It's up to US, to know ourselves and to attempt to establish healthy relationships. This blog is about all sexes and genders, how we think and what we think. It is a blog about "maybe's" and "what if's". It is a conversation about media awareness, diversity, inclusion, relationships, sex, love and everything in between.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Why Vulnerability Is Your Best Friend

I wrote a post awhile back where I wrote about the importance of vulnerability in romantic relationships.

Since then I have come to the understanding that the willingness to be vulnerable surpasses just romantic relationships. In fact, I think that vulnerability is the key to happiness, contentment, and a full life.
Author and researcher Brene Brown calls it a “whole hearted life” in her book “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way we Live, Love, Parent and Lead”. In this book, she discusses the importance of vulnerability in all aspects of life, from romantic relationships to parenting. Her book (which is a MUST READ by the way) expanded my view of vulnerability when it comes to interacting with the world.

So what does it mean to be vulnerable?

To be vulnerable is be honest with yourself.
It is hard to admit when something bothers you.  It also hard to admit that you have certain feelings or opinions that you may not want to face.  To deal with this we self-medicate, pretend and put up barriers that keep people from getting to know the “real” us.  Self-reflection is the best form of vulnerability. If you can’t be vulnerable with yourself, how can you be vulnerable with others?

To be vulnerable is to embrace your imperfections.
There is a sense of shame associated with being imperfect that so many of us deal with on a day-to-day basis.  I think sometimes we honestly forget that we are fallible human beings who are going to make mistakes.  Instead, we walk through life trying to make everything run perfectly, thinking that “perfect” = good.  If everything is going well and we are doing everything right, then we can be happy.  When the truth is, there is joy in falling short, because we have the ability to pick up the next day, learn, and grow from our mistakes.   

To be vulnerable is to give yourself permission to be uncool.
If I want to watch episodes of Full House on syndication on the weekend while I knit in my Hello Kitty pajamas, I CAN.  You know why? Because I am not afraid to be uncool.  Okay..I know it’s not high school anymore and we say that all of this “cool/uncool” popular kids stuff doesn’t exist once you leave high school. Unfortunately, that’s a little lie we tell ourselves to convince us of our maturity.  We still alienate people who are different or don’t fit certain standards. We still have ridiculous ideas of what is cool or not and are always the first to judge others. Why not spend a little more time enjoying what you love instead of judging what everyone else is doing?

To be vulnerable is to try the things you are afraid of. 
The smartest thing anyone has told me this year is, “If you are a little bit afraid of something, that’s when you know you should do it,”  Whatever you are nervous about, DO. If you feel completely comfortable about a certain job or task or whatever it is, maybe it’s something that will be enjoyable for you, but won’t necessarily help you grow. When you try something that’s out of your comfort zone, you give yourself the bandwidth to grow. You will be surprised how much your capacity for new experiences will grow once you keep doing this!

To be vulnerable is to be able to know and ask for what you need.
Know what you personally need to make you happy and content.  Know what type of communication you prefer in a relationship. Know what makes you feel happy, sad, jealous, frustrated, unsupported. Then surround yourself with people who support your positive feelings and do not bring out negative habits in you. In addition, know what you need to make yourself a better you. Is it more sleep? Certain exercises? Doing crafts on the weekend with your cat? Whatever it is, do it and don’t apologize for it!



Vulnerability is not a weakness, it is a strength.


 To be vulnerable is to be courageous.
Thanks for reading!
Want more? 
Check out Brene's awesome Ted Talk on vulnerability here:



Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Do's and Dont's of Responsiveness

As I reflect on my 2nd week of doctoral studies, I have begun to contemplate the idea of responsiveness and how it has the power to build or break relationships. As many of you know, my ultimate goal is to become a clinical psychologist. As I commence my training, I have not only heard  how important responding is in a therapeutic relationship, but I have also realized how important it is with the people in your life.

How we respond to other people's expressions of vulnerability and openness creates trust and builds a safe space to share and grow. Have you ever been in a situation where you open your heart to someone and they respond in a completely inappropriate, hurtful, apathetic or insensitive way? It's not fun. In fact it can be damaging to a person's sense of self, especially if the person who responds is an important attachment figure in that other person's life. I know it is impossible to avoid saying insensitive things sometimes. We are going to make mistakes, and sometimes our responses reflect more of our own issues than our real feelings. Keeping this in mind, the purpose of this post is to focus on skills to be aware of when responding to other people's stress, anger or any other emotion possible to human existence.

Let's start with a basic tool...

DO actively listen to what the other person is saying. I've told this to my psych educational classes over and over again and I'll never stop. Listening is not just hearing the words. It is understanding and being able to reflect the content of a person's story or feelings.  How do you become a better listener? Pay attention, make eye contact and stop thinking about the next thing you are going to say while another person is talking.

Now that we got covered, what happens when you are listening and someone tells you something that you don't know how to respond to?

DON'T try to minimize the person's experience. Examples of this?

"Oh everything's going to be alright in the end. Just stop worrying."

"You need to get over it. It's not as big of a deal as you think it is."

"There are bigger problems than what you are going through in the world."

There are many variations of this that may not be as straightforward as these statements. It's important to realize that a person's feelings are reality to them. Therefore by minimizing a situation or feeling you aren't getting through to them, you are shutting them off from trusting you! Even if you do feel that there is something you would like to confront them with, its not the right time when the person is in distress and is confiding in you.

DON'T make the problem about you. Listen to this e-card people! I know it may be appropriate sometimes to tell someone your own personal story of struggle and triumph in order to inspire them, but you have to find the right times for this. One extremely frustrating example of this is when you're going through some type of medical issue or sickness and a person tries to tell you about how their 2nd cousin twice removed also had this illness and then ended up having to be in the hospital for 7 days and lost their job. Everyone ALWAYS has a story about someone else's experience or their own experience that is similar to yours. Quite frankly, I don't want to hear it because its always some horror story that ends up making me anxious, which leads to me being on Web MD for 6 hours.

DON'T O.T.O. - i.e. overstate the obvious. I first heard this expression when I was 22, standing outside of a bar while a loud, intoxicated young woman passed by yelling "OTO" because she heard someone state, "Oh It's Raining!" as it started to rain. Apparently, stating the obvious was just not going to cut it for her that night. Since then, I've used it to describe a situation where someone tells me something I already know. Sometimes, when people are explaining a feeling they do not want a response like, "Oh well, you really have no choice." or "Oh, this situation sucks, I wouldn't want to be you." or "Oh well that's life, its not easy." These are obvious observations that are assumed, they don't need to be stated and do not provide a source of comfort.

DON'T  give unnecessary advice. Usually, people aren't asking you to fix their problems. If you find yourself saying, "Well you should...." STOP YOURSELF! RIGHT AWAY!!!! Because most of the time, people know what they SHOULD be doing.

So what DO people want to hear? I have two magical words for you...

"I understand."

You may or may not understand or know what it feels like to be in someone's shoes, but by showing someone you understand them validates their feelings. I believe that all people really want when they are feeling uncomfortable feelings is to be validated and understood. It doesn't matter whether the emotions they are experiencing are rational, all that matters is that they are able to express them without shame.

Shame and fear of vulnerability is the source of many people's pain. We aren't perfect and by communicating this to others by understanding, instead of judging, their situations we can achieve stronger and long-lasting relationships.

Those are my two cents for today y'all. Have a wonderful day! I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

She's Back! Let's talk about emotional constipation. Oh yes, It's happening.

Hi Readers!!!!! If there are any of you still left :( I apologize for my brief hiatus from my consistent blog post writing. I have had many exciting and new life changes, and as a result I've neglected my love of writing blog posts! So I'm back..and I'm starting a new, exciting topic: Emotional Constipation.

Sounds lovely, right? Okay, just hear me out....

First of all, let me start by defining what emotional constipation is, from my perspective. I'm going to call it EC so I don't have to keep writing the word constipation over and over. 

How do know if you have EC?
  1.  You don't feel comfortable talking about your feelings
  2.  You use indirect ways of communicating with people about your feelings instead of being direct
  3.  You hear from others that you sometimes come off as "unfeeling" or "cold" or you get feedback that it is hard to get to know you
  4. You prefer to pretend you don't feel anything rather than face negative feelings

Now that I read this over, I'm sure everyone has been EC at one point in their lives. We may be more willing to share ourselves emotionally with some people than we do with others, which I understand because I've been there. 

HOWEVER, EC in general is not a good thing. Living your life without sharing yourself is an absolute way of missing out on the beauty of human relationships. 

Many people are afraid to express themselves to others because they are afraid of how people will respond or they are afraid of conflict. Even though it is uncomfortable, conflict is sometimes necessary in relationships because it brings it improves intimacy levels and it helps you learn more about yourself. 

So how do you become less emotionally constipated?

  1.  Take an emotional laxative. You can get them at target for $9.99. Okay just kidding, but wouldn't that be awesome? Hey I'm afraid of feeling this feeling, I'm going to pop this pill and everything will be A-OK!
  2.  Mindfulness. Take moments in  your day to be mindful of your inner and outer experiences. When someone says something that bothers you, how does that make you feel? Use specific words to explain what is going on in your mind and body.
  3. Once you are aware of your inner experiences, practice expressing those experiences to others in positive ways. If there are negative feelings you need to discuss, there is always a way to do so with words of kindness and compassion. 
  4. Use "I" more than "You" when telling someone how you feel. This isn't the blaming game, its you opening up to another person about yourself

These are just a couple things that have helped me in my journey toward a less emotionally constipated life. I hope they help you all! Keep an eye out for more frequent blog posting :)


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Rules for Better Living

Happy Tuesday, readers! I'm going to contribute to the vast number of self-help books out there about how to be happier and live a better life by offering my own personal list. These are a compilation of my own thoughts, things I've read and quotes I've come across in my 27 years of living. If you have an addition, feel free to comment below!

Allow yourself to make mistakes. I've known this is important my whole life, yet I still beat myself up when I mess up. Be kind to yourself people! Cut yourself some slack every now and then. If things were perfect all the time, we wouldn't know what true perfection was.

Don't ever underestimate the power of time when it comes to pain. When sadness, loss or rejection occur in life, I always remind myself of the fact that human beings are wired to adapt. It may feel as if what you're feeling in the moment is unbearable, but it doesn't mean its permanent.

A life without balance is not a life worth living. I always know when I don't have enough balance of work, friends, family, school, fun in my life, because I burn out (or have an emotional breakdown, which is always fun). In my experience, there is nothing wrong with rewarding hard work with a well deserved vacation, or after spending hours on a paper, taking a moment to spend with someone you care about. Geez, I'm like a Hallmark card right now.

Only make time for people who make time for you. If a person isn't making the time to see you, don't waste time trying to see them. If a person isn't thinking about you, don't ruin your life by ruminating over what they're doing. Simple as that.

Know your limits. You don't have to say "Yes" to everyone and everything. It is not your responsibility to get a million things done every day. Do what you can and do your best. Constant overachieving leads to ulcers and panic attacks. Yes, I speak from experience. How do you like that for too much self-disclosure....

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. Thank you Eleanor Roosevelt! She knew what's up. You can't control what others think or do, but you can control how you feel about yourself

Don't be left dancing alone to songs of the past. You can thank Tegan and Sara for this (from the song "I Won't Be Left" - listen here!). Time is moving forward, and to waste countless hours stuck on past situations and trauma will not help you in the moment. If there are things you can't get over, consider getting help! Everyone deserves a future that isn't tainted by past mistakes or pain.

Dont be afraid to feel. One of my favorite quotes from Tina Fey's book, Bossypants is:

“Some people say, 'Never let them see you cry.' I say, if you’re so mad you could just cry, then cry. It terrifies everyone.”

It's really unfortunate that displays of emotion scare other people. I'm not gonna lie, when someone starts bawling in front of me I feel a little panic sometimes too. But heck, who cares, if you want to cry, CRY. If you want to sing out, sing out, ha. Respect the emotions of others and don't be afraid to express your own.

    Those are my nuggets of inspiration for the day. So long, folks!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Thoughts on Men, Women and Dealing With Rejection

It has always been my general opinion that men take rejection easier than women. When I imagine a man dealing with rejection, I picture no tears or demonstration of pain. Instead, I imagine a guy out on the town, partying it up, pretending nothing happened and ready to conquer the next woman who comes along. Okay, after reading that statement I sound like a feminist man-hater, which I am not! I've just had this ridiculous notion in my head for years that rejection just slides off of men like butta. Who can I blame this on? Society? The men in my life? Movies? You?

Whenever I imagine a woman dealing with rejection, I think of a girl buried in a mountain of tissues, sitting in front of the TV watching a sappy movie with a big tub of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream in her lap. I also see a basket-case and a person who has completely forgotten her self worth because someone rejected her.

These images frighten me. They may stem from the cliche depictions I've seen in movies, or my own personal experience. Either way, after coming to terms with these images, I had to challenge them. So I decided use a lifeline and ask the audience...and you spoke loud and clear and put me in my place!

Several months ago I sent out a survey to men and women about how they deal with rejection. 23 men and 16 women responded (way to step it up men!). The average age of the men was 29 and the average age of the females was 27.

Question #1 asked "When you have been rejected or left hanging by someone that you liked or were dating, have you ever questioned your self-worth?"

Men's response:

Females response:
The results are almost identical, with a slight increase in answer "Yes" on the female side. Maybe we aren't as different as we think we are!

Question #2 was: "What did you question about yourself specifically?" Here's where it gets interesting.

A common answer among both genders was "Am I not good enough?" or "What am I doing wrong?"
9 of the male responses and 6 of the female responses stated something similar to this.

Specific traits were also mentioned. Men said they questioned their looks, attractiveness, and personality. Women questioned personality, intelligence, judgement, attractiveness, and body image.

One thing I found very interesting is that one male respondent said "I questioned my success in life and how independent I am."

Two female responses revolved around the idea that "I am worth more than this, I don't doubt myself." None of the male responses reflected a sense of empowerment or knowing they deserved better.

Question #3 asked whether they've dealt with rejection in any negative ways, with several choices. Here are the results.....


Women it comes to abusing alcohol, men reported a higher percentage than women.

To my surprise, women reported a higher rate of partying than men! Women also reported spending time alone more than men.

However a big difference was that women reported 81.3% of venting to friends, while men reported 47% of venting to friends.

Overeating was also higher in women than in men (chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, anyone?)

Now, as I always say, the results of my little survey are in no way empirically valid and will not be published in a peer-reviewed journal anytime soon. I was just interested to see the responses, and boy was I surprised!

Personally, it's refreshing to know that men deal with rejection similarly to women. Maybe the divide between us isn't as big as we thought.

What are your thoughts on this survey and the differences between men and women and they way they deal with rejection?


Monday, December 31, 2012

What Television Taught Me in 2012

SPOILER ALERT! Read selectively if you come to a show that you haven’t seen and plan to see. Sorry. Ha.

Everyone who knows me knows I’m a cinephile and a television-ophile. If that’s a real thing. This blog post is desperate attempt to justify all the television I watch by finding lessons in the stories. So enjoy, and Happy New Year!

In 2012, Deb from Dexter taught me that if you keep falling in love with the wrong people (I.E. the Ice truck killer, Detective Quinn, Lundy- a man old enough to be her father) it doesn’t mean you default to your non-blood related siblings. If you do this, you might just end up a murderer. You’d think it would be common knowledge, right? Deb, thank you for encouraging me to make better decisions than you in 2013.

The Walking Dead taught me to show the ones I love that I love them, even when they piss me off by sleeping with my best friend and getting pregnant. Don’t let anger keep you from forgiving those you love, because she might just die in childbirth and turn into a zombie.   

Shahs of Sunset taught me that it's okay to be an intergalactic persian priestess and drink diamond water. Wait --or maybe it taught me that it's okay to tell a Persian who hasn't gotten a nose job (yet) that you love their big nose, BTW. In case you were wondering, it's not. Off limit topics in Persian conversations: noses, hairiness and weight. In the words of Reza, "Did that Bitch just call me fat?"

Walt’s carelessness in Breaking Bad taught me to watch what I keep lying around from my past. It MIGHT just come back to haunt you. Or maybe the real lesson here is not to start cooking meth, especially when my brother-in-law is a DEA agent? 

Adventure Time reminded me to have fun, as it does every year. If you’re not watching this show, you definitely need to. AT reminds me that sometimes its okay for things to not make sense and for life to be absurd. In 2013, I’m going to be inventive like Princess Bubblegum, proud of my lumps like Lumpy Space Princess, and mischievous like Marceline the Vampire Queen.


Parks and Recreation taught me that Adam Scott is really cute when he’s not the A-hole brother in Stepbrothers. Go Adam SCOTT! Hot T! P.S. I love you, Leslie Knope.

Jersey Shore surprised us all by revealing that even meatballs can have cute babies. Who knew?! Baby Lorenzo is a cutie patootee!

Girls taught me that “white girl problems” can also be anyone’s problems. Okay, so we may not all accidentally smoke crack at a party like Shoshanna and run 10 miles down the street or get married to some extreme capitalist after knowing him for a week. However, we can relate to the confusion and pain Marnie and Charlie go through as they end their relationship and the stress Hannah experiences as she tries to find her place in the world. Let’s just say I’m looking forward to Season 2 =)

Finally, Parenthood taught me that family is important, and that doesn’t just mean the people you’re blood related to. It's about the family you have and the family you make. Life isn’t perfect and we are all going to face things we don’t want to. Having a support system and positive influences in your life makes it all worth bearing.

See, who said TV can't teach you anything? I think I need to go read a book now....
I hope everyone has a wonderful new year in 2013. Peace!!!!!!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Is it Possible To Love Someone You've Never Met?

One of my new favorite shows on MTV is called Catfish, stemming from the same-titled  documentary by Nev Schulman, which is based on online dating. The most recent episode inspired me to write this blog post. I’m going to try my best not to spoil anything about the episode!!  

Basically, all of the episodes so far have provoked me to question whether its possible to truly love someone that you’ve only spoke to online. I’ve always thought that a relationship is not “real” unless it's face-to- face, and that building a prolonged online relationship could never end well, but this most recent episode made me think twice.

First of all let’s face it, we’ve come along way from AOL chat rooms. Online dating is a huge craze these days. People are meeting, dating and marrying the people they meet online.  It has become a legitimate way to meet new people! If I was single, I’d definitely do it. It can be beneficial for a person who’s extremely busy or a little shy.... or someone who simply doesn’t want to waste time weeding through all the drunk people at bars to find a diamond in the rough (some say that's a lost cause ha.) On the other hand, online dating can be dangerous and you risk falling for someone who isn’t who they say they are, as Catfish (or unfortunate personal experience) has shown us.

So back to my question, can you truly be in love with someone you’ve never seen face to face? Something that stood out to me in this weeks episode is the fact that Dani said he didn’t feel like the relationship really started until they met. However, when they did meet it was obvious the connection and foundation of a relationship was there and had been there for quite awhile. Maybe there are limits to online relationships and how they can grow, but it doesn't mean a person can't fall for someone they meet online before they've met them?  


I’d love to hear people’s thoughts about online dating, whether they’ve seen the episode or not. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest you check it out!


This episode of Catfish taught me that love is found in many ways and it shows up in different forms. I will never again judge the way people fall in love and I will embrace the fact that two people can love each other outside of race, gender, culture or class. Thanks, Catfish.

Comment away!