I started setting boundaries and speaking my truth. Here’s how.

I started setting boundaries and speaking my truth. Here’s how.

I still have the journal entry. It says, in striking black pen, “I wish I could say what I mean. If I can learn to say what I mean before I die, I will die a happy woman.” 

I’d written it the morning after I’d been the recipient of unwanted advances at a bar. A stranger had engaged me in aggressive conversation, peppered in flirtation, and every so often slipped his bony hand around my waist. For 30 minutes I’d tolerated his behavior with a fake smile before feeling it was appropriate to escape to the bathroom.

I could’t bring myself to say “Thank you, but I’m not interested. ’’ I’d waited in silence, hoping the man would mind-read my discomfort and give me space. My stomach had churned with discomfort. The next morning, I took my pen and articulated what I saw as my Great Frontier in life: speaking up, resisting the impulse to people-please, and not settling for less than I deserved.

My tendency to people-please at the expense of my own wellbeing manifested in all areas of my life.

It was why I worked in a job that didn't reflect my values; why I felt emotionally isolated in my imbalanced relationships with friends, lovers, and colleagues; and why I relied on external distractions and addictions to numb myself to my emotional landscape. Sometimes, my people-pleasing manifested as mildly as staying too long in a conversation that bored me, or offering to help a friend when I didn’t have the time. Sometimes, it was as extreme as sleeping with someone I didn’t want to sleep with because I didn’t want to “hurt his feelings.”

I knew that my difficulty setting boundaries was largely a consequence of a culture that encourages women to be people-pleasing, accommodating, and self-sacrificial. As Harriet Lerner says in The Dance of Anger: “Our society cultivates guilt feelings in women such that many of us still feel guilty if we are anything less than an emotional service station to others.”

Though I understood the cultural roots of my behavior, I didn’t want my socialization to define me. I wanted to develop the capacity to speak up for myself. The less I heeded the wishes and warnings of my inner self, the more her cries went unheard - and the more her anger, instead of directed outward, became directed inward, at me.

I felt like I was constantly betraying myself, constantly designing my life around others’ desires. The result was a life that felt mediocre, underwhelming, and not quite my own. 

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On The Road Issue 1: Synchronicities in Seattle

On The Road Issue 1: Synchronicities in Seattle

A disclaimer: the tidbits that follow are merely snippets of my travels. Beautiful sights, heartwarming connections, Hailey-esque neuroses, and the little revelations that weave it all together.

So here's the skinny: I'm a personal coach and digital nomad, living out of my epic backpack while I travel throughout the US working remotely. I decided to hit the road because I wanted to grow in unexpected ways. I wanted to see who I became when I wasn’t entrenched in the routines, communities, and comfort zones that shaped my life in Boston.

The year preceding this journey was a wild year for me. That wildness was a culmination of pursuing my current career as a Life Coach; awakening through a rough breakup; working on my codependency; recommitting to sobriety daily; embracing my sex-positivity; building healthier relationships with friends and family; learning what my life could look like if I put myself first; and embracing spiritual growth. All of the good, crunchy stuff that splits you open and leaves you free to rise. Becoming fully location-independent was the final permission slip I needed to hit the road. So I leveled up and bought a one-way ticket out West. That’s where this begins.

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Everyone's Doing The Best That They Can

Everyone's Doing The Best That They Can

My favorite principle is this simple truth: Everyone is doing the best that they can with the resources they have. Adopting this belief has radically changed my relationship to myself and to others.

This idea has been explored by a constellation of religious, spiritual, and wellness practitioners. As Deepak Chopra said, “People are doing the best that they can from their own level of consciousness.”

At first, it's a hard concept for us to swallow. In a culture that constantly urges us to do more, to be better, and to excel,  “I'm doing the best that I can” sounds like complacency—like an excuse. But what if we took a step back from our culture's infinite growth paradigm and considered, “What if, right now, there is a limit to what I can achieve? Can I be okay with that?”…

Published on Tiny Buddha. Read here.

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To The Man Who "Doesn't Like Body Hair"

To The Man Who "Doesn't Like Body Hair"

I am done with my body being a site for people-pleasing.

Shaving.
Losing weight.
Gaining weight.
Running to the far end of town.
Using my mouth to satisfy.
Using my ears to listen to empty, egoic words.

For all my life, my body has belonged just as much to others as to myself—just as much to society as to myself—and you will never know what that feels like: to have the most rudimentary evidence of your own existence belong to someone else…

Published on Elephant Journal. Read here.

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9 Dos & Don’ts: How To Hold Space For Someone Who’s Hurting

9 Dos & Don’ts: How To Hold Space For Someone Who’s Hurting

Does this sound like you?

You experience something painful. It hurts. You feel anxious, angry, or frustrated, as if you’re on the verge of boiling over. So you self-isolate—sometimes for hours, sometimes for days—and wait for the pain to subside.

You don’t call a friend or a loved one, even though you know you technically could. You know that using your support network is supposed to enable your healing process, but you just can’t pick up the phone. The thought of having one of “those conversations” again is simply too exhausting…

Published on Elephant Journal. Read here.

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