30 Compliments I’m Going To Give My Daughter (That Will Have Nothing To Do With How She Looks)

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The next time you see someone greeting a little girl, pay attention to what they say to her. “You’re so pretty!” “I love your dress!” “Look how beautiful you are!”

While these things are kind and well-intended, “pretty” does nothing but fade and lay the foundation to keep desiring that which we first received reward and praise for.

(So here are 30 other things I hope I’ll tell my daughter one day, things I hope she’ll want to be praised and rewarded for more than what she looks like.)


1. I love that you choose to be whoever you want to be, even if I don’t always like it, even if it’s not what I’d choose, even if it isn’t my taste or aligned with my opinion, I hope you always have the guts to not only be what other people want — even if it is me.

2. You are the kindest person I know.

3. You make me so happy, just for being around.

4. I’m so proud of you for trying. I don’t care what comes out of it, what you get from things doesn’t matter much anyway. It’s doing them that’s important.

5. I consider your feelings equal to mine, not a burden to me. Feeling strongly about something is very important (even if we have to work on how you get all those feelings out sometimes…)

6. I respect you.

7. I love you, which means I like you, and I want you to be happy, and I want to protect you. Your uncle said that to me when he was three. (Yes, you probably have an uncle that’s not nearly old enough to be an uncle. Yes, I know it’s weird.)

8. You are great at keeping a secret.

9. And you are great with knowing when you need to tell a grown up even if you promised not to.

10. You’re a very good friend. (Especially to me.)

11. That’s an amazing idea.

12. Thank you for snuggling with me, I love when you do that.

13. You’re a bad ass football player and I think you should try out for the team and I think you should be a linebacker and I don’t know what those ones do but I think you have what it takes to do whatever it is they do. (I’m kidding, do whatever you want.)

14. I love what you painted, I think it looks great. Next time let’s do it on paper.

15. I think you’re brave for being honest.

16. I admire how well you play pretend, I was never great at it, will you teach me how to do it better?

17. Thank you for spending time with me.

18. You were so patient with me today, even when I was taking a long time and doing boring stuff. Thank you.

19. You deserve it.

20. You’re much more capable than you give yourself credit for.

21. You taught me something new today.

22. I think you’re meant for big things, and I think “big things” are whatever make you feel really good, and I think “good” is whatever makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning and start doing it, even if it’s not always easy.

23. You crack me up.

24. Anybody would be lucky to be your friend.

25. You were so sweet to [some person] today, and I thought that was amazing.

26. You’re amazing at helping, especially when people are not feeling well or really need something. Really, it’s incredible.

27. I always have so much fun with you.

28. I think you’re very good at picking clothes that your body feels comfy wearing and your eyes feel happy looking at.

29. I’m so happy to see you.

30. I trust you. TC mark

image – Amanda Tipton

Brianna Wiest

Brianna Wiest is the author of SALT WATER.

Stop searching for happiness in the same place you lost it.

Salt Water, the new poetry collection by Brianna Wiest, is a must-have book on your journey to healing. Grab a cup of tea and let these essential, purifying prose calm your mind and filter out the noise.

Salt Water is a slow deep breath, in and out. It sits in a new genre of poetry, somewhere between artistic self-expression and candid self-help.” — Lee Crutchley

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  • http://catchtradewinds.wordpress.com catchtradewinds

    Reblogged this on CatchTradeWinds and commented:
    YYEESSSSS OOH MY GOOODDDD. Anyone can tell a girl she’s pretty. It’s the other compliments that actually make us feel good. Our brains, our talents, our strengths are usually ignored because of surface features.

    Compliment my character, you have my attention.

  • http://www.alreadypretty.com/2014/09/lovely-links-91214.html Lovely Links: 9/12/14 - Already Pretty | Where style meets body image

    […] As someone who very consciously does not comment on the looks or clothing of little girls, I loved this list: 30 Compliments I’m Going To Give My Daughter (That Will Have Nothing To Do With How She Looks) […]

  • https://ally4health.wordpress.com/2016/09/02/a-love-letter-to-my-body/ A love letter to my body – ally4health

    […] Unfortunately, our society is too focused on beauty. And too often, it takes a higher priority over more important things like intelligence, demeanor, work ethic, etc. It’s something that I want my daughter and future child to be less concerned about. I know I’m guilty of complimenting my child’s physical appearance more than I should, which I’m not saying should never happen. I just feel like there needs to be more compliments regarding a persons personality rather than looks, like, “I love how gentle you are when you play with other kids or animals,” or “I love your unique style when you pick out your clothes,” or “I enjoy watching you figure out how to put that puzzle together by really looking at your options.” I read a great article about other ways you can compliment your child without focusing on looks. You can read more ideas from that article here. […]

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