To no surprise, having a daughter has changed the way I see a lot of things in life. Well, that and the wisdom that comes with age.
For a few years now, I’ve been watching my daughter learn as she starts to navigate those tricky waters that are female friendships. She’s only in grade two, but she’s waded her way through exclusionary tactics by other girls, managing friendships as a threesome, sharing friends with other girls, discovering what frenemies are and more. These are all hard concepts to learn as a girl. Even as an adult, these are tricky and difficult dynamics to manage. But one thing I’ve learned that I’m constantly repeating to her on our walks home from school is: let go and you’ll be happier.
I tell her, ‘Let go of the fact that your one friend told you she isn’t her friend anymore.’ Let go of the fact that that other girl wanted to play with someone else at recess and not you. I’m not advocating ignoring the problem however, because I don’t think that’s healthy either. Instead I advise her to, “Let go of what your friend said, take a break from her and play with some different friends for awhile.”
Easy words coming from mom. Not so easy when you’re in the thick of it by the climbers at the playground. Yet, that’s my key message: don’t hang onto grudges or fights. I let her know that life’s not worth it and it just makes you unhappy. It’s taken me a lifetime to learn this and I can’t say I’m grudge-free. I have a few altercations that I find incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to get past. But overall, age has made me more forgiving of the little slights by people or the backhanded compliments and more. Even in my relationship with my husband, I’ve learned life’s better when you stop bringing up everything but the kitchen sink. Instead, I’ve had to learn about how to let go of things, cool off, remove myself from situations that aren’t pleasant and move on.
So maybe it’s with wishful thinking that I pass this advice along to my daughter. I hope that she’ll learn the message of letting go earlier than I did. Instead, as a mom I hope she’ll spend more time being — and doing things — that will make her happy rather than scowling in a corner over a fight with another girl in the playground. I’ve spent a fair share of my life being that girl and it’s no fun. I want her to work on being happy, to be around people that make her happy and just let go.
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