I know the time will come when she too will be cast aside, left out and ridiculed. It will break my heart much more than the guy I was apparently in love with 20 years ago. I will likely cry right along with her because nothing feels as gross as being ignored and left out.
What will I tell her?
What could I possibly say to her that will make that hurt go away?
I'm 40 and I can still be sucked into that kind of pain. I still feel the sting of someone who pretends to like me, pretends to be my friend, talks to me, asks me about my daughter like they really care but evidently don't and then talks about me behind my back or excludes me like I'm some skirt not worthy enough to be in their closet.
I don't ever want my daughter to feel this way. So, I've spent a few days thinking about this and mulling it over. Here's my plan of action:
- I'm going to let her feel the pain, feel the hurt and have her tears. I think it's important to validate what she's feeling and allow her to feel it.
- I'm going to tell her the truth. There are some really shitty, ugly and hateful people in this world. I don't know why, I don't care to know why. I could come up with thousands of reasons for their behaviour like their mother didn't love them, they fell on their heads when they were younger, blah, blah, blah. Or, the real reason is because they're just plain assholes.
- I'm going to encourage her to grow from it. I'm not going to allow her to wonder why they don't like her. Our brains are programmed to come up with an answer to every question we ask it and in no time at all, she'll believe she's not good enough for anyone. Instead, I'm going to ask her what this teaches her about true friendship, about what she values in another person, about how she feels she should be treated, about how she wants to treat others.
- I'm going to give her back her power by explaining to her that she chooses her friends, they don't choose her and that she, not they or anyone else for that matter, dictates who she is. She defines herself not anyone else ever.
- And finally, I'm going to teach her the simple trick that I truly believe cures all forms of emotional pain: being grateful. Look at every area of your life and cherish all that you are and all that you have. Somebody somewhere would trade places with you in an instant. Be truly grateful for the gifts in your life.
This past weekend, I put this into practice and it's working. I feel like my happiness quotient is filled to the brim. When I focus less and what I don't have and more on what I do, I can see that I have everything I could possibly want and more, including thoughtful, caring and authentic friends.
I also learned that it's not only important what I say but how often I say it. I'm going to keep repeating it to myself like a mantra. And furthermore, if I really want my daughter to know that what I say is true, I'm going to live it.
Now, I feel ready. Bring on the jerks...