Doesn’t it just break your heart to have your child come home from school in tears because of something a classmate said?
Don’t you just want to go to the school yard and put the eight-year-old tyrant in his place?
Sometimes I would rather take 40 lashes than see my children with a broken heart—especially my third daughter who is such a loving, giving, always happy yet sensitive girl.
A couple of days ago that daughter brought her birthday party invitations to school and handed them out to all of her friends. That evening she came up to me to say that her friend Jayson made fun of her for inviting Molly. The tears in my daughter’s eyes were like a fifty pound weight in the pit of my stomach.
Jayson has been telling my daughter to avoid Molly all school year. I had been giving her the whole “in our family we are respectful to all our friends and we don’t exclude people if someone tells us to” talk and the “be a leader” talk for months, but I guess the birthday invitation fiasco was my daughter’s last straw.
Lying in bed that night, I was pouring out my heart to my husband at how cruel children can be, and wondering where children in grade two learn to be so exclusionary and judgemental of each other. My husband answered with a snicker. So I sat up and looked at him and asked, “What could you possibly find funny in your daughter being stuck between two friends that she really likes?”
“Look at your friends Marie and Josee. They can’t stand each other and are both constantly questioning why you associate with the other. You plan separate events all the time so you can have one over without the other. This isn’t just in grade two.” He replied.
Do you have friends that can’t stand each other? Do you accommodate them? Do you ever feel bad, embarrassed, or judged for having to defend why you spend time with either of them?
People Pleasing vs. Leadership
What am I teaching my daughter by accepting and accommodating two friends being judgemental towards each other? What are those women teaching their children by being rude and exclusionary about other women?
Our kids learn by example. They may not understand the fine line between being respectful to others and people pleasing, but they sense our undertones of resentment when we are not being authentic.
Our roles as leaders and role models are extremely important. And one of the most important things for me as a woman to model to my daughter is respect for myself and respect for others through self-care and healthy boundaries. I see too many women with the disease to please and the desperate stench of needing to belong and be loved. Which is I am devoting a large part of my career to empowering women through programs like “Mom’s Much Needed Time-Out.”
So what are you modeling for your children? Have you ever had a child with a broken heart caused by hurtful things a classmate has said? Have you ever been hurt that way too? How do you deal with this situation?
Sometimes we meet someone and we just hit it off. It’s like there is a language that just the two of you understand. Being with that person is your definition of Home. You talk to each other every day, and as soon as you see something funny, you text them because you know they would “get it” better than anyone.
Things go on like this for a while… and then things change. Sometimes someone else comes along, another friend or a romantic relationship. Sometimes you get a new job or career and your availability changes. Sometimes you just move on to a new way of looking at life, your priorities change, you evolve.
Does that make your former BFF the Neanderthal to your Homo Sapiens? It sounds a little arrogant to put yourself above someone else like that, right? But really, how many times have you grown out of a friendship because the other person was just not growing at the same rate? How many times has some else grown too fast for you?
I grapple with this lately. And I wonder where does loyalty fit in? Where does being patient and available for a friend who isn’t “there yet” fit in? And then that magical word that is following me everywhere lately comes up.
When things change, as long as everyone is being kind and respectful, there is nothing wrong with the friendship taking on a new rhythm, a new dance. But if the person who is catching up in their learning is insisting on pulling the other friend down to their level—the old “don’t change” routine—there needs to be some boundary reinforcements. If we can’t celebrate our friends’ successes and positive forward momentum, then we need to take a good look at ourselves. And if positive changes in our lives are being criticized or ignored by someone who used to celebrate with us, then we need to put some healthy boundaries up and move on. Because we are all meant to move forward, in our personal power, to shine for the benefit of humanity.
We dislike change because most of our brain and biology is animalistic and thus routine, habit and reactivity focused. But our higher functions, what makes us Human Beings, is where we have to check-in with the need and validity of change. Change is a good thing. Change is momentum and fluidity and energy. When we are resisting it, we have to have a look at our ego and our higher self and decide where the resistance is coming from, because stagnation is not conducive to health biologically or socially.
We are all individuals on this planet to learn the lesson we chose to come here to learn. We all have a path. Some of our paths meet up for short whiles, and some run in tandem for a very long time, but we are still on our own paths. Some of us have similar lessons to learn and some of us have drastically different ones. It would not be fair to ask a 5-year-old to do a calculus course… and it is not fair to ask your closest, dearest friend to live your life lessons if they are just not resonating on the same plane.
So if it is time, move on from old friends and learn from some new ones. Don’t hold yourself back. Change is good.
Well isn’t this quite the adventure! I’m so happy to get back to writing after a few months of editing and marketing focused days. I figured maintaining a blog would be a good outlet for me between the launch of Being Human and settling down to write the next book. I have to warn you that I am allergic to routine! While I truly plan to post every Tuesday, I cannot promise that this magpie won’t get distracted by a sparkly spotlight every once in a while (Smiles)
So as I sit down to write this, I am wondering what everyone wants to know. I tend to be an open and honest person. I like to show my human side to people because I find that we get enough of the mass corporate media telling us to be perfect. That being said, I recently had the experience of reading someone else divulge way too much about their inner selves, their horrific past, and their current challenges in a social media post. Part of me read it with that feeling you get driving by a car crash—wondering how bad things can really get, and part of me read it shaking my head at the lack of boundaries the author had between showing their humanity and inappropriately exposing themselves.
Where is that fine line?
I am searching for a clear answer to that as I research my next book on boundaries. What I do know is that we have different, healthy levels of trust and intimacy with different individuals and social settings. For example, I might describe to my daycare provider the color and consistency of my child’s runny nose when calling to say why he is staying home, but the cashier at the grocery store most likely doesn’t want to know the same depth of detail.
I find we tend to be unclear about how much we should share with people, just like we can sometimes blur the definition of some relationships. Some relationships happen by choice and some by chance, and I feel we need to be realistic about what we tell people that we did not necessarily choose to have in our lives. Do we need to be best friends with our mother-in-law? Do we need to be best friends with our boss? And if I realize that I don’t need to have an intimate relationship with my boss, does she need to know when I’m menstruating and how painful it is this month because I had too much caffeine and not enough exercise? When I make it funny like that it seems so clear. But you’d be amazed at how much some people divulge to others who don’t need to see all of their humanity.
Another guideline to follow is: Did they ask to be told? The social media post I read was not something I had been actively searching to learn about that person. There is quite a difference between developing a friendship and learning that you can trust them and then sharing some of your deepest truths during a conversation, and having verbal diarrhea in a public forum to anyone that “likes” your feed. The information becomes sensationalized and sometimes can lead to alienation.
Yes, I feel that we must be honest about our shortcomings. Yes, I feel that we need to have authentic relationships with the people in our lives and show our vulnerabilities and accept others’ vulnerabilities. But I feel that there is a time and a place for these revelations, and there are also relationship expectations and criteria that need to be met before we expose our soul to others. In my opinion, those are healthy boundaries—that is the fine line—that’s when it is healthy to the person allowing their vulnerability to be exposed, and healthy to the relationship that must flourish after the unpacking of “baggage”.
What do you think? Have you ever heard too much information from someone? What is your fine line between being authentic and over exposed?