A Letter to My Daughters

*Note: I wrote this a few years ago, but now that I have two daughters, I feel it is still important! It's been edited slightly, but the words are all mine.

My beautiful girls, the world is a scary place. There is hate, prejudice, fear, and violence. It exists now, and it will exist when you are old enough to read and understand this letter.

There will be times when you are scared and nervous. There will be times that you feel that you cannot overcome the obstacles that exist before you. I want to tell you that it will be ok.

It is ok to cry. You are human. Crying is not a sign of weakness nor is it a sign of stupidity. It is an emotional expression. If you feel like crying, do so. Just realize, that you cannot cry forever.

Stand up for yourself. There will be people who judge you and want to put you down. You can NEVER let those people win. You must stand up for your beliefs, your ideas, your emotions. They are all valid. Don’t let anyone take that away from you.

Ask questions. Asking questions is not a sign of stupidity, in fact, it is the opposite. Asking questions shows that you are willing to learn, to understand and to absorb. When you don’t know how to do something, ask questions! You will never move forward if you succumb to embarrassment.

It is ok to know what you don’t want. You don’t need to accept less than the best for yourself. You don’t need to have something, just because everyone else wants you to have it.

Go against the norm. What’s normal for you, might not necessarily be normal for others. Be unique, be an individual and be a leader. The clothes you wear, the words you use, the music you listen to….it all makes you who you are.  And that is special.

People will constantly give you unsolicited advice. You don’t need to follow it. But don't get angry about it. Just smile and say, "Thank you for your advice". No need to make anyone feel bad.

People will judge your actions, even if they aren’t bad. Whether it is the job you choose, the life you lead or even the food you cook, someone will always have something to say. Block out the noise and keep going forward. You know what you have to do.

Be polite. A simple “Thank You” goes a long way.

Smile! A simple smile can really change your mood, and even someone else’s.

You are beautiful. You don’t need to wear makeup or color your hair to show that to the world. You should only to do those things if that’s what you WANT to do, not what you think you NEED to do.

You have brought nothing but joy to my life. I will always love you no matter what you do. You have a piece of my heart and nothing will ever change that. You make me laugh, you make me want to live life to the fullest and you make me want to be better for you.