The Huffington Post

Our Daughters Are Enough

I want to make sure my daughters know they are good enough, just the way they are.

I saw a teenage girl recently depriving herself of food, worried about how she looks and embarrassed to speak up and share her opinion to a group of other teens. This interaction caused me think about my own two daughters, ages 14 and 17, and reminded me of the importance of making sure they know they’re good enough.

Just the way they are.

I’m writing this for my daughters but also for all of our daughters. May we raise them to be strong and brave women who believe in themselves. People who stand up for what is right and who expect to be treated with decency and courtesy. Individuals who know that real beauty comes from being a kind and caring human being not from a dress size or hair style.

To our daughters:

You only have one body. The beautiful one you were born with. While it isn’t perfect, because no one has a perfect body, it’s yours and it’s amazing. Just the way it is. You must take care of your body and fuel it with nourishing food that also feeds your soul. Please don’t buy into fad diets or deprive yourself of what you need just to look a certain way. You only have one body, take care of it. Remember, the way you dress sends a message to everyone you meet. Wear clothes that make you feel good about yourself. Happy girls are pretty girls.

You must remember to treat yourself with respect. No one can tell you what to do with your body and it doesn’t belong to anyone but you. You can’t expect someone else to respect you if you don’t respect yourself.

It’s OK to say “no.” If a boy asks you to do something you don’t want to do, it’s alright to turn him down and walk away. Even if hearing you say “no” makes him mad or upset, it’s your body, and you get to say what you do with it. Never feel guilty about standing up for yourself. If you lose a boyfriend because he couldn’t handle hearing you turn him down, be glad you lost him. He wasn’t worth hanging on to.

A broken heart is better than having a broken soul. Don’t sell yourself short or please someone because you’re afraid to be alone. It’s better to be alone than with the wrong person.

Don’t be afraid to walk away. It doesn’t matter who the person is, what his last name is or how much money he has. If you’re with a person and something feels off, it probably is. Trust your gut and follow your instincts.

The world is made up of a lot of really nice people. There are also people who feel the need to try and take advantage of other people. Don’t allow someone to take advantage of you. Sadly, abuse isn’t just physical. It can be verbal as well. Don’t tolerate anyone talking down to you, saying hurtful or belittling words or making you feel inferior.

There are choices in life, and you have to make the best decisions you can for yourself. Don’t apologize for who you are or where you come from. Believe in yourself and surround yourself with people who make you feel good about yourself.

Consider this a little reminder that you’re good enough, just the way you are.

Don’t feel the need to change yourself in order to impress other people. Wanting to make a good impression is one thing, feeling the need to alter yourself to measure up to another person’s expectations isn’t necessary.

Be true to yourself.

Be a kind person.

Be an individual who treats other people with decency and never settle for anything less for yourself.

You’re good enough, my darling, just the way you are.

Find meaning each day,

Dara

This article was first published on the Huffington Post Blog