Category “love & relationships”

Stop Overextending Yourself to Please Others: 6 Simple Tips

“Sometimes the wrong choices bring us to the right places.” ~Unknown

In a span of one month, my beloved little red Toyota catches on fire, burning to a molten blob; I land in the emergency room with a ruptured disc after lifting a child out of her wheelchair; and I try a do-it-yourself hair highlighting kit, which leaves me looking, well, think Phyllis Diller.

I feel confused. I have tried so hard to do all the right things. How could my life have gotten so off track?

I am in the grip of a disorder some people might call manic …

6 Ways to Deepen Your Compassion to Help People Who Are Hurting

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” ~Dalai Lama

I thought I understood compassion. Having spent ten years of my life training to be a psychiatrist, I knew how to define it, describe it, and think about it. I thought I got it.

A few years ago, my brother was diagnosed with a serious mental illness. Being the mental health professional of the family, I took a long break to be with him as he navigated the initial stages of treatment.

This experience taught me that compassion is more than being nice to someone …

How Fear Can Deepen Joy and Love If We Let It

“Fear has its use but cowardice has none.” ~Gandhi

On Monday, my boyfriend and I took a ferry to Catalina Island, where we planned to spend the night.

I knew the island would be quaint and charming, which was a big part of its appeal, but I was mostly looking forward to breathing in the salty ocean air.

From vacations enjoyed with beachside lounging, to summer days spent running along the shore, some of my favorite memories involve the hypnotic lilt of crashing waves.

We hightailed it to the upper deck as soon as we dropped our bags, allowing ourselves …

Dealing with Conflict: Speak Up Before You Blow Up

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

“I aim to please. It’s okay, no worries. Please don’t worry, its no big deal.” These are some things I’ve said when interacting with others. The truth was that it wasn’t okay, and it was inconveniencing me.

I could never voice this to people. What if they didn’t like me? Growing up I learned to be polite and to respect my elders, so I considered it rude to tell someone that what they are asking for …

5 Tips to Repair the Damage From a Misunderstanding

“The biggest problem for humanity, not only on a global level, but even for individuals, is misunderstanding.” ~Rinpoche

There will always be misunderstandings in life. That’s a given.

The question is, how much damage will they do? How will misunderstandings affect our fulfillment? Our overall happiness?

And I’m not talking about the “Three’s Company” style of misunderstandings, which result from mistaken identity or eavesdropping. Those eventually get resolved with a cheesy group-hug, until the next episode, anyway.

No, I’m referring to the more insidious kind of misunderstandings.

Chances are, you’ve experienced serious misunderstandings that were initially ignored or swept under …

The Zen of Dogs: On Mindfulness, Compassion, and Connection

“Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.” ~Karl Barth

We were lying in bed. I said, “We can’t do it.” She said, “I don’t see what else we can do.” We lay there in silence, trying to figure it out.

It was the third big decision of our relationship. The first was when I asked Nicole to marry me. The second was when she said yes. And the third—the one we couldn’t figure out—was what to do about Ralph.

She’d had Ralph—a female German Shepherd—for a little over a year. Nicole had been waiting for years to get a dog, …

Choose Love Now

“Eventually you will come to realize that love heals everything, and love is all there is.” ~Gary Zukav

Growing up, I was lucky that my parents surrounded me with a strong and steady current of love, despite our family’s own little dysfunctions and a knowingness that I wasn’t like other kids.

In truth, once I got past my shyness, I was a pretty confident young girl who actually enjoyed being the “different” one, immersing myself in the creative outlet of dance and soothing my soul with frequent trips into nature.

Broken Bits

It wasn’t until I fell in love with …

Letting People Challenge You So You Can Learn and Grow

“The final proof of greatness lies in being able to endure criticism without resentment.” ~Elbert Hubbard

My self-awareness grows while watching an eight-year-old boy navigate Sudoku.

He wants to be good at the game, but he doesn’t want to do the work. He wants to know the next right answer without having to think.

His approach to the puzzle is one box at a time, filling in a number at random. He doesn’t realize each little mistake right away; he may get through a row or column, but eventually it catches up with him.

He then tries to backtrack, which …

Coming Home to Our Light by Embracing the Dark

“Turn you face toward the sun and the shadows will fall behind you.” ~Māori Proverb

I am looking out of the window of the airplane. We are above the clouds; the evening sun is just setting. There is a glow all around me. I am lost in this moment. I feel like I’ve never been closer to the heavens. I can stay here in these clouds forever. I am at peace.

I am returning from my first trip to Jamaica.

I went to this island paradise on what was supposed to be a fun, party trip. Yes I had fun …

Be Gentle with Yourself When Dealing with Heartbreak

“Relationships are like glass. Sometimes it’s better to leave them broken than try to hurt yourself putting it back together.” ~Unknown

I’m sitting in the nail salon near my apartment, perusing Vogue and making small talk with the woman who is cradling my hand and filing my nails. We’re catching up on our lives; I tell her I’ve been in Phoenix for the month. She nods and, in broken English, inquires about him.

I’d like to say my subsequent tears are a rarity, but lately, they seem to have a mind of their own.

I sit across from my best …

Do You Judge the Person You Used to Be?

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” ~Mother Theresa

It was the second time I’d gone out to lunch with a new friend I met through this site.

We’d experienced some of the same things in life, and I instantly admired her attitude and perspective.

Sometimes when I meet up with people I’ve met through Tiny Buddha, I feel a sense of inner conflict. One the one hand, I want to live up to everything I imagine they expect of me.

I want to be positive, present, and upbeat—all qualities I aspire to embody in my …

How to Free Yourself from the Cycle of Social Fear

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore” ~André Gide

A few months ago, I received a gift from my brother while on a vacation in the United States. He was giving each one of us a small token of stone with words carved on them. Mine was etched “courage.”

The stone reminded me of my struggles on self-esteem—in the past and the present. I pull strength from my courage to face the challenges of each day.

Getting to where I am now was not an easy task.

The Cycle of

Learning to Stop Clinging to People: Know That You Are Loved

“As long as you make an identity for yourself out of pain, you cannot be free of it.”   ~Eckhart Tolle

I have a heart condition. Not one that you could see on an x-ray, or even one that you would find in a medical textbook.

For as long as I can remember, I have felt like my heart has had a gaping hole in it—and I’ve been stuffing anyone, anything into that space to try and feel a little less empty. A little less alone.

The first day of my freshman year, I met a girl.

We spent the rest …

Developing Self-Compassion & Learning to Be Nicer to Ourselves

“Be gentle first with yourself if you wish to be gentle with others.” ~Lama Yeshe

Several months ago, I sat in a large workshop audience being led by Kristin Neff, a pioneer in the field of self-compassion research.

She directed us to divide up into pairs for a self-compassion exercise. I turned to the young woman next to me. We introduced ourselves and returned our attention to Kristin.

Following her instructions, my partner closed her eyes while I sat looking at her. Kristin led those of us with open eyes through a loving-kindness meditation that was directed at our …

5 Tips to Recognize and Honor Your Needs in Relationships

“The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others.” ~Sonya Friedman

In what feels like a previous life, I was a serial dater.

I looked for attention, validation, and identification in relationships. Each guy, however wrong for me, seemed like the perfect fit for my empty hand.

Maybe I hated being around his smoking, but I brushed it off and tried to breathe the other way.

Maybe our conversations were dull, but I thought it’d get better. Maybe I cringed at being dragged to another party, but I went, because he wanted to see his friends.

This pattern continued …

How to Create Emotional Freedom by Setting Healthy Boundaries

“I’ve discovered that you can’t change people. They can change themselves.” ~Jim Rohn

 “As much I want you to be happy, I’m realizing that I can’t be responsible for your happiness.”

I had never spoken truer words in my life. Even as the tears flowed down my cheeks, I felt a profound sense of freedom and lightness.

My mother suffers from major depressive disorder. For much of my life I truly believed that there was something I could do to bring her out of it. I tried to be the perfect daughter. I minimized my own emotional presence. I did …

Overcoming Passive Aggression: Meet Your Needs by Communicating Clearly

A couple of weeks ago, while reading a post on a different personal development site, I found a comment from a reader who seemed to question the blogger’s intentions and integrity, as it pertains to how he does business.

This reader was direct. She didn’t beat around the bush; she came right out and communicated how she felt. For this reason, and because the comment was based in assumptions, it read as somewhat harsh and judgmental.

Another reader responded to that comment, starting with something along the lines of, “Wow, now isn’t this a wonderful learning opportunity for both of …

Help People Feel Better: The Power of Understanding

“When you judge another, you do not define them. You define yourself.” ~Wayne Dyer

I used to be someone who always gave my opinion, or confronted issues in relationships regardless of whether someone was in the mood for what I had to say.

I always brought up whatever was bothering me or said my opinion, perhaps in not so tactful ways. Needless to say, this led to a lot of emotional confrontations and blowouts with friends and family members, sometimes destroying important relationships.

I justified my actions by thinking that people deserved to hear the truth, no matter what.

Despite …

Learn to Forgive Yourself Even When You’ve Hurt Someone Else

“Be gentle first with yourself if you wish to be gentle with others.” ~Lama Yeshe

Think back to the last time somebody apologized to you about something. Did you forgive them? There is a very good chance that you did.

Now think back to the last time you harmed someone else. Have you forgiven yourself? Probably not.

We all make mistakes. Oftentimes, through our actions, somebody gets hurt.

During this past year, I served as a liaison between my fraternity and a seventeen-year-old cancer patient in a local hospital through the Adopt-a-Family program. This patient, Josh Goldstein, passed away …

7 Things to Remember When People Don’t Support You

“I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do! That is character!” ~Theodore Roosevelt

I’m currently doing the whole “quit my job to pursue a dream” thing. I left the security and stability of having a salary along with a supposed career.

Back then, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I had no experience in blogging, plus I didn’t exactly have the confidence to market and start running a business.

Sounds crazy, right?

You can imagine the reaction I got from my friends and …