05 February 2010


I am proud to say I have a Bachelor's Degree in English.  As of late, it seems I may have spent 5.5 years in college with the wrong major. Don't get me wrong, I love reading and writing and will always be a writer.  Lately it seems as though I should have gotten a degree in psychiatry. Or at least I should go back to school to get a degree so my advice can be more credible.

I have always been the go-to friend for advice on relationships, life, and everything in between for many friends and family.  I often wonder why this is.  I'm outspoken, opinionated, stubborn, and I don't always use the filter from my brain to my mouth when it comes to certain topics. I don't hesitate to tell the truth, nor do I worry about hurting someone else's feelings.  Remember, you came to me. If you honestly want the truth, your feelings will probably be hurt.

With that said, friends and family flock to me with their various complaints.  How to deal with a situation at work, how to deal with a situation at home, etc.  Maybe people come to me for an outside perspective; or maybe they value my advice.  Or maybe they want the honestly want the truth, and know I'll give it to them rather than telling them what they want to hear, which is always what they get from everyone else.  Needless to say, I'm happy to help and put in my opinion. That's what I do.

Over the course of the week, I have doled out advice about relationship struggles and trust issues that I think everyone could learn from.  Take it or leave it.  Sometimes all people need is to talk it out and get a fresh perspective to dive back in and take control of the situation.

In the meantime, if you find yourself struggling with issues about work, life, and love, follow my simple advice and you should be alright. These are common complaints I often hear from everyone, so you want my advice? Here's my 98¢, whether you asked for it or not.

#1. I hate my job.  Solution? Find a new one. Or just be thankful you have one in this economy. Until then, a job is a job. It's a means to an end. It doesn't make you who you are. Sure, everyone has complaints about their jobs, I know I do. But I need my job to pay for the nice things I have and to take care of my woman and to have the luxury of traveling and everything in between.  But, I recognize that I'm one of the lucky ones to still be employed in this country.  I suggest you leave work at work and when you get home, take advantage of the loved ones waiting for you at the end of the day. It makes your job seem unimportant in the big picture. 

#2. I'm broke.  Solution? There are plenty of ways to make extra money for your bank account and to take your mind off your shitty job.  Offer your neighbors to shovel snow or mow their lawn.  Offer dog walking/pet sitting services. Tap into your artistic side and sell some paintings, photography, or even check out writing contests online. There are other ways you can save some money. Do you really need that pair of jeans? Do you really need to go out twice in one week? Do you really need to stop at Starbucks? Probably not. Start prioritizing and the payoff will be ten-fold in the end.

#3. I'm jealous of other girls/guys and worry my mate will cheat on me OR I don't want my mate to have friends of the opposite sex for fear they might cheat. Solution? You either trust your partner or you don't.  There's no in between.  If your mate has never given you a reason to not trust them, then leave it at that. If your mate has given you a reason to be mistrustful, why are you still together? You can't have a successful relationship if you don't completely trust the other person.  Love can conquer most things, but love cannot conquer jealousy. It's up to the two of you to set up healthy boundaries and learn to trust one another. And if one of you does decide to cheat, well I guess you know where you stand then. So many people say they're afraid to open up because they might get hurt. Cheating will hurt you, yes; however, being in a relationship is both rewarding and painful because even if you don't cheat, you can still get hurt in other ways.

#4. I feel like I do everything/I'm the only one who makes the effort.  Solution? You can't change someone or force them to pick up the slack or even offer to help you.  What you can do is stop doing certain things for your mate so they learn they have to do it on their own. Once they learn that lesson, they'll appreciate the times you do it after they learn their lesson. Relationships are two way streets. Each of you has to pitch in and recognize their role. Maybe one of you has to lower your standards and allow the other person to do things their way once in a while.  Maybe you need to respect each others flaws and quirks and learn how to move past them. 

#5. I feel like we're always fighting. Solution? Learn how to interact and communicate like adults. Instead of arguing about the little shit, figure out what the "real" problem is and work on that.  You know you're not really arguing about dishes--you're arguing that you never help do housework.  You're not really arguing about doing laundry--you're arguing about the fact that you are the parent, not the spouse. Everyone has relationship problems. Everyone argues.  But not everyone fights all the time.  If you argue and have a big blow out, and then talk it over maturely the next day, but then you keep having the same fight every few months? You have not overcome your issues.  Find the middle ground. Both of you will have to compromise on certain things to make it work.

#6. I feel like my mate and I don't communicate. Solution? Learn how to be an adult and communicate properly.  One person can't just shut down or freak out if the other confronts them with an issue.  Everyone is entitled to have feelings and concerns, but just because you might not agree with them does not make them less valid or justified.  Both of you need to listen to each other and figure out a way to communicate like mature adults that you are.  This doesn't just go for partners either. This goes for family members and friends.  Just because someone raises a concern doesn't mean you have the right to walk away or freak out screaming and yelling simply because the other person wants to talk.  Five year olds act that way; adults shouldn't.  That's not saying you don't have a right to yell and scream and get upset, but if that's all you ever do, you have an issue.

#7. I always get hurt when I am in a relationship. Solution? Stop picking the wrong people to be with then.  You should know what to look for and what not to look for by now.  Nothing irritates me more than the people who consistently date the same "type" of people and then complain about it ALL THE TIME. If you don't want to be treated like shit, stop dating criminals or badasses.  Just because it's a different guy, doesn't mean that he's necessarily different. Everyone fits into a category and there's only a .01% chance that he's actually "different".  If you're dating the same type of people and get hurt time and time again, it's time to change your location and standards. Or just face up to the fact that you may actually like being treated poorly.

#8. I feel like you just don't understand or you don't understand what I'm going through. Solution? Maybe your mate or your friends or your family literally don't understand.  Maybe you're not making your point clear enough.  Or maybe, just maybe, they do understand but you'd rather keep rehashing the same issue because without it, you don't have any ammo to guard yourself with? If we do get it, that means the issue is over; it's been dealt with and you no longer have the ammo to use the excuse that we just don't understand. Just because someone hasn't been through the same exact experience does not make them less credible.  I have never been married; however, I feel I am credible to dole out advice because I am smart, caring, and have common sense but more importantly, I don't sugar coat anything. More importantly, not everyone has to "understand".  There are probably things the other person feels you don't understand either, and that's okay.

#9. I'm unhappy with my (insert word here) Solution? Everyone has complaints about their lives, bodies, jobs, relationships, etc.  But it's up to you to change it! No one can change it for you. You can't sit around and wait for life to happen to you. You have to go out and get it and take it for yourself. No one will feel sorry for you for being unhappy with certain things in your life, especially when you complain about them incessantly and never change your behavior but expect different results.

#10. I feel like nobody approves of what I do. Solution? Maybe it's true. Maybe your loved ones have high expectations of you and when you don't meet those expectations, they get disappointed.  If they really love you, they'll accept you and support you, but you have to give them a chance to do it. If someone says they don't like something you're doing or have concerns about it, your first reaction should not be to push them away.  Your first reaction should be to accept that they are entitled to their own opinion, as are you, and you need to give them a chance to support you. It happens to everyone, not just you.  Everyone does something another person doesn't approve of, but it's your life. Only you can live it. But you need to expect people to give you their opinions and just because you choose not to listen or choose to push them away doesn't mean the opinions aren't still there, so you might as well face it sooner rather than later.

FINAL POINT: Basically, my point is that life is not always about you.  Yes, you're entitled to have your own set of problems, complaints, and issues.  But they are never one sided.   If you have all these complaints and issues, there's a large possibility the other person has the same amount as well.  You must communicate, compromise, and care about the other person. It doesn't have to be just your partner--it can be a friend, a parent, a sibling, or even a child.  There are always two sides to the story, and two people in a relationship. If you never realize that and consistently find yourself with the same set of issues, maybe the problem isn't the other person; maybe it's YOU.

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT exempt from my own advice.


CelticLady said...

So true Kara, so true!!!!

dogimo said...

This is a great post. Jam packed with strong advice. Man, if I had a post like this, I'd have split it into 10 installments as a regular weekly feature!

Seriously, this was way more than $0.98 - this was $11.76 at least! Intro, 10 points, epilogue. Yeah, I'd have squeezed 12 posts out of this. That's how parsimonious I am.

#3 is as real as real gets. Trust is a hell of a lot harder to fall into than love!

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