We Can Do Hard Things – Relationships with Esther Perel

Dear Reader,

I hope you are doing well. The past two early mornings consisted of me listening to two separate podcast episodes from “We Can Do Hard Things that included Esther Perel as the guest speaker. Esther Perel is a “Psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author” whom “is recognized as one of today’s most insightful and original voices on modern relationships” (Doyle, 2022a).  They were both such amazing episodes that I had decided to share them here.

First Episode

“How, if you have been struggling in your romantic, parental, family, or work relationships through the lingering uncertainty of the last two years, you are not alone. The revolutionary understanding that, in relationships, ‘behind every criticism is a longing; behind every anger is a hurt.’ What to do when your relationship is a bond of co-parenting/life management instead of a partnership of ongoing discovery?” (Doyle, 2022a)

There is a link between trauma recovery and the process of enlivening “dead” relationships. Please consider listening to (or reading transcript) on this discussion of everyday conflict resolution practices. The guest speaker during this podcast was Esther Perel, a Psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author.

Listen to the podcast by clicking here.

Read the transcript by clicking here.

Second Episode

Here’s the “follow up” podcast episode that I had shared here just yesterday. It’s amazing how vulnerable those that called in to ask questions were at the time. Many were representatives for the stories of others who listen to this podcast and, because of them, we can learn that we can do hard things.

These are the topics that are discussed in this podcast (Doyle, 2022b):

  • Why Esther often recommends letter writing if you don’t know quite how to start—or have—hard conversations.
  • What to say—and when to say it—to show up for a friend who is in a bad relationship.
  • The importance of rituals in transitioning through breakups—what we should do when it’s time to say goodbye; and what we can do if we’ve never gotten the closure we need.

Listen to the podcast by clicking here.

Read the transcript by clicking here.


Doyle, G. (2022a). ARE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS ALIVE? with Esther Perel. Apple Podcasts Preview. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/are-your-relationships-alive-with-esther-perel/id1564530722?i=1000541193523

Doyle, G. (2022b). Esther Perel Answers Your Relationship Questions. Apple Podcasts Preview. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/esther-perel-answers-your-relationship-questions/id1564530722?i=1000541451789

The Comfort Circle – Explore

Dear Reader,

I hope you are doing well. This blog entry will continue The Comfort Circle series I had started about four months ago. For a thorough introduction of this series, click here. For those that would like a shorter explanation of the comfort circle, it’s simply an alternative way of verbally engaging with a significant other instead of the old dance one is accustomed to. These thoughts come from Milan and Kay Yerkovich—the authors of How We Love. Like all the blog entries I have written about the book How We Love, I will be focusing on the vacillator imprint.

Here are the links (as well as a brief review of the steps of the comfort circle) to the series thus far:

The Steps Around the Comfort Circle

  1. Seek Awareness. Partners discover their feelings, underlying needs, and triggers.
  2. Engage. Partners decide to bring their new awareness into the relationship.
  3. Explore. The speaker shares while the listener clarifies by asking further questions. The listener responds with understanding, validates the speaker’s feelings, and offers to meet the needs of the speaker after asking the question, “What do you need?”
  4. Resolve. Resolutions bring relief. The speaker offers some closure, which may involve negotiation, problem solving, compromising, owning, confessing, and forgiving. Sometimes it involves comfort and nurture. The speaker’s needs are met or deferred until an agreed-upon time.

Why Learn to Explore?

As for many things, it is best to learn why their is a need to buy into a pitch before doing an action. So here’s the reason why one needs to learn how to explore in a conversation. Exploring includes knowing how to communicate thoughts and feelings in “an effective way” (Yerkovich & Yerkovich, 2008). The key word, here, is “effective.” One doesn’t have to take a class on how to share thoughts and feelings. This action is something that have often been occurring since childhood (ex: “I don’t like that,” “I don’t want to,” or just expressing disagreements on the face with a scorn). But one does have to learn some guidelines on how to share thoughts and feelings effectively. I like how Yerkovich & Yerkovich used the phrase “drink responsibly” that is often seen in beer commercials to summarize this concept by saying “we all need to learn to speak responsibly” (Yerkovich & Yerkovich, 2008). In other words, whether one is the speaker or the listener, there are guidelines to follow to avoid damaging or seriously injuring one another.

Please note that before one explores, one is to engage. This consist of engaging with ones partner in “an honest, vulnerable way and taking turns as the giver and receiver” (Yerkovich & Yerkovich, 2008). If this is the first blog entry you are reading on this series, please make sure you also read about engaging. Click here for a direct link.

How to Start?

In beginning a conversation, first one is to decide who will be the speaker and who will be the listener. The job of the listener is to give full attention to the speaker. This includes listening, asking questions, clarifying, and recapping until they are sure they fully understand what the speaker is saying. In other words, use the skills of a therapist! 🙂 And, like a good therapist (as in a psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor, etc.), the result of the interaction is to understand the perspective of the speaker. It doesn’t mean that you agree with what the speaker is saying. It just means you have a window of insight on what the speaker is revealing.

Goals for the Speaker

The main goal for the speaker is to pick one topic. For the listener to mentally keep up with what one is sharing, one topic at the time is best. If the speaker continues from one topic to another, it can become overwhelming (i.e. mentally taxing) and may even discourage the listener in wanting to either continue partaking in the comfort circle or ever wanting to engage with a sincere openness to this experience.

When speaking on one topic, be clear and direct. Here’s some examples on how to be direct (Yerkovich & Yerkovich, 2008):

  • I want to talk about finances
  • I want to share some feelings about how we discipline the kids

Once stating the topic in a clear and direct way, ask your significant other for a good time to talk about it. This is where many error. They don’t ask for a “good time” but just share their heart right then and there. I like the metaphor of someone watching a film on their mental screen (i.e. mentally engaging in something) and then is demanded to take down their mental screen to observe the mental screen of another individual. It’s like someone stopping a movie someone is watching to replace their own movie that they are forcing someone to watch instead. So, to prevent this from happening, one should say “I would like to watch this movie with you” (i.e. “I would like to talk about this topic”). The next sentence would be to ask “what is a good time for you?”

The next goal is to use “I” statements instead of “you” statements:

I feel ________ (share feeling, not thoughts) when _________ (state the facts, do not judge or use “you”). I would like for you to __________ (share what you would like for the person to do).

For a handout of this, click here.

Goals for the Listener

According to Yerkovich & Yerkovich, the listener has the more challenging aspect and takes a bit more effort to practice and master (2008). Once the speaker is done sharing, the listener can encourage the speaker to share more for clarification and to give the listener more insight by acting out #2 found on the guide for the listener handout (to download this handout, click here and scroll down to “guide for the listener” and also see the “soul words” handout that is a companion to the first handout). To watch Milan and Kay speak about the goals for the listener, watch a video by clicking here. To view the flow chat of the comfort circle that is mentioned in this video, click here.

Goals for the Vacillator as Listener and Speaker

When the vacillator is the listener, they “may become impatient and tend to interrupt if the speaker is saying something [they] don’t feel is accurate” (Yerkovich & Yerkovich, 2008). In addition, since the vacillator often see things as black or white (i.e. right or wrong), they may struggle to keep listening when they don’t agree. What would be helpful is to remember each person has different perspectives (i.e. background history of their own experiences, childhood families, etc.) and are also unique. This may allow the vacillator to attempt to try to see from the perspective of others. Also, be careful to only ask questions to promote understanding instead of attempting to “entrap” the speaker to prove a point (Yerkovich & Yerkovich, 2008).

When the vacillator is the speaker, they may already have the skill of being verbal and having the desire to be understood. In other words, they may have the tendency to talk “too much” and, as a result, may overwhelm their listener with various examples and details. The promoting is because they may fear the listener will not understand unless they share so much information. The challenge the vacillator has is to be brief and concise (ex: Yerkovich & Yerkovich says to keep it limited to five or six sentences) and then give the listener time to recap. Also, the vacillator is to strive to be patient if the listener is struggling to ask good questions or to understand the vacillator’s point of view (Yerkovich & Yerkovich, 2008).

How was this reading for you? I hope this information was helpful. Please feel free to share with me your thoughts by either writing in the comment section below or email me directly at the email address that is found in the About section of my blog. To read the next step of the comfort circle on your own, please consider getting a copy of How We Love by Yerkovich & Yerkovick. You can order your own copy by clicking here.

To watch Kay guild a couple through a comfort circle, click here. For more freebies that are associated with the comfort circle, click here and scroll down.


Yerkovich, M. & Yerkovich, K (2008). How we love. Colorado Springs, CO: Waterbrook Press.

Sadie Robertson Huff and Alexa PenaVega

Dear Reader,

I hope you are doing well. I had just finished watching (more of just listening) to the interview Sadie Robertson Huff had with Alexa PenaVega. Although I didn’t have any backdrop about Alexa, I was honored to hear her share her story. She spoke on being a “Spy Kids” star, a “Dancing with the Stars” contestant, and even her struggle with an eating disorder. She also spoke on how she “broke free and conquered the thoughts and fears that led her down that path” (Robertson, 2022). Other parts of their discussion included social media and raising a child as well as living Christian life as a Christian family in the public eye. I enjoyed how Sadie shares her discovery of the spiritual connections in “Wonder Woman” movie.

For those that would like to watch this interview, here it is below.

To receive a copy of Alexa PenaVega’s “What If Love Is the Point?: Living for Jesus in a Self-Consumed World,” click here.


Roberton, S. (2022, June 15). Overcoming Your Eating Disorder & Fighting Through Anxiety | Sadie Robertson Huff & Alexa PenaVega. https://youtu.be/hk8Gzfqk5Ak


Dear Reader,

I hope all is well with you and yours. This blog entry is a summary of #TheChop reels that I had created on Facebook. Since some of the videos ended up recording in a choppy way (and I cannot figure out how to even watch the reels on a computer before attempting to share them directly here), I have decided to write what I was saying (or sum up what I was saying) in each reel, here.

#TheChop – Introduction

I had started the first reel to allow others to join me with saying “bye” to the length of my dreadlocks. It was a hard decision to finally get to the place where I felt emotionally and mentally comfortable in cutting my dreadlocks. It took me a while to grow out my hair and, as a child, I loved and adored those that allowed their hair to grow.

Prior to locking my hair, my hair only grew to medium length. So, whenever I saw someone cut their hair, I was so angry. “Why did you cut your hair!” I was exclaimed instead of actually asking. “It was getting too heavy” was often the honest reply. I didn’t fully understand this situation until I was actually in it.

My ultimate goal was to get my hair to grow as long as the length of the Marley twist braids I used to braid into my hair around the year of 2011 (or was it 2012?). Since I had completed my goal, I mentally knew “Okay, can cut it, now.” But I just couldn’t get there emotionally. I kept pondering this phenomenon. Then I stopped pondering it and just “let it grow.” Then, my neck started to hurt. Next was my shoulders. I realized I couldn’t put my dreadlocks up a certain way without feeling the burden of the weight more on my side of my body. That’s when I realized it was becoming a health issue for it must have been too much weight for my small body to carry.

So… I took my phone into the bathroom with me and did a reel. I explained the reason for me doing “the chop”: my back and shoulders are now hurting because of the heaviness of my dreads. After doing this reel, I realized there are other entities that can be a burden. Hence, I started a series called #TheChop.

#TheChop – Other Entities

The following is what I had written down to say in this reel:

After cutting my dreads, I thought of other entities that may need to be cut out of life to allow a sense of relief such as less social media, less spending, less partying, and less alcohol consumption. Not all entities itself may be seen as burdensome (everyone needs to shop, for example). It’s finding the proper balance that may be difficult. I challenge you to revisit your life and see what things have been a burden for you and consider doing “the chop.” [Tongue click sound while doing sign language for “scissors”]

#TheChop – Beauty

This reel included the stigma that is associated with dreadlocks (to read more about dreadlock stigma, click here). I had decided to explain why it was hard to cut my dreadlocks shorter: dreadlocks have become more acceptable when they are long instead of short and unkempt. And that dreadlocks are often started with the idea in mind that the individual will just let it grow. Unfortunately, for me, since I have a small framed body, my shoulders and back started to ache due to the weight of my dreadlocks. Because of this, I was pondering on what other things we often do for beauty, or for others, that is much of a burden (ex: women who may want to take hours of just doing makeup). The question is who are we doing it for. For ourselves? For strangers to think a certain way about us?

I want to challenge everyone to consider things we are doing for beauty, for others, and it has become a burden. And, until next time, [tongue click sound while doing sign language for “scissors”] bye.

#TheChop – Decluttering

On this reel I talked about what was once called organizing that is now called decluttering (which is what the minimalists call it), what The Home Edit calls editing, and what Marie Kondo calls “what sparkles joy.” So what you want to do when it comes to reorganizing things in your house or life is to hold something to see if it sparkles joy. If it doesn’t, it is considered to be recycled or to be gifted to someone else or to be put in the trash. I’ve been watching Marie Kondo for a while on Netflix, then I found this book called Soulful Simplicity: How Living with Less Can Lead to So Much More by Courtney Carver but there are many ways you can go about on finding how to organize and declutter. So, until next time, enjoy “the chop.” [Tongue click sound while doing sign language for “scissors”]

#TheChop – Relationships

Here’s the transcript to this reel:

So today I want to talk about relationships. Now when I’m speaking on relationships, I am not talking about “cutting” as in ending relationships. What I am talking about today is about codependency and boundaries. Codependency, “a codependent person is one who has let another person’s behavior affect him or her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person’s behavior” (Beattie, 1987). Codependency is one that that I usually look at when it comes to, umm, establishing boundaries. And boundaries itself is basically knowing where you end and another person begins. It’s kind of like a house and knowing “Okay, this is what I have to take care of.” A person, neighbor’s house, may affect you… so, if they catch on fire, it may catch onto your house as well. But codependency and boundaries are two things to look into when it comes to relationships. [Tongue click sound while doing sign language for “scissors”]

#TheChop – Conclusion

In conclusion, take time to self reflect to see what has been a burden to you and consider doing “the chop.” [Tongue click sound while doing sign language for “scissors”]


Beattie, M. L. (1987). Codependent no more: Stop Controlling Others And Start Caring for Yourself. Center City, MN: Hazelden.

Is Your Saw Sharp?

Dear Reader,

How are you? I hope you are well.

I have dedicated most of my adult life in sharpening by saw by finding and reading or listening to inspiring individuals as well as scientific evidences on the holistic person. Although I can spend time writing out examples, I don’t think you would benefit by seeing my list. I would like to challenge you to look back in your life and see whom or what was it that sharpened your saw.

To understand what I mean by “saw” and “sharp,” read this blog entry (as well as watch the YouTube video) by clicking here. Or, if you rather just skip clicking on another website, here’s the YouTube video below.

For more blog entries from itsalearninglife4real, click here.

The Comfort Circle – Engage

Dear Reader,

I hope you and yours are doing well. Today, I wanted to continue The Comfort Circle series I had started about four months ago. For those that need the backdrop, this series presents how to start a new “dance” with your partner (i.e. practical ways to communicate) according to Milan and Kay Yerkovich—the authors of How We Love. Like all the blog entries I have written about the book How We Love, I will be focusing on the vacillator imprint. To read the introduction of this series, click here.

Here are the links (as well as a brief review of the steps of the comfort circle) to the series thus far:

The Steps Around the Comfort Circle

  1. Seek Awareness. Partners discover their feelings, underlying needs, and triggers.
  2. Engage. Partners decide to bring their new awareness into the relationship.
  3. Explore. The speaker shares while the listener clarifies by asking further questions. The listener responds with understanding, validates the speaker’s feelings, and offers to meet the needs of the speaker after asking the question, “What do you need?”
  4. Resolve. Resolutions bring relief. The speaker offers some closure, which may involve negotiation, problem solving, compromising, owning, confessing, and forgiving. Sometimes it involves comfort and nurture. The speaker’s needs are met or deferred until an agreed-upon time.


As you can see above, the next step after seeking awareness is actually engaging. This means to actually bring what one has learned from the first step of the comfort circle into the conversation. This includes discovered thoughts, feelings, and reactions that once was hidden in the “recesses of our sous into the open light of relationship” (Yerkovich & Yerkovich, 2008). Sounds scary? It is. Being vulnerable is always scary because one is taking the risk of being ridiculed, judged, or even dismissed. But has Brene Brown says in “The Call to Courage” Netflix documentary, vulnerability is needed in a relationship. It’s knowing where to draw the line (boundaries) and also respecting the line of others that is often difficult.

To go a bit further in the reason for sharing is thus: “Negative or painful feelings do not diminish when we hold them in the dark recesses of our minds. In fact, nothing can change until we take a risk and speak truthfully about what is inside us.” (Yerkovich & Yerkovich, 2008). Just hold onto that thought for a minute before reading anything else. If you are one that have learned some breathing techniques, pause, and use one right now. Just breathe in from your diaphragm (below the chest area) slowly and slowly breathe out from your mouth a few times. I ask for you to do this because that statement may be distressing—causing alarm bells to go off in the mind—but it is true.

If you have been one who keeps self together by hiding truth in the “recess of your souls,” this may jar you a bit. However, keep in mind, if you cannot be truthful to your own partner, then you can you trust with your “inner child”? In addition, if one had grew up learning to be evasive, indirect, or artificial, it may be just some skills one is lacking. Once again, if you cannot be vulnerable with your partner in learning communication skills with them, then maybe the relationship is not a solid one to be in. However, this is what one has to discern on their own. So I will just leave it at that.

How to Engage

Four words: be honest and authentic. Tears may come and that is okay. Tears is one way that the body cleanses/detoxes (for those seeking the science behind it, click here). There may also be feelings of resistance from either the speaker or the listener. I would advise, then, to just take it slow. In addition, it shouldn’t feel rushed. In other words, avoid “blabbing” an emotional statement that you had found out during your individual learning experience without allowing time for the listener to “hear” you because they are trying to get ready for work. It may be best to schedule a heart-to-heart time so both will be clear that this is the time to share instead of one attempting to walk out of the home in less than ten minutes. If the speaker has “abandonment issues,” this would be more of reaffirming their automatic thoughts (i.e. thoughts that haven’t been challenged just yet) instead of reframing (challenging) their thoughts.

Engaging with a Vacillator

The authors state instead of avoiding engagement with a vacillator, sit the individual down and tell them what you appreciate about them (Yerkovich & Yerkovich, 2008). While sharing, touch them, and explain the purpose of engaging is to express your thoughts and feelings with them. And, finally, as Yerkovich & Yerkovich recommended, if they bring up something, state you would like to hear what they would like to share but at another time and, most importantly, actually hear them when the time comes (2008).

A Final Thought

Although engaging may be hard, remember it has the ability to lead to a brighter ending. Milan had shared a conversation he had with a client of his in How We Love in which I will end this blog entry with:

…I think we’re all a bit like Maverick [from the movie Top Gun]. Hurtful encounters from our past causes us to shy away from sharing our emotions and listening to our spouse’s feelings. Yet, in order to succeed in relationships, we must get past the triggers and engage. If we pull out of every dogfight, we will lose the battle for sure.

Yerkovich & Yerkovich, 2008

To read the next step of the comfort circle on your own, please consider getting a copy of How We Love by Yerkovich & Yerkovick. You can order your own copy by clicking here.


Yerkovich, M. & Yerkovich, K (2008). How we love. Colorado Springs, CO: Waterbrook Press.

Silk + Sonder – Review

Dear Reader,

Hello! I hope you are doing well. 🙂 I wanted to take a moment of time to share my experience of Silk + Sonder.

What Is It?

Silk + Sonder (verbally stated as “Silk and Sonder”) is an interactive tool that is more than a physical journal. I was introduced to it through my clinical supervisor and fell in love with it right away. It’s colorful and also allows me to add color to pages to track my monthly progress. I was grateful to be able to receive just one of the journals due to Mental Health Awareness month (which is May). To get more out of the journal, I recommend to download the app. To review more of the history of Silk + Sonder as well as the pros and cons, please click here.

Where Can I Buy One?

The key word here is “one.” Unfortunately, if you only want just one, it’s actually recommended as a long-term activity. Kind of like receiving therapy, one would get more out of mental health therapeutic sessions by continuing them for more than one month. Tracking one’s progress of growth is a long-term commitment. Therefore, I understand why Silk + Sonder is a monthly, quarterly, or annually subscription. With that in mind, you can order your first journal here. Once you receive your journal in the mail, click here on how to get started with it. To test out some of the pages found in the journals, see below:

Who Is The Founder?

The founder of the Silk + Sonder movement is Meha Agrawal. To read more about her, click here.

Live – Sadie Robertson

Dear Reader,

I hope all is well with you and yours. In my previous blog entry, I had mentioned I have been keeping myself occupied by reading more than one book. Books have been my lifeline since I can remember. I enjoy reading inspiring and informative books no matter what time of the year it may be.

Over the years, I have find myself writing about my findings at my blog. At first, it was for my own benefit; a way to log the findings in books that I had already read so that if I wanted to reference back to something, I could. Now I have seen how it has benefit others who are followers or one-word/one-phrase online searchers.

Most of my searchers have been looking for information about the vacillator imprint. As I had discovered several years ago that I have various behaviors of a vacillator, it became natural for me to write about the vacillator while reading How We Love by Milan and Kay Yerkovich. Recently, I had started to share the steps in the Comfort Circle—a way to learn a new dance (i.e. reduce relational arguments) and plan to write more blog entries on this subject later.

But as for now, I have been enjoying the writings of Sadie Robertson. It all started out with a fellow group member recommending me to read Live Fearless (to read over my thoughts about each chapter of this book, click here). Then I had found another one of her books, Life Just Got Real, through a search at the public library. After requesting for it and it arrived in the hold section of my nearby library, I found out it was a story based on fiction and the writing audience was for teenagers. Awkward as I felt in realizing this, I decided to read it anyway. I enjoyed the writing style (note: Sadie had a co-writer) and happily stated to my husband that it was like watching one of those teen sagas from the WB (in the 1990s). The next book I had read was Live Original. She encouraged teenage readers to be their original selves instead of attempting to go with the crowd and/or tends. That was a nice read.

The one that appears to have been awaiting for Sadie Robertson to pour out her soul is the book she entitled Live. Whereas Live Fearless is for the audience that is struggling with anxiety, Live is a great read for those that are struggling with depression. Robertson explains how this is her third book with the word “live” in the title. First, her message was to live original. Then, her message was to live fearless. And in this book, she just wanted to prompt her readers to just live (Robertson, 2020). She goes on to state that if the reader was going to read all three of those books, she recommended to start with this one because she realizes that one cannot live original or live fearless if they don’t know their life is valuable enough to live (Robertson, 2020).

Afterward stating those things, she was vulnerable enough to share her story of finding out her friend had committed suicide. Her response was weeping and asking “How could this happen?” (Robertson, 2020). She goes on in stating the facts about suicide (ex: the second leading cause of death for people age 15 to 24 [Robertson, 2020]). Then she states she hopes Live is a breath of life and, as she is no expert, she considers herself a good friend and this maybe something the reader just needs “right now” (Robertson, 2020).

The main emphasis in this book is that we are not alone. We are all in this journey of life together. Within this life, Robertson encourages the reader to do the following (2020):

  • Live in their own identity
  • Accept being forgiven for past mistakes
  • Fulfill something in life
  • Believe good things for themselves
  • See the possibilities in life
  • Be people of contrast
  • Speak words of life—stop negative self-talk (i.e. “spilling the tea”)
  • Keep it real (i.e. live in the moment, surround yourself with laughter, surround yourself with the people you love, let people know how happy you are to see them, see people for who they are—just humans, and surround yourself with cheerleaders) and your day will be a good one
  • Laugh at yourself as you do the things you were called to do (i.e. take risk, face-plant, and laugh)
  • Kill the green-eyed monster by focusing on all the good in your life (i.e. resist the temptation to compare yourself with other people and cherish what makes you different)
  • When one starts really living, confidence and boldness will come
  • You are far from worthless
  • Dancing is an universal language of freedom so throw yourself a dance party
  • Don’t waste the season of waiting (ex: gain tools to use on a future job)
  • Don’t let the little things that don’t go as planned steal your celebration
  • Don’t let the lions stop you from living—face them
  • Believe you belong
  • Don’t give up on love for there is One love that is the only love that will remain without failing

I enjoyed Sadie’s story of jumping out of an airplane. She shares the steps she personally took to make the jump: the result of her journey through fear. I liked how she explained that jumping out of a plane is not the solution for everyone to overcome their fears. She also stated she isn’t encouraging “to take a foolish risk” (Robertson, 2020). What she was encouraging was to face one’s fear (ex: saying “hello” to someone, gaining a new friend, or paying their way through college).

Robertson also gives solutions to other things such as how to approach a friend who doesn’t feel like celebrating their own birthday, how to deal with those that roast people and “haters,” and where confidence comes from. She even breaks down the difference of someone moving from “like” to “love” (Robertson, 2020):

  • Like is when one still attempts to look good for someone (ex: continuing to primp before seeing the beloved)
  • Love is when one can just be themselves (ex: messy hair after waking up from a nap)

Reader, I hope this book is like a jewel such as an oasis in a dry land for you. It’s bursting with colors inside that may brighten your day! To receive your own copy, or catch a glimpse of the colorful pages, click here. To learn more about Sadie Robertson, click here. And if you or a love one is struggling with depression, please find a safe person to talk to (ex: friend, counselor, or minister). Or, if you are in the United States, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (or. starting July 16, use the three-digit dialing code “988” on your mobile device). As Sadie Robertson encourages her reader of Live to stay around because the story does get good, I want to do the same. Yes, life gets hard but “it is always worth the run” (Robertson, 2020). So keep running your race for the difficulties make us stronger and makes our stories even better.


Robertson, S., & Clark, B. (2020). Live.

Carry On, Warrior

Dear Reader,

I hope you are doing well. I have been reading various books lately (two are rereads). One of the books I am rereading is called Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle. I decided to read it over because: (1) I read her memoirs out of order the first time around and (2) I wanted to recall the amazing words she had written.

Really! She has some amazing thoughts. Brené Brown put it this way (found on the back cover of Carry On, Warrior):

Glennon Doyle Melton is church and Carry On, Warrior read like one of those old rollicking hymns that make you want to stand up at the end and shout, “Amen!” Life is indeed “brutiful” but Glennon’s humor, warmth, and honesty are profound reminders that there is beauty in our struggle. I can’t stop thinking about this book.

– Brené Brown, Ph.D., author of Daring Greatly

“What’s ‘brutiful’?” you ask? It’s two words that Doyle placed together: “brutal” and “beautiful.” She explains it this way (Doyle, 2013, p. 7-8):

The more I opened my heart to the folks in my circles, the more convinced I became that life is equal parts brutal and beautiful. And/Both. Life is brutiful. Like stars in a dark sky. Sharing life’s brutiful is what makes us feel less along and afraid… Life is hard—not because we’re doing it wrong, just because it’s hard. It’s okay to talk, write, paint, or cry about that. It helps.

One other example of Doyle’s amazing wordings is the explanation of “We can do hard things” in which was a saying on the sign of Doyle’s friend, Josie, hung on her classroom wall. To read my blog entry that I wrote about this saying when I read Doyle’s Untamed memoir, click here. To listen to Doyle’s podcast episode on the same, click here to find the link in my blog entry.

Parenting is one of the hard things Doyle expands on and gives colorful examples such as shopping with young children, going to the dentist with young children, and sending your young child to school. Another hard thing Doyle shares is her experience of dealing with bulimia, anxiety, and substance abuse. The final hard thing I would like to mention is Doyle watching a family member going through pain and desiring to support the individual but feel inadequate. Yes… that is definitely a hard thing to do!

Doyle doesn’t just share about hard things. She offers solutions. This is why I recommend this book. To get your own copy of Carry on, Warrior, click here. If you are a mom that is looking for a safe haven and/or to “practice living bigger, bolder, and truer on this earth” (Doyle, 2013), click here.


Doyle, G. (2013). Carry on, warrior.

The Comfort Circle – Seek Awareness

Dear Reader,

I hope you and yours are doing well. It’s been a while since I had addressed the comfort circle from How We Love by Milan and Kay Yerkovich (to read the introduction blog, click here). For a quick review, it’s about stopping the same old dance couples often find themselves in. The following is the first step in the comfort circle but from what the vacillator imprint often does. To read about the vacillator imprint, click here.

Before to gear towards just the vacillator, I did want to share the tip that Milan gave in the book How We Love: a couple cannot “effectively dance this healthy comfort circle with [their] partners unless [they are] getting regular fill-ups that energize and rejuvenate [their] souls” (Yerkovich & Yerkovich, 2008). In other words, before starting the comfort circle, fill up your emotional tank. According to Yerkovich & Yerkovich, there are two types of tanks (2008):

  1. One that needs fuel: a fill up of uplifting, encouraging, soothing, enlivening, and strengthening words/responses.
  2. One that needs emptying on a regular basis: releasing stress, unresolved issues, and unexpressed feelings.

The more pressure that builds in the second tank (the one that needs to be emptied), the more extreme one acts out their imprints (Yerkovich & Yerkovick, 2008). When it comes to the vacillator imprint, Yerkovick & Yerkovich states that the pressure causes the vacillator to get “angry and hopeless” (2008, page 209). The authors go on to state that once learning how to fill the fuel tank and empty the stress tank, the result is relief and this is what the comfort circle does in constructive ways.

Is Your Awareness Meter Broken?

Retreating from difficult emotions are often the way one cope. Some examples are shopping, eating, addictions of various kinds, exercising, and staying busy. Ignoring ones feelings reduces one ability to be truly human. Being human itself consist of having and expressing emotions. When one continues to retreating from difficult emotions, one also “retreats” from all kinds of emotions—including joy. I’m sure you have seen those that appear to be zombies due to repressing sadness or some other similar emotion. What happens is that the brain doesn’t just shut off unwanted emotions. It ends up shutting off all emotions.

Another extreme is positive thinking. “Perhaps you grew up with ‘Look on the bright side,’ ‘Ignore it and it will go away,’ or even ‘Rejoice always.’ These simple answers do little to help our souls, because some feelings linger and even intensify long after the cause has passed. As you may have found, emotions won’t just go away” (Yerkovich & Yerkovick, 2008, page 212).

Both extremes are the results of being “emotionally underdeveloped” as Yerkovich & Yerkovick call it (another wordings that mean the same thing is “lacking emotional intelligence” or “lacking affect management”). The good news is that it isn’t too late to learn these skills. I like how Yerkovich & Yerkovick puts it: “we owe it to ourselves and to our spouses to become more familiar with these most human of responses” (2008, page 213). While growing up, the vacillators “were too preoccupied to figure out their own feelings” (Yerkovich & Yerkovick, 2008, page 213). Now, the vacillator that takes the time to do so, can start to figure out their feelings and, as Yerkovich & Yerkovick states, “your body will thank you” (2008, p. 214).

Building Up Awareness Muscles

Here are some ways one can becomes more self-reflective:

  • Talking
  • Writing
  • Reflecting

I’m going to only expound on “talking.” Talking consist of using soul words in which hones an individual on how they felt instead of what they thought. It’s a way to develop a greater awareness of what is occurring inside (the inner experience). A similar list can be found by clicking here. Yerkovich & Yerkovick recommend one to place the list on the table, and, to practice with your spouse, choose a subject that isn’t about the spousal relationship or anything that may cause an argument or a disagreement (ex: friends, work, church, relatives, dreams, hobbies, memories, passions, inspiration, movies, vacations, holidays, books, health, and aspirations). As the topic is shared, use words from the list.

After practicing this for a few times, Yerkovich & Yerkovick says to start paying attention to the two tanks. Start asking each other how each other is doing and both share what they might need to get refueled (i.e. need appreciation, praise, compliment, approval, admiration, romance, attention, or time alone). The authors encourage one to avoid blaming and just simply tell how one might be rejuvenated and, if the stress tank is fuel, share what’s in the tank (i.e. how does it make you feel). After much practice, one will be able to take the next steps towards resolution and relief.

To read more on the seek awareness section, please consider getting a copy of How We Love by Yerkovich & Yerkovick. You can order your own copy by clicking here.


Yerkovich, M. & Yerkovich, K (2008). How we love. Colorado Springs, CO: Waterbrook Press.