My need for external reassurance as a woman came home to me many birthdays ago. I decided to test everyone (especially Honey) by making no reference to my personal holiday during the entire month of January. The results were devastating. Not a single soul—parent, child, sister, friend, husband (gasp)—remembered. The red-letter day came and went without a whimper. Now, before you scream “Revolution!” (which I came close to doing at the time) let me add this: Honey was under huge pressure at work, serving tirelessly at church, and acutely worried over finances. He comforted, cuddled, and counseled with tenderness. It’s just that his calendar was off.
When I realized that accusation would never produce a bottle of perfume, the truth hit me like a whiff of cheap cologne: I had been thinking for too long that it was my guy’s primary job in life to make me feel good, to heal all my wounds, to spend every possible minute with me, to be emotionally available and responsive 24/7, to always want what I want. I had set myself up for disillusionment.
Thankfully, I wised up and made a course correction that stuck. My birthday is now advertised far and wide and way in advance. I am responsible to ask for and inspire special attention on January 27. Healthy, balanced doses of giving and receiving from family, friends, God, and myself, keeps my tank full. His three little words (“I love you”) then top me off and overflow into a puddle at our feet.
And that’s the secret. Fill your own tank by taking responsibility for your own happiness.
There is a simple way to get started, or continue, in the habit of filling your own tank so that you can give from abundance while receiving with confidence. I don’t mean to make it sound easy—we are talking about the greatest challenge of a woman’s life, the seesaw between nurturing herself and nurturing others—but I know you can do it.
Here’s how: Continue reading
Hello all! Today I want to talk about the topic of perfection. As codependents and love addicts, we have striven for perfection constantly, only to be disappointed when our expectations were not met. Whether it was someone else we were trying to impress or just ourselves, we were hard on ourselves for not executing it perfectly.
We don’t have to be hard on ourselves. Nobody in this world is perfect! We seem to hear that from people all the time, but the struggle is in understanding and really believing it.
We look at other peoples’ lives, especially with social media, and they seem to have it all – jobs, families, houses, vacations, and happiness. But there is so much of peoples’ lives that we do not see, and each person has their struggles. Truly, nobody is perfect. Continue reading
Do you know an emotionally fit person? Emotionally fit people are often viewed as the “go to” person, a leader, someone others can depend upon. They can handle challenging situations with inner strength, wisdom and insight. They are well respected by others and can appropriately handle conflict. Are you emotionally fit?
15 Things The Emotionally Fit Person Practices: Continue reading
When it comes to figuring out happiness and good habits, I don’t think it matters much if you’re a man or a woman.
It’s easy to assume that certain aspects of ourselves matter more than they do. For instance, birth order. People believe that birth order has a big influence on personality — but research has disproved this. Birth order just doesn’t matter for personality.
Now, whether you’re a man or a woman matters in some situations, sure.
But in general, in my observation, for any particular person, individual differences swamp gender differences. Continue reading
I worry to some extent, of course, but I don’t think I worry as much as a lot of people.
Many people worry about how much they worry!
Today, the New York Times had an interesting article by Roni Caryn Rabin, “Worried? You’re Not Alone.”
In it, Rabin points out several intriguing findings in a Liberty Mutual Insurance research paper, the “Worry Less Report.”
Apparently Millennials worry about money. Single people worry about housing (and money). People worry less as they grow older.
Some people — for instance, like my sister Elizabeth — feel that if they do worry about something, they’ll somehow prevent a bad thing from happening. Rabin points out, very sensibly, “Researchers say this notion is reinforced by the fact that we tend to worry about rare event, like plane crashes, and are reassured when they don’t happen, but we worry less about common events, like car accidents.”
Rabin also distinguishes between “productive worry,” which helps us solve a problem, and worry where you’re just, well, stewing in worry.
According to the report, here are some ways to tackle worrying: Continue reading
People today are living longer, healthier lives than those of previous generations. Better health care, safety awareness, and lifestyle factors all play a role, along with others. If you want to live to be in your seventies, eighties, nineties, and beyond, put these 10 tips into practice. Continue reading
“I won’t run when it looks like love.”
Those are lyrics to a beautiful song by Needtobreathe and it speaks not to the puppy love feelings or the feelings of heartbreak as much as it speaks to the fear that comes with the potential of love. If you’ve ever felt the anxiety of seeing a good thing and being afraid that the rug will be pulled out from under you, you are certainly not alone.
So why do we run? Why do we make barricades to love? Continue reading
February 14th is a day we hold synonymous with love and romance. We plan dates, write love letters, and celebrate our other half, but when was the last time you checked in with yourself? Would you even know if you were not treating yourself well?
When it comes to checking in on your own love and well being, here are some honest questions to ask yourself to hone in on whether or not you are giving yourself the time and attention needed: Continue reading
One major challenge within happiness is loneliness. The more I’ve learned about happiness, the more I’ve come to believe that loneliness is a terrible, common, and important obstacle to consider.
Of course, being alone and being lonely aren’t the same. Loneliness feels draining, distracting, and upsetting; desired solitude feels peaceful, creative, restorative.
According to Elizabeth Bernstein’s Wall Street Journal piece, Alone or Lonely, the rate of loneliness in the U.S. has doubled over the past thirty years. About 40% of Americans report being lonely; in the 1980s, it was 20%. (One reason: more people live alone: 27% in 2012; 17% in 1970).
Loneliness is a serious issue, Sometimes people ask me, “If you had to pick just one thing, what would be the one secret to a happy life?” If I had to pick one thing, I’d say: strong bonds with other people. The wisdom of the ages and the current scientific studies agree on this point. When we don’t have that, we feel lonely.
I wrote a book about habits, Better Than Before, and I continue to be obsessed with the subject. Whenever I think about a happiness challenge, I ask myself, “How could habits help address this problem?”
Here are some habits to consider: Continue reading