A Letter To My Daughter As She Enters Her First Year Of High School
The other day it hit me hard. I was having a moment. So I sat down and wrote a letter to my oldest daughter.
I understand that as a Life Coach, my views and advice may not be for everyone. However, I do believe that this letter will be helpful for some. So I felt called to share it for anyone that may need to read these words too. Feel free to share with someone you think could use it, and also feel free to send me your own tips and advice. I would love to hear it!
I'm really not sure how we got here... I blinked and now you are heading to high school.
As this day approaches, I want to share some of the wisdom that my heart has for you:
Get Involved, Have Fun and BE HAPPY
The next 4 years are going to fly by, so make them count. Take advantage and get involved in school activities and clubs. Find your tribe, learn about teamwork and a sense of belonging. Be serious about your education, and be just as serious about having fun and spreading joy.
Happiness is the doorway to a fulfilling life. Without happiness everything will be harder then it needs to be. So many people are chasing the grades, the relationships, the awards, or the material things in hopes that it will make them happy. CHOOSE to be happy first and everything that you want will passionately choose you!
Not everyone is going to like you - Be OK with that!
It may seem that I don't understand what's happening in your world, but I was a teenager once and remember the intense need to feel accepted. This was ALWAYS a hard one for your people pleasing Mama. I wanted desperately to have the approval of my peers, my teachers, my coaches and even people I didn't know very well. However, this meant that I was never fully showing up as myself. I was showing up as who I thought they wanted me to be. It was exhausting, and it still didn't guarantee approval.
Being 100% authentically you from the moment you first walk onto your new High School Campus may mean that some people will not be your biggest fans... but it will also mean that the RIGHT people will be! Let some people be wrong about you, and focus on the wonderful people that do take the time to love you for who you really are.
Do not compare your body, or looks to others
In a world where social media and filters makes everyone look PERFECT, it can really cause some insecurities. I coach grown women every single day about perfection. It doesn't exist. Therefore, trying to be and look perfect is really a form of self hatred.
There is only ONE you. You aren't supposed to be exactly like anyone else or look like a perfect airbrushed photo. That would be so boring. We all evolve at our own pace at our own timing. Trust me, there will be people that will overlook you in high school, and will look back years from now and say "What was I thinking?" The more you learn to love yourself as you are and feel good in your skin, the more you will SHINE and standout the way you were born to.
The most beautiful people on this planet are viewed that way not because of their size, style of hair, or how they wear their make-up, but because of how they make others feel when they are around them. John Mayer once said, "If you're pretty; you're pretty; but the only way to be beautiful is to be loving. Otherwise, it's just 'Congratulations about your face'."
You, my daughter, are not just another pretty face - show the world your gorgeous heart.
KIND trumps Popular
Honestly, there were times when you were growing up that I felt guilty about not being a 'popular Mom'. I watched other Moms who called the school to make sure their kids were with certain people in their class, ensured that they were invited to every party, had a particular coach or teacher. As I backed away from anyone I saw with that agenda, I saw that their children backed away from you too. It was hard to watch, and I questioned myself. In the end, I am so proud that I saw you forge your own way, make your own friends, earn your own grades, fight for a spot on teams that you wanted to be on, and make your own mark. I pray that this benefits you in the long run. I hope that you let your guiding post be the kindness that someone shows you, over trying to fit in with the "in crowd".
Allow any experiences or memories of being excluded teach you to be kinder. Being with the cool kids in a snap chat story will fade in 24 hours, but doing one kind act can be remembered for a lifetime.
High School prepares you for a practical life, but don't forget your dreams and desires even if they seem illogical
I'm so impressed with your focus and drive in everything that you do. Yes, it is true that studying hard, staying organized and preparing for the future will help set you up for success. I also worry that you will let those things define you.
Please remember that your birthright is worthiness and love. There is nothing you need to do to earn that, it is who you are. So as you are tempted to buy into the story that you have to get a 4.0, or compete with others in accomplishments, please understand that THERE IS ENOUGH SUN FOR EVERYONE!
I believe that every desire that you were born with was placed there by God and is the true road map of your life. This means that so many of the illogical miracles that make life so special can not be found in your grades, your achievements or accomplishments. It will be found living life in the fullest expression of who you were born to be. You have an inner guidance that knows the way to every one of those unique dreams that can't be found in your text books or on the soccer field.
You should also know that Daddy and I will never doubt you. We will always have your back and will be cheering you on to go for it, regardless of how practical or impractical that may look. We believe in you, but you will never experience the miracles that God has planned for you unless YOU BELIEVE IN YOU too!
Be unavailable for drama
You have heard me say over and over that I am allergic to drama. I do not participate in it because I have big work to do in this world, and that's just a distraction. Baby Girl, you have big work to do too. You have love to spread. You are strong, you are powerful, and your life matters in ways that you can't even imagine yet! This is true about everyone. So support and encourage your friends, even when you want the same things. Notice who is cheering for you back. Anyone or anything that is not supportive of you, is just noise ~ rise above and make sure your truth is louder.
You will make mistakes
Welcome to the human experience. Mistakes are part of life. When we learn from them, they can be the most valuable tool and lesson that helps us grow and do better. Forgive others and yourself easily, we are all just doing the best we can. While there is NOTHING that you can do that would ever stop your Dad and I from loving you, there are some mistakes that are irreversible and can change your life forever. Please stay close to your values and trust your gut to navigate through any pressures that you are uncertain about. We are always here without judgment if you need us.
Be compassionate with your Mom's heart
Please remember that this is a big transition for me too. I desperately miss the days where we would sing 'the wheels on the bus' while you were having lunch in your booster seat, how you would just run up and kiss me all day for no other reason but to tell me that you loved me, or how you only felt safe if you were holding my hand.
It's so exciting to watch you grow into the amazing young woman that you are, but a piece of my heart breaks a little every time you get on that bus for a new year. So as you prepare for this new journey, understand that I still see that little girl. I'm still trying to be brave and let go of your hand. I only have the strength to do it because I trust you and I am so incredibly proud of who you are, but be gentle with my feelings. Share more than you want to with me. Trust me more than you think you can. Give me grace for any embarrassing things that I may do. I promise that you will never regret that.
Good Luck this year.
You are ready, this is your time ~ FLY!
Michelle Dunk is a Visionary Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, #1 Best Selling Author, and Certified Transformation and Success Coach. She has a mission to help women bring a higher vision to their lives. Stretching their goals, healing their hearts and showing them how to ambitiously go after their dreams and the resources needed to live their best lives. Michelle is also the President and Founder of a unique Mentoring and Scholarship Program called In beTWEEN Girls. Her organization is a Non-Profit 501c3 Corporation dedicated to empowering the lives of TWEEN and Teen girls by teaching them self-worth, confidence, invaluable life skills, and how to connect with their own Inner Spark.
If you would like to follow her journey or receive occasional inspiration in your mailbox you can subscribe on the main page of her website. It is through these occasional e-mails that she shares great value, tips, discounts, first to know information and servers her community in a conversational way. You can also learn more about Michelle and the different ways that you can work with her there. www.visionarymentoringgroup.com