Want someone to feel more loved? Try this.

As a social species, we’re wired to be in relationship with others. As Brené Brown puts it in the wonderful Daring Greatly,

“Connection is why we’re here. We are hardwired to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering.”

Brene Brown

But man, sometimes it can be TOUGH.

Continue reading “Want someone to feel more loved? Try this.”

Top dos and don’ts of tender conversations

Enjoying meaningful conversation with those we love and care about is one of the great pleasures of being human, and two great – and perfectly dove-tailing – articles giving ten top tips apiece have crossed my radar recently.

Continue reading “Top dos and don’ts of tender conversations”

Words to silence

Loving someone can be, by its very nature, a vulnerable act; at any moment, the object of our affection can change their mind, reject us, disappoint or leave us.

For many of us, silence has become our way of knowing that something’s ended; from dating’s ever-present ghosting to the dearth of conversation between long-term partners.

The cruellest silence of all is the one that follows a beloved’s death. But what if you could still talk to them – and have them answer back?

Continue reading “Words to silence”

Keep CALM and carry on

One of the great skills in life – perhaps even more important than learning new ways to respond to difficult thoughts, feelings, and sensations – is being able to apply such learnings in the heat of having those difficult thoughts, feelings, and sensations.

I think it’s why I love mnemonics, such as Tara Brach’s RAIN;

Recognize what is happening;
Allow the experience to be there, just as it is;
Investigate with interest and care;
Nurture with self-compassion.

Continue reading “Keep CALM and carry on”

Attention is love

One of my favourite quotes comes from the Zen Buddhist John Tarrant Roshi; “Attention is the most basic form of love. Through it to we blessed and are blessed.”

I’ve been thinking about attention over the last month – or more, how I planned to be really focused, to catch up on a ton of projects, and how all my plans went out of the window.

My mother was admitted to hospital out of the blue, so in many ways my attention has been scattered, lurching between concerns about the present and some pretty scary thinking about the future.

But in other ways, I’ve seen even more clearly how attention can be the most basic form of love. Continue reading “Attention is love”

Hello, thought storms

Confession: I put myself through the wringer a couple of times last month. I reacted to some stuff with a whole BUNCH of insecure thinking about them, to the point where I didn’t know which way was up any more.

Continue reading “Hello, thought storms”

The kindness of the design

I’ve been walking through treacle recently.

Not literally, of course; that would be insane. But metaphorically speaking, it’s felt much the same; like walking, moving, thinking, through treacle.

It’s one of the joys of chronic illness – and the impact it can have on my emotional and mental well-being. Continue reading “The kindness of the design”

An uncertain kind of loss

I’ve been thinking about ambiguous loss and grief lately.

(Yes, FUN TIMES.)

My thoughts were sparked by two articles; the first, on how middle-age is impacting Gen X women (spoiler alert: badly. REALLY BADLY). The other, a letter writer wanted to feel like her single life is enough (spoiler alert: even the ‘agony aunt’ who responded struggles and fails to cultivate this feeling).

As someone who, Venn-diagram-speaking, is slap-bang where these two overlap, they made interesting reading.

And by interesting, I mean .. the other thing. Continue reading “An uncertain kind of loss”

For a friend who is struggling

This month, I’m going to share something very different.

One of the first pieces I ever had published was a poem, and yet I rarely read them – and the last one I wrote was five years ago. But a friend who lives overseas was struggling recently, and I wanted to keep in touch through loving voice messages.

I didn’t want to add to his mental load by chit-chatting about my day, though. So what could I say that would be short, helpful and meaningful? Continue reading “For a friend who is struggling”