Count blessings, not money

Joey Garcia

I earn three times as much money as the man I am dating. I’ve been in this situation before and it always ends badly for me. Men can’t handle a successful woman. The problem is that I really like this guy. He’s charming, romantic, funny and is completely comfortable at the variety of public events that my career requires. This is a man who always seems comfortable in his own skin and has the gift of putting others at ease, too. I am so afraid that I am going to lose him because at some point the money issue will surely upset him. What should I do?

Count your blessings. It’s a healthier focus than tallying the difference between your paycheck and your man’s. Just add up all the sweet things about your life (including him), then savor that list. Keep your fear of abandonment on a tight budget.

After all, the bottom line is that you are not required to repeat past experiences with men. But if your thoughts, emotions and actions are aligned in fear of the past, it’s more likely that you will recreate what you fear. Clinging to fear also inspires tension, which can lead to arguments between you and your man. Those disagreements create distress and that promotes the idea that the relationship is not working out, so it ends.

Remember, money is a symbol of financial wealth, not spiritual worth. You seem caught in the culture’s net of illusion about this. Free yourself and your happiness will increase. Plus, you’ll be more comfortable in your own skin and that’s a lovely gift to give yourself (and your partner).

My 9-year-old stepdaughter wants an iPod for her birthday. I am completely against it, but her mother (my wife) suffered a nasty divorce and generally succumbs to anything her daughter wants. I think that iPods are fine for teens and adults but she’s too young to be tuning out the world. There’s also the potential for loss because my stepdaughter is not very responsible yet. None of her friends have an iPod. What do you think we should do?

Teach your stepdaughter the value of anticipation. Some American parents complain that there are no initiation rites into adulthood in our culture. But they are ignoring opportunities to celebrate several life transitions, including first menses, attending proms, securing a learner’s permit or driver’s license and leaving home to attend college. These events are among the milestones that mark the passage from child to teen and from teen to young adult.

Children push toward adopting the attitudes, attire and behaviors of teenagers because they want what they imagine comes with it: more independence from parental control. Parents who give in to elementary and middle school-aged children in an effort to be their friend (rather than an adult who loves and cares for them) are often surprised when those children become teens who put no effort into their schoolwork or chores. But they have already learned from their parents that being social is more important than being responsible.

There’s another reason to say no (for now) to an iPod for your nine-year-old. Research validates what any intelligent person could guess: Those iPod earbuds allow serious and permanent damage to the ears.

Meditation of the week
“I’d like to make a motion that we face reality,” said the actor Bob Newhart on his show of the same name. Are there any presidential candidates who would say the same and have the backbone to follow through? And what about you? On a scale of one to ten, how skilled are you at facing reality?

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