Emotions

boundaries-with-heartache

Boundaries can help heal a heartache

By Alison Cook | June 17, 2019

I’ll never forget the first time I discovered that boundaries can help heal a heartache. Decades ago, I drove home a few weeks after a painful break-up. As I parked in front of my apartment, a favorite song came on the radio. Suddenly, the tears I’d been holding back for weeks came pouring out. In...

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boundaries-with-guilt

Why you should pay attention to guilt

By Alison Cook | May 29, 2019

Do you feel guilty all the time? If you do, please know you’re not alone. A constant sense of guilt is one of the most common challenging emotions I come across in people. Sometimes guilt is a subtle feeling—a nagging sense of all the things you’ve done wrong. Sometimes it’s not so subtle—a sense of...

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friends with fear

How to make friends with your fear

By Alison Cook | May 15, 2019

I’ve learned to make friends with my fear. I know that may sound strange. But after years of denying it—and having it pester me from afar—I’ve learned that befriending fear is the far better way. Many of our teachers and leaders tell us to watch out for fear. They say it holds us back and...

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4 steps to befriending your anger

By Alison Cook | April 30, 2019

The other night I felt angry. I noticed it deep within, way down at gut level. It welled up within me, and it was all I could do to hold it in. And I took notice. Because it took me years to understand the importance of listening to anger. Instead, I used to bury it....

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self-doubt and desire

When self-doubt battles with desire

By Alison Cook | April 10, 2019

I ripped off some band-aids these past few weeks. Numbing band-aids. Long story short: I had made a decision that was based on fear. I didn’t realize it in the moment, but I had decided to participate in a project to stave off self-doubt. God’s Spirit is funny how it works with us. I knew...

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9 ways to set boundaries with loneliness

By Alison Cook | March 27, 2019

It takes a long time to make an old friend. I learned that the hard way in the first 2 decades of my adult life. Job changes, moves, graduate school, and my family of origin leaving the small, close-knit town of my youth left me struggling with loneliness as I navigated into adulthood. We need...

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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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7 vulnerable feelings that surface when you stop numbing

By Alison Cook | March 13, 2019

As you peel back the layers of numbing behaviors, you might notice new feelings that surface—vulnerable feelings that may be uncomfortable or unpleasant. There’s a reason we numb. Don’t be alarmed. Those painful feelings are presenting themselves for healing. Look at these feelings as an opportunity to take a You-Turn and gain insight into your...

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When your shaming inner critic meets gentleness

By Alison Cook | November 7, 2018

What is the club you beat yourself with? Take a moment and consider your internal dialogue. Do you ever notice thoughts like these: You should be more like her. He’s so successful. If you were better, you’d be where he is. You deserve this bad thing that’s happened. You’ll never be as good as other...

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How to calm your worry

By Alison Cook | October 17, 2018

My, friend, Nicole, could not calm her worry. She worried about everything: she worried that if she didn’t marry, she would grow old alone—and that if she were to marry, her husband would end up cheating on her. She worried that if she stayed in her job, she would burn out—and that if she left...

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an extreme emotion

How to Identify a Part of Your Soul in Need

By Alison Cook | August 8, 2018

If you’re struggling with an extreme emotion, a hurting part of your soul might need your attention. Typically, an extreme emotion, such as anger or anxiety, or an overwhelming compulsion, such as over-thinking or people-pleasing, is a cue that some other more vulnerable part of your soul needs your attention. Let’s say you’re feeling irritable,...

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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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