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Archives for Relationships


Simple, Clear-Cut Ways to View Boundaries — Especially for People-Pleasers

Boundaries can seem like a big (and intimidating) word, especially to people who haven't set many limits throughout their lives. If you're a people-pleaser, you know what I mean. However, the good news is that setting boundaries is an acquired skill. We can learn some tools and then practice them over and over. We don't have to resign ourselves to doing things we're uncomfortable with because that's what we used to do. We can make healthy changes.

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Different Ways to Listen to Ourselves

This week on "Make a Mess," my creativity blog, I wrote about looking outside myself for answers. I assumed that other people knew better what I needed and wanted. And I assumed that those people also deserved to have a say. (Many of them did not.)

Unwittingly, I placed the power that belonged to me in their hands. Not only did I often remove myself from the discussion, I removed myself from the entire room.

But here's a vital realization: We have the answers inside us. They are within. We just need to listen.

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Finding Lessons in Trials, Triumphs and Everyday Life

One of the things that helps us avoid bashing ourselves and getting bogged down by life's challenges is to have a learning mindset. To look at everything (or at least most things) as a lesson to be learned. For instance, just yesterday, I read this excellent piece by Todd Henry. In it he recounts all the frustrating things that happened after he gave a talk in Colorado: dealing with a delayed flight, missing his connecting flight home, having to stay at a hotel overnight, missing the hotel shuttle, only eating breakfast all day.

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Your Unmet Needs May Be Hiding; Find Them Here

This week I wrote an article about what to do if you're falling for your therapist. In short, you share this with your therapist (as awkward as it is). That's because your feelings for your therapist often reveal your unmet needs. A woman who imagines her therapist as the ideal husband, because he's patient and understanding, wants those qualities in her own marriage. A man who loves his therapist because she's nurturing may be missing this nurturing in his own life.

Together, the clinician and client explore the unmet needs that underlie these feelings. Then they work on finding healthy ways to met these needs (since a romantic relationship with the therapist, of course, is off limits).

I think this applies to all of us.

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What We Want to Remember

I recently discovered a new-to-me blog by Karina Bania. This post in particular struck me. In it Bania wonders what she'll remember about today:

"Will it be the eight am beach-combing and ocean swim? The almost running out of gas on the deserted road, or the ten am piña colada that accompanied the epic wave watching laziness. Will it be the five year-old attitude and the endless sibling fighting that defined the afternoon?


Or maybe the only memory will be this sunset swim. The one where summer and fall and my girls growing selves meet. Where seasons change subtly, days blur into one another, and so many beautiful moments in life are blown into the wind."
This made me think of a journal prompt we can explore every day, something simple, in the evening:

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Self-Care Sunday: Focusing on Your Relationships

One of the most important parts of self-care is cultivating connection. This includes cultivating a connection with ourselves and with others. When it comes to others, it's important to surround ourselves with people who genuinely care about us, and to focus on building healthy relationships with those individuals.

Think of the people in your life who've been tremendously supportive. The people who've had some sort of positive influence on you. The person you can call to spill a secret to. The person you can call with good or bad news. The person who's taught you an important lesson. Who's held your hand during a rough time. Who always makes you laugh. Who truly listens. Who helped you in some sweet or compassionate way. Who accepts you for you.

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A Unique Way to Practice Gratitude

Gratitude is a self-compassionate practice, according to therapist Lea Seigen Shinraku, MFT, who I recently interviewed for a piece on authentic ways to practice gratitude.

"Acknowledging and expressing genuine gratitude for what you appreciate in your life is a deeply kind act," she said.

I agree. When we express gratitude for anything, it deepens our connection with it, and it deepens our connection with ourselves.

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