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Dramatically Improve your Relationships by Becoming a Team

“We may have all come in different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.

I once had a totally commonplace, uneventful thought that transformed the way I viewed relationships.

I’m not sure that it was mine; it certainly wasn’t anything groundbreaking or unique. I may have read it somewhere, I can’t remember now.

It was the notion that when two people in a relationship think of themselves as on the same team, things get much easier. Positive feelings grow freely. Score-keeping and resentment are nonexistent. 

Insights are very personal—a simple phrase that turns my …

Accept Yourself as You Are, Even When Others Don’t

What other people think of me is none of my business.” ~Wayne Dyer

“You’re too quiet.”

This comment and others like it have plagued me almost all my life. I don’t know how many times I’ve been told that I needed to come out of my shell, to be livelier, or to talk more.

As a child and teenager, I allowed these remarks to hurt me deeply. I was already shy, but I became even more self-conscious as I was constantly aware of people waiting for me to speak.

When I did, the response was often, “Wow! Louise …

3 Principles for Accepting Yourself and Being Authentically Happy

“Happiness is really a deep harmonious inner satisfaction and approval.” ~Francis Wilshire

It is only in the last few years of my life that I have felt genuinely happy and comfortable in my own skin.

Until my early thirties the dominant feeling I carried around with me was one of extreme social awkwardness. Which is strange, because most people who knew me prior to that time would have described me as a confident guy who got on with just about everybody.

I’m aware that outwardly I was very skilful at presenting a positive and socially pleasing demeanor, while on …

Make a Tough Situation Good: One Question That Changes Everything

“The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.” ~Viktor E. Frankl

For my livelihood, I lead workshops on how to let go of stress and experience deeper happiness. My occupation makes my occasional meltdowns all the more embarrassing. Fortunately, a meltdown I had last year led me to a question that completely changed how I view difficult situations in my life.

As I was checking in at the airport a few months ago, I was told I did not have a ticket for my cross-country flight. Fortunately, I had my confirmation number with …

Two Lies We Learn as Kids That Keep Us Stuck and Unhappy

“You can only grow if you’re willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” ~Brian Tracy

With apologies to everyone who is from somewhere else or lived before 1776, we Americans want everyone to believe that we live in the greatest country in the history of humanity and that makes us the greatest humans beings ever.

We even have data to back up our bravado: our GDP, the quantity of our millionaires and even billionaires, and our weapons power. We have more movie stars, more rock stars, and more celebrities who are celebrated for being celebrities than …

What To Do When You Don’t Know What to Do

“He who deliberates fully before taking a step will spend his entire life on one leg.” ~Chinese Proverb

Here’s the thing: I don’t know what to do.

About this thing, about that thing. About big things and small things.

About anything.

Actually, to be honest, even the smallest thing seems big when I don’t know what to do about it. The state of “not knowing what to do” is like some kind of Miracle Grow for small things in my mind.

This is not a new thing. Not knowing what to do is a particular and well-honed talent of mine.

50 Ways to Open Your World to New Possibilities

“To get something you never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.” ~Unknown

Maybe you feel stuck. Or bored. Or frustrated. It’s not that you don’t like the life you live, it’s just that you suspect there’s something more. Some greater sense of meaning or excitement. New connections. New adventures. New possibilities.

The truth is those possibilities are always within your reach. You may not be able to quit your job or develop new skills by osmosis, but every day contains within it countless opportunities, all dictated by the choices you make.

Some of those choices may seem …

The Hunger for More: What We Really Want and Need

“Instead of complaining that the rose bush is full of thorns, be happy the thorn bush has roses.” ~Proverb

As a child, I was obsessed with other worlds—reading about alien planets, writing fantasy stories, or just playing video games. As a teenager, I longed to know as much as possible— who we were, why we are here, the meaning of life.

Later on, I started traveling. There was so much to see, so much to do, so many ways to look at the world. I wanted to see it all, touch it all, experience it all.

This need for

3 Ways to Redesign Your Life by Shedding the Excess

“Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose.” ~C.S. Lewis

For as long as I can remember, “more” has always been better, but the word “more” is no longer what it used to be.

Five years ago, I started exercising for the first time in my life. At first, I counted down the minutes until my workout was over. As I got stronger, though, I started staying at the gym longer and longer.

For a while, I burned more calories than I consumed during meals. It didn’t matter. I worked out as much as I could because I …

Find Peace Today: Stop Worrying About What You Might Lose

“The whole life of a man is but a point in time; let us enjoy it.” ~ Plutarch

Take a moment to think about the last time you stared up into a clear night sky, one that was gorged with stars and seemed to go on forever—one where the longer you stared, the more depth appeared.

How did you feel in that moment? Did you feel calm? Scared? Alone? Completely content? Did you wish you could stay in that moment forever?

Skies like that give me an incredible sense of peace and remind me to breathe deeply and contemplate how …

Dare to Live: 10 Unconventional Ways to Be True to Yourself

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ~E.E.Cummings

Have you ever had a clear sign of who you really are and then totally ignored it?

Maybe it required too much change or taking a big risk. Maybe you were scared to have to convince a loved one how much you needed this. And so you rationalized that “it wasn’t the right time.” Convinced yourself to “be sensible and put it off for a while.” I know how this feels, because I did it too.

I was twenty-one then, and in my third year of medical …

4 Lessons on How to Find the Right Direction in Life

 

“Life’s blows cannot break a person whose spirit is warmed by the fire of enthusiasm.” ~Norman Vincent Peale

“Something just doesn’t feel right,” I thought to myself as I walked into my house after a long commute from work, being greeted by my exhausted spouse, who was trying to manage the kids after putting in a long day at her own job.

Work hard, save money, buy a house, and live happily ever after. The formula I grew up with didn’t seem all that great anymore. Was it broken? I mean, I worked at a good job but felt …

Speaking Your Mind Without Being Hurtful

“If you propose to speak, always ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind.” ~Buddha

Many of us allow other people’s opinions to dictate what we believe, value, or perceive. It’s not always easy to stand up for our beliefs and opinions when others, particularly those we care about, constantly bombard us with their views.

You might be thinking, “No, not me! This never happens to me. I’m strong in voicing my beliefs.”

At one point or another, we all conform our opinions, either to avoid confrontation or judgment or because we’re losing faith in what we

Releasing the Need for Approval and Making Peace with Yourself

“Lean too much on other people’s approval and it becomes a bed of thorns.” ~Tehyi Hsieh

In the face of a conflict with another, the wisdom that most often brings me peace is the reminder that the only thing I can change is how I react. Whatever or whoever else is a part of the conflict, that is outside of my control.

While I certainly advocate using your excellent communication skills to work through problems with the ones you love, I am a firm believer in finding my own way to cope rather than being a victim of circumstances.

These …

Lessons from Dogs on Being Present and Healing After Loss

“If you learn from a loss you have not lost.” ~Austin O’Malley

Every experience, including every loss, has something to teach us even when we are not up for a lesson.

Losing one of my pets has been a chance for me to reflect on the value of the present, and has strengthened my commitment to engaging in each moment and not letting my worries and anticipation erode the possibilities of the now.

In December, my fourteen-year-old golden retriever passed away. Ripley was an incredible companion who saw me through several jobs, moved with me five times, and outlasted my

How Death Teaches Us to Live Fully: 7 Enlightening Lessons

“We meet but briefly in life, if we touch each other with stardust, that is everything.”  ~Unknown

We had baked chicken and mashed potatoes with gravy that evening. It was the kind of hearty meal that warms you up on a damp March night.

As I said goodnight, I couldn’t have imagined that in just a few hours I would return to my parents’ house and everything would be changed forever.

But so it goes. Nothing in life is permanent.

I’ll never forget that phone call. I felt everything drain out of me and then it seemed as though

Finding What You Want Means Realizing What You Don’t

“Sometimes the wrong choices bring us to the right places” ~ Unknown

I’ve never dreamed of owning a mansion or acres of land. I’ve never dreamed of meeting Mr. or Ms. Right. I’ve never dreamed of glory on a sports field or stage, and I’ve never dreamed of being a billionaire or “Chief” of a company.

But I have dreamed of one thing—finding and living out my “calling.”

I’ve dreamed of coming across a cause, art, subject, or professional field that stuns me in my tracks and induces an epiphany: this is the work I want to live and breathe, …

How Your Mind Sabotages Your Life and How to Stop It

“What we see is mainly what we look for.” ~Anonymous

A few weeks ago, my aunt was visiting for a family holiday. I hadn’t seen her in a few years so we were catching up, talking about life, and talking about the projects we were each working on.

“So I’m still working on my PhD dissertation,” she said. “It’s really exhausting, you know, having five kids and doing my PhD all while working. It’s just exhausting.”

“And the problem is that these professors are constantly approving or denying my thesis subjects, so I’ll begin to research it and then they …

5 Tiny Steps to Move Away from Unnecessary Busyness

 

“It’s not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about?” ~Henry David Thoreau 

I’m sitting on my porch watching the line of ants trail up the wall until the black line above me starts to fade into the roof. I wonder what they think about.

Do they question the busyness of their tiny lives? Are they determined to get somewhere, or do they just focus on each tiny step forward? Do they fear the long road ahead?

I remembered learning from my mother—when my sister and I were homeschooled in …

How to Be Kind to Yourself in a Busy World

“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.” ~Sydney J. Harris

A few weeks ago, I had a panic attack. It was the first time in my life that I had experienced such unfamiliar feelings of intense fear and debilitating terror. As each prolonged minute painfully elapsed, I honestly thought that I was dying.

At the time, of course, I had no idea what was happening to my body.

I did not know why my heart was racing, why my face was numb, or why my tongue felt like it was choking me. Why my …