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Forge
A publication from Medium on personal development.

Psychology

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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…


Instead of waiting impatiently for the future to arrive, use the concept of ‘dual reality’ to find peace in this weird pandemic moment

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If 2020 was the worst year ever, 2021 is on track to be the weirdest. Not bad, per se — or at least, not as bad as what we’ve all survived to date. More like, a year that’s shaping up to be more than a little bit… off.

As I write this, most U.S. states have freshly expanded Covid-19 vaccine eligibility to all adults over the age of 18. Yet, at the very same time, states across the country are seeing an alarming surge in cases. The same is happening across Europe and in Canada. In Brazil, the pandemic is…


A helpful way to cut down on the noise

Credit: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

When President Biden took office earlier this year, many of us relished the end of four years… of compulsively refreshing our news apps. The headlines lost their lure, cable news saw a post-Trump ratings slump, and, even though Covid times continue, it felt like we got part of our brains back. But, in the past few weeks, that feeling has faded away for me.

I’ve begun stuffing my favorite reading app with long-form articles, yet I can’t get past the first paragraph of any of them. My inbox is drowning in newsletters that I usually rely on to streamline my…


Three lessons on how to handle adversity while feeling your feelings

A tree shaped by the wind
A tree shaped by the wind
Photo: Melanie Hobson/EyeEm/Getty Images

I used to think resilience was a tool I just didn’t have. I can be an easy crier. How can one cry frequently and also be resilient? When we think of resilience, we imagine stoic faces, superhero power poses, and triumphant fists in the air. If we do a Google image search for “resilience,” a person shedding tears certainly does not come up.

I don’t think that anymore. It’s a realization that has come from time and age more than any single aha moment, but I know now that — much like how courage is not the absence of fear


It helps to understand the science of success

Photo: Tempura/Getty Images

I never thought I’d say this, but the impending return to “normal” life is stressing me out.

For some people, the pandemic has freed up time to learn new skills and invest in hobbies. For me, it’s been a year of feeling thwarted: The sense of taking two steps forward and one step back, over and over again. The book proposal I’ve been working on for longer than I care to admit has been “almost done” for months. …


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…


Even if you don’t know it

Credit: The Good Brigade/Getty Images

Whenever I hear advice about finding your purpose, I imagine an epic Marvel movie monologue about saving the world. And it stresses me out.

Of course, having a sense of purpose is important — to be truly successful, you need to know your why. But when you set out to “find” your purpose, that almighty, thunder-whopping reason for your existence, it’s easy to buckle under the pressure and never take the first step in any direction.

Here’s a message for everyone feeling like they’re still searching: You already know more about your purpose than you realize. …


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…


By understanding ‘temporal discounting,’ you can learn to make better decisions

Photo: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

Would you rather have one apple today or two apples tomorrow?

When faced with this choice, you’d likely have to think a bit. You’d start pondering how much you like apples, how hungry you are right now, and what your current refrigerator situation is looking like. But what if I offered you this choice: Would you rather have one apple in a year, or two apples in a year and one day? Now that one is obvious.

The premise is identical: Wait one additional day, and get twice as many apples. So why is it that one of these choices…


How to overcome psychological reactance, the rarely discussed psychological reflex that’s holding you back

Illustrations: Fru Pinter

Recently, as I was clearing the dinner table, I asked my daughter if she could wash the dishes.

“I was going to, Dad,” she said. “But now that you’ve asked me to, I don’t want to anymore.”

I should have known better. This was a classic case of psychological reactance.

Psychological reactance is our knee-jerk negative reaction to being told what to do. It’s why, when you were a teenager and your mother told you to put on your jacket, you would not put on your jacket, just ’cause. Only later, as you’d hear your teeth chattering in the cold…

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