Navigating The Heart Of My Daughter

Late Saturday afternoon I walked into the girl’s room to put away some freshly laundered clothes. The sun was shining through the window, drowning the space with beautiful golden light. Bella was up on the top of the bed, she had her head bent over a pad of paper and her eyebrows were furrowed in deep concentration. It isn’t an unusual sight to see her up there. She often seeks alone time away from her siblings and the rest of the world to write, read or draw. If she can’t find refuge in her room, she can be found taking an hour long shower to escape. She is my dreamer so that takes into account for our water bill.

She is also very talented. I am always amazed with the stories and songs she writes, and the art she painstakingly labors over. She is and always has been my joy. I am so proud of her. She is a really good girl with so many amazing qualities. She is kind, helpful, and so loving. She is very responsible and very unorganized. Yep, that wasn’t a typo. The girl is unorganized and that is ok by me.  She is extremely smart, and very beautiful. She loves to be silly and be loud with those she is close to. She is passionate about whatever she is interested in, whether that is dance, music or a new subject at school. I could go on and on, clearly I am crazy about her.

I asked her what she was doing, and as soon as she looked up at me I could see how sad she was.

” I am trying to write a list of things about me so my friends at school don’t think I am lame.”  was her quiet response.

I sat there with her, my heart breaking, and just listened.

She explained how she didn’t think people thought she was smart enough. Talented enough. Pretty enough. Interesting enough.

After some coaxing, I eventually narrowed it down to three girls in her class that she was desperate to be friends with. She believed that if she showed them her list they would change their minds about her. My determined little girl.

I tried to encourage her that she was smart. She was talented and pretty and interesting.

But that wasn’t the issue she said.  She knew all of these things to be true.

The problem was THEY didn’t believe that.

Oh how my thirty year old self resonated deeply with her nine year old self. I ached with her and for her in a way I have never before.

I asked her why it mattered that these three girls didn’t like her, especially when so many other people do.

“It just does Mom. I don’t know why. It just does.”

It just does. It just does. It just does.

How can I explain to her that her value isn’t dependent on what other people think? That she can do everything in her power to convince these girls otherwise and she still may face rejection? That not everyone in the world is going to like her, and that it is ok?

Oh my.

Honestly,  I stumbled over all these words desperate for her to really hear me, and I’m not sure she did.

Navigating her heart, is a lot like navigating mine. It isn’t always easy.

I would love your insight and suggestions on how to encourage my little girl. Perhaps you have a daughter a lot like mine? How did you walk her through this? Or is this just a life lesson she will eventually learn on her own?