Dear Daughters: Be You
To celebrate the International Day of the Girl, a plea to my daughters: Stay true to yourself.
The United Nations has declared October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child. Its mission is “to help galvanize worldwide enthusiasm for goals to better girls’ lives, providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential.” To celebrate this day, I’ve written a letter to my daughters expressing the importance of being true to yourself.
My beautiful girls, right now you are six and three—the stories of your life just beginning, the first few chapters already filled with people who love you, places we’ve explored and experiences that, unbeknownst to you, have already begun to shape your thinking and strengthen your character.
I am beyond blessed to be the mother of three children, each of you so special in your own unique way. But today, on the Day of the Girl, I write to you two. My girls. Now listen to your mother, loves.
By the time you are able to read and understand this, I hope you’ll have a giant list of women in your life who have modeled what it means to be a beautiful girl. A beautiful girl is kind, hard-working, caring, curious about life, strong yet vulnerable. Today, I want to tell you about something else that makes a girl beautiful—something important.
Each of you was born with a light inside of you—the light that makes you who you are. All of your talents, all of your gifts, all of the joy and love and enthusiasm you have to give the world; your smile, your laughter, your ideas, your heart is all embodied in that light. Your light is unique to you. There is no other light in the world that looks exactly the same as yours.
So, please. Please. Don’t change that light. The world needs it. Don’t dim it, don’t wish you had a different light, don’t let yourself believe that your light isn’t good enough, don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you need to change. A beautiful girl shines her light, just as it is. Be you, sweet girls. Be you.
The world is a great big place with ideas and voices and images and opinions. They can inspire you or they can swallow you. Let them inspire you. Take what feels good and ignore what feels bad. Don’t let anyone ever make you feel that a girl’s worth lies in anything but her light. It’s not her body. It’s not how much she accomplishes. It’s not her grades or her job or her friends or how many people like her. The most beautiful girl knows that her worth lies in the most precious thing she has to offer—being herself. Shining her light.
Looking back, I can’t tell you how many times I felt awkward growing up. Sometimes I felt too loud and spirited around girls who were shy and alluring. So I shrank into uncomfortable quiet to be more like them. Lots of times I felt embarrassed for who I was and wished I could change things—things like my body or my clothes, what I was good at, what I wasn’t good at. I wish I could go back and tell that girl just to be herself—that the happiest and most beautiful girls are the ones who shine their light and don’t apologize or feel ashamed for who they are. I wish she knew that she was perfect just the way she was and that she could affect the world and those around her most greatly if she just believed that she didn’t have to be anything but herself.
I love you both so much. I love you just the way you are. I felt your light the moment each of you was placed in my arms, and I’ve been blessed to see that light continue to shine as you’ve grown. You both are different in beautiful ways, and I cherish the things that make you unique. I just want you to value those things as much as I do. The most solid, comforting, truthful, reliable thing in this world is what’s inside of you. Unlike money, you can’t lose it. Unlike appearance, it doesn’t fade. You were born with it. You will die with it. It’s you. The you I’ve loved since the day I met you.
Please. Love that you. Be yourself. You will do great things just by being you.
Never forget that.
I forever celebrate you, support you and love you.
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