Exit the Terrarium: Why Your Community Needs You!

IMG_20160613_191409.jpgI’m not going to lie, since the tragedy in Orlando, I’ve been having trouble mustering up the emotional energy to write a blog post. Instead, I found  myself furiously Googling and making plans to build a terrarium. It’s not TOO strange when you consider that I am a proud lizard owner (see Dandy, pictured above), but it is a weird thing for my mind to be mysteriously fixating on in the wake of this tragedy. However, I think the feeling mirrored my desire to close myself off in my own social ecosystem. In times like these, it is very easy for us to choose one thing to focus on, and huddle up with like-minded friends in a miniature version of the “real” world. Continue reading

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How to Argue Better!

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Life in 2016 is fraught with controversy. Politics are growing more and more polarized, casual racism and microaggressions are becoming less socially acceptable, and traditional gender roles are being challenged. No matter where you stand on the issues (or if you have yet to form an opinion), chances are, you’ve got someone yelling at you on either side. This makes staying cool, respectful, and rational all the more difficult. Here are some tips on how to share your opinions on controversial topics in a way that is most likely to get your point across without any hard feelings: Continue reading

Self-Kindness vs. Kindness Toward Others: A Non-Battle

This is what you look like when you try to save the world on no sleep.

Ever feel bad rejecting someone? Saying no to working on the weekend? Telling a friend you don’t have time to hang out simply because you’d rather be doing something else? Does doing nice things for yourself make you feel guilty? Why do we feel so bad about neglecting other people’s needs, but not our own? Too often, we think of kindness toward ourselves and kindness toward others as conflicting interests, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, self-kindness puts us in the right state of mind to better support the people around us. Here’s how: Continue reading

How stigma hurts (and how to fight it!)

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Stigmatizing members of our community who are already at risk is, sadly, extremely common. When you see someone in need, sometimes it is easier to suppress your compassion than to offer help. You might even think that this will help to make them more resilient or encourage them to work harder or become more independent, but in truth, perpetuating stigma against marginalized groups makes life worse for them and for the health of our community. This week I am going to explore how stigma hurts and how you can help fight it. Continue reading

Tips for Partying with a Purpose

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Being kind isn’t easy, but sometimes it can be a lot of fun! One of the best ways to have fun and help others at the same time is to host a “Party with a Purpose” – in other words, a party that raises awareness and/or funds for a charity or cause. You can throw a high-end party or throw one together easily and cheaply. You can incorporate giving into a major life event (like a wedding or birthday), or you can throw for the sole purpose of supporting your cause. The possibilities are endless! Continue reading

Kindness Isn’t Easy, But It Is Important

Elephants touching each other gently (greeting) - Addo Elephant

Feeling genuine compassion for others who are struggling can be difficult and painful. In order to not constantly be sad about all of the terrible things happening in other people’s lives, human beings have grown adept at suppressing our kindness and compassion for one another when it suits us, and a lot of the time we don’t even realize we are doing it. In a way, this is a necessary skill, but sometimes we take it too far. Here are some tips on how to be more caring, without sacrificing your own sanity or happiness.

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Advocacy in the Face of Stigma

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Standing up for a disadvantaged or oppressed group takes great personal strength, and can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. This week I am pleased to be joined by Felicia Johnson, Mental Health Advocate and Author of Her the Book, a novel which explores the real-life complexities of struggling with mental illness and what it means to be a survivor. This type of advocacy (or any type, really) is stressful and can take a toll on a person, but it also can pay off in a big way. Today’s post offers some tips for staying motivated and achieving your goals as an advocate for a cause.

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What NOT to do when raising awareness online

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I did a post recently about getting beyond “slacktivism” and actually posting on social media in a way that is impactful. Today, I wanted to dive a little bit into what NOT to do. When you’re a person like me who cares a lot about a cause, or even many causes, it’s very easy to get worked up and start posting things that make you feel good and use some activist language, but are not actually effective at creating social change. Here are a few examples of things that might make you feel good, but do not actually do anything to improve the world we live in.

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