Last month I heard a phrase at a family wedding that really struck me. The phrase was You Do You. I have been thinking about this phrase ever since.

Many times in our lives, we want things to go a certain way. We want our children to be this or that, or act in a particular way. Our expectations of others are often very powerful, causing us to want to see something in another that might not actually be there. We try to mold the other or change the other to be what we want or expect.

When I was much younger, in the midst of raising my children, I remember trying to create what it was that I wanted or expected my children to be, as opposed to seeing who they were. This is important in parenting and in all relationships. What I have learned in my own growth and transformation is that it is far less chaotic and tension-filled to allow the people in my life to just be who they are, rather than trying to mold them like clay. It is not healthy for my children to live an inauthentic life, one that is misaligned with who they truly are.

You Do You is such a great phrase to live by because it offers other people the opportunity to be true and authentic. In a heavily focused social media world, so much of what we see is only what people want us to see, the “picture perfect” moments that one shares. You Do You is an opportunity to step away from what others want or think and just focus on ourselves.

Why am I sharing this? When it comes to our children, I think there are so many expectations that we as parents have daily. We don’t actually behave in a way that says, You Do You. But what if we did? Imagine if we even suggested this to our children and modeled it in our own behaviors. I do not mean allowing children to do anything they want, but, instead, allowing them to be who they want, what speaks to their heart, not what we envision they should be doing.

I believe that this truly reflects a strong affirmation to be you. We all need more encouragement to be who we are meant to be. When we use this phrase in a compassionate and affectionate tone, it truly offers our people freedom – freedom to act or do what people believe feels right for them. To me, this is about encouraging another to do what they want and not care about the judgment or decisions of others. Only they know what is best for them.

When we as parents practice living this way, we are teaching our children through the art of modeling this beautiful way of living life. Our passion for living our lives this way will also help others to pursue what they want for themselves.

When You Do You with love and compassion, not only are you being true to yourself but you are also modeling for your children and family, and the rest of the world how important it is to be yourself, stay true to yourself, and follow your own heart. What does this phrase mean to you? How does You Do You play out in your own life?


  1. Lovely! I have gotten better with this and my kids (12, 16, & 26) and wish I had demonstrated this earlier in their lives. Can’t change the past, but younger parents (or soon to be parents) can do it differently, so thanks for sharing!

    • Even though we cannot change the past, it is never too late to change our current practices. Thank you for your comments. I appreciate it!

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