The Secret Handbook 4 Teens

Three Ways 2 Recover After You’ve Been Hurt by Someone

Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you. -Sartre

People can hurt. Well, what I really mean is that throughout your life people are going to hurt you, either intentionally or accidentally or unknowingly, and as a result, you’re going to hurt. So, people can hurt. They will hurt you. You will hurt in response.

If you can step back and let go of the pain for a moment and put your ego aside, you actually have a pretty unique learning and life transforming opportunity in front of you when you’re hurt. Here are three quick things to remember/do when you’ve been hurt that can turn the hurt into something bigger:

1. Keep your emotions in check. 

It’s going to be really really easy to just react with anger, sadness or whatever other emotion you’re feeling. The more you give in to raw emotions, the easier it will be to drown in them. When you’re hurt, pause for a moment. Take a deep breath. Allow yourself to feel the pain (I’m not suggesting you be a robot about the whole thing) but don’t wallow in it. React and then release.

2. Remind yourself that it’s not about you. 

Don’t. Take. Anything. Personally. Four very powerful little words that can transform your life if you really live by them. It’s very possible and likely that the person who hurt you is actually juts acting out on some of their own pain or issues. If you find out that your friend has been badmouthing you behind your back, that person is likely insecure and could be jealous. There is probably something about your life that they covet. You might not be able to see it but maybe they don’t have a good family life and you do. Maybe they can’t afford to buy the new shirt they want but you can. Maybe they struggle in school and you don’t. Maybe they struggle to fit in and you find it easy. Maybe, just maybe, they feel like they’re losing you so they are acting out in anger. You’ll probably never know what the issue really is but I guarantee you that you aren’t the issue, they are. This is not an easy thing to practice, especially when you’re reeling from the sucker punch, but it’s an amazing way to move through the hurt a little more quickly.

3. Learn.

After you’ve been hurt by someone you have a choice. You can try to just brush it off and move on or you can try to learn something about yourself and the world.  What are you going to do with the hurt? How are you going to react? Are you going to become mean like them? Selfish? Uncaring? Vengeful? Catty? Petty? Are you going to seek revenge? Lower yourself to their level? Or are you going to rise above? Learn something about yourself? Use it to make you a better person? Use it to figure out how you don’t want to act and who you don’t want to be? In addition to learning about yourself, you can also use it to figure out who your true friends are and the different types of people out there in the world. Trust me, the person who hurts you in high school is the same person (figuratively) who is going to hurt you later in life too. Figuring out how to avoid or lessen your exposure to toxic people like this while you’re in high school can save you a world of hurt when you’re older.

So there you have it. The next time you’re hurt try to remember that you are being presented with an opportunity to grow and learn something about yourself, about people and about the world. What you do with it now is up to you.

But now you tell me – have you been hurt recently? How did you react? What did you learn from it? Share with me and help other teens to live happy!

Want 2 Meet the Real U?

There is a very very wise man (he’s actually a Franciscan monk but don’t let religion stop you from hearing his message) who does a pretty amazing job of explaining who we are and who we are not and how we get to meet who we really are deep inside.

His name is Father Richard Rohr and if you don’t want to take my word for how cool he is, he was also recently on Oprah which is a pretty good endorsement of his message (at least if you think Oprah has her finger on the pulse of what’s important in the universe which I think she pretty much does but I digress.)

Anyway, I’m writing about Fr. Rohr today because even though you’re a teen and most people don’t discover him until they’re older, I think he’s someone you should know about now. I don’t always immediately understand a lot of what he talks about (because it’s tough stuff that makes you think which is always a good thing) but one of his most important messages (IMHO) is about the False or Shadow Self and the True Self. It’s about who we really are deep down inside. I don’t know about you, but I think this is pretty exciting! (Terrifying, but exciting.)

Basically, the Shadow Self is this image of ourselves that we build up over the years (and this is ok, it’s a necessary part of the process) but it’s not who we really are. Our shadow self (or False Self) is all of our stuff, our accomplishments, the face we present to the world. It’s the house we build up around ourselves but it’s not the core of who we are inside. It’s not our soul or spirit and to meet your soul or spirit or True Self, you have to struggle. I’m sorry. It’s true. But understanding this now as a teen is going to save you a whole lot of angst in the future because hopefully you will recognize that dealing with your struggles is actually a gift. It’s a way of becoming the real You!

Fr. Richard sums it up nicely in one of his recent daily meditations:

“Human consciousness does not emerge at any depth except through struggling with your shadow. I wish someone had told me that when I was young. It is in facing your conflicts, criticisms, and contradictions that you grow up. You actually need to have some problems, enemies, and faults! You will remain largely unconscious as a human being until issues come into your life that you cannot fix or control and something challenges you at your present level of development, forcing you to expand and deepen. It is in the struggle with our shadow self, with failure, or with wounding, that we break into higher levels of consciousness. I doubt whether there is any other way.”

So the next time something happens that challenges you or hurts you or pushes your buttons, don’t fight it. Don’t try to avoid it. Take a deep breath and realize that struggling is actually the way to meet the real you. I don’t know about you, but I think this is pretty exciting (and certainly makes it at least a tiny bit easier to deal with the tough stuff!)

Now you tell me. Have you gotten glimpses of your True Self after going through something tough? Would you do it again?

Why Doubt is Like A Thief Stealing Your Dreams


Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. – Martin Luther King, Jr. 

We’ve talked about knowing your moral code and we’ve talked about passion and desire as necessary to achieving your dreams but we can’t forget about faith. While we often think about the word faith in terms of religion, the first and simplest definition of faith is as follows:

faith – noun. 1. complete trust or confidence in someone or something

“Complete trust”, to me, is the really critical part of the definition. A lack of faith or worry or doubt or just the smallest thought of “I’ll never be able to do this” is enough to ensure that you probably won’t.

Doubt undermines your dreams and believe me, doubt can creep in without you even knowing. It’s sort of like a thief sneaking in at night to steal what’s really valuable to you but in this case, it’s slowly stealing your dreams.

So how do you keep the faith in your dreams and in yourself?

Part of it is stopping all the negative chatter in your mind. If you let your little voice take over it will very quickly tell you that you’re not good enough, your dreams are ridiculous and there is no way you’ll ever make them come true.

Here’s where you have to do some work. You need to 1) become aware of that little voice and 2) replace its negative chatter with positive self-talk.

When you feel yourself starting to doubt, change the conversation. Tell yourself you can do it, you will do it, that you have a plan for doing it. Picture it coming true. Imagine yourself living your dream and all that it entails. Just by replacing the negative with the positive you give yourself a fighting chance and you start to replace doubt with faith. You can’t get lazy about it though. Just doing it once in awhile means doubt is winning so you have to be like a cop trying to stop a thief. Be vigilant!

Don’t let doubt chip away at your dreams. It’s such a silly reason to give up.

Believe in your dreams. Believe in yourself. Believe you can do anything you can set your mind to.




What Can U Learn from the People U Don’t Like?


I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better. – Abraham Lincoln

Sometimes we spend quite a bit of time thinking about people we don’t like but maybe there’s something to learn from them. Maybe there’s even something to learn about ourselves.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some really nasty and downright evil people out there and I’m not suggesting you try to make them your friends. I am suggesting that even those people have things to teach us.

Think about someone you don’t like.

Now ask yourself why you don’t like them?

Is it because they are mean or rude to you or your friends?

There’s a lesson about how to not treat people.

Do you not like them because they are really negative all the time?

There’s a lesson in how negativity brings you and everyone else around you down.

Do you not like them because they’re popular? (Be honest.)

There’s a lesson in your ego. Why does it bother you if they’re popular? Is it just your little voice making you jealous inside? Are there actually some traits about them that make them popular that you wish you had yourself? Is that really a reason not to like them?

Sometimes the things we dislike in others are things we wish we had OR there are things we don’t like about ourselves that we see in them. Sometimes you may actually like the person if you took time to get to know them and you are just judging them based on what other people say or on how you perceive them to be. Sometimes they may actually be nice people but we’re not looking at them deeply enough.

So take a minute and ask yourself why you don’t like someone and the think about it a bit. Don’t just rush to judgment. Really think about it.

You might be surprised at what you learn about yourself.


Know it all or Know Nothing? Why Not Knowing Makes U Wise


The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing. -Socrates

I’d like to share some advice with you that will not only be helpful now, it will also save you a lot of time when you’re older. It might not seem to make much sense when you first think about it but bear with me.

Let’s look at the quote above again to start.

The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing. -Socrates

You might wonder how this can be true. Doesn’t being wise mean knowing a lot of things? Doesn’t it mean you know what to do and when to do it? Doesn’t it mean you’ve been there, done that and learned your lessons? Yes, I suppose on sort of a basic level this is true but this is more like being educated than wise. So, dig a little deeper with me.

If you walk around thinking you have all the answers all the time do you: 1) really believe that deep down and 2) ever wonder if you’re missing out on something bigger?  The thing is, it’s actually ok not to know. In fact, if you live your life with this openness and willingness to not know, you end up learning and knowing a lot more.

When you think you know all the answers that’s your ego at work. If you’ve been following this blog at all you know that your ego or that little voice in your head is not actually the real you. The ego is a big know it all. It has all the answers and knows what’s best for you and everyone else. If you step back and think about it though how can this be true? How can you possibly be right all the time? You can’t and frankly, that’s pretty terrifying to most people. It’s scary to realize that you might not be right. That you might not have all the answers.That you might actually need to be open to learning things along the way. That you might actually – gasp – be wrong!  This scares the hell out of your ego and that’s why most of us walk around thinking we know it all when we actually know very little.

Don’t live your life like this.

Be open to learning.

Be open to not knowing.

Be open to feeling vulnerable and afraid of what you don’t know.

This is where true learning happens.

This is how you truly become wise.


Open your mind. Open your heart. Say yes to your adventure.


The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a heart yes to your adventure.  – Joseph Campbell

Have you ever noticed that very often in life our tendency is to immediately think or to feel a no instead of yes?

Sometimes it happens in small ways like when someone asks you if you want to try something new and unfamiliar like, “Hey, want to try a bite of this chocolate covered cricket?” (Ok, that might be a bit extreme but you get the idea.)

But it can also happen in bigger ways like when we really don’t want to hear someone else’s opinion, even if we might be wrong, and so we block out a different way of looking at things with a silent but firm, “No.”

It turns out that our egos (you know, that little voice in your head that is always voicing its opinion) really don’t want to hear or try anything different because it thinks it’s right all the time. If you think about it, it’s a pretty small way to live.

What would happen if you opened yourself up more to saying yes?

Saying yes can be scary because it not only challenges your ego (which is a good thing) but it can make you feel pretty open and vulnerable (which is actually also a good thing because that’s how you grow and figure out who you really are.)

So why not start saying yes? Challenge yourself to say yes to small things like trying a new food or going to see a movie that normally wouldn’t appeal to you. Then, when that starts to feel comfortable, challenge yourself to say yes to bigger thing, like being open to a different way of looking at the world. Be open to someone else’s opinion. Try to see the other side of the situation. Say yes to a way other than your own.

Basically what I’m saying is try to see life from the opposite perspective and be open – say yes – to that viewpoint. It will not only help you to grow and become a more well-rounded person, it’s actually a small but powerful way of connecting more with others and that’s what life is all about.

Open your mind.

Open your heart.

Say yes to your adventure.

Forgive Yourself: Let it go. Fall down. Meet the real you.

blond teen

It’s hard enough to forgive others when they’ve hurt you but it’s even harder to forgive yourself. Forgiving yourself means admitting you’re not perfect, that  you’re not 100% innocent and that you have some things to learn. These are tough concepts to wrestle with even on a good day never mind when you’ve actually done something wrong. And let’s face it,  sometimes you just think you’ve done something wrong because sometimes we haven’t even done anything wrong but it still feels that way because we’re so tough on ourselves.

Similar to forgiving someone else, forgiving yourself doesn’t make what you did right, acceptable or ok. Forgiving yourself just means owning it. It means letting it go and accepting that it doesn’t need to define who you are or who you want to be. It means you have to look in the mirror and be honest with yourself (which your ego really really hates to do.)

It means falling down.

Here’s the thing about falling down though. When you fall down, you actually meet the foundation of who you really are. The ground, the bedrock, the bottom – that’s where your feet should be planted and forgiving yourself actually helps you to get back to this place. It helps you to meet the real you.

So how do you forgive yourself? You cry. You feel bad. You sit with it.  You accept that you can’t change it. You accept that it’s in the past.

You let it go.

You meet the real you.


It’s My Birthday & I Can B P*ssed if I Want To (or: Why Being Your Best Self is Really Hard)

bday candles

The other day I revealed the 6th Secret which is to Never Take Anything Personally Because It’s Never About You. I truly do believe that life becomes easier to live if you can truly apply this secret successfully every day. The times when I have applied it to situations in my own life have been incredibly freeing. That said, it is very very hard to do (b/c our egos get the best of us) so I thought I’d share an example of how I failed miserably at applying it to my life yesterday (even carrying over to today.)

Yesterday was my birthday. I got amazing gifts from my husband and teen, lots of cards with heartfelt messages and tons of Facebook posts from friends both old and new. I spent the day feeling incredibly blessed until I got into bed last night and started tallying up all the people who DID NOT contact me to say happy birthday. This list includes a few of my oldest and supposedly closest friends AND one of my nephews and two of my nieces. As I lay there all the happy feelings about the day were quickly replaced by feelings of hurt, sadness, self-pity and, I’m not going to lie, thoughts of retribution detailing how I would NOT be contacting them on their birthdays. (Just because you’re older doesn’t mean you won’t still act and think like a child.)

Read more…

Secret #6 to Living a Happy Life (If U Read Nothing Else, This is the One to Understand)


Ok, it wasn’t my plan to reveal this secret now because I’m a methodical person who likes to work through things in a certain way and, in my mind, this secret actually comes a bit later but I just can’t hold this one back. I think this might just be one of the biggest secrets to living a happy life that you really really need to understand and start applying to your lives now – especially as a teen. Honestly, it’s a game changer & will totally change the way you interact with people.

Secret #6: Never Take Anything Personally Because It’s Never About You

Read more…

So I Should Hate Myself? Is That What You’re Saying?

squirrel mirror

With all the talk on this blog, and in general, about how horrible the ego is and how your little voice never has anything good to say, you might be getting a little confused. You might be thinking that you should hate that part of yourself. So, I want to be clear about something, you don’t need to hate your ego* or think that it makes you a horrible person, it’s actually an important part of you. What’s key, however, is realizing that it sometimes speaks so loudly,  it can become the voice we listen to the most and it has been known for giving bad advice.

Let’s look at examples of the ego at work in both a good and bad way:

Good way: That moment when, without even thinking about it,  your hand shoots up in class to answer a question because inside you know “I got this. I totally know this.” That’s an example of your ego giving you the push and confidence you need.

Bad way: That moment when your friend doesn’t text you back and you think “She/he must be mad at me. What did I do? Did I do something wrong? I’d better text her/him 16 more times to see if they reply.” That’s an example of your ego undermining your confidence and self-worth by planting doubt and insecurity in your mind. Imagine if you listened to that ego all the time! Lots of people do and let me tell you something, those are the people you usually instinctively dislike whether you realize it or not.

Read more…

straw ego

The human ego prefers anything, just about anything, to falling, or changing, or dying. The ego is that part of you that loves the status quo – even when it’s not working. It attaches to past and present and fears the future.

– Richard Rohr

I love this quote because it reminds us that the ego is the little part of you that doesn’t want to change.

Listen to the chatter of your little voice as an example of this. Your little voice/ego is always looking backwards and reliving the past or imagining the future. It imagines both good and bad outcomes for the future but even those imagined outcomes are based on your own past experiences. I mean, let’s be honest here. Unless you can actually see into the future, you have no idea what the future holds and yet our egos like to spend time there.

For some reason, the ego just cannot stand being in the present moment. It feels vulnerable. Unsafe. Unsure. It becomes threatened by who you really are…by your True Self.

So, once again, we come back to awareness and present moment awareness as ego squishing tools.

Take a minute. Heck, take 30 seconds. Oh hell, take ONE SECOND. Seriously, take just one second and be aware. Be aware of your breath. Be aware of your inhale and the moment between that and your exhale. In just that one second you start to quiet your ego. In just one second, you start to become more of your True Self. Breathe.


The 4th Secret: Get Ready 2 Meet The Real You

be me

Warning: This might be the deepest or most complicated secret that we’re going to discuss so stick with me and keep an open mind. You can also review the first three secrets listed all in one place in case you want to review before we start.

Ok, let’s go.

Hopefully at this point you’re curious and perhaps even a little worried about who you are if you’re not the little voice in your head.

If I asked you: “Who are you?” what would you say? Our initial instincts are usually to talk about our history.

“Well, I was born in the year 2000 and I’m female and I have a mom and a dad and an annoying younger brother and a cat.”

So now you’ve told me a little bit about yourself but what if I said, “That’s nice but who are you really?”

Read more…

Fine For Now

fine for now

One of the nicest things about being in the Now or the present moment is that for that very moment, that one breath, that millisecond – you’re fine.

In that one moment you just are.

You are you.

And you’re fine for now.

The more you practice this, the more addicting it becomes. It’s like a mini-vacation for your mind.

So just stop.


Feel your breath filling up your lungs.

Feel it leaving you.

See, you’re just fine for now.

Awareness/Mindfulness/The Now…Call It What You Will, Just Do It.


So far I’ve talked about becoming aware of your little voice and practicing awareness and the importance of practicing present moment awareness or staying in the Now. Because I want you to have  and know how to use all the tools in your toolbox, I should also talk about mindfulness. Honestly, I don’t really care what you call it nor should you. If you’re getting hung up on terminology you need to let go a little.

Mindfulness is just another term you can use to think about being in the moment or present or aware or being in the Now.

One definition of mindfulness is:

A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

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The 3rd Secret:To Get Over Sadness You Must Feel Sad. What the %&#?

feel sadness

I’m sitting on my deck reading Panache Desai’s new book “Discovering Your Soul’s Signature (which you should definitely check out because it’s chock full of examples for young people. It’s really not another secret adults are keeping from you though I doubt anyone will recommend it to you so it will seem like a secret but I digress…) Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, the book.

So, I’m reading the book and it’s day two of the book’s 33 day journey which covers the topic of sadness and how we try to cover up and not feel sadness because that would be too, well, sad. But I read this line and the seeming obvious silliness of it struck me:

“Live in the truth that vulnerability is power. Live in the truth that your sadness makes you human.”

What the &*%? It seems silly right? It actually almost seems ridiculous! How can being vulnerable (or weak) make you powerful? How does being sad make you human?

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Super Ego Squishing Tool #2: Practice Present Moment Awareness

squish orange

Ok, it’s time for another Super Ego Squishing Tool but let’s recap what we’ve discussed so far.

So far we’ve learned two Secrets:

1. You are not the little voice in your head.

2. You do not have to listen to the little voice in  your head & there are Super Ego Squishing tools to help you do this.

And the 1st Ego Squishing Tool: Practice Awareness and how you can practice awareness during moments of high emotion and when you’re in doubt.

Hopefully at this point you’re starting to realize that by becoming aware of your ego/the little voice in your head, you can start to dampen it’s control over your life so your soul and spirit and True Self can start to shine and soar.

That said, let’s add another Ego Squishing Tool to your arsenal beyond just plain old awareness. You’re a smart cookie so I’m sure you’re ready to move on a bit right?

Here’s Super Eqo Squishing Tool #2: Practice Present Moment Awareness 

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Advice Before a Test: I Know This, I Got This, I’m Ready

stress free zone

When I asked my 13 year-old step-daughter when she heard her inner voice the most she immediately replied:

Before a test.

That really resonated with me because I always felt stressed out before tests and my endless mind chatter probably didn’t do too much to help me. In fact, it probably hurt me just like it’s hurting you.

You’re going to hear me say this a lot on this blog and hopefully it will start to sink in the more I say it:

Your Mind Believes What You Tell It

So, if you let your little voice/ego be in charge of the conversation then your mind is going to believe you’re not prepared, you didn’t study enough, you’re not smart enough, the teacher doesn’t like you, blah blah blah.

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When You’re Really Mad or Sad, Practice Awareness

angry toddler

It’s easy to say “Practice Awareness” but it’s actually not that easy to do. Our minds our usually whirring along as fast a hummingbird’s heartbeat (which, if you didn’t know, is really really fast) so it’s pretty easy to ignore all the random thoughts and usually useless information going by.

One way to learn to practice awareness is when you’re really emotional about something. If you’re really angry or really sad take a moment to listen to what your little voice is saying. Chances are once you start to focus on it, it’s going to quiet down a little bit. It’s almost like it gets embarrassed that it’s been caught talking in class or something.

Only you will know what it’s saying in this moment of high emotion but I can almost guarantee that it’s only adding to the drama.

Read more…

If you want to reach a state of bliss, then go beyond ego and the internal dialogue. Make a decision to relinquish the need to control, the need to be approved, and the need to judge. Those are the three things the ego is doing all the time. It’s very important to be aware of them every time they come up.

– Deepak Chopra



The 2nd Secret for Teens & a Super Ego Squishing Tool

nose ring shhh

Remember Secret #1?  You are not the little voice in your head.

Well, here’s #2.

Secret #2: You do not have to listen to the little voice in  your head & there are Super Ego Squishing tools to help you do this.

Here’s Super Ego Squishing Tool #1:  Practice Awareness.

The first step in squishing your ego and silencing that little voice in your head (well, at least making it quieter) is just to become aware that it’s talking. If you are just sort of aware of it but you don’t really give it the attention it wants, it starts to quiet down.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not easy. In fact, that little voice will probably initially be thrilled that you’re paying attention to it and may even seem to talk more but when you start to really bring your awareness to it, it starts to become a little more quiet.

You’ll be amazed at how vocal that little voice is and how much you were actually listening  to it when you start to focus your awareness on it.

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