• approval seeking,  Garden tour,  Personal growth,  Photo stories

    You be you

    “Forget popularity; focus on sincerity. Do what you do, not for applause, but because it is what is right for you. Practice respecting yourself and becoming a reliable part of your own support system.” ~Angel Chernoff, Marc and Angel Hack Life The word “popularity” immediately sends me back to junior high school. This quote from Marc and Angel Chernoff got me thinking about the interesting difference between sincerity and popularity. When we focus on being “popular,” we might value the number of friends we have rather than the quality of their character. (This is especially true when we use social media.) Popularity involves striving for approval and applause — or conformity — no…

  • Photo stories,  social skills

    Keep it simple

    “Simplicity is discerning the essential from the unessential. Simplicity is having room for the unexpected. It is savoring life. Most of all, simplicity is freedom: It’s freedom to choose what you want in your life because you’re not letting in everything that shows up.” ~Victoria Moran, Shelter for the Spirit Keep it simple? It sounds so much easier than it really is. Ours is a culture that promotes constant activity — which partly explains why some people panic at the mere thought of slowing down or having “nothing to do” on the weekend. In the past, most of the stress I’ve experienced has been the result of trying to accomplish too much…

  • Communication,  Friendship and relationship advice,  Photo stories,  social skills

    Deep listening

    “How often do you offer your undivided attention to others? Do you inquire into how they’re doing, what’s happening in their world, or what they need to feel safe and happy? Or are you quick to talk about yourself and see how others might serve you?” ~John Amodeo, PhD One of the hallmarks of a great conversationalist is the ability to listen. Ideally, when someone asks what you’ve been up to lately, you hope they’ll pay attention to your answer and even ask follow-up questions. Too often lately, most people seem eager to shut you up, derail your topic, and reroute the conversation back to themselves. Social media platforms —…

  • Facebook,  Friendship and relationship advice,  Oakland Press columns

    Life without Facebook

    “I didn’t know what Facebook was, and now that I do know what it is, I have to say that is sounds like a huge waste of time.” ~Betty White This year I’m celebrating six years of Facebook sobriety. In my experience, Facebook caused more harm than good and I had to quit. Once I did, my emotional wellbeing, relationships, and productivity all improved. If you missed my Oakland Press column on the topic, you can still read it online here. 

  • Motivation,  Personal growth,  Photo stories

    Managing the complaint department

    “When you consistently maintain a positive frame of mind, you’ll become known as a problem-solver rather than a complainer. Most people avoid complainers. They seek out problem-solvers.” ~ Joseph Sommerville, PhD, The Five Keys to Interpersonal Success Are you a complainer or a problem-solver? According to behavioral research, if you hang out with folks who frequently complain, you might find yourself sporting a negative attitude and extra frown lines in the middle of your forehead. Worse yet, when complaining becomes endemic — in the workplace or in social circles — it’s hard to break the habit. This isn’t an invitation to pour pink paint or “positivity” on serious problems. But spending…