Student has mixed feelings about late professor
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DEAR HARRIETTE: My college professor passed away unexpectedly last weekend. She and I never really got along, but I had a lot of respect for her as my professor. Because we didn’t have the best relationship, and at times I could be quite rude to her, I’m feeling a bit of guilt. She wasn’t much older than my mother and has kids that are the same age as me. I feel awful for them. What should I do? — Feeling Guilty
DEAR FEELING GUILTY: There is nothing that you can do about your past behavior, especially since your professor is gone. You can review in your mind the way that the two of you interacted and look for clues as to why you reacted so strong- ly and so negatively to her. Did she remind you of someone else? Why did she trigger you so much? Examine your engagement with her in an effort to learn so that you don’t make the same mistake again. That is how you can resolve guilt, by learning from the situation and vowing to behave better in the future.
You can also pay your respects to your professor’s family. You may want to attend her funeral, or you can send a card to her family expressing your condolences and saying how much you respected her as a professor. Share the positive memories about your rapport, including what you learned from her. If you go to the funeral, be a good listener. Hear the memories that people share about this woman. Learn by listening so that you get a sense of who she was from other people’s perspectives. If other students from your class attend and start talking about her, keep your involvement in the conversation positive. Do not talk negatively about her as you travel down memory lane. This is a time to be respectful.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My sister has absolutely no willpower when it comes to her diet. She will cry to me for hours about not being able to lose weight, but I’ve only seen her stick to a weight loss plan for a maximum of two days. How can I help someone who doesn’t want to help herself? Frankly, I’m tired of hearing her complain. — No Willpower
DEAR NO WILLPOWER:
Encourage your sister to get professional help. Whatever is keeping her from sticking to a weight-loss program is real — for her. Tell her you cannot help her anymore and acknowledge that it is frustrating for you to listen to her for hours only to see her fall back into her old patterns right away. Tell her that you do not have the capacity to help her through this situation. Recommend options like WW (formerly Weight Watchers), getting a nutritionist, seeking out a trainer or joining a support group like Overeaters Anonymous. Your sister needs to find a community of professionals and peers with similar goals who can encourage each other to seek out the help they need and stick to it.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initia- tive to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com om or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.