There's Only One You, So Be the Best You
This morning, like every morning, I asked my daughter how she wanted me to do her hair. Sometimes she wants it down, and then sometimes, she wants it in a braid. Recently, we’ve braided her hair the night before, so there are a whole bunch of beautiful waves going down her back, and she loves it. For the second day in a row, she said she wanted a ponytail. This normally would not have caused me concern, but she said it in such a sad way that it triggered that “mom alert” only a parent can understand. After gently prodding her, she said that she didn’t want a braid because another little girl at school told her she didn’t like my daughter’s hair curly. Since we had been braiding her hair to make it curly, my daughter correlated that with curly hair and decided if she put her hair up, she would only have it in a ponytail and straight.
Let me say that I am so thankful I had this opportunity. I could have said something snarky about the little girl who hurt my child’s heart and dampened her excitement about her beautiful hair, curly or not. Many things went through my head about my ordinarily happy and upbeat child who currently looked sad and confused. I knelt, looked into her beautiful eyes, and explained boundaries in a way a young child can understand. I explained that even mommies and daddies have different likes and dislikes, but we wouldn’t give up something we love if it made us miserable—within reason, of course. I asked her if this girl would no longer wear certain shoes and clothes, or would she do her hair differently, if my daughter said she didn’t like it. My daughter shook her head. I explained that the other girl has every right to like and not like certain things, but my little girl has the same right, and she should never change a thing she loves about herself because someone else doesn’t like it. I told her that she deserves happiness too, and the only person in her life that she should strive to please is Jesus—and that was of her own choice.
But this is a life lesson she can take into adulthood. As adults, we love certain things that are perfectly reasonable and healthy for us. We love to write, sing, dance, educate, participate in sports, and do many other things that are good for us, and we should never allow someone else’s personal preference to dissuade us from what we love.
I never want my daughter to think that she has to give up her beautiful curly hair, her singing, her dancing; her ability to love fiercely because someone else doesn’t love those amazing qualities about her. I want her to always be the vibrant, beautiful, positive, amazing human being she has already become.
This is a lesson for all of us. Never let someone else’s opinion of you change the wonderful person you are meant to be. When I was doing my internship for counseling, my supervisor said something that struck a chord in me: What others think of me is none of my damned business. It’s the truth. As long as you are not doing anything to harm yourself or others, be the wonderful person you were meant to become, and don’t let other people’s negative attitudes and opinions take away the pieces of who you are.
Note: I researched the quote my counseling supervisor said, and it is a relatively common saying. Upon researching, it looks like the attribution goes to RuPaul.