1. Being emotional is not a gender-specific thing. The ridiculous notion that strong men don’t cry has done so much damage to both genders (+ non binary individuals). By instilling this mentality, it’s allowed toxic masculinity to seep in and reinforce very archaic gender norms. Women who are raised by emotionally available fathers – men who aren’t afraid to express themselves – know that X and Y chromosomes don’t dictate emotions. Humans have emotions. Period.
2. Don’t waste time on someone who constantly invalidates you. Women who grew up with fathers who listened to them are much less likely to put up with, for a lack of better word, f*ckboys. They grew up with men who listened, actually listened. So, if someone is going to actively make them feel terrible, that’s not a person they care to spend any energy on.
3. How important it is to let people get close to you. If you constantly keep people at an arm’s length, you’ll never achieve true intimacy, and that goes both platonically AND romantically. Having a parent, especially a father, who consistently lets you know it’s okay to share, to let people in, is incredibly helpful with future relationships. These women know that in order to reach that next level in bonding, you have to lower your walls. You’ve got to take some chances, let some vulnerability show.
4. How to talk through things that are uncomfortable. There are times we’ve got to talk about things that make us squirm and want to escape. And yes, we’ll be desperately wishing we could press fast-forward and have that shit DONE. But sometimes, you’ve got to suck it up. And women with fathers who are active in their lives, and not afraid to open up emotionally, know just how true this is. They had those terribly awkward sex talks with Dad. They grimaced and said, “Oh God, Dad, please stop talking!” But later, it becomes so worthwhile.
5. They are their own definition of womanhood. And they don’t expect to fit into any other molds. Their fathers told them they were everything they needed to be, and they took that to heart. They decide how they see themselves. And they don’t let anyone else change it.
6. Life is about more than attracting attention from the opposite sex. Or the sex(es) they’re attracted to. Love and sex, and anything in between, are fantastic, but they still know to not center their entire worlds around such things. Because that leads to crashing and burning.
7. Strength is a lot more complicated than we think. Strength isn’t just about putting on a brave face. It’s incredibly layered. Sometimes, just surviving is strength. Figuring out a way to keep going. Or stopping, taking a break because it’s all one can take. Women with fathers who were emotionally available know that there isn’t one universal definition to strength. They’ve seen it firsthand.
8. To never be ashamed of buying tampons, maxi pads, condoms, etc. There’s nothing they should shy away from, especially when they are naturally occurring things.
9. Self-love is learned. And unlearned and learned all over again. Even with a father who shows beautiful, unconditional love, it doesn’t always translate into how a girl perceives herself. It’s a life-long process, but it’s necessary. Feeling at home in one’s skin is imperative to a peaceful life.
10. A father’s love stays forever. One day, they won’t be there. Perhaps they’ve already passed. But when you’ve been lucky enough to have a man there for you, truly there for you, that kind of memory burns a fire that lasts a lifetime.