“When you blame others, you give up your power to change.” ~Robert Anthony
Blame is seductive because it makes us right and them wrong. For a moment, it feels good to say, “It was their fault,” but in the long run holding on to blame only hurts us and does absolutely nothing to help our evolution. In fact, it keeps us stuck.
But, I get it. When we feel wronged, upset, and angry, that person is the only one to blame.
I understand that some things are so egregious and so unforgivable that it seems impossible to not default …
“There is no magic cure, no making it all go away forever. There are only small steps upward; an easier day, an unexpected laugh, a mirror that doesn’t matter anymore.” ~Laurie Halse Anderson
It began in elementary school. I was a chubby immigrant with a thick accent and hand-me-down clothes. I so badly wanted the other kids to like me, and I had no idea why everything I said and did seemed to push them away.
My jokes and comments would trigger awkward silences or ridicule—especially in groups. Those moments were traumatizing, but they were also confusing. How could I …
“Unlike self-criticism, which asks if you’re good enough, self-compassion asks what’s good for you?” ~Kristin Neff
My husband and family were my world. Although I’d found joy in my passion of writing, my heart revolved around my marriage. I thought we were happy. Then one day, he dropped the bomb: “I don’t love you anymore.”
Two weeks later, I found out he’d fallen in love with another woman who lived across the world. He didn’t want me anymore.
Sure, I’d known for a while something was wrong—that knowing deep in your gut that you can’t put your finger on, …
“When you no longer believe that eating will save your life when you feel exhausted or overwhelmed or lonely, you will stop. When you believe in yourself more than you believe in food, you will stop using food as if it were your only chance at not falling apart.” ~Geneen Roth
I used to eat because I was lonely.
Lunch hour at school would last nine billion years. I’d have no one to sit with—I was spotty and mega bossy, and my hobby was copying pages from anthropology books.
Everyone would put a sweater on the chair next to them, …
“Self-love, self-respect, self-worth: There’s a reason they all start with ‘self.’ You can’t find them in anyone else.” ~Unknown
It was one of those nights.
I was in a busy New York bar, having fun and enjoying myself. That was, until someone asked me: “So, what do you do?”
Within a few seconds my fun, happy, playful side vanished and in entered a girl full of doubts and insecurity.
The truth was… I had no freaking idea about what I was doing! I had just left my corporate job and now I was on a journey to …
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
Sunlight shone through the living room window. A lazy Sunday afternoon. I lounged on the couch reading a book with my dog cuddled at my feet. My love had just set out to purchase a new set of acoustic guitar strings. Soon he would return, and music would fill our home, adding to my sense of blissful peace.
The telephone rang. I could see from the caller ID it was my father. “Good,” I thought. “It’s been a few weeks. I wonder …
“Love is not what you say. Love is what you do.” ~Unknown
I used to think that true love should be passionate and intense. When someone broke up with me or treated me poorly, I’d imagine that he really didn’t mean it. Surely he was really a good person and truly loved me, but was just “going through something” or “needed space.” Eventually he’d be back with tears, apologies, and flowers.
I’d like to say I outgrew this tendency by the age of, well, maybe forty, but the fact is I didn’t.
Instead, I carried a torch for a recently …
Have you ever thought, “Something’s wrong with me”? I suspect we all have at one time or another.
We’ve thought we’re too quiet, too loud, too eager, too lazy, too sensitive, too dramatic, or generally not good enough.
And social media doesn’t help much. Every time we log on to Facebook or Instagram we’re bombarded with everyone else’s accomplishments, adventures, and best angles, which can easily lead us to conclude our life is somehow lacking—that we are somehow lacking.
From there, it’s just a quick leap to self-flagellation.
We can all be our own harshest critics. We can beat ourselves …
“The goal is to die with memories, not dreams.” ~Unknown
As we stood holding hands under that great oak tree, I had never felt more surrounded by love. It was simultaneously the most wonderful and haziest moment of my whole life as we said, “I do.”
It had really happened. I had married my best friend.
We made the decision to bring our wedding forward a year after my husband’s dad, Ian, had been diagnosed with cancer. In nine months we had planned and executed our perfect wedding day. And he was there.
We drank and sang and danced the …
“Regret can be your worst enemy or your best friend. You get to decide which.” ~Martha Beck
I was lucky enough to grow up with a pretty great mom.
She put herself through nursing school as a single parent, still made it to every field trip and dance recital, and somehow always made my brother and me feel like the best thing since sliced bread (even when we were acting like moldy and ungrateful fruitcakes).
She knew our deepest secrets, our friends, and who we were capable of being—even when we didn’t know ourselves. As I grew older my mom …
“I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do. “ ~Brené Brown
He just left our home.
After eighteen years together, fifteen of them being married, he left as we had planned, as we had gently and lovingly discussed.
We are on a break, a trial separation. What you hear about separation and divorce is all so achingly true. It feels like a death, a chasm where all the worst feelings imaginable pile in on you, where you can’t quite breathe right.
The pain is visceral—like someone …
“People are doing the best that they can from their own level of consciousness.” ~Deepak Chopra
My father passed away suddenly and not so suddenly several weeks back.
He had been sick for a long time, but it was a gradually progressing illness and not what ultimately caused his passing. So, it did come as a shock, and the last few weeks have been filled with all the random things you need to do when someone dies—change the names on insurance policies and automobile titles, call social security, etc.
The list seems endless, but now that the tasks are …
“Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.” ~Rumi
One of the most common sources of conflict among people is in the way we communicate. Often times, conflicts arise because of the variety of our opinions and beliefs, and also from the way we express our thoughts and communicate disagreement.
A blaming, sometimes even aggressive tone of voice can seep into our language, which invites confrontation instead of collaboration, and conveys a closed “my way or no way” kind of approach.
Looking back on my past, I can recall myself during my childhood years, …
“Never wish them pain. That’s not who you are. If they caused you pain, they must have pain inside. Wish them healing. That’s what they need.” ~Najwa Zebian
Most of us don’t grow up and say we’re going to be killers.
Most of us don’t grow up and say we’re going to hurt people.
We don’t grow up thinking and planning to hurt ourselves.
But there are moments in our lives in which we’ve stepped outside of ourselves and made decisions that impair our lives. Decisions that remain with us for a lifetime.
Then we have difficulty forgiving ourselves …
“Change is the end result of all true learning.” ~Leo Buscaglia
I cringe writing this. I have eaten so much humble pie that my pants don’t fit. This was a really hard lesson to learn.
I had a forgiveness problem.
When I was a kid, I learned to say sorry when I messed up and forgive other people when they did. With three sisters all two years apart, I got plenty of practice in as a kid (we all did).
It was a pretty standard routine:
1. Someone would mess up—say something horrible, lose something, break something, or hit someone.…
“Single is no longer a lack of options, but a choice. A choice to refuse to let your life be defined by your relationship status but to live every day Happily and let your Ever After work itself out.” ~Mandy Hale
In our society, being single is still heavily stigmatized. Being single is often perceived as something out of the norm. It is more acceptable to be part of a couple (even a dysfunctional one!) than it is to be single. And it is even more acceptable to be divorced than it is to be single.
Unfortunately, our society makes …
“If you can laugh with somebody and relate to somebody, it becomes harder to dehumanize them. I think that most of what we are constantly bombarded with in terms of media leads you to a creation of ‘the Other’ and a dehumanization of ‘the Other,’ and it’s very much an us-versus-them conversation.” ~Jehane Noujaim
People are really hard to hate up close.
In today’s acrimonious political climate, whole groups of people seem to be pitted against one another based on various political, ideological, class, geographic and racial classifications. And yet, spend a day with “the other” and it’s difficult to …
“Don’t trade your authenticity for approval.” ~Unknown
How often do you find yourself doing things just because you have to and not because you want to? I’m not talking about the hard work we do to improve at our jobs or the responsibilities we have to our families. I’m referring to those things we do just to please others, to project a certain image of ourselves to the world that isn’t in line with who we really are.
A few years ago, I was searching within myself to find out who I really was.
I’d been so obsessed with …
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” ~Carl Jung
When my wife and I had children, little did we know that we’d be creating little bundles of nerves. Between my wife’s depression and my own anxiety, we created two anxiety-ridden, depressed balls of mess, and then some.
Don’t get me wrong, we love our two girls to death, and we are very proud of them. They are both very strong and beautiful young ladies. Occasionally we like hanging out with them too.
While the two girls have similar interests, their personalities couldn’t be …
“Only through our connectedness to others can we really know and enhance the self. And only through working on the self can we begin to enhance our connectedness to others.” ~Harriet Lerner
Three decades ago, I married the man with whom I knew I would spend the rest of my life. We each had a rough childhood and had learned a lot about surviving, defending, and protecting ourselves. However, we did not know much about how to maintain a successful relationship.
We took numerous classes on communication, learned to fight fair, and filled our goodwill bank accounts with lots …