creating her lifeMy eight year-old daughter is easily the most resilient person I know. Not much gets her truly upset, and when something does, she bounces back very quickly.
Last week I asked her about this. Her answer was so simple, yet so profound.
Me: I’ve noticed that you hardly ever get angry or sad.
Her: Sometimes I get angry or sad. But only when someone or something makes me angry or sad.
Me: Do you ever just get angry or sad without someone else doing something? Like you’re angry or sad just… because.
Her: {Confused look.}
Me: I mean do you ever just find yourself having a bad day?
Her: No.
Me: Why not?
Her: Well, if nothing bad is happening to me, what right do I have to be angry or sad?
Initially I was perplexed by her use of the phrase “what right do I have…” after all, I’m her father and I want her to know that every feeling she has is valid. If anyone was trying to tell her she has no right to feel something, they’d have to answer to me! But the more I reflected on it, the more I realized she’s a total genius.
The person who told my daughter “if nothing bad is happening to you, you have no right to be angry or sad”…was herself! Her happier self. And she decided that no one, not even herself, has the right to take away that happiness.
A freaking genius!
She doesn’t waste time worrying, stressing or obsessing about the future. She’s eight. She’ll be nine in November and for her, November is 100 years away right now. She also doesn’t dwell on the past. She offers apologies quickly and sincerely and she accepts them from others just as quickly.
Plus, when it comes to the past, she has a secret weapon – The Shrug. If you ask her about some past negative event, even a big one, she simply tilts her head to the side, shrugs her shoulders and says: “well, there’s nothing I can do about it now.” The Shrug is absolutely not about resignation or giving in. It’s not weak at all. It’s infinitely strong.
My daughter has the strength and wisdom to choose her reactions.
She chooses happiness.
She chooses the life she wants.
And I’m lucky to have her as a teacher.