willen Flewelling
    Willena Flewelling recently posted..From Head to Heart – Making it PersonalMy Profile

    1. Michael

      What you are saying is so true Willena. It is amazing to think sometimes how much of our thoughts are similar to what our parents thought. When we are small, everything our parents do and say is correct. We have nothing to compare the ideas to. What a blessing that your Mom encouraged you and you yourself encouraged your children to be critical thinkers. That is a wonderful thing.

    1. Michael

      Hi Justin,

      That is very cool that you have been studying this area. It is quite an amazing change when we start to be conscious of what our habits are telling us to do. Thank you for your kind words today. 🙂

  10. Jeffrey Sooey

    Inspiring post! Yes I do believe we have a choice. Those closest to us as we were growing up do have a great influence on us, but what we do as adults are our own doing. It is important though that we use what we have learned from our parents, grandparents and teachers in a positive light. Let us choose what is right, it is ultimately our own decisions that makes us move forward in life.

    1. Michael

      Hi Jeffrey,

      Thank you for your kind words. 🙂 You are absolutely right, we do have a choice about how we think. Maybe we don’t see it that way sometimes, but we do. We do learn a lot of good stuff from our parents, and some stuff that does not serve us so well. And the choosing what to pay attention to in the present makes all the difference.

  11. ken

    Oh Michael … I just read this post … y’kno anyone who can use “sotto voce” in a post read by thousends on the internet gets an award in my book. I love that.


    1. Michael

      Hi Ken,

      Thank you for you kind words. oops, I meant < sottovoce >thank you < / sottovoce />for your kind words 🙂

    1. Michael

      Hi Kevin,

      It is true, just like you said, that by not choosing, we are still choosing. I figure we might as well pick what we want instead of letting other people select our lives for us.

  12. Julieanne van Zyl

    Hi Mike, thanks for the reminder about why we most likely have certain feelings towards other people. I know that as I get older I forget where my feelings come from. There’s often a little voice in my head which says “now you shouldn’t do that”, and it most likely comes from my Mum. I think that little voice often hangs around for many years, but we can over-ride it.
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    1. Michael

      Absolutely right, Julieanne. We can override it, for myself it was like first I had to understand it was there telling me about this or that or making comments about what I was thinking. Then I thought I was wacky for hearing voices 🙂 But after a bit I realized it was just how thoughts are, they get vocalized in our heads. And we can get them to say nice things to us if we want, and that’s a whole lot better overall. 🙂

  13. Gregory Bowen

    Hello Michael…..It is true ….. Growing up, my mother was right at the top of the list of my greatest influences,…..As I got older the structure lightened up and she encouraged my sister and I to think for ourselves and take responsibility for our actions…..Sometimes I made some pretty poor decisions……but my mother would help guide me through making things right if it were possible…..After I became an adult, She more influenced us by her example and her motherly love without being controlling….. She always was open for our opinions and sometimes changed her own thinking as we discussed things…..Thanks Michael…..guess I was one of the lucky ones…….hadn’t thought of it really, until I read your post….Smokey
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    1. Michael

      I understand that, Smokey. I spent a lot of my life influenced directly by my Mom’s ideas. Some were great and some, well , not so much.I found eventually, when I got comfortable thinking for myself that it was OK to think some other way than what I had been taught as a child.

      And just giving myself permission to do that really opened up an entire new world for me.

  14. Lydia Brown

    We had a similar discussion in a class I took years ago. We talked about how so many people did things that were learned by parents and teachers and how we continued with traditions that we were clueless why a certain thing was done a certain way. More important was how many of us in the class revealed the things we did that we did not value but a parent valued and how difficult it was to stop. Not that it was bad things but things that were not important to us. Great post Michael
    Lydia Brown recently posted..The Value of Asking Prospects QuestionsMy Profile

    1. Michael

      Thank you Lydia.

      When I was writing this I started wondering how many things my Mom did that her Mom did and her Mom before that. It got to the point where I realized that there is no way of knowing until we take a look at what we do and think about why we do it.

      Definitely worth doing, especially if we have behaviors that “always’ lead us away from from what we know in our hearts is the right way for us.

  15. Louise

    You write a lot about how its important to change your mind if you want to. How exactly do you do that?

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