A letter to her daughter: 8 things I learned from being a doctor and a mother

By | March 1, 2020

My dearest daughter,

Life is unpredictable. In case I won’t be around one day, here are things I learned from being a doctor and a mother that can guide you always.

1. New level. New devil!

There will never be a time outside of death that life will stand still. Embrace change and know that as soon as you accomplish one goal, you will need new goals and challenges to continue to grow in life. If you are not growing, you are decaying. If you want to be super smart about problems, try to choose your challenges and problems to fill the vacuum of no problems! If you find new things to grow with and are busy with your process of life, you are less likely to attract pesky problems below you. Petty problems seem even pettier when you are busy tackling bigger problems of your own choosing. Schooling, setting up businesses, and philanthropy give you so many good problems to keep petty problems in perspective!

2. Don’t compare your insides to other people’s outside.

I have seen too many cases of the “perfect people” who are not so perfect once their outside veneer is peeled off. Seemingly super happy people whose zen you might envy might be battling strong turbulent feelings of depression and anxiety. Behind the perfect smiles of every person, there is always pain, disappointment, fear, or unresolved emotions they may never choose to share with you. In that sense, they are all like you, my dear girl. All human beings are trying to figure out this thing called life. Acknowledge your true feelings and honor them. You simply don’t know about others’ insides, but only their outsides.

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3. Invest in yourself always!

I have lost money investing in other people’s companies, yet, I have never lost money when I invested in myself. Invest in your own health, education, and growth. The act of investing in yourself tells the universe that you are worth it; you are willing to grow and receive more from the universe. It will teach your children to value themselves and take good care of themselves too long after you are gone and can no longer do so.

4. Value your health. Do not risk it without doing proper calculations.

We often don’t realize what health is unless we lose it. Most of us do not take the time to thank each organ daily. Guard your health. Choose good doctors. When you want great health, you need to be willing to invest in it with time and money. Stay away from crazy fads that are the headlines in every media outlet for a brief time. Fad diets and fad cosmetic treatments are great entertainment, but usually not sound medical decisions. If you are not sure of what to do, ask for more opinions — second or third — from experts until you are sure. Do not compromise your health and take it lightly ever.

5. Strive for contentment, not happiness.

We strive to be happy all the time as Americans. Yet last time I checked, our top-prescribed medications were antidepressants in the country. Why? I think it is because we live under the impression that we need to be happy all the time! We run from “negative emotions!” We confuse contentment — the state of general satisfaction in life — with the effervescent feeling of euphoria. We chase happiness like a drug, and when we can not find it, we turn to real drugs (prescription or not!) to find it. We forget to be thankful for what we have, and instead, keep our focus on all the things missing. Try to be content with all that you have. Appreciate moments of euphoria, knowing well that other feelings on the spectrum of human emotions are also on the menu to come!

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6. Be your own best friend. Forgive yourself with utmost compassion for not being perfect.

Reward yourself. Praise yourself. I struggle with this lesson the most in life! Inner peace will only come when you realize, doctor, lawyer, business owner, mother, or teacher alike, you are only a mere mortal. All mortals make mistakes and deserve your compassion when they are down on themselves. Start with yourself and transform others’ lives by being their compassionate friend in the hard times, and their greatest fans in the good times. Let compassion and forgiveness be a goal for you always.

7. Don’t chase money, fame, or beauty.

Strive to be your best self. There is always someone who will be richer, more famous, or deemed more youthful or beautiful. Keeping up with others will just devalue the gem you are. Being your best-self celebrates your milestones, your growth, and your accomplishments, irrespective of others. Don’t let others’ fame, fortune, or looks fool you into thinking your brand of beauty, resources, and human connections is any less valuable. Money, fame, or beauty in themselves never directly correlate with contentment in life. You will find, however, that as you share your gifts with the world, and help them find solutions to human problems, fame and fortune also follow. Of course, the biggest gift is the inner beauty you will gain from knowing that your life creates value for many people beyond yourself.

8. Always keep your integrity.

Do not compromise your integrity and your core belief system in order to please others, or make money. Trying to be liked by others will make you dependent on others’ approval, and keep you hostage. If you are a person of integrity and exude your brand of kindness, ethics, and class, even if others don’t like you, they have no choice but to respect you. There will be many opportunities to gain something of temporary value if you just compromised yourself a little. Think really hard before you lose yourself in utter lack of integrity. Your integrity is something no one can strip from you but you, and without it, you are not you.

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Tanya Kormeili is a dermatologist. 

Image credit: Shutterstock.com