I always, always wanted a daughter.
There’s so much to learn on this path from girlhood to adulthood. And she’ll grow so fast.
I know I won’t be able to walk her path for her, but these are 12 things I want my daughter to know about life.
1. Looks don’t really matter that much.
Instead of worrying about your looks, have a face that lights up when you feel joy. Have a smile that welcomes other people. Have laugh lines. Have callouses from working hard at something, and have bruises from where you fell and then got back up.
Have some scars from your adventures.
You reflect beauty by living a full and beautiful life. That’s the look that matters the most.
2. Being a good person beats being great at any one thing.
You’re going to be phenomenal in some areas, and you’ll be useless at others. That’s ok.
What matters more is that you’re a good and kind person. The type of person others want to be around because they can be authentically themselves knowing you are authentically yours.
3. Don’t apologize for your choices.
This can be a tough one for a lot of us, but it’s tiring to always feel the need to justify what we’re doing. Don’t justify, don’t apologize, just act with integrity and be confident in the route you take.
(Unless you’ve been a jerk, in which case…apologize).
4. Being a nice girl doesn’t mean being a pushover.
You can say no. You should say no.
You should say no to anything that feels wrong to you, or “off”, or just not in keeping with what you want. Say no as much as you need to say no. And then say it some more for extra practice.
5. Hold people close, but don’t hold onto them too tightly.
You’ll meet so many people along the way. Some will “stick.” Others will come and go as the phases of your life come and go. Both are ok. Both are great.
But we can’t hang on to all the people we come across forever. We shouldn’t try. Holding on too long will have consequences for your heart.
So go find the people who are meant to be a part of your journey. Walk with them awhile. And keep walking only with the ones who best fit your stride down the road.
6. Be aware of your surroundings.
I wish I didn’t have to say this one, but it’s important.
Pay attention when you’re walking alone. Pay attention when someone seems like they’re uncomfortably close to you. Pay attention when your internal radar senses that something is off.
Read the book The Gift of Fear.
My dad gave it to me to read in college. It saved me from dangerous situations more than once. I want you to read it too.
7. Don’t take yourself too seriously, and find friends to laugh with.
Be a good friend! Laughing with friends is one of the very best parts of life. This is true when you’re little and it’s true when you’re big.
8. You can have a lot, but you can’t have it all.
At least not all at once. And definitely not without driving yourself into the ground with exhaustion.
Instead of trying to have it all, decide what you want to focus on for the season of life you’re in.
Some things will have to wait awhile, so don’t make yourself crazy chasing after a mirage.
9. Cut yourself some slack. Cut others some slack too.
Everyone you know is going to mess up sometimes. You’re going to mess up sometimes.
And when this happens, you have two choices: to hold tightly to the transgression or to allow it to pass.
Some mess ups are worse than others, but most of the time we’ll find that letting them go is a much, much easier and more enjoyable way to live.
10. Don’t be afraid to play with the boys.
You’re just as good as they are. You might be better than they are. Either way you deserve to be included the same way they are, and sometimes you have to fight for this.
11. Sometimes, you will get hurt.
There are lots of things that will knock you down. You can’t live worrying about this, because the truth is we will all face hard things. Most of us will have our hearts broken. All of us will have our feelings hurt.
That’s the price to pay for a life lived fully.
You’ll find out over time that you can handle more than you thought. You are tougher than you know. Trust me.
12. The love between a mother and daughter is irreplaceable.
I’ve always known this, but never more so than when I lost my own mother. The love I have for her is a permanent fact of life. It’s etched in stone. It’s not touchable.
And the love I have for you, my sweet daughter, is the same. You will always be my special girl.
It’s etched in stone. It’s a permanent fact of life. It’s not touchable.
So go out and be brave. I’m always here waiting for you.
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