I hope you don't think it's odd that I'm writing this for you when you aren't even born yet. I was going through my website and came across the very first post I published, "Games that Men Play," and it made me think of you. It made me think about the future possibility that you might have your heart broken because of some guy, and how I'll have to hold you in my arms and tell you that everything will be OK. I started thinking of all the things I would say, and how it would make me feel... and how I would hope the guy moves far away so that I can't get to him.
Most importantly, it made me think about the things I can share with you now that might still be relevant once you actually get here. Sweetheart, you have to understand that the world we live in now is pretty broken. People don't normally treat each other like Mommy and Daddy treat each other. They don't place value in their relationships, trust each other or even treat each other with respect. And I'm afraid that you will experience this for yourself at some point in your life. Hopefully, these things I am about to share with you can help guide you towards more fulfilling relationships and steer you away from many crap experiences.
1. Your worth is NOT determined by what a man (or anyone else, for that matter) says about you.
If you learn nothing else, you have to understand that your worth is not determined by anyone but God. You are on this Earth for a purpose, and no person can tell you otherwise. I have seen many men who try to belittle the women they are with because of their own insecurities or because they want to have control over them. Be encouraged that you are a smart, beautiful and courageous young woman (just like your mother), and no one can take that away from you. You will come across people who will try, because there are people who will always try to tear down a person they see greatness in. They will say things, they will do things -- and they will hurt. The most important thing for you to know is that you will be stronger because of it, and they will only be more upset that you didn't entertain their opinions of you.
2. As long as you believe in yourself, no one can stop you.
There is only one person who can determine how far you can go in life -- you. Always remember that what you tell yourself and believe about yourself will be the truth. You might experience a setback (or a few), but that doesn't make you a failure. You might get scars, but that won't make you any less beautiful. You may have your heart broken, but that won't mean you aren't worthy of love. Always remind yourself of who you are and who you want to be, and no one will be able to keep you from being you.
3. You don't need to sacrifice your dreams and success for anyone.
You can be and achieve anything you put your mind to. If you want to be an astronaut, we'll send you to space camp. If you want to be a sports star, we'll help you practice. If you want to be a computer programming genius, well, we might have to call someone else to help you with that. What you need to know is that no matter what it is you want to do, make sure you don't sacrifice those dreams for anyone else. At some point, someone will probably try to convince you that a woman should give up her dreams in order to be with the man she wants. That is an outright lie. People will also say that they only took certain paths in order to please their parents, and I want you to know that you never have to do that for us. We will be proud of whatever you decide to become, because we know that you will be the best you can be at it, and that's what matters. You chase your dreams, and the right people will support your path to success, not block it.
4. You don't have to settle for less.
Your mom always likes to tell this story about a time from our first year of marriage. She really wanted an M & M ice cream sandwich one night, so I took her to the gas station near our house to find one. The price was about a dollar higher than she expected, and I know you see how frugal she is now, so she decided she would just get something different. As she reached for another option, I grabbed her hand and told her, "You never have to settle for less." For some reason, that really stuck with her, and I want it to stick with you. Relationships should be fulfilling; they should grow you and add value to your life. If there are people in your life who hold you back, belittle you, or make you feel like less than the angel you are -- get rid of them. Your mother has the art of cutting people off down to a science, and I have learned a great deal from her. There will always be opportunities for new friends, new boyfriends, etc. Never allow yourself to settle for bad relationships with people simply because they are there.
I don't know how old you will be when you first read this, but I want you to know that your mother and I love you very much, and we always will. We want you to have the best of what life has to offer, and we want to see you succeed at everything you do. We will share whatever advice we can with you to help you learn from our past mistakes, and hopefully you'll listen so that you don't have to experience them all for yourself.
With love forever,
This article originally appeared on DerrellJamison.com, a blog dedicated to providing unique insights on topics surrounding relationships, religion, and other real life issues. You can connect with Derrell on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter!