Relationships

how to forgive

How to forgive when no one’s asking for it

By Alison Cook | August 1, 2019

It feels uncomfortable to me when someone says, “Will you forgive me?” In most cases, you pretty much have me at the look in your eye. If you’re big enough to show up to talk about it: we’re good. It’s over. Let’s move on! It’s different for everyone, I know. In fact, Gary Chapman, author...

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parenting styles

3 parenting styles that impact your emotional and spiritual health

By Alison Cook | July 17, 2019

How did your parents nurture you as a child? Were they loving but firm or more firm than loving? Or were they absent, not nurturing you at all? No matter how you respond, the way you were parented has a profound impact on your emotional and spiritual health today. It impacts the way you regard...

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boundaries-with-mom

Why boundaries with your mom matter

By Alison Cook | July 10, 2019

“I love my mom, and I want her to be a part of my kids’ lives,” Nicole told me, during our first meeting. “But I feel so much guilt. She would spend every second with us if she could. And I feel terrible telling her no.”*   Nicole felt she was abandoning her mother by...

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healthy-distance

Why healthy distance is so important in relationships

By Alison Cook | July 3, 2019

My mom always used to say, “some people are loved best from a distance.” I never really understood the idea of healthy distance until I started working through my own boundaries issues. As a young adult, I didn’t know how to hold others responsible for their behaviors, nor did I even think it was important....

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What if loneliness was a gift?

By Alison Cook | March 21, 2019

Loneliness gets a bad rap. And for good reason. One of our deepest, most basic human needs is to experience healthy attachment—or in non-psychological terms, to experience loving connection with someone who sees us. When you stop numbing, one of the first painful emotions you may encounter is loneliness. And loneliness is a double-whammy. It often...

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lashing out

Losing it with your loved ones? Try these 2 things.

By Alison Cook | March 1, 2019

Are you losing it with your loved ones? Maybe you’re yelling at your kids. . .Or you’re bitter with your spouse, and it’s coming out in sarcastic digs. Sometimes you might just be swearing to high-heaven inside your mind – muttering words under your breath you’d never let anyone hear. When anger festers, it doesn’t...

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you can break free

When you or someone you love is self-destructing

By Alison Cook | February 12, 2019

On a hot summer day, Margaret marched into my office sporting a black, long-sleeve sweatshirt with an image of a giant middle finger on it. I liked her immediately. I’ve learned that the bolder the armor, the more tender the heart. Twenty-two going on forty, Margaret worked two jobs to make ends meet. She wanted...

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Authentic connection

A simple tool for creating authentic connection

By Alison Cook | December 12, 2018

How are you doing? Whenever somebody asks me this question, I tend to get very deer in the headlights. A flurry of words dance through my mind. Typically the first one I land on is Good! followed by panic as my English teacher mom’s voice surfaces. . . .or is it Well? which never sounds...

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When you need a rest from your inner task manager

By Alison Cook | November 21, 2018

A need isn’t always your personal call to action. My dad wrote this on a sticky note once and pasted it to his bathroom mirror. At the time, I didn’t really understand – I was a young kid. I just knew that my dad – a bastion of encouragement and helpful support – thought enough...

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Controlling others or confident leadership?

By Alison Cook | October 3, 2018

Would you rather lead by controlling others. . .or by empowering them? The answer to this question is pretty obvious. Controlling others gets a bad rap, and for good reason. Controlling behaviors can lead to manipulation, abuse of power, and boundary violations. On the other hand, we do want to have “self-control” and we also...

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The 5 signs that your desire to please others has become extreme

By Alison Cook | September 26, 2018

The desire to please others isn’t all bad. But when the desire to please becomes extreme, it keeps you from tending to a more vulnerable part of your own soul in need. When you focus always on the needs of others, you risk neglecting your deepest desires. You also may be avoiding your fears and...

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The 7 most common protectors that keep you from connection with others

By Alison Cook | September 12, 2018

You know the feeling. . .You’re at the dinner table with the people you love most, but you’re not really present. Your mind is a million miles away. Maybe you’re mentally scanning your to-do list or replaying the tape of that hard conversation you had with a friend earlier that day. Maybe you’re berating yourself...

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