My younger daughter, Moni, asked me a question recently. "Mummy, when you were in school, did you get offended when other girls were mean to you?”
"I did not get offended because I never really noticed they were being mean to me," I answered.
That was a very-close-to-accurate answer. Very close to, because I did notice on some occasions, but it never offended me.
I have to humbly say, I've always been a confident person, from my childhood till now. I believe I owe that to my upbringing and nurturing from my parents, but also to genetics and just innate tendencies. I never take what people do or say to me to heart if they are mean spirited. I can obviously decipher negative statements or acts quickly, and I process then in my heart and figure out what to do with them quickly. I do not allow meanness to linger on indefinitely and block me from peace.
I sometimes will let the person know, as politely as possible, that I did not appreciate the comment. But most instances, I just let it go, though I adjust my contact and level of relationship with the person.
I modify the amount of space they're allowed in my heart-and-soul sacred space.
I work on my own reaction and protect myself. I have absolutely no role in changing them. They will do that by themselves if they want to, and when they're ready.
The only people I try my best to nurture and correct are my daughters, because that is a God-given responsibility. At least until they are of responsible age, 18–21. Then I’ll tell them I'm always here for them whenever they need me. At that point you can only pray for them remotely and spend time with them to make sure they are doing well, and intervene responsibly and wisely. Parenting has quite a narrow timeline. We must use it wisely.
As I've said on a few of my blog posts, relationships are our life building blocks. We have to choose whom we allow into our heart-and-soul spaces. If you give negative relationships a dwelling in that sacred space, you subconsciously build your life around that negativity, and it turns into a negative empire in you. Many people walk around in their day-to-day lives with this negative empire dwelling in them, which severely limits them from experiencing life in its fullness.
After I answered my younger daughter, she said to her sister, "Reni, did you hear what Mom said?” Reni answered from the bathroom. "Yes, I did." Moni was so shocked and impressed by my answer that she had to call her sister's attention to it. I believe we parent mostly by example and just by being around our children. They observe us, they mimic us, they learn from us, they soak it all in, and they then pass it on.
If we teach them that the only thing they are in control of is their reaction to negative acts toward them, and how to handle negativity wisely, they will grow into confident and stable women.
We must teach them that they must not allow such negativity, lies, and bullying into their hearts. They must lessen contact with such persons gracefully and seek out more positive friends. And once they do that, they must empty those acts from their souls and spirits—otherwise negativity will build a fortress there and limit them from living their lives in full.
This is ever so important now with social media and its effect on our kids.
I do not believe in turning the other cheek, because this is retaliating in some form. Retaliation or getting back at people makes matters worse.
We must teach our kids to guard their hearts, be kind and polite, seek out like-minded, positive relationships, and let go completely of past hurts.
People can only offend us if we allow them a dwelling space in our hearts to do so.
Please take time out to teach your kids this truth, and of course, practice it yourself.