20 Messages to Daughters
By Tamra Wade
From the Paper Hope Archive
I wrote this for you to remind you on difficult days how wonderful you and your life are.
Your voice is important
You are more important than you know. Even though you are young, you are smart. Your ideas are what will make change and improve the world. Use your voice – it is important.
Don’t give up on yourself
Life can be so hard, especially when you are young. You may feel like giving up on a dream, studying for a test or even on yourself because you think it is too hard to go on. Don’t give up. You have all that you need to succeed already right inside you. Take a deep breath. Take inventory of the tools and skills you possess. The strength you need is all inside.
Know that you are loved
Above all else know that you are loved. Regardless of anything negative you may think in your youth – you are loved. Know this in every cell in your body – you are loved.
Follow up with your schoolwork, job interviews and friends. Never underestimate the importance of picking up the phone and connecting with a friend who needs a kind voice or the teacher who needs a little more information on an assignment you are working on. You will set yourself apart from those who don’t know the importance of doing this.
Try new things. Learn all that you can. Expose yourself to cultures different from yours. Travel to faraway places. Explore. Be brave and find out who you are separate from your father and me. We love you for the person you are – not for being a little version of us.
Know that you are fortunate and that others may have a harder burden than you. Know that your load in life my change and at times you may find yourself with a harder burden to carry. Always try to see from someone else’s perspective and find an understanding. Offer assistance where you can and always move through the world with kindness and grace.
Don’t hold grudges
It’s inevitable that you will get hurt in your life. I wish this were not true, but it is. Carrying around feelings of anger, pain and frustration can be destructive and actually keep you from living a full and abundant life. Try to remember what has happened in the past is in the past.
Letting go of your anger does not mean that you condone what was done; it simply means that you release yourself from the responsibility of carrying the anger towards the person or people who hurt you. Give this tactic a try on your own terms. It is very personal and worth the effort.
Set (big and small) goals
Dream big for your life. Set goals to help you achieve your dreams. Create a goal board, make lists, or talk with friends and people doing things you dream of doing. Always be dreaming and thinking about what your life will be like in the future. You have purpose. Use your vision to make everything and anything you dream it to be a reality.
Be wise with your money
Work hard. Earn money. Spend when you need to. Save so that you have money for when the car breaks down or an unexpected trips to Italy with your friends suddenly presents itself! Money is your freedom. You are in control of it not the other way around.
Spend time outdoors
“Get outside and get the stink blow’d off of ya” is what my father would tell me – and he is right. Get outside. Be in the sunlight. Take in all that Mother Nature has provided to recharge and re-energize your spirit.
Be true yourself
Get to know yourself on a regular basis. As you grow you will change. This is expected so don’t be surprised. If people around you are shocked, it’s okay. Be true to yourself. Over the years, take the time to find out who you are and keep true to that.
Get to know your things larger than yourself
Examine what might be unknown to you. Read about the world around you. Learn and expand your knowledge so you may make a connection with your things larger than yourself. Understand how others worship, believe and are. There is beauty in how we all find and know our what is beyond our understanding.
Look people in the eye when you speak with them
Never underestimate the goodness of good eye contact in this technically driven world. Good eye contact shows the person you are communicating with that you are interested in the conversation. It allows you to make a better and deeper connection with that person.
Get an education
Go to school. Go for yourself. Get grades for yourself. These belong to you. Your grades and your degrees –they are a reflection of you and your efforts. Do these things in spite of what you might be told you need to do or should do. Only you know what will make your heart happy and your soul satisfied. Find what you love and study it!
Be a part of something bigger than yourself
Look for activities that help the community and get involved. Helping others is a way to share the goodness in your life. It provides perspective and grounding. It betters you and it betters the community. Do it.
Eat the doughnut
Lots of women spend a lot of time looking at their bodies wishing that they looked this way or that way. Know that it won’t hurt you to eat the doughnut once and awhile.
Don't obsess about your body.
Show yourself love by fueling your body with healthy food and regular exercise. And in this way don’t obsess over your body image. It is neither good for your mental health nor is a good example for your younger sisters who might be watching you and learning from you to obsess about your body image. The goal is good physical and mental health – not to look like a photoshopped image in a magazine.
Always carry yourself with dignity – even when others do not
There will be times in your life when others around you will want you to behave badly, perhaps to fit in. This might work in the short run, but in the long haul it only proves to make you lonely and empty. Help others when they are in the line of fire. Stand up for those who need help. Don’t gossip, rumor spread or stoop to lower levels of behavior because it is easy. Stand tall knowing that you carry yourself with dignity and grace in all situations you are affronted with even when others won’t.
Be your own health care advocate
Always seek good health care and trusted physicians and care professionals. Trust your own instincts on your body. Doctors do not know everything. This is why they call it a practice. If you feel that you are not getting what you need from a doctor – fire them and get a new one! Be empowered with your healthcare and your body.
Never underestimate the importance of face-to-face communication
Put the technology down. Make plans to spend more time in the company of your friends and family. Your time on this earth is so short. Cherish your relationships. Spend more time making memories in person than online. The longevity of your life depends on it. Do it.
Don’t take yourself too seriously
Try not to take your life or yourself too seriously. Relax. Take it all in. Hopefully upon a full inventory you will account that your life is pretty good. There is much to be grateful for and lots to look forward too. Take each challenge as it comes. Move slowly. Think. And take things head on with the knowledge that you have the strength and knowhow to get that shit handled.