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Attention Perfectionists: Please Stop

I hear it announced all the time. It’s slightly boasting, but safely under the guise of being an admission: I am a perfectionist. Listen up, self-professed perfectionist. I say this out of love and concern: You need to reconsider your stance. It will not go well for you. You need to wake up or you’ll be a bitter, miserable person in no time at all. This is a problem, not a merit-badge in the making. I loathe perfectionism because it’s an impossible task. A fool’s errand. But it looks really cute and appealing. You get a lot of praise for it. (That’s why it’s so insidious). But it will destroy your life. Why? Perfectionism is nothing more than a cloak of fear hellbent on sucking the joy out of your life. Yes, fear. It’s all about this one promise: If     . . . read more

Want Better Communication? Stop Pushing Buttons

I’m around little kids a lot these days. It’s amazing how early and thoroughly they learn to push our buttons. They know our weaknesses, and they aren’t afraid to use them. A very convincing cry, some irritating whining, or even a guilt trip. Man, they are good. I try to remember the motto posted in my daughter’s classroom at daycare: They’re two. Whatcha going to do? I give kids credit, they really don’t have a lot of power. They have to use what they can. They are resourceful, really. While it’s skilled for kids to at least try to push buttons to get what they want, the same is not true of adults. As adults, if we purposefully say something to another person just to get our way or get them to feel something negative, then that is unskilled communication.     . . . read more

The Hidden Dangers of People-Pleasing

I know how this is going to sound. But I’m going to say it anyway. Be careful of being nice. The problem is that we do “nice” in ways that are actually detrimental. The misconceptions about how to be nice are the key issues. One of the main problems is that a lot of kind people believe it’s essential to please everyone. Now most of us are aware that being a people-pleaser is hard on the person doing the pleasing. There is the exhausting work of always saying yes, trying to read minds, and always doing what the other person wants. It’s sometimes hard to get nice people to change just based on this, “it’s not good for you” argument. So I go for two other cold, hard truths about people-pleasing. 1. When you spend energy pleasing everyone, you inevitably     . . . read more

5 Tips to Get You Through the Inevitable New Mom Identity Crisis

This week I’m over at What to Expect talking about pregnancy, motherhood, and identity. Find out about the surprising moment of panic that led me to discover how to overcome the new mom identity crisis… (click here to link to the post). It was great to be featured on What to Expect and to add my story to the Word of Mom blog. I believe it’s important to have real stories of pregnancy and parenting. The reality is more messy than the cute pics of babies and families on Facebook suggest. Chaos, craziness, and general mayhem is as much a part of child-rearing as adorableness and laughs. I think it’s good to be more authentic and this promotes being more reasonable in our expectations of ourselves and our children. What do you think? Did you have a new mom (or     . . . read more

Not Saying Has Consequences

I’ve come to believe that not saying anything is the most over-used communication strategy in couples. It’s not a bad strategy when used appropriately. For example, there are many things you might choose not to talk about because they are minor and would offend for no reason: a style choice, a passing grumpy mood, a silly mistake. The saying, if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all, makes sense to me. No need to criticize without a purpose. However, it’s also important to remember that the saying is not: if you have something unpleasant, difficult or emotional to say, don’t say anything at all. Too often we avoid saying something that might be hard or prompt an emotional response. The belief is that if we abstain from saying anything then we are not responsible. Our     . . . read more

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