What is Gaslighting?

gaslighting, manipulation, relationship abuse

Gaslighting is a form of manipulation, bordering on abuse, that can happen in relationships of all kinds. But it most often happens in romantic relationships.

“To gaslight” means to the undermine another person’s reality by denying their feelings or the facts around a situation.

The phrase comes from a 1938 play which became a  popular movie in 1944. In the movie, the husband manipulates his wife using gaslights. And he makes her believe she can no longer trust her own perception of reality. 

Gaslighting is used as a way to  exercise power and control in a relationship. It might even be a way for someone to deflect responsibility for their own actions and to tear down the other person, while still stringing them along.

Continually invalidating how a person feels effectively says that what they’re thinking and feeling is wrong, when actually, what that person is feeling or experiencing is real.

How Can You Recognize Gaslighting?

Listed below are some common phrases you might hear if you’re being gaslighted: 

  • You’re so sensitive.
  • You know that’s just because you are so insecure.
  • Stop acting crazy. Or: You sound crazy, you know that, don’t you?
  • You’re so paranoid.
  • You’re being hysterical.
  • You are making that up.
  • It’s no big deal.
  • You’re imagining things.
  • You’re overreacting.
  • You are always so dramatic.
  • That never happened.
  • You know you don’t remember things clearly.
  • There’s no pattern. Or: You are seeing a pattern that is not there.
  • There you go again. Or :Why do you always have to be like that?

What Can You Do If You Think Someone’s Gaslighting You?

  • The first step is to identify the problem. You need to acknowledge what’s going on between you and the other person and you need to accept that it’s toxic. 
  • The second step is to sort out truth from distortion. Write down your conversation in a journal so you can take an objective look at it. Look for signs of repeated denial of your experience.
  • Next you want to make sure you give yourself permission to feel all your feelings. Accept and acknowledge that what you feel is okay. 
  • The next thing you can do is to talk to your close friends or a therapist. Ideally, they should validate your feelings and give you a reality check on your partner’s behavior.
  • You then want to give yourself permission to get some space from that relationship. I know that this might be the most difficult step because the other person is someone you have deep commitment to. But you need to know that it’s okay to walk away from a person who’s not good for you, regardless of who they are.
  • The most important thing you can do throughout this process is to have compassion for yourself. It’s essential to give yourself the benefit of the doubt, to be kind to yourself, and above all to love yourself.

How Can You Have A Healthy Relationship After Trauma

Relationship and Love

One of the most frequent questions I get asked is “How can you have a healthy relationship after trauma.”

The most important thing I did

Was to free myself 

Of the unrealistic expectation

That I had to be completely healed

To be worthy of lasting love.

Our relationships have the potential to be

Conduits for our healing

Vessels for our growth

Hospitals for our heart.

If we let them,

Our relationships will allow us to see 

Where we’re still wounded

While celebrating our growth and our healing.

But we have to be honest

With ourselves and our partners

About where we are in our healing journey

And what we need. 

Because only then will our relationships be

Less about two incomplete people

Searching in vain for completion in each other.

And more about

Two complete, authentic, 

Beautifully messy individuals

Learning, healing and 

Rising in love together. 

If you’re interested in having a healthy relationship, click here to learn more about my new workbook for single women, Get the Love You Deserve. 

Or you can also click here to purchase the ebook version on Amazon. 

The Negative Voice in Your Mind

That negative voice in your mind

It’s not yours.

It’s other people’s opinion of you.

It’s the voices that you trusted

When you weren’t in your power.

That negative voice in your mind

Is not evil.

It’s broken

It’s hurting

It’s afraid.

But still…

That negative voice in your mind

Knows nothing

About the real you

The powerful you

The brave you

The you that Your Creator intended.

Be kind to it, yes

But don’t believe it.

Don’t listen to it.

Don’t trust it.

Because it’s simply not true.

And it will never, ever, be you.

Is It Unspiritual to be Ambitious? The TRUTH About Ambition.


So many of us, myself included, feel embarrassed for having big dreams.

We feel uncomfortable talking about our goals

We pretend we don’t have big ambitions.

All because we bought into the world’s message that too much ambition is bad. Which it can be IF we use it as an excuse to treat people badly.

But what if there was something deeper, more meaningful, hidden within your ambition?

What if your ambition, the deepest desire of your heart, was given to you as the highest expression of your purpose?

What if honoring your ambition, being of service to something greater than yourself, was the most spiritual thing you could do?

Would you still be embarrassed about it if you knew your ambition was a gift, a precious gift, given to you by your Creator to share with the world?

The privilege of our life is to honor our ambition, 

To fulfill our part in the dance of the Universe, 

Assigned to us when the Universe was born.

Which means we have a Divine obligation to honor our ambition.

No one else has to accept, or even understand our ambition.

But we have a sacred responsibility to manifest and share our ambition.

Because that’s why it was given to us.

The Problem with The Secret (and The Law of Attraction)

the secret, the law of attraction

The reason the Secret was so popular, the reason it was right is because it teaches us that our lives will only change when we recognize our personal power. 

But the problem with it, with the Law of Attraction, is true power embraces the complexities of being human.

Doubts, fears and anxieties are a part of that. 

We can get some much needed perspective by embracing them, by investigating them, instead of trying to avoid them. 

I can honestly say this after wasting years of my life trying to avoid my fears and anxieties…

After wasting years of my life afraid of the questions that were coming up.

The most growth I’ve had…

My biggest breakthroughs and opportunities came only after acknowledging that I felt stuck and overwhelmed.

Being brave enough to look into these feelings helped me to discover if they were valid. 

If they were valid, I got to create a plan of action to deal with them.

And if they weren’t valid, I got to release them

Either way I felt so much better… 

So much more prepared…

So much more free.

If you’d like some help in dealing with your doubts and anxieties check out the framework I mentioned below. It’s something I created after wasting years of my life being crippled by anxiety. You can find it below along with an example from my own life. It’s yours to use anytime you’re feeling confused, doubtful or anxious.

(Of course, if fears and anxieties get overwhelming, please talk to a qualified psychologist.)


Example from my life:

An incident with a meditation teacher who ended up being accused of sexually assaulting several women.

My desire for a mentor, a guru, made me blind to the early red flags in that relationship. It made me blind to times he crossed boundaries, to the times he said or did something to get me comfortable with him having access to my body and control over my life. 

His predatory behavior could have ended with me being assaulted if I didn’t eventually pay attention to the doubts and questions that I had.

The framework below uses this incident as an example to show how helpful it can be to investigate our doubts and uncertainties.

What happened? 

(Psychologists refer to this as the Activating Incident. You can think of it as the the thing that triggered the feeling below.)

At the end of my first meditation session, the meditation teacher told me my heart chakra was blocked and he touched my chest

How am I feeling?

Confused and a little worried.

Is this feeling valid?

I think so.  It doesn’t make sense that he would do that when I came to him for help for sexual assault

What am I telling myself to ignore this feeling?

Maybe meditation teachers are more physical. Maybe this is normal for people like this.

What might happen if I ignore this feeling?

It can happen again. He might continue to do things that makes me feel confused and uncomfortable.

What can I do address this feeling?

Talk to someone who’s been in a situation like this. Find out if it actually is normal.

How will I move forward?

If they say it’s normal, but I’m still not comfortable with it, I can try to set a boundary. I should also try to set a boundary if it happens again just to let him know that I’m not comfortable with people touching me right now.

Boundaries Are Essential For Happy Relationships

We’ve all had people in our life who treat us badly.

They’re rude to us, they talk down to us, they can be really aggressive or manipulative. They might even be verbally or physically abusive.

And it can be really difficult to know how to tell them to stop. Because, like I mentioned in the video, most of us didn’t grow up knowing how to set boundaries.

But it’s essential, for our relationships and for our happiness, to be able to teach people how to treat us better.

We need to learn how to say no, how to set effective boundaries, so that we don’t reinforce their undesirable, manipulative  or abusive behavior.

The 5 steps below are something I’ve used again and again to help me set boundaries, to remind myself that I deserve love and respect, and to walk away when I’m not getting it from someone so that I might give it to myself.

These steps were put together by the psychologist Kati Morton. They may be of value to you if you struggle with setting healthy boundaries.

Step 1: Notice when we reinforce the bad behavior of others. This is an important  first step if, like me, you’ve grown up in a home without boundaries. So pay attention to when you say yes to someone when you really want to say no.

Step 2: Recognize that we have the right to walk away from others. You do not have to stay in a conversation or situation that makes you feel like crap. You might tell the other person you’d be willing to speak with them if they stop being disrespectful or manipulative.

Step 3: Understand that we have the right to say NO if something is not in our best interest. Saying no doesn’t make us rude or selfish or a bad person. It’s actually a sign of healthy self-respect because we’re honoring what we need for our happiness.

Step 4: Act upon our recognition that the relationship is unhealthy. We always have the ability to distance ourselves from toxic people. Even if we live with those people we can still limit the time we spend around them, we can still choose to be emotionally unavailable for toxic people.

Step 5: Stick with it. If you feel guilty for setting boundaries ask your self “is it more important that other people like me or that I like me?”  This is where heathy self-respect, healthy self-love, comes from. Reinforcing this and acting consistently will help to ensure we’re treated the way we want to be.

The Magic Of Surrender

flow, peace, mindfulness

Goals are important.

Mindset is important.

Motivation is important.

But there’s something missing from all of these, something we don’t really talk about in the personal development space, something that’s as essential to our happiness and fulfillment as all the above.

The thing that’s missing is Surrender.

“What?” you might be thinking “I just have to give up on my goals and dreams and wait for something to happen?”

Absolutely not! 

Surrender isn’t resignation. It’s not defeat. It’s not laziness. 

Surrender is the simple wisdom of flowing with life instead of opposing it.

It’s an internal shift in our own perception from the stress of hustle, hustle, hustle, to the ease of alignment.

It doesn’t mean we don’t work. It means we work with reverence for the process and not over-attachment to a specific outcome.

Surrender is the living from the place within us which cannot be impacted by the world around us.

It’s allowing our lives to be guided by a power far greater than our own.

It’s our journey back to our true Self-

A journey without distance from our head to our heart.

The Most Important Advice I’d Give to My Younger Self (or Anyone)

A lot of people say we shouldn’t look back in life, that we’re wasting time if we do.

While we definitely don’t want to live in our past, there’s so much value in looking back. We get to see how far we’ve come, how much we’ve been through, how much we’ve learned. 

In the video below I share the most important advice I’d give to my younger self, my twenty year old self.

My life was overflowing with anxiety and uncertainty at twenty years old. Every time I thought about my future I would become paralyzed with fear. 

I knew I had potential. 

I knew I wanted a life different from the ones around me.

I knew I could do so much more with my life than just work and party.

But the fear I felt made me feel trapped.

So I did what so many of us do-

I ignored it.

I turned to tv, alcohol, men and partying to avoid the fear and uncertainty.

Which is why the most important advice I’d give to my younger self has to do with embracing that fear, leaning in to that uncertainty. 

Yes, it’s scary. 

But it’s not as scary as being stuck.

It’s not as scary as never honoring our potential.

It’s not as scary as never knowing what would happened if we just try.

Our experiences can be our greatest teachers. 

And we can find wisdom in even the worst circumstances if we pause to reflect on what we’ve been through.

So watch the video below. And then let me know about the advice you’d give to your younger self. You never know who might be inspired by your life’s wisdom.

Resilience: The ESSENTIAL ingredient to a happy life

Resilience, Strength, Personal Growth

Our capacity to be resilient, our capacity to endure struggle and failure and heartbreak, determines the quality of our lives.

None of us can create lives we love, none of us can truly live, without experiencing challenges in life.

Every single one of us will endure periods of difficulty and despair- be it in love, work, school, family, health, relationships, spiritual growth. As much as we would love all of these to flow easily and effortlessly, the reality is they will not.

So I think creating a life we love depends, in a large part, on our ability to navigate the setbacks and struggles of our lives.

The good news is we seem to be hardwired for resilience. 

Watch the video below to learn more.

Still don’t believe me? 

Then look at your own life.

You’ve already gone through something like this. 

You’ve already endured heartbreak, setbacks and challenges in your life. If you don’t think you’re resilient enough, or strong enough, or good enough, remind yourself of what you’ve already been through and how you found your way out of it. 

So no matter what you’re going through, never forget that you will get through this because you’ve already done it.

You’ve already demonstrated resilience. And you can cultivate that inherent seed of resilience to blossom and thrive in life. 

There are many ways to cultivate  resilience, and I’ll definitely be talking about those, but for right now I just want to remind you that you’re strong enough to make it through. And whatever it is you’re going through will make you stronger and will help you be even better prepared to handle what’s coming in your life. 

Because our setbacks and struggles come with gifts that we just don’t get anywhere else- an  unshakable strength, a deeper level of clarity, and a fierce conviction in our values. 

Even if it feels overwhelming right now, be compassionate with yourself, and remember that you can make it through this. Because resilience  is your birthright.

Stop Waiting For Your Big Break! Use the Progress Principle Instead

productivity, the progress principle

“Is this it? Is this all that there is to life? There has to be more.”

These are the thoughts that would drift into my mind as my head hit the pillow after an exhausting day of wake-up, work, tv, sleep. It was usually followed by a lingering thought of “One day. Maybe one day it’ll all change.” Maybe one day I wouldn’t have to numb my potential with chocolate cake and re-runs of NCIS.

But I had no idea how to get to that “one day.” 

So I waited. 

I waited for someone to give me my dream job. I waited for a teacher to tell me I was special. I waited to be discovered by someone I admired. I waited for a blog post to go viral.

And as I waited I got more and more tired.

My life felt like a treadmill.  Sweaty. Exhausted. Achey. And waiting for someone else to press the stop button.

So many of us feel like that- like we’re on the treadmill of life. 

Burnt out from constantly moving but not actually going anywhere. 

But how can we get somewhere? How can we get off the treadmill and actually do meaningful work? Work that nourishes and fuels us?

It turns out that science has the answer-

According to research out of Harvard, the key to fulfilling work is to take small steps towards our most important dreams and goals. 

It’s called the Progress Principle and it’s written by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer. 

They looked at over 12,000 pieces of data and they found that “of all the positive events that influences work life, the single most powerful is progress in meaningful work. Even when progress happens in small steps, a person’s sense of steady forward movement towards an important goal can make all the difference between a great day and a terrible one.” 

Small wins are shown to have a surprisingly strong effect in long-term productivity.

Which means that lasting success isn’t about a one time breakthrough. Lasting success is based on small but consistent steps towards a goal that matter to us. 

I know from my own experience how much impact these small steps have. My life today looks completely than it did just two years ago. And I owe it all to setting aside 30 minutes to an hour every day and giving that time to one goal that truly matters to me. 

What matters most to you? Writing a book? Exercising? Starting a side hustle? Having better relationships?

Is it worth 30 minutes of your day? 

I created a free “Monthly Maintenance” journal template for you.

It’s something I do at the beginning of every month to keep me focused on my goals, grounded in my purpose and grateful for my progress.

Download it now if you’d like a free tool to  commit to your goals.

If you’d like a more expansive process to stick to your goals, get my most popular free download, the Beyond Motivation Guide, here.