Category “love & relationships”

The Unexpected Impact of Growing Up with a Difficult Mother

“Difficulties in your life do not come to destroy you, but to help you realise your hidden potential and power, let difficulties know that you too are difficult.” ~Abdul Kalam

Do you sometimes daydream that your mom is gone, and all your troubles disappear along with her?

I used to imagine that, too.

When Mom was in intensive care, swaying between life and death, I sat outside, shell-shocked, trembling all over my body, trying to comprehend the doctor’s words: “Her condition is critical, and only time will show if she will make it. I’m sorry.”

For a moment, I …

What to Do When You Can’t Seem to Love Yourself

“You’ll be amazed at what you attract when you start believing in what you deserve.” ~Unknown

You just need to love yourself more.

I’ve heard that advice so many times when I’ve felt rejected, inadequate, and not enough. And instead of that advice helping me, it has just made me feel even more rejected, inadequate, and not enough.

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t angry at the person giving me the advice—I was angry with myself for not being able to love myself unconditionally.

It’s easier to feel love for yourself when things are going well. When …

Calling Out Bullies: Why You Need to Stand Up for Yourself

“Standing up for yourself doesn’t make you argumentative. Sharing your feelings doesn’t make you overly sensitive. And saying no doesn’t make you uncaring or selfish. If someone won’t respect your feelings, needs, and boundaries, the problem isn’t you; it’s them.” ~Lori Deschene

In Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, the main character Atticus Finch says, “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter …

How I Forgave When Life Felt Painful and Unfair

“Forgiving someone doesn’t mean that their behavior was ‘OK.’ What it does mean is that we’re ready to move on. To release the heavy weight. To shape our own life, on our terms, without any unnecessary burdens. Forgiveness is pure freedom—and forgiveness is a choice.” ~Dr. Suzanne Gelb

It happened, again.

I was sitting opposite one of my closest family members. The irritation coming from me could almost be felt and touched in the room. One comment from him and boom, it was like pouring gasoline on a fire. I couldn’t help myself, I used to get so upset in …

40 Reasons You’re Amazing and Worth Appreciating

I’m willing to bet that most of us spend far more time focusing on what we aren’t than appreciating who we are. We home in everything we think we lack and then feel bad about ourselves, when there’s actually a lot to celebrate if we take the time recognize it.

It’s partly a byproduct of our time: We’re constantly inundated with pics and stories narrating everyone else’s lives, when really, they’re just highlight reels. They’re the filtered, photoshopped version of lives as messy and imperfect as ours.

And regardless of where they pose, what they wear, or what they’re …

How to Stop Obsessing Over What Other People Think of You

“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

I spent way too much of my life worrying about what other people were thinking of me.

I couldn’t walk down the street without sucking in my gut for fear a stranger might have thought I looked fat (mind you, I did this even when I weighed 120 pounds!!)

Going to any social gathering—a Halloween party, networking event, craft fair, even a holiday family meal—was so stressful it felt like I had a bees’ nest in my chest.

I …

How to Stop Over-Apologizing, From a Lifelong Over-Apologizer

“Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you lived through it. Honor your path. Trust your journey. Learn, grow, evolve, become.” ~Creig Crippen

When I was a child, my immediate reaction to most things was I’m sorry.”

Had to miss class because of a field trip for a different class? I’m sorry.

Something bad happened to someone I knew? I’m sorry.

It didn’t matter what the situation was or if I directly caused it or even if I was involved in it in any way whatsoever. Even in the best of situations, strangely, I’d figure out …

How to Set Healthy Boundaries and Protect Your Space and Energy

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

This unprecedented time has given us an opportunity to pause, reflect, and focus on the things that are truly important in our lives. As an unexpected benefit, the need for social distancing has provided many of us with much needed personal boundaries.

I grew up at time when children were seen and not heard, but we were never encouraged to have personal boundaries. We had no privacy, and there was a lack of understanding for the need for alone time. It reminds me …

How to Make Sense of the Anxiety That Comes with Being a Parent

“You must first teach a child he is loved. Only then is he ready to learn everything else.” ~Amanda Morgan

If I had a nickel for every parent who asked me, “So, if we do (…insert a strategy they have been given…), can we know for sure that he won’t have to deal with (…insert list of problems here …) when he grows up?”

Sadly, there are no nickels for hearing the question, nor guarantees to offer anxious parent. In fact, parental anxiety exists largely because life has no guarantees.

Nevertheless, the question in itself is worth considering.

So let’s …

How I Found the Courage to Leave an Abusive Relationship

“Do something today that your future self will thank you for.” ~Unknown

My whole life has been filled with toxic and abusive relationships, starting with extreme physical and emotional abuse from my parents, right up to the last relationship that I left in 2013. Abuse—physical, sexual, emotional, and verbal—is all I’ve ever known.

My entire life. I knew it wasn’t normal.

I desperately wanted to be loved, appreciated, and respected. I desperately wanted ‘normal,’ whatever that was. I longed for a fairy tale romance. I longed for happiness and peace. I just wasn’t convinced I would ever have that.

And …

Dear Estranged Adult: You Are Strong and Worthy of Love

Dear estranged adult,

What I want you to remember is that it was never really about you, although it might have felt like it at the time and it might feel that way now.

When your parents told you over and over you weren’t good enough, that you would never amount to anything, they were just projecting their own feeling about themselves on to you because deep down, they do not feel they are good enough and don’t believe they have amounted to anything.

Maybe these feelings were passed down from their parents, or maybe your parents have regrets about …

6 Simple Acts to Make the World a Better Place

“The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.” ~William James

I’ll never forget the call.

It was 1989 and, like most college students, I spent winter break in Florida looking for some sun. Stepping off the airplane and being greeted by a burst of warm air was the best. As I entered the terminal, I had the added benefit of being greeted by my maternal grandparents, who lived in North Miami Beach.

Lounging at the pool, going on walks with them, or eating out, the experience was a wonderful way to decompress after …

How to Love Yourself and Break Your Relationship Patterns

“And still, after all this time, the Sun has never said to the Earth, ‘You owe me.’ Look what happens with a love like that. It lights up the sky.” ~Rumi

I grew up believing love was conditional. My grandmother, as much as I adored her, was extremely controlling, and unless I met her high standards of behavior and gave her a certain level of attention, she treated me with coldness.

Whenever she disapproved of my behavior, she would tell me, “I love you, but I don’t like you.” As if she had a switch she could turn on and …

How Illness Can Be Lonely and What to Do About It

“I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being.” ~ Hafiz of Shiraz

When we think of illness, we don’t usually equate it with loneliness; however, there seems to be a huge connection between the two conditions.

The fact is, when dealing with health challenges, we are most connected to our bodies: we are one with ourselves. Even when we have thoughtful and caring loved ones in our inner circles, these individuals can never truly understand what we’re experiencing on a physical, psychological, and spiritual level.

Illness is …

Why Long-Term Love Feels Boring and Why It’s Actually Not

“It’s not the events of our lives that shape us, but our beliefs as to what those events mean.” ~Tony Robbins


The sound of my fiancé’s alarm went off at 5:00 in the morning. I had fallen asleep around 2am after scrolling for hours on Instagram and Pinterest.

Frustrated, I rolled into my pillow as he leaned over to give me a kiss on the forehead.

I grimaced.

Why does he always have to kiss me every morning when I’m tired.

Resentment is an odd feeling.

“Here we go again,” I thought to myself, “another boring Monday …

What to Do If You’re Often Annoyed with the People You Love

“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another—and ourselves.” ~Jack Kornfield

The quality of our relationships has a massive impact on our levels of happiness and well-being.

Nurturing our relationships requires time, attention, and effort. But it’s all too easy to become sidetracked and complacent, and to stop appreciating and truly connecting with those closest to us. Often, we feel we are simply too busy to focus on how we can improve the situation. Life seems to get in the way.

Like everyone else I’ve experienced plenty of ups …

How to Set Difficult Boundaries in a Compassionate Way

“We can say what we need to say. We can gently, but assertively, speak our mind. We do not need to be judgmental, tactless, blaming, or cruel when we speak our thoughts.” ~Melody Beattie

When I first learned about the concept of boundaries, I imagined how freeing it would feel to finally be able to say an empowered “no” at every turn. I imagined myself turning down drinks from leering strangers at bars, denying eager clipboard-carriers’ requests for money, and rejecting requests to do more than my fair share of work projects.

“‘No’ is a complete sentence” would be …

5 Ways to Be Your Own Best Friend in This Hard Season of Life

“Talk to yourself like someone you love.” ~Brené Brown

It has been over six months of this strange way of living. A lot is hard, uncomfortable, and painful—inside my home and outside in the world.

I find myself tired, exhausted, and overwhelmed a lot. I have two young kids; my husband and I work full time, and my home can often feel like sheer chaos.

I have mediated fights that involve blood between two young humans, and sometimes I say means words that I can’t believe I could have said to a six-year-old child. I know I could simplify …

How Resentment Affects Your Health and How to Forgive

“If one by one we counted people out for the least sin, it wouldn’t take us long to get so we had no one left to live with. For to be social is to be forgiving.” ~Robert Frost 

There are two things that may come to mind when you think about forgiveness.

The many spiritual healers and gurus that talk about its importance, including but not limited to Buddha quotes.

And the person you think you will never forgive.

Forgiveness has a largely religious or spiritual connotation.

In Buddhist teachings, grudges are likened to holding onto hot coal, …

How to Stop Running from, Neglecting, and Betraying Yourself

“Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.” ~George S. Patton

Much of the difficulty and struggle that we go through in life comes from our resistance to change. At some point, we get stuck in painful circumstances, yet we fear facing our reality and doing the work required to ignite a positive change. After all, the enemy we know is better than the enemy we don’t know. It’s not that bad, we tell ourselves.

So we settle, give up on our desires, try to make the best of what we got—and that works for a while. …