Make a clean sweep

Joey Garcia

My boyfriend proposed and wants to move in together. I love him so much! The only problem is he was out of work for five years and living on his savings—or so he said when we met. He recently told me he was actually living on credit cards. He has a good job now but pays nearly all of his salary to credit companies. We would have to live on my income. I’m conflicted about this and too embarrassed to ask anyone else for advice. What should I do?

Sweep through your personal traits searching for resentments against anyone you believe has treated you unfairly. Be scrupulous with your personal inventory.

Acknowledge revenge fantasies. It might be as simple as telling a friend about someone who has annoyed you, and ending with: “Karma’s a bitch.” What you’re actually saying is: “He’ll be harmed in return for harming me.” But karma isn’t revenge; it’s a spiritual law of cause and effect. So by wishing karma on someone else, you’ve locked yourself into more experiences like the one you said annoyed you.

What does this have to do with your man? If you cover living expenses while his salary goes toward his debt, those credit cards will be paid off more quickly. Then the two of you can begin your marriage in good financial health. (Please also commit to financial counseling so you can maintain a good relationship with money throughout your marriage).

But if he leaves the relationship, will you resent having spent so much of your money to support him? What if you love him but discover you can’t live with him? You might not give yourself permission to leave even when you know you should. You might blame him (stocking up an arsenal of resentment), pretending that you can’t leave because he depends on your income, while not admitting you are failing to be responsible for yourself.

Resentment keeps us in emotions like depression, jealousy, envy and anger. So avoid habituating those emotions. Make the internal changes necessary to stand up for yourself and say clearly what works for you financially, and what doesn’t. Doing so is an act of love. It’s self-love, definitely, but also genuine love for your man.

My mother and I argue a lot. She always calls me on interrupting her and says I’m being a disrespectful teenager. When I point out that she interrupts me, she says she needs to finish. I tried to talk to her about it when we weren’t fighting but she just gave me side-eye. What can I do?

Write her a letter. Tell her that you are an adult-in-training and that it’s essential for her to help you practice resolving conflict as an equal. Explain that you know you are a teenager who is living in her house, under her rules, but you also need to become a young woman who can handle herself in a disagreement. Ask her if she will help. If that doesn’t change your mom’s behavior, read Nonviolent Communication, by Marshall Rosenberg, together and discuss it. Mama might still be stuck in old patterns, but at least you will change for good.

Meditation of the week
“Every generation leaves behind a legacy. What that legacy will be is determined by the people of that generation. What legacy do you want to leave behind?” said John Lewis, politician and civil rights leader. What needs to be overcome so your soul can be undefeated?

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