I believe the people who are the most satisfied in life are those who feel the most alive.
We generally feel most alive when we propel ourselves out of our comfort zone and seize new possibilities for meaning, excitement, and passion. But unfortunately, we’re wired to do what feels easy and safe, and it rarely feels easy or safe to be a beginner.
No one wants to feel like Bambi taking his first wobbly first steps—weak, inept, like he could fall over at any time.
And no one wants to feel as vulnerably exposed as Napoleon Dynamite during his awkward …
“Hopping from one relationship to another is not the way to find love. Slow down and give love a chance to find you.” ~Unknown
When I was younger, I was a serial monogamist.
I did the math recently and it turns out that once I started dating, I didn’t spend more than two weeks single at any point.
Then, after the end of my most serious relationship ever, I had a moment that changed everything.
My boyfriend and I hadn’t even been together a whole year, but I really thought he was the one, my soul mate. We had so …
I wrote this letter to my extended family years after I chose to become estranged from my parents because many of them cut me out of their lives instead of reaching out to hear my side of the story.
It pains me that I have lost contact with some of them because they refuse to see the full picture, and at times I feel as though I have lost a part of myself. Yet, at the same time, I am free.
The letter you are about to read comes from a place of acceptance and longing. I have chosen to …
“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done. Make at least one definite move daily toward your goal.” ~Bruce Lee
It’s easy to criticize others.
It’s easier to sit outside a situation than be in it.
Ironically, it’s easy to belittle someone else’s efforts without making any real effort ourselves.
The safe side of the ropes is an easier choice than committing to being in the ring, truly baring something. It’s also a softer option.
It’s much harder to have skin in the game.
It takes guts, and a healthy degree of get …
“Sometimes things fall apart so that better things can fall together.” ~Marilyn Monroe
I knew it was over and yet I stayed.
In my eyes, my relationship had run its course. I was fed up, tired, and emotionally drained, but I couldn’t get myself to pull the trigger. I didn’t know how to go through with it.
Because this was my first serious relationship, everything was new to me, including breaking up. He was my first love. We lived together, built a life together, and now I was throwing a wrench into all of our bright plans for the …
“Don’t change your body to get respect from society. Instead let’s change society to respect our bodies.” ~Golda Poretsky
Age thirteen—that was when my eating disorder kicked into full gear because our diet culture had its tentacles wrapped around me tightly. All I thought about all day was how I was going to control and restrict my food, then how I was going to burn it off.
I sought to burn off every calorie I ate. I couldn’t go to sleep at night unless I’d burned off most of what I’d consumed. I was obsessed with exercise and trying to …
“Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” ~Leonard Cohen
We human beings are social creatures. For the most part, we like to be with people, and we want people to like to be with us. The trouble is that we get all tied up in trying to communicate a version of ourselves that we think people will find attractive.
We want to appear successful, interesting, in control—and a winner! To keep up this image we work hard to hide away the parts …
“The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.” ~Neil Gaiman
A few years ago I wrote an article about my personal experience with bulimia. The piece was published by several different media channels, and some time afterward I was interviewed by CNN.
It was the first time I had publicly, and explicitly, spoken about that particular part of my journey. But the desire to acknowledge and address the emotional effects of my experience had been present for some time.
Prior to writing the article, I hadn’t felt ready to lay myself bare in …
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt
“Calm yourself down. It’s okay. All is well.”
I clung to the sterile white table while the laboratory was spinning around me.
“It’s just an anxiety attack. It will be over soon.”
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, forcing my lungs to expand against the tightness in my chest. Cold sweat trickled down my spine as I battled the all-consuming feelings of overwhelm, panic, and disappointment.
“In case no one told you today:
You’re beautiful. You’re loved. You’re needed. You’re alive for a reason.
You’re stronger than you think. You’re going to get through this.
I’m glad you’re alive. Don’t give up.” ~Unknown
I was fourteen years old and it was a holiday of firsts: my first holiday away from my family with my school and my first holiday abroad, where I had my first real crush.
For the two weeks I was away, I was caught up in a flirtation with a boy from one of the other schools. I had to pinch myself when …
“The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely to be the one who dropped it.” ~Lou Holtz
I spent a devastatingly large part of my life trapped, blaming others for my troubles. I felt like I was bumbling around aimlessly and my life was out of my control.
I was working a soul-sucking job, with a huge amount of student debt. I was surrounded by fake, unsupportive friends, in a toxic relationship, and had extremely low self-esteem.
All of this was everyone else’s fault. I didn’t take responsibility for anything in my life that was …
“It’s not your job to like me—it’s mine.” Byron Katie
Why are breakups so painful? Whether we are the dumper or the dumpee, the range of emotions we feel is universal: devastation, sadness, and anger. Oh, and there’s the acute pain, as if your heart had been gouged from your chest, stabbed a dozen times with a butter knife, and booted to the curb.
Am I right?
Of course I am. I’ve been there. We all have. I intimately experienced a broken heart and its rippling effects when my partner and I ended our seven-year relationship. I admit that I …
“Letting go doesn’t mean that you don’t care about someone anymore. It’s just realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself.” ~Deborah Reber
Thanks to the Internet, our lives are full of people. We’re connected literally all the time.
And yet, despite our ceaseless connection, we feel disconnected.
As the pace of life becomes ever more frenetic, we’re like charged atoms, bumping into each other more and more, pinballs in the machine. We come into contact (and conflict), but we don’t commune so much.
As real relationships of depth and quality become harder-won in this busy …
“The key to being happy is knowing you have the power to choose what to accept and what to let go.” ~Dodinsky
It hit me as I cruised along at full speed on a busy motorway on my way to a friend’s house.
Shaking like a leaf, I pulled myself out of the car and stood by the side of the road. I desperately gulped in the fresh air, a frantic attempt at calming myself down.
This was the ninth day in a row I’d experienced a wave of panic so intense, it felt like I was about to …
“Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible in us be found.” ~Pema Chodron
Pop spirituality and our cultural attitude would have you think it best to banish negativity from your life. Give it the quarantine treatment until it gets better and can rejoin our polite, positive, placative society.
We are encouraged to cleanse negativity, a blanket descriptor of things that don’t feel good. Push it away with an exhale and inhale positivity. Anger, sadness, and critical thinking can all be forms of “bad vibes” that are sought to be …
“You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass.” ~Timber Hawkeye
I never anticipated the stress and pressure that come when you are no longer able to pay your bills on time.
Knowing that you owe money, and that your current income isn’t going to cover it, is a heavy reality to face.
I found myself starting to envy low-income, salaried employees. Even though they don’t earn a lot, which I’m sure brings its own challenges, they aren’t eligible to receive huge credit. This protects them from ever finding themselves …
“It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.” ~Patrick Rothfuss
Who am I?
I believe this is one of the hardest questions we can ever answer.
I began to ponder this tough question in my early twenties during what I refer to as my “early-life crisis.”
Man, I was stuck. Stuck working in an unfulfilling job. Stuck in ever-growing debt because of my bad habits of drinking and smoking. Stuck feeling anxious and unconfident. I woke up each …
“Let us fill our hearts with our own compassion.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
“Mom’s concentrating,” I tell my kids as I clean up after dinner. I suggest a game to keep them occupied. “How many words start with A?”
As I inspect the crumbs under the kickboard, I pay just enough attention to hear them play along.
“Mom. L!” (I must have drifted off.)
“Right. L is for?” And they’re off again. Be more present, be more present, be more present, I think.
M…N…O…I laugh to myself when we reach P. P is for pressure, that’s what, …
“How pleasant is the day when we give up striving to be young or slender. ‘Thank God!’ we say, ‘those illusions are gone.’” ~Alain de Botton
Are you high functioning at school, college, or in your career, but dysfunctional with food? I was.
I’ve always been ambitious. I see things, and I wanna do them too, even better!
It’s a powerful trait, but unruly—like living with a big dog. Sometimes it strains on its leash and pulls you along further than you thought you’d go. And sometimes it knocks you onto the carpet and stands over you, panting, with its …
“You’re too fat to wear that tight shirt to the gym.”
“You’re not smart enough to take the lead on that project at work.”
“You’re definitely going to screw up the vacation plans.”
“You’re not good enough, cool enough, likable enough.”
If we talked like this to anyone, it would be considered bullying.
And yet we talk to ourselves like this all the time.
We talk to ourselves in a way we would never talk to people we care about. We take these words to heart and believe them as truth.
We turn these words into …