“You cannot ‘bounce back’ from hardship. You can only move through it. There is a path through pain to wisdom, through suffering to strength and through fear to courage – if we have the virtue of resilience.” -Eric Greitens
Her face was pinched in pain. Her first heartbreak, and I knew it wouldn’t be her last.
“I just don’t understand, Mom. Why won’t she call me back?”
I looked down at my daughter and took her face in my hands. “I don’t know, sweet pea, but what I do know is she has her reasons and is making her choices based on what she needs right now.”
My daughter’s face shifted into a look of disgust. I continued.
“What you get to do is decide what you need and give yourself that, as well.”
My daughter looked at me, confused.
“You can honor her, without having to know why she is making the decisions she is making, by accepting the situation. You can also honor yourself by acknowledging your feelings and what you need.”
“I need her to talk to me,” my daughter replied, simply.
I leaned down and gave her a kiss on the forehead and dropped my hands from her face. “When we rely on the outside world to make our lives better, we set ourselves up for disappointment and possibly, to feel victimized,” I said. “Only we can find the truth within ourselves and take the steps to create the mindset and take the necessary actions to bring ourselves peace, understanding and happiness.”
My daughter sat, frowning, for a minute and then looked up. “I understand what you are saying, Mom, I really do, but I don’t know what I did to make her stop talking to me. I’m really confused and hurt.”
Suddenly, crocodile tears emerged and began rolling down her face. She looked at me, her eyes filled with sorrow. “She’s my best friend. I don’t know why she hates me so much.”
I took my daughter’s hands and led her over to the kitchen table where we sat down across from one another.
“Oh sweetheart, that is the story you are making up,” I said simply. “I know you think, based on her actions, that this must be the logical reason for why she’s not speaking to you, but the fact is, you do not know. Until she tells you, herself, you will not know. For now, your brain wants to know, so you are making up the story it must be because she hates you.”
My daughter nodded, silently, and I continued.
“May I ask you a question?”
“Do you feel you’ve been a good friend to her?”
My daughter looked at me, her eyes wide. “Yes! I love her and have tried to always be there for her, even when, sometimes, it means challenging her to see what she’s capable of when she doesn’t see it. That’s what good friends do!”
She let out an exasperated sigh, and I looked at her for a long moment. She gazed back at me, questioningly.
“Well, maybe that’s it, then.” I replied. “Not everyone is ready to be challenged to their greatness. If you see it, then simply hold that vision for her and give her space to find it when she’s ready. If you know you have spoken and acted with love and have no reason to ‘take back’ or apologize for anything, then trust that you being a good friend to her is enough and allow her to come to you when the time is right.”
My daughter sat quietly for a moment. Finally, she spoke.
“That’s so hard, Mom.”
I smiled and looked at her, my heart overcome with compassion and love.
“I know it is, my love. This is where you get to give yourself the opportunity to grow and mature. It’s never easy to sit, uncomfortably, in the unknown. But how else do you think you develop faith?
I stopped. My daughter nodded, and I continued.
“Faith is blind, and this means we learn to become faithful through going in and trusting in ourselves and what we believe. If you cannot truly trust in your friendship, then what kind of friendship do you actually have? This is where we are tested and asked to look at what we honestly feel is true about ourselves and about others. If the friendship is a real one, it will last. If the other in the friendship needs something, like time away, can you give this to them, trusting they will come back when they are ready? Can you be faithful or do you always need answers when you need them, regardless of what the other person needs?”
My daughter sat silently, deep in thought. Finally, she spoke.
“I get it, Mom. I don’t like it, but I do believe in my friendship with her, and I can work on being patient and trust she will explain what she’s been feeling when she is able to.”
I nodded and looked at my daughter. “I’m proud of you.”
She smiled and came over to give me a hug. After holding her for a few minutes, I sat back and looked at her. “We can talk about this whenever you need to. It will be important for you to remain open and honest with your feelings around this so that nothing gets ‘pushed down.’ You get to be loving and compassionate with yourself and whatever is coming up for you, because this matters, too, and will keep you from building resentment and other negative feelings about this situation.”
“Thanks, Mom. I do feel better and I’m proud of myself, too. This isn’t easy, but I do feel very mature deciding to handle it this way. You always say the right way is the way that feels better to your heart, and this way feels best for mine.”
We are all, collectively, in a time when we get to give ourselves a wide birth to feel what we are feeling about what we are experiencing. We get to look for the opportunities to learn and grow, as well. I love what Tony Robbins recently wrote about what we are all going through:
“Fear is a natural human instinct. It’s our 2-million-year-old brain that is designed to protect ourselves in the moment, for the sake of survival. It’s always looking for what’s wrong, so you can fight, run away from threat or freeze. But if you do one of these three things every time you are fearful or have pain, you’re going to be constantly fighting, running away or stopping and putting your life on hold. And that’s no way to live.”
He went on to add, “Human beings are unique from other species in that we have the ability to control our behavior, to train ourselves to be emotionally fit and create an inner strength, a psychology of resilience. One failure does not mean we stop trying. We have the opportunity to fail AND try again. The beautiful gift of being human is that we’re resilient as a species. We’re adaptable by nature. This won’t be the only crisis this world will ever go through, and it won’t be the only crisis any one of us ever goes through. People are shaped not by how things go when things are going well; people’s lives are shaped by the most difficult times.”
So, whatever you are currently experiencing, know that it is offering up a lesson and chance to grow, develop and evolve. Ask what you need and also what you need to know about what you are going through. Consider the answer, not from a viewpoint of suffering or being victimized, but from the vantage point that whatever is occurring is supporting you to become and experience what you came for. Then trust, honor, release, create and act on the next best step being presented in the moment.