Love & Relationships

How to Overcome Relationship Conflict with the Internalized Other Practice

“You can only understand people if you feel them in yourself.” ~John Steinbeck

In the early stages of my relationships, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the other person was thinking. Hours of pondering whether they liked me, over-analyzing every text message, and worrying that every fight meant it was over.

Over time, in a good long-term relationship, these challenges settle down. While longevity is not the only marker of a successful relationship, feeling safe and comfortable with someone over a decent stretch of time is undoubtably lovely. All those fear-based worries and insecurities fade, … …

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I Forgive Forcefully (An Act That Takes Great Strength)

“You don’t have to rebuild a relationship with everyone you have forgiven.” ~Unknown
“Forgive” and “forcefully” are not two words I have ever joined together before.
My idea of forgiveness involved kind and gentle meekness.
Goodness.
Altruism.
Compassion.
But never forcefulness.
Well, not until I waded through the choppy waters of forgiveness after I had the courage to leave my abusive marriage.
Forgive is a Verb
Forgiving isn’t an emotion. It’s an action. It’s a process that has no time limitation or expiration date.
It can’t be ordered, demanded, or rushed.
When I first discovered that my husband had been … …

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How I Overcame Self-Hatred and 6 Ways to Love Yourself

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” ~Sharon Salzberg

When was the last time you looked at your reflection and extended love to yourself? Before I discovered the life-changing power of self-love, I had not extended love to myself for years. This is the story of how I transformed my self-hatred into self-love, how it changed my life, and several tips to practice in your life.
For a long time, I believed self-love was something to be avoided at all costs. Like many, I had become habituated to the “hustle and … …

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The Alchemy of a Broken Heart: How to Transform Your Pain into Purpose

“Life changes. You lose love. You lose friends. You lose pieces of yourself that you never imagined would be gone. And then, without you even realizing it, these pieces come back. New love enters. Better friends come along. And a stronger, wiser you is staring back in the mirror.” ~Preetham Mohanty
One year ago, I quit my high-stress job. Then my husband quit me.
There had been signs of our unhappiness in the six months prior, but I thought it was dissatisfaction with our work lives, not with our relationship. It was clear, though, that our dynamic had changed—we were … …

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A People-Pleaser’s Guide to Reclaiming Your Life: 6 Ways to Say No

“Self-love, self-respect, self-worth: There’s a reason they all start with ‘self.’ You can’t find them in anyone else.” ~Unknown
Have you ever found yourself stuck in the “yes” trap, even when your gut screamed “no”?
I have.
We people-pleasers struggle with boundary crushers, and there are a lot of them out there continuously knocking over the barriers we put up!
But here is a secret I have learned: I’m allowed to say “no” without drowning in guilt. In fact, it’s a vital part of my self-care journey to give myself permission to freely say “no.”
Empowerment of “NO”
Saying “no” … …

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How I Healed My Strained Relationship with My Addict Mother

“We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.” ~Sam Keen
Like so many of us, my relationship with my mother throughout my life is best described as complicated.
We’ve had our fair share of turbulent times in our journey, and her alcoholism and drug abuse while I was growing up fueled great dysfunction on every level: literal physical fighting when I was a teenager (yep, Jerry Springer-style), seemingly continual acts of rebellion, a total lack of understanding, deep mistrust, unwillingness (or likely even an inability at the time) to … …

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When It’s Time to Let People Go: How I’ve Lightened My Emotional Load

“Love yourself enough to let go of the people, thoughts, and habits that are weighing you down.” ~Karen Salmansohn
More than a year ago I started unpacking and cleaning out my ‘backpack’ of life in a different way.
I have always tried to remain friends with exes, and even though we didn’t necessarily socialize together, there was still the odd keeping in touch, helping them with a favor, or “Happy Birthday” text.
While most of them are generally nice people, the truth is that if I never dated them, I probably wouldn’t be friends with them now. We’re just on … …

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Why It’s Hard to Hold a Boundary and How to Make It Easier

“The only real conflict you will ever have in your life won’t be with others, but with yourself.”  ~Shannon Adler
I sat in my chemistry class during my junior year of high school staring at the periodic table and wondering if I was going to make it through. Bored and lost, I struggled to find value in the class or make sense of why I was there. It felt purposeless.
Until I met Kevin.
Kevin sat a few seats away from me and was a senior. I knew of him, but I had never really noticed or paid attention to … …

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How I’m Learning to Feel Confident Without Approval

“Children need to feel seen. Adults do, too.” ~Unknown
As a teenager, I played the flute for about nine years. I never practiced—apart from that guilt-ridden last half hour prior to my weekly lessons. It was important for my parents that their children learned a musical instrument, and so I was given the flute, while my brother played the clarinet (bizarrely, because our grandmother had wanted someone to play Mozart’s clarinet concerto at her funeral).
Truth be told, I think my brother would have much rather learned the guitar, while I was very envious of his clarinet (he got around … …

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The Friend I Couldn’t Fix: A Story of Love, Loss and Letting Go

TRIGGER WARNING: This post deals with an account of domestic violence and may be triggering to some.
“You can’t heal the people you love. You can’t make choices for them. You can’t rescue them.” ~Unknown
Every story starts at the beginning. But how far back should I go? Birth?
I was born at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Camden, New Jersey, in May of 1972…just after three in the morning.
No, wait. That’s not morning. It’s still dark outside.
Forgive me. That’s an inside joke.
You see, just a few years ago a friend of thirty years came to … …

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Why I Didn’t Love Myself (and All the Suggestions That Didn’t Help)

“Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving yourself and see what happens.” ~Louise Hay

There is a lot of hype around self-love these days. The media and marketing world often bombard us with messages insinuating that the key to self-love lies in consumerism. For a long time, I bought into this idea.
I would see an advertisement urging me to treat myself to a high-end face cream for a dose of self-care. Or a promotional email landing in my inbox might suggest that a calming lavender bubble bath was just what I needed … …

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Navigating Social Anxiety: 10 Powerful NLP Tools for Personal Growth

“We need each other, deeper than anyone ever dares to admit even to themselves. I think it is a genetic imperative that we huddle together and hold on to each other.” ~Patch Adams
A few years ago, I was invited …
The post Navigating Social Anxiety: 10 Powerful NLP Tools for Personal Growth appeared first on Tiny Buddha. …

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When the People We Love Shut Us Out: What I Now Understand

“Have patience that is all unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like closed rooms, like books written like a foreign language.” ~Rainer Maria Rilke

I started thinking about a distant relative on a walk in


The post When the People We Love Shut Us Out: What I Now Understand appeared first on Tiny Buddha. …

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A Mindfulness Technique to Overcome Perfectionism and Step into Self-Love

“When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we are not pretending, we are not hiding—we are simply present with whatever is going on inside us. Ironically, it is this very feeling of authenticity that draws people to us, not the …
The post A Mindfulness Technique to Overcome Perfectionism and Step into Self-Love appeared first on Tiny Buddha. …

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The Allure of Unhealthy, One-Sided Friendships and How I’ve Let Them Go

“The real test of friendship is can you literally do nothing with the other person? Can you enjoy those moments of life that are utterly simple?” ~Eugene Kennedy 
I could not. When I was with them, we had …
The post The Allure of Unhealthy, One-Sided Friendships and How I’ve Let Them Go appeared first on Tiny Buddha. …

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I Felt Like I Didn’t Belong: 5 Lessons from a Former Misfit

“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.” ~Maya Angelou
In my final year of high school, I had a horrible breakup. I was heavily attached to my girlfriend because, with her, for …
The post I Felt Like I Didn’t Belong: 5 Lessons from a Former Misfit appeared first on Tiny Buddha. …

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How to Heal from Rejection (Without Getting Down on Yourself)

“This is a moment of suffering. Suffering is part of life. May I be kind to myself in this moment. May I give myself the compassion I need.” ~Kristen Neff
The handsome man I was dating sat on the easy …
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How Childhood Bullying Influenced How I Treat Others as an Adult

“For me, that strong back is grounded confidence and boundaries. The soft front is staying vulnerable and curious. The mark of a wild heart is living out these paradoxes in our lives and not giving into the either/or BS that …
The post How Childhood Bullying Influenced How I Treat Others as an Adult appeared first on Tiny Buddha. …

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How I Found My Worth in Spite of My Father’s Abandonment

“Because if I myself saw my worth, I wouldn’t base my worthiness on someone else’s seeing it.” ~Unknown
I can’t be sure which title I would have preferred. Daddy, Poppa, Pa, Dad. Aren’t these the endearing titles one earns when …
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When You’re Terrified of Conflict: Why True Intimacy Means Speaking Up

I walk on eggshells in my relationship. I have for the past ten years.
I try to design everything out of my mouth to lead to the least amount of friction between my wife and me. And you know what? …
The post When You’re Terrified of Conflict: Why True Intimacy Means Speaking Up appeared first on Tiny Buddha. …

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How to Give Someone the Gift of Hope and Joy with Just a Few Words

“You will never forget a person who came to you with a torch in the dark.” ~M. Rose
You never know the impact you might have on someone at any given moment.
It may be entirely unknown to you.…
The post How to Give Someone the Gift of Hope and Joy with Just a Few Words appeared first on Tiny Buddha. …

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How to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed by Other People’s Strong Emotions

“It is not your responsibility to figure out what someone else is feeling and why. Let go of the illusion that ‘fixing’ their bad mood will make you feel better.” ~Sarah Crosby
Some years ago, I was talking to my …
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Overcoming Codependency: Breaking the Cycle of Unhealthy Relationships

“A codependent person is one who has let another person’s behavior affect him or her and who is obsessed with controlling that person’s behavior.” ~Melody Beattie
From a young age, I felt insecure in my own skin. I was a …
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Why Forgiveness Is the Ultimate Act of Self-Love and 3 Lessons That Might Help

“The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.” ~Marianne Williamson 
When you hear the word “forgiveness,” what do you feel?
Forgiveness used to make me feel uncomfortable. I would physically contract when I …
The post Why Forgiveness Is the Ultimate Act of Self-Love and 3 Lessons That Might Help appeared first on Tiny Buddha. …

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Why It Can Feel Lonely When You Stop Overgiving in Relationships

“After you give so much of yourself to people over the years, one day you wake up and realize that you need someone to give to you too.” ~Sylvester McNutt
One of the biggest surprises I found on my self-care …
The post Why It Can Feel Lonely When You Stop Overgiving in Relationships appeared first on Tiny Buddha. …

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