According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, heteronormativity is defined as “Of, relating to, or based on the attitude that heterosexuality is the only normal and natural expression of sexuality”. Essentially, I’m talking about straight culture. Now, you may be thinking something along the lines of… “But gay people are totally accepted these days”. It’s true that progress has been made. However, there’s a difference between “acceptance” and real visibility. Heteronormativity touches far more aspects of our lives than simply marriage. I think that most people, myself included, make well-intentioned, yet ignorant assumptions based on the heteronormative society we live in.
In the moments when we most need a little tenderness we quickly become our own worst enemies. Instead of recognizing and acknowledging our inherent goodness, we turn our words into weapons with messages of failure and defeat.
Wouldn’t it be incredible if we could instead treat ourselves with the same kindness and understanding we so readily show others? In her book, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, leading researcher and storyteller Brené Brown examines what gets in the way of accepting ourselves as we are and living from a place of authenticity, gratitude, and whole-heartedness.
In this second part of of our two-blog series inspired by the teachings of Marie Kondo, we will apply the KonMari method through simple activities designed to help you better tidy up your relationships. We hope this blog will inspire the courage and intention you need in order to facilitate nourishing relationships into your life.
When our life circumstances change, our friends often change with them. Cross-country moves introduce us to new social groups; coupledom expands our inner circles; and parenthood fosters additional bonds. Gone are the days when our closest confidants were just a short drive away. Now, get-togethers are planned months in advance and frequent flier miles are racked up with regularity.
But what about being a good friend to ourselves? We put heart and soul into our sisterhoods (and brotherhoods!) but can forget that it starts with being kind to the fresh face we greet in the mirror each morning.
Self-compassion or treating yourself with the same kindness as you would a close friend, can radically change the way you relate to yourself. Check out these 12 tips for doling out some serious self-love.
What does it mean to be in a secure-functioning relationship? And why should it matter to me? Secure-functioning relationships allow us to be the best we are individually. It does not mean that you will lose your identity or freedom. In fact, you will have more, since trust is a guarantee you two make. Your relationship will become a place of support and love. As well as a place to call home + restore life-energy. Are you in a secure functioning relationship? IF not, good news is you two CAN BE!
Have you ever labeled yourself as the “black sheep” or “scapegoat” of your family, your workplace, or somewhere else where you’re “supposed” to naturally belong?
In my office, so many of my clients use this phrase to describe themselves. (And, I admit, I’ve used it myself to talk about whether I felt I fit into various groups too.) There’s something I find when we look closer at how and why we use these terms, however, and it has a lot to do with shame and how we feel we’re being judged by other people.
In my office, I often ask: What if you weren’t a black sheep? What if you were a black unicorn? Or a yellow, blue, or rainbow unicorn?
Esther Perel asks.
As a Relationship Therapist - I ask.
📌Why is it that many women don’t seem to know what they want?
📌Where does the sense of being disconnected from your own body stem from?
📌How can it be so hard to talk about sex with our partners?
As Perel explains, much of our adult sexuality, our current desires, the way we relate to others, how we perceive our self-worth—is the product of the way we were raised and the environment in which our sexuality developed.
Q&A with Esther Perel:
You’ve said that if you know how someone was raised, you can tell how they will be as a lover. Can you explain?
Consider a paradigm we’ve always known in modern psychology: Tell me how you are loved, and I’ll have a good idea of what may be some of your issues, your concerns, your worries, your aspirations, and how you love.
But this paradigm never got translated into: Tell me how you were loved and I will tell you how you MAKE love. How your emotional history is inscribed in the physicality of sex. How your body speaks a certain emotional biography.
For example, the question I often ask people is: How did you learn to love, and with whom? Were you allowed to want? Were you allowed to have needs growing up—or were you told, “What do you need that for?” Were you allowed to thrive? Were you allowed to experience pleasure—or was pleasure just a break between work sessions, a reward after a lot of effort? Were you allowed to cry—and were you allowed to cry out loud, or did you have to hide it? Were you allowed to laugh—out loud? Did you feel protected as a child by those who needed to protect you—or did you flee for protection? Did the people who were supposed to take care of you do so—or did you have to take care of your caregivers, becoming the parentified child?
Baltimore Area Adult Women:
Does post this resonate with you? Are you interested in exploring your own adult sexuality and how it shows up for you in your relationship?
If so, reach out - you don’t need to navigate these feelings & ideas - ALONE.
What goes through someone’s mind after they cheat? A million different things.
The following letter is a fictitious note written by a regretful partner trying to save a relationship after infidelity. The letter may be made up but the feelings and worries it describes and my response (that’s part two of this post!) are very real.
-- Susan Stork, LCPC, NCC