Best of Our Blogs

Best of Our Blogs: August 21, 2015

Why do little things get under your skin?

We've all probably read or at least heard of Richard Carlson, Ph.D.'s series of Don't Sweat the Small Stuff books. But you're still sweating over Every. Little. Thing.

That could be for many different reasons.

Maybe you're tired, stressed, fed up, and overwhelmed.

Maybe it's the final straw before you just can't take it anymore.

Or maybe life's little disappointments are reminders of every disappointment, past, present, and future.

Maybe a bad dining experience reminds you of a relationship that doesn't seem to be working.

Maybe a minor cold is bringing up fears of powerlessness and vulnerability.

Maybe insignificant, but negative feedback from an employer or client triggers a deep fear of not being good enough or never fulfilling your dreams.

They are all just hints and nudges that need your attention. Sometimes we're just not ready to attack the bigger issues. In the meantime, see if these posts can help you soothe your worries over the small things to help prepare you for the greater unknown.
Continue Reading

Best of Our Blogs

Best of Our Blogs: August 18, 2015

I doubt you would surrender your most private possessions to strangers let alone your closest friends. But every day we give up our power and control to others when we let them decide our fate, worth, or mood.

If you've ever let someone's words quiet your voice, sway your decision or invalidate you, then you've temporarily forgotten how powerful you are.

We often wait for loved ones to finally say the "right thing," heal old wounds, or apologize, but when we do so, we're putting our most precious gifts in the hands of someone who may not be deserving or trustworthy.

When you're desperately in search of soothing your soul, the best thing to do is to look within yourself. Say to yourself the thing you most need to hear. Heal your own wounds. Forgive yourself for not always being there as much as you could have.

When we look within for answers, we're mending what can be fixed and addressing the root of our deepest pain.
Continue Reading

Best of Our Blogs

Best of Our Blogs: August 14, 2015

Although we all experience a range of emotions, there are just a handpicked few we're comfortable with. That's understandable when you're talking about major depression or other psychological disorders. But what about milder moods of disappointment, jealousy, or agitation?

Most of us would rather swim in a spring of joy and love than experience darker emotions like grief and anger. But author and social science researcher Karla McLaren says in Sounds True's Insight at the Edge, there is a gift in all emotions from happy to sad and everything in between.
"I see emotions as fundamental and vital aspects of every part of our lives. I see them as fundamental to all thinking, all behavior, all motivation. So, each emotion has a very specific job to do in the psyche. Each emotion helps us—or all the emotions together—become successful social beings and successful internal beings.

So, I see each emotion as carrying a message. For instance, depression tells us, “No, pal—you can’t go forward.” Sadness says that you’re holding on to something that you don’t need anymore, so let it go. Grief says—it’s different than sadness—something has died. Someone or something has died, and you didn’t have a choice about it. So, here’s the emotion that can help you survive that...What we’ve been taught is that we only like the happy ones. We only like the “good” ones...we’re trained to be good in very few emotions. The rest of them—the other 14—we are trained to run from and ignore. Then, we try to go hide in the emotions in the happiness area. The happiness emotions have their own jobs to do. They have really important jobs to do—but they can’t do the job of the other emotions. The other emotions evolved because there was a need for them."
If you're stuck in one of those less desirable emotions, this week's posts will help you free them through humor, inspirational stories and one type of expressive therapy.
Continue Reading

Best of Our Blogs

Best of Our Blogs: August 11, 2015

I've felt the sharp pain of guilt in the past from soured relationships and professional failure. That hardly compares however, with the amount of guilt I've experienced being a parent.

But every time I get to that deep, dark place, I remember something someone told me once. Filled with her own insecurities as a single mom, she realized there were some things she couldn't give her child. She would make mistakes. She wouldn't be perfect. But she also had a well of experience and wisdom to pull from. She was going to learn and grow with her child, and do the best she could with what she had.

I think that's the best thing any of us can do. You might be entering a relationship, parenthood or other role with a feeling of inadequacy and guilt because of an illness or past mistake. But think of all the things you've already experienced and learned. The fact that you're here, reading this, demonstrates a tremendous amount of responsibility, self-efficacy and a desire for self-improvement. The best gift you can give someone isn't an illness-free, baggage-free life, it is self-awareness and the courage to get up and try again.
Continue Reading

Best of Our Blogs

Best of Our Blogs: August 7, 2015

Have you had one of those days lately? On the verge of tears, you reach a point where can't do it on your own anymore.

That's a rough place to be. We've all been there. But there is no weakness in needing help. There is only courage, strength and the potential for everlasting growth. As Maya Angelou once told Oprah, "Say thank you because you know God, and you know He put a rainbow in every cloud. The rainbow is coming. Say thank you even though you can't see it. It's already there."

The blessing could be in your courage to ask for help. It could be in your ability to confront problems you were trying to escape. Or maybe it's teaching you that you are a lot stronger than you ever gave yourself credit for.

If you're at that rocky point, I hope you will reach out. Don't deny others the gift of being there for you or the value that comes in receiving their help.
Continue Reading

Best of Our Blogs

Best of Our Blogs: August 4, 2015

Making peace with the unknown is a classic struggle. It dictates the decisions we make, our behavior and attitudes towards others and ourselves.

It's the reason why you can't sleep at night.

It's why you hold on to relationships that don't serve you.

It explains your feeling of being stuck.

The unknown is ripe with possibility, but wrapped up in a cloud of fear.

For those of us who grew up with uncertainty and instability, a sense of control feels paramount. The need to know, the need for things to be the same doesn't just feel comfortable, it feels like surviving.

If you're navigating remote waters, it's even more important to find solace in routine. Whether you're grappling with divulging a secret, sharing your vulnerabilities with a friend, or learning to let go of shoulds, musts and perfectionism as mentioned in our posts below, simultaneously engaging in something comforting like spending time with your pet, meditating or painting can help you through the fear.
Continue Reading

Best of Our Blogs

Best of Our Blogs: July 31, 2015

People who gossip, criticize and judge others are only reflecting their own insecurities and self-criticism. I know that when I'm a harsh judge to others it's because I'm struggling with accepting myself.

The hardest thing to overcome in life isn't something someone said to you or the insensitive thing they did, it's the past action you haven't been able to forgive yourself for. Every judgment you place upon others is a way, albeit an unhelpful one, to make you feel better about yourself.

But how do you cope with the wretched feeling you feel when you've compromised your health, safety, success or relationship out of fear?

It's an ongoing work in progress that involves consistent self-compassion, acceptance and a fierce commitment to forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for being less than perfect. Forgive yourself for sacrificing your long-term happiness for a little short-term comfort. Forgive yourself for not knowing any better. In doing so, you'll move on from the life you were living yesterday to a richer life filled with love, acceptance, and freedom. This week's posts on self-acceptance and unconditional love will help get you there.
Continue Reading

Best of Our Blogs

Best of Our Blogs: July 24, 2015

Admit it. You still reveal your vulnerabilities to your insensitive father. You share your celebrations with your critical mother. You divulge your deepest secrets to your untrusting friend. A part of you still looks for validation, acceptance and recognition. But instead of reaching out to people who are capable, compassionate and accepting, you continue to turn to those that disappoint you. You're not a masochist so why do you keep sabotaging your happiness?

I think there's still that inner child within us that hopes to make things right. We have a deep longing to receive loving responses from those we're closest to. But since they're not likely to change, we keep hitting our head against the wall feeling small, unappreciated and hurt over and over again.

What do we do instead?

As you'll read this week, it could mean learning to accept yourself, reconnecting with old friends, building up your strengths, and finally letting go of the past. When we decide we deserve better, that alone can be the impetus for change. From turning to more reliable sources to turning within for acceptance and self-compassion, the good news is through awareness we can create our own happy endings.
Continue Reading

Best of Our Blogs

Best of Our Blogs: July 21, 2015

With my birthday coming up this week, I'm surprised by my changed in attitude. Normally, I dread the day for weeks prior.

When I was in my twenties, I worried no one would remember.

When I got older, I worried over the passing time and how far I was from reaching age related milestones.

But then I watched Dr. Christiane Northrup on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday and she opened my eyes to a new way of perceiving birthdays and aging.
"I would stop celebrating milestone birthdays. Because the milestone becomes a millstone. In our culture, it says you're running out of time. You only have so much left...See, just getting older is not enough to celebrate. Well, I'm still here. That's not worth much...You celebrate everything that you've accomplished or that you're proud of in the past year so that you have really a celebration of your worth and your increased competence. That's a cool thing."
This year, I'm forgoing the typical milestone birthday. Instead of reflecting upon what I haven't achieved, I'm rejoicing over the challenges, obstacles and ordinary yet extraordinary acts of courage and vulnerability that has landed me here at this current moment. I've given talks to moms on stress management, led workshops, started my own writer's group and survived my grandmother's passing and relative's major surgery. I think that's more than enough reason to celebrate the passing year.

Need reasons to celebrate your 2015? Read our top posts and you may be reminded about all the meaningful things you've already accomplished this year.
Continue Reading

Best of Our Blogs

Best of Our Blogs: July 17, 2015

I can't remember who said it nor can I recall the exact quote. But I remember the essence of what was said because it was so shockingly true: We walk all over the people we love and bend over backwards to impress the people that don't matter.

How many times have we snipped at a partner only to muster up every ounce of kindness and false positivity to a stranger?

How often have we yelled at our kids for messing up, but continue to allow a co-worker or boss to disrespect us?

We're often harshest to the ones we're closest to. Appearances take precedence over genuine care and concern for those that need, desire and require our patience most. It's easier to release our wrath on someone we're comfortable with because we take their loyalty for granted. It's difficult to show the world we're not as strong, positive or upbeat as we'd like to appear to be. It's much harder for us to forgive ourselves for our mistakes and less than perfect lives. But perhaps, the road to greater authenticity, transparency and honesty starts with being aware of who we really are and how we really feel and then taking the risk to be ourselves.

As you'll read this week, how you appear to others could be the result of past trauma, negative relationships and even your physical and mental health. Sometimes it takes resetting our boundaries. Other times it requires taking a good hard look at what we're feeding ourselves. What's the secret to treating those we love better? It starts with an awareness of who and what matters most. Then choosing to prioritize authenticity over appearances.
Continue Reading

Best of Our Blogs

Best of Our Blogs: July 14, 2015

Life is full of moments. Some are glittery, shiny jewels of wonder, like fireflies we want to capture and watch them stay bright forever. Others are so dark, discomforting and difficult, you couldn't wish them away fast enough.

Yet, each moment, good or bad, beautiful or wretched, will inevitably pass. Instead of weighing our days based on the seasons of our circumstances, wouldn't it be nice to fully unfurl into each experience? This way instead of bracing ourselves for bad times, we would let each moment teach us how to grow stronger, love deeper and heal faster.

This week's post offer us a choice to delve into our experiences. Whether negative, dark or difficult, finding a way to embrace the moment and really experience it, can serve us in surprising ways-opening us up to more joy, love, and gratitude, and making us aware of what we need to accept and change.
Continue Reading