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Not Happy with Your Life? I Changed the Rules and You Can Too

“I really believe in the philosophy that you create your own universe. I’m just trying to create a good one for myself.” ~Jim Carrey

If someone had told me years ago I’d one day be serving mushroom mafalda to a former VIP client, I’d have laughed in their face. Not an “I wouldn’t be caught dead doing this” type of cackle; more with an “I haven’t waited tables in twenty-five years, why would I start now?” kind of incredulity.

But it’s true. I’ve gone from defining myself as “Career Girl Sam”—toiling in an industry that was killing me—to a far …

How Our Parents Impact Us: The Childhood Wounds That Shape Our Lives

“The way we treat our children directly impacts what they believe about themselves.” ~Ariadne Brill

Growing up, I always felt odd. I often wondered what was wrong with me. I compared myself to my friends and always thought they had a better life than me. They had both parents still together, went on family vacations. It was not that I was jealous or bitter, it was just that they seemed to be ‘normal’ and happy. Whatever that means.

I never remember my parents being together. My parents divorced when I was two. I lived with my mother and older …

How Following Someone Else’s Path Can Lead to Depression

“Your anger? It’s telling you where you feel powerless. Your anxiety? It’s telling you that something in your life is off balance. Your fear? It’s telling you what you care about. Your apathy? It’s telling you where you’re overextended and burnt out. Your feelings aren’t random, they are messengers. And if you want to get anywhere, you need to be able to let them speak to you and tell you what you really need.” ~Brianna Wiest

Overcoming depression was one of the hardest yet most rewarding experiences of my life. I didn’t understand it when I first started struggling at …

Want to Change Your Life? Draw the “You” You Want to Be

“You are not too old and it is not too late.” ~Unknown

In less than a month, I’ll be hitting a major “milestone” birthday. I quit my full-time job six months ago, ending a twenty-plus year career in education, and have spent time thinking about what I want the next chapter of my life to look like. I found myself thinking back to a drawing exercise I did a few years ago that has made such an impact on my being willing to make major changes in my life.

Entering my mid-forties, I had come to a point where something …

5 Important Life Skills I Learned in Grief After My Husband Died

“Sit with it. Sit with it. Sit with it. Sit with it. Even though you want to run. Even when it’s heavy and difficult. Even though you’re not quite sure of the way through. Healing happens by feeling.” ~Dr. Rebecca Ray

When my husband died from terminal brain cancer in 2014, I learned all about deep grief. The kind of grief that plunges you into a valley of pain so vast it takes years to claw your way out. In the beginning, I didn’t want to deal with grief because the pain was too intense. So, I dodged grief …

How Single-Tasking Can Decrease Your Stress and Improve Your Mood

“The shortest way to do many things is to do only one thing at once.” ~Samuel Smiles

I am a recovering multitasker.

I’m sure you know what multitasking is—it is the performance of more than one task at a time. For me it can look like this: “Watching TV” might include scanning social media on my phone, playing a game on my laptop, and/or doing some knitting or embroidery. Sometimes I switch back and forth between all of those things.

“Writing a blog post” might include doing a load of laundry, including moving it from washer to dryer, or folding …

5 Things to Do When You’re Tired of Pretending to Be Happy

“Happiness is like being cool, the harder you try, the less it is going to happen. So stop trying. Start living.” ~Mark Manson

I am a lucky person. In this crazy pandemic, my entire family and I have made it through in one piece. My husband has been out of work for half of a year and my son’s school has been closed. But I still have a job that can support my family.

I am grateful.

Every day after dealing with crazy deadlines and pressure at work, I go home and see my son’s sweet, cute face.

I am …

Rethinking Masculinity: Why I Want More Than Bachelor Parties and Football

“Patriarchy is the expression of the immature masculine. It is the expression of Boy psychology, and, in part, the shadow—or crazy—side of masculinity. It expresses the stunted masculine, fixated at immature levels.” ~ Robert Moore & Doug Gillette

Seventy eggs, packs of bacon, and multiple types of beer filled the fridge. On the counter lay handles of liquor and energy drinks. The dining table was lined with snacks galore: chips, Cheese-its, popcorn, Oreos, Doritos, and dozens of Fireball nips.

I’ve been to many bachelor parties, and it’s not surprising that health is never a priority. Yet this time, things felt …

Was I An Overachiever or Really Just Trying to Prove My Worth?

“I spend an insane amount of time wondering if I’m doing it right. At some point I just remind myself that I’m doing my best. That is enough.” ~Myleik Teele

Just one more client. Just one more call. Just one more. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Then, maybe, just maybe, I will feel validated. Worthy. Appreciated.

That’s how success works, right? Everyone has to like you, think you’re amazing, and recognize all of your hard work for you to be successful? I learned the hard way that this is the path to overwhelm, burnout, and a massive anxiety disorder. Because, you have …

How I’ve Stopped Attracting One-Sided Relationships That Leave Me Feeling Empty

“Curiosity will save your soul.” ~Danielle LaPorte

When I was a young girl about age five, my mother volunteered weekly at a nursing home. Because she was a stay-at-home mom, I was required to tag along with her.

While she would wheel all the residents into the front room and sing prayers and read devotionals, I simply couldn’t sit still for 2.5 seconds. I was a busy girl with an agenda. I had people to see and things to do.

Weekly, I would pop in and out of residents’ rooms while mom banged on the piano down the hall. In …

Dear Mom and Dad, Thank You for the Years of Trauma

“When you finally learn that a person’s behavior has more to do with their own internal struggle than you, you learn grace.” ~Allison Aars

I’m writing this to say thank you for the trauma you caused me since I was born. You might be thinking that I’m being sarcastic, but that’s far from the truth.

Let me explain why I have such gratitude for the pain and trauma you created in my life. Also, please understand that I forgive you.

Dad, I want to start with you because you’re no longer living. I know you’re now able to see the …

All It Takes Is One Person to Start a Chain Reaction of Caring and Kindness

“People will never know how far a little kindness can go. You just may start a chain reaction.” ~Rachel Joy Scott

One afternoon a while back, after stepping onboard to a full train car with no available seats, I situated myself in the standing section.

A couple of stops later, two passengers vacated their seats, allowing me the chance to sit. I embraced the opportunity to people-watch. The woman in front of me began chapter four of her book, titled How to Jump for Your Life. The girl next to her alternated between the Tinder app and …

The Many Shades of Support: Everyone Shows Up for Us in Different Ways

“Empathy has no script. There is no right way or wrong way to do it. It’s simply listening, holding space, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message of ‘You’re not alone.’” ~Brené Brown

What do a pregnancy test, a wheelchair, and an Airbnb have in common? The answer is this story.

In February 2019, one night before I was to get on a flight for my first ever trip to Paris, with my sister and best friend, I took a pregnancy test and it read… positive.

Excited? Worried? Anxious? I was all of the above.

You see, …

Better Help: Affordable Online Therapy, Anywhere in the World

**This is a sponsored post to introduce you to BetterHelp, a company I highly recommend!

I hear it all the time—”I’m feeling more depressed than ever, and nothing seems to help.”

I see it in blog comments. I read it in forum posts and social media replies. I also get stories like this in my inbox from people who are struggling to find a sense of peace and control in the constant chaos of their lives.

And I empathize with all of them. I know what it’s like to feel overwhelmed and stuck, physically and emotionally, and helpless to …

How a Highly Sensitive Person Can Get Over a Breakup And Move On

“A shoutout to everyone who is trying right now… Trying to do the right thing. Trying to stay open. Trying to keep going. Trying to hold on. Trying to let go. Trying to find their flow. Trying to stay afloat. Trying to meet each new day. Trying to find their balance. Trying to love themselves. Trying new things and new ways. I see you. I’m there too. We’re in this together.” ~S.C. Lourie

Breakups are devastating, and the pain is real. But if you’re a highly sensitive person (HSP), it can take an extreme toll on your system because HSPs …

The Messiness of Being Human and Why We Shouldn’t Judge Each Other

“Those who understand will never judge, and those who judge will never understand.” ~Wilson Kanadi

I’m waiting for my mother’s nurse to pick up. The hospital recording has been on a loop for twenty minutes: “Our hospital is committed to integrity, to the destitute, the sick. Our physicians and nurses have trained at some of the most prestigious colleges in the country. Our patients’ health and comfort is our #1 priority.”

The woman on the recording sounds so clear and passionate. I can picture her in the recording studio. Maybe she had to audition for the part. Maybe she got …

Why Fibromyalgia Is the Greatest Gift of My Life

“The wound is the place where the light enters you.” ~Rumi

TRIGGER WARNING: This article contains discussions of difficult topics, including suicidal depression and a fatal car accident.

I’ve always been an active, athletic person. In my twenties I was huge in tennis, squash, and swimming, and I began every morning with an intense workout that cleared my head and let me confront the day’s challenges with a relaxed, positive attitude. So, when I started experiencing mysterious pains and fatigue that didn’t go away no matter how much sleep I got, my life was turned upside down.

After two years …

Disordered Eating: What We Need to Understand and How to Heal

“Food can distract you from your pain but food cannot take away your pain.” ~Karen Salmansohn

Long before I was watching The Biggest Loser (a popular weight loss reality TV series) and trying to look like a swimsuit model, I was hiding in my closet eating candy, fiercely addicted to sugar.

I remember feeling completely out of control over my cravings for all things sweet, and I didn’t know how to stop myself from eating until I felt sick. Food played a bigger role in my life than simply to support the processes in my body that lead to optimal …

3 Reasons Why It’s Hard to Set Boundaries and What to Do About It

“Care what other people think, and you will forever be their prisoner.” ~Lao Tzu

I love this quote because it is such truth. But I also recognize the difficulty and the uncomfortable feelings that arise when working toward living this quote.

There’s a reason why it feels so hard to set healthy boundaries, and that is what this article is going to show you.

Discovery #1: Understanding our hard wiring

Our minds were not created to care about healthy boundaries. Say what? Let me explain.

From the beginning of time, we humans were hard wired for connection. We are …

How Boys Learn to Repress Their Feelings and How We Can Do Better as Men

“Shoutout to all the men going through a lot, with no one to turn to, because this world wrongly taught our males to mask their emotions and that strong means silent.” ~Alex Myles

He is close to tears. He is not physically hurt. No ankle has been twisted, no knee has been scraped, nobody needs their asthma inhaler.

The other boys are making fun of his size.

Most of the time he pretends it doesn’t bother him. But I’m the coach, and it’s pretty hard to miss.

I have watched him smile and try to shake it off. Sometimes he …