Category “love & relationships”

Why I Despised My Skin Color & 5 Strategies That Improved My Self-Image

“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.” ~Coco Chanel

I believed I was ugly and blamed it on my dark skin. I hated my skin color. Looking back, I realized it’s because I didn’t fit in with the white kids, nor did I fit in with the black kids.

I am mixed race. I have a black father and a white mother. Until I started school, I never considered myself different. My family and I were close, and I felt love and acceptance.

When I started second grade, I developed a crush on a boy, who never noticed …

Healing After Heartbreak: How to Turn Your Pain into Your Greatest Superpower

“Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light.” ~Spike Milligan

Ever since I was a little girl, Disney films, story books, family, and friends unconsciously conditioned me to believe that the definition of happiness was a knight in shining armor galloping into my life to rescue me, sweeping me away, soothing all my problems as we ride off into the sunset to live happily ever after.

However, it’s fair to say, that fairytale didn’t play out how I’d expected in real life. Nor does it for most, if any of us.

For much of my teenage years, I …

Book Giveaway, HumanKind: Changing the World One Small Act at a Time

The other day, while scrolling through my Facebook feed, I came across the kind of uplifting story that makes my exhausted-mom-bleeding-heart melt.

It was from a mother who’d decided to fly alone with her two-year-old and five-year-old, only to find herself overwhelmed by two screaming, overtired children.

I can imagine the stress and anxiety she felt, given that I often feel that way just sitting in my living room with my poor-sleeping baby and high-energy toddler—which is why I almost shed a tear when I read about the other moms who stepped up to offer help.

One fellow mama let …

4 Powerful Lessons I’ve Learned from Grief Since My Mom Died Suddenly

“Losing my mother at such an early age is the scar of my soul. But I feel like it ultimately made me into the person I am today. I understand the journey of life. I had to go through what I did to be here.” ~Mariska Hargitay

At 6:07 pm on July 18, 2020, I was sitting on the couch with my boyfriend. It was a Saturday night, and I had canceled plans with my friends because I had a migraine. I had eaten dinner already, and I was in my pajamas, watching TV. My phone rang—my dad. “I’ll call …

Scared of Losing People You Love? How to Work through the Fear

“People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.” ~Joseph F. Newton

“Oh my God, Mom…” she said with a verbal eye roll.

“What?” I responded, sure that I had said too much or overshared like I normally do.

I can’t recall what my daughter and I were discussing openly about while standing in line at the grocery store checkout, but I do remember the girl ringing us up laughing and saying we sounded just like her and her mom.

I paused, unsure what that meant.

“Is this what a healthy mother/daughter relationship sounds like?” I questioned to myself. …

Want to Help Someone Through Depression? Here Are a Few Things to Try

“There were two classes of charitable people: one, the people who did a little and made a great deal of noise; the other, the people who did a great deal and made no noise at all.” ~Charles Dickens

“It’ll be okay, just…”

If I could have taken that expression and thrown it at each person who said it to me when I was struggling with depression, it would have felt much better than hearing it each time.

Here are a few ways people ended that sentence:

“Try not to think about it.”

“Cheer up.”

“Get some exercise.“

“See someone …

Put Down Your Phone: Why Presence Is the Best Gift You’ll Ever Give

“When you love someone, the best thing you can offer is your presence. How can you love if you are not there?” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

The only thing worse than not listening to someone is pretending to listen.

Giving the vague murmur of agreement, or a quick nod to communicate “Yes, I’m listening, totally,” when really, we’re not.

I remember vividly a dinner I had with friends about four years ago. I’d been backpacking in New Zealand for twelve months and had just returned to the UK. Traveling in the car to my friend’s house, I imagined how the night …

Why I Blamed Myself for My Ex’s Suicide (and Why It’s Not My Fault)

“No amount of guilt can change the past and no amount of worrying can change the future.” ~Umar Ibn Al Khattab

I don’t remember the exact day the message came through. It was from my son, Julian, and he needed to talk to me. It sounded pretty serious. He never really needs to talk to me.

His father was found dead earlier that week. He’d hung himself.

While this news hardly affected Julian at all, it hit me like a ton of bricks, and I cried.

Our Marriage

We met in a taxi thirty-three years ago. He was the driver, …

Please Don’t Fix Me: What True Empathy Is (And Isn’t)

“No one mentioned until I was in late middle age that—horribly!—my good, helpful ideas for other grown-ups were not helpful. That my help was in fact sometimes toxic. That people needed to defend themselves from my passionate belief that I had good ideas for other people’s lives. I did not know that help is the sunny side of control.”  ~Anne Lamott

I’m a well-meaning empath.

If you share your problems with me, I’ll quickly make them my own. I’ll listen intently, feel deeply, and want to help. I’ll give you advice and solutions you didn’t ask for, then be annoyed …

HumanKind: A Feel-Good Book That Can Lift Your Spirits & Change the World

We’re approaching that time again, “the most wonderful time of the year,” they say.

Some love the holidays because they appreciate the comfort of tradition—the regalia, the reunions, the rituals.

Others delight in the nostalgia of holidays past, when all was calm and all was bright, even if just for a day.

As for me, I love the spirit of giving and the way the season often brings out the best in people.

It’s the seat given to someone with an armful of bags, the donation offered to someone with a head full of worries, or forgiveness extended to someone …

5 Tips to Stop Comparing Yourself to Other People

“No matter what you do, someone won’t be pleased. Someone will think your choices are wrong. And someone will tell you what you should do instead. No matter which path you take, someone will seem to be doing better. Someone will have more than you. And someone else’s life may look more impressive on paper. If you’re being true to yourself, none of that will matter because you’ll have something more satisfying than approval and the illusion of “success”: a life that feels right for you, based on your own wants, needs, values, and priorities.” ~Lori Deschene

Have you ever …

When It’s Time to Stop Helping Others and Help Ourselves


“Do your best and be okay with that.” ~Ursula Wharton

Late one evening I was doing some work at the last minute when my phone buzzed with a text from Alex, my neighbor’s boyfriend. He said he was rushing over and then I saw, “Chris is trying to kill herself. You gotta get in there and stop her.”

I felt sick to my stomach. I stood up too fast from my chair and dropped my phone onto the ugly grey carpet beneath my bare feet. I rushed to Chris’s apartment, which was right next to mine.

Thankfully, the door was …

Lessons and Gifts from Grief: What I Learned After Losing My Baby

Today marks the twenty-year anniversary of when I lost my first baby.

I was, at the time, happily married and we were excited to start our family. My pregnancy was planned, wanted, and blissful. I was six months along. I was showing, and the baby was kicking vigorously. We had just moved into a wonderful house only a few blocks from my parents. Everything was absolutely golden.

It took me a little while to find an OB-GYN in the area, so I was about a month late for my baseline ultrasound. We were very excited to get a clear view …

Why I Felt Broken and Unworthy of Love and What Changed Everything

“How people treat other people is a direct reflection of how they feel about themselves.” ~Paulo Coelho

He used to tell me no one else would love me because I’m damaged goods.

And I believed him.

Because I received messages for most of my life that there was something wrong with me.

I wasn’t good enough. Too sensitive. Too weak. Too sickly. Too different.

I realize now those messages were passed on to me by concerned parents who saw in me parts of themselves they didn’t fully accept.

And those messages were from parents whose own parents had used criticism …

3 Questions Every People-Pleaser Should Ask Before Making a Decision

“The one thing you learn is when you can step out of your comfort zone and be uncomfortable, you see what you’re made of and who you are.” ~Sue Bird

I am a recovering people-pleaser.

I grew up in a hardworking, blue-collar house, nestled in a humble, rural, blue-collar town. I was instructed, both consciously and unconsciously, on how to fit in and play my part.

My entire decision-making process revolved around what I was supposed to do, how my actions made others feel, and the impact I would have on the status-quo. I became a teacher because that …

Breaking the Toxic Cycle: My Family Dysfunction Stops with Me

TRIGGER WARNING: This post references physical abuse and may be triggering to some people.

“Forgive yourself for not knowing better at the time. Forgive yourself for giving away your power. Forgive yourself for past behaviors. Forgive yourself for the survival patterns and traits you picked up while enduring trauma. Forgive yourself for being who you needed to be.” ~Audrey Kitching 

I will never forget, when I was twelve years old, I went to sit on my father’s lap and he told me, “No! You’re too heavy to sit on my lap!” What does an adolescent girl do with a comment …

Who Are You Protecting? Why Telling Your Story Is Powerful

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~Maya Angelou

Throughout my childhood experiences I did what every child does and rejected parts of myself. It makes sense because kids depend on adults for survival, so I was in no position to reject my parents. But as an adult I feel it is now my job to reclaim those parts of myself.

While I had two parents that loved me and what I’d describe as a normal childhood, nonetheless I became hyper-attuned to others, over-sensitive to criticism, and a perfectionist, particularly under stress. It led to …

How I’m Healing from Codependency After Growing Up with an Alcoholic Parent

“The only person you can now or ever change is yourself. The only person that it is your business to control is yourself.” ~Melody Beattie

In 2019, I decided to leave my marriage and start over. Although my relationship with my ex-husband brought deep pain and many months of suffering, I felt content with my decision.

In a short time, I began to feel great. I developed a healthy routine, exercised regularly, began meditating every day, spent time in nature, maintained healthy and deep connections with people, and tried to focus on the positive.

For a few months, it …

The You Matter Marathon: A Simple, FREE Way to Change Someone’s Life (No Running Required)

I care. I’m here. I’m sorry. You can.

Two simple words can make a huge difference. They can soothe, heal, connect, and inspire.

Perhaps the two most powerful words in the English language: You matter.

Far too many people don’t believe this is true. Especially since the start of the pandemic, many have felt isolated, purposeless, and some even hopeless, wondering if they’ll ever feel connected and valuable again—if they ever even have.

My new friend Cheryl Rice started this global kindness movement, the You Matter Marathon, for this very reason.

It all began back in 2016 when a …

FREE Dalai Lama Global Vision Summit: The Power of Compassion Starts on 10/14!

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama

Every last one of us experiences pain and suffering, and we all see it all around us. Trauma, tragedy, illness, loss—these are all unavoidable parts of being human. And even if we endure less hardship than most, we’ll still have to watch the people we love struggling, wishing we could somehow help.

We can, and it’s far simpler than we may think. We don’t need to save people, fix their problems, or change their lives. We …