“Letting go doesn’t mean giving up, but rather accepting that there are things that cannot be.” ~Unknown
You two are family. Maybe you grew up with them and were by their side for a huge chunk of their life. There was a lot of laughing, crying, and sharing. Some fighting too.
You know how their brain works probably better than anyone else. But sometimes, in adulthood, those closest to you can become unrecognizable—estranged, cold, and careless. For no apparent reason, you find yourself shut out of their life. Your peace-feelers are increasingly rejected. You’ve been left out in the cold.…
“You don’t suffer because you have thoughts. You suffer because you judge them, resist them, believe them, wallow in them, or identify with them.” ~Unknown
At one point in my life, I wondered, “Will things always be this way?”
So rushed, with barely a moment to call my own. Current events swirling around, reflecting the worst side of humanity. Lost under the weight of my to-do lists, financial worries, and deadlines.
I barely knew where my thoughts stopped and I started. Would I always be this anxious, irritated, distracted, and isolated from those around me? Even from loved ones?…
“Sometimes it takes an overwhelming breakdown to have an unbelievable breakthrough.” ~Unknown
I had hit rock bottom.
Now that means different things to different people, so let me explain what my rock bottom meant.
I’ll start with my physical health. I was underweight, about twenty-five pounds. My face looked gaunt and scrawny.
I was hypertensive, even though I was eating a healthy diet. I also had severe eczema. The itching was so bad that I woke up in the middle of the night with my legs covered in blood from the scratching.
The only thing that helped make the …
“A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because its trust is not on the branch, but in its own wings. Always believe in yourself.” ~Unknown
If you’ve ever stopped and thought, “What the hell am I doing?” or “How did I end up here?” believe me when I tell you that you are one of many—including me.
Feeling lost is stressful enough, but what about when we disappoint ourselves more than anyone around us? What do we do when we have no sense of direction or purpose, and dwindling confidence in ourselves?
“In today’s rush, we all think too much, seek too much, want too much and forget about the joy of just being.” ~Eckhart Tolle
We’re going to start with a visualization exercise. Set a timer for one minute, close your eyes, and reflect on your happiest childhood memories…
I was born into a family of wanderers, individuals who held a deeply rooted love of travel, and an even deeper sense of adventure. My happiest childhood memories are the times when we packed up our suitcases and hit the road (or the sky or the sea).
In the quiet stillness of …
“Sometimes walking away is the only option because you finally respect yourself enough to know that you deserve better.” ~Unknown
When I was cheated on, I was hit by an ongoing blizzard of conflicting emotions.
There were the initial tears that I failed to hide from anyone. There was a cold ruthlessness as I told her that I couldn’t be with her after what she did. There was a wave of misery, there was a wave of anger, and all of it was dotted with periodic moments of calm and even gratitude that she was finally out of my life.…
“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it. Be aware of the thoughts you are thinking.” ~Eckhart Tolle
One of the first ideas I learned in law school was “the reasonable third person,” a legal fiction created to help figure out if someone has acted unreasonably. There’s no clear-cut definition, so I spent a lot of energy arguing what a reasonable person would do. This hypothetical person haunted my law school exams, and later, my career.
But I realized the reasonable third person could teach me something beyond the courtroom. I could apply that …
“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them.” ~Rumi
My first diagnosis of depression came at the age of fifteen. Depression runs in my family; it wasn’t a case of overmedicating. It was genuine, and the black dog has followed me all my life.
I’ve been on eight different antidepressants and a handful of anti-anxiety drugs. I’ve been in and out of therapist offices and hospitals for most of my life, and I expect that I’ll continue to do so.
My mindset (and that of my family and doctors) was that depression is an adversary to be defeated. If …
“One of the most freeing things we learn in life is that we don’t have to like everyone, everyone doesn’t have to like us, and it’s perfectly okay.” –Unknown
I grew up a people pleaser. It was drilled into me from childhood that it was very important to be aware of what other people thought of me and my actions at all times. Growing up in the south, keeping up with appearances is something that becomes a part of your identity.
While I enjoy the part of Southern upbringing that taught me to always be polite, the part …
“Growth begins when we start to accept our own weakness.”
I got fired from my job, my boyfriend left me, and my father died in one day.
In reality, my career was going super well, I didn’t have a boyfriend, and my father was amazingly healthy, but what I did have was something I call an ultra amazing imagination, where I would make up fascinating stories about things that could happen and worry about them. (Or as other people call it, general anxiety disorder.)
I met my now BFF anxiety when I was about ten years old. Initially, …
“In each of us lie good and bad, light and dark, art and pain, choice and regret, cruelty and sacrifice… No one can live in the light all the time.” ~Libba Bray
Happiness, and the quest for it, is not all it’s cracked up to be. What I mean is that I think we’re making a mistake in reaching only for happiness, lightness, good days, and good moods.
I think that we’re restricting ourselves.
We’re fishing in an ocean of emotions, looking to only reel in one or two kinds, throwing back the ones we don’t want without even noticing …
“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.” ~Alexander Pope
Growing up, I had a wonderful relationship with my mother. We did all the usual mother-daughter things together—went shopping, had brunch—and we supported each other when my father left.
In 2011, I was happily pregnant. I felt supported by my family and ready to take on motherhood. My husband and I were elated by the birth of our little boy.
It’s fair to say that I may have been a little naïve about what was to come. I knew it would be hard work, but I …
“Friends are the family we choose for ourselves.” ~Edna Buchanan
A few years ago I ended all contact with my parents, and I have not seen or spoken to them since then.
The truth is I am actually okay with that. Initially, I thought I was going to lose my mind. I had been brought up to believe that family comes first. Children should respect and take care of their parents. Family should—and will—always be there for each other.
Those beliefs were based on love, and I cherished them.
I wanted so much to feel that connection—that unconditional love those …
“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.” ~Karen Kaiser Clark
Of all the people who have passed through my life over the years, the one person I remember the most was this old, ornery man who seemed to have the personality of a mule. Stubborn to the core, with a straightforward approach to everything, Phil was a difficult man to like, yet I learned to love him.
Phil didn’t speak much, but when he did, it came from the heart. He grew up in the mid thirties, in a rough Detroit neighborhood, composed mainly of Irish immigrants. In Phil’s …
“Worry less, smile more. Don’t regret, just learn and grow.” ~Unknown
The day finally came when my heart was strong enough to speak up.
I had spent many years trying to be the calm, sensible one. The one who would try to rationalize my sister’s behavior just to keep the peace.
For years the strategy was to keep everything in its place and accept what was said, done, or requested. The day finally came when the weight of accepting the burden was too much to bear.
No amount of talking would convince my sister that I was being reasonable. It …
“Patience is passion tamed.”~Lyman Abbott
It was 2:13am. My skin stuck to the bed sheets as I realized I was lying awake, listening to my belabored heartbeat. This was the first physical anxiety attack I had ever experienced—one that I hope won’t be repeated. And it happened only two nights ago.
Apparently, the past two years have been more intense than I realized. It’s quite obvious, really, when you see that I’ve failed to write much, for Tiny Buddha or my own blog, in that time.
I wish I could say that I’ve been too busy accomplishing goals, or …
“To thine own self be true.” ~William Shakespeare
No one knows the real you but you. Sometimes it is true that we don’t know ourselves. That’s because we’ve lost ourselves, or maybe because we never knew ourselves to begin with.
I grew up a long time ago on a hill on Bentley road in Puyallup, Washington. I was a very quiet, shy, and reserved little girl. Today, I am a forty-two-year-old woman. I am still introverted, but I am learning to be more assertive.
As a co-dependent people pleaser, I grew up with a lot of self-doubt and …