For my daughter

You are beautiful, but it is not your beauty that defines you. After that first, perfunctory assessment it is your wit and empathy that will colour opinion. Never compromise what you are; if others do not appreciate your worth, move on.

I realise that, although I have encountered many of the issues that you must face, my experiences will have differed from yours. I grew up in a time and a place far removed from that which you must experience. I do not ask that you do as I say, although I may ask you to consider a point of view alongside others.

Be aware that, however irrelevant other’s may appear to you, their counsel may contain some nugget of wisdom. Learn to listen that you may proceed mindfully. There are lessons to be learned in even the most obscure of places.

Your thoughts and feelings are valid; do not allow others to diminish their worth. The things that matter to you should not be dismissed as irrelevant just because they are not appreciated by those you encounter as you move through your world and this life.

Strive to be the best that you can for your own edification and satisfaction. Others will come and go but you will always have to live with yourself. Take care of your body and your mind; they are the constants in the ever shifting sands of your life.

Sow seeds of kindness and generosity; the rewards you reap may take time but will be plentiful. Do not be afraid to let go of those who tether you to a place that limits your ability to flourish. Make your own path if those that exist do not take you to wherever you wish to go.

Do not rely on others for your happiness. Take personal responsibility for what you are and what you may become. This world owes you nothing, but offers so much if you choose to seek out and work for that which you desire. Learn from your setbacks; do not be cowed by challenges. There is often more than one way to achieve a goal.

Be open to new thoughts and ideas; consider carefully other’s reasoning and beliefs. It is possible to be respectful and considerate whilst maintaining one’s own integrity. When new information is uncovered, challenge the established dogma to ensure it remains as incontrovertible as you were led to believe. Changing one’s point of view is less shameful than fighting for a flawed premise.

It is possible to be practical and still follow a dream. Life is fluid and ever changing; take charge of yours. There will be times when events are beyond your control; do not give up or blame others. Your destiny is in your hands.

Do not be afraid to love, but give your heart wisely. A soul mate will not seek to change you, but will enhance what you already are. If you do not feel comfortable with what you are asked to be or do then desist. Others should not expect you to live by their standards; those who truly care about you will respect your wishes and love you for what you are.

Wherever you go in this life, whatever path you choose, know that you are loved beyond measure. I would change nothing about you other than to wish that you could see yourself through my eyes and thereby realise just how wonderful you are. I wish you nothing but happiness and personal fulfilment. I will always be there for you.

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