Thanks, Kristen Bell, for the master class on how to handle adversity

Thanks, Kristen Bell, for the master class on how to handle adversity
Actress Kristen Bell visits Anna and Elsa of Disney's "Frozen," Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, in the Norway pavilion at Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Steven Diaz, photographer)

Last night, I read this article about Kristen Bell and I couldn’t shove my laptop in my teen’s face fast enough. “Read this!” I insisted.

My daughter seemed surprised by the force and urgency that accompanied an article from People.com, but she didn’t argue and started to read. (In my defense, the story was picked up by more serious news outlets later. It’s possible I let the continuous news coverage and worry about family and friends in Florida increase my intensity.)

She finished reading with a big “aww.” But I was going for a bigger takeaway.

“Yes, it’s sweet, but I want you to get more than an ‘aww’ out of this. Learn from this. Kristen Bell just gave a master class on how to handle adversity,” I said.

Here’s what I’m hoping my teen learned from her this weekend about dealing with tough times.

Acceptance

Being in Florida is likely not Bell’s first choice of locations. I’m guessing she’d rather be with her husband and young daughters in their home, rather than thousands of miles away from them in a hotel. But she said on Twitter, “we didn’t have the option to leave so here we are. Just doing our best.”

Rather than bemoaning her situation, she acknowledges that it is what it is. Accepting your circumstances is the first step toward making the best of them.

Action

Doing her best doesn’t mean hunkering down and doing nothing. She’s doing something. Actually, lots of things.

Know your talents and abilities and make the most of them.

She went to a middle school that’s serving as a shelter and sang to bring some positivity to the people there. Her hotel is full of elderly individuals and she’s calling bingo for them. She made wherever she went a good place.

I love that she and her crew told the hotel that they were ready and willing to assist however they could. They were proactively looking for ways to help.

She reminded us that in addition to looking for the helpers, we can be the helpers.

Positivity

Bell references making lemonade several times on her social media. From wheelchair races to calling bingo to making new friends, she’s spreading positivity. It’s highly contagious, as evidenced by the smiles of those around her.

Dining with all my new friends! #irma #hurricaneirma

A post shared by kristen bell (@kristenanniebell) on

That she later started using the hashtag #besthurricaneever underscores that she’s determined to make the best of a bad situation.

Compassion

Bell could focus on herself, and likely no one would blame her. After all, she’s away from her family and facing a dangerous storm. But she focuses outward.

In her posts to her nearly 4 million followers, she doesn’t seem worried about hair, makeup, outfits, or anything superficial. She’s not concerned about herself. She’s worried about other people and making sure they are taken care of.

She’s showing compassion to others and helping them, whether it’s securing lodging for co-star Josh Gad’s family or giving hugs to seniors she’s just met.

Do NOT let the frail frame fool you. Clara has the grip of Jean-claude Van Damme. #besthurricaneever

A post shared by kristen bell (@kristenanniebell) on

I’ll venture a guess that helping other makes her feel better, too. I’ve tried to stress to my daughter that helping others often has the effect of helping you, too. You often get more than you give. It’s a win-win.

Common Sense and Caution

Bell notes early on that she and the people with her plan to be cautious. She’s not out belting “Let It Go” in the middle of the storm. (I know that isn’t her song, but still.) She’s respecting the gravity of the situation, working within the parameters established by the authorities, and not doing anything crazy.

Humor

“A good laugh is sunshine in the house.” – William Makepeace Thackeray

Bell’s good humor kept Irma’s clouds figuratively at bay for those around her, and also for those of us watching helplessly from afar.

She beautifully illustrated the lesson that you can take a situation seriously without taking yourself too seriously. Keeping a sense of humor will serve you well as you face life’s inevitable trials and tribulations.

The next time I find myself facing a hurricane, or another challenge, I will refer back to how Bell handled herself this weekend, and I hope my daughter does the same.

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