Q: My husband does not inspire me to be my best self. In our 12 years of marriage, my feelings about myself and my priorities are not the best they could be because he doesn’t push me to be a better person. How do I change that?
A: Stop the blame game. Take ownership of the problem. It’s not up to your husband to make you feel better about yourself. You are responsible for YOU. And you change it by working on yourself and your priorities. Once you do that, you’ll start to see improvements in hubby and the whole family.
Q: I have a large and close-knit extended family. My cousin told me that he has stage 3 cancer, but I’m the only person he has told. His mother and brother don’t even know. Holding this secret is absolutely killing me inside. Do I remain the keeper of this huge secret, or do I tell the mother and brother? I know it’s not my place, but if they found out that I knew and didn’t say anything ... then what? I’ve told my cousin how I feel and his reply was, “I’ll do it in my own time and in my own way.” It’s been months now. What should I do?
A: Your cousin has put you in a dreadful situation. Give him a deadline in which to tell his mother and brother. Allow him several weeks to figure out when and how he’ll inform them, but don’t give him so much time that he doesn’t take it seriously or tries to stall. Honor your word, and inform the family if he doesn’t.
Secrets are poison. They cause their own kind of sickness because they make us hide the truth and live dishonestly. Don’t let loyalty to your cousin cloud your judgment on this. You’ve been his confidant for long enough. Now it’s time to help him grow and do the right thing for the family.
Q: Can you fix stupid?
A: Not by the look of things.
Q: This election year seems to have created a Hatfield and McCoy mentality, causing a lot of hard feelings among friends and family members. How would you go about trying to reconcile as a gracious winner or loser when there is so much anger?
A: I’d put away the notion of winners and losers and focus instead on what we have in common: we all want what’s best for America (ideally), and we’re all Americans with passionate, well-intentioned opinions (mostly). Now that the election is over, it’s time to dwell on what unites us. Let’s clear the air and begin again. Above all, let’s seek to understand the other person’s point of view.
Q: How do you figure out what you want to be when you grow up and whether or not you’d actually be good at it?
A: What you want to be is who you were created to be. The trick is to remember what that is.
The clues are found in the things you most enjoy and are naturally adept at. Ask yourself these questions: What activities make you thrive? What do you do best? What talents, gifts, and skills do you possess in spades? What comes easily and makes you feel exuberant?
Life becomes such a joy when we use our authentic gifts. Identify those gifts and then put them into action in a more robust, intentional way. Nothing is more beautiful than a person being who she was meant to be.
Make a vow here and now that you will not fall into the trap of what others want you to be. That’s the fast-track to nowhere. Don’t be deterred by the trials, tests and flummoxing detours along the way. They are to be expected.
Know that a possibility unlike any other was born when you were born. Your mission is to follow the distinct thread created in you. Obey it, and you’ll feast on the banquet of life. Ignore it, and you’ll live off of scraps.
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Visit her at thecrackerqueen.com.