Asli passed away at the age of seventeen while doing what she loved doing – skiing. A freak accident took her away from this world and her loved ones.
Unfortunately, after Asli’s tragic passing one of her personal essay was picked up by a columnist and published together with a highly judgmental and inaccurate interpretation of her words casting a shadow on her short but beautiful seventeen-year life and her family.
This is my interpretation of Asli’s essay and based on my experience working with hundreds of parents, children from all over the world in my specialized area of family relationships and human consciousness.
I didn’t have the privilege of meeting Asli in person, I know her mother, so I did not know her personally, but through her short essay I feel I got a strong sense of who she was.
Here it is;
Asli was a very articulate young lady who truly in touch with her feelings. She had the full capacity of knowing her every emotion and named them with clarity and by using metaphors. These are signs of a highly emotionally intelligent person, who was at peace with herself.
Her internal chatter was conscious and intentional and she had a capacity to give herself positive affirmations. This is not only rare for a person at her age but for the entire human population.
Research conducted among teenagers has shown that more than half could not name more than two emotions that they would feel. The study showed that they had not been emotionally coached or were encouraged to suppress their emotions. This level of inability to feel emotions can lead to so many emotionally unhealthy ways of living a life.
The opposite was true in Asli’s case. She was comfortable expressing her emotions and did so with great ease. In her short essay I counted more than twenty emotions that she expresses explicitly or implicitly.
She allowed herself to cry and truly feel her sadness without being afraid of showing it. In her essay she described how sad she was about not performing in the race. She cried afterwards and she allowed herself to have a bad day, or as she said “it was not my lucky day.”
The greatest people I know have allowed themselves to show, both sadness, disappointment and fear. Roger Federer, one of the greatest tennis players in history and an amazing role model, recently sent a message to my daughter’s school. In that very personal message he said; “In the early days I used to cry a lot when I lost a game.”
There is so much passion that goes into preparing for a race or a game and of course a child is allowed to cry when they loose. The truth is that they are human beings and they have emotions and they have every right to feel them and express them fully without being judged. Roger Federer and Asli had a lot in common. Feeling sadness or disappointment does not mean that you are doing the wrong thing or that you are on the wrong track. It just means that you are feeling sad. All truly successful people allow emotions to flow freely.
One of the things that struck me about Asli’s essay was how brilliantly she expressed what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, in his book called “Flow”, describes as the phenomenon of “the state of flow.” He writes “Investigations of ‘optimal experience’ have revealed that what makes an experience genuinely satisfying is a state of consciousness called “flow”. During flow, people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity, and a total involvement with life.”
Asli described just that when she wrote about her race; “I’m all alone, only the marshals, the gates, the sound if my skis disturbs the silence of death – she did not only demonstrate poetic skill but she also described what is perfect flow.” And this place, where time stands still, is a place where athletes and artists experience a heightened state of consciousness.
Very few people are able to find language to describe this state of mind. Asli did it poetically and beautifully.
Asli, you are truly a gift and you keep on teaching us all.
Founder of Parentology
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