DEAR NATALIE: With Thanksgiving approaching, I’m worried about my adult daughter who is in recovery for an eating disorder and was in an in-patient program for a while. She’s put on some weight since then and looks healthier. She’s back home and doing much better. I work hard to be supportive of her and use affirming language. My extended family, however, don’t pay attention to things like using respectful language or being attentive to social cues around peoples’ bodies. They’ll be here for the holidays and so will my daughter. She had previously told me that she didn’t want me to tell the family about why she had lost so much weight or get into the emotional side of things with them, because it wasn’t their business. But now that she looks visibly different – and we’ll be together during holiday centered around food – I’m worried they will make comments that will be hard for her. I know I can’t fully protect her or control them. But, I’m still her mom at the end of the day. How can I support her here? – I WANT A HAPPY HOLIDAY
DEAR I WANT A HAPPY HOLIDAY: The best thing to do is to get ahead of this. Assuming she has a therapist who has helped her during her recovery, it is important that she keeps those appointments throughout the holiday season. Is there an out-patient support group that she can link into virtually or in real life during this season? It is a challenging time for most people whether they are in recovery from disordered eating or not. Finding her natural supports and making sure they are in place during the next twelve weeks is important to helping her stay grounded in her recovery and healing space. Talk with her about what the Thanksgiving holiday may look like with her extended family. They may ask questions about her weight or make offensive remarks without realizing it. Practice with her on how to handle these comments or potential questions so she can feel prepared. It shouldn’t be on her to have to deal with this, but it’s important that she feels protected and loved. She’s also allowed to excuse herself at any point to take time for herself if being around the family becomes overwhelming or difficult. She doesn’t have to engage with anyone she doesn’t want to. If someone makes a comment, she is not obligated to answer or explain herself. While it’s true that you can’t control what people will say or do when you are together, you can shut it down or change the conversation if you hear anything that could be triggering for her. Don’t let this overshadow the immense joy of having her home and working on her recovery with you. This is truly a moment to be thankful for.
DEAR NATALIE: I run a successful media strategy company and am starting to build relationships with clients far outside of my social and professional network. A few organizations have recently approached me about becoming potential clients, but their beliefs are in opposition to mine politically. I’m not sure if I could help build a brand and provide a marketing strategy for someone whose values and messaging I didn’t support. I haven’t been in a situation like this before. I know that’s one of the benefits of being my own boss, but am I being too picky? Should I tell them that I don’t want to work with them because our views are different? This organization is extremely well connected and very well funded, so on paper I feel as though they’re a good client to have. But if my name were associated with them, I’m not sure how comfortable I would be. Should I just take what I can get and stop trying to be so ethical when it comes to business? – JUST WANTS TO MAKE MONEY
DEAR JUST WANTS TO MAKE MONEY: Do you live in the mindset of scarcity or abundance? I start there because a scarcity mindset will put you in a position where you think you must take anything that comes your way, while a mindset of abundance reminds you that there is more than enough out there for you. As someone who also works in consulting, I have built a business over the years working with people whose values align with my own. How can you sell something you don’t believe in? People can smell inauthenticity from a mile away. It’s like when a celebrity slaps their name on a product line with no real commitment. You can always tell who put their heart and soul into something and who was just there for a quick buck. While you may have to say “no” to some clients, what you are doing is making the space for the right clients. They will be the best and most long-lasting relationships.
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