Shake it off
“… people can say whatever they want about us at any time, and we cannot control that. The only thing we can control is our reaction to that. When you live your life under … scrutiny, you can either let it break you, or you can get really good at dodging punches. And when one lands, you know how to deal with it.”
Friends, here’s an important lesson to teach your kids. It’s not an easy one to learn, and it will take multiple mishaps before they finally will truly own this concept:
‘I am the leader of my life; I can choose to believe what I want. I can choose to hear what others are saying about me, or I can choose to have enough faith in myself and my abilities and leave those opinions behind.’
What helps to learn this lesson? Taking the time to ask yourself: Would someone who really knows me and cares about me say the things that have me upset? (Besides an older brother, I mean.)
I wish it weren’t so, but it is: there are always going to be name-callers out there. There are always going to be the mean people, who have an opinion (may or may not be a valid one), and they will share this opinion with however many whomevers they want. Just because they can. Mean people stink, but they do exist. The weapons you have against mean people? How much you listen to what they say, how much you let them hurt you with their words, and how you react. The less you react, the less they see how their words sting, the greater your ability to make them stop saying whatever it is they are saying. But that can be so very hard to do.
As adults, we should have developed the ability to do this, to get back up again when people say mean things to or about us. Let’s say that as we age, our skin gets a little thicker. Kids, though, still need to learn this lesson. For them, often retaliation or a moping session is the end result when someone has been mean or taunting. As much as I wish it could be this easy, my telling my kids too ‘shake it off’ and get back in there isn’t yet going to be effective. They need to learn A) to develop that aforementioned thicker skin, to be sure, and also B) they need to realize their own self-worth, and know that one (or two) mean kids calling them names or being mean doesn’t mean they are less worthy. (Even if the name-caller is their older brother.)
At one point or another, everyone has to endure a mean person’s attacks. How you deal with it depends wholly on you. You could don short shorts and ‘shake it off’ like Taylor, or use whatever mechanism you have to let the words roll off. Because, you, my friend, are worth more than those mean words are, and those that know you would never say such a thing.