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MFT in Training. Writing to help others nurture their sense of self, work through generational family dynamics, and cultivate mature relationships.


And become more confident and secure in who you are.

1. Live By Your Own Principles, Values, and Standards

Living from your authentic self means living a life that’s your own and not driven by the standards, norms, and expectations of others. To develop true inner confidence and live from your authentic self, you alone must define what’s important to you, what you believe, and how you want to live.

If the approval of others didn’t matter to you…

  • How would you actually want to live?
  • What would you care about?
  • How would you spend your time?
  • What would you believe in and express?
  • How would you present yourself?
  • What would you do for a living?
  • What would you buy or not buy?
  • How would you spend your…


A series on managing mental health in an integrative way.

As humans, we are complex and multi-faceted. Many different things work against and in favor of our mental health and well-being. This includes our bodies, emotions, thoughts, relationships, social systems, environment, past experiences, stage of life, and sense of meaning and greater purpose.

In this 4-part series on holistic mental health and well-being, we discuss the many dimensions of mental health that lie beyond just our brain chemistry. In this first part, will be discussing the dimensions of our mental health that have to do with our inner individual lives. …


And how to apply this knowledge to your personal evolution.

I was a confused kid growing up. Academically, I was bright, often top of my class. But when it came to emotions and relationships, I was a mess.

When I reflect on the things I learned in school, I often question how many of those things are actually useful to me on a daily basis in my adult life. I wonder what my life would’ve been like if I had instead received comprehensive education on my mind, emotions, and relationships.

Some might argue that you can’t teach these things. At this point in my life, as a therapist, well-being educator…


Cultivating more emotional stability and maturity in our lives.

What Is Emotional Enmeshment?

Emotional enmeshment is when there are unclear emotional boundaries between ourselves and other people. Those other people are normally those we’re in relationships with or groups we’re a part of, such as our family, our inner circle, a community, or a team of some kind.

Because we are a social species, we’re wired to emotionally affect and be emotionally affected by other people. When emotional boundaries are unclear, we pass on our emotions or we take on the emotions of other people. Emotional states become contagious and spread throughout the group.

Evolutionary Context

From an evolutionary perspective, emotional enmeshment is an…


Gatherings are a great time to learn, grow, and evolve.

For those of us with difficult family dynamics, family gatherings can be a challenging and stressful experience. Through my personal lived experience and work as a therapist, I’ve learned that it helps to go into them with a learning and growth mindset.

This means intentionally engaging in our own personal development process and practicing emotional maturity when we gather with our families. Here are a few ways to do so…

1. Practice Awareness

As a social species, we tend to experience unconscious processes like emotions and automatic thoughts as we relate to others. …


Embrace a learning and growth mentality to survive them.

Do you ever feel a sense of dread over having to gather with family for the holidays? Do you ever find it hard to set and hold healthy boundaries with them? Do you ever feel overwhelmed by their emotional demands or caught in the middle of their drama at the dinner table?

Ram Dass once quoted:

“If you think you are enlightened, go and spend a week with your family.”

That idea has always resonated with me.

Not all of us are lucky enough to experience the holidays as a cheerful and peaceful time with family. For people with difficult…


The key practice for better relationships and greater well-being.

What Are Boundaries?

Boundaries are invisible psychological and emotional lines that we draw with ourselves and others as we interact with the world. They determine what we will or won’t do, and what we will or won’t accept from others.

Boundaries are not intended to shut others out or to become rigid and distant from others in our lives. Rather, boundaries are intended to help us manage our energy wisely, protect our survival, and promote our well-being and evolution throughout the course of our lives.

Boundaries Help Us Manage Our Energy Wisely

Managing our energy with boundaries is actually an act of humility because we admit to ourselves and to…


2. They practice responding over reacting.

Have you ever been around someone who seemed ‘wise beyond their years’? On the other side of that, do you ever notice how some of the ‘adults’ in our society are regularly having public temper tantrums more outrageous than 3-year-olds do?

You see, emotional maturity is not a given of aging. It doesn’t just happen as we get older. Becoming mature is something that takes intentional effort and deliberate practice.

But it’s a life-giving trait. Emotionally mature people, in general, have greater levels of mental health and well-being, better relationships, and create more peaceful communities and societies.

Here’s what people…


What to practice doing instead for healthier families throughout the generations.

I grew up in a family where I spent much of my energy managing my mother’s emotional reactions. I was an emotional support system for her and my younger brother. I felt responsible for protecting them from feeling difficult emotions as often as possible and for soothing them when they did feel them.

I thought that love meant constant self-sacrifice and self-abandonment. This all led to a very confused young adult out in the world. I struggled with my mental health and future relationships as a result of it.

I was lucky enough to stumble upon a theory of human…


The key practice for better relationships and greater well-being.

I grew up in a family where I habitually walked on eggshells and spent much of my energy managing the emotional reactions of others. I would often remain in hurtful interactions because I thought it was my obligation to.

I would join activities just to please others and even sacrificed doing my own things because other people would feel bad if I did. I felt responsible for protecting others from feeling difficult emotions as often as possible and for soothing them when they did feel them.

I did this because I misunderstood love as constantly making people feel good about…

Deborah Lara

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