To my littlest love:
I’ve had this past year to think about you, a lot, 24/7 to be precise. Who you’ll be, what you’ll accomplish in the world, how you’ll impact our lives and the lives you come in contact with. I’ve realized that I want to set you up for the utmost success in life, love, and your pursuit of happiness. To that end, here are a few lessons I plan on sharing with you that I’ve learned along the way these past 33 years—and there are so many more that I hope to continue learning alongside you for years to come!
I’ll love you forever. And I am always here.
Lessons For Our Daughter
Optimism is the key. It is the antidote to fear—along with gratitude, joy, and so many other powerful positive emotions. It can take you far in life—allowing you to conquer feats you may think are far-fetched or even impossible. Optimism will show up as your wordless faith in action. Trust in the power of your potential, your ability, your intelligence, your kindness. Know that you alone can make a difference, for yourself and for others. Optimism allows you to keep your head held high each day, knowing good things are coming, real things are bound to happen, but you will always persevere, learn from life, and continue to become the best version of ‘you’ possible.
Kindness is free. Sprinkle it far and wide, sweet girl. There is no limit to kindness or how much you can give out each day, to friends and strangers alike. And it’s fun. Kindness is cool. Teach your friends that. Be an example for your generation and others that kindness will never go out of style—and it will always help.
Balance your eulogy and resume virtues. If we could strike a daily balance between success in our career, our bodies, our relationships (tangible resume virtues) AND a healthy dose of self awareness, compassion, kindness, greater resolve to express and feel gratitude for all that we currently have—not just that which may be coming to us in the future—(intangible eulogy virtues) … we may find that peace comes to us much easier. Mama goes into detail on this one here. And as we’re talking about balance, always make sure your ‘life spokes’ are being given equal attention to avoid any ‘life wobble’. More on that cryptic one here.
It takes less effort to smile. If you have the choice between smiling and frowning, go with a smile - it opens doors, hearts, minds, and allows you to connect with someone where words may not be possible. It has the power to heal, to bring someone else’s day up by simply raising the corners of your mouth and allowing your eyes to crinkle with joy—it’s that simple—and inexplicably powerful.
Gratitude is natural medicine. In times of overwhelm, either mental or physical, go to your place of gratitude. List 5 things you’re grateful for—even as simple as having a roof over your head or clothes on your body. I walk through this practice here. You have the power to overcome any feeling of overwhelm by harnessing the power within you to choose to be grateful, over discontent, hurt, or sad. That said, it took me over half my life to learn that it’s healthy to embrace all emotions (even sad ones), but we can choose to dwell on the good ones—and you’ll feel much better when you do.
Most things in life are temporary. Be it pain, pleasure, happiness, sadness. So embrace the good moments, for they will pass all too quickly. And feel the not so good moments deeply, for they will allow you to be even more grateful for the good. In challenging moments, remind yourself that ‘this too shall pass’—it’s been one of your mama’s favorite mantras over the years through health struggles or times of overwhelm.
Many feelings are a choice - including pain. I learned this one at a young age and continue to put it to use. I honestly think it’s how I was able to bring you into the world without any pain management. My love for you and seeing the process of having you as a miracle WAS my pain management. I chose to focus on the end goal, the blessed result, you and all that you would surely bring to our lives, versus the momentary physical discomfort I was feeling. From a scratched knee to a headache, remind yourself that it doesn’t have to hurt … sometimes, as crazy as it sounds, we can choose to not focus on the pain.
Choose your words wisely. Words are powerful. And certain words (like the word ‘stress’ for example) have become prevalent and so very toxic in our culture. Each time ‘stress’ in particular is thought or uttered, our body has a physical ‘fight or flight’ reaction to it—AND we feed its power over our lives. The less we think negative thoughts, the less energy we give them, thus the less power they have to grow—naturally, the same goes for all of the goodness in our lives. Give more, get more. So choose wisely, little love. There are many alternative words we can choose. I like to use the word ‘intense’ for a variety of scenarios, as it doesn’t affect my body chemistry the same way the word ‘stress’ has been programmed to. More on this here.
Ooze confidence and release insecurities. I read somewhere that ‘Confidence is quiet, Insecurities are loud’ and realized that I’ve always acted as if both were quiet. But as I think about it, I truly feel like that particular statement should be reversed. I feel like we should boldly show the world our confidence and our insecurities should be what we deal with in the background, to mitigate and make better on our own or with the less-public-spectacle-type support. But hey, that’s just my own personal preference! If all that you show your friends are your insecurities, sadness, pain, complaints—why would they want to spend time around you? What good are you bringing to their world with that negativity? Friends are amazing to lift you up in hard times, but remember to give help and joy as much, if not more, than you receive it.
Control what you can. Let go of the rest. The only thing you truly have control over in life is yourself. We cannot control other people, our surroundings, the circumstances we find ourselves in, other people's actions, the weather—any of it. The only thing we can control, I repeat, is ourself. We can control our emotions, our thoughts, our actions, our words. This is the most tangible way that we can maximize our positive impact on the world. If we just remember that when life feels overwhelming, as it often will, take it back to the basics of what we can control—and that is you. Then choose your thoughts, actions, and words wisely.
All in all, sweet little love of mine, please know how deeply you are loved, wanted, honored, and protected each and every day. And I am always here for you.