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Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

Day 10: Kindness and Respect Challenge (R-E-S-P-E-C-T) Part 2

October 10, 2013

In case you missed yesterday’s episode, you might want to take a minute to read the email from the teen whose friendship with her bff made her feel like a prisoner “in jail.” She wanted out, but didn’t know how to find the exit. I advised her to talk to her friend and take a vacation from the friendship.

Here’s what happened next:

Hey Terra,
Thank you very much! I’ve already told her today but things got all crazy. I said that I don’t want to be her best friend anymore, just want to be an ordinary friend to her. But I think she got it all wrong. Guess what she did?? She bad-mouthed me to my other friends!! She created bad stories about me! None of it was true! I hate her and exams are next week but my head just can’t focus!! Help!

Now What?!

Dear Now What,

I’m not surprised she turned against you.  She hasn’t been acting like a real friend for a while. This is just more of the same… with the volume cranked up. If your other friends believe the lies she made up and turn against you too, they’re not acting like real friends either. You deserve so much better.

I understand this is hard. We all want to be liked. We want people to say only good things and think only good thoughts about us. But no one has the remote controller for anyone else’s mouth or brain. People say what they want to say and think what they want to think. People also believe exactly what they choose to believe. You’ve got no control over any of it. Zero. But…you can choose not to let this upset you so much. Your ex-bff and the other girls have no power over you unless you give away your power to them.

You need to relax so you can study for your exams… and do your best. Every time you catch yourself thinking about the social garbage these girls are creating and spreading around, STOP… and take some slow deep breaths. Here’s how:
Inhale slowly and evenly through your nose (Try it right now)….
Then relax your jaw, open your mouth and slowly and evenly exhale.
(Go ahead.)
Repeat the cycle.
Inhale (and think “I am breathing IN….”)
Exhale (and think “I am breathing OUT…”
Close your eyes and continue breathing, slowly and mindfully.
IN
OUT
DEEP
SLOW
CALM
EASE
SMILE (Go ahead. Even a half smile will do)
RELEASE
PRESENT MOMENT
WONDERFUL MOMENT

From now on, whenever you catch yourself getting sucked back into this silly drama or the next one, stop and breathe.  Re-center. Be kind to yourself. Be respectful of your power for good. Be here.

I hope this helps. Good luck with your exams.

In friendship,
Terra

A few days later I heard back from her one more time:

Thanks a bunch! (= it really helps.

Ahhhh!

Namaste

See Day 11.

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