Hi fellow readers,

I wrote this letter to my daughter after spending a significant amount of time with my family this summer during my sister’s trip to Houston with her kids.  I realized during that time that my daughter is being raised very differently from her cousins, not just on my side of the family but also on my husband’s side of the family.  You see, my daughter is a mixed race baby.  My husband’s family and my family are worlds apart.

It got me thinking about something that I’ve never even thought about before.  I realized that she is likely going to face some challenges as she grows older. She may not fit in to either culture 100% and I want her to know that that is okay.  In this letter, I address the one thing I feel will help her get through these challenges, especially when it comes to being so very different from her own family: I want her to love herself as she is in all stages of her life…

Dear Daughter,

Although you are not even 2 years old, I see you not just as my sweet and loving child but as an individual who is perceptive, strong willed, and highly intelligent, mentally and emotionally.  Everyday, I pray that as you get older, you continue to grow into a strong and successful person. You see, the one thing that has taken me 32 years to grasp is that the true definition of success is happiness.  Happiness is a state of mind and in order to achieve it, the first and most important step is to truly love yourself.  You will face many difficult times in your life but if you can master true internal happiness, you will be able to resolve and manage your feelings with greater ease.  Here are a few pieces of advice to help you accomplish that internal happiness:

  • The relationship you have with yourself is equally important to the other relationships in your life and needs to be cultivated on an ongoing basis so get to know yourself.  Spend time alone, go for a walk, read a book, watch a movie, take a bath, have a spa day, dance to a song you love, dine alone, be alone with your thoughts. 
  • Learn to forgive yourself quickly.  This is very important. Stop overthinking everything and forgive yourself. Apologize for your mistakes, learn from your mistakes, and move on.
  • Be kind to yourself.  You are only human and you are doing the best you can.
  • Get rid of self doubt.  You are perfect just the way you are.
  • Most importantly, never apologize for who you are and never try to be someone you’re not.  Never let anyone else, no matter who it is, tell you who to be.

Your bond with yourself must be the strongest of them all.  Only when this bond is fully formed will you be completely content, completely confident, and completely happy.

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