Relationships

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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thriving in chaos

You can thrive in summer, even when your schedule is falling apart

By Alison Cook | July 30, 2018

I always struggled to thrive in summer, even before I had a family. On one hand, I enjoy the happy chaos, but my soul tends to take a beating without the natural rhythms of a school year. In the absence of a set structure, I default to adapting my day-to-day routines around the needs of...

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How to bring peace to others

When you want to bring peace to others

By Alison Cook | July 24, 2018

We want to bring peace to others. Unfortunately, our loved ones’ struggles often trigger our own troubling emotions, making it difficult to be of real help. When someone shares a need or frustration, the following four types of responses are common but not always most helpful. Do you recognize your own go-to method here? Agreement....

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How to improve connection

How to Regain Connection to God, Others, and Yourself

By Alison Cook | July 10, 2018

We want to be close to God and to others. . . but did you know that connection starts with you? We all crave the experience of being seen and loved for who we really are. And we rejoice when someone we love lets us in to see them for who they really are. Such...

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