What is hardiness?
I attended a wonderful workshop a few weeks ago at the Institute for Girls Develpment in Pasadena. The workshop was about how we can teach and support hardiness in girls. We talked about a lot of the different challenges girls are faced with and ways to encourage hardiness by developing positive self esteem and self image without resorting to sassiness or nastiness in the tough and challenging times. We also talked about ways as adults to be curious about young girls behavior so as we can become better listeners to gain a deeper understanding and compassion in order to help and/or support them.
I define hardiness as feeling strong in ourselves and possessing the tools to not let others change how we feel about ourselves. I would also add that developing hardiness in girls allows them to have better tools to emotionally handle the tough times or tough situations without feeling less than others or judging ourselves. These are all the tools I am also hoping to teach my girls in my preteen yoga classes.
I was reminded that to be an effective leader and role model we are influenced by our ability to be mindful and present. The only way to teach hardiness to girls is to model it ourselves. I am grateful for my yoga practice and my preteen class, which teaches these skills to our girls so they can bring them into their lives and daily challenges.
I did it…
A few days later, after thinking about it for months, I decided to cut my hair off. I later realized that my decision to cut my hair was a great example for teaching hardiness to my girls.
It’s not like my hair was super long before my hair cut, but I have had longer hair since I’ve had my kids. In fact, the last time I had hair this short was when I did my yoga training 17 years ago in 1998. I decided not to tell anyone that I had made the decision to cut it off and just showed up at my kid’s camp with my new ‘do. I was ready for them to be shocked and had thought through what I was going to say to them if they did not like it.
I was right. When I picked my girls up from camp that day they were definitely shocked! My oldest daughter kept saying “OH MY GOD MOM, OH MY GOD!” My 7 year old calmly told me, “I’m freaking out, I’m freaking out.” When we got in the car they were upset about the haircut and did not like it. I let them express what they felt about my hair as I think my kids should be able to express their honest feelings within our family. But the most important lesson I taught them was to show them it was ok that they did not like it and to show them that I did. In fact, I love it.
It was fascinating to also watch them evolve over the next few days. Most people LOVE my hair, but I told my girls that it does not matter what people think because I love it and I have to wear it. My oldest has come around and now loves it and my youngest just doesn’t care. It is also not my husband’s favorite way for me to wear my hair, but he made it clear that he loves me no matter what and that I should just do me. That was an even better lesson to our girls. He showed that love is not about hair and style, but something much deeper and more profound that fills up our cups of support and stability.
Hardiness might no be a familiar concept to you, but if it is I would love to know how you teach/model hardiness to your daughters, nieces, or students. Or if it’s something you just now learned about, what are some ways of teaching it that come to mind for you? Share with me on Facebook!