Sunday, October 18, 2015

Gratitude vs. entitlement

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

My family was really rich before they got divorced. My mom had her own business, got depressed, lost it and went bankrupt. She has no money now. My dad’s money for me is like nothing.

Mom takes my money, and spends it on new clothes for herself. I used to have new clothes for school, Homecoming and Prom. Now, I don’t want to go because I’m not going to look good.

Last year, I bought a $300 dress, $247 shoes, hair extensions, and makeup for homecoming. That was before they divorced.

This year, my mom said she would sew me a dress!

I got mad and told her I deserved new GOOD stuff more than she does. She cried and told me that I am so ungrateful for all I have. She said I was a brat! I told her I wasn’t going to homecoming looking like Cinderella before the ball.

My dad spends tons on his new girlfriend (who pretends to like me … but not so much). She wanted to lend me a dress, but then said it probably wouldn’t fit me. It’s like she meant I’m fat.

Both my parents tell me I don’t deserve anything until I show gratitude. Why aren’t they grateful for me? I don’t drink, do drugs, or get into trouble. I have good grades! It’s wrong!

Not Ungrateful

Dear Not Ungrateful,
Intense emotions are understandable when a family’s life and lifestyle changes. Divorce is a death of sorts. It’s an ending. It’s the ending of dreams, of security, and the end of “normal life.” It’s hard on everyone in a family, to say the least.

It’s normal to feel abandoned and condemned for wanting life the way it was.

It seems your issue may be about the things you aren’t getting anymore as much as the lifestyle you once had. We also think it’s not about what you deserve or don’t deserve.

The “things” all God’s children deserve and are entitled to have are life’s necessities such as shelter, food, medical care, nurturing, education and, most of all, love. Every parent needs to love and be grateful for their children. Every parent needs to be an example of living a lifestyle of gratitude.

However, no one is entitled to have “stuff” they used to have, wanted to have, and expect to have. 

Your changes are opportunities for you to develop into a giving, gracious, and grateful person.

Try to accept your present circumstances and change your lifestyle from an entitled one to one full of gratitude. Stop your entitled lifestyle.

Your new lifestyle of gratitude will bring you peace, true happiness, and the love you need and want. A self-centered life brings loneliness and fake relationships.

A lifestyle of gratitude is a way of being and living every day. Practice it. Experience the remarkable difference it will make for you forever.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri       

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Beauty and the Bully

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

I’ve been reading your column for a while now and I haven’t seen you address why so many girls that are pretty or beautiful, get bullied?

I’m concerned about this because my daughter has become tall, long-legged, has a beautiful angular face with a killer smile and eyes that everyone notices. She is literally stopped in public and told how gorgeous she looks!

They don’t know she was bullied because she was small, had buck teeth, and acne. They don’t know that as she grew taller, I had to try to get her to stop slumping over.

My girl is smart, funny and she doesn’t dress sexy at all. But now other girls, mostly, although some boys, have called her horrible names that she doesn’t deserve, are relentless with spreading rumors about how conceited she acts, how rude she is, how mean she is. These girls have texted, emailed and put on Facebook some of the most awful lies about her for no good reason.

One boy said to her in front of other boys, evidently, that she was awful in bed so why doesn’t she “stop acting like the hottest girl in the world.” She cried for days and refused to go to school.

When I told my friend, she said to me, “Since when did teasing become bullying?” What do I say to that insensitivity?

Mom of a Bullied Beauty

Dear Mom,

Since the beginning of time, jealously turning into envy has hurt genuinely beautiful and good people.

Jealousy is fine if it helps someone to take better care of themselves.

In fact, wanting to be our best is healthy because when we feel good enough about ourselves to stop focusing on ourselves, we can turn that focal point into making a good difference in the lives of others.

We make more mental space for positive thoughts about others when we stop filling our mental space with things like, “I hate my hair,” “I wish I wasn’t so fat,” or “I’m so ugly and stupid.”

However, healthy jealousy means wanting something for ourselves and trying hard to gain it, make it, or do it. Instead, the evil envy in bullies means they can’t stand someone else having, being or doing something they don’t want to try to earn, or think they can’t have or feel they won’t ever be as great or as beautiful as someone else.

Bullies with envy don’t “tease” … they want to destroy another’s beauty, poise, intelligence, talents, reputation or goodness. Bullies aren’t just jealous. They are filled up with toxic envy.

The problem with the envious lies in a bully’s belly is they get hungry again and have to keep filling it back up.

Tell your daughter to dismiss envy and share her goodness no matter the results- good or bad. She wins when she won’t feed the envious bully.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri