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Are You Settling for Less Than You Deserve in Your Relationship?

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” ~Alexander Graham Bell

It was around six years ago that I faced the moment of truth. I was sitting on my meditation pillow, having spent the last few moments in deep contemplation about my current state of affairs. I was satisfied with practically every area of my life except for the one that meant the most to me—my love life.

About five months prior, my relationship with my boyfriend …

How to Hold a Broken Heart (So You Can Get Through It)

“Sometimes this broken heart gives birth to anxiety and panic, sometimes to anger, resentment, and blame. But under the hardness of that armor there is the tenderness of genuine sadness …This continual ache of the heart is a blessing that when accepted fully can be shared with all.” ~Pema Chodron

I remember a few years ago when I was going through a bad break-up. It wasn’t the longest relationship of my life or even the deepest. But it had so much potential and it ended in the most cursory of ways.

Already a few drinks deep, I FaceTimed …

An Ode to Solitude: The Beauty of Just Sitting

“I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.” ~Henry David Thoreau

Meditation makes you realize it’s not so much the silence as it is the not being around people that’s so profound. No human interaction, a human break if you will, is its own simple kind of joy.

Who knew that as a species who can’t function without the social ties of community, it is solitude that re-charges us and gives us the strength to go out into the big, bad world and interact with that lovely mess I like to call humanity?

In our hyper connected, …

How to Start Setting Boundaries and Prioritizing Your Needs

“You teach people how to treat you by what you allow, what you stop, and what you reinforce.” ~Tony Gaskins

I highly value being loyal, honest, empathetic, and supportive. I am also partial to advocating for the underdog. As a result, I have historically attempted to be a ‘hero’ in situations of difficulty, tension, conflict, or stress.

I take pride in being the person who others can turn to for support, guidance, and empathy after an upsetting experience.

When a friend was going through a troublesome period, I literally dropped everything to race to her and give her a hand. …

How to Regain Confidence After Someone Puts You Down

“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anyone.” ~Maya Angelou 

Have you ever been the recipient of put-downs, snide remarks, or hostile language?

If you have, your confidence may have suffered a significant nosedive.

I once attended a summer music camp for young musicians. I was studying the piano and enjoyed playing classical music, but I always had a deep fear of performing in front of others, especially other highly skilled musicians.

Desiring to overcome this crippling fear, I decided to audition for an upcoming recital. To my surprise, the audition went smoothly, and I qualified to …

Stop Looking for Signs and Trust Yourself

“Always try to remember that most of the things that happen in this world aren’t signs. They happen because they happen, and their only real significance lies in normal cause and effect. You’ll drive yourself crazy if you start trying to pry the meaning out of every gust of wind or rainsquall. I’m not denying that there might actually be a few signs that you won’t want to miss. Knowing the difference is the tricky part.” ~David Eddings

A few years ago I took the Buddhist precepts at a Zen monastery in northern California. At the end of the ceremony …

The Surprising Secret to Loving Your Body and Yourself

“Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” ~Louise L. Hay

Years ago, I had this friend. She was gorgeous and fit—and she ate whatever she wanted. A burger with the bread. A burrito, if she wanted it. She even ate (gasp!) pizza whenever she felt like it.

I was in awe.

How did she do it?

How was this possible?

What was her secret?

You see, I never allowed myself any of those things. I used to think that being happy and feeling good in your body …

3 Steps to Making an Intimate Relationship Work

“True closeness respects each other’s space.” ~Angelica Hopes

It was a Friday, the workweek had ended, and I was excited for my boyfriend to come home. (Okay, I’m talking about an ex-boyfriend—these steps took me time to implement…)

I’d gone grocery shopping and had two steaks to grill, with asparagus and a bottle of wine chilled.

I heard the garage door and the dog ran to meet him. I knew he would drop his briefcase and come to the kitchen to give me a hug. Then, he would take off his shoes and find the couch to decompress for …

A Simple Trick to Feel Less Anxious and More Confident

“Nothing in the affairs of men is worthy of great anxiety.” ~Plato

A few weeks ago, I was standing in front of a mirror in the women’s bathroom at work.

I could feel the cold sweat down my spine and was angry for not being able to gain a better control of myself. I attempted everything in the book—took deep breaths, closed my eyes, tried to calm down, counted slowly to fifty.

No change.

My anxiety was still running high, my pulse was rushing, and I looked as a frightened little bird trapped in a cage. The occasion? An …

Changing Directions: 6 Tips to Help You Do What’s Right for You

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” ~Lao Tzu

One month before my girlfriend, Sara, gave birth to our first child, we decided to move back to my small hometown to be close to my family.

This was a great moment for my family, especially for my mom and dad, who had given up hope of me moving back a decade ago.

I sold my apartment and we signed a rental lease in my hometown. Everything was set and good to go. Sara and I were happy, and we had a plan to …

The Pain Won’t Stop Until You Accept What Is

“Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be.” ~Sonia Ricotti

Life is sometimes ridiculously hard. It sucks. It rips out your heart and your entrails, spins them around the room, and stuffs them back in unceremoniously through the hole from which they were ripped.

And it expects you to smile and carry on. People expect you to carry on. Because that is what we think people do.

I felt like this a few years ago when my marriage ended. Luckily, I had good people around me. They didn’t expect that from me.

I,

How to Get Better at Something New Without Beating Yourself Up

“Stop beating yourself up. You are a work in progress, which means you get there a little at a time, not all at once.” ~Unknown

I love learning. I am fueled by acquiring new skills, understanding human behavior, and observing the beautiful gifts that the universe has for all of us, hopefully all in service of feeding my own curiosity as well as being a better contributor to the world.

I enjoy learning through different mediums—formal classes, reading, meeting new people, traveling, and taking on new challenges.

I have a professional background in analytics, insights, and storytelling and am currently …

25 Loving, Supportive Things to Tell Yourself Today

“Identify one supportive phrase you wish you heard more growing up. Every time you pass by a mirror today, look at yourself and say that.” ~from Tiny Buddha’s 365 Tiny Love Challenges

When I was a kid, an authority figure once told me, “If I was your age, I wouldn’t be your friend.”

I tried to act like I didn’t care so I wouldn’t give that person the satisfaction of knowing how deeply they hurt me.

But it hit me hard, and it stayed with me for years. Someone who was supposed to like me didn’t, so why would anyone …

7 Ways to Learn from Your Negative Thoughts

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.” ~Plutarch

I remember when I first learned about positive thinking. I was to observe my thoughts, then sort them into “useful” and “not useful.”

This made sense to me, and it surprised me how many “not useful” thoughts I encountered. On a daily basis, I was telling myself that I was not good enough, that things could never work out, and that I was on the verge of being fired from my job.

“Not useful, not useful,” my mind kept repeating. And yet the …

When Someone Shows You Who They Are, Believe Them

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” ~Maya Angelou

I remember first hearing these words in my early twenties. I heard them. I just didn’t follow them. Hence, I brought myself a whole lot of painful lessons and needless suffering because I always wanted to give people a second chance, and a third, and a fourth … You get the picture.

I was the girl who always saw the “potential” in people. The person they “could” be, with a little love and nurturing from yours truly. I considered myself to be one of the most …

10 Thinking Patterns That Can Fuel Depression

“Nothing can harm you as much as your own thoughts unguarded.” ~Buddha

You know the feeling …

When out of the blue your mood switches.

One moment you’re feeling upbeat and optimistic; next you’re feeling down in the dumps.

You can’t think clearly and struggle to put things into perspective. The bright outlook on life of a moment ago has vanished, and in its place now resides an intense longing for its return.

You feel disconnected, lost, and confused, and everything around you looks and feels dark and bleak. And even though you have no reason to feel this way, …

How to Meet Your Needs and Make Others Happy at the Same Time

No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” ~Buddha

We all want to be liked. It’s programmed into our DNA and throughout our lives the message is drummed into us loud and clear: put other people first, don’t blow your own horn, and above all, never be selfish.

Our society conditions us to tend to everybody else’s needs while ignoring our own, as if this is somehow a virtuous and noble vocation.

But what if I told you that you could take care of your own needs …

Now Is the Time to Appreciate Each Other and Enjoy Life

“If your forever was ending tomorrow, would this be how you’d want to have spent it? Listen, the truth is, nothing is guaranteed. You know that more than anybody. So don’t be afraid. Be alive.” ~Sarah Dessen

It was beginning to get dark. Lightning streaked across the cloudy sky above the ocean. The full force of the wind took the breath out of me as my eyes squinted from the heavy rainfall.

Waves rolled in to crash down in front of me, as if the ocean was screaming at me.

“Turn around, human. Go home!”

“Maybe I should,” I thought. …

Why We Can’t Be Happy All the Time

“Suffering is part of our training program for becoming wise.” ~Ram Dass

Suffering by definition: the state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship. As humans we typically strive for what we perceive the opposite of suffering, happiness: the state of being happy. Of course why wouldn’t you? Nobody wants to suffer.

For many years I looked at the two as separate states of being. I felt if I was happy I would not suffer. Conversely, if I was suffering I could not be happy. It was a simple focus and one I felt was personally achievable. Easy, right? Choose happiness.…

Why Self-Help Might Not Help, and What Will (Interview & Book Giveaway)

Update: The winners for this giveaway have been chosen. They are:

When I first found what looked like a self-help book called The End of Self-Help, I thought it was a tad ironic. And I wondered if perhaps the author was suggesting that self-help is inherently harmful.

As someone who’s bounced back from overwhelming adversity using some very powerful self-help tools, this didn’t quite sit right with me.

Then I decided to stop wondering what this book was all about and instead find out by reading it. I couldn’t be …