Article by Wendy McCance
My daughter began her last year of middle school this year in a new school district. The day started off beautifully. She got up with no problem, was excited about what she was wearing and was confident that she would love her new school.
At 3:10 pm, I picked my daughter up. I was hopeful that she would get in the car and tell me wonderful stories about just how well her day had gone. It was not the case.
When my daughter got in the car, she broke out in tears. She was upset because she met a girl who really liked her, but had a bad reputation for being rough around the edges. She felt sorry for the girl and was polite to her, but was afraid her own reputation would be torn apart before anyone got to know her. This girl stuck to my daughter like glue. They had 3 classes together and a locker next to each other. My daughter was stressed about how to handle the situation so that the other girl didn’t feel badly, but she could extricate herself from this girls grip.
After hearing this story, my daughter flew into the, “what if’s.” “What if I don’t have someone to sit next to at lunch?” “What if everyone thinks the girl with the bad reputation is just like me?” “What if I never make a friend?” It went on and on.
I let my daughter get all of the anxiety out of her system. I tried to offer some advice, but she was on a rant and couldn’t absorb much more than her worst fears. I had to drop the conversation until she calmed down.
Later in the evening, we talked about what a person can and can’t control. My daughter could control being pleasant to the girl she didn’t want to hang around with and still walk away when needed. My daughter could control how she felt going into school by giving herself a break. She could allow herself to have confidence that things would work themselves out. No matter what, my daughter wouldn’t be able to control everything. You just can’t plan for everything and you can’t control how everything will turn out. It’s just not possible. At some point, all you can do is give yourself a break, do your best and have faith that everything will fall into place.
This morning was my daughter’s second day of school. She got up on time, felt confident about how she looked and had developed a change of heart. She had given herself permission to relax and let the day evolve.
On the way to school, she told me that she would be polite to the girl she didn’t want to hang around with. She said she understood that it was perfectly fine to excuse herself from the girl as long as she did it in a decent way. She started seeing the bright side.
There had been a few kids who had been very nice to her. She enjoyed her new teachers. She even had a partner for her skills for living class. The girl had picked her as a partner and my daughter was thrilled. She said the girl was very nice. Ultimately,my daughter had hope that she would do just fine at school today. The best part was she saw all of the good moments she doesn’t couldn’t see yesterday.
I mentioned to my daughter that you can’t control everything, but you can emit a sense of confidence and happiness. Even if she felt uncomfortable, if she would just give herself a pep talk whenever doubts crept in, she would be able to emit a more pulled together version of herself. Basically it’s the principle that you fake it until you make it.
Put a smile on your face and you will start to feel happy. Remind yourself that you have a lot to offer and slowly you will believe it. Your body language will begin to change and people will become drawn to you.
My daughter got out of the car with a smile on her face and a confident stride. She was certain today would be a much better day than yesterday. I think it will be as well.
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