April 30, 2021

Dear Daughter, Please Don’t try to be Perfect.

Dear Daughter,

I found this picture recently and it made my heart smile.

My first thought was that you inherited my inability to track a ball and catch it, hit it, or kick it.

My second thought was that I love you so much my heart could break thinking about you and what an amazing person you are.

You are beautiful, sassy, resilient, smart, and tenacious. Your smile can light up a room, and your heart is as big as all of the oceans on this earth.

You also worry more than I wish you did, take more things personally than you should, and fight to control whatever you can. You are me.

I hope when I show you this picture, you laugh. But I’m thinking you might not, because you might be mad, sad, and embarrassed you didn’t catch the ball. Because you want to be good at everything you do. Just like I do. Just like a lot of us do.

Somehow, we both have learned that to be loved, we need to “do,” and that means, do things well, do them perfectly. That we have to take care of other people, and if they need us, that means we are worthy. But you know what, precious daughter, you are worthy. Right now. Without doing anything. You are imperfectly perfect.

Please don’t question your worth or struggle to find something that makes you stand out. Please don’t ever change who you are or dim your light for anyone. Please believe me when I tell you that your light shines bright and there is nothing you can do to make it any brighter, except to just let it shine.

Don’t chase love or acceptance. Many of us find with the years that it is actually those who are unapologetically and flamboyantly themselves who are able to most easily find their tribe and those they can trust. It can be scary when all we want to do is fit in. But think about how boring life would be if every day was the same, and know that the weight of denying who we are just gets heavier to carry over time.

I’ve spent a lot of time chasing accomplishments—either to try to make people like me, or because it helped me build a wall around myself to protect me, because I thought those accomplishments made me safe and not need anyone else. But this doesn’t work.

Brenee Brown said it beautifully:

“Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgement, and shame. It’s a shield. It’s a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from flight.”

I hope with all my soul, you can remember that for yourself as well—that you deserve love from yourself exactly as you are, and that whatever relationship you find yourself in with someone else in the future, if they don’t appreciate you for exactly who they are, they aren’t the one.

Don’t shrink or try to be bigger than you truly are.


Your Mom


And a few more photos of you and us:

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