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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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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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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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Start as Who You Think You Are

Happy New Year! I’m still getting settled back in after all the holiday travel and celebrations. At this time of year when there is so much pressure to become someone new and better, I needed to revisit these words from a couple years ago. Enjoy! // Occasionally I’ll hear or read a line that seems like it’s speaking directly to me. I was reading the poem, Life is Calling, by Kelly Moore, when the second to last line made my shoulders drop in relief.…

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What is Hard About the Holidays

If you’ve been here a while, you probably know that I struggle with this time of year. As I feel that old familiar dread creeping in again, my first reaction is to be hard on myself. I’ve been thinking about, creating strategies for, practicing, and writing about more helpful ways to navigate the holiday season for years. Shouldn’t I have it figured out by now? Let me tell you…my self-criticism certainly isn’t making anything feel easier or more jolly.…

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Two Questions for Today

There are days when all the things I want to be doing and the things I think I should be doing keep piling up until I don’t even know where to take my very next step. Worries can fill up my mind until it’s hard to focus on anything else. Sometimes this leads me to dive into a task—any task—to feel like I’m accomplishing something, even if the task I choose is actually more of a distraction than a benefit.…

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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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