If someone looked at your Facebook page right now, what would your relationship status be listed as? Is it accurate? If someone were to comb through your photos, how many would feature a significant other? How often are they tagged in your statuses? How often do you tweet at them or tag them on Instagram?
There is no right answer to any of these questions. That said, they might provide a helpful barometer when it comes to discovering how much may be too much to post about your relationships. It’s no secret we live in a more transparent world than ever. You need look no further than any celebrity gossip magazine or website to know just how much we know about other people’s sex lives.
This is not a new phenomenon. People have been attracted to information and gossip (sometimes slander) involving the bedrooms of others since before bedrooms were invented. The difference now is the speed at which information travels—and how far it can get.
Your social media is just that, yours. No one can tell you how public or private to be with it. However, it may be important to look at it with an ever increasingly critical eye, especially when it comes to relationships. Why? Well there’s the obvious: relationships can be very private, they can be tumultuous, and they are notoriously fickle. And there are other reasons: you may get inundated with uninvited criticism, you may break up and leave a very emotional online footprint and- perhaps the most important- you are publicly saying things about someone else. While this person may love you, they may not love having their dirty laundry exposed for likes. We now live in the day and age when a new relationship means a conversation about exclusivity, interests, habits, and now, internet privacy.
Call your mother. Kiss your boyfriend. Get coffee with your best friend. Have a drink with a co-worker. Ask your boss pointed questions. We all do so much to maintain and deepen our relationships. It’s increasingly important to ensure every relationship in our lives is thriving and nurtured.
This is wonderful. It’s important to treat people well and to make sure they are treating you well, too. Great. Now that we’ve agreed on that, what about that other relationship you are in? The one with that awesome person you see every (space) day as you are brushing your teeth? The one who shares your habits, your parents, your birthday? You, of course.
It’s true that all relationships take a fair amount of TLC, but often we spread ourselves so thin thinking of others and carefully nurturing all of our relationships. It’s important to remember to take care of ourselves as well. That can mean many things, but one of the first steps to ensuring a beautiful relationship with yourself is to spend some time alone. If it feels like you are always at work, school, or socializing- that may be a sign than that you need a break. When was the last time you took a walk? Not even just for exercise (though that’s great, too), but just to hear your own thoughts and take in this wonderful world.
Once you’ve spent some (space) time alone with yourself, ask yourself questions. Get to know this person with whom you share a body and mind. Check-in. Does the body have wants and needs that are not being fulfilled? Does the mind? How can you be an active participant in getting those wants and needs met?
The road to self-awareness and self-love is a long one. People are often hesitant to give up time working on other things, for other people. But the truth is, the more you check in with yourself-(delete dash) to make sure you are doing well, the better shape you will be in to be an active advocate for the wellness of others.
It used to seem like a chore. Before getting to indulge in turkey or cranberries, many of us had to go around the table to give thanks. Ugh—just get to the food already!
But wait. There’s a reason why giving thanks is important. It reminds us why holidays are not intended to be chores, but blessings. We live in an extraordinarily fast-paced world. So much so that the thought of spending a Thursday afternoon (!) with friends or family seems so totally out there that it only happens one day a year.
How can we show our thanks and be home by 8? How about making a conscious effort to not just say what we are thankful for, but actually feel gratitude throughout the season, and the year. Maybe instead of hurrying through all of the guest’s lists of reasons why they are thankful before the meal starts, we start eating and use our thanks as a conversation starter. Perhaps we don’t let that feeling of gratitude go when the meal is over (or the appetizer), but let it carry into the night, prompting us to give a ride to an imbibed relative, send leftovers home with a down-on-luck friend, clean up after a meal that we didn’t make.
All in all, it is about something more than food. It’s about recognition of goodness. The goodness in people, the goodness in friends, and yes—the goodness in a perfectly baked pumpkin pie.
Mental Illnesses affect millions of Americans, and the families of those who are ill suffer as well. As we know, extreme stigma and a lack of information have only driven Mental Illnesses further into the collective closet and it takes every day activism to bring them out. What can you do? Treat mental illnesses as you would any other. Be kind, be empathetic, and be knowledgeable.
In the Western world, we often equate fertility with femininity, or worse- with womanhood. They are not one and the same. With today’s tapestry-like landscape of what a family looks like, these outdated notions of fertility only hold us back. If a woman (cis or trans, fertile or not) want to have a baby, more and more options are becoming available that may not look like our traditional view of motherhood. Same goes for men!
So many adult men and women hide a history of sexual assault from friends in partners. This may be for a lot of reasons, but shame often comes into play. The more open we can be as a society with histories of abuse, the more victims will come forward.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of course, but we’ve got to start somewhere.