Our subconscious minds form when we’re little.
This is when we learn, largely from our primary caregivers, what relationships look like and how to process emotions and create boundaries. As psychologist Nicole La Perla, known online as The Holistic Psychologist, explains:
Ideally, our parents are two self-actualized people who allow their children to be seen and heard as the unique individual they are. The reality is that we live in a culture that does not teach conscious awareness, so most of us are born to unconscious parents. Unconscious parents are repeating the same habits and patterns they’ve learned. …
Have you ever had a UTI (urinary tract infection)?
Do you remember how it burned every time you peed, and how you felt like you needed to pee about 200 times a day? Well, that’s my experience several times a month, sometimes for weeks at a time, only I don’t have a treatable infection.
I have a problem called Interstitial Cystitis, or IC. It means I’m prone to inflammation in my bladder, and it flares up whenever I’m tired or stressed, when I’m on my period, or sometimes for no discernable reason at all.
It’s incurable and falls within that…
J. was a firecracker.
He had a strange beauty and an infectious curiosity for life. There’s been no one I’ve more enjoyed tiptoeing around museum exhibits with, voices hushed and faces pressed to the glass, or wandering cities lost and laughing.
We spent nearly 4 years of our lives walking in step, and yet almost as soon as our relationship began, I had an eerie feeling it was doomed.
Things about us that niggled at my soul. What’s interesting—and horrifying—is they were so simple I overlooked them. …
It should have been the happiest time of my life. I was recently engaged to a truly amazing man, we’d finally moved to the seaside and I was making a living from diverse and interesting freelance work.
And yet as my life progressed in a positive direction, my worries and insecurities rushed to the surface like bubbles in a champagne flute. What if my partner changed his mind? What if we weren’t the absolute perfect fit? What if I didn’t always have the “right” feelings towards him?
These weren’t just one-off thoughts—they’d send me into long, protracted spirals of doom…
That I explore how relationship myths can hurt us isn’t random; it’s because what I thought I wanted from love has turned out to be vastly different from what I actually need.
Bridging the gap between what I was taught to expect and my lived experience helped me find love after spending years in dead-end relationships. But while I now understand these things instinctively, I wanted to explore what the world’s relationship experts had to say.
What specifically do many of us think we want that isn’t what we actually need? And what might make us happier instead?
Anyone who knows me well knows I’m bad at buying the things I need. Even if the most-used pan in my kitchen is hanging by the handle or my trainers have weird big-toe holes, I struggle to replace them.
This is bad for my partner, who often has to spend hours convincing me we really need to replace the 10-year-old sofa desperately trying to shed its own skin. …
If we don’t keep swimming, we don’t necessarily sink but we do coast. We might even accidentally drift out to sea.
That’s where I found myself recently: my long-term writing goals had become distant specs on the horizon. Why? Because although I’ve built a career helping others improve their writing (I’m an editor), investment in myself has proved harder.
Like many people of my generation, I was raised to be suspicious of investing in the creative arts because they “weren’t real jobs”. So for years, I helped writers publish work while putting zero hours into my own creativity.
I am not a once-fan of Rachel Hollis turned sour. In fact, Hollis only came onto my radar in 2019 when she was accused of plagiarising other people’s words (including those of Maya Angelou for God’s sake) on her Instagram.
New York, 1963
I could’ve found money for a ticket, that isn’t the point. The point also isn’t to have fun.
I stand by the railings and watch as people hug their goodbyes or trail a waiter for one last canapé. A bee-hived woman in a coat too voluminous for August downs a flute of champagne before wobbling onto the crowded dock.
Suddenly, a whistle cuts through the thick summer air. “All guests of passengers now depart. We’re leaving in 10 minutes. 10 MINUTES,” shouts someone through a megaphone, and the last one, a beauty in a lipstick-red sundress, trots…
His name was Ashley and he was the cutest guy in my class: sparkling eyes, light on his feet, and quick to smile.
He didn’t know I existed, so naturally, I was smitten.
I wrote about Ashley in my pink glittery journal every night and invented long, complicated scenarios where we bumped into one another in a secluded part of the playground. Behind the chestnut tree or under the trailing leaves of a weeping willow, we kissed for hours.
In my long, detailed daydreams we became girlfriend and boyfriend. Later, he asked me to marry him on the swings in…