To my three sweet, strong, kind, sensitive and brave children, here are nine things I hope to teach and instill in you, as each day and passing year, I see you become more independent in this big world.
In this life, I hope you are happy, will follow your heart, find and pursue your passions, are kind to yourself and to others, are confident and always feel and know how incredibly loved you are.
YOU DESERVE LOVE
You are deserving of love. Not the half-hearted, settling for something less than incredible, kind of love. You deserve to have butterflies-in-your-stomach, sure-in-your-gut, kind of love. Be with someone who you can trust, communicate with honestly even about difficult topics, laugh with, spend time with, travel with, and the first person you want to call to share good a bad news with.
Yes, life and love are about compromise, but the love you receive should never be something you compromise on.
You are deserving of love and anyone who doesn’t love you wholeheartedly, passionately, and doesn’t respect you, is not deserving of your love. Don’t share your love with someone who doesn’t feel the same way about you, as you do them. Don’t share your love with someone who doesn’t treat you well or respect you, because you are worth it.
EMBRACE CHALLENGES & FAILURES
Challenges are a way for us to learn, to persevere and to embrace failure. Life will be full of challenges and it is how you choose to handle those ups and downs that will help you grow. Challenges are not fun, they involve hard work, make us uncomfortable, and oftentimes there is a learning curve where you’ll have to tackle something new in order to overcome the challenge.
Trust me, challenges will give us the tenacity to persevere and help you along in life. Challenges will push you but in the end, the long-term gains you’ll receive will be well worth it. They will give you confidence and strength and help you in your friendships, in your marriage, with your jobs and if you choose to be a parent.
MISTAKES ARE OPPORTUNITIES FOR LEARNING + GROWTH
In your lifetime, you will make hundreds of mistakes. Maybe thousands of mistakes, because you are human and no human is perfect. In fact, the best way for you to learn, to grow and to change, is to find the lesson in your mistakes. What can you learn, how can you do better, or what can you change so you don’t make this mistake again? Patterns will repeat themselves unless you commit to change. It’s Ok to make mistakes, we all do it, but what will you take away from your mistakes?
BE KIND TO OTHERS
Aim to always be kind to others, whether that’s a simple smile as you pass them in the hallways or complimenting them on a smart idea or great new haircut. The kindness you share with others could be the brightest part of their entire day.
If you are ever in the situation where others are purposefully being mean or saying hurtful things, be the one person that stands up for them and chooses kindness over causing pain.
Do not surround yourself with people who are unkind, mean, manipulative or hurtful to others. If you want to be the best version of yourself, these people are not who will help lift you up.
BE GRATEFUL FOR WHO & WHAT YOU HAVE IN YOUR LIFE
Be grateful for the things you have in your life now – your family, friends, health, a job, a place to sleep and food to eat. Know that these are the things that are actually important and you’re so fortunate to have them. Be grateful for the simple, basic things in life and appreciate anything else you have beyond this.
Don’t be in competition with your friends about who drives the best car, has the highest paying job or does things that you wish you could.
Happiness is not earned from materialistic things; its accumulated from the love you give, the love you receive, the hard work that it takes to acheive your goals, and everything to do with your mindset.
If you are ever in the position of physically, emotionally or financially helping out someone else who is in a less fortunate or dire situation – whether it’s a friend at school who forgot their lunch and you share yours, your sister who needs your help standing up to someone who is bullying her, or your neighbor who can no longer mow their lawn so you mow it for him – help them.
Don’t help people for the recognition it may bring you, help others because it’s the right thing to do and for the personal satisfaction you’ll receive knowing you did the right thing.
STAND UP FOR YOURSELF
No one will stand up for you like you can. No one can push you like you can. No one can make you happy, sad, upset, confident, angry, doubt yourself, encourage yourself or bring you down… like you will.
Believe in yourself, in your abilities, in the hard work that you do and the learning and dedication that you commit to. If you try your hardest, give it your best effort, and commit to whatever it is you’re doing – whether a test, sports, a job or project – you can succeed.
You are absolutely good enough, smart enough, strong enough.
When others try to knock you down, hurt you, are jealous of you or choose to make fun of you – stand up for yourself. Use your voice and stand up for yourself but also know that only people that are small-minded, weak and insecure will do these things to another person. That is not who you are.
IT’S OK TO ASK FOR HELP
Asking for help doesn’t make you weak, it doesn’t make you dumb, it doesn’t make you anything but human. It’s always ok to put your pride aside and ask for help. In fact, it’s commendable to do so.
Whether you don’t understand something in school, can’t seem to grasp a new concept, need more direction at work, are overwhelmed as a Mom and need an extra hand with the kids, it’s ok to ask for help.
You may have moments of weakness in your life that you need help or intervention from others whether medically, emotionally, financially or other. Please ask for help. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Your family and friends will always, always be there to support and help you. I will be there to help you.
FOLLOW YOUR PASSIONS
Consume books, learn how to play the guitar, paint and throw clay on a pottery wheel. Follow your passions. Find things that you love to do and do them and do them with all of your heart.
Are you fascinated by the ocean, boats, writing code, painting, poetry? Whatever captivates your heart, don’t ignore what you’re drawn to.
Find a way to make your life’s work about what you’re most interested in. Don’t spend your life behind a desk and computer if you love the outdoors. Don’t spend your life living in a cold climate if you love the ocean. Don’t work on Wallstreet for the paycheck if your heart belongs on a dude ranch in Montana.
Live your life by following your heart and trusting your gut even if there are roadblocks in the way. If you’re following your calling and doing what you love, what excites you… you’ll find a way around those roadblocks and will be happier and more satisfied in your life. This is all your parents will ever want for you.