As a mother of two daughters, I was thinking recently about the most precious gifts I could give to them. Something useful and timeless, that they would cherish each and every day. After pondering on the subject for a little bit I came up with 3 gifts ideas in the form of a mother’s wish for her daughters:
1. Learn how to be courageous. You don’t have to be a hero. Just have the courage to be yourself.
2. Have a fighting spirit. When the going gets tough be tougher.
3. Learn to think for yourself.
From the confines of my Island (Ile de la Reunion), my youngest daughter and I had an amazing underwater photoshoot experience thanks to a scuba diver photographer by the name of Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving and an amazing dressmaker by the name of Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture. Those underwater photoshoots are not easy, Alizé got the gist of it fairly quickly. For me, it took a bit longer to get to grip with the technique of trying to look relaxed and not out of breath at the bottom of a pool, but managed eventually. The results are literally breath-taking. There are no tricks on those pictures, just Alizé and me, two amazing dresses, and a scuba diver photographer.
A mother’s wish for her daughters. Learn how to be courageous.
Being courageous doesn’t mean that you have to do bold spectacular acts of bravery and become a hero. You don’t have to be a hero, just have the courage to be yourself. Courage can show up in a very quiet manner and in thousands of unexpected ways. Deciding not to fight can sometimes be as courageous as charging into battle. Forgiveness requires a lot of courage. Learning a new skill, starting a new business venture, stepping outside your comfort zone requires a lot of courage. Standing up to bullies and speaking your mind requires a fair dose of courage. Falling in love, letting your guards down can be an act of courage. Staying positive and upbeat when facing setbacks, ill-health, old age or even death requires a lot of courage.
Courage is the most important of all the virtues because, without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.Maya Angelou
The word courage originates from the Latin word Cor (Coeur in French and cuore in Italian) which means heart; in essence, it means ‘to act from one’s heart’. The etymology of the word indicates that when we act courageously, we are activating our inner power and strength which surfaces through our heart’s desire. Courage is the mental preparedness and ability to deal with difficulty, challenges, and sometimes seemingly impossible circumstances. It is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, intimidation, and other threats.
Courage is not a quality that you are born with. It is one that has to be cultivated and honed. Today we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds but being courageous does not necessarily entail doing something dramatic or astoundingly heroic, everyday living requires courage. So what is courage? There are many definitions of what courage is. Below are my favorite ones.
Courage is not the absence of fear but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel fear, but he who conquers that fear.Nelson Mandela
Success is never final failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.John Wooden
The opposite of courage is not cowardice, it is conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow.Jim Hightower
We all have varying degrees of courage. Finding courage can be the choice we make every day, often in the quietest of ways. There is great courage in living life to the fullest, living with authenticity and a sense of alignment with one’s most deeply held values. And sometimes, simply getting up every day and putting a foot in front of another is an act of immense courage.Barbara Bonner
As Maya Angelou rightly said courage is a virtue and it is the most important one to cultivate because without it you cannot practice any of the other virtues consistently. When we work to develop courage, we both empower ourselves with the ability to confront problems head-on, as well as acquire the skills required to deal with life’s inevitable challenges.
And this my dear daughters is Your Quest. Be courageous.
A mother’s wish for her daughters. Have a fighting spirit. When the going gets tough, be tougher.
We live every day with the knowledge of our staggering fragility, and we know how physiologically vulnerable our body and mind can be. We are aware that terrible outcomes are always possible and often probable. Your Quest as a human being is to protect yourself against the danger of losing your life but also against the danger of losing your mind. When the going gets tough, be tougher. Have a fighting spirit but choose your battles carefully. Some fights are worth fighting and others aren’t.
Choose wisely which pursuits you spend your energies on. Do not waste your efforts on those that will not give you something positive in return. Be determined and independent. If at first, you don’t succeed, try again until you make it. It’s OK not to get it right the first time, so don’t let your failures prevent you from achieving your dreams. Focus on your goals, quietly and silently. And then when the time is right, trust your instincts, take action with swiftness and confidence. Be observant of people and your surroundings. Balance all the possibilities before you make a huge decision and act swiftly when required.
When the going gets tough, be tougher. Sure thing, but how? You can become tougher by removal. The solution to many problems in life is solved by removal, not by addition. Living a healthy life is more about removing sugar, processed food, and unhealthy snacks from our diet. Similarly, people become wealthy by reducing their exposure to going bust. Professional athletes win games by removing mistakes. You can become tougher by optionality. The more options you have, the more freedom you have to respond to unforeseen circumstances, thus reducing your fragility to unexpected events. If you have optionality you don’t need to be right that often. All you need is the wisdom not to do things that will hurt yourself and to be able to recognize favorable outcomes when they arise. You can become tougher through trials and errors. Try new things and find out through a process of trials and errors what works and what doesn’t. If an idea doesn’t work, make it fail quickly then move on to the next one. Play safe in some areas of your life and take some risks in others.
And this my dear daughters is Your Quest. Have a fighting spirit and when the going gets tough get tougher.
A mother’s wish for her daughters. Think for yourself.
Thinking is difficult, that is why most people judge.Carl Jung
Before you assume, learn the fact. Before you judge, understand why. Before you hurt someone, feel. Before you speak, think. Thinking is part of what makes us human. What differentiates humans from animals is our cognitive abilities such as fully developed language, reasoning capabilities, and the ability to make plans for the future. We are all born with the capacity to think, but not everyone is capable of critical thinking, and it is a skill that needs to be learned and practiced with discipline. We all think of ourselves as rational, strategic creatures, but in reality, humans are deeply irrational and are often governed by emotion rather than logic.
Moreover, we have a tendency to operate within our own echo chamber, where the only information that goes through our brain is information that validates our prior knowledge, vindicates our prior decisions, or sustains our existing beliefs. You should get into the habit from time to time of walking down the road less traveled, the one taken by critical thinkers. If you decide to walk down that road, it will require that you possess a certain fluidity of mind, some discipline, and be driven by the will to get to the truth of the matter rather than the urge to be righteous no matter what.
Critical thinking means many things, but at heart, it is a search for the truth. Critical thinking helps you determine what is real and what it is not. But before you are able to exercise your cognitive ability to think critically, you need to have a certain base of knowledge as a starting point. You can only think critically about things you have knowledge of, you can’t really think deeply if you haven’t spent time mastering a body of knowledge related to that thinking.
The problem these days is that we are living in a world of information overload, data about almost everything is available to all who wish to access it at the click of a button. We are constantly bombarded by a steady stream of information (sometimes misinformation, exaggerations, and mischaracterizations) about a whole range of subject matters, making it very difficult to know what and who to believe. Critical thinking is important because you need this skill in order to navigate your way through all the information, misinformation, and disinformation that is being served to all of us on a daily basis on all media platforms.
Do not relinquish your power to think critically on someone else even if that person goes by the name of Expert. It is important to note that society needs experts because those people know a thing or two about their own area of expertise, they are specialized in their field and are being paid to share their knowledge, wisdom, and experience with the world at large. Having said that, whenever you decide to ask an expert for his advice on a particular matter, I suggest you put your critical thinking hat on to ensure that you fully understand the advice you are being given, the scope and limitations of the adviser’s expertise, his or her ability to see the problem in its proper context, the possibility that these experts may be subject to bias and in the worst-case scenario, the possibility that the expert may be wrong. History is full of anecdotes showing that even the experts can be wrong.
Trying to nail down the authenticity of anything and verify our knowledge about the world is a tall order. We expect Facebook, Twitter TikTok, and Google to filter the truth for us rather than putting in the hard work to do some thinking for ourselves. The problem these days is that the media is trying to spin everything you see and everything you hear. White is black and black is white. Use your discernment, look out for inconsistencies, trust your instinct. Don’t accept things at face value, ask questions, look under the surface, lift the veil.
And this my dear daughters is Your Quest. , think for yourself.
In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication. DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice. DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category. Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.
For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble. The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com
Some good and well-argued wishes! Striking photos too!
Thanks for stopping by and for your kind feedback! Much appreciated 🧜♀️💜🧜♀️💜. So glad to hear that my article resonates with you!
You are most welcome! Yes, my daughter will be 25 this month and I would add the wish of “phone me every week” haha 😉
😂📱📲. I can relate 🤣. My eldest daughter, Maya left the family nest at the beginning of the year to study in Calgary Canada, and I wish the same as you!
Haha, thankfully mine is only across the water in England but she might as well be as far away as Canada, especially with all the covid limits.
Sometimes, it would be better to relax our minds and not to overthink . Do your own work but answers would come at its divine timing …
Wonderful post. It’s unfortunate that so many young girls don’t receive proper guidance from their mothers. I am thankful for the teaching of my grandma. Because of her being a positive role model I have been able to survive and build a good life for myself ❤️
Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words of appreciation and feedback 🤗 🙏. Mothers and grandmothers are wonderful things 💜🧜♀️💜🧜♀️
What beautiful photos–and good advice.
Thanks for stopping by and for your kind feedback.
Wonderful post and beautiful advice and images
Thanks, Luisa for stopping by and for your kind words of appreciation.
It’s well deserved praise! 🙂
Lovely and unusual photos, Joanne! The photoshoot must have been a beautiful bonding experience for you and your daughter. The article is well-written and filled with wise and practical advice. <3 I have two daughters, ages 52 and 29 and a son, age 31.
Thanks, Cheryl for stopping by and for your kind word of appreciation. The underwater photoshoot was a surreal experience. Definitely not easy, it took a little while to understand the technique of trying to look relaxed and not out of breath underwater! Alize, my daughter got the gist of it very quickly. It was a unique and fun experience. We enjoyed it. The scuba diver photographer managed to capture something magical and the dresses really helped. So glad to hear that my article resonates with you, as a mother of 3. Even if your children have all grown up I am sure it is still OK for you to give them some friendly and wise advice when needed.
Lovely photos. The photoshoot must have been a wonderful bonding experience for you and your daughter! <3 This well-written article is filled with wise and practical advice! All the best!
Your photo shoot turned out beautiful photographs. What a lovely keepsake form the years to come. I appreciate your thoughts for your children. Advising is an important role of motherhood and one of lasting consequences. I think you have shared some great words of wisdom and I hope your children maintain the softness of spirit revealed in your photos. Have a wonderful weekend.
Thanks, Maggie for stopping by and for your kind words of appreciation. So glad to hear that my article resonates with you. Those underwater photographs came up really well, we pulled it off, but definitely not easy! It was a unique and wonderful experience, and I am so glad I did it with my youngest daughter. Happy weekend to you.
A wonderful post! As parents we wish for the best for our children and I’m sure your daughters will treasure this article.
I can’t imagine how you do photos like that, but they are just amazing.
Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words of appreciation! getting underwater photos done is definitely not easy. It took me a little while to understand the technique of looking relaxed and not out of breath underwater! But I somehow managed to pull it off. Credit to my scuba diver photographer, he managed to capture something unique and magical.
Truly a beautiful blog. Love how the pictures came out. I honestly needed to read this right now been going threw a lot cause have a lot medically wrong with me.
Thank you for stopping by my blog. I feel god sends people your way for a reason. And I truly feel he sent you my way for that very reason. Sending love your way
Dear Christina. Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words of appreciation. It is hard for me to articulate the impact your feedback had on me. Truly. I always said that words have tremendous energy, they can educate, heal and illuminate the mind. Knowing that the words I have written have reached you really warms my heart. Sending love your way.
If you have a minute or two – maybe you would like to read this other blog article I wrote – https://authorjoannereed.net/how-can-we-find-hope/ – I think it may resonate with you too.