My first born daughter, Mila is now three and a half years old. She’s starting preschool next week, and this milestone has me pretty emotional. For me, it’s a symbol that she’s becoming more independent, and therefore she will become just a little bit more aware of the world (and the good – and not so good things about it). I know, I know. For God’s sake Alex – it’s not like she’s starting college! Trust me…I realize that I’m probably more emotional than I need to be. With that said, I guess it just has me feeling like there’s so much about life I want my daughters’ to know. I want my girls to take on the world with a sense of confidence, strength, and passion. I want their inner stillness to keep them grounded, humble and peaceful. The world can be hard…and I’m fully aware that things will happen in their lives that will shake them to the core. But, I want them to know without a doubt that in life, they can overcome any challenge.
These lessons aren’t taught overnight – I realize this. Lessons are taught on a daily basis. They are taught through observation (how we – the people they love, communicate and act). They are taught through bedtime conversations, real life situations, make believe and play. But these are some of the lessons I’m actively trying to instil in their minds and hearts.
1. Before anything else, love yourself
In life, other people won’t always see your inner and outer beauty. You will be at times, made to feel unworthy, not pretty enough, not smart enough, and “less than.” But, always be authentically you, and love who that person is in the deepest way possible. Let your uniqueness shine, and be proud of who you are.
2. Your failure doesn’t define you
You will fail. You will make mistakes and you won’t be good at everything. When you do fail, learn from it. Allow your failures to help you grow. You will never be perfect – focus on growth rather than perfection. Pursuing perfection will drive you crazy.
3. You are in control of your thoughts
People aren’t always nice. People’s intentions aren’t always pure. People’s words aren’t always kind. With that said, you have complete power over how you choose to interpret and respond to the world around you, and the people in it. Your words and thoughts have power…be mindful of them and choose them wisely.
4. You are not your emotions
It’s normal and healthy to feel all types of emotions, this is simply part of being human. Don’t bury them, work through them. Just don’t let your emotions define you – you are not your emotions.
5. Be aware of the beautiful things around you
Always notice the beauty in life – in the birds singing, in the beauty of a sunset, in the kind words from a stranger. Be aware of these moments every day and be thankful for them; gratitude is a powerful thing.
6. Find your passion
Discover what sets your soul on fire, and do it as often as you possibly can.
7. Stand up for what you believe
You have a voice. Speak up for the child on the school ground who is being picked on, or advocate for a cause that is close to your heart. Whatever it is, let love fuel your fire and always be respectful in your pursuit of righteousness.
8. Listen to your instincts
Listen to your inner voice. Be aware of the times when life taps you on the shoulder and tries to tell you something over and over, and if it doesn’t feel right – don’t do it.
9. Know the power of prayer
You are loved and protected by a force much bigger than yourself. Be aware of the miracles that happen in your life and always try and find peace through prayer.
10. Don’t be afraid to take risks
And by risks, I don’t mean self-destructive, dangerous, or impulsive risks. The type of risks I’m referring to are the ones that help you step outside of your comfort zone. The risks that lead to personal growth and new opportunities. Some risks are important to take.