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How to Stop Trying to Fit In and Finally Belong

“Perhaps home is not a place, but simply an irrevocable condition.” ~James Baldwin

It’s normal, isn’t it?

Wanting to be accepted. Longing to feel at home. Hoping for that reassuring up-nod from the universe that says, “You’re one of us. And you get to stay.”

So you try to fit in wherever it feels right. You get the job everyone approves of. You marry the person you’re supposed to. You say yes most of the time. And you’re as good as you’re supposed to be.

You’ve jumped through every hoop and worn all the right masks, but it seems that

How to Stay Calm in Frustrating Situations (Even if You Have Zero Patience)

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” ~Buddha

Uh-oh, you did it again.

You fell into the same trap as last week.

Perhaps someone was driving in front of you going 20 in a 55 mph zone, or maybe you received terrible customer service and couldn’t get your refund.

So you snapped and lost your temper.

Whatever the reason for your explosive reaction, you haven’t yet found a way to keep control and remain calm.

Becoming impatient and losing your temper

When You Feel Pressured and Overwhelmed by Possibilities

“Ego says, ‘Once everything falls into place, I’ll feel peace.’ Spirit says, ‘Find your peace, and then everything will fall into place.’” ~Marianne Williamson

I have exhausted myself with my own expectations. The pressure I have put on myself to be a certain person is consuming my thoughts and eating away at my soul.

I imagine a point in my life when I’ll have it all together, and I feel a sting in my chest that this has not happened yet.

I think about the milestones that might get me there and the things that have led me astray. I …

5 Love Lessons to Help Your Relationship Thrive

“Some people come into your life as blessings. Others come into your life as lessons.” ~Mother Teresa

Going by experience, I should have been petrified of men and marriage.

Forced into an arranged marriage at twenty, something that is common in India, it took me over a decade to draw up the courage to leave a toxic, abusive situation and to chart my own path in a conservative society, with two little kids to fend for.

But due to an inner conviction in the workings of a larger universe, I somehow made it through with my sense of wonder (and …

You Were (and Are) More Beautiful Than You Think

“Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.” ~Kahlil Gibran

Does a loved one have a favorite photo of you? A photo by their bedside or on their screensaver that reminds them of a special time and place and memory?

Can I also hazard a guess that this isn’t your favorite photo of yourself? I bet you look at yourself critically and dislike how your face looks, or maybe your body is not cast in its most flattering light. I was reminded of this recently, and it made me think of how I view photos …

How to Heal Your Relationship with Your Body in 5 Words

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

There I was, reading yet another diet book.

It was the spring of 2013. I was routinely doing intense workouts in my living room at 5AM. Then I would go teach group fitness classes later in the day. By that point, I had tried all kinds of diets. In fact, I had lost count.

As I sat there in front of the latest book, looking for someone to finally give me the answer, the words began to …

Imagine Living a Life You Don’t Need to Escape From

“Instead of wondering when our next vacation is we should set up a life we don’t need to escape from.” ~Seth Godin

I was a senior human resources professional at the biggest company in New Zealand. I had a great team of people, a flash company car, and got to stay at the posh hotels and dine at the nicest restaurants.

I was paid more than I thought I’d ever earn, I had a house overlooking the beach, and got to vacation at some fantastic destinations. My life had all the hallmarks of success from the outside, but inside there …

10 Mistakes To Avoid When Chasing Your Dream

“We dream to give ourselves hope. To stop dreaming—well, that’s like saying you can never change your fate.” ~Amy Tan

Pursuing dreams…

How you wish it were a smooth ride. Right?

The twists and curves you’ve encountered may have left you full of negative thoughts and doubting your ability to succeed.

In fact, you may be accepting your situation as fate and settling for defeat.

But don’t give up yet!

To keep your dreams alive, you must avoid making certain mistakes. You must realize that you’re the pilot, and you can take charge of your dreams and fly to places …

How To Wake Up Feeling Confident, Relaxed, And Productive

“Morning is wonderful. Its only drawback is that it comes at such an inconvenient time of day.” ~Glen Cook

Beep! Beep! Beep!

Time’s up.

You’ve got twenty minutes to shower, get dressed, eat, and get to work.

Screw it—skip the shower today. And you can wait till lunch to eat.

Go! Go! Go!

We all know the feeling. These mornings suck.

From the moment you wake up you’re in a constant rush to get ready for work and out the door on time.

By the time you arrive you’re stuck in a frenzied state of mind, never able to settle …

Dealing with Anger Storms Without Causing Destruction

“Anger is like a storm rising up from the bottom of your consciousness. When you feel it coming, turn your focus to your breath.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

There is an elderly lady—I’ll call her Ms. A—living in my mum’s village. She regularly shouts at people as they pass by her house walking their dogs.

She can be quite intimidating really. She even followed my mother up the road on one occasion, much to Mum’s alarm. My mum, unlike me, now avoids walking past her house, even though it’s a good route for her to take when walking her dog.

Ms. …

Why We Should All Stop Trying to Be Good Enough

“Only something as insane as human beings would ever asked themselves if ‘I’m good.’ You don’t find oak trees having existential crisis. ‘I feel so rotten about myself. I don’t produce as much acorns as the one next to me.’” ~Adyashanti

The feeling of not being good enough is widespread among the population regardless of age or social status. Even people who, from society’s standards, are highly successful may very well feel they are not good enough and that something is missing.

For most of my life, I suffered from that feeling of not being good enough.

When I joined …

5 Life-Changing Lessons You’re Never Too Old to Learn

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” ~Confucius

My son was only a year and a half old when I left his father and began my journey as a single parent. I never in a million years thought I would be raising my child alone. But away I went, with no clue as to what I was doing. I figured I’d learn as I went.

I knew I wasn’t going to be one of those moms that are too strict, too overbearing, and too controlling. I wanted my child to grow up with some freedom, some …

Dealing with Verbal Attacks: 6 Ways to Take the Sting Out of an Insult

“Pain can change you, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a bad change. Take that pain and turn it into wisdom.” ~Unknown

Sometimes other people’s words can stir up very painful emotions in us.

Do you remember when you felt so disempowered by someone’s remarks that you froze on the spot and couldn’t think of anything to say back to them?

Or maybe you did say something, but it was so lame that you wished afterward you’d kept your mouth shut and just sucked it all up.

This happened to me recently when I was helping someone and, …

5 Lessons from a Dog on Overcoming Life’s Hardest Challenges

“A challenge only becomes an obstacle when you bow to it.” ~Ray Davis

I remember very clearly the first moment I saw our dog, Carmichael, or Carmy, as we called her for short.

One tiny pup in a litter of eight Golden Retrievers, it was love at first sight, and I knew she was “the one.” As the years progressed, she became my best friend, confidante, and companion. We were inseparable.

Opening the front door when returning from school, she would be there waiting, wagging her tail, with the biggest grin on her face.

She would patiently wait for me …

You Can’t Make Someone Love or Commit to You

“It hurts to let go, but sometimes it hurts more to hold on.” ~Unknown

When we’re deep into something it’s hard to see clearly and to hear advice from others. It’s hard to focus on a solution when we are consumed with the problem.

It’s the difference between playing and watching a game of chess. It’s so much easier to see checkmate when you’re not the one playing the game.

That’s what happened to me for the last five years.

I spent every breathing moment consumed with a man, unable to listen to those who watched me struggle. I spent …

How to Find Real, Lasting Love Without Looking for It

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” ~Carl Jung

Often when people want a new relationship, they either look for someone to complete them or they imagine sharing their life with someone just like them. So they try to present themselves in the best possible light for their imagined future partner—either as one perfect half of a whole or as an ideal version of what they believe their future partner will want.

In my experience, finding your soul mate requires a different, far more soul-enriching approach. Here are six steps that worked for me:

1.

Enjoy the Little Things: How to Find the Sacred in Everyday Life

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” ~Robert Brault

One of the things I love about the Native American spiritual path is the focus on appreciating the simple things in life.

Simple things are often hard to relate to in today’s world of overwhelm.

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, says we human beings currently create as much information in two days as we did from the dawn of civilization up through 2003!

And yet our bodies were, and still are, designed to be in tune with the sun, …

Stop Beating Yourself Up: 40 Ways to Silence Your Inner Critic

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

If you’re anything like I used to be, your inner critic packs a powerful punch.

You’ve got a vicious voice bad mouthing you for much of the day. And when it’s in one of those moods, wow, are you going to suffer.

It’s no wonder you feel small, disappointed, and ashamed of who you are.

It’s the reason you lie in bed at night feeling like a failure, convinced you’re a nobody, certain you’re a serial mistake …

6 Things to Keep in Mind When You’re Trying to Make New Friends

“No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.” ~Alice Walker

When I was young, I never actively wanted friends, probably because I didn’t know the benefits of having strong friendships. I got along fine in my social circle in high school, in part because I could translate Latin more quickly than my classmates, which was helpful to some of them, and because I was pleasant enough.

I wasn’t going to get on anyone’s nerves, at least not on purpose. In fact, I was so careful not to be a bother to anyone …

Awakening to Life and Love After a Devastating Loss

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” ~Ernest Hemingway  

For years I cursed spring.

During that time my heart woke to the bitterness of life. In the harsh frost of winter my anguish and the season were one, a climate where I felt safe, cocooned in a blanket of grief, a camouflage that ensconced me from the world outside.

Like grief, winter brings the bitter cold to our life, and those withered months drenched in sorrow tasted natural.

In the time I lingered frozen in my shroud of despair, spring had arrived, with feathered …