The answer graphic

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I am hugely grateful to Alex, Mary and Carol Chris Hudson for their compassionate comments about Becky’s big question. Becky had asked how she can possibly leave the kind of lucrative job she has but hates while her family depends on her for support. Alex encouraged Becky to involve her family, so she doesn’t turn into a “martyr” and, Carol added, so as to include and empower the family in decisions affecting them all. Mary encourages Becky to do as she does, pursuing her passions elsewhere and treating herself to massages, inspiring books, a women’s group. Carol said her family found they could live modestly so long as they were “rich in love.”

Here is what I’d written to Becky before the comments came in:

Yours is a wrenching question, dear Becky, with no easy answers but many possible ways to proceed. I strongly recommend you find a life coach/spiritual mentor (which I used to be, but am no longer) to help you work through what is true and possible for you. Please spend some of that good money you make to get help untying your knot.

You are right it takes immense courage to face the fear of not having enough, especially when you’ve assumed responsibility for so many other people. The first question to ask yourself might be whether you need to shoulder so much. Have you too often said yes when your heart and gut said no? If so, that’s a habit it takes time to reverse. But it can and must be done before you do serious damage to yourself—body, mind and spirit. You must unravel what you have created as gracefully as you can, which is where that coach will come in handy.

You could “just walk away,” as you say, but why not set the stage to make it easier on YOU?

Specific questions you might consider: Is it really necessary for you to be the sole support for your parents? If you are an only child and they have no income and no way to create any, the answer may be yes. But if they have social security and Medicare (or disability payments), couldn’t they learn to live more simply while you explore new options? Could either of them work? Or if you have siblings or other relatives with means, could they be asked to help?

And what about your husband? Unless the kids are babies (and maybe if they are), they could be in day care. Or hey, unless your parents are seriously ill or disabled, couldn’t they help with their grandkids as you help support them? And how about a job for your husband, part-time, working from home, even if he has the kids? Bottom line: Assuming it’s a good marriage, please begin by talking with your husband about what you told me. If he is a person worthy of you, then he should be horrified by your situation and want to help you transition to a more fulfilling life.

I am sure it would be in the interest of your whole family for you to explore where your true passions lie. If you have an inkling, set aside time and money now to take steps you’re inspired to take, however small, to move in the direction of giving up your job and doing what you love. The world cannot afford for someone like you who knows better, someone with a Buddhist practice, to let fear drive her away from her heart’s desires and her soul’s deepest needs.

I send all love and support. The good news is you sound ready to do what you need to do for the sake of all. Please know that you have more courage than you can possibly imagine, and that if you line up with the universe by following your heart, the universe will line up with you. A final question for you: Is a wealthy, unhappy mother, wife and daughter a better mother, wife and daughter than a happy one who may need to struggle for a while to make ends meet?

About the Author: Suzanne Grenager

A seasoned writer and mentor with a gift for helping people see and be their most authentic, empowered Self.

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