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Forge
A publication from Medium on personal development.

Kiwi2021

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Curiosity can help you bridge the gap between intellectual understanding and emotional reality

Photo by Alex Radelich on Unsplash

I know better than this. Why am I still so stuck in my feelings? We’ve all been there — in that uncomfortable space between knowing something to be true, but the intellectual knowledge not being enough to fix or change the emotional experience.

Maybe you last encountered this discrepancy after angrily critiquing your body for its pandemic changes even after your deep dive into the history of fatphobia.

Or you noticed it creep up after weeks of crying over a layoff despite knowing that your workplace severely mistreated and undervalued you. Regardless, you’ve likely judged yourself and your feelings due…


I’d be mortified if anyone read my daily tasks from the past year

Photo: Grace Cary/Getty Images

A lot of people despise the tyrannical, never-ending nature of to-do lists. I am not one of them. To-do lists have always imbued a sense of order into my world. To-do lists keep track of things I can’t. In my life, to-do lists are a friend, not a foe.

About a year ago, I switched back to a paper and pen to write my daily list. Life in pandemic shutdown was simply too overwhelming and too dominated by screens to continue using my phone’s Notes app to keep track of each bizarre day. …


The power of saying ‘You don’t need to respond to this’

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Earlier this year, when I had Covid, people naturally checked in on me by text during my illness and recovery.

All of the messages came from a place of caring. But they all kind of stressed me out, too.

I loved receiving and reading the support, but I felt overwhelmed by the expectation, either implicit or explicit, that I respond. How was I feeling, people wanted to know? Too overwhelmed and tired to answer any texts, was the honest answer.

This went on for weeks. It wasn’t until after I felt better that I realized how to avoid inflicting this…


Creativity doesn’t need to have an expiration date

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

The phrase “unfinished project” brings something specific to mind for each of us. For you, it might be the novel you’ve been working on for the past decade, or the pile of knitting supplies sitting in the corner of your bedroom, or the stack of half-read books collecting dust on your coffee table.

Whatever it is, I’m willing to bet that thinking about it makes you a little uncomfortable. Anything uncompleted tends to have that effect. Oftentimes, the discomfort is not even about the project itself — it’s a reminder of all of your shortcomings and failures. “I’ll never finish…


A psychology-based approach to conflict

Photo by Korney Violin on Unsplash

About five years ago my significant other and I were in a dumb argument. I wasn’t backing down. She wasn’t backing down.

During the stalemate, I vented to a friend. I explained to him in agonizing detail why I was right, why my significant other was wrong, how the world would be better off if I could just get her to understand this — and did this guy have any advice for convincing her that I was right? His response: “Do you want to be right or happy?”

This question has since saved me a lot of headaches and led…


One step to overcome impostor syndrome

Photo: Charlotte May/Pexels

It happens to me more than I’d like: I finally finish a big, complicated story, or have an A+ parenting day where everyone’s happy and fed and no one has any meltdowns — and I’m so focused on the things I did wrong that I can’t even let myself enjoy the win. Well-meaning compliments from my husband or a close friend don’t help much, either, mostly because I don’t believe them. They have to say that, I think. They’re just being nice.

That’s just how impostor syndrome works: No matter how many accolades or compliments you collect, you still don’t…


A lesson from the pope (sort of) that taught me how to understand everything better

Photo: Jorge Zapata/Unsplash

I was working at Esquire magazine a little over a decade ago when I received an incredibly valuable lesson about learning and research. A senior editor gave us interns an assignment to find out how much money the pope makes. We interviewed some Catholic academics and historians at big-name universities who gave us their best estimates, and then submitted our research file.

Our editor took one look at the file and pulled us all into the conference room. “Guys, no,” he said, shaking his head. “You call the fucking Vatican.”

“Call the fucking Vatican.” In the years since, it’s become…


How to give yourself space to work through your grief

Blurred image of people walking at a crosswalk in a city.
Blurred image of people walking at a crosswalk in a city.
Photo: d3sign / Getty Images

The topic of “The Anniversary” started showing up in my therapy sessions sometime in late January or early February. Over the past few weeks, it’s become an increasingly popular topic among my clients, many of whom have given voice to feelings I myself struggled to put into words.

Some therapists have described the Covid-19 pandemic as an experience of collective trauma. Others have carefully delineated the difference between a collective stressor, and collective trauma — though they note that certainly some have experienced traumatic stress (loss of loved ones, loss of employment, or the trauma experienced by health care workers…


Like a muscle, your ability to feel pleasure can deteriorate if you don’t use it

Photo: Luca Upper on Unsplash

I keep a running mental list of things that make me belly laugh: videos of my kids when they were babies; old episodes of Impractical Jokers; a spontaneous FaceTime call with my best friend from college. When I catch myself slipping into doom and gloom, I pick one — not as a way to bypass my emotions, but to make sure I don’t forget how to feel them in the first place.

There’s a time for sadness and anger, and these days, it seems to be 24/7. Summoning joy, on the other hand, hasn’t felt so easy for a while…


It’s easier than you think, and it’s never been more important

Photo: Drazen_/Getty Images

A few weeks ago, after listening to days of weather forecasts predicting a dramatic snowstorm in my city — and procrastinating on any sort of winter-weather prep — I made my way to Target for an ice scraper just as the snow started to fall. The aisles were bare of all the usual pre-storm suspects: milk, eggs, bread, disinfecting wipes, and, most importantly, anything related to snow removal.

In a stroke of luck, I managed to snag the last scraper in the store, a fact the register attendant commented on as I brought my prize over to checkout. I don’t…

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