Letters to my Daughter
To my only little girl,
I love you baby girl.
In my professional life, I have heard the name Xerox many times. Xerox is (or was) a company specializing in making copiers and printers. Xerox became so popular that instead of people saying; “I need to make a copy of this document”, they would say “I need to make a Xerox of this document”. The brand became bigger than their products. I also heard the name numerous times because of their revolutionary sales process. Many of the techniques are implemented in the sales systems I have worked under, or designed.
I give you this background information because I have no clue if Xerox will still be around, and I figured I would save you time from looking them up.
What does Xerox have to do with this letter?
- There are only so many words or phrases starting with the letter “X”.
- Xerox is another way of saying “Copy”
I never wish for you to be a copy of another person.
This is advice every adult wishes they would have known or taken when they were younger.
Growing up is tough, no matter who you are or where you come from. As kids, we are trying to learn how to live within the world as individuals, and we often look to others for a blueprint. A blueprint helps us live and interact within the world with more understanding.
Who are the “others” you will look to as blueprints?
Your mom and I are your first and most prominent influences. Which is why we try so hard to be a good example, even if we fail at times.
While your mom and I will always be an influence in your life, our influence will become less effective as you grow older. You will then be left with a foundation built by the blueprints you used along the way.
One of the most influential blueprints you will use is taken from your friends and peers. These are the blueprints I wish you to use as seldom as you can. This is where I want you to be a unique individual and NOT be a Xerox of your friends.
It’s very easy to look at someone, a friend maybe, and want the things they have. You could want someone’s popularity, fashion sense, singing ability, beauty, intelligence, etc. This is the point where you must choose.
This is a crossroad in your life, and one you will encounter multiple times throughout your life.
This is the time adults wish they had chosen to be an individual, instead of being a copy (Xerox) of someone else.
You see, when you desire to be like someone else, you are unknowingly doing harm to yourself. This becomes especially true if you take action to be like someone else.
What’s the harm in this seemingly innocent ritual of growing up?
- You can become forgettable. If you mold yourself into a clone of someone else by acting, talking, and looking like them, then you will become just a copy of the original. Who remembers the shadow of an individual? If you hang out with a group of girls who all look, act, and talk the same, then you will fade into a stereotype. You will become forgettable. You could become forgotten.
- You’re telling yourself you don’t like who you are. By wanting to be like someone else, you could be saying; “Hey… I don’t like this about myself, so I will try to be like the person I do like.” This is not always a bad thing, but you must be careful. The only attributes of others in which you should strive to be like, are attributes that are universally considered to be good. Attributes like; kindness, honesty, integrity, wise, loving, good listener, and so on.
- You’re not being honest. If you pretend to be someone you are not, then are you really you? When you act differently to others to be liked more, then you’re lying to yourself and to others. What if someone really likes the person you are pretending to be? Do they really like you, or do they like the fake you?
I could go on, but I hope you are beginning to see my point. Being someone you are not is only hurting you, not helping. It takes a lot of work to be someone else, and the rewards rarely give true joy.
Joy is found in discovering yourself by being you all the time. Your actions and inactions in life will give you experiences that mold you into your own unique self.
Things you should know about being yourself and not a Xerox of someone else:
- It won’t be easy, but it will be rewarding. You will truly struggle at times to find yourself and to know yourself. It’s not easy to look in the mirror and recognize your faults in the attempt to change. It’s not easy to be yourself when you might not like who you are at times. Yet, if you continually make the attempt to grow into the person you wish to be, then your rewards will be endless. Peace, success, love of self, love of others, maturity, wisdom, and much more can be yours IF you always strive to be you.
- You may be a completely different version of yourself many times along the way (of life). We all change and continue to change throughout our lives. Some call this growth. We can change for the better, and sometimes for the worse. I can look back at my life and see parts of my personality that have remained constant and other parts that have faded into the past.
When you are 20 years-old, you will look back and think about how much you’ve changed since you were 15 years-old. The same with 25 & 20. The same with 30 & 25. The same with 40 & 30. This cycle only ends when your time on earth ends.
The point is, there will be many you’s and you should strive for all of them to be you.
- You will possibly outgrow close friends, leaving them behind. One of the sadder realities of life is we outgrow some of our friends. There will be times when you feel like you will be friends with a person or group for the rest of your life. Only to look back and realize your “friends forever” were only “friends for that time”. We all experience this phenomenon. Your mother and I have both experienced it multiple times.
Life is different for everyone, and those differences change us over time. When the differences become too great between two friends, they cease to have the same friendship they once had. This will make you sad at times in your life, but it should not. We should be thankful for the friendships we had at the times in our lives we had them. We should smile at the knowledge of growing. We can learn just as much from loss as we can from gain. Cherish both.
- Knowing yourself is the greatest gift you can give yourself, if you desire growth. Knowing yourself intimately is the best way to grow as a person. Growing without knowing yourself is more like stumbling, which can be painful at times. If you know how you feel and act in certain situations, you can use that knowledge to transition smoothly.
To know yourself is to know your heart, wishes, and deepest desires. It also means knowing your bad habits and tendency for destruction. Knowing these things about yourself will allow you to navigate through life with purpose.
- People will love you! Only a true individual can be loved fully. There will be plenty of people in your life whom love you. They will love you for who you are, and not who you pretend to be.
- People will hate you! Only a true individual can be hated. I hope you do not experience hate in your life, but unfortunately… hate is alive and well in our world. Anyone who hates you is not actually hating you. They are hating what they see missing in themselves, or what they don’t understand. Hate is blind even when it is aimed directly at someone. Hate is a self-reflection upon the hater, and not you. So, if anyone hates you for being you, then enjoy the realization that you are an individual in a world full of the unoriginal.
- Being an individual never stops… unless you let it… No explanation needed, right?
Life is full of trials and tribulations.
Life is full of experiences. Whether those experiences are amazing, great, horrible, or mundane, they will shape you.
Life is full of choices, and you will often choose poorly. You will often choose correctly.
So, now that you know it will not be easy and you will make mistakes in your attempt at being you, there is only one you.
You are an amazing you.
A loved you.
A wonderfully perfect imperfect you.
Let the world get to know you, but first you must be okay with you. You must learn and continue to learn about yourself. You must be honest with yourself if you want to grow. You should want to understand who you are at your core.
Ultimately, you must love who you are. You must own who you are, and relish in the perfect imperfect person you are and will become.
You just need to be you.
You go be you.
I love you.
Your Dad (a unique individual unlike anyone else)
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H= Home Run!
J= Just Joking