Lesson #7: Stand Up for What You Believe In
Princess Diana stood up for what she believed in. She used her voice to challenge the royal system and did things differently. Boy, did Diana do things differently. From breaking from the 1662 tradition of wedding vows, sending her boys to preschool, and wearing black at non-funeral events, she was a rebel in her own right.
Her subtle insistence. Her impish grin. Her brilliant mind. Princess Diana stood up for what she believed in and used her voice to advocate change. Once she realized she had a platform with the public, she wittingly raised awareness of taboo subjects such as HIV/AIDS, mental health, and banning landmines.
Princess Diana stood up for what she believed in by being a hands-on parent to her children. She went to great lengths to provide her children with “normal” kid things such as a Disney vacation, a McDonald’s happy meal, and participating in school events, such as the annual parent’s race, where Diana came in first place in 1988.** She broke royal protocol by being herself – a down-to-earth, fun-loving, jest-for-life person.
Marriage. Parenting. Divorce. Princess Diana stood up for what she believed in and lived a life where she instilled values of honesty, compassion, and kindness. She believed in fairness by fighting for a fair divorce settlement, including shared custody of her children. Diana worked tirelessly to provide a smooth transition for her children to limit the emotional damage divorce does to children. Above all else, she loved her children. She believed in them.
In reflecting on my life, standing up for what I believe in seemed to be a challenge for me. Most likely, stemming from childhood trauma. From that time forward, I felt that I had no voice. It took decades to realize these traumas impacted my relationships far more significantly than I realized then. First marriage. Parenting. Divorce. In my first marriage, I was viewing life through a particular lens. A lens that was colored. Dark. Unfocused. Unable to see the murkiness. Until one day. One day, it all came into focus. It was the day my then-husband did the unspeakable. All in a flash, I saw the truth. And pain.
I was willing to do the hard work, like Princess Diana, of speaking my truth, which enabled me to leave a broken marriage, better myself as a mother, and remarry and become the wife I was meant to be. Standing up for myself has allowed me to be free. Free from harsh words. Free from unkindness. Free from disrespect.
Like Diana, I, too, was a supportive mom to my sons in their growing-up years. I have been and always will be their best cheerleader. Princess Diana inspired millions of people around the world. I have inspired a few here and there too. Diana gradually realized she had a platform to use her voice over time as she gained more confidence as a royal. She also was “just a mom.” She used her voice to speak out against injustice and advocate change. Change in what vows are read at weddings, how we can parent and fulfill career responsibilities at the same time, and why it is necessary to have good mental health.
I am trying to be more like Diana. I speak about estrangement. It is an injustice. I want to bring awareness of how estrangement rips families apart. The other day, a Rabbi called it “psychological murder.” Although it seems harsh, I couldn’t agree more. Knowing your child lives somewhere but not exactly sure where, not having a way to tell whether he reads texts or emails, is like a slow death. Over and over. Each time the phone rings. Each time email is checked. Each time mail is retrieved from the mailbox. Will I ever hear from my son? Parents must be held accountable for alienating themselves, their children, their parents, and extended family members from others including, the other “targeted” parent. The court system must be held accountable for perpetuating broken relationships. Let’s fix it. Together. Together is better.
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- Written with the assistance of new Bing AI for research purposes.