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When I first sat down in my life coaching certification program, our instructor invited us to forget everything we knew about life for a day and try on a new mentality like trying on a new pair of pants.

While real cognitive change takes at least a few months with practice (especially with a coach’s help), making the commitment to rewire ourselves was a monumental first step toward that transformation. We automatically opened our minds to possibilities, feeling lighter and more empowered like we were floating on a cloud. I invite you to do the same.

With that said, let’s…


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Evil exes. Dysfunctional families. Toxic friendships. Hostile co-workers. Past trauma. These are all examples of emotional baggage that we might bring into our romantic relationships like a backpack full of heavy high school textbooks we don’t want to read.

I mention those textbooks because you can look at emotional baggage as unresolved traumas and stresses, or that homework you’re avoiding. It’s like the pain and torture of organic chemistry or history that you’re not ready to face head-on like going down a water slide.

Put another way, it’s like that big suitcase you left in the middle of the room…


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A few years ago, I had what you might call a “mentor,” who once told me the only reason she and her husband got married was because her accountant recommended it for tax purposes. Otherwise, taking that leap wasn’t really on their minds.

Marriage (or “mawwiage,” as the priest says in the movie The Princess Bride) was considered a part of the plan when I was growing up, and in a way, I’m glad my mentor told me about her experience. It offered me a different point of view, like trying a new food.

While I’ve written about how long…


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When I was getting my life coaching certification, one lesson we learned in mindset work (that is, learning how to rewire your thought process so you can live a more fulfilling life) was the difference between what’s true and the truth.

In other words, what’s “true” for us is an individual experience (subjective): I might have my own recollection of a car crash (whether I was a victim or a witness), but it might not explain what actually happened. The “truth” explains what actually happened from the most objective place possible, almost like a bird’s eye view.

I bring this…


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Unless you’ve been living in a hole under a rock on a remote island with no means to communicate with the outrealm, you probably know that the world (particularly the US) is at an inflection point. Part of the metaphorical slap in the face that has been making us pause for reflection has been a national conversation around racial equity and equality.

I bring that to your attention like serving up a pupu platter because, no matter your skin color, your size and shape, your sexual orientation, your gender identification, your able-bodied status, or whatever your general circumstances might be…


Source: Giphy

Unless you’ve been living in a hole under a rock on a remote island with no means to communicate with the outrealm, you probably know that the world (particularly the US) is at an inflection point. Part of the metaphorical slap in the face that has been making us pause for reflection has been a national conversation around racial equity and equality.

I bring that to your attention like serving up a pupu platter because, no matter your skin color, your size and shape, your sexual orientation, your gender identification, your disability status, or whatever your general circumstances might be…


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How familiar does this sound? You and your partner are both in bed after a long day at work. You’re reading or doing something on your phone, and then your partner reaches over and starts getting frisky with you. He’s trying to initiate some love-making like a horny college student trying to score big “fuck points” with a sorority girl.

Unfortunately, you’re just not in the mood. …


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Have you ever played “hard to get” in your dating life? Maybe you weren’t sure the person was right for you. Maybe you wanted to make a game out of the courting ritual. Maybe it left you with a solid partner, or maybe it left you back on the streets, starting over, because the person trying to catch you like trapping a moth gave up.

As it turns out, we have an evolutionary basis for playing “hard to get.” Some of us do it as a means of self-protection (so the pursuer will less likely take advantage of us), while…


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My partner Phillip and I recently went on a “social distancing” vacation. We rented a “hippie” camper van with a kitchen and rooftop tent (no toilet) that was last used before the COVID-19 pandemic and drove up to the eastern Sierras in California. We were hoping to enjoy the great outdoors while helping to flatten the coronavirus curve.

Heading up like a couple of hippies without a concrete plan, we found ourselves a little stressed in the beginning. We experienced an unexpected heat wave in Alabama Hills, so we stayed for only one blistering night and got the hell out…


Romance Is Not a Game

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When I was younger, my sister and I were often in fierce competition with each other over virtually everything, from the number of presents we’d get for our birthdays and Christmas to who would owe whom a favor.

As a result, my well-intentioned parents would keep score to try to make everything as equal as possible between the two of us, and my sister and I ended up doing the same to each other. If I gave my sister a ride somewhere when it was inconvenient for me, then she’d have to owe me. …

Holly Shaftel, MPA, CPC, ELI-MP

Certified relationship coach for women who feel anxious & insecure in love. hollyshaftel.com

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