Stop Trying to Make it Better

Hello brave friend!

I don’t know about where you are, but in New England we are finally getting some SNOW that makes it really feel like winter. I absolutely love the seasons of the northeast! I do, however, grow weary of winter long before it is done. That said, I will soak up the giddiness I feel right now when I look out at a winter wonderland and hear about school closings. I will fully enjoy my late January winter joy!

That said, my joy was tempered this weekend when I hit a parenting snag that couldn’t be soothed by frozen water falling from the sky. After a great deal of hand wringing and contemplation, I made a decision about something that I knew would deeply upset one of my daughters. I know, without a doubt, it is the right thing to do and I am completely confident in my decision. What is HARD to face is the profound disappointment and emotional reaction that came as a result.

I tend to do a decent job preparing myself for difficulty when I know I am walking into the fire. I talk myself up, acknowledge that brave conversations are hard, justify my choice with thoughtful consideration and try to soothe my worry by reminding myself I can do hard things. Then, I brace for the reaction. Today was no different. I knew it would be hard and I was ok with that.

So, I was brave and I did the hard thing. And it was hard. Yet, my daughter’s reaction was not as I had imagined… it was worse. I had envisioned a storm and a fight. I was ready for that. What I got was INTENSE sadness and grief. There were no angry words or accusations, in fact, there were virtually no words at all. She sobbed, walked away and asked that I leave her alone. I could hear her crying in her room and it was agonizing. I would have preferred the yelling, the anger, the “That’s not fair!” being shouted at me full force. Anger is always so much easier to tolerate than sadness, pain and sorrow. I wanted so desperately to go in and soothe her. I wanted to offer something in return for her weeping. I wanted to take away her pain. I just wanted to make it better.

But, what if the gift I have to offer her is to allow her to feel the full range of her emotions and stay close while she navigates her way through? What if my ability to be brave is in staying outside her door while she learns that grief will not swallow her up and that she can be brave too? What if I show her that I can make hard decisions that are the right thing to do, and that she can be sad about it? As I stayed away, I reminded myself that she has every right to experience her feelings and I have no right to “make it better”. Her emotions are not mine to take and rescuing her would be a bold declaration of my lack of faith in her strength. She will not know that I was right on the other side of the door, feeling every bit of her sadness. What she will know is that I trusted her with her own emotions and that, when she came out later that afternoon, I was waiting.

So, my friends, your Mindful Mini invitation this week is to bravely allow those you love to feel their feels. Dang is it hard not to swoop in and make it better! It’s hard not to distract from the disappointment of loss by buying something to stay off the sting when your kid’s team loses the game, or going out to eat so they don’t have to feel the rejection of not being invited to the party or grabbing a drink with your best friend instead of facing deep sadness at not getting the dream job.Yes, show up and be there, but resist “making it better”. Those are the moments when our greatest show of trust and support is to let it all be as it is. When we see someone we love struggling in the dark, our greatest gift is to sit beside them without needing to turn the light on. And oh the power of knowing you are not alone while you authentically embrace all that it means to be fully human.

Later in the evening I received a text from my daughter that said, “I always love you, but I hate you too right now.” Fair enough brave girl, fair enough… you feel all those feelings. I’ll be right here.

Let it be ok. Let them find their strength. They are so worth it…. YOU are so worth it.

Yours in heart,

Kelly Lynn Driscoll

About Kelly Lynn

Kelly Lynn Coaching & Consulting

I empower districts to transform culture and educators to transform their lives so they are connected, fulfilled and aligned with purpose. With over thirty years experience in education and education administration, I specialize in supporting Social Emotional Learning (SEL), balance and a culture of wellness. It is my MISSION to bring joy back to education!

Contact Kelly Lynn

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