Ask Mikey Michelle Arana

Dear Mikey,

Lately, I have witnessed a family member go through some very difficult circumstances in her life. I as well as a few of my other family members have offered her help throughout the last few years off and on, and whether she has taken it or not, she always ends up just burning more bridges than she did before we offered our help. It got so bad to where she has burned so many bridges that we do not want to offer her help anymore because we feel like she would just continue to take advantage of us.

This time, she got herself in a real mess to where there is nothing we can do for her except pray. Although she burned her bridge with me, it is extremely difficult to watch someone that I care about finally hit that brick wall we have all been trying to prevent her from hitting for all of these years.

Some family members are being very judgmental with how her choices have led her up to this point in her life; however, I will have to disagree with their judgment. Lately, although I am very frustrated with the family member, I have tried to put myself in her shoes to try to attempt to grasp an understanding as to why she made all of the choices she did.

Do you think it is wrong for all of us to judge her? Or do we have a right because we have witnessed her downfall all of these years?

— Looking for empathy in the family

Dear Looking for empathy in the family,

From time to time, we are all guilty of judging others. Although we might not mean to do it, sometimes we even accidentally judge before we even realize we are doing it. The important thing is to stop judging once we catch ourselves doing it — easier said than done.

On the surface, things often appear to be a certain way that comes obvious to the naked eye. However, how can anyone know for sure what is really going on with a person without actually witnessing their behavior firsthand?

That’s just it. No one knows what is really going on inside of a person.

A person can come off always happy and have a positive attitude but behind closed doors, they could really be sad and lonely and no one would ever know unless they witnessed it.

Perhaps there is more to the story with your family member than she lets you all know about. You guys might see something and think there is a simple solution, but if she’s not telling you guys everything or showing you guys everything, then perhaps the solution is not so simple for her after all.

Praying is the best thing you guys can do for your family member right now. It seems like you guys have offered help and it hasn’t worked, so perhaps it is time to let go.

We can all judge one another based on what we all see on the surface. Just remember that what you see is not always what you get and instead of judging others, perhaps it is time that we try to put ourselves in their shoes for once. After all, there is only one person that has the right to judge and frankly, it is not any one of us.

• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Michelle “Mikey” Arana is a 2003 graduate of Mountain Pointe High School. She offers free peer advice, however, Mikey is not licensed or trained, just a fellow friend to the community. All inquiries made to Mikey will remain anonymous unless legal issues occur. She can be reached at

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