My lovely girls,
You live in a world where we are told it’s everything to be beautiful. You are beautiful — but that is just one thing of many things that makes you who you are.
And about being beautiful, anyway: beauty has little to do with what you see on the cover of glossy magazines in grocery stores. In fact, the most beautiful people I have ever known in my life have not been the most symmetrical or svelte or smooth-skinned — but rather, the most joyful, the most kind, the most interesting, the most comfortable in their own skin.
And that’s the funny thing about beauty anyway — some people will sacrifice all the things that make themselves most captivating (their joy, their individuality, their sense of self) to match a Photoshopped ideal. And what’s so ideal about that?
So don’t chase shallow beauty; instead chase love and hope and butterflies and the things that make you your best self, which is a self that is giving.
It has been said (a time or two or a thousand) that in giving we receive — and that is the truth. I have learned this as your mother. For it is in giving my time, my talent, my life to our family that I have received the most joy I have ever experienced. I chased all sorts of things in my youth (though I’m still youthful enough!), and truly, most of them were as worth catching as the cold. What was worth catching was your father, this family, and this opportunity to help make you better while you help make me better: and that’s what family is all about, after all.
As your mother, I am all about girl power in its truest sense — not in a “girls go to mars to become super stars” sense, but in the sense that us girls have one of the greatest roles in this world. I like the way another mother puts it, Mother Teresa:
“Let us pray that we women realize the reason of our existence: to love and be loved and through this love become instruments of peace in the world.”
Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to be a mother or a wife in this life — but simply, a woman. As women, we’re made with a special capacity for love. For some of us, that love creates families. For some, that love creates companies and charities and communities. Wherever we are called and meant to be, real girl power is found in using the unique gifts you were given to be an instrument of peace in the world — in your world: your family, your friendships, your work.
You can do a great many things in this life: but know that the greatest thing you can be is simply who you were meant to be. And that’s more than enough. Knowing that is a great freedom because there is a world of opinions and pressures out there that can drown out that soft voice inside you that knows what’s best.
The neat thing is, realizing that you just have to be who you are meant to be is both a great relief and a great adventure. It involves some prayer and some thought, of course, but it also involves taking, as Robert Frost says, “the road not taken,” the one carved just for you.
My lovely girls: be kind, be brave, be bold and be willing to be different. For it is in our differences that we often find our greatness.
And mostly, know you are loved.