“The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” ~Henri Nouwen
It’s hard to stand at the edge of someone else’s grief.
There’s the awkwardness. You always feel a little like an uninvited guest who arrived late and missed the first half of the conversation—a conversation that turns out to be a wrestle between another person …
“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” ~Anne Lamott
To say I had a tough life would be a gross understatement. Growing up in a strict Catholic Italian family I endured my fair share of emotional and physical abuse. I was unloved and suffered great violence at the hands of both my parents, mostly my father.
No one ever talked about this. On the outside, we were the ‘perfect’ family. Both my parents had decent full time jobs; Mom was heavily involved …
“True love is born from understanding.” ~Buddha
I believe one of our strongest desires in life is to feel understood.
We want to know that people see our good intentions and not only get where we’re coming from but get us.
We want to know they see us. They recognize the thoughts, feelings, and struggles that underlie our choices, and they not only empathize but maybe even relate. And maybe they’d do the same thing if they were in our shoes.
Maybe, if they’d been where we’ve been, if they’d seen what we’ve seen, they’d stand right where we …
“You can recognize survivors of abuse by their courage. When silence is so very inviting, they step forward and share their truth so others know they aren’t alone.” ~Jeanne McElvaney, Healing Insights: Effects of Abuse for Adults Abused as Children
When I first met my husband, when he had just started medical school at a large university, I thought he was just insecure. I believed that he would grow out of his need to be the center of attention, receive constant validation, and appear correct and knowledgeable about everything.
I believed he would become surer of himself and would …
“When I loved myself enough, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy. This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs and habits—anything that kept me small. My judgment called it disloyal. Now I see it as self-loving.” ~Kim McMillen
I like to think of my inner self as a curly-haired stick figure who lives inside my chest cavity. Like most inner selves, mine has a simple, childlike quality. She smiles when she’s happy and cries when she’s sad. She has an intuitive sense of what is right and wrong. She speaks her needs simply, the way a young girl might.
My inner …
“Bless the daughters who sat carrying the trauma of mothers. Who sat asking for more love and not getting any, carried themselves to light. Bless the daughters who raised themselves.” ~Questions for Ada by Ijeoma Umebinyuo
“I failed you…”
My mother said this to me after I confronted her about my childhood.
That day, I had a clear image of the young girl I was, the girl I had tried to ignore in the hopes of moving forward. But pain shouts when it demands attention, and the suffering was palpable.
A memory flashed within my mind. I had tried telling …
“Where there is anger, there is always pain underneath.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
There I was again, regretting the spiteful words that had cascaded out of my mouth during a heated argument with my partner.
I felt that old familiar feeling, the burning in my solar plexus that bubbled up and erupted like a volcano, spilling out expressions of anger, blame, and criticism.
It had been a rocky few months, my partner was struggling to find consistent work, and our credit card debt was on the rise. Suddenly anger kicked in and I lashed out, accusing him of slacking off …
“Loving yourself is the greatest revolution.” ~Unknown
I’ve spent most of my life struggling with my weight and trying desperately to fit the idealistic image of beauty that our culture celebrates.
As a young teen, I was obsessed with magazines and all their secrets to be prettier and have a better butt and get your crush to notice you. I see now how desperate I was at such a young age to feel beautiful. Nothing seemed to work, though, as years passed and my need to fit the ideal beauty image only increased.
In high school I learned to skip …
“We are constantly invited to be who we are.” ~Henry David Thoreau
When your circumstances invite you to present your true self to others, do you accept the invitation?
I think of authentic communication as sharing the unfiltered essence of ourselves with others, including our identities, feelings, needs, boundaries, and desires.
It’s taken me many years to learn how to communicate this way. I’ve written in prior posts that speaking my truth once felt like an insurmountable challenge, like rolling an elephant up a hill or finding another living being who actually likes Nickelback. (Anyone? No?)
I was plagued …
“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 have always been an extremely glass-half-full kind of person. I always see the best in everyone, and not only the best, but also the unlimited beauty and potential. And my god, it is glorious!!
I met and fell in love with a charming man. I was on a trip to Alaska to …
If I were given the chance to relive my childhood, I wouldn’t take it. For the most part, those were times I’d rather forget. I didn’t get along well in school, and family life was less than ideal. About the only thing I liked about the seventies and eighties was the rock ‘n’ roll music.
As a kid growing up in Miami, I had an Asian look about me, even though I was of Hispanic descent. Many of the kids in school asked me if I was Chinese; some called me a stupid chink; and a few just beat me …
Deadly Women. I like Deadly Women.
Allow me to rephrase: I don’t have an affinity for murderous ladies, and I’m also not a fan of murder as a practice. I am decidedly pro-loving people and anti-killing them. And yet I enjoy the show Deadly Women and watch it with my sister, who shares my interest in true crime, whenever I’m home.
I don’t share this with many people. Why? Because it’s weird, or so I’ve thought. Maybe it’s more that it’s tough to explain.
I wouldn’t want people to judge me or somehow think less of me because …
“Until you heal your past, your life patterns and relationships will continue to be the same; it’s just the faces that change.” ~Unknown
First of all: honey, you are not broken. We are all works in process. There is nothing inherently wrong with you. We all end up in a loop here and there. Sometimes it’s because we haven’t healed pain from the past. And sometimes it’s because we’ve healed our pain but still hold on to past habits. When we do this, past habits will promote the replaying of past events and, therefore, the pain will return.
“The most difficult times for many of us are the ones we give ourselves.” ~Pema Chodron
After you come out a meaningful relationship that you didn’t foresee ending, you begin to think about everything you did wrong.
If you were not the one who wanted to the breakup, you may spend a lot of time blaming yourself and wondering about what you could have done differently.
You might begin to believe you’re solely responsible for what went down and that you deserve to spend years in relationship purgatory by yourself, mourning the loss of the person you loved.
“Just being there for someone can sometimes bring hope when all else feels hopeless.” ~Dave G. Llewellyn
Parents, if I were to ask you what your worst nightmare is, what would you say?
I daresay it probably falls somewhere under the category of “safety and health,” and the negative version thereof.
Death. Illness. Suffering.
It could largely summed up as “to watch or know my child is suffering,” an extension of that being “… and to not be able to do anything to help or take it away.”
If you’re not a parent, I’m guessing you’re felt this same …
“Hopping from one relationship to another is not the way to find love. Slow down and give love a chance to find you.” ~Unknown
When I was younger, I was a serial monogamist.
I did the math recently and it turns out that once I started dating, I didn’t spend more than two weeks single at any point.
Then, after the end of my most serious relationship ever, I had a moment that changed everything.
My boyfriend and I hadn’t even been together a whole year, but I really thought he was the one, my soul mate. We had so …
I wrote this letter to my extended family years after I chose to become estranged from my parents because many of them cut me out of their lives instead of reaching out to hear my side of the story.
It pains me that I have lost contact with some of them because they refuse to see the full picture, and at times I feel as though I have lost a part of myself. Yet, at the same time, I am free.
The letter you are about to read comes from a place of acceptance and longing. I have chosen to …
“Sometimes things fall apart so that better things can fall together.” ~Marilyn Monroe
I knew it was over and yet I stayed.
In my eyes, my relationship had run its course. I was fed up, tired, and emotionally drained, but I couldn’t get myself to pull the trigger. I didn’t know how to go through with it.
Because this was my first serious relationship, everything was new to me, including breaking up. He was my first love. We lived together, built a life together, and now I was throwing a wrench into all of our bright plans for the …
“Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” ~Leonard Cohen
We human beings are social creatures. For the most part, we like to be with people, and we want people to like to be with us. The trouble is that we get all tied up in trying to communicate a version of ourselves that we think people will find attractive.
We want to appear successful, interesting, in control—and a winner! To keep up this image we work hard to hide away the parts …