Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"But I am a princess!"

"What is a princess, and what is a queen? A princess is a girl who knows that she will get there, who is on her way perhaps but is not yet there. She has power but she does not yet wield it responsibly. She is indulgent and frivolous. She cries but not yet noble tears. She stomps her feet and does not know how to contain her pain or use it creatively.
A queen is wise. She has earned her serenity, not having had it bestowed upon her but having passed her tests. She has suffered and grown more beautiful because of it. She has proved she can hold her kingdom together. She has become it's vision. She cares deeply about something bigger than herself. She rules with authentic power. Our kingdom is our life, our life is our kingdom." -Marianne Williamson

I have heard many people refer to this quote in many ways and so I thought I would just take the literal form and talk for a moment about giving space for girls to act their age. In the past couple of weeks I have been bombarded with the same questions from so many different girls. "Should I still talk to my ex even though he cheated on me?" "How do I know if I should give him another chance?" Girls are struggling with their first taste of grown up issues. One mistake that us as grown women make is applying our grown up experiences to our girls' issues. If a boy cheats, he may not be a future lifelong cheater; he may have discovered that girls will have sex with him. Boys who hurt our girls are not evil, well not all of them. Hating him will not heal her pain. Your anger is righteous but it needs to come second to her pain.

Broken hearts are timeless but the first ones are the worst. There is no right and wrong way to experience the pain. It hurts. As parents we need to take the pain seriously. It cannot be disregarded. It is not just emotional drama and she is not over reacting. Many girls lack the coping that it takes to come through immense pain. They may need help. The most powerful thing a mom can do is to sit in pain with her daughter.
In terms of giving advice, I always encourage girls that they can do their break ups however they need as long as they protect their self esteem, their pride, and their values. An example of a response to the question "is it ok to talk to my ex?" would be:

"Does it keep protect your self esteem?" When self esteem is low, the risk is higher that she will be operating out of that compromised sense of who she is. The goal is to hold onto what is left and rebuild. The best way to rebuild is to become aware of where she is at. Talk to her about the ability to do something and still feel that she has not crossed the boundaries that let any of her good stuff out or let any bad stuff in then let her do it. She may not do this smoothly and there will be many tears as she walks back and forth the line of self esteem.

"Does doing this cause me to lose any pride?" Many times when we sink to settling or doing something to comfort ourselves, we lose our pride. Help her recognize the difference between self nurturing and self comforting. (hint-self comforting makes us feel guilty and vulnerable) There is already a tendency to blame ones self in an effort to find the magic key to bring him back. Girls may feel that pride is a small price to pay for love. Remind her that boys need to earn her back, not be allowed to drag her around as she begs at his feet.

"Does it compromise my values?" There is no better time to do a values check in and talk about the temptation to sell your soul when the pain of wanting something is so strong. There is a higher temptation to give in to sex at this point with him or someone as revenge. She may want to fight, lie, and go all primal on his...sorry. Her values are connected with her core self. Her core self is the key to reconnecting her with her healing powers.

Notice nothing in these conversations tell her what to do. You have given her space, honored her pain, and loved her in a way that allows for her mistakes. Pain is required to pass from princess to queen.

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