Being HUMBLE and CONFIDENT - Are You Confident or Arrogant?

Intentional living is all about believing in yourself -exploring, understanding, owning who you are and what you have to offer to others around you. In short, confidence! But we are also focused on building meaningful relationships here on this channel. One thing that can hurt your relationship most is 'arrogance.'
This is why in this article, I want to talk about the difference between confidence and arrogance and how you can approach life and relationships with humble confidence that's empowering for you and welcoming for others.

Confidence vs arrogance example

Matt comes from a poor background but was able to get into college on a scholarship. He is always taking advanced classes and staying ahead of his class schedules because he enjoys studying. Matt tries to score good grades to reassure his confidence and belief that he can achieve something big in his life.
In the same program, there's another student, Harry. Harry also scores high in most classes and feels proud of his accomplishments. He likes to ask tough questions in the class to show his teachers and peers how smart he is, which makes him feel good. While working on group projects, he also loves challenging others to feel superior and proud of his intellect.
Who do you think has healthy confidence, and who is on the arrogance end of the spectrum?

Confidence without humility brings arrogance.

Are you confident or arrogant?

Confidence is the belief about yourself that you are good at something. It's about knowing that you have the skills to accomplish a task, whether that's a work assignment or making your friends feel comfortable around you. Confidence is all about knowing your value and feeling good about having earned that skill or ability.
But, it's very, very different than arrogance. The biggest difference between confidence and arrogance is that confidence is about you - It's about knowing your worth - what you can and can't do. What do you bring to the table in your personal and professional relationships?
Arrogance, on the other hand, is externally driven. It's dependent on you feeling superior to others. If knowing that you are better than others brings a greater sense of comfort than knowing that you are good at something, then that's not really confidence.
A common reason that I see driving people towards what looks like arrogance is a superficial attempt to appear more confident. The arrogance is often a facade to hide insecurities, but what's the advice that people often give to someone with low self-esteem. It doesn't work when you just try to "be more confident" without knowing what areas you're confident in.
You have to identify the strengths that make you unique - things that you bring to the table because those are the things that will help you feel confident and empower you from within. So let's move on to two tell-tale signs telling confidence and arrogance apart.
The first sign is that you know what you are confident about and what you are not confident about? No one can be confident about everything because there will always be areas you feel confident in and things you are not good at.
For example, I feel pretty comfortable with public speaking, but ask me to sing or dance, and you will see the most unconfident person ever.
Real confidence is rooted in knowing that you are good at something and that something is important to you and valuable to others. On the other hand, if you feel that you must come across as confident in every situation all the time, then, I'm sorry, but that's just your pride speaking… or maybe narcissism…. I'm not sure, but it's definitely not confidence rooted in self-awareness.
The second tell-tale sign of confidence vs. arrogance is the belief that your confidence is only valuable because it makes you better than someone else. You could be confident that you are competitive in a particular skill, but being better at a task or two doesn't make you a better person than someone else. Your confidence should be a reflection of you - your abilities and your values. Because real confidence is not dependent on feeling superior to others -that's, in fact, a sign of arrogance. Superiority is arrogance - narcissism is arrogance - that needs constant reassurance and comparison to others.
Now, if you find yourself more towards the arrogance end of the spectrum, then that's nothing to be embarrassed about. I often talk about personal growth is like a pendulum. When you are stuck on one side for a while, and you try to get yourself unstuck, you ARE going to swing to the other side and a back and forth a few times before you find your balance.
And one thing that can be very powerful in finding your confidence, especially in relationships, is to develop self-awareness in relationships. Understand who you are in relationships and what things make you feel loved or insecure.
And to help you take a deeper dive into that, I'm creating this special playlist of videos. This playlist covers attachment styles and love languages to understand your insecurities and vulnerabilities in a relationship. So be sure to watch it develop arrogance-free confidence with a dose of humility.
Why be humble with confidence?
That humility is the real key - it's the secret ingredient for genuine confidence. We all have had experiences where someone acted arrogantly.
Now I want you to think back to one such experience in your life - where you felt that someone was arrogant. Maybe it was the way they were talking, the words they chose, or perhaps just the non-verbals. Now, remember how you feel good after talking to that person? Did they earn your respect?
And if your answer is no - If you didn't feel empowered or valued, then use that experience to develop non-arrogant, humble confidence for yourself. Be intentional about the choice you make with your words and actions.
Confidence is an expression of who you are without any shame. It's also an invitation to others to connect with you genuinely. Your confidence in being unapologetically you should make others feel comfortable to be truly themselves without any fear and hesitation.
Because that's where you truly bond with them. That's how you feel accepted and respected by others, rather than simply feared, and guess what - when you receive respect and love, your confidence will grow stronger too. Because people love you for you who you are, not who you pretend to be.
You don't have to convince anyone to see your strength because it shows through your calm confidence that doesn't need to be loud to be heard. And that's the value of being humble. There is no better feeling in the world.
Now, of course, you are not going to get there overnight. It's a process - It's a journey. And if you are ready for this journey, then know that your intentional living family will be with you every step of the way.

Unhealthy Relationships DRAINING Your Energy? A Motivational MUST READ!

Some relationships in life are so fulfilling that you when you spend time with these people, you feel energized because you can feel the support and care - the genuine bond with that person. But then there are relationships that drain your energy - that leaves you feeling more tired and exhausted, physically and emotionally. 
It’s true that no relationship is easy, and every relationship needs nurturance - but when you’re in the right relationship, even the compromises leave you feeling happy and fill you with love and hope. A relationship is supposed to be supportive and emotionally fulfilling - Something that helps you feel happy and grow in all areas of your life.
But, if you’re in a relationship that’s draining all your energy, where you are withdrawing from all your friends, you’re putting your work and dreams aside - then it’s a sign of a relationship where you are loosing yourself so slowly that you might not even notice it.
So often we get caught in a relationship that we know is unhealthy for us, but we have invested so much of our time, and we our emotions so involved, that we choose to ignore all these red flags.
It is time for you to hit the pause button and reflect on the person that you used to be, and the person that you are today. How did you go from being that person to the person you are today. It is time for you to start finding yourself again.

We accept the love we think we deserve.

A crucial part of this whole process is to take a step back and reflect on what used to make you happy, what used to bring joy, and why did you stop engaging in them? When did you start moving away from used to get you energized?
And of course, it’s time to start doing those things again. You have been ignoring yourself for so long, that it’s past due time for you to start re-investing in yourself.
Reach out to your friends that you have been pushing aside for so long. Ask yourself what are you REALLY passionate about? What gets you excited and fills you with rays of joy and happiness?
When you develop and nourish your relationship with yourself, you won’t be looking for someone else to fill those gaps.
There is a difference between needing someone and wanting someone. Don’t be with someone because you need them to feel complete or to support your dreams. Build your relationships with yourself first - So that you can be with someone who you don’t need, but you still want to. That’s the surest sign of a true bond and a true relationship - When you choose someone, not because you need them, but simply because you want them. 
And once you stop telling yourself that you need someone to feel happy, to feel complete, you will notice that life slowly starts to change on it’s own. People who thrive on taking advantage of you, or keeping you down will slowly start to get out of your life as they see that you are no longer dependent on you.
And people who are drawn to your real energy, to your aura and your confidence, will start to come into your life - because they will be able to see the real you, and build genuine, fulfilling bonds that help you grow even more, rather than draining and exhausting you.

If you feel anxious for no reason, Read This!

Do you ever feel stressed or anxious but aren't able to figure out why? These unexpected nerves can be traced back to one of two causes. First is that your mind was ruminating over something that happened - maybe something you said or did that you were playing over and over again in your head. And the second is being worried about something that you have to do - anticipating something that you want to go a certain way.
We often worry about things that are in the past or in the future. And when you keep stressing about something over and over, you eventually get to the point where you no longer remember what the stressor was, but the neves stay with you. And along with them, the unease and the restlessness remain with you.
So what can you do to calm yourself when you're expressing such stress or anxiety, or even anger? Let me share a very simple technique that can help you quickly ground yourself in that moment. And that key is to bring your focus from that past or that future to the present. The moment you are in at that point of time.
So here's what you need to do to quickly ground yourself - Pay attention to all your five senses. Find 1 thing around that you can see that makes you happy, one thing that you can touch that has a meaning for you, one thing you can smell that brings you calmness, one sound that you can hear in that moment, and 1 thing you can taste. And once you have done that, close your eyes for a moment, and take a single, most nourishing breath of your day.
This way, you engage all your five senses with a single focus for each sense at that moment. You bring your attention to what you experience with each of these senses and make that experience calming or joyful. This quick and simple practice will help you ground your mind in the present rather than being stuck in the past or the future.

There is only way to happiness, and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.

And that breath - the single deep breath that you took at the end helps you feel calm and relaxed in your body. It fills your lungs with more air, forcing your heart to slow down - providing more nourishment to your mind and body while grounding you at the same time.
So there it is - a simple secret that takes less than a minute to practice. Something that you can do anywhere, anytime, whenever you feel at unease.

Why Relationship Gets BORING? 3 Ways to Fix it!

Every new relationship is exciting. There is the thrill of learning about the person you are so into, the possibility of finding your "forever love," the fun of going on dates, and feeling wanted and appreciated. These are all super exciting parts of a new relationship.
But with time, every relationship changes. Sometimes, that change can start to feel like your relationship is becoming boring and can lead to a sense of dissatisfaction or even unhappiness in a relationship.
So does every relationship become boring - The answer isn't a simple yes or no. Every relationship does evolve. The initial excitement and thrill do settle down into something calmer. That can feel a little bland compared to the constant excitement you feel in a relationship's early stages.
I like to think of these early excitements of a relationship as islands of happiness. All the emotions peak when you are with this person. In-between your dates, you are impatiently waiting to arrive at the next island. But with time, these peak excitements settle down into something more calm, consistent, and reliable.
And there are 2 reasons why this calmer stage of a relationship feels different than the islands of happiness:
The first is that you are no longer trying to understand the basic things about the person. You already know their favorite color, the favorite movie, and what activities they like to do. Now it's time for deeper conversations - to get to know each other more deeply and more intimately, which can be tough. It can be tricky because it requires more communication and requires a greater level of vulnerability.
It can be hard to share the unpleasant memories from your past or your childhood. Even when you know that sharing these experiences will help your partner understand how you came to be the person they love so much. And because of this awkwardness - this hesitation - most couples don't even explore those deeper layers of each other's life.

Do what you did in the beginning of a relationship and there won't be an end.

But that often also means that your conversations become boring. Because you don't allow yourselves to become vulnerable and go deeper, you keep talking about the superficial stuff like what's for dinner or what tv shows you are watching. And where's the fun or excitement in that?
And if this is you, then check out my 2 videos on vulnerability in relationships that will rekindle that excitement for you and your partner to learn about each other more deeply.
The second reason why the calmer stage of a relationship can feel boring is that you're not used to being in healthy, long-term relationships. This might sound weird, but unhealthy relationships have a lot of ups and downs, sort of like emotional roller coasters that can be as thrilling as they are draining.
But as with most things in life and relationships, there is a deeper layer here. The ups and downs of an unhealthy relationship can keep you on your toes. Not because you're so happy in them, but rather because you spend a lot of time thinking about whether you both like each other, or if the relationship will work out, what it's going to look like, and so on.
It's not just the uncertainty of a relationship that makes it more exciting, but rather the investment you make in such relationships because of that uncertainty.  By contrast, the stability of a healthy relationship - with no drama or worry about a failing relationship doesn't force you to be thinking about your partner all the time. But that doesn't mean that you can't keep emotionally investing in your relationship.
So the essence of all these three ways of stopping your relationship from becoming boring is to prevent your life from being stagnant. To fall into a passive routine without doing things that make you and your partner feel special.
The first of these things is to keep dating your partner. When was the last time that you and your partner planned a date night? Where you dressed up separately to wow each other with your looks, to go out for a movie or dinner, and took a stroll while holding hands and talking until late at night?
One of the biggest mistakes couples make in the calmer phase of a relationship is that they stop dating each other. They stop dressing up to impress one another. The excitement of planning a special evening fades away. The feeling of going out and spending quality time away from your routine - to feel special and loved - becomes less noticeable.
So don't fall into that trap of comfort. It will be a little more work to do all that rather than sitting in your pajamas and watching Netflix like every other day of your week. But, it will keep the spark in your relationship alive.
The second thing is to keep having meaningful conversations with your partner. Often we become so comfortable in a relationship that we start believing that we know all that there is to know about our partner. But that's such a common mistake because you can never really know everything there is to know about someone.
So start carving out time for one another - to ask about how each other's day was. Which parts of their day were rough? And what things made them happy - and why? Why were they important to them?
And the third thing you can do to stop your relationship from becoming boring is to have shared goals - Things that you are working towards together. It could be a DIY project around the house that you are both into, or it could be taking dance or cooking classes together.
The purpose here is to not only do things together. Of course, the quality time spent together will be helpful, but what's more important is that you are growing together.
Because people are going to grow in life, and as a couple, you have a choice - Either you grow apart, or you grow together, or you grow apart. By having shared goals, you ensure that you grow stronger and closer together and keep the fun and spark in your relationship alive.

What is Self Care & TIPS that ACTUALLY WORK

Every day you eat, shower, brush your teeth - you take care of your body, but when was the last time you took care of your mind and emotions?
Let me ask you the same question in a different way. When was the last time you were stressed about something? Maybe it was this morning when you were running late for work, or maybe last week when you had a disagreement with a friend or your partner. These stressors are a part of life that we can't run away from, but we can recover and recharge ourselves from these day-to-day stressors. If you can remember to recharge your phone every night, then don't forget to recharge your mind and emotions every day either.
So let's talk about self-care that can help you recharge your mind and some tips for self-care that actually work.
Think of the stress that you handle every day as a stress bucket. The more stress you experience during the day, the more your bucket fills up and heavier it becomes.
The more your bucket fills up, less capacity you have to carry on with full strength and motivation. You start to become tired. You start feeling irritated and snap at people around you. It starts to impact your memory and productivity.
Now imagine if you were emptying this bucket on a daily basis. If you were draining away all these stressors at the end of the day - sort of like hitting a reset on your stress meter. Nothing will be able to stop you. You will be able to go through even the most challenging aspects of life with full strength and full motivation day after day. And that's exactly what self-care does for you.
Self-care means that after taking care of everyone else and everything else in your life, you still take some time to care for yourself. You provide not just rest but also emotional nourishment to your own mind and body, making it easy to do everything else you need to do during your day.
Something very important to keep in mind here is that self-care isn't just traveling or going out on the weekends. Yes, those indulgences are fun and rejuvenating, but if you're waiting for a weekend spa or an upcoming vacation to relieve your stressors, then that's not going to be sufficient. To not feel mentally and emotionally exhausted every day, your self-care has to become a daily lifestyle.

Self Care is how you take your power back.

And that's the single most important thing you can start doing to engage in self-care - to carve out some time for yourself in your daily routine. Call it a day by a set time every evening, and then let your personal time begin. Be intentional about how you use this personal time. Find things that actually bring you joy and relaxation.
This is where it also becomes essential to separate relaxation self-care from recreational self-care. Each has its own unique purpose and benefits for your well-being.
Relaxation self-care describes things that help you unwind. They are not necessarily exciting or thrilling, but they help you feel calm and grounded, such as meditation, taking a bubble bath, or listening to classical music.
On the other hand, recreational self-care helps you feel excited and happy, such as a movie night, going for a hike, or spending time with friends. Things that you actively engage in.
What works great for one person might not work so well for another. Self-care is individual; it's personalized. Still, there are 4 things that I have seen work for most people that I want to share with you - things that will help you get started on your self-care journey:
Moments of stillness - Taking some time away from your phone, tv, all the noises, and distractions - to just be silent and alone with yourself. It's so powerful to spend even 5 minutes of uninterrupted quality time with yourself. Focus on your breath, focus on how your body feels, ground yourself with meditation - whatever works for you. But be sure to nurture your relationship with yourself every single day.
The second suggestion is to connect with someone you don't live with every day. Whether building a new friendship or nurturing an existing relationship, your connections with other people fulfill your mind's need for connection. Which is why spending some intentional quality time with your loved ones can make a huge difference in emptying your stress bucket.
The third suggestion is to do something active every day. Whether that's bursting into some dance moves, going for a nice calm walk, or even a 10-minute yoga exercise. Movement and physical activity release endorphins in your body, which counteracts the stress hormones produced by your body produces throughout the day. And if that's not sufficient, these endorphins also trigger the happy centers of your brain, which is why you often feel so good after a nice walk or a workout.
And the fourth thing is having some personal "me" time, especially before going to bed at night and before starting your day. That hot shower and skin-care routine before going to bed or calmly enjoying your morning tea before starting your day helps bring groundedness to the key moments of your day. It will prevent starting your day in an anxious manner or wrapping up your day with stressors still on your mind.
In the end, remember that self-care is all about practice. It's a lifestyle, and there isn't a right or wrong way of doing it. It all comes down to taking a few minutes away from the world and focusing instead on yourself - taking care of your mind and body. Because you matter.

How to CONTROL ANGER in Relationship (and Feel Closer) 💝

As people, we experience many emotions in life - Happiness, Sadness, irritation, love, and even anger. Each emotion has a purpose in your life - some bring you joy while others help us grow. But one emotion that people struggle the most with is anger - because we think of anger as an evil, negative emotion. We either try to keep it under complete control, or we totally succumb to it. But anger isn't evil - It's the decisions that you make when you are angry.
You can experience an emotion but not act on it. Anger is your mind's way of telling you that you feel threatened that you're feeling unsafe. Anger and fear reside in the same part of your brain. And this part of your brain, called the amygdala, is an extremely powerful part of your emotional brain. This emotional energy, the expressive power of your mind, is something that. You can master and actually use it to improve your life and relationship. On the other hand, if you succumb to it, then that's when you lose control in anger and frustration.
Anger only tells you that something in that moment doesn't feel right. Something important to you feels at risk. For example, if you get angry when someone questions your drinking habits, then perhaps you fear the pressure to change your drinking habits.
Similarly, during an argument with your partner, your anger could actually be a sign of you being afraid that your ideas are not valued - that your emotions are not being supported. It could also remind you of unpleasant arguments you might have had in the past, leaving you desperately wanting to control the situation.
But often, people respond to this fear by hiding it with anger. The problem is that your anger isn't your shield. Rather it's a sword that can rip through the very fabric of your relationship.

Anger spoils relationships where there should be a great reciprocity.

You have a choice - that you either take control of this anger, or it takes control of you. And once the anger starts to control your thoughts and actions when you feel upset, that's when you start yelling and doing things that you later regret. Things that hurt your relationship and often take you on the path you wanted to avoid in the first place.
When anger takes over your ability to think clearly - to make thoughtful decisions - you lose your ability to show your love and care, even if it is in your heart. It's one of the most dangerous moments for your relationship. This is why it's not the time to make any decisions. It's not the time to say whatever comes to your mind, but rather it's a time to take a step back and separate yourself from the anger you are feeling in that moment.
Anger is one of the things that I had to struggle with for many years. One of the things that worked really well for me was to start labeling my anger. I started calling it a parasite - because it was sucking the blood out of my relationships.
By giving my anger a name, I could catch my anger in the moment and see it as something separate from me. My anger wasn't me - it anger didn't define me. I was able to see how this parasite used to just take over my mind and body. And once I was able to see what this parasite was doing to my life and relationships, it became something I wanted to fight back for the sake of my loved ones.
The real threat to your relationship isn't the disagreement with your partner, but rather this parasite that makes you say hurtful things or take sabotaging actions that can't be taken back, even when the anger has passed.
So instead of giving in to your anger, you can use it to recognize what feels uncomfortable to you - what are you really afraid of. It's your chance to pay attention to what is important to you- what is it that you are trying to protect.
But that's all the purpose that anger has to serve in your life. Once you recognize the underlying fear, it's time to take a step back and let your anger pass. Use your words to express how you feel - With warmth and compassion, which are your real shield. Share your vulnerability with your partner to make your bond even stronger.
Tell them what you fear and why it's important to you. Listen to what your partner is afraid of and what matters to them. And once you do that - Once you both put out your honest thoughts and emotions in front of each other, it's time to show how much you appreciate one another. It's time to meet your partner halfway.
COMMUNICATE and COMPROMISE - And that will protect your emotions and your relationships much better than anger ever could.

Powerful Way to Deal with Grief and Loss Alone

Grief often comes into life unannounced and turns our entire world upside down. It's such a personal experience based on your unique relationship with the person. And because of that, it often feels as if you're going through it alone, even when you know that you are not. It's hard to know how to manage your feelings with all these changes, and that's why in this video because I want to share a simple trick to ease the pain of losing someone special. It's something that I have seen work for hundreds of people, and it helped me with my own grief process after my dad passed away.
The simple trick that I'm about to share might seem cheesy at first. Yet, as you go through it, you will find the heaviness of your grief getting lighter and lighter.
And this strategy is to write a letter to the person you're grieving — a letter containing all the thoughts and emotions you are experiencing. And in order to capture all of your grief in this one letter, we break it down into three sections.
As you start writing this letter, keep in mind that it's going to be a very emotional process, and that's okay. You also don't have to write it all at one time. In fact, it's most powerful when you do it in chunks, and maybe even revisit the parts you wrote as new thoughts and memories come to mind.
In the first section, pour out all the memories that are flooding your heart and mind. Write down everything that comes to your mind when you think about the person you are grieving. This means all the fun and loving memories and even the memories you weren't so fond of. Letting your memories flow in this way will help you preserve that genuine relationship you had with them, rather than some idealized version of it. Life isn't always fun, but whatever moments you two shared, you experienced them together, and that's what bonded you both.

I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.

By sharing these memories in this letter, you allow yourself to experience them without getting stuck with them. It's sort of like having a conversation where you share your memories with the person one last time, which will hopefully provide you with some sense of closure.
Moving on to the second section of the letter, where you share all the things that you did not get to say to them. You can tell them how much you loved and admired them, how you will miss them, or even how angry you are at them for leaving you.
This is where it becomes important to remember that just because the person is gone from their physical form in this world, their relationship with you isn't over. Yet, the relationship has changed as it now lives within you.
This will help you be more authentic with the thoughts and emotions you pour into this second section. You no longer need to worry whether the things you write in the letter are positive or whether they show your pain and anger from all this grieving. Simply write down your thoughts and emotions honestly in that letter - Whatever they might be.
The third and the last section of the letter is where you talk about how their passing away has impacted your life. Share how your life is different now - from the emotional comfort you lost from their demise to the changes in your life and routine. All the things that you do differently now.
This section will help you grieve not just the person who is gone, but also the impact of their passing on your life. It will also help you feel and believe that you will continue to carry your bond with them in your heart, even as you adjust to this new phase of life.
There will eventually be times when you won't think about them as much. And then, there will be times when you think back to these memories, but with a little less pain and a little more joy for having shared such precious moments. It's just how life works.
Now, once you have written the letter, you have two options:
The first is to let go of the letter in a symbolic ceremony. Maybe tie it with a balloon and let it fly away, or maybe flow it in a river or the ocean that you used to frequent. This will help you find closure to the whole process.
But one last step you need to take before you let go of it is to take a moment to think about how the person responded to your letter. What would they have said, and how would they want you to live your life moving forward. Once you do that, then let the letter go and along with it, whatever else you've been holding on to.
The second option is to hold on to the letter. Something that you can revisit periodically to reflect on how far along you have come in your acceptance process and cherish the memories you wrote down.
Because in the end, remember that there is no real end-point to grief. Acceptance is not a one-and-done thing. So don't be hard on yourself if you get caught up in the past sometimes. But also remind yourself to not stay there either. Acceptance will not just come to you - You will have to walk up to you. You never forget the person, but you learn to cry, laugh, and live even though you miss them - and that's what acceptance looks like.
And I sincerely hope this article helped you get at least a little closer to that acceptance. If you haven't read the article on things that no one tells you about grief, then check out that article (or the video) next.

Stages of Grief and Loss After SUDDEN DEATH - What NO ONE Tells You!

Losing someone close to your heart is painful. For those of you who don't know, my father recently passed away from sudden death. Despite being an experienced clinical psychologist, nothing in my years of training prepared me for dealing with grief and loss after my father's sudden death. That's why I decided to talk about the stages of grief from the perspective of losing someone suddenly.
You might have heard of the 5 stages of grief - Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. And often, when you lose someone suddenly, there is an additional initial stage of shock.
When you lose someone, you go through these stages of grief, but the process of going through these stages is not as simple as people often think. And that's true for most grief and loss situations, but even more so when you are grieving a sudden death.
Another thing to keep in mind is that we don't go through these stages in any set order. At times you might jump ahead to acceptance and then might find yourself dealing with anger again. Instead of swimming in one direction, grief is more like floating with the current of the water. It's a very personal process, and you will go through it in your own way because that's what you need to do to find your own peace with reality.
So let's get into the nuances of these stages of grief, and then I'll share some things about the grief process that sadly no one ever talks about.
Often the first stage of grief when you lose someone suddenly is the shock stage, where it's hard to even wrap your head around what just happened. It seems unreal, like a bad dream that you desperately want to wake up from. But as time goes, you realize that this dream is now a reality, and that's when most of us enter the stage of denial.
The denial stage is where you know the reality, but you are not ready to deal with it. You want to run away from it. Often people try to distract themselves from the painful reality that you lost someone dear by focusing on their work or simply trying to "not think about it."

I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.

It's also typical for all the shock and sadness of the loss to bring up anger. This could be anger or guilt towards yourself, anger towards the person who passed away for leaving you or causing you such pain.
It's in this stage that many people try to comfort you by saying things such as "stay strong" or "it will be okay." And while these things are well-intentioned, they rarely bring comfort to a grieving heart. In fact, for some people, the anger may even be directed towards others around them for not being able to soothe their pain.
There is a lot more to grief than what people from the outside can ever understand. And because of this, going through this process can feel even more lonely - because it's hard for others to understand your unique experience with grief.
I'll talk more about this in a moment, but let's finish go through the remaining 3 stages of grief first.
The next stage is bargaining, where you try to make deals in your head. You revisit different scenarios and think about all the things you could have done differently to avoid this outcome. In sudden death situations, the bargaining stage can be even more difficult as people often get stuck in all the ifs and buts scenarios.
But, somewhere in this bargaining phase are hidden strong feelings of guilt as well. It could be guilt for what you did or didn't do, or it could even be guilt for simply knowing that you are still alive and going through your life - sort of like a survivor's guilt.
We find a way to blame ourselves for things beyond our control, even if deep down you know that we were not responsible for what happened. But, it's also important to remember that there's nothing to gain from holding on to these thoughts.
Death is as real as life itself, and when all these other stages fail to bring relief, you are forced to face reality and all the sadness associated with it. This stage is called depression and often paves the path to the ultimate stage of acceptance.
Acceptance: This stage doesn't mean that you no longer miss the person, but instead, you find acceptance that you will always miss them, but life will also keep going.
Going through these stages of grief is a very personal process that looks different for each person. But there is still a lot more to grief than meets the eye - There's a lot more that goes into grief than just going through these stages.
So here are three things that I want you to know about going through the grief process.
The first thing is that, of course, you miss the person who is suddenly gone from your life, but you're also grieving what the person brought to your life.
You miss the comfort the person brought to your life or the memories that you cherished that you can't enjoy now. You may even grieve all the plans and hopes you made - that are left unfinished - and won't find closure now. Whatever it might be, recognize that as a second layer of your grief - That you're grieving the person, but you're also grieving the impact of them leaving on your own life.
This realization helps break free from the tendency to stay in the past and go through all the ifs and buts, or just staying with the memories. It enables you to ground yourself in the reality of the current moment, even if it's unpleasant.
The second thing that I want you to know is that you will have to force yourself to break free from the loop of sadness and constant grieving. Remember that grieving isn't just about sorrow and crying. Even while grieving, you still experience all sorts of emotions. You will smile and chuckle when remembering a funny memory. You will cry with some other memories. While you have let grieve, it's also important to not give in to the momentum of negative emotions and just stay there. You cannot withdraw from everything else in your life.
So allow yourself to grieve. Being sad is okay, and so is crying - but you'll have to watch out for the extremes. And one thing that can help you find the balance is identifying specific thoughts associated with your grief - Identify which memories you are remembering. Paying attention to them will help you ease your pain. And on top of that, every time you talk about them with someone, you take a tiny step towards the eventual acceptance stage.
The last thing that I want to remind you about the grief process is to continue leaning in on people around you while you go through the process. While they won't be able to make your pain go away, they can provide you the emotional support to go through it. And with time and support from your loved ones, you will eventually find peace and acceptance in this new phase of your life.
Because one of the toughest realizations in grief is that time and life keeps going, and our only option is to accept and adapt. Which is exactly what my next article is about, where I share a powerful strategy that can help your grief process, so read that article (or watch the video) next.

Should You Listen to Your HEART or MIND?

The age-old question of whether you should listen to your head or to your heart?
And the reason it's such a difficult question is that the question itself is deceptive. What it really does is show this artificial dichotomy that we have created, where we have pitched parts of ourselves against one another.
It's really an awful dichotomy that's talked about in society with such a shocking frequency. Tell me if you have heard people say, oh, you shouldn't listen to your heart - it will cause you problems. Or that you overthink and rationalize things too much, you should attend a little more to your heart.
So let's talk about why this way of thinking is so problematic?
First things first, the heart doesn't think - it's just a circulatory organ. Its whole function is to make sure that every part of your body gets a sufficient blood supply.
But the essence of this question is whether you should listen to your emotions or use more of your rational thinking to make decisions in life.
Now both - your thoughts and emotions come from the most important part of your body - your brain. The studies of the brain show that, broadly speaking, the right side of your brain is heavier on emotions, and the left side of the brain is responsible for rational thinking.
So with the question of should you listen to your thoughts or emotions more, what you're really asking is which side of your brain is more important - the left side or the right side?
To answer that question, let me ask you this first - If you take a brain and you split it in half - the right and the left, which one will have a better chance of survival?

Your worst battle is between what you know and what you feel.

Neither of them is going to be able to survive without the other. And just like you need both sides of your brain to function together, you need both rational and emotional perspectives to live happily.
The real key - the secret lies in the balance - the balance of the head and heart. The balance of the rationale and emotional parts of your mind, that's the key.
The separation of head and heart really comes down to the dictation by society on how you should live your life. We learn this habit of comparing anything we desire to all the messages that others have told us our whole life. You should do this, or you must take that path instead.
And if you are struggling against these shoulds and musts, then ask yourself one question - why? Why should you not listen to your heart? Is there a part of you that believes that the things that you want could end up hurting you? Is it worth the risk?
But a question that's perhaps even more important is where are your shoulds and musts coming from? Is it something from your own experiences? Or are they dictated by others? Be intentionally aware of what's causing the conflict between what you want and what you believe you should do.
And once you become aware of that, you'll see that it's not really a head vs. heart question, but rather it's a risk vs. potential question.
What is the risk of following your heart, and is what you want worth that risk? And that's what the balance of your rational and emotional mind looks like. Where you pay attention to what your heart desires, and weigh the cost of pursuing that path, against all the fears of your rational mind.
You have to have both of them to live a holistic life. A purely rational decision will lack passion and motivation, and a purely emotional decision will lack roundedness and thoughtfulness.
Every decision in life is a risk analysis. With every decision that you make, you always have something to gain and risk getting that gain. So, the real question that you have to ask is if what you want is worth the risk you have to take?

4 Reasons Why You Feel Insecure In A Relationship

Everyone has something about themselves that they feel insecure about, but there are four life experiences that can make these insecurities so much worse that these insecurities start to impact your relationship and your emotional bond with your partner.
The very first reason why you may have insecurities is because of your experiences in past relationships. These could be that you opened-up to someone that was difficult for you and they walked away from you leaving you feel exposed and abandoned.
Or worse, if your experienced any form of emotional hurt in your past relationship, such as cheating or your ex taking advantage of your vulnerability and trust - that can often bring-up all sorts of insecurities within you, and may even make it more difficult for you to open-up in your current relationship.
Because you often take your experience from your past relationships and you look at your current relationships through that lens. And because you’re holding on to that hurt from your previous relationship, you continue to experience insecurities in your subsequent relationships, and then you hide them from your partner because you feel embarrassed about them.
But remember, while your walls may feel safe to you in the moment, they also create a barrier between you and your partner.
After all, a ship is safe in a harbor, but that’s not what a ship is meant for. You deserve to be freely and truly yourself - with all that’s good and even the parts that you are not fond of. They all together make you who you are, and you deserve to be seen by the world, and be accepted and loved for exactly who you are.
The second reason people experience insecurities in their relationship is because of their partner’s behavior. Two common examples we see of this are among people who have narcissistic tendencies, and among people who have anger issues.

Relationships fail when people take their own insecurities and project them as their partner's flaws.

But often people shy away from even acknowledging that their partner’s behavior could be bringing-up insecurities within them, because they would rather it be something about themselves, because these they feel more in control. Something they can “fix” on their own.
But the truth is that when you’re in a relationship, one person’s actions inevitably impacts the other person as well.
Narcissistic tendencies can consume so much of people’s focus and emotional energy, that it makes it difficult for them to be there for their partner - to pick-up on the needs of their partner, or to communicate effectively in relationships. Those subtle gestures that can nurture a relationship on day-to-day basis  become almost impossible to pick-up on.
Similarly, your partner’s anger issues can cause you to feel like you’re always walking on egg-shells, not knowing when you might say or do something wrong that could make your partner angry.
If your partner is doing that’s triggering your insecurities, then that requires communication, which can be difficult. And if that’s you, then check out my video playlist on effective communication in relationships.
The third reason for you feeling insecure in your relationship can be your pride. Now when it comes to pride, there can be a pride points that you feel so confident in that you don’t feel threatened about them at all. But then there are some of what I call the sensitive pride points.
This can be something that you thought you were not good at, and you worked so hard to overcome those parts, that they become a soft point and a point of pride all at once. Or something that you think is so vital to your identity, for who you are that it’s at the very core of who you are as a person.
And once these message gets internalized, they become a part of your ego - your pride points. They become a part of how you want others to see you.
When others compliment and reassure these parts of you in the manner that boosts your pride, it feels great. But anything that can feel like a challenge to these beliefs you hold about yourself, can feel like a very personal attack on your ego, and immediately brings your guards up.
And the fourth reason is childhood experiences - Whether that’s the relationship that you had with your parents and siblings, or the relationship that your mother and father had with one another. And the things to remember is that the childhood is a very critical time for your development - for your brain and your personality to develop. And if any of these childhood relationships were unhealthy, then it is likely that you carry the burden of those childhood experiences with you in the form of certain insecurities.
And there is a lot much shame and guilt associated with these childhood insecurities, even though you know that none of it was your fault.
I want to emphasize here that especially with these childhood insecurities, it is important for you to talk about them, and share them with your partner, because they are a part of your story. They played a role in you becoming the person you are today. And if you want your partner to really understand you deeply, then you need to let them read these important chapters of your story that led to the person they love today.
And it’s also possible that there could be more than one of these factors feeding into your insecurities. For example, if your were cheated on in a previous relationship, then it’s possible that you might carry that insecurity from that relationship into your current one, but if your current partner is going out with their friends every evening, or are coming home late or intoxicated, then of course that will make those insecurities worse. It then becomes equally important for you to address both of those factors to break-free from the burden of these insecurities.
Now insecurities are a part of life, everyone experiences them, but they don’t have to hurt your relationship. And The very first step in your process of healing - to stop letting these insecurities drive your relationship and life, is to recognize your insecurities. Most people are so afraid of their insecurities that whenever they run into a situation or a conversation that brings-up these insecurities, they immediately shut down emotionally.
But if you keep running from your insecurities, then you can’t face that. You have to choose - either fight or flight. Running away from these insecurities is the flight, whereas recognizing and talking about these insecurities is coming face-to-face with what you don’t like about yourself, or what you fear that others won’t like about you. But that’s where the healing starts.
And that’s where you start taking command of your relationship away from these insecurities, and rather start using these tough secrets about yourself and your life to develop an even closer and emotionally intimate relationship with your partner.
And if you want to learn about more ways on how to deal with insecurities in your relationship, then be sure to check out my next article (or watch video) on this very topic.

Tree analogy for relationships - leaves, branches, roots, flowers

There are three kinds of people in your life. If your life is like a tree, there are some people who are roots, some people are branches, and some are leaves. And then there are some relationships that are like fruits of the tree.


Some people are like leaves. They are fun and colorful at the beginning, but they are there only for a season. You can enjoy them for a while, but you can’t depend on them because when the season of life changes, they too fall. When the cold wind blows, the leaves blow away with them.
People who are like leaves in your life, are like good time friends - You can appreciate the moments you spend with them, create fun memories to think back to, and even provide you shade from the harsh weather for a season.
But remember that the seasons in lives change, and with each seasons, the leaves change too. And while you can have gratitude for the moments you enjoy with people who are like leaves in your life, you can also detach from any pain that they bring because they were never meant to be there forever.


The second kind of relationships in life are like branches. The branches are people that you have to be careful with - because they will make you think that they are your good friends, that you can trust them. They appear strong, and they even stick around for some seasons in your life.
People who are like branches in your life will be there for you through some situations in life, but when you face a storm in life, or when you put too much weight on it, the break easily.
These are the people who say that I’m always there for you, that you can depend on me, but when you reach out to them, you realize that all these promises were hollow. Branches can give you a false sense of security, but they break away easily when it gets tough.
But these aren’t always ill-intentioned people. Sometimes people promise too much but aren’t able to follow-through on because of their own limitations - because they aren’t honest with themselves and with other people.

You cannot change the people around you… but you can change the people you choose to be around.


And then there are people who are like roots in your life - These are the relationships that are permanent. Friendships and relationships that stick with you through all the seasons of life.
These relationships and people are hard to find because they are not trying to be seen. They stay low-key, but they are always there for you. When you need support, they feed you and water you. They nourish you - physically and emotionally, and when you are growing - they grow with you.
These are friendships that go through everything with you - through every up and down in life, they stay by your side. They don’t waver, because their job is to hold you up, and when you come out of a tough season of life, these friendships have often grown even stronger, as friends worth keeping for life.


This analogy was first shared by Tyler Perry, who talked about these three types of relationships, but I like to add a fourth type of relationship to this analogy, which is the flowers.
Just like leaves, flowers too are in your life for a short period of time - often even less than a season. But they draw your attention unlike anything else. They are bright and beautiful - they attract you with their sweet smell, but the moment you pick these flowers - they start to die off. They are like islands of happiness, often surrounded by sea of thorns.
People often idealize these relationships because they’re drawn to them, and can start comparing the bright colors of the flower to that of leaves, branches, and roots, which might appear boring on the surface. But remember that much like flowers on a tree, these relationships in your life for a brief moment in life. They bring joy in your life only for a day, but are gone the very next day.
Different people play different roles in different relationship. A tree in it’s lifetime can have a thousands of leaves, hundred of branches, but only a few roots. So are the relationships in our lives. We all have moments in our lives, where people have been leaves, branches and roots to us - and there might have been moments where you were you might have been a root for your best friend, and at the same time, a leaf for someone else.
Looking at your relationships through this analogy, gives you chance to be honest with yourself, and people around you. Knowing who is a leaf or a flower, and who is a root in your life, will help you regulate your expectations from that relationships. And knowing to whom you can be only be a branch and for whom you can be a root will help you be more honest and genuine in the bonds that you create - and the hold the trust that people put in you.
A tree needs all 4 of these things. It needs roots for its survival, branches for its growth, leaves to enjoy the sunshine, and flowers for beauty and fragrance. We need all of these relationships in our life too, Yet, when it comes to fulfillment, we need to surround ourselves with people who to your overall growth - Emotional, mental and physical growth and wellbeing. A tree can replace its leaves and branches every season, as long as it is strong with it’s roots. When you get some roots, hold onto them. As for the rest of your relationships, enjoy them in this season of life, but also be okay to let it go.
So today I’m encouraging you to reflect on people in your own life - Who is a leaf, a branch, a root, or a flower in your life, and to whom are you a leaf, a flower, a branch, or a root.

SLEEP and Mental Health - The SECRET To A Better Life and Love

Have you ever stayed-up late watching Netflix, but the next day you just feel grumpy and irritated? Or Maybe you stayed-up late at night preparing for that interview, but when you get to the interview, it is difficult for you to concentrate and think on your feet?
If you can relate to any of these statements, then you know how important sleep can be for your day to day life. But what if I tell you that there’s more to it - and your sleep not only helps you get through your day, but in fact, good sleep habits holds secrets to a more fulfilling and enriched life - from improved relationships to greater motivation and improved productivity.
Yet 1 in 3 people are not getting enough sleep, or more accurately, not getting enough quality sleep that can help them channel their emotions and productivity, and maximize their health potential.
Sleep is the most powerful tool in your backpack. That the nature provides us - it’s the secret to health, productivity, and yet is so often misunderstood.
We often think of sleep as either time wasted because we are not doing something productive, or we think of sleep as just means for relaxation, and equate more sleep with more relaxation, and neither of those are true. Both of these fall short - because sleep might not be the most productive time in itself, but it is what channels the productivity when you’re awake. It is what channels your motivation, and gives you enough cognitive and physical energy to go through your day, and be productive when you’re working towards your goals.

Understanding the basics of sleep

A lot of people equate more sleep with good sleep, which is not true. Sleep is more complicated than the simplistic thinking of more is better, especially when it comes to improving productivity and channeling the emotional benefits of sleep.
There is an optimum level of sleep that’s required for ideal health and productivity. Beyond that, it might feel good in the moment when you sleep-in, but in actuality, it has an adverse impact on your health as it messes up your body’s internal rhythm called the circadian rhythm.

Sleep is the golden chain that binds health and our bodies together.

When we think of sleep, we often think that sleep is sleep - It’s all the same - just a black, unconscious, passing out. But in reality, our sleep is made-up of 90-minute sleep cycles, and in a good night’s sleep, we go through about 5 to 6 of these sleep cycles.
And within each sleep cycles, there are 4 stages of sleep, each having its unique purpose and function that it serves in your mind and body. The first 2 stages are called Non-REM sleep that takes care of a lot of physical recovery of your body from the day, including strengthening your immune system, but it’s also important to recover from the stress of the day and to cement all that you learned during the day. Stages 3 and 4 are what known as the deep stages of sleep. This is where you dream and the subconscious mind processes a lot of emotional stuff that you avoid thinking about during the day. The deep stages of sleep is where your brain regenerates your brain energy or the sleep power that helps you function the next day.
When you try to make-up for sleep from the lack of sleep the night before, this REM sleep is where most of that recovery sleep goes - to regenerate the brain power that you have been running low on. And while that may sound great on the surface, it also means that your body isn’t able to make-up for the other 3 stages of sleep as much.
And this is also why it’s not just about getting that 8 hours of sleep, but rather the quality of your sleep matters a lot. In fact, studies have shown that when the quality of sleep is good, you need less sleep cycles, compared to poor quality of sleep, where you end-up wanting to sleep more.
So now that we know how sleep actually functions, let’s talk about what happens to your emotions and mental health, when you don’t get enough sleep.
Why is sleep important for your mental health?
In order to understand how sleep impacts your mental health, there is a very important thing you would need to understand first, and that is Sleep Debt.
Sleep debt is a clever term that represents when your body is deprived of sleep. So if you think of your body as a bank account of energy, from where you withdraw energy to use all sorts of mental and physical things when you’re awake, and then replenish this energy bank account with sleep, sleep debt represents when you are using more energy, when you’re using more bodily resources than you are replenishing.
But the biggest problem is that your body’s energy bank sort of resets everyday. You can’t accumulate sleep debt over the week, and then try to sleep-in over the weekend to make-up for it. Sure if you’re extremely sleep deprived, then some recovery sleep will feel good - but by that point, your body is trying to repair the damage to your physical and mental health that has already been caused by the lack of sleep.
And here is the trickiest part of all - Your body tries to keep you going so strongly that often times, you won’t even know when you have this sleep debt. Studies show that when people who didn’t sleep well for even one night were asked how they are feeling the next day, they reported to be feeling just fine - but when their productivity and mood was tracked objectively through the day, it showed that even a single night of irregular sleep impacts your mental health negatively.
So the most important take-away is that you have to balance your energy and sleep debt every day in order to maintain an optimal functioning of your physical and mental health, and the best way to do that is by establishing a regular sleep routine.
Because there is only so much sleep debt that you can tolerate, before it starts to impact your life. And when it comes to sleep debt impacting your mental health, there are three main areas where sleep debt can really cause a havoc on your intentional living practices, and those are: Productivity, Motivation, and Relationships.
So let’s get into how sleep impacts each of these areas of your mental and emotional health.
When it comes to productivity, your sleep impacts your brain’s functioning in two main areas: First is memory - Sleep is critical to give your mind that brain juice - the power for you to learn new information. It helps your brain absorb the new information, then cement the new information in your brain through a process called consolidation, and finally when you have to retrieve the information stored in your brain.
That’s why when students take pride in pulling an all-nighter or staying-up late to study, it doesn’t really help their performance because in order to cement what they learned, and to be able to remember that information during the exam, they really need to have a good quality sleep the night before.
And the second area where sleep power has a huge impact on your productivity is critical thinking, which means being able to think creatively, think outside the box, or apply the information you already know in the real world.
For this critical thinking, you use the front part of your brain - which the most evolved part of your brain. Sort of like a CEO for your body - It controls the thinking and all the high level decision making in your brain. But in order for your brain to take the information you already learned and apply it in these new and creative ways, that’s a very energy-consuming process, and you need a lot of brain power reserves to be able to do that - the energy that’s replenished through sleep.
The second way in which your sleep power shapes your life is through motivation. Remember the REM sleep that I mentioned earlier? What studies have showed us is that during this REM sleep, your brain takes the difficult parts of your day, and it re-processes those emotions when you’re sleep. Your sleep in these moments act almost like an overnight healing therapy.
If you have ever gone to bed after a stressful day, but then woke-up refreshed and motivated to take on the world again, then that right there is a good example of what how powerful your sleep can be in taking the stressful or even traumatic moments from your day, process those emotions and help you find your groundedness again.
Another example of this sort of a motivational reset that you experience during is sleep is if you have ever had an argument with your partner and went to bed angry, only to wake-up in a different mood and found it easier to let go of certain things and patch-up with your partner for the argument from the night before.
That too is a good example of how your brain can process the negative emotions in those deep stages of sleep, to help you recover and give you a new perspective and outlook on things.
And the third area of your life where sleep power has the most significant impact is your relationships. Now in order to understand the link between your sleep and your relationships, you need to understand the impact of the sleep on your emotions regulation.
The reason sleep has such a huge impact on your emotions is because the lack of sleep impacts a particular part of your brain that’s responsible for the negative emotions, especially - irritation, sadness and anger.
When you’re running low on sleep, then your brain isn’t able to keep as much control on your this part of the brain, leaving it to be more active and uninhibited. It is more active, which means you’re more likely to feel irritated or get angry more easily.
You are more like to snap at your partner, friends or family members because you feel more irritated, and the part of your brain that would tell you not to snap at people is not functioning as well as it usually does.
But the trickiest part is that if you have chronic sleep difficulties, then this irritated state of mind starts to become a new normal. If you’re more irritated or on edge for a day or two, it’s easier for you to recognize that, but if it starts to happens more often, then these disrupted emotions become difficult to recognize.
And not only sleep helps you regulate your own emotions, it also improves your abilities to read other people’s emotions, including your partner. When you get good quality sleep that replenishes your brain power, it improves how well you can understand your partner’s emotions and perspectives, especially the non-verbal cues - the unspoken parts of a conversation.
Together these two abilities can help you regulate your emotions, communicate them better, and understand and accommodate others’ emotions and needs better without feeling burdened or overwhelmed.


And these are just a few ways in which your sleep sort of re-calibrates your brain and impacts everything in your life, from your productivity and motivation to your relationships.
It’s a super power that you have been sitting on for all of your life, and now it’s time to channel this emotional energy and this super power to your advantage. By focusing on establishing a healthy sleep routine that can help you get not only a good amount of sleep, but also that good quality of sleep, that’s refreshing and healing.

How to deal with loneliness after a breakup?

Why you feel lonely after a break-up?

Your love and your trust is the biggest gift you can give to someone, but when that trust is broken and when someone shows you that they no longer deserve your gift of love - they no longer know how to value and appreciate what you bring to their life, what you have to offer to them - that can be one of the most painful feelings in the world
But the worst part is that the person had become such an integral part of your life and routine, that the break-up leaves this huge void. You have established habits of sending them a text when you wake-up in the morning, or calling them after work to see how your day was, you get used to spending evenings and weekends together.
And all those routines and habits are now broken, and each time you can’t do something that’s part of your routine, that you’re used to, it reminds you of the break-up.
And it seems like a never ending pain!
One of the things about the pain of a break-up is that it’s like a wild bear, that can smell your fear of the pain. This bear can smell your exhaustion and numbness from all the emotions that you have been experiencing since the break-up, and just like a wild bear, the more you run from it, more it chases you. And the only way to stop this cycle is to stop running away from the pain, and to start the acceptance process.
You will grieve the loss of your relationship for a while, but in the end, remember that it’s for someone who couldn’t understand your value, who couldn’t accept your love, and even if it seems difficult in this moment, you will move past this, and someday will be grateful to not have settled for less than what you are worth for.
See the thing is that in the process of trying to get over the break-up, people become so fixated on the person who caused all these emotions, they become so FIXATED on what’s not there, that they end-up elongating the pain.

Never lose yourself while holding on to someone who doesn’t care about losing you.

In a way, by constantly thinking about your ex or about the relationship that’s over. By revisiting every scenario to try and understand what was real and what was not, or what could you have done differently or said differently that could have prevented this outcome, that could you have prevented this pain.
By staying in that state of mind, you’re not only trying to undo what has already happened, but you’re also elongating that relationship in your head. You’re staying just a bit longer with your partner, even if that’s through those hurtful reflections and memories.
But while trying to hold on to those memories and those emotions a bit longer, you are also keep coming back to the painful reality that it’s all over, and the more you longer you stay in that loop, more hurt you feel, and more lonely you feel - because you no longer have that person next to you.
How to do deal with the loneliness?
And that realization right there is the first step in dealing with the feeling of loneliness after a breakup. You see there are two reasons why people feel so lonely after a break-up:
One is of course the void that I mentioned earlier, the void that’s left when your partner walked out of your life. But the other reason is this feeling of being alone in what you are experiencing and what you are going through.
Break-up is a grief process, and no one can expedite your process of grief. But while you’re working through this grief, if you feel like no one around you understands the extent of pain that you’re going through, or how much this loss, this grief process hurts right now, then that makes the pain sensors in your brain even more sensitive.
Remember our brains don’t like isolation, we are pack animals - we need love, empathy and support. The problem becomes is that people often mix these two reasons of loneliness in that moment. The loss of your relationship, missing your ex is often so much in the forefront of your mind and emotions that it becomes the lens through which you look at everything else - at all other relationships and friendships.
And then it becomes this quest to replace your ex- to replace all the emotions and feelings you experienced in that relationship, in some sort of an effort to prove to yourself and others that the break-up didn’t impact you, that you’re moving on with your life just fine.
That would be okay too, but the truth is that no other person, no other friendship or relationship can fill that void in that moment - mostly just because you’re so fixated on that one person. And anything that doesn’t feel like it could fill that void, anyone who doesn’t feel like they could replace your ex, just doesn’t feel like worth your time and your emotions in that moment.
But all that this does is keep you from genuinely sharing your rawness and your pain with your friends and your loved ones who care about you, and want to be there for you in that moment. The truth is that none of these people are going to be a replacement for your ex, and none of these relationships will be a replacement for the relationship you are grieving.
That’s a VERY IMPORTANT PERSPECTIVE to keep in mind. That these people around you - your friends and loved ones - aren’t there to replace anything, but rather each of those friendships and those relationships have their own unique value in your life - something unique that they bring to your life and your emotional world.
And even tho it may not be exactly the void you’re trying to fill in that moment, or what’s been on the forefront of your mind lately, these are the people who will provide you the support to go through this grief process, and these are the relationships that will give you the strength and comfort to come out of this situation, but of course in due time.
So let people around you in, let them support you through this phase of life because not talking about your pain won’t make it go away. Not discussing it, won’t stop the thoughts from coming to your mind, but sharing them with others, will help you feel supported and find some sense of closure. Not because anyone else will be able to fill the shoes of the person who chose to leave, but because they will help you get back on your feet and realize that you deserve better - you deserve to be accepted, supported and loved for exactly who you are, and you deserve someone who understand the value of the gift of your love and trust.

Can relationship survive without intimacy - How to Fix it?

Why does the lack of intimacy in a relationship matter?

Couples often joke about a dry spell in a relationship, or not having enough intimacy in their relationship. But behind this joke people are often hiding their pain and frustration, because a lack of intimacy is neither trivial nor comedic for the people involved in such a relationship. In fact, one study showed that among married couples who filed for a divorce, a whooping 70% cited the lack of intimacy as one of the top factors that affected their relationship.
The lack of intimacy in a relationship may not seem like a big deal at first, and some people might even consider that to be normal after being together for a while, but in actuality the lack of intimacy can be problematic for any relationship, sort of red flags if you will, for two main reasons:
First is the very basic, physiological need that all humans and even animals have, which is the desire for sexual satisfaction. Getting denied of these basic needs, especially by your partner with whom you’re in a romantic relationship, can lead to frustration quickly.
And second, intimacy is rarely just about sex. Intimacy communicates affection, that you find your partner desirable - it reflects an emotional closeness. Because at the core of intimacy, there are two people who accept each in other in profound ways - and that right there is more than just the physical intimacy, but rather an emotional vulnerability that two people choose with one another. It fulfills that innate desire in you to feel accepted in the entirety for who you are, to feel wanted and loved.
And the opposite….. well, that can feel equally true. When a relationship starts to loose intimacy, it is natural for you or your partner to start feeling undesirable or unwanted, or that one of you is emotionally withdrawing from the other person. Add the sexual frustration on top of that, and it can start to feel like the relationship is falling apart.
But the biggest problem of all is that this feeling of not being desired by your partner and the stress about the relationship, can trigger all sorts of insecurities in you, which can make it even more difficult to confidently talk about your needs and the impact of this lack of intimacy on you.
Rather, attempts to approach this issue with your partner, often come out as half-hearted attempts to initiate intimacy as a way of seeking reassurance, that if not reciprocated, can feel even more hurtful. Or this stress and these insecurities can also come out in the form of frequent fights that provide a temporary release to that anger and frustration within you. But in the bigger schema of things, these fights only make things worse - for intimacy AND for the state of the relationship.

Intimacy is not purely physical.

What’s the barrier?

So you see, a lack of intimacy is rarely an isolated issue. It almost always seeps out into other aspects of your relationship because it presents an existential threat to your need of being accepted and loved - physically and emotionally.
And yet, most couples don’t like to talk about it, not even with their partner. They try to avoid the awkwardness of having that conversation with their partner, by trying to find a reason on their own, and the biggest reason for that is shame.
Over time, this shame becomes the primary emotion driving your mind, And when the topic does eventually come-up, this shame that has been sitting in your mind for so long makes it difficult to open-up and share how you really feel, and is instead masked with defensiveness, like shouting and yelling, or dismissing the topic altogether.
And all of this because people often take the lack of intimacy in a relationship personally - as if the person who chose to be with you in a relationship, suddenly changed their mind and is no longer attracted to you. What people often miss is that the lack of intimacy in a relationship is often not a real problem, but rather a symptom of something deeper, something emotional.

How to resolve the lack of intimacy?

So can a relationship survive without intimacy? The answer is no, a relationship can not survive without sex. At least not unless that’s something that both you and your partner talk about and agree upon. But the bigger, real question is why is there a lack of intimacy in the relationship in the first place?
For most people, the reason isn’t because they don’t want sex, but rather because the conditions for feeling the desire to have sex, to feel the emotionally pull are not being met or communicated. Usually, the person who doesn’t seem to want sex are withholding some thoughts or emotions.
They might be feeling not in the mood because of some stressors outside of bedroom, where they don’t feel heard or supported by their partner. Remember that the mood for intimacy, the tone of the relationship is set outside of the bedroom. The mood for intimacy is established by how comfortable and supported you feel in the relationship, how understood you feel by your partner. Sex is just a manifestation of that emotional closeness and comfort.
Now that doesn’t mean that conversation about your sex life is something to be ignored. We live in a society where sex is such a taboo that people often don’t talk about it even with their partner. But it’s important to learn what works for one another to ensure that intimacy is equally fulfilling for both partners. Often times, there are fantasies and desires that people withhold because they feel ashamed or fear being judged by their partner, but that only leads to an unsatisfactory sex life, which eventually leads to lack of intimacy in a relationship.
Communication and meeting each other half-way is a good place to start. Some couples find it helpful to first write-out all that they want their partner to hear and understand in the form of a letter, and share that with each other. Then take some time to read and absorb what your partner wrote in the letter, reflect on your emotions in response to what your partner share with you. It’s likely that you will find that you wrote similar things in your letter and that you both want similar things that were just not being communicated, and some things that make it clear where the gaps between you and your partner are, that you can work on bridging together.
Once you both have communicated your desires and read your partner’s desires in the form of a letter, it will be much easier to talk about things face-to-face.
And remember that calm and respect are very important when approaching this issue. It also helps tp keep in mind that two people rarely want the exact same thing, even when it comes to emotional and physical intimacy in a relationship. Finding a modest middle ground between what you want and what your partner wants is where you both are likely to find your happiness.

How to OVERCOME Self Doubt - Science-Backed and Effective!

Never stop believing in yourself!

If you don’t feel confident in yourself, or you don’t believe that you can succeed - you have doubts about yourself, then you also the pain that comes with these self-doubts.
Whether that’s the pain of always feeling that you’re less than others, or the one of loosing opportunities in life, or even feeling that you’re some kind of impostor who is tricking and hustling your way through life and relationships, I want you to know that you’re not alone.
I have felt that pain too, and I lived with it for many years - all those self-doubts felt they were my truth that I was desperately trying to hide from everyone around me.
That pain is real, but it’s also true that it doesn’t just go away on its own. Rather, the longer you stay with these doubts, more they feel like an actual reality. And the longer that doubt festers within you, more it eats aways eating away at your confidence, your self worth, your trust in yourself.
But you don’t have to be in this pain. It doesn’t matter how long you have been doubting yourself, you can get out of this blind well of self-doubt and self-criticism, and you only need two things - to understand why you doubt yourself in the first place, and to know a simple step to break this loop of being hard on yourself - and once you understand where these self-doubts come from and how to handle them, you will never stop believing in yourself again.

You are busy doubting yourself while others are intimidated by your full potential.

Why you should never stop believing in yourself

Have you ever heard "that's too hard," "there's no way you will be able to do that," "or what if you fail, what will you do then"?
One of the biggest reasons why people stop believing in themselves is because they are surrounded by nay-sayers. People who tell you that you won't succeed without showing you the path to success, people who tell you that you don't have what it takes, without telling you how to develop the skills to succeed. These nay-sayers make you doubt your own abilities and are often waiting for the moments when you fall, not to lend you a hand to get you back up, but rather to say “I told you so,” to deepen your doubts and to fester the attitude of giving-up than the values of persistence for you.
Over time, these messages start to become internalized. Even if you keep fighting others and keep pushing back on these negative messages, deep down, some doubts start to take hold in your heart and plant the seeds of negativity in your mind.
And once that happens, then it's only a matter of time until you lose your focus and get caught in the loop of self-doubts eating away your confidence, and becoming fixated on your failures and shortcomings, which make those self-doubts even worse.
So what can you start doing today to get that confidence again, to start believing in yourself - maybe for the first time, or maybe something that you lost somewhere in response to what life threw at you?
The single most important thing you can do that will help you start believing in yourself, and help you feel more comfortable and confident in who you are, is to bring focusing on how you got where you are in life today.
The thing is that you weren’t dealt the same cards in life as people you keep comparing yourself to. One of the biggest reasons you stop believing in yourself is because you lose focus of how you got where you are in life today. You weren’t dealt the same cards in life as people you keep comparing yourself to.
Wherever you are in life, remember what all it took to be at this point - what you had to overcome and the sacrifices that you had to make. Other people might not understand them, but you have to - because that’s the story of your resilience, that’s the story of how you became the person you are today, and what’s next for you in your journey of life.
What often happens is that we become so fixated on the next thing we want, that we rarely stop to recognize and celebrate what we accomplish. And it leads to us being always focusing on what you haven’t accomplished, and where you want to be, but you haven’t made it yet.
For example - I have an advanced college degree and a stable career, yet I’m filled with self doubts and question my worth and abilities, every time I stumble on my journey towards my goals. I wonder if I even have what it takes or have I just faked my way or have just been lucky.
A very interesting thing happened when I was preparing this article. When I decided to make this video, I interviewed a lot of my friends to get some insights into their experiences. And it shocked me when every single one of them could recall a time in their life when they didn’t believe in yourself, and some are still in that phase.
As I interviewed all my friends, one thing became really clear to me, that all the people who conquered their doubts and developed a strong confidence shared one thing in common - they were able to break the loop of self criticism.
Now in order to explain the loop, I’ll have to quickly explain two psychological concepts - Confirmation bias and Self-fulfilling prophecy.
Confirmation bias refers to your brain’s ability to only look for things that are consistent with what you already believe, and automatically ignore anything that doesn’t fit with your existing thoughts and beliefs.
And the self-fulfilling prophecy means that when you believe something, whether that’s positive or negative, you start to think and act in a way that invites those very things, which sort of confirms your original doubts and beliefs, and thereby creating a self-fulfilling cycle where your beliefs and actions keep bringing the results that you believe - whether those beliefs are positive and self-loving, or filled with self-doubts and fear of failure.
When run into obstacles or things get tough, it becomes difficult to believe in yourself, but in those moments, if you start listening to nay-sayers around you, then it’s easy for you to get caught in that loop of self-doubt, where your mind looks at things through the lens of confirmation bias to remind you of your every failure you ever had, and the self-fulfilling prophecy takes you in the direction of more doubts and failures, keeping you stuck in that loop.
But you can break free from this loop, and you have to break free from this loop to succeed, because guess what? The path to success is rarely straight-forward.
In fact, it’s often filled with pit holes and speed bumps. If you’re doing something that’s worth doing, something that’s worth the effort, that will help you set apart, then it’s also guaranteed that the path will not be easy - if it were, everyone would walk it.
But that doesn’t mean that you give-up. Rather, it means that you need to believe in yourself even more strongly, because you are guaranteed to fall while walking on this path, and when you fall, get-up, learn from that mistake, and then keep going.
Persistence - that is your key to success, that the key to persistence is your self-confidence, your trust in yourself. So let’s talk about how to break that loop of self-doubt and self-criticism, so you never stop believing in yourself again.

How to believe in yourself

The very first thing you need to build your confidence - is to know your value. What do you bring to the table? Whether that’s in relationships or your career - what is that you offer to others.
Now the chances are that if you have been stuck in the loop of self-doubt for a while, then you might just respond with “nothing,” and if you heard that voice, then recognize it. That’s the voice of your self-doubt, and that’s the very voice that’s keeping you down and keeps you from getting back up.
Take a moment to reflect on people who are in your life - Why do they choose to be in your life? Recognize that people in your life have a choice - they don’t have to be with you, but they choose to be with you. And if they make that choice, there must be some value that you bring to them and their life, even if you can’t see it just yet.
And if you’re not sure, then ask your friends and your loved ones. It might feel weird or even scary at first, but that clarity of why people who are in your life choose to be around you will give you the confidence that you genuinely have something to offer to people that they like and want in their life. And it will help you see the things you aren’t able to see in yourself, or are too quick to dismiss.
Now if you have doubts in your work and career aspects, then look at where you are and what all did it take for you to get the education that you got, the jobs that you had to do to pay the bills and carve out the path to be where you are today? What all did you have to overcome to be at the person watching this video right now? Look at your CV now and then to remind yourself of your potential and the successes you had until this point, and feel motivated to conquer the next one.
Which brings to the second thing that can help you overcome your self-doubts and believe in yourself again.

Have your goals defined clearly.

The truth about the human nature is that we are forward-looking people.
There is a concept in psychology called the Zeigarnik (zee-garnik) effect, which says that you are more likely to focus on things that are unfinished than the things that you completed. You are more likely to focus on things that you didn’t do well compared to the things that you did well.
Which makes sense - if you have ever used a checklist, how often do you go back to look at the things you checked off, and celebrate at what you did that day. Most of us just focus on the next task on the list.
Having a clear goal - a single focus of where you are going - your mind starts to lose confidence because your mind needs that reinforcement that you are making progress, that you’re moving forward in life - that you’re succeeding.
And because of this Zeigarnik effect, without a concrete focus, you lose a sense of purpose, which gets you right back to that loop of self-doubt and self-criticism.
While changing the tendency to think this way can be difficult, using this natural tendency of your mind to your advantage is much easier. All you need to do is to set a short-term, achievable goal to feel productive and to fulfill your mind’s need to grow and succeed. And be sure to have measurable markers along the way - something you can track to know that you are making progress and to celebrate the small milestones along the way.
But remember that at the end of the day, your confidence begins with a simple choice that you have to make for yourself. The choice to start believing in yourself, because you can't wait for someone else to see your self-worth before you do. You can't expect someone else to come and tell you about your real potential until you see it in yourself.
So if you want the world to see what you're capable of, you have to first be the person to yourself, that you want others to be for you. You have to love and believe in yourself, the way you want others to believe in you. That choice is yours, but whatever you choose to do, one thing is for sure, if you want to succeed, never stop believing in yourself.

How to Break Bad Habits - And Create Good Ones That Stick

Let me share a story about James with you. James liked to run from an early age, and it was a passion for him. By the time, James reached high school and then college, he was a track athlete who had won two medals and was now competing at state level.
But one day while doing his practice run in the snow, James slipped and got hurt - He tore a ligament following which he was told that he couldn't run competitively anymore. This was a pretty big change for James that led to more than him just quitting the sport. He developed some pretty bad habits that started hurting him and others around him.
Following the injury, James start to feel unmotivated. He used to spend most of his time either at work or watching sports on tv. But, he continued to eat like an athlete this time, and because he wasn't running track, he started to put on a lot of weight. During this time, he also started drinking beer every day and there was a time when he would drink a 6-pack in an evening.
While his family was initially understanding and supportive, as James unhealthy lifestyle continued and his alcohol problem got worse, it started to impact his relationship and family life too.
Now this whole time, James was aware of how his behavior was sabotaging his health and his relationships. He wanted to change, and tried multiple times, but each time he couldn't change his habits.
When James tried to be more physically active, he was not only limited by his physical injury but also motivation, and after a few days of being more active, he would always take a step-back... sometimes because he was too busy with work, and other times because the bad weather kept him from going on his walks.
The stress was also a big barrier in him eating healthy - despite all his efforts to eating healthy, he would often engage in stress eating and would feel guilty afterwards before giving up. Similarly, when he tried to stop drinking altogether 3 times, but after feeling stressed or having an argument at home, he sought comfort of a glass of scotch, and relapsed.
Now James did eventually succeed in changing his habits for good - he was able to get back to his healthy lifestyle, his mood and energy levels improved, and he was able to limit his drinking to social events only, but first he needed to figure out why his efforts were not giving him the results that he wanted.

Bad habits are like chains that are too light to feel, until they are too heavy to carry.

Visualize your end goal

The first step that helped James was to visualize his goal by creating a pretty elaborative description of what his end-goal was. He wrote a story of what his life was going to look like when he had started doing some physical activity again - how he would feel in his body, and how it would impact his mood and his energy levels. He wrote about what he would be doing in his evenings when he is not drinking - what else will be bringing him joy and relaxation. He also went into details of how those habits instead of drinking would impact his relationship with his wife and his kids, and what his home environment looked like.
So that's the first step - Visualize your goal
Now this might feel like a fairly simple and worthless point, but rather this step is the foundation for success. This visualization lays the foundation of your motivation that you will need to lean on when you slip-up along the way, which you will, or when you start to feel discouraged or start having doubts along the way, which you also will.
This visual that you create will initially help you get clarity on what is it that you're working towards, and how are you going to get there. But this visual is what will also help you stay on that path through all the hurdles and obstacles.
And there are mainly three reasons why this step of visualizing your goals is so powerful:
  1. First, it helps you with focusing on what you are working towards vs. what you are running away from.
  2. Second, it helps you visualize the path to get to those goals
  3. And third, it reinforces what life will look like at that point when you achieve your goals, and why all this effort is worth it.

Plan and practice the alternate behavior

And actually, hidden in this first step was the second step that James took towards his path to success - that lead him to successfully replace his bad habits with new, healthier habits.
And that step is to make a plan for alternative behavior plan. Remember when I was talking about the story that James wrote, that he went into a lot of details of what he would be doing instead.
So rather than being lazy, how will focused on what his daily physical activity looks like. And instead of not drinking alcohol, what will he be doing to relax and enjoy in evenings. And instead of not fighting with his wife, how will he be bonding and improving communication with her.
I personally believe that this step in fact is the most powerful of all 3 steps, even tho they all are important for success. Creating an alternate plan is in fact the only way James started to develop new neural connections in his brain that his brain started to use a lot more. This meant that he started to do these behaviors more, and the old habits started to die out on their own.
Now one thing that I would like to add here is that whatever new habits you try to implement and practice, measure them. If you are trying to loose weight, then keep a track of what you eat. If you are trying to be physically more active, then keep a track of your daily physical activity
Remember, what gets measured gets improvement. When you measure something, it becomes your daily bite of motivation - you want to succeed towards that tiny goal for that day, that's within your grasp. It keeps you from being lazy on day-to-day basis, or defaulting back to your old habits.
And of course, over time, the longer you keep measuring and keep engaging in these new behavior, more they start to become your actual real habits

Repetition and persistence

And this in fact ties into the third step that James' grandfather shared with him. During their talk, James' grandfather told him that he had seen many people try to set goals and work towards those goals for a few days, and then give-up.
He prepared him for relapses and slip-ups, but he told him that the moment he decides to give-up, he will be back to square one
But those are actually moments when you can learn about your triggers - what caused that slip-up? What things make your brain go back to the old habits - and once you know about these triggers - you will be better prepared to avoid them or deal with them in a different way next time.
From my own personal experience, I can know that it can feel like your efforts are not leading to any success when you slip-up, but the truth in fact is that these slip-ups are a very important part of the learning process - these slip-ups might be uncomfortable when they happen, but with each slip-up you actually get a chance to take a step closer to your goals.
With each slip-up, your brain is fighting between the old habits and new habits... and yes, sometimes your brain will take the route of the old habits, but if you keep bringing your mind gently to the new route - if you keep going at your new habits, you keep training your brain to keep developing these new habits, and keep forgetting your old habits.
So remember that persistence because the truth is that you can succeed at pretty much any goal if you stick with it long enough. Whether that goal is tied to your dreams and passions, or that goal is tied to unlearning bad habits, and building new healthy habits to replace them.
Now of course being disciplined to resist the million temptations along the way can make this process easier and faster for you. And I did make a separate video on discipline vs. temptations, so if you haven't already, then check that video out.

Why Vulnerability is hard in Relationships (But still matters so much)

We think of vulnerability as parts of ourselves that we are ashamed of - parts of us that feel sensitive, that you want to hide from the world, and not show to anyone because you fear that they might judge you, or that you might appear weak, or that if these aspects of yourself are disclosed to the wrong person they would be embarrassing and give them some sort of power over you.
And to prevent that, you hide these vulnerable aspects of yourself away from the world - anything that might be perceived as weakness is bottled so deep within you that not even the people closest to you know about it.
That’s vulnerability - and we all cross paths with it more often that we would like to. The question really is, what do you do with this vulnerability, and how is it impacting your relationships?
Now think about this - Has it ever happened that your friend or your partner is going through something, and they come to you to share something with you, to open up to you?
And if you any of your friends have trusted you to show you their pain, to give you the opportunity to comfort them, then think back to that moment. How did you feel when that happened? How did you feel when you were able to emotionally comfort them? how did you feel afterwards?
If you felt good, if thinking about that moment feels, that experience right there is exactly what it feels like when someone chooses to be vulnerable with you. And the reason is that deep down, we all have a desire to feel valued, to feel important, to feel that you have something to offer to someone else.
I’m willing to bet that those moments of vulnerability not only helped your friend or your partner, but it also helped your relationship with that person - to help you feel closer and to make your relationship stronger. And that interaction, that give and take where the two of you talk about something that’s hurtful, talk about something that’s painful, and you both feel good at the end of that conversation - that nurturing and caring moment is a true bonding experience in life.
Vulnerability provides an opportunity to create a genuine, long-lasting bond with your partner, and develop a relationship that’s emotionally fulfilling. Where you can talk about emotions, and when one of you is feeling stressed or disturbed, you’re able to hold each other’s emotions and comfort one another.
And not just when something major happens, but in your day-to-day-life because that’s where you spend most of your life.
And the key to such a life is again - vulnerability. Vulnerability creates opportunities for you to be raw and genuine with one another. Vulnerability generates this environment where your partner can see your raw emotions, your scars and your desires, and you learn to trust others, especially your partner, that you can be emotionally naked with them - you can show your scars and pain, your needs and desires to your partner, and have the trust that they will take care of them. That your partner won’t hurt or ridicule or take advantage of your rawness, but will comfort and bond with your genuine self, and hopefully reciprocate by showing you their raw emotions.
After all, we all walk around the world with this tough facade on us, like a heavy armor…. But regardless of how protective that armor might be, it’s still heavy and uncomfortable, it still weighs on you, and at the end of the day, everyone wants to remove their armor at least for a little while. And at the very least, your partner should be one of those people with whom you can take your armor off.

Vulnerability is the only bridge to build connection.

What’s the barrier?
Now the question arises that if all of those things are true, then why is it so difficult for us to be vulnerable? Why do you shy away from being vulnerable, even with your closest friends, even with your partner?
And the simple answer to that is that we live in a society where being vulnerable is equated with weakness. You hear messages that being emotional, or being emotionally vulnerable is seen as weakness, which gets internalized over the years. In our society, vulnerability is often associated with power, and being vulnerable, showing your emotional needs or pain is equivalent of giving someone power over you. So instead, you keep those parts of yourself locked within you, so no one else can see it when you are hurting.
Let me use an evolutionary example to explain this - If you think about it from the physical perspective of an animal in the wild, when they get hurt, they often respond with more aggression to guard agains the threat, to themselves. They are not gonna show their wounds until it’s a member of their pack - someone they absolutely trust.
Same thing happens with humans. When you are hurt, you try to hide your pain and your sensitive spots, because you don’t know who else can hurt you - and trusting anyone can be difficult in those moments.
But the problem is that it doesn’t work when it comes to relationships and bonding. Shutting down emotionally or not sharing your moments of “so-called weakness” may feel comfortable. Building those walls may make you feel safe for a moment, but those walls don’t just keep others out, they also lock you in.
So, if you’re not ready to take down your walls, then that’s fine, but you do need to build some windows and maybe a door in the wall, to let a selected few into your world - to whom you can show your emotions and with whom you can be vulnerable.
In the long run, relationships and true emotional bonds keep you safer than any walls you can build around yourself.
But it is still a risk. It’s a catch 22 situation, where the way to heal from that pain, to heal from that hurt that you’re experiencing is to open-up, to seek emotional comfort, to be vulnerable, and at the same time, that in itself feels risky, and you shy away from that.
What can you do? How do you move past that?
And the only reason option there, the only path you can actually walk is to take a calculated risk. To figure out who you can trust and to what extent? You don’t have to trust everyone with everything. It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing sort of situation.
And keep in mind that it will always be a risk - It will always be a risk to open-up, to be vulnerable, to even be emotionally close with someone, but the trick is to find someone - a trusted partner, a few trusted friends who are worth the risk
And that’s the quest that you are on in this life when it comes to your emotions - That who are the people in your life, that you can trust. Now do be patient with yourself along the way because it will take some time to figure out whom you can trust in what matters, and to what extent.
And that vulnerability is not something that you can shy away from, but that vulnerability is what will not only help you feel better, but is also so important for your relationship to develop, so you develop a genuine emotional closeness and a bond, rather than just hanging out as roommates.

How to (Allow Yourself to) be More Vulnerability in Relationships

When I think of vulnerability, I like to differentiate the three types of situations because the vulnerability and the emotional bonding can look quite different in each of these situations.
The first is when the vulnerability is about something that happened outside of that relationship - when it doesn’t involve your partner, and they are not emotionally entangled in the situation the same way as you are. It’s an experience or situation that’s effecting you, and you’re inviting your partner or your friend into your world by opening-up to them. This form of vulnerability is relatively easier both for you and your partner.
The second type of situation is where you open-up and choose to be bring your guards down with a person, who is also involved in that situation.
For example, when two people are grieving - they understand the emotions and the pain of the loss that the other might be experiencing because they too are holding similar emotions, and by sharing and supporting each other, they can relieve each other’s burdens.
If you both are having similar emotions - then understanding one another becomes easier, that flow of empathy becomes easier, and it makes the bonding experience a lot smoother.
But the most difficult form of vulnerability is when it does involve the other person, but you both are looking at the situation from different perspectives, or maybe you’re being vulnerable with the person who caused the discomfort in the first place.
For example, if your partner forgot a special date, like a birthday or an anniversary, and you’re feeling hurt from that. Not just because they didn’t give you a card or a gift, but because you feel like you don’t matter, because you’re not as important.
Approaching that is the most difficult form of vulnerability because you’re being vulnerable with the person who you associate with that discomfort in the first place, and YET that’s where vulnerability can be most powerful, most impactful as well.
In those moments, you might find it easier to withdraw or emotionally shutdown, because talking about it is vulnerability. Opening-up about it is vulnerability. But when that happens, when you don’t share or communicate when you feel hurt by your partner, or disappointed in their actions, you’re not really avoiding that uncomfortable conversation. It’s only a matter of time before all that frustration and resentment explodes out into an argument, and often comes out to be much worse because of all the resentment and frustration that festers within you this whole time. Something that could have been taken care of with a bandaid now needs sutures.

Vulnerability is the only bridge to build connection.

Another way in which people often avoid being vulnerable is by making subtle gestures to letting their partner know that something is upsetting them, but not saying it out right. For example, giving a cold shoulder without telling why or even withholding sex as a form of payback, but all these “subtle gestures” in reality just come out as passive aggressive moves, and makes misunderstanding and tension in the relationship worse.
The truth is that neither passive aggressiveness, nor shutting down is going to help maintain the harmony or the emotional closeness in that moment.
But, there’s a deeper way to share something, that’s even closer to your heart, and that is to invite your partner into your emotional world, to invite them into your experience and share it with them.
You have the trust in your partner and your relationship to open-up and communicate. Opening-up is vulnerability, communicating is vulnerability, but when you feel hurt, especially in your relationship, being vulnerable, communicating your emotions and expectations is the only path to resolving that experience.
And when you invite your partner into your world by being emotionally vulnerable with them, then they are also less likely to feel like you’re blaming them. Instead of feeling like you both are on opposite teams, the shared experiences and perspectives, put you both on the same team working towards the same goals of holding and comforting your emotions at that time.
So when you open-up with someone, when you’re being vulnerable with someone, remember that you’re giving them a gift. You’re giving them an opportunity to take that relationship or that friendship to a hold different level.
By simply choosing integrity, by simply choosing to keep your trust, and be there for you in that moment. This choice, this intentional choice that both of you can make in those moments of vulnerability will give you that assurance and that reminder that you matter to them, and it allows them to see that you trust them enough to be vulnerable with them. It allows your bond to grow closer and stronger.
And that’s exactly the opportunity that you give yourself and your partner, but most importantly, to your relationship, by simply choosing to take the risk of being vulnerable.

Stop Instant Gratification - How to Develop Patience and Self Control (Puppy Mind)?

The part of your brain that wants instant gratification is like an untrained puppy. Your puppy mind, just like untrained puppies get easily excited when they see a toy or a treat. They get distracted - only when training, not when playing, and usually want to do exactly what the other puppies are doing.
The solution to this is to develop your intentional mind, and make it stronger, using this 4 part approach that I call - R.I.P.S.
Tell me if you can relate to this - You decide to improve your sleep by making sure you go to bed on time and get 8 hours of sleep. But now it's 10 PM, and your favorite Netflix show's episode just ended on a cliff-hanger, and you can't resist watching what happens next. And the next thing you know, it's past midnight and you're still watching your show.
Or maybe you can relate to this - you tell yourself that you are going to start cooking and eating healthy everyday. And then you happen to pass by a pizzeria, and now all you want for dinner is that pizza
This sense of instant gratification - the sense of I must have it, and I must have it now, is something that we all struggle with. Especially in today's day and age, where you can have whatever you want, whenever you want it with just a few taps on your phone.
This instant gratification keeps your mind in this restless state that I call a puppy mind. You see, the part of your brain that wants instant gratification is like an untrained puppy. Your puppy mind, just like an untrained puppy is fun and exciting, but also gets easily distracted and restless.
When puppies gets excited about a new toy or a treat, how do they act? they can't control the excitement - they bark, get zoomies, jumping up and down, and gets fixated on that one treat or toy. And if you just let your puppy act that way - then it soon becomes a learned behavior. They will bark and jump every time they get excited.
On the other hand, if you make the puppy sit and wait until their excitement settles down - they learn how to resist the temptation and how to calm their restless mind. Puppies learn how to control their excitement and their need for instant gratification — their desire what they want right then and there.
Your puppy mind acts the same way. And you have to train your puppy mind to help it grow into an Intentional Mind.

Immediate gratification is a dream killer.

An intentional mind has clarity about what things are important to you - when you need to focus on your goals and your relationships, and when you can allow your mind to be free to run and play like a puppy.
An intentional mind can resist the instant gratification for bigger goals that require persistence and patience, which can be a game changer in your life, especially in today's day and age.
See the instant gratification has a dark side that's often hidden from you initially because while some things are easier to get whenever you want them, that's not true for all things in life. In fact, most things that REALLY matter in life, that REALLY make you happy are the ones that often require time, patience and discipline.
For example, Investing in your relationships. In our current day and age, with all the dating and networking apps, it's not difficult to meet new people, but cultivating deep friendships and meaningful relationships out of these opportunities still requires patience, effort and time - and the will to not give-up when things get tough, but rather work through the rough patch.
Or getting good grades in class, or a promotion at job - it's not just about that exam or that interview. It's about the discipline to develop your knowledge base and your skillset that you get an opportunity to prove in that interview.
These things do not cater to instant gratification, and the problem with that, which makes it difficult to not get discouraged and give-up.
Giving-up is the only guarantee of failure. But in order to not give-up, you really have to put consistent effort day-after-day to get to those goals that you set for yourself. There's not that instant gratification - that immediate sense of closure or excitement, but you have to keep going.
And that's the other problem with instant gratification is that the more you experience seemingly harmless moments of allowing instant gratification, more you get your brain used to having your all needs met right away, and harder it becomes to practice patience and self control.
The more you train your puppy mind to be disciplined and earn the distracting things that seem so fun, whether that's scrolling through your instagram feed, or watching the latest upload of your favorite Youtuber, easier it becomes to resist that instant gratification.
Now I'm going to share a 4-step secret to train your puppy mind to grow and develop into a beautiful Intentional mind. That will help you stay focused to work on your assignments, or to stay motivated to exercise regularly, or to resist that chocolate cake when you are trying to eat healthy. Whatever your goals are, developing this Intentional Mind will help you make your dreams come true.
But before we get into that, if you're getting any value out of this video, then please do hit that like button, and if you're new here, then be sure to subscribe for more contents like this.
So the four step approach to developing your Intentional mind is - RIPS - Reward, Incentive, Persistence, and Social Reinforcement.
The first step in this process is Reward.
Just like a puppy needs treats when training, your mind needs rewards as well. One way to reward yourself is to set small rewards for every time you resist instant gratification, and a bigger reward for major milestones along the way.
For example, if your goal is to save money for traveling, then reward yourself by actually putting cash away into a jar every time you resist buying a latte... it sort of builds-up on that instant gratification behavior, but instead of having the gratification of a bad behavior, you're reinforcing getting an instant gratification of a reward.
And another way to reward yourself is to reinforce your progress towards your bigger goal or dream. Such as crossing-off each successful day of effort on a calendar to visualize you making progress towards your goals.
In this approach towards a reward system, you step away from the need for instant gratification all together, and work towards developing patience by recognizing that bigger dreams often need multiple small steps that may not be rewarding in themselves, but they each contribute to help you get to your eventual goals.
The second step in the process is Incentive and Motivation
Your reward can't be your only motivation. You see, a puppy gets distracted very easily and quickly when it's bored, but try distracting a puppy when he is eating his favorite bone.
If you're not enjoying what you are doing, it will be difficult to stay disciplined and keep going for long. The work that you're doing has to be tied to your dreams and goals.
Now before you write-off this step, because may be what you have to do right now just doesn't feel exciting to you, stop for a second to reflect on why are you doing it all? Why do you do anything that you don't like and enjoy? There's always an end-goal that drives an action. Let me explain!
Maybe you're taking a course that you don't like because it's a requirement for your major. And while, that particular course might not excite you, but it is still is a step towards your longer-term goal, your major - your dream
Maybe you don't like your day job, but you have to go and work there every day because that's how you pay for your car or your kid's tuition. Then the motivation obviously isn't your job or career, but the lifestyle - your house, your career, your kids or their future.
So recognize your incentive for going through the tough things that you don't want to do. Identify what your motivation is, and right it down somewhere you see it daily - so you can remind yourself frequently of the goals that you're working towards - why you're putting in all this work and effort that you are putting-in.
So whatever it is that you're doing or you have to do at this stage - tie it to your ultimate dream, your long-term goal, and that's where your motivation lies - and that's what will empower you to resist instant gratifications, which feel fun and exciting in the moment, but don't contribute to your long-term goals, and don't help you make progress towards your dreams.
And that third step in this 4-step process is persistence
Persistence is the only way to succeed. Thomas Edison failed on 1000 bulbs before eventually succeeding. Michael Jordan was cut-off from his high school basketball team. Steven Spielberg was rejected from the film school three times. Imagine if any of them had given-up alone the way.
If Thomas Edison had given-up, maybe not after 10th or 20th light bulb, but may be after failing on 200 light bulb ideas, 500 ideas, 800 ideas, or even 998th idea - We might still be living without light bulbs.
The lesson here is that persistence is key to success, and it's more true for resisting instant gratification than anything else. The more you keep trying to resist your distractions and instant gratifications, more you develop new neural pathways in your brain, that strengthens your new behavior with repetition.
It is possible that you may not succeed at resisting that pizza, or staying off of video games, or eating healthy at first. And even if you succeed for a while, it is still possible that you might fall off the wagon once in a while.
And those are the points, where you will have a choice - do you give-up? Or do you decide to persist and get back on the track, and try again and again until you succeed.
If you give-up, then that's the end. BUT, if you decide to try again, then you give yourself another chance to succeed. It is possible that you might fail again, but even then you will have yet another chance to get up again and try once again. But you won't loose, until you loose your spirit - you won't loose until your keep persisting.
And the last step in this four-step process is social reinforcement
Going back to the puppy mind analogy - have you ever noticed that when one puppy starts to bark, all the other puppies start to do the same, or when one dog picks up a stick at the park, they all want to play with a stick.
Your puppy mind is exactly the same. The old saying that you're the average of your five closest friends has some truth to it. While the number 5 is an arbitrary number in that saying, research has shown and proven repeatedly that you are heavily influenced by people around you - it effects everything from your way of thinking to the way you act, and even the things you like.
You need people around you, who share your dream. If you want to resist the instant gratification to alcohol, then join AA. If you want to resist the temptations of desserts, then join a healthy cooking club. If you want to exercise more, then join a runner's group or a yoga class.
Find your community - Find your tribe, people who support you, but share your dreams and goals. It's even easier now in the golden age of social media to find like-minded people.
This support doesn't just have to be your partner, friends or family members. It they support you great, but if not find your community elsewhere - there are online support groups for everything these day - from people who hate their jobs to people who just want someone to hold them accountable for the things the say they will do.
without this S, which stands for social support, the acronym is just RIP - and that's exactly what happens to efforts and motivation, without social support. So, find your S - find your community that supports your and holds you accountable - whether in-person or online.
So those are the 4 steps that can help you train your puppy mind into an intentional mind.

Brilliant Relationship Advice I Got From My Dog

Dog is man's best friend. A quote I heard for most of my life, but the real meaning, the true value of it is something I didn't really understand until I got my own furry companion - His name is Bu.
And I'm so grateful to him for teaching me some of the most important lessons in life and relationships that have changed my outlook on things, and in this video, I'm about to share them with you.

Forgiveness and Letting Go

When I first got my puppy, Bu, I had no idea what I was getting into. My only experience was with my ex-girlfriends' older, very well trained dog. So when I decided to get a puppy, I was expecting a furry companion whom I feed and walk twice a day, and other than that, we will just cuddle on the couch and watch Netflix.
But then, this little adorable, 7-week-old monster enters into my life. He would pee and poop all over the house, would bite everything with his puppy needle teeth including me, and was just a constant bottomless pit of attention and neediness.
I know, I know - I should have done my research. I even remember my boss warning me that young puppies are a lot of work, but the smug me was like, I'm a psychologist - I can train a dog, I got this!
Boy, was I wrong! Three weeks after getting Bu - I was so tired and grumpy because I was not getting much quality sleep. I was rushing home during lunch hours every single day, and had no social life because he needed me. I was just constantly tired. That's when I started learning my first life lesson that this little guy had to teach me - See through that period of adjusting and training, there were a lot of moments of frustration when he would do something wrong or wouldn't get it when I was training him. And in those moments, I felt irritated and annoyed, but despite feeling angry, I couldn't express my anger.
You see, because his young brain was still developing, he couldn't link me being mad to the his actions for more than 2 minute - young puppies' brains are just not capable of making that association past the two minute mark.
But I wasn't always ready to let go of my anger in 2 minutes. which was of course extremely uncomfortable and at times, would make me even more upset. I was still upset, but I couldn't be mad at him because he was no longer able to understood why I was feeling those emotions. That's when I learned that my only real option there was to let go of my anger - to experience my anger, regardless of what happened or how upset I was - I had that 2 minute window to express my emotions, tell him what I wanted, and what I expect in the future, and once those two minutes were up, I had no option but to let it go.
Because holding on to that anger, was only going to make me more miserable, and hurt my relationship with my dog. And Relationships with people are no different. How many of you can relate to feeling angry or frustrated with your partner?
Now reflect on how you handle that frustration, and that anger, and how to do you show your pain and communicate your needs in that moment? Can you speak to your partner like you would to your fur baby? Can you communicate your needs and your expectations in a positive manner?
Remember that you have two minutes for all that - once those two minutes are up, it's time to let go of your anger. Holding on to your anger and frustration for any longer will only hurt you or your relationship. Of course, it's easier said than done. You will have to consciously remind yourself of communicating your emotions effectively, and then watch your emotions flow away like water in a river.
That discipline - that strength - to hold your emotions, use them to improve your life and relationships, and then letting them pass without taking actions that you might regret later - that in fact is a real life superpower.
It can completely redefine your personality and your relationships, and all it takes is practice and keeping in mind that you have 2 minutes to feel and respond to your emotions, and then it's time to move on. And that's exactly the very first lesson that my dog taught me about relationships - to forgive and let go.

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.

Enjoying every day

The second lesson that my baby Yoda taught me can be best explained through John Grogan's quote - Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.
Even though my dog just turned 3, one of the things that I often worry about is the day when I have to say goodbye to him. And every time that thought crosses my mind, it reminds me every time that he has limited time with me. It reminds me that while I have a a million things to keep me busy and distracted - I'm all that he has.
So when I feel tired, when I feel stressed, or too busy with work, remembering that every single day of his life counts helps me stay grounded. For me, it started off as a fear that when he is gone, I don't want to regret not making time for him - that he used to sit there waiting for me to play with him while I was too busy with all my distractions.
And the more I stayed with that thought, more I realized that there's yet another life lesson hidden in there - that this perspective on life and relationships is not limited to our time with our pets.
Tell me if you can relate to working long hours, and even at home, being so distracted with random things and drama in life, that you don't always have the time or energy to create special memories with your loved ones anymore?
When was the last time you surprised your partner with a date night? When was the last time you turned off the tv and put away the phones, and just talked to one another?
Finding this balance in life is certainly a difficult one, but thinking about it from the perspective of your dog's life makes it a little bit easier.
Things that you are worried about today, will you still be care about them in 10 years? All the drama that takes up the emotional space in your mind - in 10 years, will you appreciate that, or will you enjoy happy, positive memories that you could be creating today? Not only that, these loving moments and joyful experiences will also help you feel rejuvenated to feel motivated and more productive when you are actually working towards your dreams and passions.
This art of intentional living - Doing everything you need to do in your life, but also being intentional about your priorities and your bigger dreams in life is a skillset that will enrich your life unlike anything else.

Being intentional about relationships

Eckhart Tolle said when the dog looks at you, the dog is not thinking what kind of a person you are. The dog is not judging you.
And that's true for every dog and their pet parent that I know. Your dog doesn't care how you look - if you're beautiful or ugly, if you're skinny or fat, if you're rich or you're poor - all the things that we as people get lost in.
What a dog care about is how you bond with them - how much attention you give to them. People often talk about being the alpha with a dog, which my dog trainer friend strongly disagrees with him. According to him, it's all about your relationship with the dog - they listen to you and bond with you based on your relationship with them, not because they are afraid of you.
And that relationship is build based on the quality of time you spend with them. Dogs bond with whoever raises them, whoever walks them, plays with them - all things that tell them that you care about them, and make their hearts feel about spending time with you.
And same goes for relationships in life - people connect with you based on how you prioritize them and you invest in your relationships. Are you letting people in your lives know how much they matter to you, and how are you communicating them?
When you spend time together, be sure to let go of the distractions and be mindfully present in that moment - and not just for your partner's sake, but for your own as well. Your relationships are in fact what provides meaning to to your life - so be sure to appreciate the people you have in your life, and make small or big memories every single day.
Because when it starts to rain in life, these memories are what will give you strength and motivation, and these people are who will give you love and support until the Sun shines again.
So be intentional about your relationships - be thoughtful about how you are letting the people in your life know that they matter to you, and show them how much you care. And this care and expression of your affection has to be in the love language that speaks to their heart most strongly. 

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So if you haven't yet seen my video on the 5 love languages, then go watch that next to learn about the 5 love languages to learn about your and your partner's love language, and use that your advantage.

5 Love Languages Explained (With Examples)

Imagine you wake-up on a Sunday morning to the smell of fresh pancakes and coffee next to your bed that your partner made for you. 
Or that you and your partner are leaving the house for a party, and as you are about to get out of the door, your partner stops to give you a kiss on the cheek and tell you how great you're looking
Or imagine that you had a rough week at work, and it's Friday evening, you come home to a present waiting for you on the dining table. As you open it, you realize that your partner bought you the purse you have been wanting for a while.
Most people would appreciate any of those gestures because they communicate thoughtfulness and love, BUT... chances are that some of these scenarios spoke to you more strongly than others. And that right there is a peek into your love language. 

The 5 love languages:

Words of Affirmation, Acts of service, Receiving gifts, Quality time, and Physical touch
Different people have different preferences when it comes to receiving and giving love - we call these preferences, Love languages. So in order to have a successful, loving, fun relationship, you really need to understand what is your love language, and what's your partner's love language is.
Often when we look at other people's relationships, we tend to see the good sides of their relationship - we see all that seems wonderful and happy, and we assume that their relationship looks like that all the time, and then we start comparing our own relationship to theirs
In my own relationships, I find it difficult not to compare to others, when me and my partner are working through stuff - It is not an easy task to understand each other, and adapt and accommodate one another's likings and lifestyles.
And while it may not be fun in that moment, that struggle, that working through is what makes relationships work - they are what makes a relationship last.
I'm always open about my own relationship struggles and what a challenge it can be so that people around me - my friend AND her friends can see that our relationship isn't that different than theirs when it comes to working through the tough parts.
You have to put in the work - you have to invest in your relationship, to understand your partner and help your partner understand you, and then making room for one another in your life
That's the beauty of it all - that's the fun part of relationships - bringing two lives together -to adapt to one another, to learn about each other, and to grow and build a life together. And the bedrock for all this work is your love - your commitment and appreciation for one another.
But it's not as easy as it might seem. It's one thing to love someone and it's another to show and communicate that love - and the latter is just as important as the former.
You see, love is tricky. We put love in this one bucket, where love is just love, and it's all the same... and then we put this bucket on a pedestal. But that's not how love works. Love, just like most thing in life, needs a sense of curiosity, it has a hunger for communication, and a need to be nurtured.
Now chances are that you show and communicate their appreciation, nurture their love in the way that makes sense to you - and you assume that it speaks the same way to everyone else, including your partner, because that's how you understand love.
But nothing could be further from the truth. You see every person has their own love language, and your love language may or may not be the same as that of your partner.

Sometimes you love someone in a language they don't understand.

Relationship counselor, Gary Chapman authored one of the most popular books on love and relationships, called the love languages. In the book, he describes 5 love languages based on his years of research and over 35 years of marriage counseling experience.

Words of Affirmation

This type of love language involves the use of words to show someone that you love them.
A person whose love language is words of affirmation feels most loved when they receive compliments, or hear endearing words from their partner - words that express your support, understanding, appreciation, and care for them.
People who have words of affirmation as their love language are sensitive to words. Positive, uplifting, endearing words make them feel loved and valued. But, they are equally sensitive to negative words - negative and hurtful words impact them just as strongly, and can be difficult for the person to process or forgive easily.
Something to keep in mind here is people who like words of affirmations aren't just craving for compliments. In fact, words of affirmation is one of my own top love language, and it's never about compliments for me - but it's the words that express thoughtfulness, words that express an effort to understand the person, and words that communicate that your support them in their dreams and goals.

Quality Time

People whose love language is quality time prefers to spend quality time with their partner - where you have each other's undivided attention, and this intentional carving out of time, this undivided attention makes them feel appreciated and prioritized in their partner's life.
It's easy to let this one slide as life gets busy. More busy life gets and the longer you have been with your partner, it's easy to just assume that being around one another is enough - but carving out special time, when you take a break from the rest of the world, and prioritize one another over all else is super important for someone who has quality time as their primary love language.
Also, just like with words of affirmation, people who prefer quality time are sensitive to flakiness, cancelled or rescheduled plans, or being distracted as all these behaviors communicate to them that they are not a priority in your life.
When I think of this love language, puppies always come to my mind. My own puppy stops cuddling and walks away the moment I pick-up my phone, because he knows that my attention won't be on him. We, as people, are not very different - people with this love language, would rather have smaller duration of times with undivided attention than long periods of time where you are distracted by other things.

Receiving or giving gifts

A person with this love language wants to receive gifts to feel loved. Now this doesn't mean that they want expensive gifts, and it absolutely does not mean that they are materialistic.
Instead they appreciate thoughtful gifts that communicate to them that you know them, and you put in the effort to find something that they wanted, and you got it for them. It communicates love and being appreciated to them.
For example, one of my close friends, who is a big wine connoisseur, his top love language is receiving gifts. And for the longest time, I didn't really understand why he used to bring such thoughtful gifts our friend circle would get together. It was until he shared that as a kid, he would be rewarded with cash or gifts whenever he would do something well or get good grades in school, that I understood the value of receiving and giving gifts for him.
Me on the other hand, gift giving is at the very bottom of the 5 love language for me. I literally scored 0 on receiving gifts when I took the love language quiz, because it just doesn't speak to me the same way. So now whenever we guys get together, I always take a nice bottle of wine for my friend as a way of me saying that our friendship is important to me, and we also have a rule in our group to put our phones away when we are all hanging out to prioritize the quality time in our group.

Physical Touch

This love language involves everyday affectionate touches like kissing, hugs, and hand holdings. People with this love language prefer touch over affectionate words or gift giving to feel valued and appreciated.
Now the tricky part with this love language is that so many people simply equate physical touch with sex, especially because sex is inherently such a big part of romantic relationships.
And when you look at magazines, there are articles in every cover - how to spice up your sex life, 5 things you want in bed, and so on... and you see these messages over and over again from magazines to movies and social media, it engrains this idea that sex is the most important part of a relationship
Sex is important - it is an important aspect of a romantic relationship, but it is not the MOST important part. Sex is essentially just an extension of the emotional part, the deeper stuff - things that make or break relationships. And that's where you need to focus when trying to nurture your relationships.
So when it comes to physical touch as a love language, remember that the the physical touch doesn't just mean sex.
For anyone who has physical touch as their love language, physical touch can come in endless number of ways. It can come in the form of a hug, a gentle peck on the cheek, or holding hands - all these subtle ways of touch communicates love to someone whose has physical touch as their love language.
And also keep in mind that while we are talking about love languages primarily in the context of romantic relationships, these preferences affect all of your relationships - even the non-romantic ones... hit like if you know someone who just likes to greet people with a hug.
Feeling wanted and appreciated is not exclusive to your romantic relationships. It's something we all crave across the board - in all our relationships.

Acts of Service

This love language can be best described by the phrase - actions speak louder than words. A person with this love language appreciate thoughtful gestures, and acts or actions in day-to-day life that help them feel supported.
If your partner's preferred love language is acts of service, then lending them a helping hand, not being lazy around them, and helping them with chores is the best way for you to express your love and appreciation for them.
They value the hard work that you do for them that shows your intentions and emotions, and that you were thinking about them. I personally find the acts of service to be the most difficult love language out of the 5.
I don't know if there's an objective study out there, but I think acts of service requires the most amount of time and effort - which is actually exactly the point. When someone's love language is acts of service, your thoughtful acts and gestures communicate that you like them and care about them enough, to do something - to take actions to make their life easier, and to show them how much they mean to you through actions rather than words or gifts.
For example, one of my previous partner's top love language is acts of service, and it would make her so happy with the smallest things like doing vacuum or cooking dinner - and I was always baffled by that, because it's not my primary love language. But that's how she liked to receive love, and that's what I learned over time that I needed to do to communicate that my care and appreciation for her.
Which brings to a very important aspect of understanding these love languages - that in order to get the max benefit from these love languages, you and your partner need to speak each other's love language.
Understanding your love language and that of your partner. See how your love languages are similar or different than one another. Use that to your advantage - use that knowledge to understand how you partner best receives love, what things make them feel most appreciated. Those things might be different than your own love languages.

Communicate your love to your partner

One thing you can start doing today is to get to know your and your partner's love languages, and then communicate them to one another. Share with each other what your love language, and how they make you feel special, loved, and cared for.
Now that you know about your love languages, it is also important to know that your love language is not an isolated concept on its own. Your love language is just another way in which your relationship attachment styles impact your life.

Why do I Procrastinate - How to STOP PROCRASTINATING?

What is your typical approach to get your school or work assignments done? Do you approach it in a consistent and sustainable manner, getting a little bit done everyday? Or, do you wait until the last day and the last minute, feel anxious to meet the deadline, and then crash from all that stress once its completed?
If you fall in the second category, then this video is exactly for you. Now, in order to deal with procrastination, it's important to understand why you procrastinate in the first place.
A common reason for procrastination is anxiety, where you don't some aspect of the task - which feels daunting, and you don't really know how to approach it. Or, the task feels so big to tackle, that whenever you think about getting started, it starts to feel overwhelming, and your brain protects you from that feeling of being overwhelmed by avoiding the task all together
The solutions to your procrastination and productivity problem that we are going to discuss are also focused on these two reasons of procrastination. The solution is focused on the cause, not just the behavior. And that is the secret key to success.
Tackling procrastination is easier than you would think, but the problem is that so often, people focus on the behavior itself, rather than what's causing the behavior. But in this video, you will be learning two approaches to tackle each of these causes, which in turn will help you get rid of the procrastination - so you can be productive and successful.
At the end of this article, I will share another reason why people who are usually driven and motivated start to procrastinate out of nowhere. And that reason is burn out. If that's you, then watch that section to learn a specific- counter-intuitive, but extremely effective - way to handle your burn out related procrastination.

Approach #1

Create an exhaustive outline of the task on hand, and if you have multiple things to do, then create an exhaustive list for each of them, and make it as detailed as possible.
For example, when writing a paper, develop each section in detail, such as literature review, proposed methodology, etc. Then go specific, what sections within the literature review? What are the main areas that needs to be highlighted? How many paragraphs in each section - What is each paragraph broadly about?
Another example can be work report. What is the report structure - what sections are to be included? What is the summary and the take home message? What are the sections needed to be included in the report? Within each section, which metrics need to be reported. Does each metric needs it's own paragraph or maybe subsections. What else needs to be included in the report?
It is worth spending a couple of hours or even an entire day creating such a detailed outline for the tasks.

The dread of doing a task uses up more time and energy than doing the task itself.

The reason this appraoch works in because when you create such a detailed outline, it provides you with a level of clarity that is otherwise impossible to achieve:
You not only have a clear roadmap on how to achieve your goal, but you also have a very clear idea of the work that needs to be done for each task and how much time it will take. That in itself makes the task so much more manageable for your subconcisuos mind. It helps tackle the anxiety on how to get started on it, which is often half the struggle
Another major reason that this approach works so well is because it takes care of all those points of the task that you don't really know how to handle, or you don't have a clarity on. When you're creating such an outline, in order for you to add all the details in the outline, you will obviously have to look-up some things to know what goes in what section, and what needs to be included.
This process in itself takes care of the avoidance that comes very naturally when you come across something you don't know how to handle.
So what are some of the tasks that you're procrastinating right now, and how can you use this approach to help you tackle the beast? Share with me in the comments down below, and I'll reply to you there.

Approach #2

The second approach of dealing with procrastination involves creating a specific structure to handle multiple tasks that are weighing on your. This comes particularly handy if you feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work that you need to do.
Without a detailed structure, you simply have a hotchpotch of time and hotchpotch of things that you're trying to work through - that wastes a lot of emotional energy in managing your anxiety, and figuring out what you need to do first.
For this approach, I would recommend creating a running list of things that you need to do for at least a week ahead, and then assign only a couple of tasks to yourself for each day. And that is the tricky part. Research shows that we underestimate how much time something takes by about a third. So if you think that you can do 3 things in a day, assign only 1.
The key here is to feel so relaxed and have the luxury of time that you don't feel rushed, while still having enough to do. Finding that balance is the key, and if you feel like you do your best work when under pressure, then maybe you can take on a little more, but be sure not put so much pressure on yourself that you burnout by the time you complete one assignment.
Think long-term, think sustainability. Finding the balance is the key.
Now keep watching until the end because I want you to watch out for a couple of pitfalls here, where people commonly.... But for now, let's move on to the second point. 
And here's an additional tip: If you are someone who is motivated by external appreciation or rewards, then do set a reward system for yourself. It could be something as simple as earning your favorite tv show or a guilt-free video game time, or you could reward yourself with something that you have been wanting to buy for yourself for a while.

Bonus tips

In addition to the two approaches that I shared above, there is a third reason for procrastination. If you find yourself usually self-motivated and driven, but every now and then, you find yourself struggling with procrastination, then a likely reason for that is burnout.
When you work so much that you continuously push the limits of your brain, then you are inevitable going to get to a point where you get burnt-out. Where your brain becomes sluggish, your motivation gets down, you feel lethargic, and you just can't seem to focus on things that matter.
When this happens, there is one and only way to recover from this burnout, and that is to give yourself a mental break. 
This might be the opposite of what you want, especially if you have things on your plate that are piling-up. Use the two approaches I discussed in this video to create a plan on how you're going to tackle them, but before you start acting on that plan, give yourself a day or two to relax and recover.
Unless you allow your brain to recover, you will keep putting more and more burden on it, and stay stuck in the loop of exhausting your central nervous system. That break for a couple of days will help you break the loop, and get back on the track.

Another bonus tip:

If you find yourself yourself struggling with procrastination and motivation frequently, then certainly use the two strategies I discussed in this video, but on top of that - you might also want to look at your long-term approach to your work or studying:
Why does it feel like a dread that you keep avoiding? Do you feel like it's not something that you are good at, and worry about not being able to perform well?
That why will help you understand where most of your emotional energy gets wasted - where you feel most stuck, and most importantly, what needs to be addressed and changed.
Whatever reasons you come-up with, write them down, and start challenging them one by one. Identify what needs to be done to tackle each thing you put on that list, and that would be a wonderful starting point

4 Attachment Styles in Relationships

Do you feel that when you're only interested when you know they are unavailable? Or if you're partnered, do you feel like your partner become distant when something bothers them? Or do you feel that your partner is too demanding and don't give you enough space in the relationship?

Relationships are central to your existence as a human. You need others to feel loved, cared for, and emotionally safe.

But did you know that how you but that there are patterns to how you connect with others. If you feel like your relationships keep turning out the same way, or if you keep having same issues in different relationships, then you NEED TO know about the single most important factor that impacts all of your relationships - Your Attachment Styles.

Your attachment styles developed in the first years of life - when you had the first interactions of your life with your mother, your father, your siblings and grandparents. These interactions shaped your brain to understand the world around you, and where you belong in this world. Based on these interactions, your brain developed an understanding of how you can best meet your emotional needs, and developed an attachment style - Your style of managing relationships and emotional closeness.

It is estimated that half of the people in the world have a secure attachment style, but the other half have one of the three insecure attachment styles.

Now I am going to give you 4 set of statements, and I want you to pick one of these four that you can relate the most to when it comes to your current or past relationships. You may not agree with all the statements in a set, but pick one that you can relate the most to - because relationships aren't a complete science, they are equal parts art.

Set #1

  1. When I am emotionally close to someone, I look forward to spending time with them, but also like to have some time for myself.
  2. I have complete trust in my relationship and my partner. I don't get jealous or worry about my partner leaving me.
  3. When I feel insecure or worried in a relationship, I can talk about it with my partner easily.

Set #2

  1. I feel happy and complete only when I am in a relationship.
  2. I like spending as much time as possible with my partner. It helps me feel calm and loved.
  3. I worry a lot about relationships. I worry whether my partner is happy in the relationship or not.
  4. When I am upset, I can not be alone - I need other people around me to give attention to me.

Set #3

  1. When I start feeling emotionally close to someone, I need to pause to make sure things aren't moving too fast.
  2. When I am upset, I do not like to be near people. I need space to manage my emotions on my own.
  3. I sometimes feel that my partner wants too much from me.
  4. Other people often disappoint me, which makes it harder to trust them.
  5. I am smarter and emotionally more mature than most people around me.

Set #4

  1. When I start feeling emotionally close to someone, I need to pause to make sure things aren't moving too fast.
  2. When I am upset, I don't like to be around people. I feel like a failure, and it's easier to be by myself.
  3. I'm afraid that once people gets to know me, they won't like who I really am.
  4. I don't want to give others a chance to hurt or reject me. I would rather leave them first.

A great relationship is about two things: First, find out the similarities. Second, respect the differences.

If you chose set #1 - then you have what is called a secure attachment style - It's the best kind of attachment style, where relationships feel uncomplicated. You likely grew-up with a good balance of independence and emotional comfort from others around you. You feel safe to explore the world, to chase your dreams because you feel supported in your relationships - you can trust others to be emotionally present for them, and are able to reciprocate this form of connection. You are in-tune with your own emotions and feel comfortable in expressing and communicating your emotions. You feel comfortable making room for other's emotions.

If you chose set #2, - then you have an anxious attachment style. It is estimated that about 30% of people in the world have an anxious attachment style. You likely worry a lot about feeling secure in your relationship, or about your partner getting upset with you, or your relationship falling apart, and spending as much time being close to your partner relieves some of this anxiety.

This attachment style develops among people whose parents were sometimes present for emotional comfort, but not at other times - there was no consistency or guarantee that for the child that their emotions needs will be met. Sometimes their caregivers are sensitive and loving, while other times they aren't able to attend to the child's needs and emotions.

As an adult, this leads you to be in this constant state of uncertainty where different fears keep popping-up and you feel the need for reassurance from your partner - whether that's in words, or whether that's being close to them physically, or even constantly thinking about your relationship in your head - your relationship becomes the main focus of your life - sort of like an emotional hunger that you are trying to satisfy.

Another common thing that in anxious attachment style is this constant need to be proving your value in a relationship - to do something to earn your partner's love, or always go along with what your partner says- as if you need to constantly do or give something for the other person to love you and be with you. You simply being you doesn't feel enough.

If you chose either set #3 or set #4, then you have an avoidant style - It is estimated that about 20% of people in the world have an avoidant attachment style. You do not rely on others for your emotional comfort. The difference between the set #3 and set #4 is the reason why you don't want to rely on others. This attachment style is commonly seen among people who are didn't have a lot of emotional support growing-up, and that results in one of the two possible responses - You either learn that you can only rely on yourself to feel safe and emotionally comforted, and don't trust others. If you chose set #3, then this is you - dismissive attachment style

You are confident in yourself, you know your worth and have strong opinions, but you're not so sure about others - you don't like getting too emotionally close or intimate, because deep down you don't believe that you can trust others. You take pride in their strong independence and self-reliance, but in doing so, they loose the balance of let others get close to them.

Another thing that's common in this dismissive attachment style is the need to withdraw things aren't going your way in a relationship. Essentially, you are very sensitive to others not meeting your expectations and emotional needs - by default, you expect them that they will fail you, but by withdrawing you deprive yourself and your relationship of the growth that comes with working through the difficult stuff.

If you chose set #4, then you have an fearful attachment style, which is another type of avoidant attachment style - you still avoid people, but not because you think they won't meet your needs, but rather because you don't believe that you are good enough for others to be interested in you, or to care about you enough to want you, to truly love you or emotionally comfort you. And you don't want to be disappointed - you don't want to feel that way, so when things get tough, you withdraw from other people, before they have any chance of hurting you or rejecting you. But by doing so, you also deprive them and yourself of a chance to prove you wrong - to show you that you matter to them, and that your emotions are important to them. Fear and avoidance drives this attachment style.

Why is change so hard? How to change your habits effectively?

Why is change hard?

Have you ever tried to change a habit that has been bugging you for years, and maybe you succeeded for a few days or weeks, only to bounce back to where you started? Yeah… we have all been there, and I personally know how hard it can be to change. Whether it's to stay motivated, or to remember what you're supposed to do different.
There is a strong scientific reason why change is so hard, And that reason is the neural pathways in your brain. Our brains like consistency and predictability - simply because a consistent and predictable response is an easier and more efficient way to go about your life.
As our brain processes 100s and 1000s of thoughts and emotions everyday, they need efficiency to keep things going smoothly. Most of these thoughts and actions happen automatically - like riding a bike or driving from work to home.
To do this our brain uses neural pathways - they are roadways within the brain - the roads more often used are the ones that require least amount of effort from your brain. And therefore, your brain prefers to use those roads for all the automatic thinking and decisions that you make everyday.

What happens when you try to change?

New behaviors on the other hand puts two demands on your brain: First, you would need to keep the existing habit or thinking in check. Of course, your brain will automatically go to the default, but catching yourself and stopping is important to unlearn that behavior.
Secondly, you would need to know what else to do instead - which can be more difficult than it sounds, because what you’re not familiar with is alien to your mind, regardless of how obvious it might seem to others.
And that’s the #1 reason why change can be so hard. Does that sound like a lot of work? It sure is, but there’s also a way to make it a lot easier - with the right step-by-step approach.
So lets talk about the 5 stages of change with you in a moment, and how to use them to easily bring last changes, but before we talk about that step-by-step approach, there is a very important foundational step that you will need to take. This step lays the strong base upon which you can build your new behaviors or life perspectives.
And that is to have clarity about your motivation. Motivation drives every change in life - and your motivation needs to be strong. In fact, the five stages of change are all based on motivation itself. So how do you go about building a strong motivation then? You need to have clarity about what it is that you are trying to change, and be honest with yourself about why? Why do you want to bring this change?
One of my favorite quotes is: “nothing changes until the cost of staying the same outweighs the cost of changing.”
Any behavior that we have - regardless of whether we like it or not - serves a purpose in our life. We are often quick to dismiss - if we take a moment to reflect and get to know what purpose does our current behavior serves in our life, it becomes that much easier to change the behavior to a new one, while still making sure that those very needs are being met.

Change begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Stage 1 - Pre contemplation

This stage is the most difficult one, mostly because in this stage the person doesn't think that they need to change. It's not their problem, it's everyone else's. They might think about the change if they are pushed by other people in their life, but there is no internal motivation.
But don't worry;  if you have identified your reason for change - your motivation behind starting this process, the you are most likely already far ahead of this first stage.

Stage 2 - Contemplation

This is the stage when you know that you want to change some habit, but haven’t really made a commitment to it.
You know you should change a habit or a behavior, but the motivation isn't strong. Sometimes you try to make a change, other times you forget about it, and you tell yourself that you don't have time, or it's hard to remember, or you will get started tomorrow - the tomorrow that never comes.
And the real reason behind this struggle in this second stage is that you haven't clear picture of the three things you need to work through this stage: Knowing exactly what behavior or habit is it that you want to change, and knowing what you are going to replace that habit with? And also why? Why should your brain let go of taking care of things automatically and put in all this effort?
But that's exactly why putting words to what you want to change and why is the change so important... what is your motivation behind it?

Stage 3 - Preparation

The third stage of change is preparation. This is a stage that people often skip, which is the reason their change lasts only a short while, but they go back to their old habits.
Once you’re motivated enough to move past the contemplation stage, you likely want to jump right-in. But that's more like taking your SATs or GREs without preparation because you’re so excited and ready to get into your dream school.
Remember - "Success always needs preparation."
And I really hope that by now you have identified and shared what you want to change and why, because guess what.... If you have already done that, then you can get started on this third stage right now, and start getting ready for stages 4 and 5 within the next few days.
So what exactly goes into this stage?
Start by defining your end-goal. Start with the end in mind. Define what you want to change, and how would you know when you’re there? For example, if your goal is to loose weight and get fit this summer - define a concrete goal, such as I plan to loose 5 lbs.
Second, define steps along the way to your goal - have gradations that you can periodically track to make sure that you’re on the right track, and also get some motivation that you’re making process.
Third, and the most important is - decide on a specific start date. It is important to have a specific start date in mind, when you would start working towards the change. And the best window is 5 to 7 days.

Stage 4 - Action

This is stage when you are actively working towards your goals... you are putting in the work, you are actually making the change. A couple of reminders for this stage:
Write down your why, and create a daily checklist somewhere (white board on the fridge, or on your phone):
  1. What behavior or thinking do you want to track
  2. What are you replacing that with? What will you do instead? How do you want to think instead?
This checklist will help you get better and better overtime in recognizing the things that you want to change in that moment, and remembering what you want to replace them with. The longer you stick with the process, better you will get - it's one small step every day.
In addition, it can be helpful to have an accountability person who can periodically check-in with you, to keep you motivated and on the track.

Stage 5 - The Maintenance stage

And finally, you will arrive at the last stage - Maintenance, which is all about maintaining the change that you’ve now achieved.
Forget about the whole 21 days, it take weeks to months for the new habits to really become a second nature - the new automatic road for your brain... where it just becomes effortless. Especially, if your old thinking and behavior has been present for many years.
This stage often involves sticking with your new habits until they become a second nature, just like your initial habits were. Once they are, then you no longer have to think about it or pay attention to it. Your brain will have a new roadmap for all the automatic functioning.

Why is self awareness important?

Why is self awareness important, and how can you get started on deepening yours?
To understand how self awareness can help you make feel more confident, motivate you to follow your passions, and help you make your relationships stronger and healthier, you first need to know understand self awareness really means.
I talk about what self awareness is in one of my videos, but in short, developing self awareness means understanding who you are, and how you came to be who you are. Why you are who you are today - what life experiences have made you the person who is watching this video?
This sort of understanding, this awareness about yourself can completely change three areas of your life:

1. How you see yourself  

Understanding how you came to be the person who you are today can be pretty powerful. It helps you develop compassion for yourself by reminding you all that you had to overcome to be where you are today, and to keep going on the path you are traveling now.
This compassion, this understanding helps see what makes you unique. No one else will ever have the same set of unique life experiences as you - and in turn, no one else will ever have the exact same perspective on things or take on life. The more you are able to see this for yourself, more comfortable you start to be in who you are. The more you see your strength, your resilience, your passion, more you start to feel confident in yourself.
And all of this starts with you exploring and understanding how you came to be who you are today, which is another way of saying, developing your self awareness.

2. Your relationships

The more confident and comfortable you are with yourself - your confidence and comfort with yourself makes you more attractive to others. Self-awareness also helps you form deeper, more authentic emotional bonds with other, because it helps you be more authentically you. 
You're not trying to be someone else who think others want to be you, and by doing that, you bond with others who see you, accept you, and love you truly for who you are. This genuine, authentic bond is what you need to really feel connected and supported in your relationships - superficial relationships can be plentiful, but with superficial realtionships, you can still feel all alone, even when surrounded by people.
Another way in which self awareness significantly impacts your relationships is by allowing you to communicate your desires and values more effectively. The more you understand why you like or don't like something, better you can communicate what matters to you, and why it holds an importance for you. It also helps you see how other people in your life are different than you, so you can understand their life preferences, their desires, and things that are important to them better. These things and values just don't exist with a superficial take on life - they don't exist without awareness.

3. Your career ambitions

Self awareness helps you understand your passions - what things you are interested in, what things you are good at, and what is it that makes you passionate about a particular field, career direction or business aspirations.
It helps you understand your motivations, and stay motivated towards your goals. By understanding why your goals matter to you, you're more likely to have the clarity on what drives you towards your goal and passion. This clarity, this understanding is something you can lean on when you have doubts along the journey, or when you're going through the natural ups and downs of motivation.
Self awareness is also crucial in understanding your strengths and weaknesses, and accepting areas where you shine, and areas where you need help from others. This understanding is the backbone for any successful career path, and even more so if you have business or leadership aspirations.
By understanding your passions, your motivations, and your strengths, you can best guide your time and efforts towards the goals that matter the most to you, and where success will be waiting for you.
So which of these three areas of life are most important for you at this stage of your life? Share with me in the comments down below, and I'll reply to you there.
Bonus tip:
To get started on deepening your self awareness - Start with your why. Start with why you want to develop self awareness - what's your motivation?
That reflection in itself is the biggest piece of self awareness - it will instantly tell you what matters the most to you at this point of life, and where your motivations are, where you can draw inspiration from.
Knowing your why will help you understand what your inner self wants from you? What area of life are you seeking to grow in? What happiness in life are you seeking?
And that's an amazing place to start your journey to know yourself better.

Self-awareness gives you the capacity to learn from your mistakes as well as your successes. It enables you to keep growing.

How to RESOLVE CONFLICT in Relationships? (Fair Fighting Rules)