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Best of Our Blogs: January 6, 2015

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

Have you ever been in the presence of greatness and felt less than?

I’m almost always in awe of people who do great things. I love biographies. I feel invigorated when I interview people who have overcome insurmountable obstacles. That’s why I was surprised by an unexpected feeling I had recently: Inadequacy.

At an event where entrepreneurs were glowing in their success, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of sadness and confusion. I realized my perception of what I could do in my life was too limited. Although it was scary to do so, I knew I needed to say goodbye to an old way of thinking to free up space for a new me.

To achieve big dreams, you have to deal with deeper issues of self-esteem, confidence and self-worth. You have to believe you deserve all the wonderful things you get. You need hope and faith to even think it’s possible.

If you’ve put a cap on what’s possible for your life, you might need to bury that limited perception of yourself. All the uns (unlovable, unworthy, unhealthy) are obstacles preventing you from achieving your dreams. To grow, it’s imperative that you let go of this image so that you can entertain the idea of the person you want to become. Our posts this week are all about that. Read them to discover how to transform your life, personality, and relationships. By expanding your vision of what you can accomplish, you will be on the right path towards the life you were meant to live.

Light

Best of Our Blogs: January 2, 2015

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

Goodbye 2014. We’ve had a year long relationship with you. There’s been pain, loss, and heartache. Not to mention hope, courage and joy. It’s been real.

Welcome 2015! We don’t know you yet. But we’re excited by your fresh, shiny and glimmering presence. We’re trading our old selves for everything you represent. Health. Transformation. Possibility.

As emails advertising holiday gifts have been aggressively and quickly replaced by messages on resolutions, diets and bucket lists, we’ve also turned the other cheek. Instead of spending time to reflect on 2014, we’re excited to jump ahead, delve right into new ways of eating and being in the world. We haven’t yet given a chance to grieve the end of one year before we start planning and dreaming about the next one.

Do you really want to be successful in 2015? Before you start tackling that resolutions list, read our posts this week. You’ll find a little bit of contemplation, pause and reflection will get you closer to all the things you really desire in life-love, happiness, purpose and self-acceptance.

Fireworks

{By matthew_hull}

Best of Our Blogs: December 30, 2015

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

The end of the year beckons us to reflect. All the things we regret saying and not saying, the things we wished we did, and the things we wish we didn’t do. When you think back, how do you resolve what’s not finished yet and still feel right with your soul?

There is a strong desire to believe that worthiness, success and happiness are saved for special occasions, people, and accomplishments. We will celebrate when we get that promotion. We will finally take that trip when we have enough money. We will buy that fancy dress when we lose those last few pounds. Joy is like the gold at the end of the rainbow. In a desperate chase for the thing that will make us whole, we end up exhausted, empty and depleted.

Perhaps, the key in creating resolutions that we will actually keep is recognizing that external situations won’t make us happy. Maybe it’s in acknowledging that a wish list will not miraculously cure what ails us nor will vanquishing our wrongs. A year consists of 365 days of loving, failing, trying again and messing up. Staying stuck in our missteps, deprives us of healing that comes from self-acceptance, resilience and personal growth.

As you’ll read this week, life isn’t supposed to be easy or comfortable. For once, give yourself credit for the hardships you’ve endured instead of beating yourself up for the things you haven’t yet done. If you were to remember where you once was, you’ll be amazed with how far you’ve come.

Candle

Best of Our Blogs: December 26, 2014

Friday, December 26th, 2014

As I write this, it’s Christmas morning. There’s a calmness and peace today. The sound of my son watching cartoons, the flood of sparkling gifts still unwrapped, the smell of something delicious being baked for a party. It’s the potential and hope of the present moment and it’s beautiful.

I’ve been thinking a lot about gifts. Some are so completely wrong, they’re humorous. Others have been painstakingly handpicked or handmade and give you goosebumps when you open them. Gifts are filled with wonder, fun and the power of intention. But they are not just the ones sitting unwrapped on holidays. It’s the gifts you’ve been given in your life.

Illness can give us a gift. Maybe it’s not the one we would have chosen. In fact, it could be something we wish we could return. And maybe the gift isn’t obvious. We’re not glad we got it. But maybe there’s something valuable in the struggle.

Gifts come in big and small, pretty and strange packages. Sometimes they can be a surprise. Sometimes we expected them. But I encourage you to see them all as gifts. The process of embracing them as if you chose them, may give us the best gift of all-acceptance.

Gift

Best of Our Blogs: December 23, 2014

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

Every year, the days come and go like falling stars, gone as quickly as they appear. Sometimes I dream of catching them, holding each to be admired, stored, wondered for another day. But just like minutes, months and moments, they’re impossible to capture, and too precious to be saved.

As we reflect upon 2014 and contemplate the new year, how do we make amends with the things we haven’t accomplished, and continue to hold hope for the future? How do we look to our failures with grace and our accomplishments with pride? How do we muster courage, resilience and strength for what we have yet to confront and conquer? Most importantly, what can we do to treasure each moment as a gift instead of squandering them?

These are admirable challenges that go beyond our desire for the band-aid, superficial resolutions that cover up what’s really hurting us. To start 2015 right, I urge you to conjure up a single word as a mantra, a theme, or a desire from your heart to describe what you would like to see happen in the new year.

Will it be:

Delight

Courage

Silence

Forgiveness

Love

Honor

Or hope?

Use that word as your mission statement to remind yourself of your essential wish for you and loved ones next year.

Planet

Best of Our Blogs: December 19, 2014

Friday, December 19th, 2014

When I was a kid, my mom regularly told me the story about the “boy who cried wolf.” It’s one of Aesop’s Fables whose moral lesson is to teach kids about the negative consequences of lying and exaggerating. “Do that too much and no one will believe you,” she said.

After awhile I began to internalize the lesson so that any time I felt anything, I kept quiet instead of expressing myself. The lesson made me completely confused. How was I to know whether my emotions were genuine or like my mom believed, an exaggeration purely to seek attention?

I wish I had these posts to read back then. It made me realize that any sense of disconnection I had with my feelings was the result of this early lesson. But it wasn’t about whether I was trying to get attention. It wasn’t about lying or bad behavior. The lesson taught me less about my own deficiencies and more about what was considered “correct” and “acceptable” behavior.

Maybe I exaggerated as a kid. But there is a reason why kids lie and exaggerate just like there is a reason why loved ones say they are in pain, depressed or seek your help. The solution isn’t always to ignore bad behavior, tell others to “get over it” and silence it with a fable. The key is to have the patience, understanding and curiosity to seek out why it existed in the first place.

wolves

Best of Our Blogs: December 16, 2014

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

‘Tis the season when my purpose and values slip through my fingers and fall into a blanket of people pleasing and unhealthy behaviors. December feels like a desperate chase to tie up loose ends to make up for the lack of connection during the rest of the year with the perfect gift or holiday party. It’s all too much. In response, we’re left with regret, sadness and an empty pint of Ben & Jerry’s. And then comes the new year.

January is all about torturing ourselves for our “bad” behavior. Diets. Books. Signing up for programs, seminars, classes, and gym memberships. That’s all great if it has a long-lasting impact on our happiness. But what often happens is we trigger a cycle of rebelling and resentment that brings us back to the same place come next year.

Instead of focusing on external events, dramas and situations, tune into what’s going on within. Unnecessary heartache, for example, could be stirred up because of miscommunication. Tuning into your feelings could help you lose weight and grow self-acceptance. Engaging in play could help reduce your stress, and participating in social media could be the thing that boosts your business.

Let’s not wait come January to start undertaking positive changes to bring us closer to the life we want. Let’s start now with these posts.

Best of Our Blogs: December 12, 2014

Friday, December 12th, 2014

In a culture that applauds fame and favors accomplishment and external success, it’s understandable that those that live quiet, humble lives might feel less than. A mom friend told me recently she stopped using Facebook because her life seemed dull in comparison to everyone else’s.

How many of us can relate? I can. It’s difficult not to succumb to the pressure of perfectionism and so we do too much. All the activities that should bring us joy during the holidays end up filling us up with resentment because we’re comparing ourselves to others. And when we feel our lives don’t measure up, instead of feeling grateful for our own contributions, our self-worth is shot.

But know this. Every thing you do, whether worthy of a tweet or Facebook post, is valuable. What matters is your intention. It doesn’t matter how many likes you get, the number on that scale or who you know. Sometimes the most honorable people are the ones that live ordinary lives.

If you’re struggling with anxiety, forgiveness, negative thoughts, or your relationships, know that your efforts are worthy of recognition, compassion and validation. Your desire to continue to get and be better is an amazing feat. Be proud of that accomplishment.

{Flickr photo by Princess Productions}

{Flickr photo by Princess Productions}

Best of Our Blogs: December 9, 2014

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Perhaps there is no other time than the holidays that exhibits such dichotomy in the way things should be and the way things really are. The season signals a shared ritual of giving and goodwill in its jovial music, decorations and opportunities to give back. Yet, it’s also the time of year that pushes us to finally see a therapist. What accounts for this gigantic division?

I’d say there are a lot of external situations that makes it understandable. But what’s going on outside isn’t to blame. I know a lot of people who don’t get swept up into the holiday chaos. The secret is in their awareness that stress is a choice.

As you’re shopping for the perfect present or struggling to get along with your in-laws, know you have a choice. How much of your self-esteem is wrapped up in what you’re doing? How much are guilt and resentment the result of you not putting yourself as a priority amidst the busy-ness of the season?

As you read our top posts this week, consider how much of your energy is being spent on things you truly want and need to do versus the shoulds that are making you miserable. You’ll discover that calming down your inner critic, being more positive, and self-compassionate are the true merry-making gifts of the season.

Heart Ornament

Best of Our Blogs: December 5, 2014

Friday, December 5th, 2014

The holidays offer us the greatest opportunity to either relish in goodness and hope or to deplete ourselves in envy and disappointment. The difference is our perception of what’s going in our lives. Do we indulge in the drama of a situation or do we settle our eyes on something brighter and better for our well-being?

It took many painful years of hitting my head against the wall and loved ones telling me to stop, before I got it. I voluntarily used up all my skills, energy and passion towards trying to change those who didn’t want to change. This year, I’m redirecting that energy in a workshop to teach those who actually want my help.

Similarly you may be grappling with your inner holiday demons. Maybe it’s all those difficult to resist temptations? Or instead of Christmas trees maybe the only green you’re seeing is the money you’ve spent or going to spend, or the envy you feel for those who seem to be fairing better than you.

The greatest gift you can give others, however, is giving to yourself. I’m not talking material things, though those can be rewarding at times. I’m talking about the gift of forgiveness, presence, self-compassion, self-growth and love.

This week, unwrap these gifts in our posts. If you just read them, it will spark a desire for change. If you begin to flirt with them, trying on a few changes here and there, by next year, who knows? You may become a happier, healthier, calmer, and more mindful version of you.

Presents by Cohdra

Best of Our Blogs: December 2, 2014

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

“If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family.”
~Ram Dass

Can you believe it’s already December? With just a month left in 2014, I bet you’re feeling pretty pressured and stressed right now. Yet, there is a way to transform this emotionally laden and financially distressing time into another opportunity for self-growth.

Bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert spoke at Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend Tour describing relatives who push your buttons as “the greatest spiritual teachers of your life.” She says stressful family gatherings can be “a teachable moment,” if you take the time to ask yourself the following questions: “What am I being asked to learn here? Patience? Dignity? Boundaries? Generosity? Compassion?” 

If you’re juggling the perfect present with perfect presence this holiday, try searching for the lesson in the chaos. My husband and I have a secret tactic for dealing with insensitive relatives-we use the otherwise hurtful experience as a laughing moment or a reminder not to take life so seriously. You could similarly search for meaning behind your uncle’s criticisms, your mother’s lack of compassion or your own bah humbug mood. It may just be an opportunity to practice more self-compassion, patience or forgiveness this season.

Need more reason to rejoice despite difficulty? This week you’ll derive hope from studies that show a positive side of depression as well as get information on things you can do to soothe an anxious child, and learn how to flex your self-discipline muscle.

While none of us would voluntarily sign up for hardship, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Just like the holidays, the storm will not only pass, but may leave behind an unexpected rainbow.

Dog Holidays

Best of Our Blogs: November 28, 2014

Friday, November 28th, 2014

“The greatest thing is to give thanks for everything. He who has learns this knows what it means to live.” – Albert Schweitzer

As I’m writing this, it’s Thanksgiving. I’m fortunate that I don’t have to baste the turkey or prepare the house for a large party. We’re visiting others who are taking care of that this year.

I’m grateful for more than that, however.

I’m not just grateful for the obvious things-the fact that I have a roof over my head, family nearby, a full belly and a career that I love.

I’m grateful for everything.

I’m appreciative of the uncertainty in the future and the challenges of my past because they are responsible for the depth, character and humility of my present.

In fact, there is a long list of people, events and things that never make it to the gratitude list. For Thanksgiving, I’m saluting them. I’m grateful for…

1. Illness because it’s given me an increased awareness and compassion for others.

2. Loss for what it’s taught me about the things that truly matter in my life.

3. Conflict for helping me to understand myself and others.

You can add to your own list with the topics from this week’s posts. It’s all the things you might not have considered when pondering what you have to be grateful for, but are equally worthy of your attention and appreciation. Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

fall maple

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