If you are one of my girls graduating this month reading this, you are lovely, you are brave and you have impacted my life in a unique and incredible way. If you are graduating yourself, maybe from high school or college or just beginning a new chapter in your life, this is for you.
You are valuable. Your life means so much more than wearing the right brand name jeans and fitting in with the popular crowd.
Embrace the things that make you different, that make you weird. Your quirks, your flaws, the things that make your eyes light up and your heartbeat faster-these things matter.
You don't have to put down roots right now-you are free to take chances, to travel, to change your major a few times and change your mind.
Do not waste your time trying to convince people to love you-you are worth loving and your worth does not depend on another person's ability to love you.
Do not be afraid to feel what you feel. Its okay to cry, to be angry, to be hurt, and to be full of joy. Take down those barriers you have so tightly guarding your emotions, and let yourself feel. Its okay to not be okay sometimes.
There's a difference between giving someone grace and forgiveness and giving them permission to hurt you again.
Wait for the nice guy. The guy that opens your doors and calls you when he says he's going to. The guy who brings you soup when you're sick and picks you up for a real date. Those guys are the guys you want to spend your life with, and they're worth the wait.
Figure out now what gives you life, and make time for that every day.
Always be kinder than necessary to everyone you meet-the person who sits next to you in your Biology class, the grocery store clerk, your waitress. Look everyone in the eye, smile at them, and ask how they're really doing. Your attention could change someone's life.
You are going to mess up-and its okay. Failure is never the end. Let it humble you and press you into greater things.
Your story doesn't have to unfold the way you have planned out so carefully. Hold things in your life with open hands because Gods plans for us are often wilder than we ever imagined.
Don't be afraid to use your voice. Be brave and be bold.