Category “love & relationships”

How Highly Sensitive People Can Feel More Fulfilled in Their Relationships

“Truth can be stated in a thousand different ways, yet each one can be true.” ~Swami Vivekananda

Highly sensitive people naturally bring some really beautiful, love-promoting qualities to their romantic partnerships. But these same qualities can sometimes end up undermining the strength of their relationships. This was true for me in my first marriage and led, in part, to it ending in divorce.

We HSPs are known for our caring, conscientious, and considerate natures. It matters deeply to us that we do our best to be loyal and caring in our relationships.

And because we tend to have high …

How to Overcome Relationship Conflict with the Internalized Other Practice

“You can only understand people if you feel them in yourself.” ~John Steinbeck

In the early stages of my relationships, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the other person was thinking. Hours of pondering whether they liked me, over-analyzing every text message, and worrying that every fight meant it was over.

Over time, in a good long-term relationship, these challenges settle down. While longevity is not the only marker of a successful relationship, feeling safe and comfortable with someone over a decent stretch of time is undoubtably lovely. All those fear-based worries and insecurities fade,

I Forgive Forcefully (An Act That Takes Great Strength)

“You don’t have to rebuild a relationship with everyone you have forgiven.” ~Unknown

“Forgive” and “forcefully” are not two words I have ever joined together before.

My idea of forgiveness involved kind and gentle meekness.




But never forcefulness.

Well, not until I waded through the choppy waters of forgiveness after I had the courage to leave my abusive marriage.

Forgive is a Verb

Forgiving isn’t an emotion. It’s an action. It’s a process that has no time limitation or expiration date.

It can’t be ordered, demanded, or rushed.

When I first discovered that my husband had been …

How I Overcame Self-Hatred and 6 Ways to Love Yourself

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” ~Sharon Salzberg

When was the last time you looked at your reflection and extended love to yourself? Before I discovered the life-changing power of self-love, I had not extended love to myself for years. This is the story of how I transformed my self-hatred into self-love, how it changed my life, and several tips to practice in your life.

For a long time, I believed self-love was something to be avoided at all costs. Like many, I had become habituated to the “hustle and …

The Alchemy of a Broken Heart: How to Transform Your Pain into Purpose

“Life changes. You lose love. You lose friends. You lose pieces of yourself that you never imagined would be gone. And then, without you even realizing it, these pieces come back. New love enters. Better friends come along. And a stronger, wiser you is staring back in the mirror.” ~Preetham Mohanty

One year ago, I quit my high-stress job. Then my husband quit me.

There had been signs of our unhappiness in the six months prior, but I thought it was dissatisfaction with our work lives, not with our relationship. It was clear, though, that our dynamic had changed—we were …

A People-Pleaser’s Guide to Reclaiming Your Life: 6 Ways to Say No

“Self-love, self-respect, self-worth: There’s a reason they all start with ‘self.’ You can’t find them in anyone else.” ~Unknown

Have you ever found yourself stuck in the “yes” trap, even when your gut screamed “no”?

I have.

We people-pleasers struggle with boundary crushers, and there are a lot of them out there continuously knocking over the barriers we put up!

But here is a secret I have learned: I’m allowed to say “no” without drowning in guilt. In fact, it’s a vital part of my self-care journey to give myself permission to freely say “no.”

Empowerment of “NO”

Saying “no” …

How I Healed My Strained Relationship with My Addict Mother

“We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.” ~Sam Keen

Like so many of us, my relationship with my mother throughout my life is best described as complicated.

We’ve had our fair share of turbulent times in our journey, and her alcoholism and drug abuse while I was growing up fueled great dysfunction on every level: literal physical fighting when I was a teenager (yep, Jerry Springer-style), seemingly continual acts of rebellion, a total lack of understanding, deep mistrust, unwillingness (or likely even an inability at the time) to …

When It’s Time to Let People Go: How I’ve Lightened My Emotional Load


“Love yourself enough to let go of the people, thoughts, and habits that are weighing you down.” ~Karen Salmansohn

More than a year ago I started unpacking and cleaning out my ‘backpack’ of life in a different way.

I have always tried to remain friends with exes, and even though we didn’t necessarily socialize together, there was still the odd keeping in touch, helping them with a favor, or “Happy Birthday” text.

While most of them are generally nice people, the truth is that if I never dated them, I probably wouldn’t be friends with them now. We’re just on …

Why It’s Hard to Hold a Boundary and How to Make It Easier

“The only real conflict you will ever have in your life won’t be with others, but with yourself.”  ~Shannon Adler

I sat in my chemistry class during my junior year of high school staring at the periodic table and wondering if I was going to make it through. Bored and lost, I struggled to find value in the class or make sense of why I was there. It felt purposeless.

Until I met Kevin.

Kevin sat a few seats away from me and was a senior. I knew of him, but I had never really noticed or paid attention to …

How I’m Learning to Feel Confident Without Approval

“Children need to feel seen. Adults do, too.” ~Unknown

As a teenager, I played the flute for about nine years. I never practiced—apart from that guilt-ridden last half hour prior to my weekly lessons. It was important for my parents that their children learned a musical instrument, and so I was given the flute, while my brother played the clarinet (bizarrely, because our grandmother had wanted someone to play Mozart’s clarinet concerto at her funeral).

Truth be told, I think my brother would have much rather learned the guitar, while I was very envious of his clarinet (he got around …

Why I Give Without Expectations (and Don’t Think It’s a “Toxic Trait”)

“Some of the kindest souls I know have lived in a world that was not so kind to them. Some of the best human beings I know have been through so much at the hands of others, and they still love deeply, they still care. Sometimes, it’s the people who have been hurt the most who refuse to be hardened in this world, because they would never want to make another person feel the same way they have felt. If that isn’t something to be in awe of, I don’t know what is.” ~Bianca Sparacino  

I recently came across a …

A Little-Known Truth About People-Pleasing and How to Stop (for Good)

“Being a people-pleaser may be more than a personality trait; it could be a response to serious trauma.” ~Alex Bachert

Growing up in a home, school, and church that placed a lot of value on good behavior, self-discipline, and corporal punishment, I was a model child. There could have been an American Girl doll designed after me—the well-mannered church girl with a nineties hairbow edition.

I was quiet and pleasant and never got sent to the principal’s office. Complaining and “ugly” emotions were simply not allowed. Though I was very rambunctious and “rebellious” as a toddler, all of that was …

Dysfunctional Family Survivors: 7 Myths that Hold Your Healing Hostage

I have never known a patient to portray their parents more negatively than they actually experienced them in childhood but always more positively–because idealization of their parents was essential for their survival.” Alice Miller, Thou Shalt Not Be Aware: Society’s Betrayal of the Child

If were born into dysfunctional families and, by some miracle, manage to recognize theres something really wrong there, we can end up devoting a huge portion of our time on Earth (if not all of it) to piecemealing a life not defined by the despair and pain we felt as children.

The Friend I Couldn’t Fix: A Story of Love, Loss and Letting Go

TRIGGER WARNING: This post deals with an account of domestic violence and may be triggering to some.

“You can’t heal the people you love. You can’t make choices for them. You can’t rescue them.” ~Unknown

Every story starts at the beginning. But how far back should I go? Birth?

I was born at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Camden, New Jersey, in May of 1972…just after three in the morning.

No, wait. That’s not morning. It’s still dark outside.

Forgive me. That’s an inside joke.

You see, just a few years ago a friend of thirty years came to …

Why I Didn’t Love Myself (and All the Suggestions That Didn’t Help)

“Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving yourself and see what happens.” ~Louise Hay

There is a lot of hype around self-love these days. The media and marketing world often bombard us with messages insinuating that the key to self-love lies in consumerism. For a long time, I bought into this idea.

I would see an advertisement urging me to treat myself to a high-end face cream for a dose of self-care. Or a promotional email landing in my inbox might suggest that a calming lavender bubble bath was just what I needed …

Navigating Social Anxiety: 10 Powerful NLP Tools for Personal Growth

“We need each other, deeper than anyone ever dares to admit even to themselves. I think it is a genetic imperative that we huddle together and hold on to each other.” ~Patch Adams

A few years ago, I was invited to a work event. When I received the invitation a few months before, the idea seemed fun—a friendly gathering with colleagues, filled with vibrant conversations and laughter, enabling me to create human connections in the workplace.

As the day approached, a familiar knot tightened in my stomach, I couldn’t breathe deeply, and an overwhelming sense of unease took hold. I …

When the People We Love Shut Us Out: What I Now Understand

“Have patience that is all unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like closed rooms, like books written like a foreign language.” ~Rainer Maria Rilke

I started thinking about a distant relative on a walk in the woods. I had thought about her more often when she suddenly stopped speaking to our family, well over a decade ago. I would reach out to her through email, but after not hearing back over the years, I thought about her less and less and eventually stopped trying to connect with her.

On this particular walk, I began to

A Mindfulness Technique to Overcome Perfectionism and Step into Self-Love

“When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we are not pretending, we are not hiding—we are simply present with whatever is going on inside us. Ironically, it is this very feeling of authenticity that draws people to us, not the brittle effort of perfectionism.” ~Maureen Cooper

Most of my life I have been really good at following the have-tos and oughts of perfectionism.

I have to keep the house clean. What will the company think?

I ought to be pleasant and pleasing. Stop being stubborn. Worse yet, stop being angry.

I should not have told that long story …

5 Things to Remember When Heartbreak Feels Too Heavy to Bear

“If you feel like you’re losing everything, remember that trees lose their leaves every year and they still stand tall and wait for better days to come.” ~Unknown

For a big lover like me, heartbreak has always gotten the best of me. I have felt heavy pain from the ending of a relationship, the ghosting of a situationship, and the loss of what could have been with someone I never dated. And I’ve experienced the sting of friendships leaving my life.

It’s all heartbreaking.

It starts with a crippling, piercing full-body agony. And eventually it grows into a dull ache …

Caretaking Your Sensitive System for More Love in your Relationship

Sometimes you’ve got to look straight into the tired eyes of the woman staring back at you in the mirror and tell her that she deserves the best kind of love, the best kind of life, and devote yourself to giving it to her all over again.” ~S.C. Lourie

I learned the hard way that in order to have an intimate relationship (and life) that feels deeply satisfying, nourishing, and fulfilling, highly sensitive people (HSPs) need to attend more to their emotional well-being than non-HSPs.

Before I knew I was highly sensitive (which is a normal trait …