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A Lesson on Being Vulnerable

Photo by Hannes Caspar
We want to know that we matter. We want to know that we were heard and that what we had to say meant something. ~Oprah Winfrey

I knew I should say something but the thought of opening my mouth to speak terrified me. I sat suffering silently to myself.

The longer I waited for him to pay attention to me, the more agitated I became. Anger, indignity and feelings of rejection spread through my body, heating every inch of me from within.

How dare he ignore me after I had come all this way to spend time with him? Did he expect me to sit here alone all night? How could he possibly not know I was angry?

When I finally mustered up enough courage to share my feelings with him he laughed, told me I was “pouting” and that he didn’t have the energy to help me deal with my “stuff.”

How to Deal with a Broken Heart

Photo by Hannes Caspar
Editor’s Note

This article was written in partnership with

I grab at my chest afraid that my heart might somehow explode out of my chest. I feel like I’m dying. I close my eyes and prepare for death. It’s got to be less painful than this.

Even lying on the bed requires too much energy. Somehow I manage to roll onto the floor. I am now literally laying flat on my back. My breath comes in short spurts. I try not to inhale too deeply because if I allow myself to breathe, I know that I will feel the searing pain in my heart.

So I hold my breath, anticipating the next wave of pain.

Inhale…inhale…exhale…sob…hold breath…repeat.

In a way it’s almost like giving birth.

How to Embrace Challenges

Photo by Winona Grey
There are always two choices. Two paths to take. One is easy. And its reward is that it’s easy. ~Unknown

When I was younger, struggling to form bonds with my peers and muscle my way through the turmoil that is adolescence, I always pictured my life ten, twenty, thirty years down the road like an enjoyable trip down a lazy river — one that flowed effortlessly, guided by the wisdom I had gathered throughout the years.

I looked forward to the day when I could reach a plateau and things would come easily, because I had strength, knowledge and an abundance of resources at my disposal. I would be married with kids, surrounded by love that would never evade me.

To me, with age came certainty, stability, ease and grace. I thought that all of the awkwardness that comes with growth and change would be a thing of my past.

So, as I entered my twenties, I spent a great deal of time searching for “perfection” in my personal and professional life, believing that the only way to curb the constant upheaval from growth and change would be to find the relationship and career that would make everything else fall into place.

My Story of Overcoming Fear

Photo by Valerio Boncompagni
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free. ~Jim Morrison

I was pacing back and forth after the plans were almost finalized.

I was going, finally, to meet this guy who I’ve been chatting with from an online dating site–my first foray into the world of online dating!

As soon as I hung up the phone with him, I was trying to talk myself out of going. I was trying to think of the possible reasons why I had to cancel.

The lame excuses included: I had to take my cat to the vet. There was a work deadline I had to meet. I came down with the flu.

Why was I being such a “Sissy La-La” about this?

I was afraid.

Couples Counseling – 6 Truths

Photo by Cari Ann Wayman

I’ve seen it happen so many times: In casual conversation, without really thinking about it, I start a sentence off with, “Our couples counselor…” and I’m startled when I see the eyebrows raise.

Amid what has become my utterly ordinary reality–we see a couples counselor–I forget myself. I forget that for most people, working with a couples counselor is the sort of thing you’d only reveal to intimate friends and family (and perhaps not even then).

But this is my truth: my partner of seven-plus years and I work with a couples counselor, and have done so since about the two-year mark of our relationship.

25 Things to Avoid for Better Relationships

Photo by Karrah Kobus
Life is relationships. The rest is just details. ~Dr. Scott Sticksel

Last week, I had lunch with my colleagues.

One guy from a different department (I’ll call him Dave) joined us at our table. I’ve only interacted with Dave a couple of times before, so I don’t know him very well.

When we all started to eat, Dave began expressively describing the problems he was facing at work.

He then went on to talk about some of his college experiences.

Next, he explained an issue his family was going through and what he was doing to resolve it.

With surprising ease, he transitioned to narrate, in great detail, a near-death experience he’d had five years before.

That brought us to the end of lunch.

Death of My Father

Photo by Shannnnon
Editor’s Note

Reading this made me cry. It contains an important lesson. Take a minute to read this story and reflect on its lessons.

If you admire someone you should go ahead and tell them. People never get the flowers when they can still smell them. ~Kanye West

I lost my dad in 2003 when I was 22 years old.

I still remember the day it happened like it was yesterday. My mom woke me up and told me that my dad had called and believes he’s having a heart attack.

I jumped in my car and drove over to his home to see how he was. On my way over there, I called him and asked if he needed me to call an ambulance. He responded “yes”. So I called 911.

8 Lessons on Love

Photo by Shannon
Keep your heart open for as long as you can, as wide as you can, for others and especially for yourself. ~Morrie Schwartz

I distinctly remember the time I first thought about love.

I was 5 years old. It was a bright, sunny day outside and my mother told me that she and Dad no longer loved each other; and that they wouldn’t be living together anymore. My little 5-year old world was rocked.

I remember trying to take it all in—to process it all as fast as a 5-year old brain could. Thoughts rushed through my mind one after the other. I would no longer be living with one of them and seeing them everyday.

5 Lessons from Ending a Friendship

Photo by Simon Pais
In this world of change, nothing which comes stays, and nothing which goes is lost. ~Anne Sophie Swetchine

Starting at a new school on the other side of town at the already awkward age of 13, I was desperate for the kind of friendship I could lose myself in. I was completely uncomfortable in my own skin and wanted someone I could join forces with, someone that could take some of the focus off of me.

We met in the lunchroom–the worst possible place for a middle ‘schooler’ who has yet to make any friends. So you could say the friendship was sparked by a sort of quiet desperation.

Finding Beauty in the Imperfections

Photo by Alex Stoddard
Love isn’t a state of caring. It is an active noun, like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.

There are certain things in life that we can’t master simply by memorizing a set of facts or figures. We must navigate our way using past experiences and current feelings, attempting to find what’s “right” when “right” is only a matter of opinion.

Relationships, especially romantic ones, are just one of these things.

Ever since I started dating at the immature age of 15, I’ve always evaluated other people’s relationships. I pay careful attention to the dynamic between two people, taking mental note of the things that other people’s partners do and don’t do for them.

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