DEAR HARRIETTE: For most of my life, I have not gotten along with my brother. He always had to be the macho guy and have the last word. I used to think that we would stop communicating entirely when our parents died. In the past year, though, things have changed a lot. When we talk, the conversations are pleasant. No longer am I the only one who calls; he calls me, too. It’s almost like he is another person. I am afraid to trust that the way he is behaving now is real, but he has been kind to me for almost a whole year. Should I believe that he has changed, or should I keep my guard up? I want to have a relationship with my brother, but I’m nervous that he could hurt my feelings again. He used to be really mean to me. -- Time To Forgive
DEAR TIME TO FORGIVE: It seems that your brother is making the effort to have a positive relationship with you. Why not take his behavior at face value and be present? You don’t have to let your guard down completely, but you can live in the moment and experience whatever happens. Who knows why he has decided to show up in your life? Enjoy it. Choose to engage him when he calls, and continue to call him. Holding on to grudges based on what happened in the past will not serve you or him. Deciding to engage with good intentions instead of judgment may continue to yield positive results.