Maybe we’ll be ok

A couple days ago, my 10 year old left her bed at around 10:30pm and came to me to say she needed to talk about something. She told me that her best friend (her first close friend she made after starting her new school this year) told another friend “I don’t want to be Shayel’s friend anymore and I never really did”. So Shayel cried and vented and talked about her feelings and I listened and empathized and reflected. I helped her process what might be going on in this perplexing situation, how it might not be all it seems to be. We talked about how destructive gossip and cattiness can be. Then we talked about the what if’s. What if that IS what she meant? What does that say about you? What does that say about her? Then we talked about action plans – what are you going to do about this? I had some input. I encouraged her to be proactive but not reactive. I encouraged her not to make accusations but first to ask questions. And most importantly of all for Shayel, I encouraged her to share her hurt.

*aside: Shayel is extremely empathic. Because of this beautiful thing about her, she has a very hard time doing or saying ANYTHING that might hurt someone else’s feelings. She is also very sensitive and finds unkindness extremely perplexing. We have worked with her on this issue since the toddler years. Helping her understand meanness and insensitivity, learn to express herself and be assertive without making her hard. She has come a LOOOONG way even just in the past 2 years.*

Yesterday, this is the story Shayel came home with. “I saw <friend> this morning and said, ‘hi, *pause* well, this is awkward. Can we just be friends again?’ and her friend affirmed the awkwardness and said ‘yeah, I was just having a bad day yesterday’. 

Part of me wishes she had addressed her hurt feelings and made a bigger deal of the whole thing but really, I think this simply and beautifully demonstrates some profound things 1) my daughter was strong enough in herself to not need dramatic apologies or recompense. 2) she didn’t need to shame or hurt her friend in order to feel vindicated 3) she was able to accept the difficult, messy, complexity of human relationships and let her and her friend just be flawed … and move on in grace and mercy. 

This is only 1 of hundreds of examples of the ways in which my children teach me to be a better person.

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