The other night, I wrote about how the answer to life’s pain/suffering/uncertainty is to rest in the awareness that everything’s okay.
The following morning, I was given the opportunity to translate that into a real life situation with a friend of mine and in doing so, remind myself.
Isn’t it beautiful how so often we find ourselves telling people in our lives exactly what we ourselves need to hear?
So, here’s the story.
Kaia is in third grade and some of the girls in her class seemed to have suddenly learned that it can be fun to exclude some of the other girls.
I first discovered this when I found out Kaia had not been invited to the birthday party of a girl she had previously spent a lot of time with. I wrote about that experience on the LA Moms Blog.
The long and the short of it? I felt a lot of pain around the whole thing. Kaia couldn’t have cared less.
When I brought it up with my ex-husband, he looked at me like I had three heads. He reminded me that our kids had learned in preschool that it was fine to exclude people and fine to be excluded. It’s all okay.
Oh, right, now I remember. That’s why I loved that school so much. The unconditioning. I chose it because when I showed up there for a tour, half of the kids were running around naked and playing in the mud. Perfect.
Unfortunately for my friend, she didn’t have any of that unconditioning. Her kid went to a traditional preschool where all the kids kept their clothes on and were made to take turns, share and be polite. And, she herself had experienced generations of conditioning, none of which had yet to be unraveled.
So, when she found out her daughter was being excluded, she immediately decided something was wrong.
And, wanted to fix it.
But, how do you fix it when your child is being excluded? Well, naturally, you try to help your child figure out what they are doing that’s causing the exclusion.
Right, that’s the conditioned reaction. That was my immediate reaction too when I first heard my daughter was being excluded.
Except that, here’s the problems with that natural reaction:
#1: You can’t fix it.
#2: If you try to fix it, you make it worse.
#3: By trying to fix it, your child inherits the conditioning that tells her that if she’s being excluded, there must be something wrong with her. And, she begins to believe that if she can just change something about herself so that she fits in she won’t be excluded.
And well, we know where that leads, don’t we?
To feelings that we’re not good enough as we are. To low self-esteem. To trying to please other people to feel good inside. Eventually, to sex, drugs and alcohol to dull the pain.
So, what’s the unconditioned response look like that can break these patterns?
Let it be. Teach your kid that it’s fine to be excluded. Help her to focus on the people she enjoys spending time with who enjoy spending time with her instead of on the kids who don’t want her around.
Above all, help her understand it’s not personal.
She’s not being excluded because there’s something wrong with her. She’s being excluded because not everyone is a match with everyone else.
And, that’s okay.
She needs to focus her attention on and hang out with the kids she does fit with and not worry about the rest.
What a gift to give your daughter. The gift of being able to be herself without worrying what other people think.
Yes, for a mommy who does care what other people think, this can be incredibly difficult. But, what an opportunity to let go of everything we once thought was important and find what really matters.