Category “love & relationships”

Healing from Heartache: How to Ease the Pain

“Be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.” ~Max Ehrmann 

If you looked at your broken heart and allowed for tenderness, you would feel better. Maybe not completely better, but there would be a softening. Compassion for yourself is soothing. When our hearts are aching, we need all the soothing we can get.

If you looked at your broken heart from the perspective of the loving mother within you, you would see that the only thing you need right now is …

“Nice” Isn’t a Compliment: Letting Go of the Need to Please

“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.” ~Brene Brown

When I was in the seventh grade, I moved to a new city and started a new school. I was terrified and filled with anxiety about navigating this new world without a single friend. What if no one liked me?

My first week there, I walked through the cafeteria some when two girls called me over to their table. I breathed a sigh of relief, thinking maybe I would be able to make a friend. I went over smiling …

4 Things You Need to Know to Have a Strong, Healthy Relationship

“To love is nothing. To be loved is something. But to love and be loved, that’s everything.“ ~T. Tolis

Relationships are not always easy. If you lack the tools to engage properly with a partner and cannot show up in a healthy way, you will find your relationship is ten times harder and most likely prone to failure.

I wish I had known these things when I first started dating, as it would have made my life much easier.

If you want to have a healthy relationship, you must know the following:

1. How to communicate effectively

My …

How to Stop Neglecting and Abusing Your Inner Child

“Hold the hand of the child that lives in your soul. For this child, nothing is impossible.” ~Paulo Coelho

You’re probably an abusive parent. Even if you don’t have children.

In each of us lives an inner child. This child isn’t just a sub-layer of our personality; it’s arguably the real us, the deepest aspect of ourselves.

Like many people, I’ve been aware of the inner child idea for some time. I thought of the concept mostly as another way of explaining our personal sensitivities or the childish behavior we all are capable of at times. But it’s not …

One Simple Way to Be a Good Friend (A Lesson from My Childhood Dog)

“To be rich in friends is to be poor in nothing.” ~Lilian Whiting

For eleven years of my life, I was graced by the presence of an extraordinary dog. Her name was Jenny, and she was a black lab and springer mix with a hyper personality and an almost absurd passion for the joy of being alive.

She was a gift to our family from a close family friend, and she was by far the most life-changing gift we ever received.

While there are many stories I could share about her, there is one story in particular that stands …

How to Get Closure When Your Ex Won’t Speak to You

“If you are brave enough to say good-bye, life will reward you with a new hello.” ~Paul Coehlo

Why won’t they call? Can’t they just have the conversation? What’s wrong with them? What did I do to deserve this treatment? Did I mean nothing?

Have you asked yourself these questions at the end of a relationship? I know I have. Actually, I was asking myself these very questions about six months ago. What do you do at the end of a relationship when it doesn’t really feel over or you aren’t ready for it to be done?

First there …

Why I Won’t Tell You to Stop Caring About What Other People Think

“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.” ~Mark Twain

I almost didn’t dye the tips of my hair purple a couple years ago because I was so worried about what other people might think. While changing my hair color was something new for me, basing my decisions on other people’s opinions was not.

I tend to look to others for clues about how I should think and act. Sometimes this shows up in small things, like opinions about movies, music, or clothes. Even when asking big life questions, however, my first impulse is often to wonder what …

Are You Showing Up in the World as Your Best Self?

“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” ~Robert Kennedy

Many years ago, I had the opportunity to take a yoga class at San Quentin State Prison in Northern California.

I had visited the prison before, attending other classes, with inmates, on anger management and a class based on …

Why We Shouldn’t Force Advice on People & What Actually Helps

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” ~Stephen R. Covey

This is a post about listening.

I know it’s really unsexy. It’s a topic that’s like the sun; nobody looks directly at it. But you want to create deep and lasting connections with others, and real changes for your loved ones, right?

Right. Stick with me.

Think about your typical day. How often do you listen in a conversation with others without being fully present?

Go on, be honest.

You find that you float in and out of awareness. Certain …

Why Insecurity & Approval-Seeking Lead to Unhealthy Relationships

“Your relationship with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship you have.” ~Robert Holden

As a child I was carefree and enthusiastic. Aren’t most kids? At some point, though, life began to impact me and to affect how I felt about myself.

For as long as I can remember, I was a chubby kid. I began using food as a means of coping, and my family didn’t seem to see it as an issue. Coming from an Italian family, food was correlated with love.

As I moved into my adolescent years, being chubby was no longer “cute,” and other …

7 Clues You’re in an Unhealthy Relationship


“You don’t let go of an unhealthy relationship because you stop caring about them. You let go because you finally start caring about you.” ~Charles Orlando

Most of us have experienced the pain of being in an unhealthy relationship.

It took me a long time to admit that I was in one. When I finally took off the rose-tinted glasses, I saw my relationship for what it was: an exhausting, lonely experience, with no real long-term benefits, that sucked the life out of me.

I recognized that the relationship was causing me to feel worse about myself, not better, resulting …

How to Speak to Someone About an Unspeakable Loss

“It’s not about saying the right things. It’s about doing the right things.” ~Unknown

Years ago, my family and I moved to a bucolic little town in New Zealand, where we were immediately swept up into a group of ex-pats and locals. We felt deeply connected to this community by the time I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy in the local hospital.

When our son was three months old, a doctor heard a heart murmur. Twenty-four hours later, he died.

In the days and weeks that followed, I wandered in my own fog of grief as I went …

10 Powerful Tips for Building a Deep, Lasting Love

“We are a work in progress with a lifetime contract.” ~Phyllis Koss

The priest at our wedding advised us, “It’s not enough to say, ‘I want to marry you’ just today. You’ve got to be able to say that every day.”

Problems and challenges in life can be like the wind, which blows unpredictably. You can’t control the wind, but you can learn to set your sails and to make repairs.

We’ve now been married for thirty years. Life, with all its ups and downs, has taught us a few lessons about building a lasting romance.

Here are ten tips …

3 Things We Can All Do to Create Stronger, Happier Relationships

“Love is the absence of judgment.” ~Dalai Lama

I used to be one of those moms.

Let me explain.

I was a single mom for literally my daughter’s entire childhood. That’s okay—I was a control freak, so it really suited me. I got to make all the decisions. Perfect!

And it was… for me. Not so much for my daughter, but then in those days I was only focused on getting through the day and paying the bills.

We coped. I made the rules, set the boundaries, and expected her to tow the line.

Which she mostly did, …

You Are Not Responsible for Anyone Else’s Emotions

“Rather than being your thoughts and emotions, be the awareness behind them.” ~Eckhart Tolle

“I don’t believe you,” I jutted out my chin like a petulant toddler. Collapsing back into the tufted leather loveseat, I conceded, “I want to believe you, but I can’t.”

My therapist had just explained to me that I am not responsible for regulating other people’s emotions. My mind couldn’t process this truth.

There were too many decades of owning the moods of those around me.

In my younger years, if a parent was stressed, I felt it was up to me to calm them down. …

What to Do When Words Hurt You (Just Like Sticks and Stones)

“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” ~Gandhi

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

Do you remember this saying from childhood? It was one I heard often and wanted to believe. The saying states that physical acts can hurt us, but no one’s words can.

There’s nothing that seems further from the truth. Words hurt, and they stick with us far beyond the time of their telling.

It was in elementary school where my hair color was a joke. I was a carrot top, and my peers …

You Can Have The Love You Deserve If You Just Let Go

“Even if it seems like it’s taking too long for what we want to arrive, it’s better to stay with the ache than abandon the desire.” ~Danielle Laporte

Last week when I was in the front row of a yoga class, I moved my hips up and back into downward dog, and through my legs saw the top of my ex boyfriend’s head. I hadn’t seen in him months, and I wasn’t really interested in having small talk with the man who’d crushed my heart.

He approached me, eyes shining, happy to see me. I, on the other hand, drove …

What to Do When the World Doesn’t Get You

“Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” ~Pema Chödrön

For as long as I can remember, I have always been a little different, defiantly so.

I was that child who never liked cartoons. I was nicknamed “the little old lady” for the things I said at the age of five.

I was that girl from northern Vietnam who refused to change her accent and use of language while schooling in the south, despite being made a subject of ridicule for that.

I was the only pupil that felt indignant about having analyses of literature imposed on us at …

How to Confront Someone When You’re Afraid of Conflict

“Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict.” ~Dorothy Thompson

I used to think that in order to live a completely peaceful existence, there could never be any conflict in my life, so I would do anything possible to avoid it.

That included selling myself short, never sticking up for myself, and effectively compromising my value. That didn’t seem like the road to peace.

The odd time I did say something, it still felt like a losing situation because I never felt I actually gained anything.

Conflict scared me. It made

How To Take Your Life Back From People Who Ask for Too Much

“It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority.” ~Mandy Hale

It sucks, doesn’t it?

People who ask too much of you?

People who steal your time and drain your energy.

Who just keep on attacking your natural defenses, abusing your loyalty and exploiting your love.

You want to stop giving, to say no! But frustratingly, when you try to pull away, they say or imply that you’re the selfish one.

And in some cases it’s unwanted or impractical to distance yourself from that person, especially if they’re a family …