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Best of Our Blogs: July 15, 2016

Death is an obvious reason to grieve. But after reading, "3 Kinds of Grief Nobody Talks About," I was reminded of the less discussed sorrow we go through.

There is the loss of the person you knew before mental illness and addiction. There is the grief that comes from realizing your parents were not there for you the way you needed them to be. There is also the loss of the you before your diagnosis.

Although we don't give attention to these changes, they deserve to be mourned too.

Whether you're grieving a toxic relationship, your anxious child or a recent diagnosis, take time to process how you're feeling. Be compassionate towards yourself. Life is difficult, but even more painful if we don't give ourselves sufficient time and space to grieve.
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Best of Our Blogs: July 12, 2016

Everything going on in the world has amassed a feeling of unrest. Anger, even. When anger is thrown at us professionally, personally and at a societal level, we often respond with more anger.

None of that is productive, and can be destructive. To get to the real issues, we need to quench the fire and work from a place of love and stillness. I read this passage from Whatever Arises Love That by Matt Kahn and thought it could quell some of the fire we're feeling right now:
"I no longer fight with those who insist on fighting with me. I acknowledge anyone who fights as only fighting for the grace of their own loving attention...By speaking to others in a tone and manner that suggests how much better they deserve to treat themselves when not in my presence, I help raise the vibration of the planet. I know full well that my path cannot be defined by how others treat me but only how I choose to respond."
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Best of Our Blogs: July 8, 2016

"Where did we ever get the crazy idea that in order to make children perform better, we must first make them feel worse?...Many believe that punishment is the best way to motivate children to do better. They really believe that in order to make children do better, they first have to make them feel worse." - Jane Nelsen, Ed.D. from Positive Discipline
The passage is talking about child discipline, but I don't think we're immune to the belief in adulthood. How many of us buy into that "No pain, no gain," motto?

We berate ourselves for finishing off that pie. We shame ourselves for snapping at our kids. Instead of resting when we're tired, we push ourselves to work even harder.

The idea that self-punishment is necessary for desired behavior is a hard one to shake. Yet it dictates our relationships with others and ourselves.

As you'll read this week, our parents, the people we surround ourselves with and the media all play a role in shaping how we perceive our world. The way to break free is to practice self-kindness. Encouragement and self-compassion lead to long-term positive change. Punishment and criticism short change us because we're motivated purely from the fear of being unloved.
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Best of Our Blogs: July 5, 2016

I caught a recent post on our Facebook page and it brought the seriousness of your daily struggles to light. While many struggle with issues with family, work or self-criticism, some are in dire need of support. Some feel all alone.

Depression and suicide are two very real concerns for many of us. It's not if it affects us, it's how it affects us and what we can do about it.

As someone who has suffered with depression as a teenager, I understand the heaviness, the dull pain and belief that nothing will ever get better. But I wish that anyone who felt depressed realized that life always gets better. And not just a little better, but it really does feel like a rainbow at the end of a long dark tunnel.

While you're stuck in it, there is no shame in grasping onto life jackets in the form of therapists and friends. Life is difficult. We are not meant to go through it all alone. If you are reading this and need help or know someone who does, please
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Best of Our Blogs: July 1, 2016

With 4th of July just around the corner, I'd like to revisit the word, "freedom." What does it mean to you?

Since having children, the word seems elusive. But I realized there are a multitude of ways we can feel imprisoned. Our job, relationship(s), or an illness can all prevent us from feeling carefree. Even our thoughts and beliefs can chain us to misery.

The desire is to flee. But all things that feel like imprisonment has the potential to free us if we decide to take control and empower ourselves.

Whether it's untrue thinking or a wrong relationship that's got you feeling stuck, our top posts this week have the power to be freeing.
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Best of Our Blogs: June 28, 2016

We can start to fear discomfort. Trips, jobs and relationships can all be potential disappointments. Even superficial disappointments can remind us of deeper childhood pain or future goals we have yet to attain. Over time, comfort feels like safety, but prevents us from experiencing new things, which can later stunt our happiness and self-growth.

While the key isn't to jump in the deep end right away, it helps to flirt with the idea of discomfort. Maybe it's staying open when meeting new people. Maybe it's experimenting with a new restaurant and being okay if it turns out to not be your favorite place.

As we get older, it's tempting to want to control everything to avoid discomfort. But I think our purpose isn't to build walls so we don't feel. Instead what if challenges were created to help us grow?

Do you need help with disappointment? Dig into our posts this week. It may finally reveal where your inability to handle discomfort comes from.
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Best of Our Blogs: June 24, 2016

Wordpress was wonky this week so I haven't been able to do my usual post. It was a great reminder to me of how things have the potential to control you, if you let it.

How much energy are you spending on things you have no control over like the weather, your co-worker's insensitivity, your relative's lack of compassion or other people's success on Facebook?

Your mind is like a magnet attracted to what needs fixing. It steals away energy from the things you can control like how you are with your kids, husband and yourself.

When you are consumed with fixing instead of accepting, you rob yourself of the present moment. You steal away precious time from what really matters.

The next time you feel yourself getting sucked into jealousy, worry or anger, stop. Remember your thoughts are just thoughts. The stories you tell yourself about what happened are stories, not reality. You don't have to choose to get lost into them. You can choose to be in this moment right now.

To help you get centered, practice presence when you read our posts this week. You'll learn some of the consequences of things you haven't spend energy on, but should, like your boundaries, childhood or child's anxiety.
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Best of Our Blogs: June 14, 2016

"...in essence, when we fear another, we fear ourselves; when we distrust another, we distrust ourselves; when we hurt another, we hurt ourselves; when we kill another, we kill ourselves.” - Mark Nepo
I had another blog topic planned, but it was tossed after the devastating news of the Orlando shooting.

In times like these, it's hard not to feel helpless, lost and angry with the world. But while it has the potential to unravel us all, it can also invite positive change and love if we stay open through it.

I hope you find comfort in our posts today.

If you need support, the Disaster Distress Helpline is a twenty four hour hotline for those who need disaster crisis counseling and emotional support. Reach them by phone at 1-800-985-5990 and SMS (text ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746).
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Best of Our Blogs: June 10, 2016

All pain culminates with a breaking open of our former selves. To grow into the person we were meant to be, we've got to emerge through like chicks from cracked eggshells.

The type of pain doesn't matter. The heartbreak of toxic relationship, the guilt that comes from saying, "No," or the crippling pain that comes with feeling unloved. While we may experience them in different degrees, all have the potential to stir things up and wake us to the life we should be living instead of the one we have been tolerating.

Let this week's post be reminders that everyone struggles with something. But the hope lies in turning pain, grief and sorrow into strength, resilience and ultimately love.
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Best of Our Blogs: June 7, 2016

Oh the amount of energy I spent and continue to spend consumed with it. All that time wasted when I could be focused on my professional goals, my family on myself.

That's what happens when you're stuck in victimhood. You think everything bad is the result of someone else's doing.

Recently, I discovered the path towards greater growth begins when I redirect my attention. Instead of grieving over what he or she did or said, I've been working with my own reaction to it. Is there a way that I can have compassion for them? Is there a way that I can grow compassion for myself?

Truthfully, we all spend more energy on things we can't control. But doing so leaves us helpless, drained and jaded. As you move through our posts this week on everything from vulnerability to brutally honest people, see if you can shift your attention on how others are treating you to how you can treat yourself.
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Best of Our Blogs: June 3, 2016

We hear about peace all the time. Maybe it's possible for spiritual leaders, your yoga teacher and retired neighbor, but your life seems incapable of the p word. Most times you're the other p word. Pissed off.

From your kids to illness, everything is robbing you of internal peace. Amidst the chaos of your life and in preparation for summer, there is something you can do.

On Super Soul Sunday, Iyanla Vanzant said the biggest obstacle to peace was judgment.

Yes life has kept you busy. But are your quiet moments being eaten up by thoughts and worries over what other people think of you and what you think of others? Instead of constantly thinking about what someone did to you or how others misjudge you because of your illness, focus on quieting the noise with observation, pause and silence. Doing so, may allow you to carve a little space for peace.
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Best of Our Blogs: May 31, 2016

Why do we keep doing it?

If you've ever pushed yourself beyond your limit, you've asked this question before. If you've seen a loved one struggle with an unhealthy relationship or a toxic situation, you've asked it multiple times.

Why do we mold, fit and force ourselves past our capabilities? Why is that we have to hit rock bottom before we stop?

And why is that when we finally make a decision that would not only benefit ourselves, but everyone around us, we feel defeated, ashamed and full of guilt?

I don't think we're meant to do it all on our own. There is power in asking for help.

Maybe the reason why you never learned how to get your needs met was that you were raised by a narcissist. Maybe you remain in that dysfunctional relationship because you're tied together in trauma bond or you haven't yet address your core feelings. If so, keep reading. You may rediscover yourself and the courage you need to heal in this week's top post.
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