Self-Love: To my Daughter

I asked my husband the other day what he thinks is most important for our daughter to learn. If he could have her learn just one life lesson, what would it be? 

He said to be kind to others.

That sounds nice and I get where he’s coming from. But as someone who coaches women who are unfulfilled and out of touch with what they want, that makes me nervous. As a former perfectionist myself and someone who spends her day talking to approval-seekers, it’s terrifying.

I’d rather she learn to be kind to herself.

Little girls all over the world are raised to be nice, to go out of their way to do things for others, often at the expense of their own desires. If their desires are too “self-centered” they’re viewed as wrong and aren’t validated.

I’ve seen way too many grown women come up completely blank when asked, “What do you want?” or “What would make you happy right now?” They forget that wanting what they want is even an option. Over a lifetime, they eventually lose touch with their own cravings and forget who they really are.

I believe there’s nothing more important than being self-centered. Not necessarily to the detriment of others, but in a way that means we make it our primary duty in life to discover and practice what makes us happy. We fill our own cup first.

All of this nice girl stuff is based on one huge lie, anyway: that something outside of us is responsible for our happiness. Why be nice? So that others like us. Why does it matter that others like us? So that they are nice to us and we can be happy. Doesn’t it make sense to skip the middle man and be nice to ourselves first?

When you realize that others are responsible for their own happiness, you stop trying so hard to be the source of their joy. You let them do that job themselves, because they’re the only ones who can.

And you turn your focus to your own joy, because you’re the only one who can.

If we all made our own happiness our number one priority, the world would be completely different. There would be no scarcity mentality—we’d realize nothing is really scarce because everything we ever need is inside us, always.

Not needing others (but still wanting them) leads to much more kindness.

Not relying on others to make us happy takes a lot of pressure off.

With permission to focus on our own positive feelings, we’d naturally realize that being kind feels good. It feels even better when we can do it with no agenda. We’d go from trying to control someone else’s happiness to practicing kindness for our own selfish reasons.

Doesn’t that sound nice?

So, I admit it—this entire blog post was really just an excuse to post a picture of my gorgeous baby. At 5 ½ months old, she still implicitly knows that her happiness is her only job in life. She is perfect and selfish and happy and kind. And the only way I can really teach her to stay that way is to let her see me caring more about my own happiness than trying to control hers. Wish me luck.

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