Category “love & relationships”

How Being in a Toxic Relationship Changed My Life for the Better

“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars.  You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” ~C.S. Lewis

My ex and I split up about five years ago. We had been married for seventeen years, and after that long, I figured we were home free, as far as lasting marriages go. Needless to say, when it happened, I was devastated. Over all those years of being a couple, I had lost a big part of myself. Without that relationship, who was I anymore?

I was terrified of being alone, which led …

How Conflict in Relationships Can Be a Catalyst for Growth

“The mind is the place the soul goes to hide from the heart.” ~Michael Singer

“You think you’re so much better than me!!”

As this phrase—laced with contempt—exited my mouth, I recognized the familiar words. I had grown up hearing this phrase often. The “rich people,” the girl who won the competition, the inconsiderate neighbors, the rude supervisor… “They think they’re so much better than us.”

So, I diligently spent my childhood trying to prove them all wrong.

I wore myself out trying to be the smartest, the best, the prettiest… you name it. I wasn’t going to let all …

The Power of Social (Media) Distancing

“Less social media, more everything else.” ~Unknown

It’s been a long time since I’ve engaged personally on social media. A while back I made the conscious choice to stop scrolling online and start focusing my time IRL. I was shocked when I did the math. Scrolling for just twenty minutes a day adds up to fifty days over ten years.

As a busy mom of six, my time is precious, and I don’t want to spend my minutes, hours, days, and years getting sucked into the social media vortex.

I admit, however, that social distancing has me wanting to reach …

How I Overcame My Relationship Anxiety and Doubts


“To love is to risk not being loved in return. To hope is to risk pain. To try is to risk failure. But risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in my life is to risk nothing.” ~Leo Buscaglia

It was the day after my boyfriend proposed and I felt sick with anxiety. I couldn’t understand this feeling. I loved my boyfriend; we were living together, and I didn’t want to break up with him, so why was I so anxious?

I googled furiously in search of answers. I worried this was a sign that the relationship …

Why You Should Love Your Imperfect Self

“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line.” ~Lucille Ball

If you were to ask me ten years ago what self-love meant, I would’ve probably said something general like “being happy.” But self-love goes way deeper than that; it involves accepting the past versions of yourself and your present challenges, while giving yourself credit for how far you’ve come.

While we may have an idea of the “perfect person” we want to be, sometimes we are so hard on ourselves that we forget to appreciate who we are right now. The notion that we won’t be the …

If You’re Hoping They’ll Change, They’re Not Right for You

“Love is the ability and willingness to allow those that you care for to be what they choose for themselves without any insistence that they satisfy you.” ~Wayne Dyer

When I married my ex, he had the potential to be a fantastic husband.

If I’m to be honest with you, that’s why I married him—I thought he could eventually be everything I wanted in a partner. I’m not proud of it.

To be fair, he had a lot going for him. He was handsome and creative. He was generous and romantic. My ex was a true gentleman. He dressed …

10 Things You Need to Know to Have a Strong, Happy Relationship

“The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.” ~Ernest Hemingway

When I was in my early twenties, I was in a relationship with a man who abused me emotionally and psychologically for many months.

It turned out I was his first serious relationship, and this had often made him feel overwhelmed and insecure. He didn’t feel “good enough” for me or deserving of my love. Ironically, we’d both suffered from low self-esteem but had shown it in completely different ways.

During my time with him …

How to Stop Agreeing to Things That Aren’t Good for You

“Agreeing to things just to keep the peace is actually a trauma response. When you do this you’re disrespecting your boundaries.” ~DJ Love Light

Two years ago, I moved from New England to the Pacific Northwest. It was time for a change, and though I was excited to begin a new chapter of my life, I was sorry to leave my old friends behind.

The first year in my new home was hectic. I hopped from hostel to hostel on the hunt for an apartment to call my own. Eager to make friends, I spent my evenings attending meetups of …

When You Focus on Yourself, Don’t Forget Everyone Else

“Time and good friends are two things that get more valuable the older you get.” ~Unknown

In recent years, we’ve collectively been talking a lot about creating boundaries and letting go of things that no longer serve us. Many of us have gotten better at permitting ourselves to say no and to escape old habits and routines. We’re also more open about our choices to reject people and places that exude bad vibrations or bad energy.

I love that we’re becoming more conscious of the universe that’s always changing all around us. Together, we’re acknowledging the power we have to …

How to Keep the Love Flowing in Your Relationship

“The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.”~Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island.

Have you ever noticed how with certain couples love and affection flow so naturally? Indeed, almost effortlessly. There is a good reason for this. These couples have learned to accept one another as they are, which leads to greater intimacy and a more vibrant love flow.

When we don’t accept our loved one for who and how they are—quirks, …

Dealing with Online Hate: What to Do When People Are Mean

“The less you respond to negative people, the more peaceful your life will become.” ~Unknown

I work for a website that creates videos on lifestyle, fashion, food, travel, fitness, and more.

Our channel has a massive following from all walks of life, and we receive a lot of love but also a bit of hate. Even though many people are involved in the production of a video (directors, videographers, editors), the comments, feedback, and of course the hate is usually directed at the face you see on camera, and that is the anchor—AKA me!

When I started out as an …

7 Signs Your Parents’ Love Was (and Is) Conditional

“The beauty of the truth; whether it is good or bad, it is liberating.” ~Paulo Coelho

It’s around the time of your mother or father’s birthday. You browse through the card aisles of your local store getting more and more frustrated because you cannot relate to any of the cards you read. You eventually pick out the most generic birthday card you can find and think, “Okay, I’m off the hook until the next holiday.”

Celebrations often bring up a lot of unresolved issues in families, even in among the most well functioning ones. We are reminded that the relationships …

Are You Being Roached in Your “Relationship”?

“Don’t make assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.” ~Don Miguel Ruiz

Online dating and dating apps have revolutionized the experience of dating in recent years, and those changes continue to accelerate at a dizzying pace.

These new technologies have given rise to a brand new culture that singles never had to navigate in years past. Dating online and using dating apps is like a new “Wild West,” …

Radical Compassion: How to Heal Our Hostile World

“An enemy is a person whose story you do not know.” ~Irene Butter

We all know the status of our currently hostile nation—it feels as though you can’t make it through a single speech or read an article or engage in a conversation with friends that doesn’t somehow touch on polarizing topics or divisive politics. The focus is on our differences instead of our shared humanity.

It’s all too easy to blame other people, other groups, and other political parties for the endless strife in our world—civil wars, famines, natural disasters, school shootings, homelessness, environmental destruction—just as it’s easy …

Why I Was a People-Pleaser and How I Stopped

“When you say “yes” to others, make sure you aren’t saying “no” to yourself.” ~Paulo Coehlo

For as long as I can remember I have been a people pleaser. I have prided myself on being well-liked, on saying yes and never saying no. I go out of my way for people even when it’s inconvenient for me. I have felt proud that a skill of mine is accommodating people so much so that I am needed. I avoid conflict; I make the jokes. I am happiest when I feel like people are happy with me.

For some time, this …

How I Healed from Gaslighting and Found Self-Love After the Abuse

“I smile because I have survived everything the world has thrown at me. I smile because when I was knocked down, I got back up.” ~Unknown

Had you asked me only two years ago I wouldn’t have even been able to tell you what gaslighting was, nor that I had been a victim.

That’s the thing about gaslighting, it can sneak into your life unknowingly, and before you know it, it can lead you to breaking point where you are doubting your sanity and your life is spiralling out of control.

Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse, where an …

If You Want a Healthy Relationship, Value Yourself

“It’s all about falling in love with yourself and sharing that love with someone who appreciates you, rather than looking for love to compensate for a self-love deficit.” ~Eartha Kitt

I always found the concept of self-love embarrassing and horrifying. Just thinking about it would make me cringe. It felt completely wrong, and I didn’t understand what it was all about. Quite frankly, I felt disgusted by it and thought it was a new-age invention by self-centerd people who wanted to have more opportunities to be selfish.

Sure, I was young then, but I can now also see how that …

You Are Not “Too Much” to Be Loved

“If you always feel like you’re too much or too little, maybe you’re adding yourself to the wrong recipe.” ~Sophia Joan Short

There is an art to shrinking yourself.

As a young girl, I was painfully earnest. I hadn’t learned the craft of nonchalance that was as much a requirement for being liked as name-brand clothes and Livestrong wristbands. One day, as I chattered excitedly on the school bus home, my seat-mate scolded me: “Hailey. Calm down. You’re so annoying.”

This is how I learned that my enthusiasm made me unlikable.

At home, short tempers led to angry arguments

Growing Up with a Narcissist: How I’m Healing from the Abuse

“You could have grown cold, but you grew courageous instead. You could have given up, but you kept on going. You could have seen obstacles, but you called them adventures. You could have called them weeds, but instead you called them wildflower. You could have died a caterpillar, but you fought on to be a butterfly. You could have denied yourself goodness, but instead you chose to show yourself some self-love. You could have defined yourself by the dark days, but instead through them you realized your light.” ~S.C. Lourie

As the memories of my childhood flash within my mind, …

Why I Was Desperate to Be With an Unavailable Man

“If you don’t love yourself, you’ll always be chasing after people who don’t love you either.” ~Mandy Hale

In January, a couple of years ago, I had been declared unfit for work, suffering from anxiety and mental exhaustion. For too long, I had not listened to my body and soul complaining about all the heavy burdens I had been carrying.

Out walking at this time, the bitter cold and relentless rain felt like a blessing to me, grateful to at least feel something. It was on one of these walks that I first bumped into an old school friend, hearing …