Tell Her It’s OK. Over and Over and Over Again.

“My husband tells me that I shouldn’t be upset about things that happen at work. He never gets upset and he thinks I’m too emotional. He says that I should get over it.”

Does this happen to you? Do people tell you to cheer up? Get over it?

How does it feel when someone tells you not to feel the way you feel?

Chances are, on top of already feeling upset, now you’re embarrassed. Ashamed. Your gears start grinding. You fight back tears. Your brain locks up. Your heart races.

Good times, eh? Yeaaaahhhhh…

Then maybe, like the woman above, you go here next:

“And you know what??? He INFURIATES ME.”

Yeah. I get that. Couldn’t we see that coming?

When someone tries to silence you, chances are you’re gonna get louder.

Oh babe! The drama! Dude! What are you supposed to do??? 

I’ve got an idea:

Tell her it’s ok. Over and over and over again. 

You’re angry. You know what? That’s ok.

You are upset. I get that. That’s ok.

“It’s ok, babe. I understand. You’re upset and it makes sense. And it’s ok to feel that way.”

The sentence above? It’s called validation. It’s super easy to do. 

Tell her it’s ok.

Tell her you get it.

Tell her that her feeling, no matter what it is, is understandable and completely valid.

Eyeball to eyeball, I see you. Ear to ear, I hear you. Brain to brain, I understand you. Human being to human being, all your feelings are ok. I am going to sit with you in love and compassion. Always. Every time. Relentlessly. Patiently. Gladly.

Tell her it’s ok.

Are you sad today? I understand why. And it’s ok.

Are you frustrated right now? I understand that. And it’s ok.

Are you scared about the next step? That makes sense. And it’s ok.

Tell her it’s ok.

I’m simplifying this as a PSA to the partners of women I love, and yet it’s universal. All human beings want to be validated. We all want to know that our feelings are ok. 

We all want to be seen, to be heard, to be understood, to be loved.

And now, the truth you may not want to hear: It’s not his job to validate you. If he does, you have an amazing man that you should actively and vocally appreciate every day of your freaking life. Do that now.

It’s not anyone else’s job to validate you. Does it feel good when they do? Yes. Do they have to do that? No. Do they know how to do that? Maybe. Does the sight of a person you love feeling upset make your heart ache? Absolutely. Are you panicking because you can’t make the people you love feel better? Probably. Can you have compassion for everyone involved? I hope so.

Hey, boo, here’s the deal for the rest of your life: it’s you and you. 

You’re tired. And cranky. And sad.

Here’s what you’re going to do: Tell yourself it’s ok.

I’m angry. It’s ok for me to feel angry. 

I’m sad and embarrassed. It’s ok for me to feel that way. 

Tell yourself it’s ok.

Beautiful, gorgeous, reader: Guess who is the best partner in your life? Guess who is your most powerful supporter and lover? 

You. Telling yourself that it’s ok. You. Validating your own experience. You. Always, relentlessly, looking yourself in the eyes, listening to what you think and feel, loving yourself by telling yourself it’s ok. It’s even ok not to feel ok. Because that’s always ok. And you are ok. Remind yourself. Soothe yourself. Over and over and over again.

Loving you out there. You know that feeling you’re experiencing? I see that. I hear you. I understand. And it’s totally ok. XO

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Love Flows Where Interest Goes

Women often fall into the trap of thinking we should be younger, prettier, and skinnier in order to be loved. There’s a multi-billion dollar industry out there throwing every marketing trick in the book at us in order to scare us into thinking that men are only interested in beautiful supermodel women. I am so tired of that shit.

Men, and anyone else, are really only interested in one thing: Being interesting, and having someone show interest.

That’s right. Think of all the people you love right now. Think about how INTERESTED you are in them. How you find them funny. Silly. Fascinating. How they are doing things that interest you. How they tell interesting stories. How they ask you about yourself and are interested in you.

Love lies in your interest.

We are interested in interesting people. And when people are interested in us, we love them.

Who do you find interesting? Chances are, you love them.

Who is interested in you? Chances are, you love them.

How do you fall in love? Be endlessly, timelessly, interested in someone. Think about them. Their dreams. What they are doing. Who they are with. What they might say. 

Are you interested in someone? Show your interest. Make it known.

So often, we get caught up in trying to impress people. I know I do. I want people to think I’m interesting. And yet, I can’t force that. I can’t count on that. I can’t make people think that I am interesting.

Here’s what I can do: Be interesting AND be interested in them. Be curious about them. Fall in love with them. 

Love flows where interest goes. We don’t love beautiful people. We love interesting ones. Ones who we can’t stop thinking about. Ones who ask us questions and want to know more about us. None of this has anything to do with being skinny or having six pack abs.

Beautiful, curious reader: Do you love someone? It’s because they are interesting. Does someone love you? It’s because they are interested in you. Do you want people to know you love them? Show your interest. 

Beautiful people aren’t the ones we immediately love. Our love flows where our interest goes. 

Want more love? Show more interest.

Loving you out there. You fascinate me. Tell me more. XO

Give it the Green Light

When traffic lights turn yellow, I get weird. Aaaaahhhhhh stop or go? Sometimes I hesitate. Sometimes I make risky decisions.

Green means go. Red means stop. Yellow is caution.

At the end of her job interview, my friend told her future employer that she wanted the job. She said that, if offered the job, she would take it. She wanted it. 

She gave them the green light. They immediately hired her.

Are you hesitating in your life? Where? About what? How does that feel?

Chances are, your hesitation and doubt feel pretty crappy

Here’s an idea: Give it the green light and go.

Or stop.

If something is not a hell yes, it’s probably a no. Because really, when you know, you know. And you go.

My friend is now killing it at her new job. Promoted in less than six months. Flies all over the country to conferences representing her organization. 

She’s psyched. She knew she would be. She made a decision. Decided. Committed.

Green light.

GO

Hey, beautiful, waffling reader: You know that thing you want to do? You know how it just feels right? It feels good? It feels exciting? Make a decision to do it. Give it the green light. If you’re not sure, then stop. Let it go for now. Go in the direction of the other green lights. 

Loving you out there. Stay away from the flickering yellows.

Everybody loves a little green light. Let’s go. XO

Sadness And Fear Are Totally Normal. There. I Just Saved You a Lot of Money.

How do you react when you feel sad? What do you do when you feel fear?

Sadness and fear are two emotions that all people feel. Both are normal. 

There is not one person alive on this planet that has not felt sad.

Every human being alive has felt fear.

We also have these great things in our culture called businesses. They are made up of people – people who study how we behave.

Here’s what unethical businesses do: They convince you that normal emotions are not normal. Your anger is a problem. Your sadness is bad. Your fear is weak.

Any business can take your sadness and profit off of it.

1) They’ll tell you it’s not normal to feel sad.

2) They’ll sell you things to make your sadness go away (only if they’ve convinced you #1 that it’s not normal).

Are you sad? THAT’S NOT NORMAL! Quick! Eat something. Drink something. Take this pill. Take this trip. Buy these clothes online. Watch more Netflix.

You are welcome to argue against business and get really mad and try to control everyone and everything around you and shout “Don’t do that!” or you can use this simple tool:

Question the messages that you consume. Learn that all of your emotions are TOTALLY NORMAL and no emotion is abnormal or wrong or weak.

Are you sad? That’s ok. It’s normal. It’s human.

Marketers convince you that your sadness might overtake you and last forever. This is never true. Emotions come and go. They wax and wane. They ebb and flow. They move like the ocean. They come in waves and tides. 

Stop. Breathe. Listen. Inquire. If you need help, reach out.

If you are overwhelmed by emotion, you don’t need to isolate yourself and think you’re not normal. This is never true.

You are human. You are normal. Emotions are normal. What is normal anyway? Who decided what’s normal? 

It’s totally normal and human to be sad. To be afraid. To get angry. 

It’s totally normal to need help.

Big business has little power over you when you educate yourself about its practices. When you opt out. When you log out of Instagram and Facebook and log into your own body and mind. When you unplug from consuming and plug into your human community.

Hey human, normal, emotional reader:How do you react when you get sad? I hope you tell yourself that’s normal. I hope you allow yourself to be sad. I hope you soothe yourself and reach out to your community.

What do you do when you feel fear? I hope you tell yourself that’s normal. I hope you allow yourself to feel afraid. I hope you soothe yourself and reach out to your community.

You don’t need booze. You don’t need ice cream and Doritos. You don’t need Netflix. All of those things are fun, and none of those things will “fix” your sadness. Why?

Because your sadness is not a problem to be fixed. It is an emotion that wants to be felt. And allowed. And healed by your tender attention and self-soothing and connection to community.

Loving you out there. You’re totally normal. I decided. Because I get to. And so do you. XO

That’s What You’re Supposed To Do

My friend is still sad about a breakup. He has been dating other people in the effort to “get over it.” In a revealing moment, he said:

“I mean, that’s what you’re supposed to do, right?”

I did not agree. I was immediately suspicious.

Who said that?

Who said you’re supposed to just “get over it”?

Who said you’re supposed to do things you don’t want to do?

Who gets to decide what you’re supposed to do?

Let’s face it. Let’s admit it. We all know the truth.

You can do anything you want. You call the shots.

It took me a long time, decades, to realize that there are no life police, and, as Elizabeth Gilbert says, there is no “Cultural Central Command.” No CCC.

Most of my life, I have lived in fear of some CCC that doesn’t exist.

No one is going to come to your door after a relationship and say, “Excuse me, I see that you haven’t been dating. We’re going to write you a ticket as a warning, but you really need to get on that soon. After all, THAT’S WHAT YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO DO. And next time, there will be a fee. If you don’t start doing it, you will pay.”

My friend is hurting. He is covering that hurt by taking action that is causing him more confusion. He doesn’t feel good about the dates he’s had because he doesn’t really want to be on them. He is showing up sad.

I told him it’s ok to be sad. It’s ok to grieve. It’s ok to admit that he’s sad and ask for support. I told him that he gets to do whatever he wants to do with his life.

It’s his life. 

And gorgeous you out there, you know what I’m going to say next: It’s YOUR LIFE.

Don’t let anyone “should” on you. Don’t let anyone tell you what you’re SUPPOSED TO DO unless you ask for their advice. Sure! Maybe there are some things you might want to try. Maybe there are some strategies that might help you. Maybe there is some wisdom to gain from seeking advice from people who love you. 

Just remember: You are the author of your life story.

Beautiful, gorgeous, reader: You do you. Do you and create a life you feel good about. It’s a good idea to follow the laws, and yet THERE ARE NO LIFE POLICE. There is no CCC. There is no opinion more important than your own. This is your one, precious life. 

You don’t need anyone else in your life to answer this question:

What do YOU want to do? Get quiet. Listen. Honor the answer.

Loving you out there. Even if I’m not supposed to. XO

Keep Sharing Your Stories

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My Lyft driver had a book in the back seat pocket called “Rich Dad.” I chuckled a little -ha ha ha- feeling judgey about such a corny book.

“Rich Dad, huh?” I teased.

He laughed and then told me, in a thick French accent, about his desire to make money to pay for school. To build his business. To empower others, including African immigrants like him. To share wealth.

He said, “I like the guy who wrote that book, because he could have just kept it to himself. He made money, he figured out something, and he could have kept it to himself. But he didn’t. He shared his story and offers other people help, and I admire people like that.”

writing-923882_960_720-2Wow. Mic drop right there.

It’s easy not to share. It’s vulnerable to share. All those questions!!!

Who am I?

Why should people listen to me?

What do I know? 

And yet, we know things.

You can keep those things to yourself. The way you survive. The strategies that help you. The path you take out of times of darkness. The funny shit that uplifts you. The way you save your own life.

You can keep those things to yourself. I do it often. And then I find myself spilling out stories to my students. I write corny Facebook posts. I sit down eyeballs to eyeballs with friends and we crack each other up and share our struggles.

Beautiful reader with a story: I’m loving you out there. Your stories can uplift. They can inspire. They can make people laugh who really need a laugh. Your stories can help someone.

Even if it’s just one person.

Tell the story.

Keep sharing. XO

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Who Are You Trying To Control? Why?

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The other day at a coffee shop, I was talking with my colleagues when a strange man interrupted our conversation. As we were talking about teaching, one of my favorite subjects in the world, he said:

“I think students should just do their work and stop complaining. I tell my daughter all the time to shut up and stop whining and get her work done.”

Oh boy, was I angry. Angry! Here is my thought process:

HOW DARE YOU interrupt us?

HOW DARE YOU voice such an insensitive opinion?

HOW DARE YOU treat your daughter in such an uncaring and mean way???

HOW DARE YOU

I huffed, “I’m glad you’re not a teacher with that attitude.”

He looked at me, unmoved.

Then I jabbed back, “I hope someone listens to your daughter.”

And then I walked off in a snit.

There. I said it. I walked away. I got away from that awful man. I had enough of him.

And then, although I was so angry at the time, my car ride home and the day following kept bringing up a very deep sadness for me. That people would think that way. That a parent would shut down their child that way. That someone would add themselves to a nice conversation I was having and have the power to aggravate me and hijack my emotions that way. I thought I was tougher than that.

And yet…

helicopter-983979_960_720I wanted to control him. I wanted to lecture him. I wanted him to shut up.

Shut up and stop whining and get your work done. That’s right. A taste of his own medicine. That’s what I wanted to tell him to do. The exact same cruel thing.

Shut up. Then I won’t have to deal with you.

Shut up. Stop. Change. Be more like I want you to be.

And then I saw it. A pattern that has surfaced over and over in my life. I wanted to be in control. I wanted another person to act the way I wanted them to act and not be as human and real and messy as they actually were.

Why do I want to control people? Why did I want to control this guy in the coffee shop? What did I want from him anyway?

heart-700141_960_720I want him to be kinder. I want him to be gentle. I want him to be loving and open hearted and willing to be wrong. I want him to make the world a better place and not a cruel place where we shut down kids and shut down other people.

At the heart of my desire to control is that awful four letter word: fear.

I am afraid I won’t get what I want if I don’t control people to get it.

I am afraid people are not kind and gentle and open hearted.

I am afraid that I am not kind and gentle and open hearted.

I am afraid that other people can affect me so deeply.

I want to be protected and safe. I want to be heard. I want to be loved.

Tell your daughter she is safe with you. Tell her she is heard. Tell her she is loved.

Hey beautiful, controlling, human reader: Who are you trying to control? Why? What do you want from them? What do you want from yourself? What do you want from the world? Are you willing to speak the truth of what you want? Are you willing to speak the truth of what you need? Are you willing to give all of that and more to yourself?

Of course, we cannot go back in time. However, if I could, here is what I would say:

“Hey, seems like you want us to validate you and hear you and respect your opinion. That might also be what your daughter wants. I know that when I’m upset, I want to know that I am safe, I am understood, and I am loved. That’s often all anyone wants.”

And then, I would leave the situation, get in my car, and say this to myself:

Hey Georgi, you are safe. Always safe with me. And you are understood. I see that upset you. That’s ok. It’s ok to be angry and sad. I hear you. I understand. And I love that you care, that you want to be kind, and that you are passionate about your students and teaching. I love that about you. You are loved. You are safe here, Georgi. No matter what. I will hear you. I won’t ever leave you. I will always love you.

And then, I would drive away, and leave that in the past. And let it be ok. And let people be who they are. And move forward in my life with an intention to be kinder next time.

Whatever has happened in your life that you are trying to control, please give yourself the safety and space to figure it out, to understand yourself, and to offer yourself love and compassion through it all.

What do you want? Do you have to control others to get it? Could you gently ask for it instead? And are you ready to offer it to yourself?

Loving you out there. XO

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