Dear Future Husband


I’ve read this post at exactly 1:36 am, August 27, 2016…I can’t sleep for whatever reasons that I can’t tell (it’s a secret, hehe)..So I decided to check my FB and this is the first post that I saw…That’s why I am writing this blog. I think this one is beautifully written. I can’t help myself from reading it over and over. I even reposted it in my Instagram account. And then I ran into some of my saved files because I happen to read a blog that seems to answer this post..Here it goes…

Dear Mr. Right,

As a daydreamer with a vivid and colorful imagination, it was hard for me to put my daydreams of my fairy tale man to the side. But I am. It’s hard.

It’s hard to truly let go, and let God work. This comes from someone who is a recovering control freak…especially when it comes to relationships. I wanted to control every aspect: the meeting, the pursuit, the conversation, and the timing. I was always told that my Mr. Right is somewhere out there. After all, there are plenty of fish in the sea. But I didn’t want just a fish… I wanted my one true love and I wanted him NOW.

I was impatient. I searched for love and acceptance in all the wrong places. I sought it out in people that continually failed me. I would often see a guy in Starbucks and think, “could he be the one?”…I mean he did have really nice hair. I did not understand why I was the girl that never had the awesome boyfriend. To be honest Mr. Right, I would pray for you every night. I remember tears running down my face because I so badly wanted to find you. I truthfully wanted that fairytale moment with you, when our eyes met from across the room and we immediately fell in love. I wanted the fireworks and the distant sound of triumphant music and even the cute little floating hearts above our heads, because I thought, “I had found the one made just for me.”

But, our Father is so faithful. He is the one for which my soul was made. I was made to love Him! I was made to continually fall more and more in love with Him everyday. So Mr. Right, in response to your letter I am waiting. I am praying for patience. I am submitting my life to God. I am growing and learning how GOOD of a Father we serve.

And you are right. We need time . I need time to be patient and completely surrender my heart to God, I need to lay it all at his feet. I need to just be with him everyday. And to respond to your question “Am I okay with never getting married?”, I will be honest and say that if you asked me that a year ago I would have said a very clear and stern, “NO!” But that has completely changed. I feel led to say this, to tell you that you do not complete me, and I CAN live without you. It is something that I have struggled with, but our God is faithful. He is the one that holds me in His hand, and loves me unconditionally. Can you love me in that way? I’m not sure I can do that just yet.

So in the waiting Mr. Right, I’m praying for you and for God to strengthen our hearts in a way only he can (Psalm 27:14). To give us patience, and understanding when everything gets confusing and complicated.

Thinking of you and praying with you.

– Mrs. Right in training

Ilusyunada mode: “Feeling ko para sa akin yung post niya!..Charot!..How I wish”

I hope that my Mr. Right is thinking the same as the man who write this post…God bless you man and may you really find your Future Mrs. Right…aw..Future Wife pala!


In HIS Time


Ecclesiastes 13

1 There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens:

2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,

4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,

7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

11 He has made everything beautiful in its time…

Re – reading this verse, remind me again to be faithful and to wait patiently for the Lord’s perfect timing for me.. For every aspect of my life…especially that aspect of my life..yeah, LOVE LIFE, that is!

Many times I become frustrated and depress about that especially when people around me started questioning me “kailan ka ba mag – aasawa? (when are you getting married)..wala pa ba? (is there still no one)..hay!

But I’m still praying for that perfect man for me..I believe he’s perfect for me because he was hand-picked by God Himself..was?..because I know when God made him, He was thinking about me..Isn’t that sweet…(insert smiling face)





kwento ko lang si KAIROS po ay yung aking motor. Bakit may pangalan pa? Ang ibig sabihin kasi ng name nya ay “Opportune moment o Tamang Panahon? Inspired ba sa Aldub? Hindi po. Nagkataon lang. Ito kasi ang gusto kong name ng magiging baby ko. In the  future. Hehe..Violet siya kasi yun ung favorite color ko. Birthday nya December 8, 2016. Hulugan at by faith ang perang panghulog ko sa kanya. For 1 year lang kasi kaya medyo malaki ang hulog. Pero God is amazing kasi never pa naman akong pumalya.. Lalo na nung April at May yun kasi ang crucial months kasi wala akong work nun bakasypn kasi so wala din akong sweldo.. Pero as of this writing, nasa 6 moths na siya at wala pa namang nagiging problem. Alam ko protected kami ni Lord everytime may lakad kami. Thank You Lord for Kairos!

New Look!..New Me!


June 11, 2016 Saturday..I decided to have a short hair..Don’t know what would be the outcome.. Honestly, I’m nervous..It’s been a while since nagpa-short hair ako. If I remember it right, parang grade 5 pa yata ako,,haha,,so sobrang tagal na mga 1997 after 19 years. Nasanay din ang mga tao na makita ako lagi lang long hair..either rebonded or pag natripan, naka – curl. So yun na nga iba iba reaction ng nakakita. May nagandahan, nagmukha daw akong bata. May nagsabi para daw akong si Dora. At yun usual, bakit daw ako nagpagupit?..Broken hearted ba daw ako? Ha? Ako? Di ba pwedeng try lang ng bago, maiba lang. Tapos laging sinasabi magkaka-boyfriend na daw ako kasi gumanda ako. Kasama sa short hair ko nagtry din ako ng medyo dark shade ng lipstick. Nagustuhan ko naman kasi parang may pagka – adventurous ang dating. Ewan ko lang parang di parin ako sanay kasi parang napaka – seductive ng dating para sa akin. Pero masaya naman ako kasi akala ko magsisisi ako sa naging desisyon ko pero hindi naman..3 months ko din yun pinag – isipan. Balak ko pa nga magback out nung nasa salon na ako, pero okay naman..Basta..Ang gulo ko..

Mahilig kaya ang Mr. Right ko sa mga babaeg short hair at dark ang shade ng lipstick?!

In Sickness and In Health, I Vow to Love Myself

Written by Lindsey

The trip I took all over the country makes more sense when you hear the whole story. But the version of this story that is easy to tell (Hawaii! Yoga! Snowboarding!) doesn’t give the exact picture of how life really is.

The version that is harder to talk about is the one that involves my newly defined, lifelong quest to find health, despite spending my entire existence believing that I would be sick for the rest of my life.

A Diseased Reality

I don’t have cancer or AIDS or anything omigosh horrible. But I was raised on prescription pharmaceuticals for “incurable” allergies, eczema, thyroid imbalance and athsma. Mmmm, dinner conversation. Or not.

People who knew me in my previous life, the one where I had a clear cut plan to be an engineer, only picked up on these ailments when they were around me for a while. My NEED to find my pills or ointments at some point during the day. My propensity to lotion application on a way-above-normal level. Athsma and sneezing attacks in kitty-filled living rooms. Late night trips to Walgreens.

A large portion of my adolescence and early 20s was spent filling prescriptions, worrying about heathcare costs, and buying infinite useless products from the health section in the rural Michigan shopping mecca, WalMart. I was sick, and that was my life, and I accepted it. For the first 23 years, anyways.

Getting Real

So now that that is out there, we can take a brief travel update to include the health aspects of my journey: Hawaii was all about getting off the pills and changing my diet. Oklahoma was spent eliminating every possible food allergen that could have caused these diseases, and living like a health goddess. Tahoe was about finding peace and happiness in my mind, healing my disease using positive psychology and healing affirmations.

Hawaii was amazing. But there were many times I spent scratching my itchy eczema skin raw and sobbing and calling myself Frankenstein and hating everyone that called me a leper and generally being pitiful. Not stories you generally take home from your trip to paradise. Oklahoma got me focused, but I was incredibly isolated, because all I did was religiously stick to my rice and beans diet, filling journals with detailed notes about my health. Tahoe… when I got to Tahoe and started to look inside myself a little more… that was when everything changed.

Through it all, I found something within myself, an answer to everything.


Love is confusing. There’s Hollywood-love that we watch in movies all the time. And relationship-love between happy couples. And friend-love that make cross-country road trips and crazy stories all the better.

The most important love for me right now, is love of myself. Every aspect of my sickness and disease are better if I love myself. The healthy lifestyle choices, like yoga, and eliminating processed foods, make huge differences, but aren’t enough if I still have a “fuck the world I hate my sickness” attitude. In a larger scope, eating well, and getting in touch with your passions and inner monologue are essentially self-love practices.

I chose 3 One-Year Goals when I finished my Joy Plan at the end of August, and my first one is practicing Self Love every day. Because, seriously, no matter what, if I sit down and meditate for 10 minutes, and I look in the mirror and affirm that I love myself and am totally awesome, and then I make myself food that nourishes my whole body and then practice yoga and do something that makes me feel alive… I’m not sick.

Back to the Quarterlife Crisis

My crisis is defined by my need to find balance between this girl who feels a need to share everything learned about health and healing chronic disease and this girl who is still trying to figure out how to live this health out sustainably, while enjoying life fully. I came home because I had found the answers and needed to find a way to incorporate them into my life. The first thing I did back in Michigan, was get my final thyroid test after having the drug out of my system for 6 months. It was fine. I was free of my ball and chain.

CRISIS MODE – NOW WHAT?!?!?! This is around the time I was to be found miserable at my parents house, trying to figure out what the sweetbejesus I was going to do with my life.

I’m at a very curious tipping point, where I feel like I have found the answer to everything I was looking for in regards to my health, but haven’t a clue how to turn it into my life. I’m confused and mad as hell at doctors and the pharmaceutical industry for putting me through years of unnecessary treatments. I hate the industrialized food industry for creating endless cases of allergies and eczema in children throughout the country. I feel like I’ve stumbled upon some giant conspiracy. (But I hate listening to conspiracy theories and feeling like the world is out to “get us” so I’ll try not to get all “aliens are poisoning us” on you gals.)

So while I let the dust settle from all these crazy revelations and experiences, I practice self-love daily. I curiously revel in the idea of relationship love, but I know, from experience, that until I can be stable in this “I am healthy and I love myself” attitude, inviting another person into my life will only make things more difficult.

Love is more simple and complicated than anything.

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How Does a Logical Person Define Love?

Written by Nicole Antoinette

Love is what we all have in common. And yet it’s the most impossible thing to describe. More than anything, love is our intangible common denominator.

I’m a logical person, a person who thinks things through, and then over-thinks them, and then thinks about them some more, and some more still – and yet I don’t know that I can define love. And the cliche about love, of course, is that you’ll know it when you’re in it, right?

I used to think it happened explosively. That love was something astronomically powerful that not only swept you off your feet, but knocked you down on your ass and soaked through your skin and became an overarching force that was impossible to ignore. But, what if that’s not it? What if love is quiet and soft? What if love is gradual and delicate? What if love isn’t an explosion, but is instead this calm feeling you get when you wake up one Wednesday morning and realize that there’s no where else you’d rather be than next to this person whose quirks make you laugh until you can’t breathe? What if, more than anything, love isn’t what all the romantic comedies have made us believe it is?

Over the past six years, I’ve thought a lot about love. I’ve defined it, I’ve been in it and out of it, I’ve thought I was in it and then realized that I wasn’t, I’ve wanted it, not wanted, and on and on.

Lately, I think I’ve stopped trying to define it and have started to believe that being in love is about more than just explosive emotion. And yet, it’s also about more than just finding someone to coexist with in the same space at the same time. Love is about finding someone who lights even your tiniest parts on fire, and everyone’s tiny parts are different. It’s about finding someone who makes you more you, who will even surprise you every now and then by knowing you better than you know yourself.

For me, it’s about finding someone who is as enthusiastic about cheese plates as I am, someone who thinks that when it comes to laughter, sex, and alcoholic drinks, the more intense the better. Love, for me, needs to be somewhat spontaneous, I need someone who will just up and take me on a cruise. Someone who won’t tease me because I have to wash things in a specific order in the shower (shampoo, face, conditioner, body), or who won’t laugh (too hard) when I’m hungover and can’t do anything except lay on one side with my eyes closed and ask repeatedly for someone to squeeze my head.

And you know what? Even after all the thought and the over-thought, after all the defining and the re-defining, what I want from love is actually quite simple: I want (as Chelsea said) a safe place to rest my lips. I want someone who will keep me in his heart because that’s where I’ll be warm and safe. I want someone who will look at me when I’m at my messiest and kiss me on the forehead, someone who thinks I’m lovely in the morning, and at night, and during all the in between times. I want someone who isn’t afraid to live, really live, who identifies what he wants from life and then demands it, loudly and without hesitation.

I want someone who won’t tell me that I’m his everything, because he has a full life of things that don’t revolve entirely around me. I want someone who can handle me, who can tame me in a way, simply by running his fingers down my spine and settling his hand on my lower back. Someone who knows how much I like to be whispered to and who isn’t scared off when I’m crying. Someone who can sense when I’m overwhelmed, who just knows when life is too much and who will, in those moments, stand close enough to me to block everything else out.

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12 Rules of Inner Confidence

Written by Molly Mahar


Life gets easier when you genuinely feel an inner confidence. Not cocky self-absorption or a fake-it-til-you-make-it attitude, but true comfort in your skin, radiant openness with others, and an understanding of your uniqueness.

You are amazing, babe!  It’s time for you to own it.

In my coaching practice, I’ve found a lack of trust and self-confidence can distract even the most vibrant woman from truly enjoying her life. And I want you to enjoy your life! We are made for celebrating! And laughter! And soul level clarity! And feeling damn good about our abilities and ourselves.

Inner confidence is a gift that plays out in so many ways. And best of all? It’s something you control.

So what are the secrets to Owning Your Amazing? Read on, woman, read on.  I’ve got 12 rules for you to try on for size.



Do you think of hope as a combination of crossing your fingers, looking at the world through rose-colored glasses, and sending your wishes out into to the Universe? I used to… and then I found out that hope is something we can all practice; it’s something we could learn to use. Hope is a positive thought process (not an emotion) that boosts your self-confidence.

Hope helps you to keep putting in the hard work, even in the face of adversity, because we believe we are deserving of good things. Optimism makes it easier to get up, brush ourselves off, and start again with even more determination because we believe we are capable.

Practicing your positive outlook reinforces your sense of personal power. You are powerful, gorgeous. You can create change in your world. You can accomplish your sparkly or wild or daring dreams.

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Positivity is not naive — it’s a sign of strength. Practice it in your self-talk, the way you share with others, your assumptions about the future, and by graciously accepting compliments.


You are blessed with strengths. When explored and nurtured, they can be used to achieve inner confidence and activate your Amazing. Expression of our strengths makes us feel like our real selves. It invigorates us! It excites us! It makes us crave more ways to use those strengths!

And concentrating on our strengths is so much more fun than trying to force ourselves to become better at things we usually suck at, right?

A strength may come naturally to us, but we do need to make the choice to use it. Even if we are naturally creative, or brave, or diligent, or playful, or fair, we must still craft our lives so we get the chance to express our signature strengths on a daily basis.

We can absolutely find ways to use our strengths in work, love, play, and parenting when we are conscious of them. It’s just a matter of clarity and activation.

Turn it ON, hot stuff!


Personal power is not about using force or manipulation to overcome, but rather, it’s about realizing our natural state of goodness. It’s about trusting our worth. It’s about harnessing our energy and confidence to make a positive difference in the world by simply being ourselves.

The incredible thing? You are already immensely powerful.

Perhaps you don’t feel it yet. Perhaps your natural radiance is muddied up with years of bottling your own opinions, of trying not to offend, of working desperately to shore up your “weaknesses” instead of expanding your innate talents.

But let me say this again: You are already immensely powerful.

When we believe we are good at a core level, it becomes more comfortable to function in this crazy, stressful world. We know how to treat others. We know how to treat ourselves. We know how to weed out the bullshit and return to the pure basics of the “good life”.


When you’re on a quest to rev up your confidence and Amazing, indulging in the comparison game and allowing it to fill you with envy is one of the worst things to do.

When you look at someones life and wish you had their cash flow, or partner, or adorable house, or amazing talent to seduce bartenders, there are two things that can happen:

1) You feel worse about your own life and resentful towards that person. You assume they have their shit together and you don’t. You get envious. Your successes seem to pale in comparison. You spiral into jealousy and a feeling of hopelessness. Why don’t you have what they have? You’re more deserving! It’s not fair!

2) You feel inspired. You think that it’s awesome that they have “that” in their lives. You take a moment to consider if it’s something you want in your own life. Does it fit into your definition of success? It does! You realize that if they can do it, so can you! You study. You plot. You start taking action. The dream stays alive and vibrant in your mind, because you know someone who has it/has done it!

The action is the same — comparing yourself to someone else. The reaction is the moment of choice — will this harm or help you? Most often, we have no clue how to use comparison to inspire us. In that case, it’s time to stop the comparisons.


How often do you answer questions with “I don’t care” or “You decide” or “Whatever you think”? If you find yourself continually passing the ownership on decisions, you are telling your inner self that YOU don’t matter. You are sending a signal that your opinions or preferences don’t need to be stated.

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I’m not saying you can’t express love or compromise by letting some- one in your world decide where you eat tonight or the proper format to present the big idea to the boss, but I am saying if it’s a habit, you are losing chances to build your confidence.

You’re a person. You have an opinion. And your opinion matters. You won’t always get your way (and you shouldn’t!) but you should know where you stand on things and be able to share that with others.

Speaking up is an easy way to practice fully inhabiting your life. Pick the movie this weekend. Choose the flavor of ice cream. Make the choice of what to do for girls’ night.

You’ve got this, babe!


You, just as you are, are incredible. You, with all your freak flags flying or quirks on full display or idiosyncrasies rockin’, are perfect. In a tiny frame or with lush curves. With straight A’s or working hard to scrape by. When you tip your barista or when you turn down a party invitation. No matter! You in full force is what the world needs.

I don’t want you to let the notion of being nice or being liked or being popular hold you back from being You. Ditch the masks! Stop hiding behind others ideas of who you should be! Do things your own way and your inner confidence will soar.

Yes, there are a million photographers and bloggers and teachers and lawyers and artists and service reps out there. There are continents full of mothers and daughters and lovers and wives. Streets packed with dancers and letter writers and pie bakers.

But there is only one YOU.

You make a gorgeous impression in this world. Gifts and flaws, moments of grace and gutter balls, triumphs and let-downs. Really getting this concept can rock you to the core.

Talk about owning your Amazing!


What might happen if you took away your fear of failure, your anxiety about making the wrong decision, or your self-doubt? Can you imagine what beautiful adventures you’d have? What kind of art you’d create? The positions you’d run for? How quickly you’d quit your mind-numbing job and find your real purpose? The difference you’d make?

The amount of brilliance you could put into the world blows my mind! You are capable of so many magical things right this moment, sugar.

We each need to learn how to face our fears and trust our choices. It’s not about eliminating your fear; it’s about recognizing that it’s present, understanding that it won’t kill you, and taking the big step/ chasing the brilliant dream/stretching what you think is possible anyway. It’s about beginning before you think you’re totally ready, when the idea is still tender and precious. It’s about stretching our capacity for uncertainty.

Clarity and knowledge come from action, not ruminating on doubts or unknowns. The only way to really know what is possible and how much you’re actually capable of is to just start DOING.

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It’s time to stop doubting yourself and your desires. It’s time to DO. Eat those fears for breakfast, baby!


As adults, we tend to shy on the side of underwhelm. It’s not cool to be excited about the Sting concert or new neighbors or the fact that your grocery store is finally carrying sesame butter. It’s not hip to dance around in celebration of your new client. We bottle our emotions or only share complaints because it’s so much more acceptable to be critical or sarcastic or blasé.

Allowing yourself to go gaga for a new recipe, an amazing line in your novel, a new crush, or your brand new website feeds your childlike soul. Showing enthusiasm towards anything is a gift to you — a way to guarantee that you won’t fall into a too-cool-for-school slump of apathy.

Let things light you up! Share your passion! When you get excited about the little things in life, you’re reminding yourself that your delight is important.

And any reminder that YOU are important fuels your inner confidence.


When you are living your life on your own terms, you’re going to have haters. By challenging your life’s status quo, you’re going to make others feel uncomfortable because they see your change, your sparkle, and your bravery as a direct judgment on the choice they are making to stay small, unhappy, or unhealthy.

Vocal haters will speak up and question your declarations, call you names, make a big fuss about the choices you are making in your personal life. Sneaky haters will try to sabotage your efforts, question your motivation, and smile to your face while whispering behind your back.

None of this “hate” is about you. It’s about how your choice to make deliberate decisions, to stretch, to declare that you are enough just as you are, and to own your Amazing is making them feel about themselves. Your haters are feeling threatened, scared, bewildered, or self-righteous. They’re lashing out at you because they’re not sure how to address the inconsistencies or lack in their own life.

That’s not on you, honey, that’s on them.

Your job? Ignore the haters. Feel empathy, or pity, or amusement — but do not let them get under your skin. It’s not your duty to please others; it’s your duty to honor yourself in whatever way feels authentic.


Integrity. Wholeness. Honor.

Big words, eh? With them comes big responsibility. Building our inner confidence requires us to take accountability for our actions and reactions. When you stand up in your life and declare your intention to live fully, love hard, lead responsibly, honor your joy, you’re also declaring your intention to take responsibility for your choices.

It may not always feel this way, but we always have choice.

Choices to wake up with a positive attitude. Choices to be generous with our love. Choices with how we live our lives and what we stand for. Choices to follow through with our word. Choices in how we treat others. Choices in how we treat ourselves.

Truly realizing our ability to choose and honor our integrity helps us claim freedom in our dreams, our actions, and our quest to live intentional lives. Give weight to your word and your actions, lovely. The effort is worth the self-respect it creates.


When you are gorgeously confidant in your own gifts and ways of expressing yourself in this world, you can celebrate the awesomeness of everyone around you without feeling threatened or lacking. You can cheer your competitors on! You can celebrate the wins of your colleagues! You can have genuine admiration for the brilliant ideas of your gal pals! You can appreciate the genius of your partner!

The flip-side of that statement is true as well. When you celebrate others’ Amazing, you are sending hints — little love bombs of inspiration — to your psyche. When you appreciate someone’s compassion, spunk, or productivity, you’ll discover compassion, spunk and productivity in your own life.

What we notice and celebrate in others will show up more often in our own world…

Build your belief in abundance, the power of support, and the beauty of individuality by truly treasuring the amazing people in your life.

I’m betting it will come back to you in bold, beautiful ways.


Looking for a mega dose of confidence-building juice? Share your gifts. Use your talents to give back to your community. Start a side hustle that allows you to offer your strengths to people who need them. Give out and give generously with your time, energy, and talent.

The world needs you to bring your Amazing to the table.

Removing the “me” from our concerns and interest for a bit (whether it’s for an hour, day, or week) fuels our soul and sense of connection in a miraculous way. By sharing our gifts, we are confirming the fact that we have something worthwhile to contribute, that we make a difference, and that our presence is appreciated. All of which is juicy proof for building our inner confidence.

Putting ourselves out there by helping a neighbor, volunteering for a cause we care about, teaching a child how to do something we love, or starting a business honoring our true calling is good for us and good for the world. Win-win!

Are you Ready to Own your Amazing?

Ready to rock your inner confidence? Ready to step out into this big, brilliant world of ours armed with Fierce Love and an electrifying sense of self? I’m ready to witness the fireworks, shifts in the Universe, and wild dance parties that will undoubtedly happen because…


Own it babe!

Molly Mahar is a coach, speaker, and writer. She is also the founder of Stratejoy, a positive corner of the Internet that provides thousands of women the tools, strategies and camaraderie to lead authentically joyful lives. She empowers women to live life on their own terms, celebrate their worth, and change the world through individual fulfillment. Molly’s work is delivered through several live and digital group programs, focused on creating YOUR joyful world.

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I Want To Be a Counselor. Maybe.

Written by Ashley

When I started writing for Stratejoy almost five months ago, I was pretty confident and comfortable with my career as a counselor. So, of course now that this journey as a season 5 blogger is quickly coming to a close, I’m beginning to second guess myself and wonder what else might be out there. Of course.

Lately I’ve been asking myself if I really want to be a counselor forever.

It’s a question I asked myself many times in 2006 and 2007. I had just graduated from college with a dual Bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Studies and French. I made the commitment to spend seven months in France teaching English, but after that? I thought I might go to graduate school for counseling, but I wasn’t sure if that was my calling.

I knew I wanted to work in a “helping profession”. I knew I wanted to work with people. And when I envisioned my dream job, I was listening to people tell me their stories. I was running my own private practice as a counselor, spending my days helping others find their way, finding a nugget of happiness in a cloudy world. It’s what I wanted and I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. This was it.

With my mind set on this goal, I applied for graduate school, was accepted, and spent the next two years living off of student loans and earning my Master’s degree in Psychological Counseling.

It’s been 2.5 years since I graduated. I’m working at a non-profit counseling agency where I provide individual and group counseling to children in an emergency shelter setting. It’s tough work. The stories are tragic and there have been days where I go home and cry. But then there are days that light my heart on fire. There are days that soar and feel like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. But the tides are turning and the balances are shifting. I’m growing thin. I’m not excited to go to work ever day like I used to be and that makes me sad.

I thought I could handle it. I thought that I loved it. I did love it, but now I’m not so sure anymore.

By this fall I’ll have earned my LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor) which means that I can open my own private practice in Texas. If I decide to move out of state, like to Canada, I’ll have to begin the two year licensing process again. Talk about frustrating.

That’s one reason I’m considering my options. If this job isn’t what I love anymore, maybe I should start exploring and see what else is out there? If this isn’t the career I want, why should I spend more time working toward a license that I ultimately won’t use? Or maybe I will, one day. I don’t know.

There is also this other part of me that feels guilty for even considering changing careers. I have a Master’s degree and I’ll be paying off my loans until I’m 60, so I feel like I should use that degree. Sigh. My pride is talking to me loud and clear.

Maybe if I move to Canada and begin the process again in another organization, I’ll be happier? Maybe if I open up a private practice one day, the ultimate goal all along, then I’ll feel at peace?

How do you know if it’s the job you don’t like or the career?

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How I Stay Single and Sane While All My Friends Are in Relationships

On a recent visit to Washington, D.C., I stayed overnight with one of my closest friends and her boyfriend. Karen and Ben* had moved in together a few months before, and it was the first time I was seeing their new place — their tiny indoor herb garden, the giant television cabinet they’d built together, the shared bedroom closet overflowing with suit jackets and frilly dresses. True, they’d been together since college, but back then it all seemed like playing house, not the same kind of relationship that my mother and father or other “real” adults had.

Lying on the pullout couch that night, I wondered when exactly ithad happened. When had everyone else turned into those real adults, with real lives and real relationships and real plans for the future, shedding the shape of undergrads who stayed up too late and used “points” to purchase meals in the dining hall?

It wasn’t just Karen and Ben. Over the past few months, I’d watched nearly every close friend of mine enter a serious (or at least semi-serious) relationship. I cringed each time I logged onto Facebook, where an inevitable procession of wedding photos and engagement announcements (OMG so excited 4 u!!!) made my own life accomplishments (did my laundry for the first time in three weeks!) seem vaguely ridiculous. Where I once daydreamed about seeing my byline on the cover of a bestselling novel, I now alternated between wedding-day fantasies and nightmares featuring lots of cats. Suddenly it seemed as though the world had gotten smaller, and my sole occupation was searching for a suitable mate while trying to hold onto my dignity.

One is the Loneliest Number — The Only Single Standing

I was 24 years old, and on some days I felt as though I were plagued by jealousy and misanthropic thoughts every time I passed a happy couple on the street. On a rational level, I knew I had a life many women my age would kill for: a job that I loved, an apartment in New York City, a ton of loyal girlfriends. From a practical standpoint, a boyfriend didn’t really fit into my lifestyle: I worked a lot, caught up with friends on the weekend, and needed at least an hour of quiet novel-reading a day to stay sane. I was a happy woman.

But I was also a single woman. And although that hadn’t ever bothered me before, a human tendency to compare myself to similar people — friends, family, coworkers ­— meant that it bothered me now. My mother was 24 when she met my father, 26 when they got engaged. Nothing about my current romantic life gave me hope that one day soon I too might be in a long-term relationship. There was the tall Israeli man who stopped returning my texts after we’d been dating for about a month. The medical student I met at a Shabbat dinner who was supposedly still pining for his last girlfriend. The filmmaker who still texts, but only on Saturday nights, to ask if I want to “hang out.” (I don’t.)

None of these unfortunate circumstances would have been especially troubling if I didn’t feel like I was the only single girl left on the planet. One day I made a list of absolutely everyone I knew in my age bracket who was in a committed relationship (62), and everyone who was still single (13, plus me). I panicked.

On the Prowl — Attempts to Leave Singledom

For the first time in my life, I actually wanted a boyfriend — not a specific guy who charmed me with his smile and the way he held my hand, but any dude who was willing to call me his girlfriend, just for the sake of saying I was “attached.” It was less about the way I saw myself, and more about the way I thought other people saw me. When my roommate introduced me to her new boyfriend, did he wonder why I couldn’t do the same? Did they feel pity, snickering at the idea of me lounging in sweatpants and eating sorbet from the container on a Saturday night? In all likelihood, they couldn’t care less about my weekend attire — but my insecurities about romance had slowly started to wear on the self-confidence I’d developed in the years since high school graduation. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but something happens to your ego when seemingly everyone’s being behold-ed except you.

So I took action. I joined JDate. At night I scrolled through rows of punny usernames and snapshots of pets, searching for someone I could bring to dinner with my friends. I looked for guys who were smart and witty and guys who resembled my last boyfriend, and avoided responding to generic messages asking about my weekend. I met a guy from Queens who seemed sweet, but who laughed out loud when I told him I was a vegetarian and made a weird reference to anal sex in the middle of conversation.

At some point, even my parents started to sense my desperation. My mother told me that my father had been querying his coworkers about potential single sons. I was humiliated. They’d worked hard to raise a girl who was self-sufficient, a woman who knew her own worth, and the fact that I was looking for a boyfriend as an extracurricular activity made me feel as if I’d lost sight of those values.

Still, I continued my search, albeit more quietly. One night, my phone buzzed incessantly with incoming messages from a writer I’d met on JDate, a voicemail from a lawyer my dad had tried to set me up with, and an email from my friend Karen about my romantic escapades. I was sitting on the couch reading “Middlesex,” a novel that’s partly about a brother and sister who marry each other, and feeling better about the fact that at least someone’s romantic life was more pathetic than mine. The writer wanted to know if I was free this Saturday; the lawyer, this Sunday. Immediately, I started responding in a flurry of excitement, typing away to let each one know I’d be away this weekend but would absolutely love to get together some other time. Was I really in a position to discourage anyone’s interest?

And then I put the phone down. I started to laugh, even though nothing was especially funny. I’d been waiting — so long, it seemed — for something to happen. For someone to profess his undying love for me. Or for disco diva Chaka Kahn to show up and tell me I didn’t need a man because, alas, it was all in me. But maybe something had already happened. Maybe this experience — of feeling alone and different and never quite at ease — was something important that would shape the way I acted in the future, whether single or in a relationship. Maybe it was okay not to be completely content. Maybe life was actually more meaningful when I wasn’t.

A Love Letter to Myself

Written by Kristen

Dear Kristen:

This letter has taken you years to be able to write. Even doing it now seems strange and slightly difficult, but it’s important to say how you feel and express yourself. You have seen what keeping your emotions in can do to a person, so this letter is something that has been waiting in the wings for years.

Kristen, you are so much stronger than you are ever imagined a person can be. You faced great adversity head on and in a remarkable way. I know that you do not give yourself anywhere near the amount of credit you deserve with this, but you should feel so proud of yourself for what you have done.

Yes, the relationship you wanted for the rest of your life ended and that is incredibly sad. And I know that even though you know you made the right decision for you and him, that it still hurts and makes you angry and disappointed.  You have allowed yourself to cry and yell and go through the roller coaster of emotions, which has helped you to understand yourself even better. That is a priceless lesson.

You did something amazing- you stood up for yourself and it was not easy. It involved a lot of hurt, for you, for him, for your families. It made you say you were wrong and made a poor decision. But the failed marriage made you grow immeasurably- beyond the stubbornness, beyond the fear. It might seem like selfish behavior to some and even to you at times, and that is completely allowed. But the selfish action was completely necessary for both you and him. For you both to be your most authentic selves, it means not being together. Do not regret the marriage or the relationship because it taught you more about life and who you are than anything in the world could have. It is never selfish to stand up for yourself and what you need for life. Kristen, you now know that being selfish sometimes is needed as long as it doesn’t involve being vindictive or purposely hurtful. Had you been more thoughtful and put yourself first years ago, the situation now would be different. But you would be different too.

Kristen, I am so proud of you putting yourself first, learning how to say no, and really growing into your joyful life, living it on your terms. It has taken months and lots of strife to get to this place. You are allowing yourself the quiet grace to get to know yourself, learn what your strengths are, and improve your weaknesses. You are finding out what you do or do not believe in, your true likes and dislikes, and what you want for you life. I love that you recognize and celebrate the simple pleasures like reading a good book, naps on the weekend, and laughter with family and friends.

I love that you are in a place where you understand the practice of gratitude is much more than saying thank you. You understand now that quiet time to meditate and journal is as essential to you as a hot shower in the morning. I love that even though you aren’t always happy with what you see in the mirror in terms of your body that you are learning to love it and honor it in different ways while you work towards your goals. I love that you are able to work through the sad times with self-care and using your support network. You also recognize that a night in pajamas on the couch with junk food is just one night and not a cause for guilt or self-deprecation.

I love that the woman who you are at this exact moment is exactly what you dreamed you would be when you were sixteen. I love that you have aha! moments when you realize that- whether it is walking on a sunny day or spending the afternoon cooking in the kitchen, you are living the life you once imagined for yourself. The path to this spot was nowhere near as you imagined it, but without that path, you would not have come to this place. You know yourself better than ever before and you will never allow yourself to be less than this again.

Most of all Kristen, I love that you have a new confidence and sense of self that comes out in everything you do. What I love the most is that this new awareness of who Kristen is comes not from your family, your significant other, or your career, but from the deepest and purest part of you. It is all about the happiness you are making part of your everyday life. Now is the time for you to flourish.

I’m over the moon for you,


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