Feeling Understood: The Importance of Validation

    We all want to feel understood and valued. When we sense that others understand our perspective, we feel safer in relationships and more confident in general. Paradoxically, although we inherently crave understanding, we don’t intuitively know how to attain it. Indulge me as a bibliophile for a moment: this universal desire to understand those we love, and to feel understood by them, is a prominent literary theme. All levels of readers relate to this internal drive; we … [Read more...]

Love and Money

Love and Money Research tells us that when couples argue about their finances they aren’t actually talking about money. Yet, research also shows that money is the one of most frequently cited sources of friction in a marriage. The conclusion we can draw from these two seemingly paradoxical truths is that couples often misunderstand the meanings of money. The Gottman Institute teaches: “Money is loaded with power and meaning that can make discussions heated and hurtful. Arguments … [Read more...]


It’s easy to recognize the value of literacy in our lives. Reading increases our access to education and broadens our social world. Reading develops emotional and mental strength that other modalities of sharing ideas and information cannot replicate. For example, watching a movie made from a book is a different experience than reading the book itself. When we watch a movie we surrender our own creative interpretation of the story to that of the filmmaker; we are removed from the potential of … [Read more...]

Courageous Conversations

I recently finished reading a book by one of my favorite authors, Atul Gawande, M.D., entitled Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters In The End. In his book, Dr. Gawande primarily discusses decisions related to end of life care and outlines the differences between the medical, information-providing model of addressing these issues and newly emerging, more humane ways of having hard conversations. The kind of conversations Gawande encourages readers to have are not just applicable to end … [Read more...]

Happier Kids – Fifteen Minutes at a Time

Each of my kids has presented me with their list of demands for the year – aka their “Christmas List.” Don’t get me wrong; I really love my kids! And I really do want to know what they think will make them happy on December 25th! That being said, I have also learned that no matter how many picture perfect presents they unwrap that morning, the thing that makes and keeps kids happiest is consistent connection. Our undivided attention and interest - on a small scale and a consistent basis - is the … [Read more...]