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Burnout and the Culture of Impossible Expectations

“No one knows this because it seems like I have it all together, but inside I’m dying.” When you hear people’s deep dark secrets like I do as a therapist, you hear things like this frequently. This is because basically every human I interact with is going through something similar: the profound pressure to do “the right thing” in every area of life, while making it look easy. And expecting it to feel good. It’s the promise and temptation of being one life hack, career goal, or achievement away from perfection. You can be: as slim as a nearly disembodied head with barely a body to hold it up as productive as a super computer as cool and interesting as a celebrity (and employ a staff to pull that off) all while also having a loving relationship and friends. And     . . . read more

How to Talk About Politics Without Fighting

This post originally appeared on hannah-curtis.com, Hannah’s site all about communication. Check it out.  Friends, family members, clients, even the cashier at the grocery store, have said to me, “I can’t talk about politics without getting into a fight.” Many people want to avoid conflict, so they just keep the frustration inside. But some of us feel like there is too much at stake to keep quiet. If now is not the time to speak up, when would be? I’m here to tell you that yes, you can talk about politics. And no, it doesn’t have to lead to a fight.  But you HAVE to do it differently. If you want to be part of the solution and stop engaging in the division, buckle up, leave your ego at the door, and take a ride through three unexpected steps that can get you where     . . . read more

Mature Behavior in 10 Easy (okay…actually pretty difficult) Steps

Though I strive to be sensible and balance reason with carefully considered emotions, I have had to put myself in time-out several times recently. My kids drive me nuts because they are children and we are inside together a lot because it’s winter in Maine, and I want to lose my mind. “Those people” on the internet drive me nuts because, in case you have not observed, things are tense out there. It seems like no matter who you are, every emotional button is being pushed in the current climate. Keeping myself under control is not always easy. Perhaps you can relate. I find it facinating how we work so hard to teach our kids to behave appropriately, meanwhile often misbehaving ourselves. My daughter’s school is amazing. They have beautifully explained expectations for how people treat each other- in the classroom,     . . . read more

5 Ways to Strengthen Your Bond (And Make a Good Relationship Even Better)

It’s a new year, and there is likely a resolution you have forgotten: investing in your relationship. As a culture, the new year tends to signify a time for reflection and for commitment to betterment in some sense.  We make resolutions to improve ourselves individually. Sometimes we commit to taking action to improve the world or our community. We consider seeing friends more or spending more time with family.  Life gets busy, and it’s important to reflect on our priorities so we don’t lose sight of them in the flurry of day to day living. However, one area that tends to get overlooked, unless there is a glaring problem or a new and exciting milestone (like marriage, a new baby, a special anniversary), is our commitment to bettering, or strengthening, our long term romantic partnerships.  In the chaos of life,     . . . read more

Can Respectful Disagreement Bring Us Together?

Being a therapist has taught me that to disagree effectively is to build connection and unity. Talking in-depth for thousands of hours with dozens, if not hundreds, of people has had a profound impact on me. I am wiser, stronger, and happier than I would be otherwise, because I have connected with them and seen the world through their eyes. I also feel more clear that everyone makes sense in the context of their lives. Most people are coming from a good place most of the time. People make choices that reflect their life experience, what they were taught, and what they value. These things vary dramatically person to person, naturally. This seems obvious, but we see the world and speak from our own lens. Every single person has perspectives and internal narratives that are distorted, unhelpful, and just plain     . . . read more