“The only person who has the power to hurt you is you,” I remember telling my daughter as we walked and she relayed the events of the day. Someone had done something that hurt her feelings. She has very tender feelings – she doesn’t want to be like everyone else, but she is easily hurt when they don’t seem to accept her for who she is. In caring what they think or say, she gives them power to hurt her.
I learned, very quickly, that my daughter has this kind soul. Just as quickly, I tried to figure out ways to help her keep her spirit and not fall prey to the judgments and statements of others. For some, this requires developing a thick skin. That was not the answer here. For us, it is an on going process of teaching my daughter to keep her power – to not give another the power to hurt her.
Within the past year, I have seen my daughter accept who she is, accept others that much more, and stay true to herself. She is learning to let go of the comments others make. She is learning to keep her power and invest it within herself over giving it to others. She seems like a more content person now despite the increasing onset of those confusing hormones.
Power – when we allow others to hurt us, we have given them the power to do so. When we allow ourselves to believe that an opinion or thought about our actions is actually against us personally, we have given away our power.
One of my closest friends once told me a story that has had an impact on my life and on my parenting. When she was very young she did something her mother didn’t like. Her mother was very upset and punished the child who, as so many do, stated “I hate you.” The mother allowed the child to express her thoughts and then calmly commented, “I love you. I don’t like what you did, but I love you.”
My daughter and I practice this lesson throughout our relationship – we love one another which doesn’t mean that we have to like or agree with the actions and behaviors of the other. We exercise the right and the freedom to express that disagreement just as we exercise the freedom to accept one another and love each other.
Acceptance, love, honesty, disagreements, different beliefs…power…
I started early with my daughter in the hopes that she would learn a lesson that I occasionally have to relearn myself, as an adult. We can disagree and love. We can not like another and yet love them. We can be friends and be honest about our opinions. We are often hurt when we allow another the power to hurt us. When we give them the power, we forget about acceptance and love and friendship and honesty, and the difference between a behavior and a person.