A: Honey, don’t you dare mess with a good thing! You’d better greet your husband every morning with the words “thank you,” and make those the last words he hears at bedtime, too. Those friends have issues alright: jealousy issues. Carry on.
Q: I am a middle-aged manager and the oldest person in my department. I work with a lot of young people in their 20s. While that might be invigorating to some, I find it exhausting. Is that normal?
A: Absolutely. Your youthful staff members have little experience but think they know everything and are right all the time (I sure did when I was 25). So they go about work on full-blast, with an unrelenting zeal about even the small stuff. The real trouble is that they are also charming; you admire their exuberance and don’t want to squash their spirit. That’s how you become vulnerable to their energy attacks. But since you can’t change them, you should focus on adjusting to them. Do what’s needed to remain restored and not depleted. Determine ways to take breaks from them (for example, establish a few times each day when you are not to be disturbed). Guard your personal force-field by turning on your imaginary filters each morning. Remind yourself throughout the day that you will not let them wear you out. The key is to be mindful so that your energy balance is protected.
Q: It seems like nothing is going right. Every time I try to move ahea,d something happens that knocks me back at least two steps. I’m constantly being taken advantage of at work and by family and friends. I don’t know what happened with my life.
A: I know: somewhere along the way you misplaced your internal compass. It’s understandable, as we are constantly taught to distrust ourselves. When you turned away from you, the wants and demands of other people began to fill up the gap. Now you’re in a labyrinth of other folks’ expectations and manipulations. That’s a wretched place to be. Now you must demonstrate great courage in order to change things. The first step is to stop identifying as a victim. Take ownership of where you are and of everything that constitutes your life. You have made it so. But also take heart: you can repair your life and make it good again. As it turns out, your compass is right where you left it; it has not gone anywhere. It’s been awaiting your return. The hardest part will be releasing destructive thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, and relationships. Remember the Zen saying, “Let go or be dragged.” It’s ironic that what holds us back is usually what we hold on to the tightest. Know that you are perfectly worthy of much better, even if you don’t feel that way. Expect cascades of tears and fireworks as you move from victim to victor. Your world is transforming on a seismic level. This is going to be big. Heck, your watch might even stop at the second you make the mental shift! As the Chinese proverb explains, “When sleeping women wake, mountains move.” It’s going to be a bumpy but necessary ride. Hang on for dear life because that’s exactly what is at stake.
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Lauretta Hannon, a resident of Powder Springs, is the bestselling author of “The Cracker Queen — A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life” and a keynote speaker. Southern Living has named her “the funniest woman in Georgia.” See more at www.thecrackerqueen.com.