Dating Series #5: The Importance of Teaching Youth Healthy Coping Skills for Life’s Challenges

Another reason why I wrote my book First Comes Self-Love, Then Comes Marriage, was so people realize that no matter how good and successful people appear on the outside, they may be suffering on the inside. Also, on a similar note, no matter how good and successful people are when they are growing up, you never know where life will take them, and we have to equip ALL youth with tools for how to deal with adversity and difficulty in life.

Why is this so important?

Because I was one of those good, successful kids. My grades were great and I got along with everyone. I’m sure when I gave my salutatorian speech at high school graduation, everyone thought I would go on to do great things.  And while it’s great to have that support, that’s not the full story. The way that others viewed me, the narrative that I told myself, it all began to crumble after my father suddenly passed away when I was 21. In the midst of my unhealthy relationship patterns in my mid-twenties, I honestly never thought I would return to a place of happiness and self-fulfillment as I had had before my father passed away.

That girl who I used to be in high school and college, it felt like she was fading away during grad school. Sure, I was still doing well academically, but when it came to my emotional health, I was a basket case.

I was always organized and a planner, that’s what helped me have so much discipline in school. But I had never planned for my dad suddenly dying when I was 21. That was not in the script. And this plot change took me through a loop. I, that disciplined and dedicated young woman, had all of a sudden lost her sense of direction, her inner compass. I was lost.

And that is why I feel my story is so important to share. Because you never know who will experience trauma in their lives, and at some point in our lives, we are all bound to. And you can’t trust that just because a girl or boy seems to have their head on their shoulders at one point, that they won’t lose it at another. And that is why, while we should not scare people about it, we have to find a gentle, kind way to introduce healthy coping skills to ALL children and teenagers.

I loved that girl who I used to be. But she practically died when my father did.

We need to be realistic. Life is fragile. Sh** happens. Let’s raise our youth to be able to not only become the best version of themselves, but to maintain their sense of self and positive qualities, even in the face of adversity and great challenge.

happy, strong girl in hat

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