Loving the fixer-upper

Joey Garcia

My girlfriend has poor eating habits, overuses medications, doesn’t drink enough water and uses tanning salons knowing full well the health risks involved. I have told her the risks of her bad choices, but this usually ends in an argument about how I should “mind my own business.” I tell her that as her boyfriend, I can’t help but be concerned about her well-being. She refuses to see a problem. Since surviving cancer two years ago, I have placed new value on the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I can’t stand by when someone I love cannot do the same. How can I get through to her without completely pushing her away? How do I help her to change her bad habits before they end up giving me an ulcer?

Have you considered changing your very bad habit of falling for someone you need to fix? Your girlfriend has embraced a lifestyle that doesn’t match yours. Instead of realizing that you might be better off without her, you are attempting to parent her. All I can say is: “Yikes!” She’s making choices that you disagree with. You’ve been very clear about your fears and feelings. Her response is that you should mind your own business. She’s right. Attend to the business of investigating why you want to change her. If you feel called to use your near-death experience to inspire others, do it. But find the right avenue for your energy: Set up a blog, volunteer as a public speaker or establish a fundraiser for an organization that seeks a cure for cancer. Haranguing your girlfriend is not a healthy choice. Your criticism creates tension and stress for both of you. And, yes, that means that if you continue to bug her, you will be responsible for giving yourself an ulcer.

Of course, there’s another deeper issue present in your situation. Your girlfriend’s careless self-maintenance signals a low self-esteem problem that cannot be resolved by eating more veggies and quaffing lots of water. After all, overusing medications is simply a pleasant way to describe prescription drug abuse, right? And hitting the tanning salon obsessively is often a sign of being uncomfortable in one’s own skin. These habits are likely fruit of a hidden addiction. Your girlfriend needs therapy, and not from you. So, please, back off from criticizing her so you can decide if she is truly the right fit for your new, healthy, post-cancer life.

One of the managers in our company recently lost her mother, got divorced from her cheating husband and had her work laptop stolen. When co-workers asked how she has managed, she says her job keeps her happy. She is a nice person with some talent, but is grossly overpaid. She was the protégé of a manager who is no longer with the company and was advanced by that person beyond her skill set. She is scheduled for layoffs, but I am near sleepless at the thought of laying someone off who has had so much go wrong. Suggestions?

Is it possible to hire a life coach to work with laid-off employees? If so, find someone who is honest and capable of guiding people into grieving the closing chapters of their life and investing themselves in assessing future possibilities. Once your employees realize that life is a series of deaths and rebirths, they can maintain hope. And any assistance you can give this employee so she can see herself as she really is will be useful. That way she can seek a job that she is qualified for, instead of a job that she cannot competently manage without protection from upper management.

Meditation of the week
“My dad taught me when I was very young that the biggest skill you have is to be self-aware,” says Blair LaCorte, CEO of XOJet. “If you’re self-aware, you look for opportunities that fit you.” Hmmm. What are you looking for?

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