Chaotic and ever-changing as life is, it’s no wonder that we look to external factors to define who we are and how we’re doing. It’s easy to lose sight of how our success in life shows up in intangible stuff, like the way we treat people, how we handle tough stuff, and how much love we put into the world.
Here are some things that never define your self-worth and if they all changed tomorrow, you would still be you: Keep reading »
Clinical depression sucks and it’s only growing more common. Almost one in two people in the U.S. will suffer from depression or another mental health condition at some point and about one in 17 Americans actually has a serious mental illness right now.
Despite its rising rates, depression can be hard to wrap your brain around, especially if you’ve never had it. It’s not easily treated or cleared up by positive thinking, or yanking yourself up by your bootstraps, or shoving your feelings to the dark corners of the back of your mind. It’s so much deeper and more insidious than that. I once described depression this way:
“None of those external [good things you have going for you] truly register or resonate when you have depression. You can logically identify them as Good Things, and you know they are supposed to make you feel Good, but you can’t feel them, they can’t get in. It’s like your brain is wearing a full-body armor designed to keep only the good things out. Bad things … get ushered in instantly, like VIPs.”
People who don’t have depression don’t always know what to say that could possibly help to a friend or family member going through the all-encompassing yet simultaneously utterly numb sensation of your own brain turning against you. Here are a few things not to say (unless you want said friend or loved one to grow homicidal as well as miserable): Keep reading »
Of all the ugly emotions out there, jealousy has to be one of the worst. It can feel childish, petty and almost like a primal rage. But it’s also inescapable; jealousy is almost like an epic equalizer, because everybody feels it now and then. On the path toward emotional growth, jealousy is one of the hardest hurdles to take on because it seem like such an out-of-control, counterproductive emotion, but it can be used for good. Whether it’s competitive jealousy with friends and acquaintances or the kind of jealousy that inches its way into monogamous relationships, this crummy feeling can take us to the emotional maturity level of a 7th grader with the snap of a finger. We can’t just make it disappear, but we can find ways to handle it like (semi) grown-ups. Keep reading »
He seemed sweet at first. In fact, he had many sweet moments. But then there was the other stuff …
Abusive behavior isn’t as simple as we, as a society, want it to be. We often think that the kinds of signs that tell you a man could be abusive are very obvious. We imagine monsters, overtly misogynist thugs. We think of extreme physical violence as being the key – or the only – signifier. But often the violence doesn’t start until a relationship is already established – sometimes not until after a woman has moved in with her boyfriend, marries him, or becomes pregnant. In fact, the leading cause of death in pregnant women is domestic homicide, which is to say they are killed by their intimate partners. If we limit our understanding of abusive behavior to physical violence, we risk ignoring other red flags we should be heeding. Keep reading »
A cute guy walks up to you in a bar. He’s totally full of himself, but makes you laugh as he flexes his muscles while telling you he’s the best. This guy is a narcissist, right?
Not necessarily. Keep reading »
It’s been awhile since we’ve heard anything about Private Chelsea Manning, also known as Bradley Manning, a dishonorably discharged soldier who was sentenced to 35 years for leaking classified documents to Wikileaks. The last we heard from Manning was in August, when she had publicly come out as transgender and informed the world she wanted to be referred to as Chelsea. This announcement drew attention to the fact that she was being sentenced to confinement at Fort Leavenworth, an all-male prison. Keep reading »
This one is for everyone who freaked about the colleges they got into, if they were privileged enough to get into college at all: a Gallup-Purdue University poll found that the experiences you had in college rather than the type of school you went to, are the major factor in determining the happiness in your post-grad quality of life. I’m guessing this could come as a major comfort to those high school juniors and seniors who are vying for spots at Princeton, Harvard and Yale. Keep reading »
Last week, ABC News reporter Claire Shipman and BBC World News American anchor Katty Kay published an essay in The Atlantic called “The Confidence Gap” about the divide in confidence between men and women. The piece is promoting their new book, The Confidence Code: The Science And Art Of Self-Assurance — What Women Should Know. The basic gist is that although women have proven themselves just as competent as men in higher education and in the workplace, we struggle with confidence in our abilities (even while men who lack those abilities are assuredly overconfident).
Predictably, these statements have set off a flurry of response pieces. On Al-Jazeera, Alice Driver criticized the book for setting the male status quo as the standard for women (as did Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In). Amanda Hess took a similar tack over at Slate’s Double X blog. Over at Jezebel, Tracy Moore argued there there’s no confidence crisis at all: “It’s just sexism.” Keep reading »
The “I,” the ego, the self. These terms are used loosely to describe the individual life-force each of us is always searching for, but seems intent on remaining so elusive. According to a new study published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition, scientists claim to have discovered the general location of the self within the body, subjectively speaking, at least. Keep reading »