Have you ever had a picture frame that just won’t stay up on the wall? I’m talking you have tried shifting it in every possible position to get it to stay but no matter what you do it comes crashing down at least once a day. You get to the point where you try tiptoeing by it so as not to disturb its position on the wall and you don’t even realize that this picture is seriously taking over your life…I mean you’re altering the way you walk because of it. And every time it falls down you wonder if that’s the time it’s going to shatter into a million pieces and leave a giant mess for you to clean up. But what else is there to do? You’ve been racking your brain and Google for days trying to figure out a solution: “How to get a frame to stay.”
Here’s a letter from a father to his little girl that may help us find the solution to this problem:
A Daddy’s Letter to His little girl (about her future husband)
Recently, your mother and I were searching for an answer on Google. Halfway through entering the question, Google returned a list of the most popular searches in the world. Perched at the top of the list was “How to keep him interested.”
It startled me. I scanned several of the countless articles about how to be sexy and sexual, when to bring him a beer versus a sandwich, and the ways to make him feel smart and superior.
And I got angry.
Little One, it is not, has never been, and never will be your job to “keep him interested.”
Little One, your only task is to know deeply in your soul—in that unshakeable place that isn’t rattled by rejection and loss and ego—that you are worthy of interest. (If you can remember that everyone else is worthy of interest also, the battle of your life will be mostly won. But that is a letter for another day.)
If you can trust your worth in this way, you will be attractive in the most important sense of the word: you will attract a boy who is both capable of interest and who wants to spend his one life investing all of his interest in you.
Little One, I want to tell you about the boy who doesn’t need to be kept interested, because he knows you are interesting:
I don’t care if he puts his elbows on the dinner table—as long as he puts his eyes on the way your nose scrunches when you smile. And then can’t stop looking.
I don’t care if he can’t play a bit of golf with me—as long as he can play with the children you give him and revel in all the glorious and frustrating ways they are just like you.
I don’t care if he doesn’t follow his wallet—as long as he follows his heart and it always leads him back to you.
I don’t care if he is strong—as long as he gives you the space to exercise the strength that is in your heart.
I couldn’t care less how he votes—as long as he wakes up every morning and daily elects you to a place of honor in your home and a place of reverence in his heart.
I don’t care about the color of his skin—as long as he paints the canvas of your lives with brushstrokes of patience, and sacrifice, and vulnerability, and tenderness.
I don’t care if he was raised in this religion or that religion or no religion—as long as he was raised to value the sacred and to know every moment of life, and every moment of life with you, is deeply sacred.
In the end, Little One, if you stumble across a man like that and he and I have nothing else in common, we will have the most important thing in common:
Because in the end, Little One, the only thing you should have to do to “keep him interested” is to be you.
Your eternally interested guy,
This post is, of course, dedicated to my daughter, my Cutie-Pie. But I also want to dedicate it beyond her.
I wrote it for my wife, who has courageously held on to her sense of worth and has always held me accountable to being that kind of “boy.”
I wrote it for every grown woman I have met inside and outside of my therapy office—the women who have never known this voice of a Daddy.
And I wrote it for the generation of boys-becoming-men who need to be reminded of what is really important—my little girl finding a loving, lifelong companion is dependent upon at least one of you figuring this out. I’m praying for you.
So, instead of “How to get a frame to stay” this father happened upon Google’s top search of “How to keep him interested.” And after reading his response to this discovery, I can safely say his solution to our problem would be this: Remove the frame from your wall. You shouldn’t have to tiptoe around your life, always afraid of when the frame will drop and what you will have to do to keep it on your wall. If someone keeps giving you signs that they don’t want to be in your life and they don’t understand your worth then listen to them. Don’t waste your time trying to get something to stick if it doesn’t want to. In the end, that type of relationship will benefit no one.
Self-esteem issues no longer solely affect adolescents—the cocoon of media that envelopes us is constantly telling us how to act and why we’re not good enough. It seems like there’s a rotation of the same few articles in magazines these days that include “How to keep him interested,” “How to lose ten pounds in a month,” and something called a “Body language decoder” which “deciphers the meanings behind his actions.” Oh, please. We have to stop with this garbage.
Spend your time thinking about how you want to improve yourself for you, not for someone else. Find your passion, know your worth, and if you do this you will have no time to “decode” any signals you may inadvertently be receiving from a guy, or anyone in your life for that matter. If someone wants to be a part of your life, you’ll know. There are no “what if’s”. Either they show you the level of respect you know you deserve or they don’t. The only job you have is being yourself to the core and discovering your worth so that you can walk through life confidently and unconcerned by all the little games our society urges people to play.
The book The Perks of Being a Wallflower has a quote in it which conveys what this father is trying to teach his daughter at an early age: “We accept the love we think we deserve.”
If you figure out early on how much you mean to yourself and what you believe you deserve then you’re set. And although life won’t be a cakewalk, you will at least eliminate some of the distress that comes along with settling. We tend to accept less than what we deserve and get sucked into bad relationships when we are lacking self-worth. It is one of the most important things to hold onto in life and not to the extent that we become self- righteous, but so that its presence allows us to protect ourselves from any obstacles we may face and to know that we can make a difference in the lives of others. As this father said in his letter, “Little One, your only task is to know deeply in your soul—in that unshakeable place that isn’t rattled by rejection and loss and ego—that you are worthy of interest. (If you can remember that everyone else is worthy of interest also, the battle of your life will be mostly won. But that is a letter for another day.).”
So, with Father’s Day coming up, we can look to this dad as a wonderful role model and a sign of goodness in our world. His teachings clearly not only apply to girls, but to boys as well and can apply to all types of relationships in life. Be yourself and never settle for anything less than what you deserve.
You are worthy of interest. Everyone is worthy of interest. Know your worth. Live your passion. And the frame will hang itself.