5 Things To Teach Your Daughters, According To Glennon Doyle
Unlearning and untaming oneself to live a truer and more meaningful life.
I’m an avid reader. Always have been. My poison has always been fiction but on the odd occasion I will pick up a non-fiction (usually in the guise of a self-help book).
I don’t read these types of books regularly because they tend to lose my interest very quickly.
If I wanted some half-assed, generic and cheesy inspirational quote I’d log on to Pinterest (no shade on Pinterest, also a big fan!).
When I came across “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle, I was skeptical. Pretty cover, inspiring sub-title and promising plot — I still knew I’d unlikely last until the fifth or sixth chapter before my skimming would commence.
I found myself reading every single word. I couldn’t believe it. I’d finally found a self-help book that I found… genuinely helpful. This book armed me with many lessons I will teach my children, particularly my daughters.
“Untamed” is, in a nutshell, about learning to be true to yourself in the same manner you were when you were a child. Before you were conditioned into feeling as though you had to act a certain way — before you felt the need to be quieter, more docile, more accommodating, less free.
Here are 5 things that really resonated with me throughout the book, however I do believe each reader will find a multitude of valuable lessons throughout.
1. Trust Your “Knowing”
Now, I’m not usually one for anything overly ‘woo woo’ but trusting your ‘knowing’ is life-changing. This is Doyle’s terminology for basically trusting your gut.
We weren’t born distrusting and fearing ourselves. That was part of our taming. We were taught to believe that who we are in our natural state is bad and dangerous.
Our intuition is a powerful thing. Too often we seek advice from friends, family and Google before acting upon something because we fail to trust ourselves. In most cases, we usually already know the answer. It’s in our gut, it’s our ‘knowing’. Trusting and following your ‘knowing’ allows you to lead a life that you know to be true and right for yourself.
“I trust myself to have my own back, so my allegiance is to the voice within.”
2. Struggling and boredom are essential parts of life.
Doyle says the goal of parenting today appears to be to never allow anything difficult to happen to your child. Through technology, now more than ever it’s almost impossible for a child to be entirely bored.
When feelings of boredom begin creeping in, they immediately turn to their devices.
Gone are the days where boredom lead to creation. Instead of writing a poem or a story, learning an instrument, or practising a new skill, people turn to their screens. There’s little opportunity to sit with this discomfort and realise one’s true potential.
Struggles and boredom are necessary for self-improvement. They are the path towards understanding one’s true nature and capabilities, particularly one’s desires towards elements of creativity. Getting our children to sit with the discomfort is part of life, and not something to be shielding them from. Sometimes we need to let them ‘be’ rather than forcing them to constantly be ‘doing’.
Allowing them to feeling human emotions, even uncomfortable ones, is important to them being able to develop into something beyond who they are on their devices.
“Give her the gift of boredom so she can discover who she is before she learns what the world wants her to be.”
3. Question your taming.
Doyle discusses how as we grow older, we begin to learn what we can and can’t do, say or feel out loud. We become tamed. Who we are as kids — carefree, honest and wild — is slowly compressed.
“The only thing that was ever wrong with me was my belief that there was something wrong with me”
“Untamed” makes you question your taming. It makes you question your true nature — are you quiet and accommodating just because you feel like you have to be? Are you constantly pleasing others at the cost of disappointing yourself? Are you always ignoring your ‘knowing’ because you feel the opinion of others and the masses matters more?
Question it. Question who you’ve become and if it’s true to who you are.
“I’ve done my research and learned this;
Ten is when we learn how to be good girls and real boys.
Ten is when children begin to hide who they are in order to become what the world expects them to be.
Right around ten is when we begin to internalize our formal taming.
Ten is when the world sat me down, told me to be quiet, and pointed toward my cages.”
4. Becoming a mother isn’t the end of your life.
We have been conditioned to believe that a good mother is one who dedicates her entire life (and often, happiness/dreams/goals) to accommodate for their children. What this actually does is teaches our daughters that once they too become mothers, their goals, dreams and happiness also become obsolete. That they too must live for their child, and only their child.
Doyle says this isn’t ideal. Being a good parent is to show your child that you can live a happy life until you’re grey in the head.
That staying true to your goals and life purposes, even after kids, is an important part of raising happy kids.
That continuing to be true to yourself, even as a mother, is not a selfish thing. It doesn’t mean you’re not maternal. It just means you’re teaching your kids that life doesn’t end after becoming a parent. It teaches them the importance of trusting your gut, of leading a life you want to lead.
They convinced us to be afraid of ourselves. So we do not honor our own bodies, curiosity, hunger, judgment, experience, or ambition. Instead, we lock away our true selves. Women who are best at this disappearing act earn the highest praise: She is so selfless.
5. Disappoint other people.
As someone who is often both a people pleaser and an empath, this was a tough lesson to swallow. But it was important to read.
“Your job, throughout your entire life, is to disappoint as many people as it takes to avoid disappointing yourself.”
Doyle tells us to get comfortable with disappointing other people if it means you are not disappointing yourself. Stop living in fear of letting people down or doing things that others don’t agree with. You need to do what you want to do so that you don’t get to the end of your life and regret all the times you were too worried about what other people were thinking.
Disappointing others doesn’t necessarily mean you are being rude or ungrateful — it simply means that you know how to respect yourself, to express your needs and to say no when you don’t want to say yes.
What the world needs is more women who have quit fearing themselves and started trusting themselves What the world needs is masses of women who are entirely out of control.
Glennon Doyle’s “Untamed” was a refreshing read in that it made be question so many of the ‘truths’ I thought I knew. It was a book that made me question everything I thought I knew, thought I was and thought I had to be — and I will surely pass the wisdom onto any future daughters (and sons)!