“A proper grown-up communicates clearly and assertively.”
This is something I have heard many people say.
By that definition, I wouldn’t have classed as a proper grown-up for most of my life.
There was a time when I couldn’t even ask someone for a glass of water. I know that might seem crazy to some people, and for a long time I did feel crazy for it.
Why couldn’t I do the things others did without even thinking about it? Why couldn’t I just say what I needed to say? Why couldn’t I just be normal?
Those questions would …
“And some days life is just hard. And some days are just rough. And some days you just gotta cry before you move forward. And all of that is okay.” ~Unknown
I have always struggled with low moods. I guess that considering that I spent close to twenty years of my life inactive and depressed, this could be seen as progress. But that still didn’t feel good enough.
I wanted to feel more balanced, light, and happy, and I wanted to achieve it in natural ways without having to take any kind of medication since that hadn’t worked for …
“As traumatized children, we always dreamed that someone would come and save us. We never dreamed that it would, in fact, be ourselves as adults.” ~Alice Little
Like most people, I used to run away from my pain.
I did it in lots of different and creative ways.
I would starve myself and only focus on what I could and couldn’t eat based on calories.
I would make bad choices for myself and then struggle with the consequences, not realizing that I had made any choice at all. It all just seemed like bad luck. Really bad luck.
Or I …
I remember the first time it dawned on me that I was in an unhealthy relationship. Not just one that was difficult and annoying but one that could actually be described as “toxic.”
It was at a training event for a sexual abuse charity I worked for. I immediately felt like a fraud!
How could I be working there, helping other women get out of their unhealthy relationships and process their pain and trauma, but not realize how unhealthy my own relationship was?
How did I not know?
Typically, as I had always done, I beat myself up over …
“You are very powerful provided you know how powerful you are.” ~Yogi Bhajan
For most of my life, I felt that life was happening to everyone else and I just got to watch.
Someone else’s parents came to see their high school graduation and celebrated with them. I walked home alone.
Other people went to their own university graduation. I didn’t even bother turning up and had my certificate sent to me.
Other people dated and experienced what it’s like to spend their time with a variety of people in an attempt to find out who suits them and who …
“Once we make our relationship choices in an adult way, a prospective partner who is unavailable, nonreciprocal, or not open to processing feelings and issues, becomes, by these very facts, unappealing. Once we love ourselves, people no longer look good to us unless they are good for us.” ~David Ricco
One thing I particularly love is caring about someone and loving them. Being able to do so gives me a great sense of connection, satisfaction, and purpose. It’s fulfilling, life-enhancing, and simply feels wonderful.
All my life I’ve chased relationships so that I could get the love I need. …
EDITOR’S NOTE: You can find a number of helpful coronavirus resources and all related Tiny Buddha articles here.
“Mental health is just as important as physical health.” ~Unknown
Our main focus during this challenging time is quite rightly on our physical well-being. But we shouldn’t forget about our mental health considering these are stressful times for all of us.
Will we get sick?
Will our loved ones die?
Will we have enough food to feed the family?
How will we pay the bills?
Will things ever get back to normal?
So many questions, so many worries.
Worrying used to …
“It’s all about falling in love with yourself and sharing that love with someone who appreciates you, rather than looking for love to compensate for a self-love deficit.” ~Eartha Kitt
I always found the concept of self-love embarrassing and horrifying. Just thinking about it would make me cringe. It felt completely wrong, and I didn’t understand what it was all about. Quite frankly, I felt disgusted by it and thought it was a new-age invention by self-centerd people who wanted to have more opportunities to be selfish.
Sure, I was young then, but I can now also see how that …
“The moment you take personal responsibility for everything in your life is the moment you can change anything in your life.” ~Hal Elrod
I’m an introspective person, and at this point in my life don’t have any problems with taking personal responsibility. When I share my insights or understanding of situations I have been in, people often say, “Marlena, why are you so hard on yourself? What about the people that have wronged and harmed you? Why do you never mention them?”
For most of my life, I was trapped in a victim mindset, which meant that I focused …
“Any relationship that could be ‘ruined’ by having a conversation about feelings, standards, or expectations wasn’t really firm enough anyway, so there isn’t much to ruin.” ~Unknown
So many of us believe that not expressing ourselves is a noble thing to do. We get to feel stoic and in control. Others get emotional and overwhelmed while we can keep it together. The idea that we are strong because we don’t express our feelings is also socially reinforced, so we keep doing it because it’s the right thing to do, right?
In my previous blog post “The Negative …
I grew up in a family of high-functioning addicts. We looked like the perfect family, but as we all know, looks can be deceiving. No one was addicted to drugs, so that obviously meant that we had no problems. Cigarettes, alcohol, food, and work don’t count, right?
I have come to realize that what we are addicted to is nowhere near as important as the admission that we’re addicted to something. When we try to make ourselves feel better by telling ourselves that gambling or porn or beer is nowhere near as bad as crack or heroin, we are …
“If the only thing people learned was not to be afraid of their experience, that alone would change the world.” ~Sidney Banks
I spent most of my life scared of my feelings. Having feelings and expressing them made me mentally ill—or so I was led to believe by a large number of mental health professionals. When I felt sad, they labeled me as depressed. When I showed any signs of anxiety, they gave me another list of mental health disorders I needed medication for. And if I was angry? Oh well, that was the absolute worst. That clearly proved …
Most of us grow up believing that one day a handsome prince or beautiful princess will come our way and lead us into a life of “happily ever after.” No one knows what’s going to happen, but we’re certain it will be magical. We spend our childhoods desperate to grow up so that our lives can finally start when we meet “the one.”
The one who will make us happy. The one who will take all our cares away. The one who will love us, and only us, forever and ever.
Finally, we will be wanted and desired. We will …
“The emotional wounds and negative patterns of childhood often manifest as mental conflicts, emotional drama, and unexplained pains in adulthood.” ~Unknown
I am a firm believer in making the unconscious conscious. We cannot influence what we don’t know about. We cannot fix when we don’t know what’s wrong.
I made many choices in my life that I wouldn’t have made had I recognized the unconscious motivation behind them, based on my childhood conditioning.
In the past, I beat myself up over my decisions countless times. Now I feel that I needed to make these choices and have these experiences so …
“Express yourself. There is nothing to fear. There is nothing to lose. There is just you being lived.” ~Marlena Tillhon
Writing is one of my biggest passions. I have always wanted to be a writer. But I have a fear of writing. Or so I thought.
I see writing as self-expression. It is an act of bravery to me. Allowing others to see my inner workings feels scary to me because I could look incompetent. They might think I’m wrong. They might think less of me. I could be ridiculed and not taken seriously. I may get rejected and feel …