I learned at a young age that hearing negative words can lead to low confidence and self-esteem. That part's a no-brainer, and by now every parent/adult on the planet should know how detrimental the marks are that some of those harsh words can leave. For some children, without the support they so desperately need, they're left with trying to figure a lot of the negativity out on their own, and a few of the strong ones can "survive" living in that kind of darkness. But for so many other children, especially girls, it can quickly turn into something very sad and even tragic sometimes- depression, eating disorders, drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, the list goes on. I knew the second I became a mom, that I would not only never put my child through that kind of abuse, but in addition, I would do whatever it took to prepare them for the often ugly world we live in, and give them all of the tools they need to feel good about themselves no matter what. So far, my plan has worked beautifully, and my kiddos are some of the most self-assured, loving, and humble little people I know.
Some of you may not know this, but my daughter was born with a birth defect, in fact she has another surgery coming up next week. My brave little angel has shown more strength and courage than many adults I've seen throughout their lifetimes. She knows she has something that makes her slightly different, but that's never been anything negative in her life and I've never let it define her, not for a second. And she hasn't either. If anything she's the biggest (and sweetest) little badass around. I watch how she treats others kindly. I see how she respects others' differences. I watch her struggle sometimes, only to pick herself right back up. She's the amazing little person I wish I could've been at her age. And the thing is, I totally could've been if someone had just taken the time to show me the way.
We all know kids learn so much from each other. Girls especially seem to mirror each other sometimes in good ways, sometimes in bad ways. You just never know 100%, which way they're going to go. But, the most influential mirrors here are moms, and how we portray ourselves. Our girls pick up on all our energy from a very young age, and if the energy isn't very positive, you can pretty much guarantee hardships along the way leading into adolescence and adulthood. How beautiful would it be if every mom on the planet could prepare her daughter for the real world with the utmost confidence, drive, determination, self-esteem, compassion, and love she could, knowing that this gift to her daughter surpasses any and every material gift in the world, and is truly what every little girl needs to succeed in life. How incredible would it be to eradicate all those horrible feelings of negativity and replace them with real life skills that can be used and then passed on for generations to come? Just imagine how different our world could be, filled with empowered little girls, teenagers, and grown women who know how to make others feel good because they themselves feel great!! This is something that each and every one of us has the power to do, for our daughters, and if you haven't been doing it, today is her day, it's your day, and it's the best day to start!
How you treat yourself is the best example for your daughter to learn from so make it a great one. If you appreciate and love yourself, even despite so many "shortcomings" that we all face to some degree, the only thing your daughter will see is courage and strength and determination and what a beautiful thing that is!
I hope I have and can continue to inspire the people in my life to never ever give up, to always persevere, and to shoot for the stars no matter what. No one ever said life would be easy, and we all know that girls/women, from the day we are born, we automatically face challenges just based on our gender. It's a fact that's impossible to get away from. But, how we handle life and carry ourselves through it, is totally manageable by us through our actions and words, goals and dreams, and ultimately, how we feel about ourselves deep inside. I hope you all feel amazing today and every day, and know that no matter what life throws at you, you can handle it in the best possible way. No one is perfect, but in the eyes of your daughters, you're as perfect as perfect gets, and that truly is the greatest gift of all.