Why You Should Say "Thanks" When Someone Calls You Selfish


Doing what someone else wants us to do is slave morality, and a path to disease and disintegration of the spirit and body.

Listen when someone is speaking, not to the words, but to what is talking – it is often pride, malice, or ignorance. For example, when someone tells us that we are selfish, it is often because we are not doing what they want us to do.

After my girls left home to live out their dreams, I felt it was my duty to live out my dreams.

At one point, I remember thinking: Hey, who's going to live out my dreams when I die? But then I realized the answer: No one. It hit me like a slap across the face. Wake up! You had better start living your dreams, because you never know how long you have. What are you waiting for?

As I delved into starting my own business and made joy a priority in both my personal and professional life, it pissed some people off. They accused me of being selfish. And it hurt. A lot.

Recently, talking to a friend I told her... "I don't want to be hurt anymore when people call me selfish."

"Why would you be hurt?" he asked. "You should say thank you."


He went on. "Let's break down the word. Self. Ish. Ish means 'more of,' so being selfish is being more of yourself. Don't you want to be more of yourself?"

"Well, yes."

"Now let's look at selfless. Less means less of yourself. Do you want to be less of yourself?"

"Well, no. No, I don't."

"So, really you should be thanking people for calling you selfish."

I smiled. He was right. The next time someone calls you selfish, say "thank you" and remember these three things:

1. You are here to live out your dreams. You can take being called selfish as proof you are on the right path.

2. You can only effectively help others when your own needs are met first. When you are attending to your own needs, desires and goals in life, it's easier to help others on their own path (this is why airlines insist that you put on your own oxygen mask in the plane first, before assisting others).

3. You will experience greater fulfillment and joy. Because you are living life on your terms, following your dreams and doing what you love, you are going to feel more fulfilled. And chances are you'll feel a lot less anger and jealously toward others, as well as a whole lot more joy.

Bessie Coleman: Fearless Aviatrix, Lover of Adventure

On August 25, I'll be heading to San Antonio to attend and run workshops at two Hearts of Valor retreats! I'm already getting excited about the work I'll do there with retreat attendees. And in honor of that work being done in the great state of Texas, I want to dedicate a few posts to the amazing accomplishments of women who were born in the Lone Star State! And I'm kicking off the series with a historic figure who blazed many trails in her tragically short lifetime: fearless flier Bessie Coleman.

“You've never lived till you've flown!”
~ Bessie Coleman

Humble beginnings in rural Texas

Bessie Coleman was born in Atlanta, Texas in the winter of 1892, the tenth of thirteen children. Her parents were both sharecroppers—her father was of mixed black and Native American descent, and her mother was black. When Bessie was just nine years old, her father returned to his own home state of Oklahoma, leaving her mother to care for their giant brood of children. 

Bessie was a bright child, an avid reader, and an eager learner. She read about the Wright Brothers' first flight with tremendous interest, dreaming of tackling such world-changing achievements herself. She aced all eight grades of elementary school, and saved the meagre money she made picking cotton to pay for further studies. In 1910, she used all her savings to enroll in the Colored Agricultural and Normal University in Langston, Oklahoma. She only completed one term before she ran out of money and had to return to her family in Waxahachie, Texas.

But that setback wouldn't stop her.

At the age of 23, Bessie followed one of her older brothers to Chicago. It was 1915, and she began listening to and reading stories of World War I pilots, which rekindled her childhood interest in aviation. Unable to chase her dream just yet, she became a beautician and worked as a manicurist in barbershops on the south side of Chicago. Two of her brothers had served in France during World War I, and her brother John would stop by the barbershop to tease her, saying, “I know something that French women do that you’ll never do. Fly!” 

And that was all it took. Bessie swore then and there that she'd learn to fly, no matter what!

Triumph abroad

“I knew we had no aviators, neither men nor women, and I knew the race needed to be represented … so I thought it my duty to risk my life to learn aviation and to encourage flying among men and women of our race.”
~ Bessie Coleman


But no one would teach her.

Bessie applied to nearly every flight school in America, hoping to find an instructor. But she was black AND a woman, two huge strikes against her in the early 1900s. She was turned down everywhere she applied.

Determined to achieve her dream, Bessie consulted her friend Robert Abbott, a skilled reporter and publisher of the Chicago Weekly Defender. He did some investigating, found that aviation schools in France were far less prejudiced than those in America, and urged Bessie to study French so she could apply overseas.

She did. And by 1920, she was sailing across the Atlantic toward her destiny.

A career in aviation

“The air is the only place free from prejudices.”
~ Bessie Coleman


Bessie studied at France’s most famous flight school, Ecole d’Aviation des Freres Cadron et Le Crotoy, and earned her license to fly in only seven months! This made her the first woman of African-American and Native American descent to earn an aviation pilot's license. And she was rightfully proud of her accomplishment.

Yet she still struggled to carve out a place for herself. No one back home in America would sell her an airplane, refusing to do business with a black woman. No American company would hire her to fly commercially either. It was 1921 now, and the war was long over, so Bessie knew she'd need stunt-pilot skills if she was going to make a living in the air. She trained further with expert fliers and aircraft designers in France and Germany, then returned to the United States to launch her career in exhibition flying.

As she booked stunt shows all over the country, Bessie was vocal about using her fame and fortune to create and fund an aviation school for black American pilots. This dream drove her, and buoyed her during dark times.

Although Bessie herself had experienced outright discrimination, her exhibition flights appealed to both black and white audiences. Bessie was incredibly beautiful, and white people saw her as curiosity; a pretty, petite woman piloting an airplane. Black people were proud of her pioneering courage, and to them she symbolized the hope that someday more African-Americans could join her in the skies.

Bessie's first stunt flight took place in 1922, and she would only have four years to enjoy her career. On April 30, 1926, an accident during a rehearsal for an aerial show sent her plummeting to her death. She was only 34 years old.

Although she fought like a Warrior for her rights and beliefs, I see Bessie Coleman as someone who embodies the Lover archetype. She never married and never had children, but her brave heart and love for adventure informed every decision she made. She loved the idea of flying, and she crafted her life so she could experience the exhilaration of actual flight. She loved her community, and although she wasn't able to give them the gift of a flight school, she expressed her love for them with every breath. She was taken from us too soon, but not before she broke barriers, blazed trails, and followed her heart into the high-flying career of her dreams.

Sheila Michaels: Warrior for Women's Independence

Did you know that the word “Ms.” wasn't widely used until the late 1960s? Neither did I until last week, when I learned that feminist Sheila Michaels had passed away, and that she'd become famous for popularizing it! Before Sheila, all women were called either “Miss” (which meant they were unmarried) or “Mrs.” (which indicated they were married). Today, let's look at how she fought for a term that recognized women aside from their marital status.

“No one wanted to claim me, and I didn’t want to be owned. I didn’t belong to my father, and I didn’t want to belong to a husband — someone who could tell me what to do. I had not seen very many marriages I’d want to emulate.”
~ Sheila Michaels

Ever the rebel

Sheila Michaels was an outspoken, smart, equality-minded woman in an era that preferred women be sweet and silent. In the late 1950s, she got kicked out of the College of William and Mary at the age of 19 for protesting censorship of the campus newspaper. Just a few years later, her progressive views found her eagerly joining the civil rights movement, a decision that caused her family to disown her. But Sheila was a warrior, and losing her family would not keep her from fighting for the rights she knew her fellow humans deserved.

Through her work with the Congress of Racial Equality in New York, Sheila met and befriended Mary Hamilton (who would also end up having a huge impact on how women are addressed). Sheila and Mary became roommates, and spent several years protesting, traveling, and registering voters together.

Then one day, Mary received a radical newsletter in the mail, which came addressed to “Ms. Mary Hamilton.” Sheila was thunderstruck. Here was a way to address a woman that didn't instantly reveal her marital status or connect her to a man! After a little digging, she discovered that “Ms." wasn't a typo, or a brand new idea. As early as 1901, grammar lovers had been suggesting its use in regular correspondence. But it never caught on.

Sheila decided to change all that.

Partners in verbal crime

“The first thing anyone wanted to know about you was whether you were married yet. I'd be damned if I'd bow to them.”
~ Sheila Michaels

She began a one-woman campaign to ensure that any woman who preferred NOT to reveal her marital status could go by “Ms.” It was a quiet, long campaign that finally gained some traction when she gave a radio interview in 1969. Sheila spoke with New York radio station WBAI on behalf of a women’s rights group, and during a lull in the discussion, brought up the “Ms.” issue. Prominent feminist Gloria Steinem got wind of the interview, and decided to title her revolutionary magazine “Ms.” just a year later. Soon, women everywhere were insisting on using it.

Years earlier, Sheila's friend and roommate Mary had fought a parallel battle. When she'd been arrested at a protest in 1963, she'd been put before a judge who refused to call her anything but “Mary.” You see, Mary was black, and the courtroom was in Birmingham, Alabama. And, in a power move designed to make black people feel condescended to and inferior, white people in the American South had long refused to call them “miss” or “mister.” Mary would not answer the judge until he called her “Miss Hamilton.” He refused and found her in contempt of court. She was fined and thrown in jail, but the NAACP took her case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in her favor. That ruling declared that anyone appearing in court deserved titles of courtesy (also called honorifics), regardless of race or ethnicity. 

Since Mary had already fought to be called by any honorific at all, she was the perfect ally to Sheila in her fight for an honorific that allowed women to be totally independent. And together, they made history.

A tiny legacy with a huge impact

You might be surprised to hear that the feminist movement—which was extremely active during the 60s and 70s—wasn't super excited by Sheila's “Ms.” cause. They felt they had more important matters to worry about. But with Steinem's magazine, everything changed and feminists everywhere got on board.

And although something like an honorific might seem insignificant on the surface, it carries a lot of weight. Neither “Mr.” nor “Mister” indicates anything about a man besides his gender. Why should we women be identified both by gender and by marital status? Sheila Michaels recognized this inequity, and made it her business to right it. She fought so that all women could use two little letters and a period to make themselves known on their own terms. And her quiet-but-insistent fight changed how we speak about, write abou, and refer to women forever.

Clara Barton: Pioneering Mother, Civil War Heroine

I hope everyone had a food-, family-, and fun-filled Independence Day this month! Since we're celebrating the birth of our nation, I've got historical American heroines on my mind. And although she did her groundbreaking work almost one hundred years after we won our independence, I'd like to focus today on a woman who changed our nation (and the world) for the better: Clara Barton.

“I have an almost complete disregard of precedent, and a faith in the possibility of something better. It irritates me to be told how things have always been done. I defy the tyranny of precedent. I go for anything new that might improve the past.”
~ Clara Barton

Compassion embodied

Born in 1821 in Oxford, Massachusetts, Clarissa Harlowe Barton was called simply “Clara” by her family and friends. During a time period when women were expected to keep house and keep quiet, Clara was a rebel! She soaked up every ounce of education her family would give her, and schooled herself in the ways of the world by working as a clerk and bookkeeper for her oldest brother. 

But she was also somewhat shy, and always on the lookout for ways to be helpful to others. When her brother David was injured in an accident, 10-year-old Clara basically put herself in charge of watching over him. The doctor taught her how to administer his medication, and she continued to care for him long after everyone else had given up hope. Under her watchful eye, he eventually made a full recovery, and Clara knew she'd found her calling.

First, though, she needed to grow up a little. She studied hard and, at the ripe old age of 17, became a school teacher herself. This accomplishment is even more impressive since most teachers in this era were men. Although nursing pulled at her heart, she also adored working with children and finding ways to relate to them. (Growing up with rambunctious brothers helped a lot!) Her career as an educator included founding and running the first free school in New Jersey. But after the institution grew to 600 students, Clara was ousted by a man elected by the school board. They (foolishly) believed that running such a large organization was “man's work.”

Fearless and equality-minded

“I may sometimes be willing to teach for nothing, but if paid at all, I shall never do a man's work for less than a man's pay.
~ Clara Barton

Disillusioned and angry, Clara knew she needed a change. Sick of the long, cold New England winters, she decided to try her luck in warmer Washington, D.C. There, in 1855, she took a job that became another in her long list of firsts: She became a clerk in the U.S. Patent Office, where she was one of the first women to work for the federal government. Unwilling to stomach the same treatment she'd gotten in New Jersey, she demanded a salary equal to a man's salary!

This triumph didn't last long. Clara was staunchly against slavery, and being vocal about her political opinions made her too controversial for a government job.

Shortly after she was fired, the Civil War broke out.

Natural nurse and brave care-giver

“I may be compelled to face danger, but never fear it, and while our soldiers can stand and fight, I can stand and feed and nurse them.” 
~ Clara Barton

As soon as she got word that the war had begun, Clara knew she needed to act. While the military focused on mobilizing and the public was in a panic, she put her energy toward helping the men in uniform, some of whom were already wounded, many hungry, and some without anywhere to sleep or any clothing besides what they had on their backs. She was pragmatic, organized, and clear-headed. She collected some relief articles on her own, appealed to the public for more, and figured out how to store and distribute them to “her boys.” Clara's huge heart shone through in her efforts to keep their spirits up: she read to them, wrote letters for them, and prayed with them. 

But after a few months she knew that where she was needed most was not in Washington, but on the battlefields.

Having gathered a small force of support volunteers and nurses around her, she campaigned to bring her expertise and much-needed supplies to the front lines. In August of 1862, she arrived at a Virginia field hospital at midnight with a wagon-load of supplies, to the unspeakable relief of the surgeon in charge. After that, Clara earned the nickname, “Angel of the Battlefield,” tending to injured and distraught soldiers at the battles of Fairfax Station, Chantilly, Harpers Ferry, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Charleston, Petersburg, and Cold Harbor. She ordered her supply wagon drivers to follow the Union cannons and traveled all night, pulling ahead of military medical units. She put the health, comfort, and safety of the troops ahead of her own again and again.

A loving mother to all

“Everybody's business is nobody's business, and nobody's business is my business.”
~ Clara Barton

Even after the war, Clara continued to show compassion to those around her. She found herself a point of contact for families looking for men who had been reported missing. Once again, she recognized an important human need and did something practical to address it herself. She contacted President Lincoln to seek permission to take charge of finding these “missing” soldiers and informing their families of their whereabouts. Just before his assassination, Lincoln granted this permission. Over the course of four years, Clara and her assistants responded to more than 63,000 letters and identified more than 22,000 missing men.

And still she worked tirelessly to help others!

After a lecture tour spent describing her experiences on the battlefields, Clara traveled to Europe in 1869 hoping to take a much-needed break. But—ever the loving mother-spirit—she found herself connected with the International Red Cross, a relief organization active during the Franco-Prussian War. Seeing the incredible work being done and its clear universal value, she began to campaign for the creation of an American arm of this group. It took more than a decade of work, but in 1880 the American Red Cross was founded, with Clara as its first leader.

Although she never married or had children of her own, Clara Barton had the ferociously protective and nurturing energy of a mother. She cared for her students as a teacher, her patients as a nurse, and the entire country as the founder of the American Red Cross. She was pragmatic when others were overwhelmed, brave when others were afraid, and willing to put her life on the line for the greater good. She honored our country with her steadfast service, and was a true American heroine!


Essential Archetypes: Why ALL Women Can Be Warriors

Last week, we continued exploring the four essential archetypes that inspired my foundation: Mother, lover, warrior, and sage. Today, let's discuss the Warrior archetype.

When life gives you something that makes you feel afraid, that’s when life gives you a chance to be brave.
— Lupytha Hermin

Do you consider yourself to be a warrior? Many of us don't. In fact, when I first started writing and speaking about the concepts of mother, lover, warrior, and sage, I learned that the “warrior” identity was the hardest for most women to embrace. The women I spoke with would tell me, “But I’ve never served in the military,” or “I don’t think of myself as a fighter.” I understood these comments and valued their honesty.

But in the big picture of women’s lives, being a “warrior” doesn’t always mean being a fighter.  It doesn’t always mean wearing a uniform and taking down enemies in combat. It doesn't always mean being physically strong and completely fearless. It certainly can, and many of the women we think of as quintessential warriors kick butt in the most literal of ways! Ronda Rousey, Tammy Duckworth, Harriet Tubman, and Grace Hopper all are valiant women warriors, and deserving of our admiration.

But the warrior woman in you—in me, in each of us—is simply our bravest, most autonomous self. She is self-sufficient, unafraid to ask for what she needs, and brimming with ambition. This brave self gives us the ability to set goals, to make decisions, to build our own lives.

The warrior woman in you is a planner, and she is a doer. She has fears and weaknesses and sometimes she stumbles and falls. But when she is weary, she doesn't quit, she merely rests. Pausing to replenish her energy and prepare herself for what comes next. She writes her own life story, one task at a time.


Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan.
— Margaret Thatcher

Consider women like Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. Consider Clara Barton, a trailblazing nurse during the US civil war who founded the American Red Cross. Both were women of action, unafraid to enter dangerous territory so they could help heal the injured. They never took up arms themselves, but they were brave warriors nonetheless.

Consider Rosa Parks, who stood up for her rights as a Black woman during a time of tremendous prejudice. Consider Amelia Earhart who flew solo across the Atlantic during a time when women weren't “allowed” to be pilots. Consider Aung San Suu Kyi who was a political prisoner for 20 yearsin Burma, but became so beloved and respected for her bravery that she went on to lead the very country that had imprisoned her.

All are warriors, through and through. Courageous, self-reliant, ambitious, and visionary.

But all are extraordinary examples, and may feel out-of-reach for us average Janes. So what does the modern-day warrior in each of us do? How can we lead our communities in solving social problems? How can we follow in the footsteps of legendary women like Helen of Troy, Joan of Arc, or Cleopatra?

Here’s how: We can stand up and speak out when we see injustice. We can show compassion, push beyond our fears, and help those in need. The warrior spirit works in each of us. It’s the inextinguishable fire that drives us to fight unfairness, fight indignities, fight hopelessness. And it's the calm, wise, centered energy we need to set boundaries for ourselves, meet our own needs, and chase our dreams tirelessly.


I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.
— Maya Angelou

While researching my new book, Wounded Warrior, Wounded Wife, I spoke with dozens of women who had married warriors, but had to learn to view themselves as warriors, too. As they faced down life-changing decisions, wrestled with endless medical jargon and unending bureaucracy, and were forced to reconfigure their entire lives around a beloved and now-disabled spouse, they dug deep and summoned up their inner warriors. These women weren't fearless, but they knew how to face their fears with dignity and patience. Their spouses fought bravely on the battlefield, and they stepped up to fight bravely on the home front.

May we all draw inspiration from their examples. May we all stretch out a welcoming arm to our own inner warrior, pull her up, and embrace her wholeheartedly. The world needs warriors who fight with might, but also needs warriors who fight with words, with generosity, with big, bold acts of love.

Let us all charge into battle armed with determination, kindness, and the knowledge that our determination alone can move mountains.

“She stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her her way, she adjusted her sails."

Tiger Women of Asia: Biking to Independence in Cambodia

I've just returned from a life-changing three-week trip through Vietnam and Cambodia. I was humbled and inspired by the “Tiger” Women I met during my travels, and have so many insights to share from my conversations with them. Here’s the first in a series of posts on the surprising and fascinating things I learned while traveling through rural countryside.

Bicycles: More Than Just Transportation

Bike culture here in the U.S. is getting stronger every year. As more people start using their bikes to commute to school and work, more cities create bike lanes and bicycle-friendly cultures to support this eco-conscious movement. 

But in Vietnam and Cambodia, bikes aren't just a way to get around. They represent a means of traveling safely, access to education, personal freedom.

Young Cambodian girls often have to travel long distances on foot to get to the schools closest to their homes. Since they are at high risk for rape or abduction by sex traffickers, many families choose to keep their daughters at home rather than put them at risk by sending them to school. Because of these well-founded fears, only 11% of Cambodian girls attend and graduate from secondary school.

But give those girls bikes for their daily school commutes, and they are much faster and substantially harder for potential abductors to catch. And when they can commute safely, they can attend school and learn and grow. Organizations like Lotus Pedals donate bikes and repair kits to girls in rural Cambodia, enabling them to get to and from school safely. World Bicycle Relief, another organization that provides bikes to children in developing countries, reports that access to functioning bicycles can help boost school attendance, grades, and graduation rates for both girls and boys. I was overwhelmed to see the huge difference that bikes were making in the lives of the beautiful Cambodian children I met while traveling.

Bike Entrepreneurs

And it's not just the young girls who benefit from bikes! Cambodian women are two-wheeling their way to better living conditions, too.

Vietnam and Cambodia have enormous stretches of sparsely populated rural land, which means that farming families may have a difficult time getting supplies or selling their crops. Although large amounts of cargo cannot be moved on bikes, women are able to transport small deliveries, carry messages, and travel to local markets by cycling. Many families cannot afford cars or trucks, and those who can must conserve precious gasoline, so this alternative mode of transportation is incredibly helpful.

Both women and men have also been seen to use their bikes as mobile market stalls. Bikes 4 Life has donated hundreds of bikes to children and adults in Cambodia, and the organization's founder, Ebony Butler, reported seeing riders with stalls full of goods constructed on the backs of their bikes! What a creative way to make the most of your mode of transportation!

A Simple Machine Makes a Huge Impact

I spent the majority of my visit biking through the countryside myself, so I got to see firsthand how much bikes meant to the girls and women of Cambodia. A beat-up secondhand mountain bike might not look like much to an American consumer, but to a Cambodian third-grader hoping to get to school safely or a struggling Vietnamese woman trying to sell her wares at market, it can be a tremendous blessing.

Interested in helping Cambodian and Vietnamese women who need access to bicycles? Here are some amazing organizations that can help you change the lives of Tiger Women with your donations!

•    Worldvision – Donate a Bike
•    Lotus Pedals
•    88 Bikes
•    World Bicycle Relief
•    Bikes 4 Life (Australia)

4 Tools for the Spouses and Children of Wounded Warriors

As so many of the women I interviewed for Wounded Warrior, Wounded Wife told me, living with a combat-injured veteran frequently means living in the shadow of post-traumatic stress (PTS). Vivid nightmares and terrifying mid-day flashbacks are the most well-known symptoms, but many wives also spoke of violent mood swings, quick tempers, jumpiness, and depression. Family members often feel confused and helpless, unsure how to best support their beloved wounded warrior. PTS aftershocks can be especially hard for the children of wounded veterans, since kids from toddlers to teens may feel unsafe and unsure around their suffering parent, never knowing what reaction to expect.

With that in mind, here are a few tools that the spouses and children of wounded warriors can utilize as they adjust to life with a PTS-sufferer:

  1. Don't be afraid to communicate: Studies have shown that overdisclosure and endless, graphic descriptions of the trauma that caused a parent's suffering can be damaging to children. But those same studies tell us that silencing all conversation around PTS and the trauma that caused it will increase everyone's anxiety levels. Use your judgment, but try to be open. Especially if your children ask specific questions. They need to understand why dad/mom is behaving in this erratic way, and finding a way to explain it that resonates can help them cope.
  2. Do what you can to cultivate closeness: The Sidran Institute says, “In homes where the [parent] suffers from PTS, normal adolescent tendencies towards separation and rebellion can combine with the children’s need to distance themselves from the veteran’s agony or anger. Problems arise when the children’s need for distance or self-assertion takes the form of rejection or disregard for the veteran.” Forcing closeness may make matters worse, but creating opportunities for it can help. Try a regularly-scheduled family movie night or game night, get season tickets to a sports team, or tackle a home or craft project together.
  3. Teach coping techniques to everyone: Breathing and muscle relaxation exercises are prescribed for many PTS sufferers, but they can also be helpful to spouses and children. Learning and practicing them together helps family members learn to cope when their own anxiety revs up. Perhaps more importantly, doing so shows them firsthand what their combat-injured veteran parent/spouse will be doing to calm their inner turmoil.
  4. Say, “This is hard.” Spouses and children who live with a PTS sufferer can feel trapped in a cycle of anxiety, fear, and guilt. The guilt stems from mistakenly believing they are making their wounded warrior's state worse, or that they should be able to help more effectively. Self-care is vital, and a very simple first step toward self-care is acknowledging that the situation is a difficult one. Teach everyone that when tensions are running high, it's OK to say, “This is hard” to yourself or to everyone involved. In fact, doing so can diffuse that tension.

Living with the invisible wounds of war is challenging, both for the trauma victim and the family who loves and supports that person. Always know that seeking professional help is a great way to build trust within a stressed family. But during the in-between times, keep these four tools in mind. They may help your whole family cope with the unnerving ripples that PTS can create.

Why Family Caregivers Are This Nation’s Unsung Heroes

I have been a caregiver to my husband for the past five months. I have to count the months on my fingers twice just to make sure. How is it possible for five months to feel like so much longer? 

On May 29, my husband collapsed while walking our dogs down the street. He spent a month hospitalized while the doctors tried to figure out why his kidneys had abruptly stopped working. They still don’t know, but we do know this: He will need dialysis three times a week from now on if he wants to stay alive and nothing will ever again be the same in our lives.

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Building Resilience: 5 Ways to Move from Fragility to Strength

Our culture tends to praise survivors. We preach serious respect for people who can live through trauma, loss, or catastrophe, and rightly so. But few of us make the important distinction between living through something and bouncing back from it.A person can live through horrific events, but come out the other side forever scarred and ill-equipped to move on. Think of our valiant veterans who return from combat steeped in post-traumatic stress, altered and traumatized by what they’ve seen and experienced. Those with the coping skills to process intense grief or relentless fear are more likely to truly get over their painful pasts and live fulfilling lives. Luckily, there are ways to build those skills even if you don’t have them in abundance naturally! Here are five expert-endorsed ways to build your internal resilience:

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