"If it's causing you more stress than it's worth... it's not worth it." - Yellow
Question #90934 posted on 02/06/2018 2:08 a.m.
Q:

Dear Luciana,

If you're comfortable sharing, what thoughts and experiences inform your relationship question answers? When people write in about being upset bc they want to date an active, righteous man, you write about how other men aren't evil and awful. When people ask about practical things they can do to work towards marriage, you talk about not changing yourself for others instead of advice such as talk to new people each day. You seem to have a different way of approaching these questions than other people. Is there a reason for that?

A:

Dear Reader,

I'm happy to answer your question, but first I want to clarify something. If I've ever written answers that seem to impugn marriage or the idea of dating a righteous man, I sincerely apologize. I am deeply envious of those who have found love and gotten married, and I never meant to communicate disdain for it. I am definitely in favor of a desire to marry and a desire to marry a man who shares your values, religious and otherwise. Again, I'm truly sorry if I ever came across as condescending towards those goals.

When I write answers, I attempt to address not only the reader's explicit question, but the thoughts and attitudes behind that question. Each reader is an individual person who's asking for individual advice, and I do my best to provide that. That means that at times I disagree with what I see as the reasoning behind a question, such as in BQ #90832, which you reference. And when I come across a point of view that I don't necessarily share, I usually think it might be beneficial to share an opposing point of view. To me, that is one of the main benefits of the Board, because the writers are a diverse group of people with a diversity of opinions. I'm aware that not all of my opinions will be the most popular, but in those instances I often feel they could be more beneficial, because deviance from the general point of view can provide a prospective that readers might not otherwise consider.

From a personal perspective, the times that I have been most miserable in my life have generally been the times that I've been basing my happiness on the man I'm interested in or the man I'm dating. Or, more generally, I've found that counting on the opinions of others has decreased my personal happiness. I get so enthused by the idea that someone likes me or appreciates me, and I rely too heavily on their opinion, which inevitably leads to pain and frustration. I consider myself a rational thinker, at least most of the time, so I've learned from those experiences and whenever possible I strive to be happy with myself. I'm not so arrogant as to consider myself above the opinions of others, and I certainly have many ways in which I can improve, but overall my goal is to be satisfied with myself even if other people don't seem to be embracing my countless charms. I find that's a much healthier perspective for me than focusing on how I can be more appealing to others, therefore that's the advice I attempt to share with readers. It may at times come across as arrogant or self-righteous, but that's not my intention. My ultimate goal is for people to be happy, and to me it seems like a strong sense of self-love and self-worth is a strong basis for personal happiness.

I hope that sharing my perspective hasn't offended you, because there seems to be a note of indignation in your question. I try not to answer relationship questions as the sole writer, because I don't want my bluntness or disagreement to cause offense. Like in the question above, I throw in my perspective because I feel it adds something to the answers already provided by my fellow writers, who are thoughtful and wonderful and usually offer incredible advice. I can't identify any specific reasons that my thoughts or opinions differ from theirs, nor can I say definitively that my advice is any better. Quite the opposite, actually. Many Board writers are truly amazing people that I deeply admire, and I'm pretty sure they're all better people than I am. But nevertheless, sometimes I do think that a dose of Luciana-style self-reflection or cynicism would enhance the overall quality of the answers provided, or at least give additional cause for reflection.

I may not be the most popular writer, and I may not always share the thoughts that readers were expecting. But I am doing my best to help people when I answer their questions, so I hope that intention comes through.

Love,

Luciana