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13 Life Lessons for my Daughter

Dear daughter, I am so proud of the young lady that you are becoming. You are beautiful, fierce, strong, intelligent, and loving. You have the tools that you need to take on the world, and change it as you'd like. It has been fascinating watching my little mini-me grow and develop.

1. Smile: Your emotions follow your body. Smile even if it hurts. It will not only change how you feel, it will make others respond positively to you.

2. Forgive: This is for you, not for them. Carrying anger will eat you up inside. Do not harbor the energetic baggage it takes to hold a grudge.

3. But know when to fight: Carry yourself as a benevolent ruler who indulges the masses but must occasionally execute traitors. Do not be afraid to cut from your life, those who are unworthy of your attention. (See Gossip At Every Age)

4. Take risks: I cannot stress this enough. Fortune favors the bold. Never let fear dictate your decisions. Pray, prepare, and go!

5. Depend on YOU first: Accept assistance when offered, but always be prepared to do it yourself.

6. But know when to ask for help: I have struggled with this one. Sometimes, you just need to reach out. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

7. Sing out loud: Always!

8. Listen to that inner voice: Imagine that your inner voice is the voice of God in your head. If you listen to the first voice, not the inner critic, you'll learn to trust your hunches. (See also Inner Critic or Early Warning Sign?)

9. Dispense more compliments than criticism: It doesn't matter who it is, you can always find a positive for everyone. Spread the joy!

10. Honor your elders: It took me many years to appreciate this. With age, you learn to value the wisdom of those who went before. They carry lessons that you should always seek to learn.

11. Mentor others: Never be afraid to help another if you can. If someone honors you by seeking your advice, honor them back by mentoring them.

12. Recognize and meet others where they are, but do not accept their reality as yours: We all have our own journey to make in this life. We are the sum total of our nation, our race, our sex, our parents, our religion, our fears, and our beliefs. It is important to recognize that the experience of others may be radically different than yours, which is why they believe as they do. Have patience, and try to understand their point of view, but do not take on their reality unless it serves a higher purpose.

13. Just say no: If it depletes you, doesn't serve you, endangers you, or you just don't want to do it, DON'T. No explanations are necessary.

Love, Mom

P.S. Know that every time I harassed or nagged you, I was really saying I love you.

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