Am I Queer Enough?

“Am I queer enough?”
This weekend I presented a workshop on “Queering Group Therapy.” Once again, I was struck by how many participants shared their struggle to feel queer enough to publicly claim their identity.  I’ve heard this over and over, where those already marginalized, feeling like an “other” to mainstream ideals, also fear that they won’t be accepted by the LGBTQ+ community.  
What’s up with that?
I spoke during the workshop about expectations laid upon us by the powerful force of our collective culture of heteronormativity.

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How to Cope with Death

Why Is This Happening?
As I write this, a longtime friend is dying in a hospice bed across town.  This is the second recent death in my friend circles, and it has brought me into a season of contemplating death.
I feel a similar anger and injustice about them both, as if death is some unfair tragedy that only the unlucky among us will experience.  And of course death is one of the most natural processes that we encounter, as necessary to the life cycle as birth.  What begins must

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Why You Should Disappoint People

Our Desire to Please

I get tickled when I surprise a friend with some unexpected delight, such as their favorite Voodoo doughnut.  Seeing their joy lights me up.  Our desire to please can feel generous and altruistic – wanting the best for others, enjoying their happiness.   
We are rewarded in numerous ways for acting in accordance with others’ desires, whether it’s by taking on the extra project to please a boss, or keeping an opinion quiet in order to not upset the group.  We are rewarded with approval

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Codependency is a Myth

Codependency is a Myth
Codependency is a word that gets tossed around a lot these days.  It evokes feelings of confusion, shame and judgment, as if getting attached to or needing others is a sign of weakness.  We use it to blame one another for caring too much, for leaning on our partners or friends.
In the U.S., we grow up striving toward autonomy, which seems more or less achievable depending on your access to resources.  Sue Johnson, the founder of
Emotionally Focused Therapy, writes in her book Hold Me

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Why Therapy Can Make You Feel Worse

How Therapy Works
Our minds and bodies are brilliant.  When we experience situations that overwhelm us, our minds protect us by helping us not know what we actually do know.  It’s hard to make sense of these difficult experiences, and so we create narratives to explain why these things happened to us.
Good therapy offers experiences that help us get back in touch with what we actually know.  This can only happen once we feel safe enough to go there, by building trust with a therapist who understands how

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What I Wish Everyone Knew About Love

Falling in love can feel like diving off a cliff.
For me, it’s exhilarating and terrifying, dizzying and dazzling.  It breaks me open to a fresh view of the world.  Suddenly, everything seems possible, and I overflow with hope and beauty and profound respect.  My heart is tender and raw, and I am rich with love to share.  I bubble over and laugh easily and look people in the eye.  Something is different with you, they say.  You are glowing.

When the object of my love does not

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How to Give Up

We hear a lot of advice about how to be happy.
In fact, I just wrote two blog posts (How to Be Happier in 5 Minutes and Warning: You Are Missing Out) highlighting what I think makes people happier.  We hear people telling us to follow our passions and create our dream lives.
On this rare overcast day in Denver, I’m thinking about the pitfalls of pursuing happiness, and the value of dropping it altogether.
On days like this, when I’m low energy and less than cheery, I question whether it’s

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Tips on How to Be Happier in 5 Minutes

In the last post, Warning: You Are Missing Out, I talked about the negativity bias, and how seeing the good parts of our lives goes against our natural tendency to look for problems.  So how do we shift our perspective to recognize what’s going well?  I have a few ideas, starting with the basics and moving toward the master level.


Begin with the Basics.  Go to bed at a decent hour.  Raise your heart rate daily.  Don’t let yourself get too hungry, and feed yourself with tasty,

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Warning: You Are Missing Out

Why do we think life is so hard?
I was listening to an episode of the podcast Freakonomics the other day, talking about our tendency to believe that we face more headwinds than tailwinds, and how this breeds resentment.  Also, we tend to overlook what is going well, or in other words, we don’t recognize the
tailwinds that have boosted us along, thus missing out on the chance to appreciate gifts and opportunities we have had.  This leaves us ungrateful and unhappy.

The tragedy of this really

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