“You can’t control everything. Sometimes you just need to relax and have faith that things will work out. Let go a little and just let life happen.” ~Kody Keplinger
I have always been an overachiever: straight As, the top of my class; whatever I endeavored, I aimed to be the best at it. I strived through high school, college, graduate school, and in the corporate world.
My hard work came with awards, accolades, and the feeling of accomplishment. But it also came with burnout, exhaustion, and the feeling of never being good enough.
Once I achieved a goal, I …
“What will mess you up most in life is the picture in your head of how it is supposed to be.” ~Unknown
I expected to get into college. I expected to have a career after a lot of hard work, and that one day I’d meet a nice man and we would get married. We would buy our first house together and start a family, picking out a crib and the baby’s “going home” outfit and organizing a drawer full of diapers. We’d have more babies and go on vacations and grow old together.
I expected that one day I’d …
“Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ~Brené Brown
My husband’s legs are smaller than mine.
I wish I could tell you that when I first realized this (when we were dating) I wasn’t emotionally triggered. And that I didn’t care.
But, I can’t.
Instead, I can tell you that I walked right up next to him, planted my thigh next to his, and awkwardly declared, “Ha! My legs are bigger than yours!”
I can still see him looking right back at me, saying, “So? I love …
“Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.” ~Maya Angelou
I’ve always had a complex relationship with anger.
When I was young, I used to think I was somehow above anger. I would brag to people that I never got mad. Sure, I’d admit, I hated some people, but at least I wasn’t angry.
When I began therapy in my mid-twenties to deal with persistent depression and panic attacks, I started to see the feebleness of that particular story. I did get angry, it turned out, quite …
“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.” ~Brené Brown
Every time I think I’ve unloaded most of the pain from my past, something surfaces that tells me I have more work to do.
A couple of weeks ago, my boyfriend and I were cuddling one morning. I’m not sure what the trigger was, but out of nowhere, my thoughts rolled down a hill and into a painful memory that I must have blocked out.
Tears rolled down my cheeks as my whole body curled up into the fetal position. He …
“Just like a muscle needs to tear to grow stronger, sometimes we need to wade into our own darkness to find a brighter light.” ~Lori Deschene
Sometimes we need to journey into the deepest, darkest, scariest, most painful places inside in order to reach the next level.
This is what happened to me earlier this year.
When I was younger, I was in an abusive relationship that created a lot of stories in my head. These stories became beliefs that I carried around for a long time. Beliefs like, “I’m not good enough,” “Relationships are painful,” “I don’t …
“The truth you believe and cling to makes you unavailable to hear anything new.” ~Pema Chodron
Too often we let stories from our past define us. We tell them over and over to ourselves and to others until it becomes our truth. What if, without deviating from actual facts, we choose to tell different stories? What if these new stories could bring us more freedom and strength?
Below are some true facts about my own life. I’ll follow each one with the stories I could be telling myself about each one, followed by the story I choose to go …
“If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” ~Dale Carnegie
Not too long ago I went through an extremely chaotic and emotional two-week period. Anything that could go wrong or be difficult did and was. I thought it would never end.
When it began, the little hiccups were easy to let roll off my shoulders. After about a week, I was feeling pretty worn down and was in tears daily. At the end, I felt numb, and when things kept going wrong I would say to myself “Sure… Okay …what’s …
“Focus on what matters and let go of what doesn’t.” ~Unknown
When I was in rehab for alcohol addiction, one of the most difficult things for any of us to overcome was the fact that we thought we were beyond redemption.
Why? Because during the depths of our addiction, we had done some things we weren’t too proud of. Unhealthy behaviors that included drinking while driving, calling in sick when we weren’t because we were too hung over to go to work, or neglecting our children for the lure of spending the evening with a bottle of wine instead. …
“I vow to let go of all worries and anxiety in order to be light and free.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
I’ve struggled with anxiety throughout my life. A difficult childhood and my highly sensitive personality meant I grew into an anxious kid—there was just too much pain and emotional overwhelm for my young brain to handle.
My anxiety most often manifested as perfectionism and people pleasing, so from the outside everything seemed great. I excelled in school and I was a good kid who did as she was told. But there was a war inside me.
I felt broken, …
“Life is the dancer and you are the dance.” ~Eckhardt Tolle
The day I decided to leave acting felt like being exorcised from my own body.
I was twenty-nine and had been dreaming of being an actor from the time I first saw a regional production of Cats around the age of eight.
I spent the next twenty-one years with laser focus on making that dream a reality—voice lessons, dance classes, summer theater intensives, constant late night college rehearsals, and finally, top conservatory training.
Even my mother, who was initially highly uncomfortable with the idea, tossed up her hands …
Charles Darwin is believed to have said that in nature, it’s not the strongest or most intelligent that survives but those who are most adaptable to change.
No matter what kind of life we live, we all need to learn to adapt, because everything changes. Good and bad come and go in everybody’s life. It’s one of the reasons resilience is so critical.
We plan our lives expecting good to come our way, to get what we want, and for things to work out how we planned. At the same time we’re chasing the good, we try to avoid …
“You are not a mess. You are a feeling person in a messy world.” ~Glennon Doyle Melton
Anxiety can be hardwired and genetic. It can be passed down from generation to generation. It can be a result of trauma and high-stress scenarios, including divorce, moving, and death. These things are out of our control, and can be really challenging to work through.
But, anxiety can also come as a result of certain behaviors, lifestyle choices, and beliefs that you have about yourself and the world. And that, my friend, is always within your control.
I want to challenge the …
“Perfectionism doesn’t make you feel perfect. It makes you feel inadequate.” ~Maria Shriver
Like many of us, I spent a big part of growing up feeling like I wasn’t enough. I was quite a studious kid, and this coupled with being terrible at sports and also quite chubby meant I was a bit of a target. Indeed, when your first and last names both rhyme with “fat” it’s pretty easy for bullies with even limited wordsmith skills to come up with insults.
And it’s easy to say what words can’t hurt and that it says more about them than …
“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.” ~Friedrich Salomon Perls
About five years ago, I had a falling out with a close friend. I was irritated because she didn’t do the things I thought she should and she didn’t give as much as I did. I felt I had been very generous with her, and I expected her to do the same. I felt she owed me.
My anger became unmanageable and started seeping into pretty much every interaction we had. She began cancelling dinner …
“We’ll light the candle together when she’s ready. For now I’ll trust the darkness for us both.” ~Terri St. Cloud
Over breakfast one morning recently, Jeff and I started reminiscing about past years, and something was said that brought back a painful memory for me. My boss at the time had been unimaginably small-minded. He had hung me out to dry. “I still can’t understand why he did that,” I said.
Jeff looked at me levelly. “You need to get over it, Jan,” he said. “It was years ago.”
Wise advice, without question. The only problem was that I didn’t …
“Awareness is the birthplace of possibility. Everything you want to do, everything you want to be, starts here.” ~Deepak Chopra
Ever wonder why some people respond in the same destructive way over and over even though they keep getting the same bad results?
Many of us can relate to having unhealthy coping mechanisms and responses to things like stress, fear, or other agitating emotional states. Often, we are unaware of the subconscious processes going on and we may, for example, instinctively reach for an alcoholic beverage at the end of a long, hard day, never realizing we are setting …
“Anything you can’t control in life is teaching you how to let go.” ~Unknown
I was growing impatient. I wanted an answer about something and it just wasn’t coming, no matter how hard I tried to prod it into happening. I was growing frustrated. And I was growing frustrated with my frustrations about it.
So I decided to take a walk. The act of breathing in fresh air and hearing birdsong is centering for me. Just putting one foot in front of the other in rapid succession for an hour or two always helps to clear my head. I receive …
“Toxically shamed people tend to become more and more stagnant as life goes on. They live in a guarded, secretive, and defensive way. They try to be more than human (perfect and controlling) or less than human (losing interest in life or stagnated in some addictive behavior).” ~John Bradshaw- Healing the Shame That Binds You
Do you feel like a victim? Are those around you suggesting that you are acting like a victim? Are these same people telling you to get over it and move on? Do these judgments and statements feel harmful or helpful for you?
Most people making …
“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.
” ~Abraham Lincoln
As a child, my father always told me, “At everything you do, you have to be number one.” I tried. In some ways, I succeeded. I got high grades. Sometimes, the highest. Sometimes, I got awards.
I became an expert at figuring out other people’s expectations and meeting them. This got me approval, but it never made me happy. I wasn’t passionate about grades, awards, or …