Blog Posts

Why It Can Feel Lonely When You Stop Overgiving in Relationships

“After you give so much of yourself to people over the years, one day you wake up and realize that you need someone to give to you too.” ~Sylvester McNutt

One of the biggest surprises I found on my self-care journey was how lonely I started to feel in the process, especially when I started to set boundaries with toxic people. At first, this loneliness had me questioning myself. I thought there must be something wrong with me, because I thought I was supposed to feel good and strong instead of scared and lonely when I did “the right thing.”…

How I Gained Self-Confidence and Self-Love Through Nude Yoga

“Growth is uncomfortable; you have to embrace the discomfort if you want to expand.” ~Jonathan Majors

Click, the camera lens shutters as I stand barefoot in mud, waist deep in cold river water with lilies all around me, wearing nothing but a lace cloth draped across my body. I’ll never forget how nervous I was the first time I was professionally photographed nearly naked. Something greater than my fear had called me to do it.

When I was growing up, my father was determined for me to model or act. I went to several model castings and auditions and was

3 Lifestyle Changes I Made to Overcome Dissociative Panic Attacks

“There is no greater wealth in this world than peace of mind.” ~Unknown

A few years ago, I had what could safely be deemed a “bad year.” My live-in partner left me out of the blue, I became un(der)employed and racked with debt, I got in a car accident that totaled my car, and then…my dog died.

After the year that I’d had, the death of that dog, my most treasured friend, was the final straw. It was the final straw for believing that things might turn around soon, and it was the final straw for my mental health.

Shortly …

Finding the Calm Inside: How to Cultivate Self-Awareness to Create Inner Peace

“When I look back on my life, I see pain, mistakes, and heartache. When I look in the mirror, I see strength, learned lessons, and pride in myself.” ~Unknown

Years ago, I wrote in my journal: “My life has no meaning. I’m sick of being miserable, of struggling and having to prop myself up. I’m tired of being alone, tired of feeling like I’m wasting my life, tired of feeling like a loser.”

I was that friend who always borrowed money, who was always in crisis or calling at 2 a.m. and saying dramatically, “I’m not okay.”

There are few …

5 Painful Effects of Parentification Trauma and How I’ve Overcome Them

“Sometimes people wound us because they’re wounded and tell us we’re broken because that’s how they feel, but we don’t have to believe them.” ~Lori Deschene

I’ve always been proud of how I can handle life so well. I’m great at managing responsibilities and taking care of others, but I’m not so great at being aware of my own needs. It’s part of being a highly sensitive individual and growing up with parentification trauma.

Overcoming parentification can take years. If you’re like me, you might not even realize it’s something you experienced until you’re well into adulthood. More people should …

Riding the Wave of Rage: How Mindfulness Became My Lifesaver

“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything—anger, anxiety, or possessions—we cannot be free.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

My anger has gotten the best of me more than I care to admit. I’ve smashed windows, broken chairs, had movie-worthy brawls on the beach, and said gut-wrenching stuff that has brought people I care about to tears.

I grew up when mental health was not taken seriously, nor was it even on my radar. I just took my wild nature to mean I was screwed up and hopeless. …

3 Lessons on Finding Love That I Learned When Looking for My Soulmate

“Your soulmate is not someone who completes you. No, a soulmate is someone who inspires you to complete yourself.” ~Bianca Sparacino

For years I was in what seemed like an endless search for my soulmate—someone who would understand me, love me unconditionally, and share my values and interests.

It felt like I needed someone in my life to feel happy, fulfilled, and whole.

I went on a handful of dates, but I got friend-zoned at times, rejected at others, and ended up with the wrong people the rest of the time.

What pained me the most was how I repeatedly …

How I Calm and Release Intense Emotions of Anger, Sadness, and Frustration

“You don’t have to be positive all the time. It’s perfectly okay to feel sad, angry, annoyed, frustrated, scared, or anxious. Having feelings doesn’t make you a ‘negative person.’ It makes you human.” ~Lori Deschene

In November, I was on an emotional roller coaster full of sudden unexplainable fits of anger, hysterically crying for no reason, barely sleeping, feeling urges to physically kick, hit, and scream.

One of the main triggers was when my partner would go out without me.

He’d go out with his friends to play pool and I would immediately shut down, shut him out, and turn …

How to Heal through Metaphor: Tap into the Secret Language of Your Brain

“As soon as I allow the Universe to replace my fear-based beliefs with new perceptions, I receive a miracle.” ~Gabby Bernstein

As I was packing up my mother’s nursing home room after her death, I found a little heart-shaped stone that had the word “serenity” on it. I took it back to California with me and I hold it frequently. It’s heavy, solid, and soothing, and it reminds me of her.

I love the weight of that little stone.

When we’re grieving, heavy things are comforting. It’s not surprising that when we want to release stress, many people go …

4 Types of Regret and How to Leverage Them for a More Fulfilling Life

“Regret is not dangerous or abnormal, a deviation from the steady path to happiness. It is healthy and universal, an integral part of being human. Regret is also valuable. It clarifies. It instructs. Done right, it needn’t drag us down; it can lift us up.” ~Daniel H. Pink

It happened when I reached midlife.

I’d experienced regret before, but this was different.

In my forties, I struggled with several deep-seated regrets all at the same time.

And I didn’t handle it well.

If only I hadn’t chosen to fall into unhealthy habits that were hard to break, like smoking cigarettes

How Following Our Instincts Now Can Protect Us from Pain Down the Line

“There is a voice inside of you that whispers all day long, I feel this is right for me, I know that this is wrong. No teacher, preacher, parent, friend or wise man can decide what’s right for you. Just listen to the voice that speaks inside.” ~Shel Silverstein

Some time ago, a guy I knew suggested I go swimming with him and a friend of his. I accepted.

I didn’t know him well. Sometimes he would say hello and be warm, while other times he would ignore me. Since he was a longtime friend of a girl I knew, …

7 Comforting Thoughts That Helped Me Build Self-Confidence

“Today I want you to think about all that you are instead of all that you are not.” ~Unknown

I had done it again.

I had managed to talk myself out of doing something because I wasn’t completely certain I would be successful at it.

I was an expert at sidelining myself—keeping myself from going after the things I truly wanted. I knew, by heart, all the reasons I wasn’t good enough to achieve my goals in life. I had subconsciously decided that my own personal growth and success weren’t worth the risk of failure or rejection.

As a result, …

How Feeling Out of Control as a Kid Led Me to an Eating Disorder

In many cultures, food is an expression of love. Sometimes, as was the case for me growing up as a child of immigrants, food might be the only expression of love.

My parents were not very affectionate or communicative about love. My dad gives classic awkward-dad hugs, where he pats your back with self-conscious uncertainty from a good foot and a half away. My mom hit me so frequently and unexpectedly that my body learned to flinch anytime she got too close.

My childhood was punctuated by seasons of my mom’s depression. Ramen and Pizza Hut boxes marked how long …

How I Stopped Feeling Exhausted by Other People’s Needs and Feelings

“An empath is a person highly attuned to the feelings and emotions of those around them. Empaths feel what another person is feeling at a deep emotional level.” ~Leah Campbell

When I learned the word empath about ten years ago, it felt like the most amazing relief. I thought to myself, yes, that’s me! Finally, an explanation as to why people exhausted me so much. A reason why I had the ability to read people in an instant and was always in the throes of helping, listening, or supporting other people’s crises.

But now I no longer believe that definition.…

Leaving an Abusive Relationship: What I’ve Learned and How I’ve Moved On

“Sometimes things have to go wrong before they can go right. Sometimes we have to let the wrong people walk out before we allow the right people to walk in. Sometimes we have to feel weak in order to know what it’s like to feel strong. Sometimes you have to be broken to realize you’ll never be shattered.” ~Unknown

Leaving is the hardest part—that’s what they say, right? I don’t know if I agree. It takes courage to get out, but the healing process can be brutal.

It’s an ongoing process that seeps into every aspect of my daily life. …

How I Stopped Feeling Like an Outsider by Being Honest with Myself

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” ~Bernard M. Baruch

As a young boy, maybe in fourth or fifth grade, I came to the realization that I was an outsider.

I didn’t like playing video games after school, I played basketball while the other boys played soccer, and most of all, I didn’t like the unpleasant and sometimes bullying tone that had formed amongst my good friends.

One good friend in particular—let’s call him Theo—I considered to be my best friend.

For years, we celebrated birthdays, …

How I Found Peace After Feeling Disregarded and Disrespected

“Self-care is also not arguing with people who are committed to misunderstanding you.” ~Ayishat A. Akanbi⠀

It was an early evening in late June of 2020. My housemate and I were eating sushi in our backyard while crickets tuned up for their nightly symphony around us.

To our right loomed a voluminous green tree, imposing in height but with a texture (furry and cuddly like a Sesame Street character) that made it seem friendly.

I could’ve really used a friendly creature right then.

Hours earlier we’d found out that our housemate—who’d contracted COVID while on vacation with a fourth housemate—would

Stop Catastrophizing: How to Retrain Your Brain to Stress and Worry Less

“Don’t believe everything you think.” ~Unknown

A couple years ago, I entered a depressive state as I sat through many long, eventless days while on partial disability due to a bilateral hand injury. I was working one to two hours a day max in my job, per doctor’s orders. The medical experts couldn’t say if or when I would feel better.

As I sat in pain on my sofa, day after day, running out of new TV series to occupy my time, I couldn’t help but catastrophize my future

What’ll happen if I can’t use the computer again? My whole

30 Reminders for Sensitive People Who Feel Drained, Ashamed, or Judged

“Highly sensitive people are too often perceived as weaklings or damaged goods. To feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness, it is the trademark of the truly alive and compassionate.”~Anthon St. Maarten

There are some words that get painfully etched into our memories as if with a red-hot poker. For me, growing up, those words were “you’re too sensitive.”

I often caught this phrase in the fumbling hands of my shame after someone chucked it at me with callousness and superiority as a means to justify their cruelty.

They may have said something vicious or condescending in private, or …

5 Ways to Heal from a Highly Critical, Controlling Parent

“You’ve been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” ~Louise Hay

When I was growing up, it felt like nothing was good enough for my dad. And all I longed for was his acceptance and love.

He had this temper that would blow up, and he’d blame me for how he felt. He would outright tell me his behavior was my fault. That if I’d behaved better, he wouldn’t have had an outburst.

When he told me I wasn’t enough or worthy, I believed him. I was constantly walking on eggshells …