3 Reasons for Giving an Honest No

I have a hard time saying no when someone asks me to do something, even if I really don’t want to agree. Saying no can feel hard for any number of reasons… We’re afraid the other person will get mad at us… We don’t want to appear lazy or selfish… We don’t want to seem mean or rude… We take responsibility for making sure others are happy… We want to feel needed… We want to avoid conflict… We’ve developed a habit of always agreeing… We want people to like us… We don’t want to disappoint anyone… We’re afraid of missing out… Any of these sound familiar?…

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4 Useful Questions to Answer Before Daring to Ask

It can be hard for us to let people see what matters to us. We may try to pretend to ourselves and to others that we don’t have needs. What if they think what I want is silly or selfish? Requesting something from someone else can feel very vulnerable. What if they say no? What if they misunderstand what I’m asking? What if it doesn’t matter to them what I need?…

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What Do You Like About Yourself?

When you think about yourself, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Do your thoughts go to things you love about yourself? Are you quick to note all the things you wish were different? Are you more likely to focus on your opinion of yourself or of other people’s opinions of you? If I asked you to tell me your favorite things about yourself, would your answer come easily? Would you struggle to come up with an answer or feel hesitant to share?…

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How Does Pleasing Others Really Feel?

There are many reasons we choose to do things that will please others. Those choices can be rooted in love or in fear. They can spring from generosity or obligation. We can do things for others with joy or resentment. Recognizing the difference is a key piece in shifting from depending on external validation to trusting ourselves more. Those of us who can get caught up in people-pleasing tend to focus a lot of energy on our thoughts.…

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Do You Know the Secret to Meaningful Relationships?

Have you ever done the group activity where each person writes something they like about you and all the slips of paper are collected so you have an envelope of warm fuzzies to cheer you up when you’re having a bad day? At its best, it’s a valuable exercise. It makes us think about what we value in each other and share things sometimes left unsaid. All of us need to be reminded of the good qualities others see in us on the days we just can’t see them in ourselves.…

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Two Ways to Feel More Connected in Your Relationships

What are you looking for in your relationships? I think most of us want to be seen and loved for who we really are. We want assurance that we don’t have to change ourselves in order to belong. Why is this so hard to find? Is it because we know the wrong people? Is it because there is something wrong with us? Is it something else? It often seems like people, even my friends, don’t really know who I am.…

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For When You Struggle to Trust in Your Worth

(I needed to ask myself these questions again this week.) There are a lot of things I want to do. There are many people I’d like to get to know and already established relationships that I long to take deeper. Sometimes I take a step toward one of these things, but often I stay stuck where I am for far too long. I tell myself that I can’t do it because I’m not smart enough or talented enough or don’t have enough training.…

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What Words Do You Need to Hear Today?

You probably know how much I value journaling. I started journaling consistently about five and a half years ago. Since then I have filled a lot of notebooks. I don’t often look back at past journal entries, even though I know that retrospecting can be a powerful tool. As my stack of filled journals grows, the thought of looking back feels even more daunting. Recently, however, I was thinking about where I was back when I first started journaling seriously—that was a pivotal year for me—and felt curious enough to dig out my old journals.…

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Where Are You Holding Yourself to a Different Standard?

There’s often a disconnect between the way we see ourselves and the way we see others. We say things to ourselves that we would be horrified to say to another human being. We demand perfection from ourselves that we would never expect from anyone else. I very much want to have relationships and be part of a community where we don’t have to hide pieces of who we are. I want us to celebrate together—the big victories and the tiny joys.…

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A Simple Question to Ask About the Thing You Say You Want

During a recent conversation, I was talking about how I want more trust in my life. I want to trust others enough to let them really see me. I want to trust myself enough to know I’m worth being seen and that even if others don’t like what they see in me I’ll still be ok. The wise friend I was talking with asked me a simple, yet brilliant question—What does trust mean to you?…

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