Don’t Miss Our “In The Mood For Love” Contest! Details Below 

We asked fans of our agony aunt Dear Thelma to pose some serious questions about who she is, what she does and how she manages. Here are her comebacks!

Dear Thelma, what are your thoughts about love and romance?

Thelma Says: Where do I start?! OK, the No. 1 observation I have is this: A lot of people mess up their relationships because they don’t think of each other with respect. They treat each other badly and then wonder why they can’t find love. If you’re loving, respectful and loyal to your partner, you’ll have a happy, loving, supportive relationship.

Dear Thelma, do you pray for the people who write in, as you say you do?

Thelma Says: I say “I’ll be thinking of you” and I do wonder how people get along. Part of me would love to write and ask, but therapist me says it crosses the line and would be intrusive. Sometimes though, people do write back. I love that!

Dear Thelma, do you have sleepless nights thinking about the questions you receive?

No, because my training has helped me learn to let go. If I didn’t have that skill, I’d burn out. However, I do think about the people who write in. Sometimes, even months later I may read about a new approach or perspective. I would love to write back and say, “Hey, if my advice didn’t work, you gotta read this!” Sadly, I can’t do that.

Dear Thelma, what’s the most bizarre problem you’ve come across, and do you wonder if people cook up these issues for attention?

I strongly suspect that some of the letters are cooked up by readers who want to tease me! Those letters tend to pose classic moral dilemmas. As for bizarre, I wouldn’t ever use that word about someone’s pain. It’s very sad how tangled our lives can become, and I do hope that I offer hope as well as some useful approaches to managing them.

Dear Thelma, who do you go to for advice?

I talk to my husband, my mum, my brother, and close friends about personal things. For other issues, I consult casual friends and acquaintances who I think have special insight, knowledge or training. If I need direction professionally, I’ll ask a noted expert to mentor or guide me. I’m not shy that way.

Dear Thelma, would you take your own advice?

Absolutely! In fact, a lot of my standard advice comes from the rules I live by. Mind you, what works for me might not work for you. It’s OK to answer letters from my own perspective because I offer advice, not therapy. But if we were working together I might share what works for me, but the focus would be on what works for you.

Dear Thelma, do you get upset when you see readers criticise your advice on social media?

Funny you should ask that. No, I don’t. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. But I’ trying to understand why I’m not upset because so many people are stressed, depressed or otherwise hurt by negative social media. I’d like to be more efficient in helping them.

Dear Thelma, how do I love myself?

Stop all those judging voices inside your head! Consider who you are, warts and all, good and bad, and accept that whole package lovingly. It doesn’t mean you don’t work on yourself. We’re always evolving, but be as kind to yourself as you would to your best friend. Also, I think it helps to have a good laugh.

For example, I can be awfully impatient and it makes me snappy. I’ve tried to improve and I hope I have, but when I feel that tell-tale twitchy feeling rise that signals trouble, I don’t get upset or think that I’m failing or a bad person. Instead, I take a step back.

I say, “Yup, there’s impatient me! Impatience is useful when I’m harnessing that drive to get things done, but it also jams me up when I’m communicating. So, stop already!” And then I laugh at myself.

Dear Thelma, do you read other advice columns?

Yes! I love them! I enjoy and learn from seeing how other people think and approach problems. It doesn’t matter who writes them, whether it’s psychologists, celebrities, lawyers, doctors, activists and journos – it’s all interesting. But I especially love advice columns from different countries and communities because of how cultural differences affect perspective.

Thelma

Thelma’s 10 Rules For A Loving Relationship:

1. Start and finish every day by saying “I love you”.

2. Nurture each other. Unconditional love and kindness feed the soul.

3. Never disrespect your partner – not to your friends, your family, online or anywhere.

4. Never allow anyone else to disrespect your partner in front of you – not your parents, your best friend, nobody. That includes nastiness disguised as “jokes” and “advice”.

5. Pursuing hobbies means you’re constantly refreshing yourself and it gives you lots to talk about. Encourage each other to have fun.

6. You don’t need to love each other’s friends. Have “his friends”, “her friends” and “our friends”.

7. Needs and feelings aren’t always clear and they can change over time. As mind reading is for fantasy novels, have regular long, loving heart-to-heart conversations.

8. If you can’t be honest and open with each other, your love won’t survive. But say difficult things nicely and don’t be mad at each other after that.

9. You cannot “win” a fight. If there’s a problem, talk it out as respectful loving equals.

10. Share the boring, dirty and difficult jobs equally. Or hire someone to do them.


“In The Mood For Love” Contest 

StarLifestyle brings you love stories every day from Valentine’s Day to Chap Goh Meh (the other Valentine’s Day) on Feb 19. The 15th day of the first lunar month is all about finding love, so it’s only fitting that we celebrate love all week!

Read our stories, then go to our Facebook (facebook.com/starlifestyle) or Instagram (instagram.com/starlifestylemy) page to join our special “In The Mood For Love” contest, by winning a pair of Longines Hydroconquest watches worth RM10,000 for you and someone you love.

How To Win At Love!
1. Collect a question daily from Feb 14-19 based on the love stories. You must answer all six (6) questions.
2. Complete this slogan: Love is ….. (in not more than 50 words).
3. Email all six answers and slogan to star2@thestar.com.my by Feb 20. Include your full name, MyKad number and contact number, and don’t forget to add “In The Mood For Love Contest” in the subject field.

Terms & Conditions
1. The contest is open to all residents in Malaysia except for employees of the Star Media Group Berhad and members of their immediate families.
2. The prize cannot be exchanged for cash.
3. By participating in this contest, participants are deemed to have agreed to all rules and regulations of this contest. The Star reserves the right to alter/change/add/cancel any terms & conditions of contest without prior notice.
4. Judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entertained.