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To My Daughter, In 10 Years…

To My Daughter, In 10 Years…

Dear daughter,

As I write this, you’re still young. You don’t know what to expect from life. You still glow with childhood innocence. I’m writing this for you to read in 10 years. This is for you to prepare yourself for everything I had to learn on my own. I’ve had to learn from several errors, but I’m sure I’ll never admit it. This is for you as much as it is for me. To let you know that everything that you will go through I have been through as well. So, my daughter, here I give you everything you need to know to survive the real world.

1. Any decision you make has to be yours.

Trust me, I get it. At 18, the world demands you to pick what you want to be doing for the rest of your life. It will command you to know exactly what you want to do and exactly where you want to be. If you do, that’s wonderful. If you don’t, that’s okay. Whatever you do has to be something that makes you sprint out of bed in the morning.

2. No dreams are too big or too small.

If they are your dreams they have to be chased. Don’t let people make you feel like you aren’t good enough or that you can do better. Because if it makes you happy then it’s the best thing you could be doing.

3. Don’t let anything or anybody stand in the way of your dreams.

If the person you are in love with wants you to turn down your light so he can shine brighter, he isn’t worth it. If he loves you, he’ll want you to shine alongside him and not block you out. Don’t be afraid to cut the cord. The person you are meant to be with is out there.

4. If you’re happy, I’m happy.

That sounds incredibly cheesy, I know. It’s the truth, though. I may give you a hard time and pressure you into doing things you may not want to do. It’s only because I want you to have the best life. But if you find something that makes you incredibly happy, and I may not agree with it at first, I will eventually. Deep down my happiness is solely based on your happiness.

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5. Soulmates exist and yours is out there. Don’t settle.

Know when to call it off. Know that someone who loves you will show you love and patience when you need. Don’t feel like you’re asking for too much when all you’re asking for is happiness. This is what you are entitled to.

6. Your self-worth is not dependant on anyone or anything.

You were born beautiful inside and out. Nothing material you lose in life will decrease that beauty. No one you meet can take that beauty away. You have to love yourself first before anyone else can love you.

7. Life will knock you down many times. The only thing that matters is how fast you get up to knock life back.

You know how they say good things happen in threes, well a similar rule applies to bad things. When one pillar of your life falls, the other ones might too. What you have to do is take every fall as a life lesson and go right back to building back up. Don’t ever sit and cry over the pieces. You can cry while you’re building them back up.

8. I’m always a phone call away. Even if it’s two in the morning.

I may question what you are doing up at such a late hour, but I will always be at the other end to hear what you have to say. I will be your safe base whenever you need me to be.

9. There are no problems that can’t be solved with chocolate and a little bit of The Carpenters.

My grandma and I would listen to The Carpenters all day and it would fix everything, even if nothing was really fixed. Karen Carpenter just knew how to be sad and she knew how to be happy. Trust me, she gets you.

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10. Eat as much pizza as you want.

Stay healthy, but enjoy food. Don’t deprive yourself from deliciousness because you want to fit into a size two. Eat what you want. Excercise. Eat your five a day.

11. Don’t let numbers define you.

Your weight doesn’t define you. Your dress size doesn’t define you. Your GPA doesn’t define you. Your salary doesn’t define you. None of these numbers define you.

12. Make mistakes.

I’ve learned that mistakes are part of my life. If I didn’t make any I wouldn’t be where I am. If you make mistakes in life, leave them in the past. Learn from them and then move on.

13. Don’t let yourself become jaded.

If you have a bad relationship that’s either romantic or just a friendship, don’t let it control how you approach your new relationships. What happened with that person was due to circumstance, or just simply personalities clashing. When you meet someone new, don’t be afraid to give them your heart. I was a person who went from being closed off to being more open. I realised that I wasn’t being foolish for giving people my heart. I was being trusting, which is a good quality to have.

14. When you see something beautiful, don’t stop to take a picture.

In the 30 seconds it takes you to take out your phone and the next 30 seconds that it takes you to click your camera on, you’ve missed a beautiful eagle gliding across the setting sun. Just watch the sunset, take it all in, and enjoying being in the moment.

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15. Choose friends that you can be yourself around.

I spent so much of junior high with friends who made me miserable. I spent a lot of time trying to be someone I wasn’t. When I got to high school, I met people who allowed me to be myself and loved me for it. I was the happiest around them. Don’t feel like you need to change to fit it. When you find people you know you’re meant to be around, you won’t feel like you have to change at all.

16. Travel limitlessly.

If you have the opportunity to see the world, do it. Take only what you can fit into a backpack. You’ll never experience freedom until you do that. Broaden your horizons.

17. Learn how to cook.

No, I’m not joking. It sounds like such a mother thing to say, but it’s true. Trust me. It saves you a lot of money and there’s just nothing as satisfying as eating something you’ve made yourself.

18. The best thing you can do if you can’t sleep because you’re upset is eat Nutella straight from the bottle.

I think that says it all really.

19. Always wear flats to places that involve walking and/or strenuous work.

If you think you can handle it, you can’t. After an hour and a half, you are going to wish you were dead. Then you’re going to want to kill some people. So to save all that pain, just wear flats. They may not look as nice but they save lives.

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20. Remember that I was once you.

I was once in your position and I do understand everything you are going through. It may seem like I don’t but that’s what age does. It makes you forget. Do your best to remind me that I was you, but understand where I’m coming from. Know that the only thing I care about is what’s best for you.

21. Love your life.

Even if there are aspects that you don’t like, try and put them in the corner of ugly things in your mind. Focus on all the positive things. Daughter, your journey is going to be a long and beautiful one and I can’t wait to watch you start it.

Featured photo credit: Mother Child Daughter Love Kiss Together Black/Takmeomeo via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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