I am not a mother. I decided early on, while still in high school, that I couldn’t chance having children. I read something about how abusers often abuse their own children. While I didn’t believe I would ever intentionally inflict such pain on any child, I knew I had big chasms in my psyche and that my soul was broken. And that could cause me to be unable to give what I needed to give or to be what I needed to be to raise a healthy, happy child. So, I sacrificed that desire for the greater good.
Keeping this in mind, that I am not a mother and have never raised a child, there are a few things I would like to share with you, in spite of my lack of experience. Things I wish had been shared with me. These are the things I would tell you if I were your mother.
You are beautiful. I don’t care what you look like, what color your hair or skin might be, what defects society might tell you that you have, how symmetrical your face might be, how tall or short you are, or what kind of hair you have. You are beautiful and wonderful in your individuality. You are the only YOU that exists on this planet…and you are the only YOU who ever will exist. You are a combination of a million different contingencies that somehow all came together and added up to the incredible person that you are. You have talents, abilities, thoughts, ideas, perspectives and responses that are completely yours and yours alone. No one else can offer what you offer. No one else can be who you can be. Love yourself. Appreciate your uniqueness. Nurture it. Protect it. Don’t change who you are for anyone. Don’t try to be someone else. Someone you are not. Be you in your entire delightful, beautiful, amazing splendor. Embrace your individuality. Embrace your flaws and imperfections. We all have them, you know. Be you to the very best of your ability and look for beauty instead of deficiencies. Because you are truly beautiful…simply because you are.
You can be anything you want to be. It’s not always the most intelligent who do wonderful things. Apply yourself. Put yourself out there and don’t give up. Within you are all the ingredients for greatness. If your heart is leading you there, go. Give it everything you have. Find possibilities instead of telling yourself it’s impossible. Yes, you may fail again and again, but that doesn’t make you a failure. Keep going. Get up one more time than you fall down and you will succeed.
You have incredible value. Not because of anything you do or give. Not because of your performance. Just because you are. You are acceptable. Accepted. Your value doesn’t come from what you achieve. It comes from the fact that you exist. This doesn’t mean you don’t continue to try to be a better person. Because we all can become better. It just means your value doesn’t come from what you give or do, but from who you are. Inside. In your heart. Beneath your skin. This is what defines you. It’s what makes you…you! And you are worth more than all the riches and wonders in the world.
You are loved…and you are loveable. You are, above all, loved by God. But you are also loved by the special people in your life. They see you as being loveable. Worthy. They see your importance. They see how special you are. Learn to love yourself for being the person you are even as you continue trying to grow and improve. You are loved now. Just the way you are. And you are worthy of that love.
You can make a difference. You may never change the entire universe. But you can have a positive impact. You can change at least a small corner of the world and make it better. Maybe you help a few homeless people or those more unfortunate than you are. Maybe you make it a point of sharing kind words instead of hateful ones. Maybe you look for the good in every person you meet and show them the beauty you find there. Maybe you create the internet or bring computers into almost every home (okay, that’s been done, but you get my point) or finally usher in world peace. Or maybe you are the best mother or father a human being can be. Maybe you sacrifice your life for the freedom of others. Or you stop and help a hurt animal by the side of the road. It doesn’t matter what you do, just THAT you do. Always remember that what you do has an impact. You can change the world a little moment at a time…either for better or worse. Use your power for good. Even if you only touch a handful of people in your lifetime. The ripples will be endless.
If you need help, get it. Now. Don’t wait until you can afford it or have time or don’t have as much going on. You think you have a lot of tomorrows. But those tomorrows go by so quickly! If you are struggling with something, move heaven and earth to find a way to overcome. Secure the support you need while you’re young and pliable. Find the resources you require. Reach out and keep reaching out until you are back on solid ground. Don’t live life broken. That’s not living. And you only get one chance to live.
Live in a way that you don’t have regrets. Live today. Do what you need to do, want to do, are driven to do, what is best for you, today. Live in today. Dream big, but live big in the present. Do you hate your job? Quit. While you are young. It may not seem easier from your perspective, but it is. When you’re young, you have more resilience, more drive, less encumbrances. It’s easier to make big changes. Don’t give your dreams away. When you are nearing the end of your life, you don’t want to be asking yourself why you did or didn’t do something. You don’t want to be asking yourself what happened that you wound up where you are. You want to be able to look back and say, “I’m so glad I leaped off that mountain or went back to school or changed careers or married that person you love with all of your heart. If something is going to take you 10 years to achieve, you will be 10 years older no matter what you do. So go for it. If you do what you love and pursue what you desire the most, you will be closer to your goals if you go after them. Don’t let the time slip through your hands. “No regrets” should be your battle cry. Every day.
Find the thing that drives you. That place of passion and fulfillment. Keep looking until you discover the thing that brings meaning and purpose to your life. Then do it with everything inside of you. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. Don’t be practical. Listen to that voice within, follow it, embrace it, go with it. Don’t tell yourself you can’t because it’s hard. We are all called t do something. Find your calling. Then pursue it with all of your heart.
Do all things with balance. This may seem to be a contradiction to what I have said before. But some people go after a job and forget their spouse or kids or friends or their relationship with God. Balance is important. To exclude any large priority in life is to destroy a piece of yourself. Give to each its due. Save some money; spend some money. Work some; play some. Focus a lot; relax a lot. Don’t let work steal your family. Don’t let your family steal your work. Don’t let your friends steal your relationship with God. Don’t let your kids steal your relationship with friends. Or with your spouse. Balance takes work. But it’s worth it. Give to each what is due to each and you will find you have enriched your own soul.
Don’t stay in abusive relationships. Whether it’s a friendship or a partnership, a marriage or a job. If you are being used and abused, get out. Period. Don’t stay where you aren’t loved and appreciated. Don’t give yourself away lightly or cheaply. No exceptions.
You matter. I don’t care if you ever become “great” in the eyes of the world. You matter. There are people in your life, within your realm of influence, who cherish you. Need you. They respect you. Love you. Want you. Those people…be they many or few…see you as an important person in their universe. And you are important. As I said earlier, what you bring to the table is unique and wonderful. Maybe you are the salt in the recipe instead of being the icing on the cake, but you matter. Your needs matter. Your desires matter. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you don’t. And don’t tell yourself that you don’t. You do. Always. Sometimes you may set yourself aside. You may make that choice for a season. But it doesn’t mean you don’t matter. Don’t lie to yourself. And don’t let anyone sell you the lie that you don’t matter.
These are the things I wish I had been taught when I was young and growing. I learned very different messages. I believed the lies. I hope someone out there reading this is still young enough to receive the message I am writing here. These things would have changed my life. I’m hoping they will change yours…because I still want to make a difference. Even though it’s almost too late and I have very little to offer. So for just a moment, listen to these words as if I were your mother. And receive the love and truth of what is written. Because at this stage, the truth is all I have to give you.
May these truths change your world for the better. May they touch your heart. Go deep into your soul. And set you free.