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This is the way you show up in your relationships with yourself and other people. And, how your history affects the patterns of your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors within those relationships. It can include: how you handle conflict, your communication style, and how secure you feel with other people. It also includes sociocultural experiences that have to do with race, gender, sexuality, and other parts of your identity.

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How to set boundaries and take charge of your happiness

Do you have trouble speaking up and expressing yourself? Do you find yourself at times shying away from conflict? Do you tend to agree with others or say ‘yes’ to things to please them, even if it means sacrificing your wants and needs? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, you likely struggle with assertiveness! Unfortunately, I think assertiveness tends to be perceived with a negative lens. I sometimes believe assertive and aggressive behaviours are mistaken for each other, which causes us to shy away from this. In reality, these two communication styles are very different (and I will cover that today!) As we enter the holiday season, your ability to be assertive might be more difficult than usual. With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, you might lose sight of your own needs and shy away from conflict for the sake of others- especially if you’re surrounded by family and friends. For some people, the holidays are a time of immense joy, and happiness; but for others, it can be a time of stress, loneliness, and sadness. For example, you might be anxious or stressed by the thought of dealing with comments from family members/friends about your weight, your relationship status, or how little/how much you eat at holiday gatherings. The good thing is, assertiveness is a skill that can be learned, and you don’t need to sit through or accept uncomfortable comments or situations that come your way this holiday season. There is a way to be effectively assertive whilst also being gracious and having self-respect! My goal today is to shed some light on what assertiveness is (and what it isn’t) and to give you the tools you need to develop and strengthen this skill so that you can navigate different experiences and potential challenges this holiday season!

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Level Up Your Happiness With Self Compassion

Compassion is both an outcome of and a tool for healing. Today, I watched a video of a woman creating a secret underground tunnel that’s liveable in the wilderness with three fundamental tools. It was a reminder of how creative and resilient you can be when you have the right tools. And what amazing things you can bring to life when you learn how to use them. Witnessing her was a seemingly simple but crucial reminder amidst the continued state of the world, in which the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, amongst other painful news. My first reaction to the overturning, and to quote the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus, “This is some bullshit.” This devastating decision, to me and for people like me, is yet another way the world can lack compassion. You can quickly get stuck in grief, defeat, and hopelessness when faced with this. Getting stuck prevents you from seeing the opportunity for rebuilding that comes after that. I could’ve gotten stuck in the limited resources the woman had in that video. I had to dig deep into my self-compassion to pull myself out of these reactions. I also connected with my community (the people who would get the depth of this). Compassionate connection with yourself and others allows you to find your sense of renewal and generate hope, dignity, and freedom. You become a better change-maker when you don’t deny your anger and sadness about what’s happened. You pay attention to it AND focus on personal renewal and healing as tools for rebuilding (at the same time). This compassion inspires you to be resilient to your circumstances and work towards the change you want. This week, consider compassion for yourself and others as a tool for connection, renewal, change, and oneness.

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