Choose courage

Joey Garcia

I can’t seem to change my life. I work at a company I like but seem to have outgrown, so I jumped into opening my own little business. I am borrowing someone else’s man. I have this incessant need to help others but can’t seem to help myself. I need a hug and then I need strength and courage to do what I must. I don’t know if I need to take a yoga class or eat a bowl of ice cream to propel myself out of this rut.

The yen for yoga signals a desire to gently shift the brain and body out of defensiveness and into acceptance. Considering the issues you’re immersed in—feeling bigger than your job, being the other woman, starting a new business and wanting to save other people from themselves—well, yoga is a grand idea. The craving for ice cream isn’t. Yes, it’s comfort food, but if you have a comfortable relationship with depression, a yearning for ice cream is a mixed signal. Your body actually wants downtime, not a frozen dairy delight. But it’s learned that asking for ice cream eventually leads to reclining on the couch sobbing over some sappy film. The reason the tears (and the sluggishness, bloating, constipation) arrive so easily after ice cream is that the body has to do something with all of the mucous created by digesting sugar and dairy. So, my prescription for you is rest and acceptance. What do you need to accept? That you are not allowing yourself to be free.

I want you to be free. And—here’s the hug—you do not need strength and courage. My sweet friend, you cannot need what you already have. Just exercise your ample capabilities. First, exit your affair. Do not take that man’s calls, delete his text messages and refuse any gifts. Walk away so you can be free to love someone who is free to love you completely. Next, when you encounter someone and feel that urge to help, do it. But only after you have given yourself what you believe that person must have. Finally, get a clean sheet of paper (or a new journal). List your strengths. Turn the page and list the things you love to do. Take the list to a career counselor or life coach and find a job that fits. If it’s the one you have, arrange a meeting with your boss and ask for a project big enough to challenge you. If making changes starts to feel overwhelming, break your tasks down even if it means that one day you put a number next to the phone and the next day you practice what to say and the following day you make the call. And whenever you don’t know what to do, choose to be strong and courageous.

How can you tell if someone is cheating? My guess would be to ask, but I fear that if they are cheating, they would deny it. If they are not, they will get angry that I asked and I will look like a psycho girlfriend.

Which one of you has a trust issue? If he does what he promises to do, calls when he says he will, is forthcoming and truthful when you ask questions, he’s probably trustworthy. If he’s into you (and you’re into him), the relationship is advancing toward deeper emotional intimacy and commitment. But if you call him, then freak when he doesn’t respond quickly or shift through his stuff when he’s not looking or fail to confront him when he doesn’t do what he promises, the trust issue is probably yours. And if you do ask, listen equally to him and to your gut. If you still don’t trust him, find someone else.

Meditation of the week
According to the weekly Torah reading I receive by e-mail from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, “The Hebrew word for dog, kelev, is made up of the same three letters that could be pronounced, k’lev, ‘like the heart,’ a reference to the loyalty and companionship dogs often have provided to their owners.” Ever wish that people were more like your animal friends? Why not become a loyal and loving companion to everyone?

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