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When Others Think Your Growth is a Step Backward

Last summer, I chose to step down from leading a discussion group. I was no longer sure I fully agreed with some aspects of the beliefs and teachings held by the organization. For a time, I’d tried to avoid showing how I had changed. I didn’t want to risk losing relationships. I didn’t want them to think less of me. So I pretended. I played my role. After a while, however, I couldn’t stand the difference between who I was and who I was pretending to be.…

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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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When That Friendship Isn’t Everything You Hoped For

I’ve had a tendency to blur the line between best friend and only friend, clinging to one person for all my relational needs. I’d look to that person for fun and for a listening ear. I’d expect her to keep me from feeling lonely and to make me believe I was valuable, loved, capable, and worthwhile. Maybe it won’t surprise you that these expectations didn’t lead to healthy, mutual, long-lasting friendships.…

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Are You Hearing Criticism That Isn’t There?

Ideally, conversations would be calm and thoughtful. Meanings and intentions would be clear and considerate. In reality, even the most mundane interaction can be rife with hurt and misunderstanding. Many of us are quick to hear criticism in other people’s words. Sometimes we may throw back harsh words of our own. Other times we might retreat and replay those words over and over in our mind. Why do we do this?…

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When it’s Hard to Accept Help

Because our house is on a large corner lot, we have quite a bit of sidewalk to shovel when it snows. Our neighborhood has a lot of foot traffic, so it matters that the walkways are kept clear. All of this is fine. I don’t love shoveling, but I can do it. We even have a snowblower that sort of works. Honestly, the hardest part about clearing my sidewalks is that my neighbors often do it for me.…

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How to be Yourself in Each Role You Fill

We all fill a variety of roles in the course of our lives. I’m a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a writer, a friend, a citizen, a dog owner, a homeowner—just to name a few. I’ve also claimed the roles of employee, coworker, manager, student, leader, musician, artist, athlete, and dancer. Some roles don’t come with official titles, but are implied—good girl, smart one, responsible one. What about you?…

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Thanks for Asking

You guys made me smile…and cry (in the best kind of way). Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to fill out the survey. I appreciate your encouragement and love getting to know you a little better. Also…you ask good questions. The things you brought up gave me a lot to think about and I’ll take a closer look at some of those topics in future blog posts.…

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Finding Love in a Job I Didn’t Want

This post originally appeared on Middle Places, which, sadly, is no more. I hope it brings you encouragement today. I spent four years working the overnight shift in an assisted living community. It wasn’t a job I ever expected to have. Ever since outgrowing my childhood dream of being a nurse and mountain climber, my main criteria for a job was that it not be remotely medical. But after getting laid off and spending month’s job hunting, I wasn’t in any position to be picky.…

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What is Your Relationship with Praise and Criticism?

How do you respond when someone criticizes you? What will you do to earn someone’s praise? What about when the praise you were hoping for isn’t there? Criticism hurts and I sometimes struggle to keep it from stopping me. I can be too dependent on praise, looking for others to assure me I’m good enough. Other times I shy away from positive attention, afraid people might resent me. I don’t want to live according to the whims of other people’s opinions.…

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Why We Feel the Need to Explain Ourselves and Justify Our Choices

I’ve realized that I put a lot of energy into trying to explain my decisions. Sometimes those explanations are an honest attempt to connect with another person or to step a little further out of hiding. Often, they are a result of my own self-doubt and desire for people to like me. I’m honored to be at Tiny Buddha exploring the reasons behind the urge to explain ourselves and ways we can explain out of respect (for ourselves and others) instead of fear.…

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