Every time we stand in front of the mirror fixing our hair or assessing our outfit, whether the vibe be positive or negative, our words, actions and body language goes before us as though writing a letter to our daughters. Every time we interact with those around us, respond to a loaded question, deal with a hardship, we are teaching them how to behaviour, what to think. While we tell our little girls they are beautiful, wonderful, loved, more often than not our life paints a different picture...
Your smile is bright now, but will soon fade, only to be replaced with lines etched from worry and stress. Your eyes are filled with wonder and sparkle, but soon you will realise how dark and empty your life is. My dearest daughter, while I tell you how lovely you are, you will come to realise, as you grow, how happiness means the very things that make us empty; chasing beauty, popularity, acceptance.
Daughter, you are beautiful, you are enough. But I am a hypocrite, because as I tell you this truth, I don't believe it for myself. My words are tainted, and only cause more damage. Instead of reassuring you, I only affirm in you that how I feel about myself is your own identity's fate. Your worth will be rooted in your appearance. When people praise your beauty you will be reminded of how beauty is the key to your acceptance. While you hear those around you praise your new dress, ooh-ing and aah-ing, it will solidify the path I have chosen for you.
Every time I glance at myself in the mirror, the messages only become clearer to both of us. We are not enough. We are not accepted. We are unloved.
I never would have dreamed of writing such a letter to my daughter. But little did I know these were the very words my life was penning even before my daughter was conceived. I knew I wanted kids, while I was still struggling with an eating disorder. But I didn't realise how much I wanted to change the words in that letter until after I was holding my freshly newborn daughter in my arms.
It was one of the most tender, vulnerable moments I have ever experienced. The value and weight of my love for her was made stronger by the aftermath of a complicated birth. My heart rippled and buckled under the force of those surreal seconds before she was whisked away. I suddenly wanted everything for her, wanted to protect her from all the darkness in the world. I wanted to give her my best and more. No words could describe exactly how it felt then and there and how it continues to feel now, 12 months later.
Sometimes the burden is heavy and I am reminded of how crucial my influence is to her world. And sometimes it is as light as a feather and I feel more than adequate. I am never ungrateful for this awareness. It has changed my world for the better!
And I am forever thankful for the chance to pen a new letter before it is too late...
Oh how I can't express enough the love I have for you. You are a blessing beyond imagination. You bring light, love and joy into our worlds. My heart explodes with exhilaration towards you. And to think my love is but a mere glimpse of the love God has for us!
Even if my love fails or falls short at times, the truth remains: you are loved! You are valued and cherished. Your life amounts to greatness and your contribution is significant. You are confident, unashamed, wonderful, creative, intelligent, wise, integrous, purposed, and more. Your character will shine bright and be a good example to others. Your eyes will sparkle with life and joy until the day you die. You will laugh and that will be your strength.
Daughter, you are every bit lovely, but you will also find moments of frailty just like I do. Daughter, you are strong and bold, but don't be afraid to feel vulnerable. My daughter you are more than enough, but there will be times you feel otherwise. The most important thing to remember when faced with such moments, is that feelings are fleeting and often deceiving. Life does not amount to how you feel. You must have the truth on the inside of you, and live in response to that. You will do well if you respond from that place of truth rather than react from a place of emotion. This will be hardest when your heart is broken. But don't let it chip your shoulder. Stay true to who you are and trust yourself.
Your beauty comes from all that I have mentioned above; that place of truth inside you, your character and confidence. That is the true meaning of beauty. The world will try to tell you otherwise, but you will have to fight against it. Your value will always be grounded in the fact that you are loved and cherished... but the world will try to shift your perspective and tell you it is grounded in clothes, money, friends and appearance. Let me save you a world of pain and tell you nothing is further from the truth. You know the truth, now all you need to do is hold onto it and not be swayed.
This letter is far from finished. Everyday I hope to add to it, through my actions, my words, my body language. I am committed to paving a path of truth and love for you. There will be days I fail miserably. But I will not give up. Sometimes I still struggle to turn off that voice inside that speaks to the old me. Sometimes I find myself weighing my value by the scales of appearance and acceptance. But I fight against it. And that is what I hope to teach you, how to fight for your own truth!
Stay sweet and gracious. Don't blame the world. Just rise above it.
All my love,
Whether you are a mum or not, there is bound to be a little girl in your world, a little life who might look to you more than you know. And if not now, than someday you will have the power to help develop a little girl's perspective on life, love and herself.
Maybe it is time to look at the letters your life is crafting. Who will read them and when they do, what message will they receive? Will they be inspired?
Love Heids Xx