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Things I'd Tell My Daughter (If I Had One)

17/07/2015 10:48 BST | Updated 15/07/2016 10:59 BST

I'm childfree-by-choice, but as my life fills with young female friends, I find myself thinking about what I want to pass on to them - in a wise-woman way. If I'd had a daughter when I was thirty, she would be eighteen now. So these are the things I'd like to say to her, and weirdly, lots of them are things my mother said to me...

Be your own self

Your life doesn't have to be defined by being a partner, a mother, or even having a stellar career. Just know that you have a choice in all of this. Define yourself by the life you choose to live, and by the people you choose to experience it with.

If in doubt, don't

If you have any doubts about a relationship you're in, any at all, leave it. Don't wait for 'the day' to come. It won't and you'll have lost valuable time. Never settle for something that doesn't feel right. Your gut will tell you that something is wrong - listen to it.

Love your body

Your body will be monitored by those around you (male and female) as you grow older. Look in the mirror and look into your own, makeup-free eyes before you monitor your own body. Make an agreement with yourself to see someone beautiful, strong and taking up space in the world. Never starve your body - eating properly makes you all of these things.

Look out for toxic people

Some of the people you choose to surround yourself with will make you feel good about yourself, others will do their damnedest to try and bring you down. These people are usually insecure and jealous of beautiful, strong, young women who are confident in the world. Surround yourself with the good ones, ditch the toxics.

Be in the space

Take up space in the world. If you're out walking, running or doing yoga in the park - take up the space. If you're in the office in a meeting, let your voice take up the space. If you're online and you feel strongly about something, let your words take up the space. Never flinch if people question why you are there.

Be confident in your sexuality

Whatever your sexuality is, people will try and make you feel as though you have to hide it, that it is shameful, that you should not seek sexual pleasure just for its own sake. Do everything you want to do, safely and confidently. Do it and never wake up with regrets.

Compliment other women

Tell other women that they're good at things. Things that don't involve hair, makeup, losing weight or wearing a fab outfit. It will change their lives.

Don't dread getting older

Good things happen when you get older and they are unexpected. Older women are smart, beautiful and supportive of younger women. Don't believe the myth that they're not any of those things - it's a lie constructed by society because older women are immensely powerful people.

Don't lead a tick-box life

Question everything. Never do anything just because everyone else is doing it. Feel the peer pressure and question it anyway. You can construct your own set of tick boxes that are different to other people's.

Do things on your own

Even when you're young, it's important to commune with yourself, not just your friends. Do things on your own, such as going to the cinema, walking, going for coffee, even go on holiday.

Look out for controlling partners

Beware of signs that your partner is trying to control you. It can be oh so subtle. If they make negative comments about your weight, what you're wearing, or stop you seeing certain friends, the red flag is waving. Get out.

There are wonderful people out there

You'll know the signs. They will be kind to you, your friends, their friends and their family. They will celebrate your successes and be there when things go wrong, without a sly smile on their faces.

Say sorry

There will be times when you regret your behavior towards someone else. Tell them you're sorry and they will forgive you. If you don't, the guilty feelings will just build inside of you and make you more likely to hurt someone again.

Don't hide away

Work hard, play hard - get into all the corners that life is offering you while you're young. Make mistakes. If not, you will spend the rest of your life trying to make up for missed opportunities.

Ignore all of this and find out for yourself

Because I did when my mum told me.

First published on: http://becauseicanblog.com/2015/07/13/things-id-tell-my-daughter/