A Gift For My Daughter

Kristin Brooke Winters

Today is my daughter Kristin’s birthday. She turned 28 and I have really enjoyed viewing old family pictures while reflecting on so many precious memories in her life. I am proud of the incredible young woman she has grown up to be. She is wise beyond her years, has a compassionate caring heart, and is truly beautiful inside and out. I read this letter recently and thought it would be a great gift to give Kristin on her birthday.

(This letter was originally published in a syndicated newspaper column by Harry Browne. It was dedicated to his 9-year-old daughter.)

It’s Christmas and I have the usual problem of deciding what to give you. I know you might enjoy many things — books, games, clothes.

But I’m very selfish. I want to give you something that will stay with you for more than a few months or years. I want to give you a gift that might remind you of me every Christmas.

If I could give you just one thing, I’d want it to be a simple truth that took me many years to learn. If you learn it now, it may enrich your life in hundreds of ways. And it may prevent you from facing many problems that have hurt people who have never learned it.

The truth is simply this:

No one owes you anything.

Significance

How could such a simple statement be important? It may not seem so, but understanding it can bless your entire life.

No one owes you anything.

It means that no one else is living for you, my child. Because no one is you. Each person is living for himself; his own happiness is all he can ever personally feel.

When you realize that no one owes you happiness or anything else, you’ll be freed from expecting what isn’t likely to be.

It means no one has to love you. If someone loves you, it’s because there’s something special about you that gives him happiness. Find out what that something special is and try to make it stronger in you, so that you’ll be loved even more.

When people do things for you, it’s because they want to — because you, in some way, give them something meaningful that makes them want to please you, not because anyone owes you anything.

No one has to like you. If your friends want to be with you, it’s not out of duty. Find out what makes others happy so they’ll want to be near you.

No one has to respect you. Some people may even be unkind to you. But once you realize that people don’t have to be good to you, and may not be good to you, you’ll learn to avoid those who would harm you. For you don’t owe them anything either.

Living your Life

No one owes you anything.

You owe it to yourself to be the best person possible. Because if you are, others will want to be with you, want to provide you with the things you want in exchange for what you’re giving to them.

Some people will choose not to be with you for reasons that have nothing to do with you. When that happens, look elsewhere for the relationships you want. Don’t make someone else’s problem your problem.

Once you learn that you must earn the love and respect of others, you’ll never expect the impossible and you won’t be disappointed. Others don’t have to share their property with you, nor their feelings or thoughts.

If they do, it’s because you’ve earned these things. And you have every reason to be proud of the love you receive, your friends’ respect, the property you’ve earned. But don’t ever take them for granted. If you do, you could lose them. They’re not yours by right; you must always earn them.

My Experience

A great burden was lifted from my shoulders the day I realized that no one owes me anything. For so long as I’d thought there were things I was entitled to, I’d been wearing myself out — physically and emotionally — trying to collect them.

No one owes me moral conduct, respect, friendship, love, courtesy, or intelligence. And once I recognized that, all my relationships became far more satisfying. I’ve focused on being with people who want to do the things I want them to do.

That understanding has served me well with friends, business associates, lovers, sales prospects, and strangers. It constantly reminds me that I can get what I want only if I can enter the other person’s world. I must try to understand how he thinks, what he believes to be important, what he wants. Only then can I appeal to someone in ways that will bring me what I want.

And only then can I tell whether I really want to be involved with someone. And I can save the important relationships for those with whom I have the most in common.

It’s not easy to sum up in a few words what has taken me years to learn. But maybe if you re-read this gift each Christmas, the meaning will become a little clearer every year.

I hope so, for I want more than anything else for you to understand this simple truth that can set you free:

No one owes you anything.

~ Happy Birthday sweetheart. You rock. I love you.

xoxo Dad

Christmas Is Family

Merry Christmas 2012

Remember, if Christmas isn’t found in your heart, you won’t find it under a tree.

What is your favorite Christmas memory?

Mine revolves around family. And in the past at the very center of it all, there was Mom. She loved the holidayseason and did her best to make everything PERFECT for us all.

I miss my mother, but I feel her. Especially today.

You see this Christmas we joyously celebrate a new addition to the Winters family, my first grandchild..

Brooklyn Catherine Winters, Christmas Blessing

Brooklyn Catherine Winters

Our little princess. She touches my heart and makes me smile. And it is such a tremendous joy observing my son Justin and his wife Krissy as they celebrate their 1st Christmas as a family. I love you both.

Yeah, it’s about Family.. that’s what Christmas is for me. Mom taught us well.

Merry Christmas my friends.  Whatever Christmas means to you, I celebrate with you today. May this holiday season be filled with new memories, heartfelt remembrances from the past, a joyous celebration of family, all filled with the warmth of LOVE that lasts year round.

Thank you for your friendship, inspiration, and the way you have uniquely touched my LIFE. I do not take it for granted.

Oh, by the way. I didn’t forget you on my gift list.

Here is my Christmas Gift to you.   Along with [[ HUGS ]] from the big guy.

How You Made Them FEEL

Monty and Mom

Seven years ago I stood up to speak at my mother’s memorial service.  During what seemed to be a normal bypass surgery, she had a stroke, laid in a coma on life support for three weeks until I could convince my Dad that we needed to honor her living will.

It was a tough time for all us. Mom was the matriarch of the family, the youngest of her siblings, the one who many turned to, a teacher, a Nana, a loving wife, and the best Mom in the world.

I had to be strong for my Dad. He was extremely distraught, experiencing the sudden loss of someone he had spent over 56 years with. And I was strong, until I stood up and looked out over the full chapel, people standing up in the aisles,  their faces, all ages, friends, family, children my mother had taught, children of children my mother had taught. All here to honor her. And that is when I lost it.. for a moment.

After a pause, I heard my mother say, “Get your shit together Monty”, in that distinctive voice that I will never forget. And it was at that moment that I realized two truths that she so soundly imprinted in me..

  • Always leave a place better than you found it
  • They may forget what you say or do, but they will never forget how you made them FEEL.

I then proceeded to tell memorable stories about my mother, we all laughed, that was the way she would want it, that was the way my Mom rolled.

That day I saw many people my mother had touched in some way, and they touched her. She always left a place better than she found it. She changed the world just by being who she was.

I could not ask for a better teacher or mentor. She was my hero. She ROCKED!

I love you Mom.