I don’t remember how old I was back then – however, more than likely, I was four or five years old. Anyhow, in my memory, my younger sister, our mother, and I were in our living room. My sister and I was chasing each other, jumping around, and making a lot of noise. My mother was trying to do something important, but, I am not sure exactly what it was – I think she was talking on the phone with someone about an important topic. Let’s assume it was an important phone call for now, it doesn’t really matter. It was clear that she needed quiet. She used to work at a bank and come home around 8pm every night. After another exhausting day, she also had to deal with this phone call that night and we were making that phone call as hard as it could possibly be. She told us to be quiet. We didn’t stop. She told as again but, we kept ignoring her. This went on like this for a while. After a while, making her mad had also become a part of our game.
I don’t remember how long this kept going on but at some point, I realized my mom had stopped telling us to be quiet. She was silent. I looked at her and saw one of the most heartbreaking scenes of my life. She was crying.
She was crying so silently that it probably took a couple minutes for my sister and me to notice it. We were dead silent at the instant. We didn’t say anything. We didn’t make a single sound after that. We silently retreated back to our rooms. As a little kid, I didn’t think much about this. The whole thing was very simple to me. We loved mom, and we didn’t want her to cry. What we were doing was making her cry, so we stopped. This is one of my earliest memories but left a mark on me – a while later, I read a book and although I had consciously forgotten about this memory, the book made me consider this memory more deeply. The book said I should stop telling people to stop. Instead, I was supposed to tell people how their actions made me feel. This was supposed to make people actually realize what the consequences of their actions were and according to the book, people would stop on their own once we tell them how we feel.
I believe this is exactly what made my sister and I stop that night. Hearing stop over and over again didn’t really tell us much about how we made our mom feel. But when we saw her crying, we knew. As I tried to adopt this habit of telling people how they make me feel, I realized that this is not only good for making people stop doing things. This is also good for making people actually do things.
I was never able to make my girlfriend come to gym with me before. I told her every single benefit of going to gym I could think of – but she didn’t seem to care. At last, I told her that it really makes me sad to see her not go to gym at all. That did the trick.
This also showed me how much my girlfriend cared about my feelings. The fact that she decided to come to gym to make me feel better means a lot to me. A nice perk of this habit is definitely being able to see how much people care about you.
Considering how my sister and I instantly stopped annoying mom after seeing her cry, I think the bottom line of this story should be how much we love you mom 🙂