By Richard E. Bleil, Ph.D.
Just for full disclosure, I have no daughters (or children) in the biological sense, but I do have a few daughters from other fathers. This is for them.
Be you. You are a strong, intelligent, beautiful woman. Unfortunately, you will be under constant pressure to change. Never compromise yourself for a partner who is intimidated by you, or a boss that asks you to compromise your standards, or societal pressures to become less than you are. The world needs you just as you are, and would be at a loss if you reduced that potential by one iota.
Choose your friends wisely. It might feel cruel, but sometimes you have to let people go to protect yourself. People may call you friend, yet try to drag you down. They may try to make themselves feel better about their situation by dragging you into it, rather than letting you help lead them out of it. Help those that you can, but let them go if they are toxic, and always remember that people are not always truthful. Believe what they do, not what they say. If they say they are your friend but are harmful in their actions, they are not your friend.
Love who you Love, with an open heart and with open eyes. We are living in an age where too many people are too uptight about who people other than themselves Love. You can’t control your heart, so don’t try, but on the other hand, do so with open eyes and an open mind. Crushes feel real, but are not. A crush is an attraction for packaging, but not the contents. We see something that attracts us, and fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle with our own personal hopes and dreams. If it turns out that the person you thought you loved is not the person you thought, don’t be afraid to move on. There will be others.
Don’t bother looking for the ideal partner. If you wait for perfection, you’ll never find it. Find a partner who you believe in, who supports you and your aspirations, and respects you. Find that person that you Love, and feel will make a great partner through good times and bad, who will stand by you. By the same token, don’t be afraid to be alone. Ignore society and people who tell you what you must do; you must find a partner, it must be this gender, you must get married, you must procreate. The only thing you must do is be true to yourself, and the fact is that if you never find that life partner, it’s not a bad thing. Know that you are not settling, and be content with that. Being with the wrong person is often far worse than being alone.
The world is neither fair nor unfair. Circumstances will at times conspire against you, and sometimes in your favor. We tend, as human beings, to focus on the negative times, but try to remember the times that worked for you. Ultimately, you are in control of your destiny, in good times and in bad. Typically, there is more opportunity in bad times than in good if you are strong enough to see those opportunities, and capitalize on them.
Be kind and giving. There is not enough of this in the world, but if enough of us can model this behavior, then maybe…just maybe we can bring it back. Your worst bully is on their own journey just as you are, so try to understand, and if you have the opportunity to be kind, take it, but don’t expect anything in return. The concept of giving with the knowledge that it will return is not giving, but rather, it’s investing, and a poor investment at that. Give because it makes somebody happy, and the more happiness in the world, the better we all will be.
Kindness isn’t always kind. Remember that sometimes you have to be brutal to be kind. That officer writing a ticket will get a lot of grief for doing their job, but in so doing they are protecting society from reckless drivers, including the driver receiving the ticket. The same will occasionally be true for you, in both directions. Someone who truly cares about you may say things you don’t want to hear, but if it’s said with love and true concern, resist the urge to lash out back at them. One of the hardest things in life is listening to true constructive criticism, and giving it. Find the strength to speak out as well, but always in an effort to help the other improve.
Finally, live a life for others. Work to make this society better, for helping others, for doing what is right. Your friends and family are your shield, your home, but we are all part of something bigger. Give more than you receive, and think of the next generation.