Author Archive

Family Vacation – one great tip on how to improve it

I’ve been looking at how to optimize our family vacations for the past several years. (See last year’s post, “Reduce conflict during family vacation!”) As our two kids are hitting their teenage years, it’s getting more challenging than ever to find win-win agreements and outcomes. How on earth can everyone be satisfied when we have very different wishes and needs? It seems impossible at times. Especially…

The Comparison Trap . . . and getting out of it

I recently received this question from a woman I know: “I’d like some help dealing with the trap of comparing. I’ve been struggling under the weight of house envy. A friend has a new home with garden attached, and the arrival of summer weather threatens to steal all my usual joy in the season. I guess it sounds absolutely ridiculous and trivial, but it’s so real…

Reacting to Lying in Ways that Bring Connection

In my role as coach, mediator, trainer, I say upfront my clients that I don’t have the answers, don’t diagnose and won’t advise. I focus my work on helping others uncover their longings, help see what’s getting in the way (often deep-seated pattern of behavior), and set the stage for finding creative new strategies that fulfill longings. So it’s no surprise that this approach allows me…

How I deal with my teenager’s ‘disrespect’

(note: please forgive the brashness expressed in this article – my need for being with reality is bigger than any desire to be overly polite . . .) “Fuck you!” Those were the words that cut off my recent attempt-to-connect sentence coming out of my mouth: “Sweetie, let’s try talking abo-” As the door slammed behind my just-turned 13-year-old son, I tried picking my jaw off…

The Beauty of Our Interdependence

We’ve been down a long 25-year road in our relationship, with many skid marks as well as breathtaking vistas along the way. For me it’s culminated to this single guiding phrase: Your well-being is my well-being, and my well-being is your well-being. It didn’t catch on with me for the longest time. . .  I was busy fighting for my position, my place, not really understanding…

A Letter on behalf of our Relationship

The relationship request I wish I made years ago This year marks a quarter of a century since I first met and fell in love with my husband. As we’re from different cultures (I’m American, he’s Dutch), we’ve had a fair share of ups and downs for sure throughout our relationship. We have shown much love, trust and courage to each other which created countless moments…

Reduce conflict during family vacation!

I spent this summer vacation engaging in and attempting to observe family conflict. This “fieldwork” was challenging to say the least. It required me to take a helicopter view, even when I was emotionally involved. I set out to better understand why it is that we struggle to meet the essential extended holiday longings we all share, like: Why is it that despite each of us…

Unlearning Perfectionism

I’ve studied and written about perfectionism plenty . . . my own experience with it, tips to overcome it, etc. But what I now know better than ever is that all the reading in the world doesn’t help one deal with it compared to a living, breathing experience. I’m talking about the act of DOING instead of thinking, analyzing, theorizing, trying to understand. Since I can’t…

A Journey Towards Self-Love

Self-love. For a long time, this was such a vague, foreign concept to me that I just didn’t know where to begin. Once I learned how important it is for me to connect with and care for myself, I stayed perplexed about HOW to go about it . . . there are after all no step-by-step manuals for sale. Since I’m not alone in this kind…

How anger can help you connect

If you’re anything like the old me, you’re probably confused at the notion that anger can be anything but disconnecting. I grew up with the belief that anger wasn’t o.k. As a result, if I ever felt and showed my anger, shame and guilt tagged right along with it. It was indeed a very disconnecting process in which I experienced double conflict: self-blame for allowing anger…

123