A few days ago, a friend (who is a new father) asked me what the best thing my dad ever did for me was.
The question came out of nowhere but my answer came instinctively, without hesitation. I said that every night before bed, my dad told me he was proud of me -- that I was special and beautiful and
I could do anything I wanted to do. *
I used to giggle at his sappiness when I was a supercool pre-teen, confused as to why he would be proud of me (...but I didn't do anything???). Looking back now, I realize the profound impact his simple words had on me. Having such unconditional love vocalized daily from my family has been the single-most empowering factor in my life. Ultimately, it's the reason I'm able to trust myself.
* these reasons, among a million others.