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

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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Curiosity and Consistency

Yes, that would be such a helpful thing to do. I can see how it would support me in making the changes I want to make in my life. Have you ever thought something similar? I know I have. How often do you follow through on consistently implementing that helpful thing in your life? There are countless practices we can do, questions we can ponder, and habits we can form. There are lots of tools that can help us become more aware of what’s going on within us, process through our experiences, and express ourselves in ways that make us proud.…

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What is Saving Your Life Right Now?

We generally know what’s making life hard, but how often do we take the time to notice what is helping? Every year Anne Bogel reflects on the question inspired by Barbara Brown Taylor’s memoir, Leaving Church — What’s saving your life right now? I usually think about how I’d answer the question, but I’ve never written out an answer to share with you. While there are things that remain constant—books, Pixel snuggles, journaling, music, exercise, nature—there are also things that I’m particularly leaning into during any given season.…

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How Do You Feel About Your Flaws?

I’ve been experimenting with listening to spoken word meditations in the morning to help set the tone for my day. It’s a way to be still and breathe. Sometimes the words I hear affect me in ways I didn’t expect. When I first listened to these words from Sarah Blondin, I cried so hard that my shirt was soaked with tears. It’s likely I’ve told you you’re allowed to be a work in progress—you’re allowed to be human.…

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Holy Curiosity: Questions for Paintings, Questions for People

A number of my college classes took field trips to the Art Institute of Chicago. After completing my assignments and touring the collections, I always made my way to The Old Guitarist by Picasso where I’d sit for a hours in an out-of-the-way corner. A steady stream of people visited the painting, many seeming to almost miss the guitarist himself as they searched for the ghostly face peering over the back of his neck, evidence of an earlier painting on the same canvas.…

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