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DEAR HARRIETTE: My sister just moved into a new home with her boyfriend of 10 years. They have three kids, and he is a really active father. He does everything with the kids, so she doesn’t have to do much. Even after he has provided a home and helped her buy a car, she continually complains that it’s not good enough. She says it’s not a luxury car or the house isn’t big enough, but it’s all better than anything she’s ever had. She wants him to marry her, but he confided in me that he is unhappy with her and feels really unloved. How do I tell her this? — Marry Me Not
DEAR MARRY ME NOT: You keep your mouth shut. This is their life, and they have to work through it. Couples have spats, and they work through them — or not. But those disagreements often do not lead to breakup. You do not want to be in the middle of their relationship. Your sister’s boyfriend is going to have to speak up and address what’s happening in his family. He needs to tell your sister about his needs to make their family healthy and strong.
What you can do is engage your sister and give her honest feedback when she shares her thoughts and feelings with you. When she complains about what she doesn’t like about her life, share your perspective. Be honest and let her know that you think she is ungrateful, petty, superficial — or whatever else you observe. You can also tell her that you don’t like the way she takes advantage of her boyfriend and be sure to give examples. Do not tell her what he has said to you. That’s his job.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have so many dreams to be successful in life. Many things have happened and detoured me over the years, but I am determined to keep going and be successful. I try to remain positive whenever something negative happens, but it’s hard sometimes. I hear people say you can manifest your dreams, but what does that really mean? — Dreamer
DEAR DREAMER: You absolutely can make your dreams come true — one at a time. It is not too late. It does take courage, conviction, focus and discipline.
You say you have many dreams. It is time to choose one. Pick a dream that you want to manifest. Write it down. Now think about what it will take to turn the dream into reality. What steps do you need to take to set yourself up for success? Think specifically about what it takes, and then work on those steps each day. For example, if you want to write a book but aren’t already a writer, take a writing class. If you want to be a teacher but don’t have the credentials, enroll in a class to get you started. If you want to lose weight but aren’t motivated, make a movement plan, ask someone to be your accountability partner and get started.
Don’t let your past weigh you down. Sure, things have happened to distract you. So what? Seize this moment, and work on your dream every day. It’s best when you work on one dream at a time.