“No” is a Complete Sentence

It can be hard to say “no.”

Sometimes it may even feel harsh to say no. So often we cushion the backend with reasonings and excuses as a way to soften the blow or, even worse, we don’t even use the word “no” but instead we offer a counterfeit yes that we don’t really want to deliver on.

If you find yourself in a position where you aren’t comfortable saying how you really feel, here are some things you can consider to help get to the root of it. In therapy we don’t like to just look at the symptoms but we truly want to get to the base cause of something to better understand it, then ultimately, change it if that’s what you wish to do.

Here are 3 possible reasons why it can feel difficult to say “no”

    You may worry about the impact that disappointment another will have on you should you not live up to their expectations of you.

    There can be so many opportunities you could have a scarcity mindset that if you say “no” to this you may not get another chance later on.

    You may be punished for not doing what someone else has said you should be doing and ultimately lose the connection you have with that person.

These reasons are all very real and only scratch the surface at why it may be difficult for you to hold your own boundary. Should any of those resonate with you, let me encourage you to speak with a licensed therapist who can help you unpack your own behaviors and get to the root. You may be surprised, but after you do some deep work internally it may have a ripple effect outside of you for the better as well.

Sex vs Intimacy


Are they the same thing? How does one differentiate between the two?

To start by defining terms - identify what sex is… is complicated.

It is so nuanced as strictly speaking sex is purely physical. Overall the most succinct definition is that “sex involves the arousal of physical desire and physical response to a stimulus.” (PsychCentral)

While intimacy, is more so an overarching umbrella that can have the branches of emotional intimacy, physical intimacy, and sexual intimacy. “True intimacy involves a level of emotional connection and trust that brings people closer.” (PsychCentral)

When they are written that way it is pretty apparent they are in different playing fields - so how does our society seem to continually confuse the two?

As a therapist when someone says they are having “intimacy issues” two questions come to mind for me:

  • Is there an issue with your physical response to your partner?
  • Is there an issue with your feelings of trust and connectedness to your partner?

Typically that helps me narrow the field of where we should focus our discussion time but, it could be that both are the issue.

Relationships exist in all types of forms. You can have sex without intimacy just as such that you can have intimacy without sex. Should you be having problems, roadblocks, or issues with either expressions of those, I recommend you speak to a licensed therapist. We are trained to help you navigate these confusing types of scenarios and hopefully come to the other side with a better understanding of yourself.

Valentine's Day... Not Always a Happy Day

In western culture, February has become “the month of love." Valentine’s Day is all over convenience stores, retailers, and online marketing has even made it possible for them to directly reach your email inbox with the commodification of love. The pressure to publish that you love or be loved can feel overwhelming!

Sure, it is lovely to celebrate a romantic partner if you have one. But what happens when you’re single and /or alone on February 14th?

I encourage you to think about love in its broadest sense. Consider what you have in your life that brings you joy. Think about how you feel about your friendships, a relationship with a family member, co-workers, colleagues, children, pets, art, music, a hobby, or maybe just nature. When you celebrate these, you celebrate love.

Last, and in my opinion most important, is to think about how you can love yourself. Think about your strengths, the parts of yourself that you are grateful for.

Let Valentine’s day be your reminder to celebrate your own version of love, and most importantly the love you can give to yourself.

If you are struggling with self love, or relationships with others, please support yourself by reaching out to a professional who can guide you to make the changes you would like to make. Take a moment to call me, or another trained therapist.

The Gift of a Confidant

“We all have experiences,
thoughts, emotions, or
behaviors that we
don’t feel safe telling the world.
We need someone in whom to confide.”

Dr. Henry Cloud, author of “Boundaries”

Do you have someone you feel safe sharing the deepest aspects of yourself with? We all have a “shadow side” that we aren’t proud of and try to hide as it threatens our sense of feeling loved, valued, and worthwhile. But living in that sphere of shame can inhibit us from not only accessing all of ourselves holistically but it can eventually cause disconnect between us and others.

Maybe you have a trusted parent, a childhood friend, or a wise co-worker you can open up to, which is so great if that is the case and I encourage you to continue to do so.

But, so many of us may not have had the luxury of a safe and trusted person to actually be ourselves with and the thought of sharing that aspect of ourselves can be so scary and even threatening.

The first step I would encourage you to take is to consider talking to a therapist. Not only are licensed therapists trained in human psychology but we have taken an oath of confidentiality and are safe protectors of your innermost thoughts.

Sure, there is a risk of sharing yourself as it requires you to get outside of your comfort zone. But, the rewards far outweigh the risk when it comes to truly knowing yourself and allowing another person to do so as well.

Making Time


We make time for the things that matter to us.

If you wrote out a list of your priorities then compared it to the actual activities you completed in the past week, perhaps you would see a discrepancy between how you’d ideally like your life to be versus how it actually is.

Of course, we don’t live in an ideal world and things will never perfectly be in balance, but it is a great exercise to see how aligned you are with your reality and your perception of your reality.

It is also a good inventory of the relationships you have around you - are people making time for you?

One person’s “I’m too busy with work and life”
is another person’s “I can make time.”

One person’s “Why are you being so dramatic?”
is another person’s “Tell me more.”

One person’s “Let’s catch up in the New Year”
is another person’s “Are you free Thursday @ 6p?”

One person’s “You are too rough around the edges”
is another person’s “I understand where you’re coming from.”

One person’s “You are wasting your time going to therapy”
is another person’s “Let’s go together.”

Do you have your priorities for yourself aligned? Are the relationships around you refueling? If not, you may want to speak to a licensed therapist as to why that may be the case.

We can’t change other people but we can make improvements in ourselves that draw us closer to health a little more each day.

Naughty or Nice?


“He sees you when you’re sleeping,

He knows when you’re awake.

He knows if you’ve been bad or good

So be good for goodness sake.”

Nope, those aren’t words taken from the documentary of a serial killer, those are lyrics to the kid-friendly Christmas classic “Santa Clause is Coming to Town”

Overall this is a well meaning tune that was created to incentivize children to keep their behavior in check for the threat of missing out on presents, but the lasting effects of controlling behavior based on shame and punishment can be really damaging.

Were you the “naughty” kid growing up? How did that affect your identity to be branded as a troublemaker or someone who just couldn’t get it right?

Or were you perhaps the “nice” kid? Did that harm your ability to work through negative emotions for fear of retribution?

These labels we put on ourselves even as small children can affect how we see ourselves even as adults.

As an adult, it is possible to reframe this thinking in your mind:

I was a good kid who occasionally had a hard time

I was a good kid who tried really hard to not rock the boat but
ultimately that didn’t serve me holistically

I was a good kid who was mislabeled by those who were around me

I was a good kid who didn’t deserve coal at Christmas

How did it feel to read those? Relieving? Disconnected? A little silly?

Let me encourage you to discuss those feelings with a licensed therapist as it may be a great conversation starter into deeper identity issues that spurred on through childhood. Feel free to call my office and book an appointment or I can give you a referral of a trusted source who can help you. You don’t have to think of yourself the same way as you look into the rearview mirror of the past, you do have the power to reframe and relabel who you were as a child - perhaps with a gentler, more loving tone.

New Traditions


It’s that time of year again…

You begin to hear holiday music playing in all the retail stores…

We take down the decoration boxes from storage and reminisce over memories’ past…

Where the snow begins to fall…(depending on where you are, I don’t get much personally her in Los Angeles, haha)

There are so many unique traditions that can be incorporated as we enter into these Winter months. Yet, when was the last time you took some time to think about what type of new tradition you’d like to start this year? That seems to be a bit of the paradox of traditions - typically we have done them over the years’ as beginning something new loses the sense of nostalgia that traditions actually bring.

But, everything has to start somewhere! Who says that you can’t begin something that you’ll see through annually for the coming decades?

Should your interest be piqued, here are a few ideas of new traditions you can set this year:
  • Go to your local cafe, grab some hot cocoa to-go and drive through a beautiful neighborhood looking at Christmas lights
  • Find a local ice rink, rent some skates, and dance around on some frozen water! Perhaps wear bulky padded clothing if you haven’t done this one in a few years :)
  • Create a playlist on Spotify that you listen to throughout this season curated with some of your favorite tunes.
  • Start a themed “Holiday Supper Club” with a few friends where one of you hosts, another brings the entree, someone else brings the sides and the drinks so together you make one delicious and memorable meal.
  • If you’re in an area with snow, go outside and create snow angels - when was the last time you tried that since childhood?

I hope those are some ideas to get you started in planting your own flag in this holiday season. There are a lot of mixed feelings that can come up when it comes to traditions - whether you used to have some that you loved but they were tied with a relationship that is no longer there, or if you have had crummy experiences with this time of year. There are no rules telling you how you can experience these winter months, so take that freedom and make it your own. Should you want to talk with someone about the difficulty this season can bring or even brainstorm some new avenues for you to experience, please feel free to reach out to my office to book an appointment.