Words have the power to motivate, inspire and move the heart. For centuries, women have been rising from the ashes, sometimes quietly, while in other instances, their voices have roared into the night.
Our ancestors fought to set a foundation for us that would offer an opportunity to stand out among the majority. There are a great number of pioneering Latinas that have been part of the revolution, too many to name. These sage words have remained within our culture’s fabric long after their exit from our universe.
If you come from a Latino household, you can appreciate all the funny phrases women in your life have in their back pocket for life’s situations.
My mother has a collection of phrases to help heal my broken heart, repair confidence, strengthen my resolve, and keep me sharp! Inevitably, we all go through our share of difficulties in life. Having some words of encouragement to push us through to the other side makes a world of difference. Hopefully, some of these will help you one day if you are feeling less than inspired.
Un clavo saca otro clavo
One screw takes out another screw. My sisters would tell me after any breakup. The way out of heartbreak is to find a new love. Well, it never quite worked for me, but some say it does the trick.
El que no llora no mama
If you don’t cry, you don’t get fed. It isn’t easy to express our needs, but if we don’t voice what we want, we will never get it.
Mas sabe diablo por viejo que por diablo
The devil knows more through being old than by being a devil. In other words, we can find more wisdom in an older person than a shrewd one. We shouldn’t take the experience for granted. The wisest of men carry years of life under their belt.
El tiempo lo cura todo
Time heals everything. A well-known fact, our pain dissipates over a period of time. The women in our lives have experienced great heartache and recovered over the years, teaching us countless lessons in resilience.
Al que madruga, Dios lo ayuda
He who is an early riser, God will help. I took a 6-month break after high school. My mother walked into my room at the end of the first month into my hiatus. She told me I had to get myself together, but I couldn’t do that until I wanted it for myself. By the following month, I had a job and shortly after started preparing to register for the first year of my college education. We have to be able and willing to help ourselves before starting any life improvements.
Ojos que no ven, corazón que no siente
Eyes that don’t see don’t feel. We spend a lot of time thinking about what others are doing behind our back, particularly in relationships. During my first relationship, my auntie shared with me how I needed to stop worrying about what my boyfriend was doing because what I don’t know doesn’t hurt me. It was her way of letting me know that I couldn’t spend all my time worrying about what others were doing because I have no control over other people’s behavior.
No hay mal que dure cien años, ni cuerpo que lo aguante
“No evil can last 100 years, and there isn’t a body that can sustain it.”
This, too, shall pass. Whatever the painful situation is, nothing lasts forever.
Eres el tronco, y él no se cae. Aguanta el peso porque ahí encuentras la fuerza
You are the trunk (of a tree); it does not fall, you can hold the weight, it’s there where you will strengthen. I come from a long line of strong women. Falling apart at the seams wasn’t exactly their style. My mother believes we have the inner power to make this happen, shake the world up and do anything — it is all inside you.
The phrases are endless and slightly change among the various cultures but are all meant to encourage, give hope, and empower others. As insignificant as these phrases may seem to the outside world, they are tied into the fabric of the culture. In moments of despair, we need to be able to lean on our tribe. The support can come in different ways. Words are comforting when delivered from a familiar place or person.
One of the ways the women in my life connected has been through the use of language. Oftentimes we speak passionately and talk with our hands, reciting old sayings, expressing dismay, or inspiring those around us to take action or be brave. Never underestimate the power you have to change someone’s perspective. Planting a seed can grow into hope. We all need some of it in our lives to remind us that we are survivors.