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The Music Comes On and the Dance Begins

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One of the questions that I am often asked by email, via Facebook, or during my lectures, is how to permanently end a relationship with someone that is a negative force in a person’s life. I have heard many terms to describe these types of people, but one of my favorites is energy vampire, because the person zaps the life out of you.

A relationship doesn’t have to be romantic to fall into the toxic category.

Ending a relationship can be one of life’s greatest challenges. We all have a few people in our lives that we allow to treat us in a manner less than we deserve. Cognitively we know that if we don’t change something, the result will be the same, but once that music starts, we jump right into the same old dance.

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Eliminate the Number One Relationship Killer

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Communication is an important part, if not the most important part, of any relationship. The way you communicate has a major impact on your ability to get along with the various people in your life – spouses, children, coworkers, friends, and neighbors. When communication breaks down, relationships suffer. According to recent research, poor communication is the number one reason why couples (and friendships) break up.

Any relationship worth having experiences conflict at some point. The conflict isn’t the problem (conflict is a natural part of intimacy), how the situation is handled is the determining factor in whether the relationship will deepen or be torn apart.

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Spend Valentine’s Day with the Love of Your Life

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­I was watching television recently when it happened … I saw the first commercial for the Valentine’s Day diamond collection – you know, the gift that every woman will treasure. As I listened to the music and watched as the camera panned the romantic setting, waves of emotion overcame me like a tsunami. At that moment, in my mind, everyone in the world was in a loving, committed relationship and I was going to be the only person sitting home alone on February 14 (most likely eating ice cream).

Realistic assumption? Of course not. But for a few minutes the drama queen in me took over and my emotions ran wild. Fortunately, I was able to reign them in, but the feelings I experienced are very common.

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Are You Okay with Maybe?

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I’m a control freak. There … I said it. I like everything to be in perfect order. I have a difficult time when there is a mess in my surroundings or in my life. Being a person who is addicted to certainty is manageable when everything goes as planned, but what happens when life throws a curve ball? That’s when things get interesting!

As a driven, type A personality, I made sure it was all in order. College … marriage … two kids … a house with a fence … money in the bank. I left nothing to chance. There was always a master plan.

Then, one day, without warning, it all began to unravel. At first it wasn’t anything major, a few issues here and there, but before long, piece by piece, my life fell apart. And when it did, I didn’t know how to cope. I was a person who was addicted to certainty and everything was out of my control. Fear of the unknown consumed me.

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Crazy Eight!

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Eight years ago this month, I published the first issue of 24 Seven magazine. I had never untaken anything on my own of such magnitude.

What was once a seemingly crazy idea, has blossomed into more than I could ever have imagined. The magazine’s pages have been graced with the wisdom of so many inspiring and influential thought-leaders; people who are making a real difference in the world. And, each has entrusted me with his or her words.

I spend most days on autopilot, never really grasping the scope of where my brand is going. On some level I understand it, but on another, I am totally amazed.

This morning when I visited our digital hosting site, I learned that the October issue, from this site alone, was viewed more than 739,000 times. Nearly one million people opened my publication. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I am humbled to know that this “little” digital magazine is touching so many lives!

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When Your Ex Gets Remarried

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I recently learned that my ex husband got engaged. After living for more than three decades with this man in my life, I must admit, hearing this news was a punch in the gut. I spent the next two days with a horrible feeling surrounding me, you know that uneasiness you get in your stomach after someone close passes away? My body was on edge, I shook inside, and could not shed the anxiousness of impending doom. Even with all of the horrific things that transpired between us, I had an emotional reaction to his engagement.

I’m not really sure why I felt the way I did. I knew he was dating someone exclusively and we haven’t been part of each other’s lives for six years (as he severed all ties when he met her), and yet, I felt a tremendous sense of loss. Loss of the life we were supposed to live, loss of the family I so desperately wanted, loss of many dreams.

I thought I had grieved the divorce and moved on, my life is on a wonderful trajectory and I’m happy, but, there I was again, right in the middle of the pain. Divorce truly is the gift that just keeps giving!

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Do You Live in the Gap?

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I recently had the opportunity to speak with Mel Robbins, the creator of the Five Second Rule and author of The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work and Confidence with Everyday Courage. According to Mel, we live our lives inside a gap between what’s happening to us and our reaction to it and that gap is about five seconds long. She believes that by implementing her five second rule, which is simply counting back from five to one and then taking action, we can transform every aspect of our life. The premise is that by counting through the five seconds, in which we usually begin to think and allow excuses to come in, we can close the gap, be in control, and override bad patterns in our mind. She says this enables us to take action and to create positive new habits.

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Confidence is an Inside Job!

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How we feel about ourselves dictates the way we live life. It impacts the way we approach just about everything we do. Yet, sadly, many people struggle to believe in their worth and abilities.

Throughout my life, my levels of self-confidence have ebbed and flowed. Growing up I was an overweight adolescent, which had a significant effect on how I viewed myself. When you’re young, external validation is so important and when that is compromised, it can stay with you forever. When I became a teenager, I lost weight, but, to be honest, my self-image didn’t change. The programming was written, and, as I later learned, only I could modify it.

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I Bought the Pool

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For the past few weeks, friends and family has had to listen to me ramble on about the pool I just added to my backyard. Hearing me one would think I had the most beautifully designed masterpiece installed. In reality, it’s an average oval-shaped, above ground pool. Nothing spectacular or particularly enchanting, and yet, the excitement is pouring out of every inch of me.

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When Your Pet Dies

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Recently, my beloved dog, Ginger, passed away. One day she appeared fine and the next we were being told that we needed to “make a decision.”

Ginger lived with us for seven years. She was a foster dog and her first three years of life were painful. She was shuffled from one home to the next, never finding anyone who was willing to give her a permanent residence. If you knew her, you’d wonder why this was the case. She had a kind, gentle soul and wanted nothing more than to please. Looking back, I guess she was waiting for me.

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Are You Hanging Out in the Waiting Room?

This morning I had a conversation with a colleague about the topic of loss and grief and in it we shared intimate details about traumatic experiences that we each have survived. During the discussion, she made an interesting statement. She told me that there was a time when she knew she had to leave the “waiting room”. I have never heard the phrase “waiting room” used in relationship to grief so I asked her to explain. She told me that “waiting room” describes the space between the horrific pain of an experience, and the life of possibilities that can be lived. She added that many people spend their entire lives in the waiting room.

She got me to thinking about all of the time I spent hanging out in the waiting room. Simply existing. Staying in my comfort zone longing for what will never be. Not truly living or thriving!

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Is Social Media Really Making You Social?

For most of us, checking our social media accounts is as much a part of our daily routine as bathing and brushing our teeth. A touch on a screen instantly connects us to people we may not have spoken to in years.

It’s easy to get caught up in the social world. Popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, plus a host of many others, provide the opportunity for us to witness family vacations, a friend’s momentous occasion, and even traumatic situations such as divorce, sickness and death.

While viewing photos of a friend’s precious new baby, a relative’s recent exotic trip, or a co-worker’s romantic wedding, may not appear to be an activity that can bring a person down, research suggests otherwise.

Recent studies have shown that social networking is linked to depression and social isolation, and it has been shown to create feelings of envy, insecurity, and poor self-esteem. One study reported that one in three Facebook users feel more dissatisfied with their own lives after browsing the social-media networking site than they did before logging in.

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Remembering the Love

The holiday season is upon us. It’s a time when people gather to celebrate with those we love. As the song states, it can be the most wonderful time of the year, but, it also can be the loneliest. If you have lost a loved one or suffered a breakup with a spouse/significant other or friend, the holiday season is a constant reminder of the pain.

I know that pain all too well. It wasn’t that long ago that I spent most of my time grieving the loss of my mother, sister and marriage (all within a period of six months). During the holidays (and to be honest most any other day), I would scroll through social media posts, watch TV shows and commercials, and long for the fun and love shared by friends and family. Everyone appeared to be living Hallmark moments, except me.

Grief at any time of the year is painful, but it feels especially traumatic during the holidays.

I recently had a conversation with grief expert, David Kessler, in which we spoke about the stages of grief and how the feelings that accompany a loss can be heightened during the holiday season. While it’s natural to try to suppress the painful memories, according to David, “Healing doesn’t mean forgetting, it means remembering with more love than pain.” And, he says, that happens with time.

To better understand what you may be feeling, David explained the stages of grief, which were created and adapted by he and Elizabeth Kubler Ross. David cautioned that these stages do not necessarily occur in order and they may repeat.

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What Kind of Ripples Do You Create?

Waking up to reports of people being gunned down while enjoying a night out sickens me. It sickens me like every other horrific, tragic story we have heard before.

I don’t understand what is happening; it seems like our world is upside down. I don’t pretend to have the answers. I don’t how we got here, but we have arrived. All I do know is that we must do what is within our power to enact change, even if it is only within our small piece of the world.

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Finding the Silver Lining

A tragedy is defined as “an event causing great suffering, destruction, and distress.” We understand the meaning of those words, however, I believe the important component is how we view the situation. What may be a “tragedy” to one person, is nothing more than a “bump in the road” to another.

While we can agree that death, divorce, a job loss, create less than desirable circumstances, each can be viewed and handled differently from one person to the next. The key is that person’s outlook.

There are people who see the glass half full in all situations and others who see it as half empty. We have a choice about how we view what occurs in our life and that choice determines how we will transition through a tragic experience.

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