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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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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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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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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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Are You Willing to be Visible and Take Up Space?

If we want to put ourselves out there and share our work with others, we need to be willing to be visible and take up space. ~Fabeku Fatunmise I tend to try to take up as little space as possible. I’m fairly tall, but I often slouch and I stand or sit with my arms crossed. I even sleep curled up in a ball. I shy away from wearing bright colors or bold patterns.…

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Are You a Learner or a Knower?

There are so many people eager and willing to give us answers about pretty much everything. For a long time I accepted other people’s answers as my own. They came from people I believed to be wiser and more knowledgeable than me. Who was I to question? But that was the problem. Once I had answers, I didn’t feel free to question. I internalized the belief that answers were to be defended.…

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Do You Know the Sound of Your Own Voice?

I slouched in the back seat of the parked car as the rain poured down outside, blurring the unfamiliar buildings around us. We mostly sat in silence except for the occasional sigh of I don’t know. They all look good. What do you think? We’d had a fun morning despite the rain and the traffic, but now it was time for lunch. The treat of going out together somewhere special was overshadowed by the monumental task of choosing a restaurant.…

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Six Words We Must Be Able to Say to Love or to Lead

Last week I was traveling with my husband’s family. It was a lot of fun and we made some great memories. It was also completely exhausting. I have to admit, I didn’t do a very good job of keeping up with my non-negotiables. Now that I’m home again, it seems like I should be able to get right back to work. The truth is…I’m still tired. Part of me wants to pretend I never get tired or cranky.…

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An Eye-Opening Truth About Belonging

We sat around the circular table, discussing. Everyone else seemed to freely share their answers, stories, questions, and opinions. I concentrated on my breathing to keep the tears from falling. No one seemed to think like me and, yet again, I felt like an outsider instead of one of the group. I had told myself that it was ok to be different, that I didn’t have to be like everyone else to belong with them.…

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