Lim: Dear daughters

Melanie T. Lim

WHILE I was not destined to have a biological daughter, I have had the privilege of being a mother/mentor many times over. Today, on International Women’s Day, I write to all my daughters borne by many, different mothers.

Dear daughters,

Women have made great strides in their struggle for parity with men.

You are now able to read a book without fear of being accused of witchcraft and to suffer the fate of being burned at the stake. You are now able to vote, drive a car, open a bank account without the consent of your husband (if you have one), be seen alone in the company of different men and not be compelled to marry any one of them (as it was in my mother’s time).

Still, we are a long way from full gender equality.

There still exists a pay gap between men and women. There still exists a gender imbalance not just in government but also in the corporate world. Men are still making majority of the decisions in the world—including the ones that concern our bodies. Men and women are still subject to a different moral code.

There is so much more you can do to change the world. So go out there and do it, my dear daughters.

Educate yourself. Master many crafts. Don’t accept everything you hear or read at face value. Learn to think for yourself.

Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions. Don’t be afraid to tell the truth even when it’s not what most people want to hear. Don’t be afraid to talk about things no one talks about. Someone has to start the conversation.

People won’t like you—all the time. But those who will—despite the truth that you have the courage to spill—will be worth your time.

Likability is a quality we have been brainwashed since birth to aspire for. But to focus on likability is to miss the more important goal of integrity. It is more important to do what is right than to do what resonates with the herd.

Popularity may have been your adolescent goal but integrity should be your adult goal.

Adopt a strong work ethic but embrace empathy. Profits are important but so are people. Grow your career or your company but not at the cost of your soul. Relationships are more important than revenues.

Have confidence in your capabilities. But recognize that you should continue to work on becoming the best version of yourself. Don’t sell yourself short. Know what you deserve. Set boundaries. Take a raincheck when you’re not ready.

And if and when you find someone worthy—fall in love. Fall deeply in love. Because you shouldn’t have it any other way. Savor every moment. Accept that no one stays forever. But know that you can live happily—no matter what happens after—because the job of making you happy belongs to no one but yourself.

Much love from the Mom your biological mother warned you about.