Life Skills Passion for Life

How Do We Stop That Downward Spiral and Find Joy in The Journey?

Do you ever wonder how you’re supposed to find joy through trials?

Life has its ups and downs, but sometimes challenging events occur all at once. It feels like our world is turned upside down, and we know something is missing.

Our challenges take the form of health problems, losses, breakups, natural disaster, finical struggles, or even losing our purpose. These are all severe stressors and traumatic events.

Most adults will experience many of these during a lifetime. And we do not like hearing that these struggles are a part of life. We may even ask why me????

It can be so easy to just stay in this state and wallow in self-pity. The more we practice self-pity the stronger it gets. Even when it feels like we deserve it or that we can’t get out by ourselves there is a way to turn that around and find joy.

It is a matter of a choice.

Do I practice the negative voice in my head or do I practice looking for the good?

We may not be able to change our circumstances at the moment, yet we can change our perception of the situation. In time that can cause the change we are looking for.

Looking for the Good

All things happen for a reason. Everything in life is for our benefit in one way or another. It is to bring us joy or to teach us what we need to learn. Do we need to go a different direction or upgrade what we are doing? Look for what you should learn.

Take Our FREE Assessment

The Core Living Essentials FREE Assessment provides insight to your sub-conscious mind. What is really bothering you? How do you feel? Why do you feel that way? We help you find success in the things you’re trying to avoid!

Looking for the good frees our brain so that we are more open to inspiration. When we allow self-pity, it drags the brain into a downward spiral. It’s okay if we take a few moments to grieve in our struggles, but staying there does not bring joy nor progress. Look for the lesson by looking for the good.

Read more about negative thinking.

Physical activity

This may seem a little counterintuitive yet in reality it increases the neurotransmitters, such as dopamine’s, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins. Physical activity can increase the joy we feel. The effects of neurotransmitters on the body can relax your muscles and speed up your heart rate with the outcome of feeing connected and in control; thus, increasing the feelings of joy as well as the immune system and all other bodily functions.

Pace Yourself

When we are feeling overwhelmed, the worst decision is to live a rushed life; which often causes the spiral, lack of control and we begin swinging between extremes. We need to take time to grieve or to just take a big deep breath. Remember how beautiful the world is around us and gain back control.

When we are rushing:

  1. Our energy lags
  2. Panic increases.
  3. Fatigue increases.
  4. Our blood pressure increases.
  5. We have little or no awareness of our body and lack control.
  6. Our ability to notice what is going on around us is impaired.
  7. Anger increases.

Having too many things to do or worry about just stops progress.

Another way to calm the overwhelm is to try the following:

Breathing Exercises

Take a deep breath and focusing on what you can control with each inhale and exhale you feel more at ease.

Take Breaks

Do something that you enjoy. Do you have a hobby? Or just sit in a quiet space?

Taking control of yourself by deep breathing this will allow you to have more energy and focus to find what is causing you to be overwhelmed. Then if needed, cut some things out, delegate, or let it go, you can even save some projects or dreams for a different season of life.

Don’t leave them to long.

Divide and conquer.

Remember that we alone are responsible for our progress. There is not a remote control. We have to get up and change channels ourselves. Once we start moving the universe starts to move for and with us.

Get a free download to help you divide and conquer.

Depression Fear Hope Life Skills

Does Negative Self-Talk Really Have Any Effect on Our Future?

Does Negative Self-Talk Really Have Any Effect On Our Future?

Life can bring so many challenges and hard times. These challenges even seem impossible to bear and impossible to find a way to peace or happiness. We have an overwhelming day, week or even life. It can so easily cause us to spiral down.

Victor Frankl is a prime example of a hard life. (Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, and Holocaust survivor). His famous book, Man’s Search for Meaning, tells the story of how he survived the Holocaust by finding personal meaning in the experience, which gave him the will to live through it. He went on to later establish a new school of existential therapy called logotherapy, based on the premise that man’s underlying motivator in life is a “will to meaning,” even in the most difficult of circumstances.

His book is a journey through empathy and the great desire to rise above our current status. If there is a purpose to our struggles, then we can survive and take what we have learned and share it with others who are feeling trapped. The world so needs us to survive and reach out.

So, if Victor Frankl believed that we needed to find the good in our lives lets first look at our negative self-talk or even thoughts. In my practice as a therapist, I have had many clients comment that you can’t erase all the bad things in my life by just pretending they never happened. Does that sound familiar? It definitely feels that way when you are in the middle of all the pain. You feel buried alive never to breathe again.

Yet, in reality, what is happening is they are forgetting all the good things that have happened in their lives because they are so focused on the bad. Our subconscious mind does remember dramatic memories better. They create a lot stronger imprint on the mind than the more pleasant memories. The subconscious mind is faster and more automatic, yet the conscious mind is stronger. So yes, it takes more effort to remember the good things. Yet it’s the good memories that make life worth living.

I really don’t know how a radio works. It uses different radio waves so that if you turn the dial the waves will connect to whatever station you are wanting. The human mind is the same way. It emits different wave lengths. Does that sound a little strange? The emotions and thoughts of love and concern emit very different waves than those of anger and depression. Have you ever been around people who are negative thinkers? They are like emotional vampires. They can zap the energy right out of you. They zap the energy out of themselves.

The following concerns, diseases or health problems have been linked to negative self-talk and negative thinking:

  1. Depression
  2. Parkinson’s disease
  3. Shorter life span
  4. More physical pain
  5. More illnesses
  6. Lower cardiovascular health
  7. More cancer
  8. More infections
  9. Fewer coping skills during hardships
  10. More stress and related illnesses.
  11. Fewer friends
  12. Struggling relationships
  13. Less productive at work or home
  14. Cannot always see new opportunities that could come their way.
  15. The constant feeling of hopelessness.

Research continues to explore the effects of positive and negative thinking upon our life and happiness. So far knowing what we know can give us great insight to be more motivated to change our thinking.

Knowing how all of this affects us and those around us, what can we do about it?  Is it really too hopeless or pointless to try and change our thinking? That depends on how much we want a better life!!!

 Our brain remembers everything we tell it. So, if we have told it a negative story all day it will send out those particular waves to the rest of our body and to all people around us. The brain does not know what is true or not, it just goes with what we tell it. Why not tell it something good and positive? Something that is easier to live with? It really is our choice. Let’s tell it the good that has happened to us. Let’s tell it about the people we love.

Are you STUCK in negative self-talk?

Let’s talk! Schedule a free consultation with Kristena today.

Whatever we practice during the day is what we keep. The rest of our thoughts that we don’t use gets covered with C1q protein and when you sleep this protein is washed away. This is called synaptic pruning. That way you just keep what you practice. In order to be happier, heathier, and more productive; practice the good things in your life.

We all have good things no matter how small. Practice them and then they will grow.

 How to stop negative self-talk:

  1. Always be aware, catch yourself saying negative things about yourself. Then look for the one good thing that came with it.
  2. Give your critic a name. If you catch yourself in negative self-talk, tell the voice to be quiet.
  3. Find a slightly better feeling. Before you express your negativity, choose a different perspective.
  4. Think like a friend.
  5. Say it out loud to yourself. Does it sound right?
  6. Know the truth. What is the other side of the story?
  7. Use your affirmations. Who do I want to become?

It is possible to change those negative voices into positive voices. The process is simple, but it does take time and practice. Here is a list of things to think about and be aware of. Ask yourself if they are part of your life?

  1. Identify areas to change.
  2. Check yourself.
  3. Be open to humor.
  4. If others are critical learn from it. Is what they say partially true, and you need to change, or is it coming from their fear, and you can let it go?
  5. Follow a healthy lifestyle. Food and exercise.
  6. Surround yourself with positive people.
  7. Get out in nature more often.
  8. Practice and practice some more at being positive, especially to yourself!!

“Don’t watch your inner turmoil but turn your gaze to what is waiting for you. What counts is not what lurks in the depths, but what waits in the future, waits to be actualized by you….

What man needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.” Viktor Frankl.

If you are feeling stuck, please reach out for help.

Take the free assessment HERE and it can tell you what subconscious thoughts you are living.

You can do this one step at a time. Please don’t wait. Find some peace and happiness now. 

Life Skills Parenting

Believe it or not Parenting!

How do I get my kids to be more responsible.??

Every parent remembers those tough days where not one of your children seemed to be sane. We all have at least one story about trying to create peace and ended up in total chaos. Maybe it is more like one story a day.  Does it seem that no matter what you have tried nothing seems to change behavior?

That is where this article can help make incredible differences.  It is filled with examples, testimonies, and lives changed all due to learning a few skills that bring: love, connection, trust, dedication, growth, and even a desire to build parent and child relationships that last a life time.

This article is about making connections that create learning, self-belief, self-trust and trust in others, and it also helps to disperse fears of not being good enough, the dreaded fear of failure and loss. This is one article that teaches parenting skill from a totally different direction and makes love and life out of chaos.

These principles have been used in schools with huge classes that had been struggling with discipline and without any sign of learning or growth. If these principles worked in the class room, they can work at home. Keep in mind these skills are principles. A principle is something that never changes. A good example is the principle of gravity. Even if you do not believe in gravity it is still real and in play at all times. The way we practice or live that principle can change. Like for example the principle of arrow dynamics. If you use aerodynamics you can use the gravitational pull to your advantage. If these principles can make a difference in a class room of 20 -30 kids then we can change how we practice these skills by using them with just a few kids. The kids that we love the most, our own children.

We will start with one of the biggest principles of teaching our children how to be responsible for their own lives. Wow that is a big order, right? In reality it is easier than you think. Try one principle at a time.

Being responsible is a key to children’s success both in school and in the larger world when they grow up. Parents often confuse obedience with responsibility. Most parents would love their children to do what the parent asks, to follow directions and to not question them. Yet part of learning to be responsible to learning to make choices on their own. Then of course understanding the consequences.

It at times is too much work to train children to clean up after themselves and help around home. It’s so much easier to do it yourself”. I get it. It is exhausting training children to be responsible. It is definitely easier to do it all by yourself. As a mother of six children of my own I can understand this principle yet it can keep you stuck doing this very thing for the rest of your life and your kids will follow suit for the rest of their life.  So, train with the end in mind. Even with the thought in mind that at some point your children will have the ability to serve you when the need arises.

Responsibility according to ability- How easy it is to go to extremes: either giving the child responsibility above their ability or requiring no responsibility at all. Keeping in mind that just because they are young we can easily not realize how much they are capable of doing. Generally, more than we know.

Teach when young. Of course, it is better to tach them when they are young, yet some of my readers may have not totally understood this when their children were young. So even as grandparents it is never too late.

Gradually increase responsibility- Even at 2-years- old they can learn to put away their toys when finished or put their dirty clothes in the hamper. You can download a sheet that tells approximately age ability for chores here:

Keeping in mind still that all children do not follow the exact suggested chores ability. Yet it can be a good place to start.

Having responsibility makes all of use feel needed. Including our children. They need to know that they too can contribute. Expressing how important a child’s contribution to the family can go a long way to encourage their understanding of responsibility. Let them know how much you appreciate all the help they do give. Being responsible is not always easy or fair. Yet it is important for us to remember we are working for the greater good for our life and for their future lives.

Love language- a big intrinsic reward for children is for us to know and do what makes them feel loved. If words of praise are what will work, do that. Then shower them with praise. If spending time with them is the trick then give them the time. Watch and be aware of how they react to your gifts of love then give them more of what makes them feel that way.

Following are some steps to take in teaching responsibility:

  1. Do it for them. This is when they are babies or toddlers. You are setting the example and they are watching you.
  2. Do it with them. Even as little as 1-2 years of age they can see and understand when you are picking up toys with them.
  3. Observe them doing.  This is not meant to be an observation in order to judge or especially criticize. This is a time to be amazed at how far they have come and to see if further teaching is needed.
  4. Let them do it all by themselves. They have come a long way and this will give them a great sense of accomplishment. They will feel more trusted, motivated, and confident.
  5. Have them teach someone else. Have you ever had the honor of having your 2-3-year-old teach you how to dry dishes? What a great feeling of accomplishment for both of you. Also have older children teach younger ones. This can lighten a burden for you. have younger ones teach older ones just for practice. This induces feelings of love for each other.

These same steps work if you are teaching older children to do more difficult chores, such as mowing the lawn.  

Over time, most parents want children to accept ownership for a task or chore- the children do it because it needs to be done and accept that it is their obligation to do it. Overtime, they may even initiate doing a task “because it needs to be done” not because they are being told to do it. This is called responsibility.

One of the hard parts of this teaching style is to remember that all of us are different and we do things differently. Parents may have to give up having things done exactly as they would like them done and on their exact timetable in order for a child to move from obedience to responsibility. But allowing a child to “do it his way” will encourage a feeling of pride in accomplishment and foster a sense of responsibility.

Healthy parenting occurs when children are raised in a home in which there is unconditional love along with clear boundaries, limits, rules and consequences.

Another great learning process is to have the children help make the rules and the consequences. They tend to make them harder than we would.

Let’s use a family camping situation to convey the lesson. What needs to be packed, what do they do to set up camp, and what is necessary to return home? Discuss each area in depth with your children, perhaps make a list before-hand so nothing is skipped keeping in mind that it is a good learning tool to have them participate in making the list.

What needs to be done? —–

Food planning




Equipment planning


What needs to be set up?


Kitchen or fire pit?

Then what needs to be packed?

Time to clean up and pack for heading home?

Take garbage to appropriate area.

Sweep out tent or clean and pack trailer.

Add or delete details of this list as needed for your family.

Now decide who will do what? This step can be a great learning curve because if one child does not follow through, a natural consequence should be enacted. For example, one time we went camping and the child in charge of bringing cooking utensils forgot them. We turned to the person responsible for bringing utensils and ask them to come up with a solution. We did this in a loving way with no criticism and sincerely wanting to have a solution. So, we ended up using a shovel to cut the watermelon. I can honestly say none of us have not forgotten utensils since that time. And we still laugh about it.

Finally, who and what needs to be cleaned up? Make these written lists so that there will be no discussion or forgetting who is doing what.

When someone is involved in the planning, they are more invested, more motivated and feel they are an important part of the family. If there is a mistake made, it is a great time to learn to laugh at yourself and make changes for the future. Like the example of forgetting the knife. This child said he was sorry, and he came up with the shovel idea. A natural consequence was used. Nothing else was needed. Such simple steps to get kids involved, and they can make mistakes in a safe environment.

At the very end, of camping, have the family make an evaluation and show appreciation. How did it all turn out in their eyes? What did they learn and what would they do differently?

IF you feel you need additional help please reach out. Thanks.

Fear Friendship Happiness Hope Life Skills

How to Become the Best Influential Version of Yourself

This is the question most of us ask. How can I be happier, prettier, richer, more productive and how can I influence others to do the same?

The simple answer is to make others feel important. When you think of others and their needs, it will turn you into a great person in their eyes. They will give you more respect and authority, they will also listen to what you have to say even if you disagree with them. If they feel understood and appreciated they are much more willing to give back more of what you need or want.

The other side of the coin when you put yourself in their shoes it gives you a greater understanding of them. With that greater understanding you can also learn more about yourself.

To begin with we need to know who we are and what our passions are or what we want for our future. Why influence others? What would the world be like if more people were respectful and considerate? How is it possible for one person to influence the world in that direction? We all want the world to be a better place to live in. That’s why we want to be an influencer, so we can live a more fulfilling life.

Who Am I?

According to Josh Misner PhD, we have 4 selves. Any one of these selves can be used for good or harm in our personal situation, and our relationships. How well do you know yourself? Ask a close friend, spouse or family member to share one thing that annoys them about you. Nothing is off limits. This is a time for you to become the best “you” possible. Do not try to defend yourself, let this be a profound learning moment and just listen. What did you learn about yourself?

  1. The Known Self, things we know about ourselves and others know about us. What is the one thing you need to change? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  2. The Hidden Self, things we know about ourselves that others do not know. Why do we hide this and what needs to change? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  3. The Blind Self -things others know about us that we do not know. What did you find out about yourself? How is this painful? What needs to change? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  4. The Unknown Self – Things neither we nor others know about us. This could be future opportunities that have not arrived yet. Maybe things you are not aware that you would love or be good at. What do you think this could be? What deeper thoughts do you have that you are holding back inside because of money, time, or skill? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Once you have a stronger sense of who you are, you can become the best influential version of you. It can be tempting to think about the best version of yourself as some intangible point in the future where you will be more successful, doing what you love, and being much happier.

Do you see your current self as the regular everyday person? You are just waiting for the perfect time and circumstance to give it your all?

If you wait for the best version of yourself to happen, you’re going to be stuck with what you are now.

Don’t wait; start making progress today. One step at a time. Following are some suggestions to get life moving:

The big question to start with is what characteristic or part of you do you want to grow? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


  1. Just Show Up. The smallest step forward is great and so much better than none. If you are wanting to run a marathon it starts with putting on your shoes. Then the next step is to run around the block. Keep upping the time and distance each day.
  2. The best version of yourself is your vision not someone else’s.
  3. Stop looking for short cuts or secret tricks. You are climbing a new mountain and it’s your mountain.
  4. Learn and accept help of others. Someone out there may have traveled the road before you and they can give you great insight.
  5. Keep track of your progress and celebrate the small wins.
  6. Embrace failure. You can’t make progress by playing it safe. The successful people have failed more than the person that never tried.
  7. Help other people become the best version of themselves. This will keep you motivated and you will build lasting connections. Putting others first is like building your own ladder.
  8. Get your ego out of the way. Getting out of your ego can give you great perspective. When you build others, they will return the favor.
  9. Make kindness a priority.
  10. Forgiveness is for you, not the one who hurt you.  Let go of that heavy burden. You don’t need to carry garbage others spew your way.

Why should you take steps to become the best you can be? Because you owe it to yourself and to other people to do just that.

Your family, your community, your colleagues and clients benefit from you when you are more skilled and confident.

You have a totally different, demeaner when you serve others. That gives you great power.

In addition, people pursuing their higher goals are responsible for creative, inspiring, engaging results. They are the ones with the stories to tell about: challenges overcome; lessons learned; life lived fully.

So, if you accept there’s a choice between Same-Old and Different, choose wisely. 

Disappointment Marriage Stories of Hope

Dear Other Women

In all that has happened I just thought I would remind you, that you are responsible for helping destroy the heart of another women and stealing a father away from his children.

You stole from a woman, just like you… someone just wanting to love and be loved. As time goes on, you will not be able to ignore what you have done or the disappointment you receive from everyone around you. Maybe, right now you are in deep denial and don’t care one bit about me or my children. I understand! My husband chose you!! Your life is exciting!

But please, let me warn you about what you are going to experience in the coming months or years. You see, you have chosen a man who is actively ignoring God’s will for his life. My husband sadly felt an “emptiness” apart from God, so he went looking for something else to fill it. He gave up a beautiful family and chose you a his “new” family. You must feel wonderful that you waged a personal way, with an older woman, and won. But, dear one, how long do you think it will take before you stop feeling like the prize? When your relationship becomes real and starts to struggle, he is going to look at you and begin to wonder if you were worth it. And you will feel it. Even if he doesn’t say it out loud.

He will realize that your relationship requires just as much work, if not more, than ours did. He will think about all that he sacrificed and become emotionally distant in his confusion. Because I already know how he copes when life gets hard, he will leave you sitting alone as he works long hours… not only to support two households… but to cope with his internal torment and gilt. You see, he has to convince himself, and tell you that he no longer loves me. But, dear hear, because is was God’s Perfect design, my husband will never be able to completely remove me from his heart. Let me explain. Your relationship is a counterfeit of the true covenant marriage before Christ. Your affair and relationship are just a symbol of youth and virility for a man struggling with his faltering ego and identity. At some point, you will start feeling insecure about your place and feel like you must always fight to be worth it. You will always be known as the one that wrecked a home and stole a husband and father. There will be conflict, between the two of you over birthday, holidays, family events and even weddings. A source of negativity…, instead of a source of happiness. You may attend our family gatherings and try to assert yourself as the new “wife”, but your boldness will be seen as arrogance and will, at best, be horribly awkward and uncomfortable. Don’t forget that I might be there. Are you ready to be in my presence? Are you prepared to look me in the eye: will you speak your mind during family conversation? Or will you sit next to him impotent and silent, wishing desperately that you could hide and be inviable? The Holy Spirit will weight on you… in every single one of those situations … no matter how you try to pretend his spirit is not there. At some point, you will become so tiered of being the center of conflict that you will wish for a simpler, more innocent life. You will try to talk to someone- anyone- about your feelings… but very few will sympathize. Why? Because according to the Lord’s powerful word, you are an adulteress whose words drip like honey… a representation of betrayal and lies. You are described, by His Holiness, as a pathway to death and destruction … a temptress who “leads men to slaughter”. Did you know that?

Because of how you two began, you will eventually become suspicious about every text he sends and every late arrival home. You will be paranoid long before he actually does anything wrong… because you know it is exactly how you two began.

In the middle of the night or while he showers, you will begin to feel the overwhelming need to secretly check his phone and will question everything in your mind. But, lets change the scenario to something more positive. Let’s pretend my husband turns to the Lord and wants to be a good and loyal person for you. Let’s say that you experience a transformation and make changes in your own heart. Let’s say you reverently go before our King and ask for forgiveness. Praise God! The scales will be lifted from your eyes and you will finally see that you have caused horrific pain and done some horrible things. You will ask his forgiveness and will absolutely be 100% forgiven! Washed clean! Forgiven by our God!

This experience doesn’t preclude you struggling however, with trying to forgive yourself. Because your heart has been transformed, you will now feel ashamed every single day you remain with my husband. You will not be able to feel, about him, the same way you once did. All of a sudden, your memories of when you both first met will be tainted by every lie that fueled them. Every experience tied him will now be overshadowed by a darkness.  you truly are repentant and following Christ, hyo will realize that you can’t be right with God and remain in the relationship. You will make yourself crazy because you will want to do the right thing… for once in your life. You will have to actually break your own heart and walk away. One day, however, the Lord will send you a wonderful, single man to marry. Sadly, you will often worry, at least a little bit, with trusting and insecure feelings. You will have this persistent, nagging feeling that, one day your husband might become “unhappy” and seek to fill his emptiness with another… rather than seek the Lord and fight for you. He might meet an attractive, a younger woman who is willing to say or do anything to manipulate and tempt the husband that you love and steal the father of your children. Unfortunately, dear one no one is completely exempt from what God’s word says about the potential consequences of this awful, hatful sin. No, not one.

By Jana Baker Holmstrom

If you find yourself in this situation please don’t keep living in pain, reach out. There is hope. Kristena Eden

Want to talk? Schedule a FREE Consultation Today!

Hope Life Skills Marriage Parenting

Divorce and Our Kids

Divorce is devastating to all parties involved, even when it needs to happen. For children it can be an especially sad, stressful and a very confusing time and can have a terrible fear of loss and failure. They may feel shocked, uncertain, or angry or even feel guilty, blaming themselves for the problems at home.  Such a transitional time doesn’t happen without some measure of grief and hardship. Also, keep in mind that children from divorced parents tend to also lean toward future failed marriages.

Before choosing divorce or separation, get some counseling. A greater sense of peace endures in a home if things can be worked out. After canceling, if you still feel the need to go separate ways, continue living the principles you learned in counseling. This will help you have a better and stronger relationships in the future.

Kids need extra reassurance during this trying time. It’s not easy to give love to your children and those around you when you are in so much pain. Your patience, reassurance, and listening ear can minimize tension as your children learn to cope with these new circumstances. Here are some suggestions that will help kids and parents survive or even thrive during these hard times:

  1. Provide routines your kids can rely on so they can feel support from both parents.
  2. Maintain a working relationship with your ex. You can help kids avoid the stress and anguish that comes with watching parents fight.
  3. Kids need both parents to stay involved.
  4. Do not speak or act negatively toward the other parent when kids are present.
  5. Communicate directly with the other parent, the kids do not need to be the go between. They are not the messengers.
  6. Younger children need fewer details of the decision to divorce, and older kids may need more information.
  7. Help kids to grieve through these intense feelings of loss. Help them express what they are feeling.
  8. Above all, let them know it is not their fault that you are getting a divorce. This decision is entirely between the two of you. Make sure the kids feel loved by both of you.
    1. Many kids believe that they had something to do with the divorce, recalling times they argued with parents or each other or when they did not do well at school.
    1. Continue to support children in their needs and letting them know they are loved; this can increase the connection between them and both parents.
    1. Never vent negative feelings to your child. They are not your therapist.
  9. Resist the temptation to spoil kids during a divorce by not enforcing limits or allowing them to break rules. This will cause greater gaps, confusion, and discontent between all involved.

Additional suggestions:

  1. Exercise often and eat healthy. These two things can help level out the hormones and to calm you down, especially if it is done with the kids.
  2. Keep a journal of all the good things you do together. Yes, it is important to also write down your feelings and thoughts. Just keep in mind that the stories of our experiences that we repeat causes us to live them over and over again. When we retell about how terrible it was to be married to so and so, we stay stuck in that pain. Who wants to relive all of that? Start finding the good and replacing that with the old painful experiences.  Parents and kids need to work in the present to find joy and happiness and not continue to live in the past pain.
  3. Continue to associate with friends. Again, not repeating painful stories to them. Ask them to not bring up the breakup. They will understand.

Look for red flags that your children are struggling more than you thought.

  1. Sleep problems
  2. Increase in bed-wetting
  3. Trouble at school
  4. Drugs
  5. Suicidal tendency
  6. Angry outburst
  7. Withdrawal from others
  8. Loss of interest in once loved activities

If any of these appear, you and your child may need to seek professional help.

None of us ever go into a marriage thinking that it won’t work. When we are first in love, we feel that everything is so perfect. Then the hormones settle down, life hits us and we easily forget how much we loved each other. We find out that we are both human. You need to get some of these feelings of love back even if it is just to the help the kids feel safe and loved. Learn problem solving techniques and teach children at the same time. Your own emotions and frustration need to take a back seat. The biggest way to find peace and share with your kids is to forgive. Forgiveness is for you not the person who hurt you.  If this seems impossible, please reach out for help.  

One step at a time.

Kristena Eden 

Life Skills Parenting

How to Talk so Your Kids Will Listen; and Listen When Your Kids Talk!

The best method to get our kids attention is let them have our attention.

Does that sound a little counter intuitive?

This story was taken from the memoirs of two teachers who were instrumental in influencing change by enacting simple, small techniques with their teaching practices. In a rural town a certain grade of children was disruptive and disrespectful, and it wasn’t just one or two kids, it was the entire class. Their actions soon created a hostile environment not conducive to learning.

Many of us have experienced the rough days when children are learning about life, others, and how to best interact with the world around them. Sometimes we are successful in navigating these moments and sometimes we need help.

These two teachers were experiencing the full force this struggle daily and banded together forming a plan to help these children make better choices in how they interacted with others. The principles they taught and used are explained in their own words below and include skills that bring love, connection, trust, dedication, self-belief, self-trust and trust in others, and even a desire to build parent and child relationships that last a lifetime; they also address ways to disperse fears of not being good enough, and fears of failure and loss.


“After two long years of teaching junior high, I was ready for retirement. When I had entered the teaching profession, I had expected the students to behave, to want to learn, and show respect. Oh, they did as they were asked if I coaxed, bribed, or threatened them. And not many were late if I waited to call roll a few minutes after the second bell rang; but, respect, they did not even know what the word meant!

Taking the toll on my desire to teach were numerous obstacles: students, apathetic attitudes, administrative political ploys, the parental dissatisfaction with the education system, the lack of cooperation, the high levels of competitiveness among faculty members, and the disrespect for fellow human beings.

Time and time again I had been told, “Those students are worthless and disrespectful children.” The evidences from my classroom, the hallways, and comments by other adults convinced me this statement was true. Veteran teachers freely gave their condolences, “There is nothing you can do about it, Janis. Just grin and bear it. It’s part of your job.”

For two seemingly endless years I followed the advice of the veterans, however, I was not happy, and as far as I could tell, neither were the students. The students were nothing more to me than objects in a room of furniture. My ideal classroom, a pleasant place for learning, had become a war zone. Daily, students engaged in confrontations, unpreparedness, flagrant ignoring of classroom rules, name calling and fighting. The more I incorporated the discipline philosophies of experts and veterans the deeper I entrenched myself into the battle against the misbehaving students. Writing names on the board only produced cantankerous silence. The suggested rewarding for good behavior progressively cost me more money as the students became manipulative with demands for more costly rewards. In addition to the war that had developed in my classroom, I was constantly held responsible for any and all of the inappropriate behavior of students in the hallways, gym, and cafeteria. I was personalizing and internalizing every confrontation, and I was unable to leave the battles at school.

My insides churned as I recognized I had only one solution, to stop teaching. Encouragement from my family and friends persuaded me to stay until Christmas. If things were not better by then I would quit. I know in order for me to enter my classroom the following year I needed some sort of ammunition, some kind of help, or power to engage in the classroom battles. I promised myself to enter this war with more strategies and tactics than all of the students combined. These battles would be fought in the trenches. I was determined that the students would not win. If I lost, so would the students.”

Does that sound familiar in any way? Raising kids can be like a war zone. What happened to all of those movies in which the kids obeyed, and they grew up to be very strong and motivated individuals?

There are a few skills to use that will change the war zone to the best time of our lives. Sound simple? Yes, it can be.

We generally choose one of several parenting styles with our children: And just the name of the style gives a clue on how to parent. Can you spot your style?

  • Authoritarian – parents intend to shape, control, and evaluate the behavior and attitudes of children in accordance with a set standard of conduct. This style does not invite children to participate in the discussion of rules, disciplining or expectations, followed by the belief that children should accept parents’ word for what it right. Generally, with this style, parents’ value firm control of their children’s behavior, and are often less than warm in their own behavior. They rarely encourage their children to express feelings or point of view, particularly in disciplinary situations. This was the type of teaching used at that rural school. As is often the result in this style of parenting or teaching, the children rebel or they become silent. They lash out or they turn so far in that they are very hard to reach. They lose their identity and their belief in themselves.
  • Permissive – this style is easy to fall into when we are tired, frustrated, overworked, and overstressed. Understandably we just want to be left alone. Permissive parents usually show warmth and love toward their children but offer little guidance or direction. In most cases they allow children to regulate their own activates as much as possible and avoid teaching or exercising of any control even with regards to socially acceptable limits on behavior and in many cases because the parents wants to avoid confrontation. Apparent in this style is a complete lack of structure or parental power. As a result, children often feel lost and don’t know how to survive in the world as an adult. They believe that everyone should help them and rarely see where they should help others. Few of these children handle stress well and in the end are rarely happy, confident or emotionally strong.
  • Authoritative – Parents show the same high expectations for their children as authoritarian parents, yet they also show a high degree of warmth and responsiveness. This approach is to deal with situations with loving support. Parents usually spend the effort and time to guide their children using encouraging comments and discussion but not ranting or screaming. They often share with their children the reasoning behind their rules and policies. Some use their children’s ideas and feedback in setting rules. They teach responsibility and self-reliance by giving them chores and a role in family decisions. As a result, children raised this way are more likely to be socially confident, friendly, self-disciplined, cooperative, and achievement oriented.

Did you figure out what style you are? Are you a mixture of all of them depending on the day? I love the quote from Gandhi when he stated that we must be the change we wish to see in the world. So, this type of parenting starts with us. To help us all create a more nurturing authoritative environment for our children I have outlined two steps below. Review them and makes some notes, goals and plans according to your inspiration.

  1. First, we need to understand our children before we can parent them well. What are their needs?

We all have basic human needs and if those needs are met, we can function at a much better level. We can feel safe, secure, and believe in ourselves. These basic needs don’t necessarily have to be fulfilled by another person because children need to learn do that themselves. We as parents can help fulfil these needs while also teaching them to do that for themselves.

  1. Respect – Showing them respect is the best way to teach them to respect others. Listen to what they say. That doesn’t mean we have to do everything they say, just listen so they feel they are worth listening too.
  2. Appreciation- The simple gesture of saying thank you greatly impacts all ages. This is an easy need to fulfill. We as parents know what it is like to be appreciated. So, set the example by noticing and finding the good that they do and let them know you care, and you appreciate what they do.
  3. Trust – Showing trust is the same as respect – give it and you can earn it. The biggest way to increase trust is to avoid being critical, but if there is a concern, discuss it and work together for solutions. Trust means confidence. If you trust someone you have confidence in them. It can be you trust that they will do their best, or that they will tell the truth. There are many levels of trust. In a relationship when there is trust, offense is not present. It is easier to understand each other.
  4. Feeling safe – A person needs to feel safe and not tormented in order for them to open up. Can they tell you something without causing an outburst on your part? You may not like what they say yet it is still important to keep trying to understand. The more they feel understood the easier it is for them to take a “NO” answer.
  5. Validation- To know and feel what we contribute is valued and really makes an impact. The best way to make a person feel valued is to listen to what they have to say.
  6. Encouragement– When we are told we can’t achieve our dreams; we can easily let our dreams die. When we give encouragement, even if the idea is not what you would recommend, it can be the simple jester that lets our children thrive. They can easily tell if you care.

If their needs are fulfilled they are a lot happier and a lot less rebellious.

  1. Take a few minutes to evaluate children’s abilities.

Some people have the gift to stuff a ball in a basket and make lots of money doing it. Some have the gift of making friends and they are surround with people who care. Here is a great place to pause and think, then write down your child’s abilities. Remember if we judge a fish by his ability to climb a tree, we may not have very many fish. This is a good place to stop and ask questions to see what your child’s needs and abilities are:

  1. What do I see my child doing when they don’t have to do anything?
  2. What seems to make them happy?
  3. What are they good at? (sometimes we love doing something but not good at it yet)
  4. What do they dream about becoming?
  5. What do others complement them about the most?

Take some time to get to know your child and then act accordingly. You will see a huge difference in their ability to thrive. And a huge increase in your understanding of them and yourself. It will be very rewarding. It will also build a lifetime of memories.

Hope Stories of Hope

Stories of Hope (Losing a Child)

This is such a hard yet hopeful situation in life. A friend of mine shared her experience and said I could share it with you. If you know of someone that is struggling please share it with them.

In January of 2010, at my 21-week ultrasound, my husband and I found out our baby had severe birth defects and would not survive to a healthy delivery. Based on a number of medical opinions and out of concern for my health we decided to deliver early, and our daughter was stillborn at 26 weeks. The doctors, nurses, and hospital staff were amazing in supporting us through this experience. My doctor hand-picked the nurses who helped, the hospital social worker came and chatted with us, and a wonderful woman made molds of our baby’s hands and feet and took pictures that I cherish to this day. However, once we went home it was harder to know where to turn for support. Of course, our family and friends were there for us, but few of them had ever experienced anything similar, my husband in particular struggled with our loss over the next year. As a young 23-year-old I had no idea what to do or where to turn to help him, and looking back I so wish I had known there were people like Kristena out there. We would have so benefited from a few sessions with Kristena to help process our grief and pull together as a couple during that time. Especially during the first few weeks after going home from the hospital. I regularly referred to the materials we received at the hospital and a small note about how Kristena could help would have given me a direction to turn to for support after we transitioned out of the healthcare setting. Please reach out for help.

Kristena Eden

Hope Stories of Hope

Story of Hope (Mother Daughter)

Mother and Daughter

Every one of us struggles and often we don’t know where to find answers but sometimes we can find our own solutions through other’s experiences. I have met so many amazing people over the years. A few months ago, I met a mother and daughter who struggled being around each other. Their conversations consisted of arguments, accusations, and inconsiderate actions. The daughter felt her personal friend time was constantly cut short by her mother and the mother felt the daughter would just not listen. The years of struggle and frustration began to affect their health. Both of them expected the other to change and this behavior continued until it nearly destroyed their relationship and their health. In a last effort for things to improve between them, they found my personal growth program. After 12 weeks of personal homework and in person discussions, they began to understand each other’s viewpoint. Each of us communicates in our own way but not everyone understands what we say the way we intend and through the skills taught in my program they soon realized what each other really meant. They began to heal the breach between them. Today they have a healthy and happy relationship where they fully understand each other’s needs and even spend time together on girl’s night out. We all have room to improve our relationships and just think about how much more meaningful our relationships could be through a few effective techniques. Take the free assessment on my website: and begin the journey to improved relations in all areas of your life.

Hope Life Skills

Can We Get Addicted to Our Misery?

Question Is it possible to be addicted to our misery?

I have an aunt who is constantly talking about all of her illnesses and all of the hard things that are going on in her life. It seems like this is an addiction simply because she inflates her stories as time goes on.  She wants to keep repeating the stories and expects you not to leave; she even calls to tell her stories. She just wants to keep ranting about how hard her life is.

I have no doubt that she does have struggles, in fact, we all do. Yet she seems to dwell on nothing but those struggles. Is it even possible to help her find peace or even happiness in all of life’s hardships, when she lives every moment in recalling all of the pain?

Answer Yes, it is very possible to feel more comfortable in our misery than to fight to find more peace in our lives.

This type of addiction is very similar to any other type of addiction. The more you do it the more you want to do it. It does give you a temporary high or a feeling of being needed or having others feel sympathy for you. They want to be needed or accepted and this is one way to do that even though it is not a healthy way to accomplish it. It is a basic human need to belong.

Hiding in our misery is like a warm fuzzy blanket. If we are the victim, we are not responsible for making changes. That will be someone else’s responsibility. We are off the hook. This ideology prevents us from progressing and making our life better. According to Donald L. Hilton Jr., MD, it is “like a cat chasing its tail”, there is not a final solution, satiation, or satisfaction in addiction. It is a “futile cycle” which prevents the addicted one from moving forward. That may sound harsh yet living in one’s misery daily never brings happiness.

addicted to misery

Deep-rooted insecurity or lack of self-esteem may cause some people to feel undeserving. Some may feel that trying to find that joy may be a “setup” for disappointment. In a study by Eduardo Andrade and Joel Cohen, which evaluated why people like horror movies, they stated that some just like to be unhappy. They may need to feel risk or horror to feel much of anything.

Look at this list and see if this fits anyone you know:

  1. Find reasons to be miserable.
  2. Prefer to play the victim because they can’t or won’t choose to be responsible for themselves.
  3. Have empty unsatisfying relationships.
  4. Turn to drugs, alcohol, sex, food or any addictive compulsive behaviors.
  5. Feels powerless to change or feel it would not make a difference.
  6. Feel their life is harder than others.

Misery or happiness is a choice. To some extent, we do choose our own thoughts and how we play out those thoughts. (This may be more of a challenge for those with depression or anxiety.) One choice that is in bounds for everyone is to get help if the situation is too overpowering.  Cognitive or Dialectical behavioral therapy works wonders for any of us. Misery does not have to be terminal.

Is there a solution to all of this? Yes, to begin with, it takes being aware that they or you are caught in this cycle. Then it takes desire, consistency and determination. It is amazing how this mind-set affects mental, physical and spiritual health.

There are steps to finding joy in your life and live beyond the constant feelings of being miserable.

  1. Becoming aware – Self-aware and others-aware. This involves monitoring our inner worlds, thoughts, emotions, and beliefs. It is important because it is what drives or influences personal development. This takes self-examination. How do we feel? How do we affect those around us? What needs to change to make us better stronger and happier people? High self-awareness is a predictor of a successful life. We can learn to be more self-aware by journaling, listening to feedback, working at being a better listener, trying to see the other person’s viewpoint.
  2. Realizing there is no such thing as perfection.  According to Psychology Today, “perfectionism is a trait that makes life an endless report card on accomplishments or our physical looks. It is a fast and enduring track to unhappiness; it is often accompanied by depression or anxiety. Perfection is usually driven by the desire to avoid failure or judgment.” The goal here is to practice being good with what life brings you. If you can be changed that is great. Change it!  If not, then find a way to live with it and still choose happiness.

This is one of my favorite stories:

A long time ago, there was a small village. In that village lived a serving man. His job was to fetch the water.

Every day, he would carry two empty buckets down the long path to the river, fill the buckets, and carry the full buckets back to his master’s house.

One of the buckets was perfect and would carry all the water it held all the way back to the master’s house. Naturally, it was very proud of its daily accomplishments.

The other bucket was imperfect. It had a crack. And every day, the serving man would fill it to the top with water, and every day, the bucket would slowly leak on the way back up the path and would arrive at the master’s house only half full.

This went on for two years. Finally, the bucket with the crack in it couldn’t take it anymore. When the serving man reached the river, the bucket said to him, “I want to apologize to you.”

The serving man was surprised. “Why would you want to apologize to me?”

“Because,” said the bucket. “Every day you have to walk all the way down to the river to fetch the water and walk all the way back, and every day, I am only able to bring half the water you put in me back to the master’s house. I am ashamed.”

The serving man felt sorry for the bucket. He said, “I’ll tell you what. As we make our way back up the long path to the master’s house, look around you. There are beautiful wildflowers growing along the path that will cheer you up.”

The bucket agreed; and as they walked back up the long path to the master’s house, he did look around and the beautiful wildflowers did cheer him up. But when they reached the master’s house, the bucket still only had half of the water it began with.

“I was still only able to do half the work,” said the bucket. “I still failed. I am sorry!”

The serving man smiled, and said, “Did you notice that the beautiful wildflowers were only growing on your side of the path? I knew about your crack all along, and I took advantage of it. Two years ago, I dropped flower seeds along the path, and for two years, you have been watering those flowers. It’s thanks to you and your leak that those flowers were able to grow and make the path to the river more beautiful, making everyone’s work more pleasant.”

 3- A gratitude journal – This is one of the major happiness changers. List at least three things every night before bedtime that you are grateful for. Write them down and when you wake in the morning reread what you wrote the night before.

Two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami have done much of the research on gratitude. In one study, they asked all participants to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics.

One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative). After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.

When we are stuck in the mode of living and loving our misery, our thoughts and feelings are distorted toward negative thinking. Our illogical thoughts cause illogical feelings and actions.

Dr. David D. Burns, M.D. (Feeling Good) gives us some insight to these negative thoughts.  Ask yourself if you are living in these thinking patterns:

  1. All or nothing thinking. In reality our lives are more in the middle, not all in one direction or another.
  2. Overgeneralization. It is easy to say that because of one bad incident, we attribute it to everything in our lives.  One bad situation does not represent that all situations are bad.
  3. Disqualifying the positive. When we have something negative happen we too easily do not see the positive situations in our lives.
  4. Magnification and minimization. Every time our negative stories are told we tend to enhance them. Like a fishing story where the fish just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Or we may minimize the good from our struggles. Ask yourself: “What good did I learn from this situation?” For example, when a boss states we did not do a project correctly do we interpret that to mean we never do it right.  
  5. Personalizing: It is when you assume responsibility for a negative event when there is no basis for doing so.  For example, when a mother receives her child’s school report, plus a note from the Tudor indicating her child is not working well, she immediately concludes “I must be a bad mother.  This shows how I’ve failed,”.  Don’t see yourself as the cause of all the negative or all the positive. What is really your responsibility? What part is not your responsibility? What is it that you are really feeling or wanting?

Those who are addicted to their misery are so deep in this type of thinking pattern that it can be very uncomfortable and hard to change this cycle and to find happiness in everyday living. We often become so comfortable with our life’s perspective that we can easily choose something that is not for our benefit.

Take these 3 steps listed above; becoming aware; Realizing there is no such thing as perfection; A gratitude journal; and work them faithfully day after day. There cannot be any growth or change without this work to change the thinking and the heart. We can find greater happiness, greater connections and greater progress in life just by following these simple steps.

People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown they prefer the suffering that is familiar. (Thich Nhat Hanh)

Kristena Eden

Download the Free Worksheet!👇🏼


Happiness LDS Life Skills

Teaching our Children to be Self-Reliant Learners


Here are three basic principles we can use to help our children to love, learn, and progress in their path toward self-reliance, when it’s easy and especially in hard times.

Set the example

This principle is one we often hear over again. Being an example is repeated in our learning because every action or word we use either influences our children for good or bad. If we want our children to learn to be self-reliant learners, we need to give them an example of what self-reliant learning looks like. Do your children know that you are studying and improving physically, spiritual, emotionally, and mentally? Do they see you ask questions and seek answers?

Part of helping your children become self-reliant learners is to teach them these four questions and principles to consider before making decisions:

1. How am I feeling? Have them ask themselves this question before reacting to a situation.

2. Why am I feeling that way? Sometimes there is a very apparent reason they feel the way they do and other times they may need help to understand their feelings.

3. Know that others see us differently than the way we see ourselves. When confronted with a situation or question, it is good for children to know that they can learn by trying to see their actions from another’s point of view. Then decide if it needs to be changed or not.

4. Know that God knows more about ourselves than anyone. This means they can ask Him for help with anything they are struggling with. Find what they believe is the answer then take it to the Lord for conformation.

See here an article on teaching children.


The greatest way to teach children is to listen to them. It helps you learn about what they are worried about, things they are struggling with, and how you can help them become more self-reliant.

Use these reminders when communicating with anyone, especially your children.

1. Do not prepare a counter argument or advice while others are sharing.

2. Do not interrogate or cause them to be defensive.

3. Do not order or demand.

4. Do not attack or criticize.

5. Do not sidestep a question.

That may sound like a long list of “don’t do’s,” yet that’s because we are more effective when using positive reinforcement, especially in teaching and setting the example. Our children are more willing to listen to us if we use positive tactics.

If a child comes to you with a problem, concern or a question about something, here are some things to keep in mind:

1. When children come to you visibly upset, state what you see. “I see you are upset.”

2. Ask them to share with you why they are upset. This is where you just listen, even if you don’t like what you hear.

3. Repeat in your own words to them what you understand they are saying or feeling.

4. Use empathy phrases such as, “I am sorry all of this happened.”

5. Ask them what you can do to help. Don’t take it over and fix it for them. This is a good time for them to learn to problem solve. If necessary, ask them if they need a few ideas on how to overcome this. It is important to let them ask you for help and tell you exactly what you can do. If they ask you to do it for them, and they really need to learn how themselves  tell them in a kind way that is a good project for them to learn from. “I am sorry and I believe this is a good project for you to learn from”. Is there something else I can do to help?” Children need to be self-reliant too. This is how they learn to problem solve.

6. After they share what they want help with, you may ask them if you can share your ideas or feelings. If they feel understood, they are more willing to be taught. Again, do this kindly and with none of the previous “don’ts.”

This process can be difficult at first and we as parents aren’t perfect.  Yet with continual practice of these tactics you can build a strong connection with your children that will allow them to feel safe coming to you with questions or problems as they continue to learn and grow.

Provide opportunities for independence

The following are a few helpful techniques in teaching self-reliance skills to your children— Starting with toddlers and older children learning a new skill.

1. Do for them while they are watching. For example, find an answer for them while they watch. Or do a chore for them while they watch.

2. Do the action with them. Both child and teacher with hands on.

3. Observe them while they are doing it. Not to find fault but to see if more teaching is needed.

4. Let them do it on their own.

5. Have them teach someone else what they just learned.

Giving children opportunities to learn and develop skills can bring families together and stronger. We want to make it so our children can survive and thrive without us.

Kristena Eden

Kristena Eden has also published several books, including Book of Mormon 1-2-3s, and Prophet Joseph’s 1-2-3sFind them all at deseretbook.comShe believes that when we read to our children, we instill trust, direction, and a deep personal connection that surpasses childhood. Read together and then read some more.

Kristena is a personal coach. You can sign up for a free 20 minute consultation on her website or by emailing her at

Read more from her at or find her on facebook 

LDS Life Skills

2 Ways to Help You Become a Self-Reliant Learner in Time for the New Curriculum

Recently, the Church announced a new approach to worship, with an emphasis on making gospel learning more self-reliant and family-focused. As with any change, we can become overwhelmed at first. So to help make this change just a little easier, here are a few techniques on how to be a self-reliant learner.

Why Do We Need to Be Self-Reliant Learners?

The emphasis on being self-reliant makes sense because, though by grace we are saved, our deeds determine which heaven we return to. In the past, it was easy to just go to church and listen to the lessons to gain knowledge and commit to principles. Now, we are more responsible than ever to instigate those lessons in our homes by ourselves. How can we learn to do this?

There are two ways to be a self-learner: (1) to be self-aware and (2) to have empathy. Self-awareness is the ability to see personal strengths and weaknesses in ourselves and understand the impact these have upon our lives and others. To become self-learners, we must consider how our actions and comments affect others. How do they affect our own life?

Be Self-Aware

According to Josh Misner, PhD, we have four types of selves:

1. The Known Self, things we know about ourselves and others know about us.

2. The Hidden Self, things we know about ourselves that others do not know.

3. The Blind Self, things others know about us that we do not know

4. The Unknown Self- things neither we nor others know about us.

Any one of these selves can be used for good or harm in our personal situations and our relationships.

How well do you know yourself? Ask a close friend, spouse or family member to share one thing that annoys them about you. Nothing is off limits. This is a time for you to become the best “you” possible. Do not try to defend yourself, let this be a profound learning moment and just listen. What did you learn about yourself?

The more you know about yourself, the more you are open to learning and to understanding how others learn.

Have Empathy

Empathy opens our minds and hearts to view things in a humble and charitable light. We are willing to learn from our mistakes and the mistakes of others. The scriptures are full of people learning—some from mistakes and some not—but with empathy, we can learn to be more Christlike as we study the scriptures. I love the following story, which illustrated the principle of empathy.

A farmer had some puppies he needed to sell. He painted a sign advertising the four pups and set about nailing it to a post on the edge of his yard. As he was driving that last nail into the posters, he felt a tug on his overalls. He looked down into the eyes of a little boy. 

“Mister,” he said, “I want to buy one of your puppies.”

“Well,” said the farmer as he rubbed the sweat off the back of his neck, “These puppies come from the finest parents and cost a good deal of money.” The boy dropped his head for a moment. Then, he reached deep into his pocket, pulled out a handful of change, and held it up to the farmer. “I’ve got 39 cents. Is that enough to take a look?”

“Sure,” said the farmer. And with that, he let out a whistle. “Here, Dolly!” he called.

Out from the doghouse and down the ramp ran Dolly, followed by four more little balls of fur. The little boy pressed his face against the chain-linked fence. His eyes danced with delight. As the dogs made their way to the fence, the little boy noticed something else stirring inside the doghouse. Slowly, another little ball appeared, though this one was noticeably smaller. Down the ramp it slid. Then in a somewhat awkward manner, the little pup began hobbling toward the others, doing its best to catch up.

“I want that one,” the little boy said, pointing to the runt. 

The farmer knelt down at the boy’s side and said, “Son, you don’t want that puppy. He will never be able to run and play with you like these other dogs would.”

Without a word, the little boy stepped back from the fence, reached down, and began rolling up one leg of his trousers. In doing so, he revealed a steel brace running down both sides of his leg and attaching itself to a specially made shoe. Looking back up at the farmer, he said, “You see, sir, I don’t run too well myself, and he will need someone who understands.”

With tears in his eyes, the farmer reached down and handed the little pup to the boy.

Like the little boy in the story who could imagine what the littlest puppy was feeling, as we study the scriptures and practice thinking about situations from the perspective of others, we can begin to understand them better and be better learners, teachers, friends, and ministering brothers and sisters.

Click here for another article on learning about who you really are.

Learning Is More Than Absorbing Facts

We often think that when we graduate from school, we are done learning. In reality, that is when the real learning begins.

The 13th Article of Faith states:

“We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there us anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.”

It is important for us to learn how to “seek after these things.”

In order to practice finding the uplifting things mentioned in the article of faith, when studying, try these suggestions. You will be amazed how easy it is to learn and be spiritually guided in your studies.

1. Mark the scriptures or other gospel materials. Mark all principles you find in red and mark all struggles, evil, or sins in blue.

2. Take breaks often during study time and ask the following questions: Why did what I read about happen? What was the outcome? How does this apply to me? Have I contributed to a similar problem or solution? From my learning, what is the most important service I can do today?

This study approach is detailed and requires you to work slowly, but in time, you will realize you retain a lot more and make many more connections found in the scriptures than you previously realized. As it becomes a habit, it also becomes more enjoyable and satisfactory. These techniques are a good lifetime practice, because when you stop learning, you stop progressing.

All of these practices and principles, from self-awareness and empathy to regular study habits, will be a great way to start off your new year as a more self-reliant learner.

Kristena Eden has also published several books, including Book of Mormon 1-2-3s, and Prophet Joseph’s 1-2-3sFind them all at deseretbook.comShe believes that when we read to our children, we instill trust, direction, and a deep personal connection that surpasses childhood. Read together and then read some more.

Kristena is a personal coach. You can sign up for a free 20 minute consultation on her website or by emailing her at

Read more from her at 

Anger LDS Life Skills

9 Ways to Control Your Anger Instead of Letting It Control You

The Natural Man Choice

When our fears are triggered, our natural instinct is to react, giving our self-control over to our anger. But do we really want to live at the mercy of our own anger? To change our natural instincts, we first need to understand our own fears. Do we fear failure, or do we fear loss, such as the loss of the life we were hoping to build, losing a child, losing respect, or losing something very meaningful in our lives? Most often when we are angry, we fear either failure or loss.

Anger can be very corrosive mentally and physically. It releases a flood of cortisol and adrenaline, causing our muscles to tense and our heart rate to increase. High levels of cortisol and adrenaline can destroy the judgment area of neurons in the brain and our short-term memory. Anger can also weaken our immune system.

So why do we allow this emotion to be part of our life? In reality, we should not make room for any destructive anger, but that is a tall order. So, let’s start small and progress from there. Here are some steps to help you turn anger into love:

1. The first step toward turning anger to love is to ask yourself in the moment if you’re angry, sad, feeling rejected, or some other emotion.  Pause and identify what you are actually feeling. Just because you paused it will start to bring that anger under control.

2. Once the actual emotion is identified, search for what triggered your reaction. Was it a tone of voice? Poor timing? A situation that made you feel attacked? Or was it the person? If you know what kind of situations tend to bring your anger to the surface, you can be better prepared to manage that emotion.

3. Think about what actually happened and what you can learn from it. Often we become angry and defensive because we are afraid that we are the problem or we feel out of control or hopeless. It is easier to blame than make the effort or even to recognize that we do have some power to change. None of us intend to be irritating or hurtful and, yes, we all make mistakes. Yet acting in anger can be a permanent mistake if we don’t learn from it and improve our understanding and habits.

4. Assess how to change triggers that anger you. There is no reason you should let a situation or circumstance have power over you. Many times, we just need to make ourselves aware of what is going on inside of us so that we can find ways to let our anger go and replace it with understanding, patience, or love.

5. Don’t blame others for your feelings. Naturally, it is easier for us to believe that we didn’t start the fight and to blame others for our pain, however, in truth, we always have the power to choose our reaction. We can also choose how we are going to feel about the situation.  Remember that your feelings are a choice also.

6. Have compassion for yourself and for others. All of us have hard days and frustrating moments or we are struggling to make our lives happy and feel more connected. We all are of great value to this world and the people around us. Including the person pushing our anger triggers. Just understanding that concept can help us calm our angry emotions.

7. Remember that anger can often be lessened if we are communicating effectively. Here are a few tips for improving your communication, even if you are struggling with anger.

– If dealing with someone who is angry, state that you see they are struggling.

– If you are angry, tell the person you’re talking to that you are struggling.

– Invite the person who is angry to share their feelings or thoughts if they are able or willing.

– Ask the person who is angry what you can do to help.  Showing concern to others who are angry will help them calm their fight or flight response.

-Ask if you can share your ideas, but do not give unsolicited advice. Think about how much angrier it makes you when you receive unwanted advice.

– Consider setting up a later time to finish your conversation if one or both of you are too angry to talk together calmly.

8. Don’t forget that anger brings a lot of energy with it. Use that energy to do something good, such as a hobby, house cleaning, exercising, or fixing something that is broken. When you are physically busy, your mind has time to find solutions and answers.

9. View your experiences as a lesson. Pick one trigger situation at a time and change your view or habit around that trigger.

Why do we have to suffer the overpowering emotion of anger? One answer might be that anger highlights our weakness, allowing us to become strong. It is the emotion that can teach us the most about living a life we have been living to a life with more power to be the person we want to be and have that life we want, because when we learn to use anger to grow and love stronger, then we can master most other things in our life. The hardest situations in life can be the ones we learn the most from if we let ourselves learn from it.

If you or someone you know has a hard time with anger issues, please seek help

Take the Free assessment to find what your triggers are. Click here

Kristena Eden

You can reach Kristena, who is a personal coach,  by email at 

LDS Life Skills Perfection

10 Ways to Make your Life the Best It Can Be

10 Ways to Make Your Life the Best It Can Be

The world around us is full of opportunities. The hard part is choosing the right opportunities for us. How many times do you have to choose between two good things? Will trying them all make you truly happy or which opportunities will get you where you truly should be? On the other hand, we sometimes fear the opportunities and the possibility of failure, which will stop our progress. So how do we balance our thoughts and our desire, so that we can make better choices that can lead us to our true purpose?

Here are 10 steps to help achieve your potential:

  1. Make a Goal Book

Make long-term goals and write them down

  1. Write your own eulogy and ask yourself how have I contributed to the human race? What do I want said about me at this time?
  2. Write down the daily steps needed to accomplish the goal.
  3. Add this free download to your goal book and use it as a checklist.

First, think about your life and set your priorities. Find some quiet time regularly to think deeply about where you are going and what you will need to do to get there…Write down the tasks you would like to accomplish each day. Keep foremost in mind the sacred covenants you have made with the Lord as you write down your daily schedules.

  1. View Every Struggle as a New Lease on Life

Sometimes we make wrong choices, but we don’t have to let them define us. I love this quote from Oprah:

There are no mistakes . . . because you have a supreme destiny. . . . When . . . you are not centered [in love and] you really don’t know who you are, that you come from something greater and bigger and that we really are all the same. When you don’t know that, you get . . . flustered [and] you get stressed . . . wanting something to be what it isn’t. [We all have our] supreme . . . destiny . . . Your job is to [fulfill that destiny].

Yet, it all may lead to our full purpose; only you and God can decide that. When we understand all things can lead to our purpose then stumbling blocks, such as a bad day, poor grade, or angry family member, can be another step forward.

It is really about upping your game, not necessarily changing all of that.

What advice would you give yourself 5 or even 10 years ago? How does that determine your future self? When all we have is the present, all we can do is set in motion the steps to accomplish our purpose. And then we realize the largest obstacle in our way is our disappointment in our progress. To that, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland counseled:

My brothers and sisters, except for Jesus, there have been no flawless performances on this earthly journey we are pursuing, so while in mortality let’s strive for steady improvement without obsessing over what behavioral scientists call ‘toxic perfectionism’…every one of us aspires to a more Christlike life than we often succeed in living. If we admit that honestly and are trying to improve, we are not hypocrites; we are human.

Christ shows us how to deal with setbacks:

John 8:1-11

  1. Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.
  2. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
  3. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
  4. They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
  5. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
  6. This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
  7. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
  8. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
  9. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
  10. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
  11. She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
  12. Be Your True Self—Don’t Believe in Perfection, Only in Progress

Define your principles and live them, no matter what. Write your principles in your goal book. This one sounds simple, yet when you have worked all day on little or no sleep, someone chewed you out unjustly, it’s 10 p.m. and you have a lot more work to do before tomorrow, it can be a hard thing to choose to live your principles still. Choosing to live your principles under stress is one of the hardest goals to accomplish, but the most rewarding. It is like a muscle that, once exercised, becomes stronger and with enough exercise you become unstoppable. President Russell M. Nelson said, “let us do the best we can and try to improve each day. When our imperfections appear, we can keep trying to correct them. We can be more forgiving of flaws in ourselves and among those we love. We can be comforted and forbearing.” While we may not be everything we want to be now, the Lord has encouraged us to “continue in patience until [we] are perfected” (D&C 67:13). It is one step at a time.

  1. Don’t Wait

Don’t wait until the perfect time to do what you have dreamed about doing. Make your dreams part of your goals and start now. My grandmother saved for years to purchase just the right linens and dishes for special company but would not use them for every-day use. One summer a fire ripped through her town and she lost them all. We may never lose our dreams in a fire but we can easily lose our dreams through neglect or waiting until the time is right. While talking about faith, Elder Dieter F. Utchdorf shared a principle just as applicable here, “Let us not wait too long on our road to Damascus. Instead, let us courageously move forward in faith, hope, and charity, and we will be blessed with the light we are all seeking.”

  1. Do What You Love, Improve Your Talents 

Due to the required parts of life, i.e. bills, chores, laundry, we get too involved in the busy stuff in our lives and we forget the real reason why we live. The best way to separate them is to clarify our purpose. President Dallin H. Oaks gave us some guidance on how to do this. He said, “consider how we use our time in the choices we make…not everything…is worth the portion of our life we give to obtain it. Some things are better, and others are best.” If money and time were not an issue, what would you choose to do? Research the possibilities, discuss them with your Father in Heaven, and add your new goal to your goal book. Spend at least 15 minutes a day on learning about and moving toward your goals.

  1. Be Compassionate, Empathetic, and Service-Oriented 

Lifting another person also lifts you. Give everyone a blessing, whether it is out loud or in your heart. You would be amazed how your life internalizes the good feelings when you give a blessing to every person you pass during the day. Service is the best remedy for most of what ails this world; even if they don’t deserve it, you deserve the rewards from it. Serve others. After all, that’s what we covenanted to do when we were baptized. We should be “willing to bear one another’s burdens…mourn with those that mourn…and comfort those that stand in need of comfort” (Mosiah 18:8-9) as well, we are commanded to “Love [our] enemies, do good to them which hate you” (Luke 6:27) and “love one another, as [Christ loves us]” (John 13:34). Read more about living in an antisocial society.

  1. Let Go of the Past, Live in the Present

We can’t change the past and the future is always just out of reach. We can only influence the present. This may be why President Thomas S. Monson encouraged  us to “Learn from the past. Prepare for the future. Live in the present.” What do you want the present to be? Read more about finding the path to health and peace.

  1. Spend Time with Loved Ones 

You become like the people that you engage with. What kind of life do you want and what kind of person do you want to be? Add that to your goal book.

  1. Leave Everything Better Than You Found It.

“Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow.” – Doug Firebaugh

the way you treat a person today will determine how you will treat them tomorrow. If you are rude and condescending today it will be easier to do the same tomorrow. If you choose to be compassionate today it will be easier to be compassionate tomorrow.

  1. Practice Gratitude and Express It. 

“And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?” (Alma 5:26). President Thomas S. Monson said, “Do we remember to give thanks for the blessings we receive? Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God’s love.”

Let us not forget the joys and happiness around us and take the next right step. If you feel you could use some help to be your best self, please reach out.

Kristena Eden

Kristena Eden has also published several books, including Book of Mormon 1-2-3s, and Prophet Joseph’s 1-2-3sFind them all at deseretbook.comShe believes that when we read to our children, we instill trust, direction, and a deep personal connection that surpasses childhood. Read together and then read some more.

You can reach Kristena, who is a personal coach, at email at


LDS Marriage

Building a Celestial Marriage at Any Stage


Love is one of the most profound emotions known to human beings. Most of us marry feeling that nothing could possibly separate us, believing that a celestial marriage will be perfect and easy—a happily ever after. Yet life is not that way and we face the harsh reality of conflict where our perfect happiness can be shattered. What will save our happily ever after is to realize is that life and marriage evolve in stages. Our marriage probably won’t ever be like it was at the beginning nor should it, because it could be something even better. Our purpose in marriage is to help each other meet the Savior, and our spouse can be our greatest purifying fire, our greatest teacher, and our greatest gift—if we will allow them to be.

In the book The Lifecycle Stages of a Marriage by Barbara Markey, ND, Ph.D., she explains that relationships proceed in three basic stages: the newlywed stage, the cooperative stage, and the endearing stage. Each of these stages gives us opportunities to become like Jesus Christ. Here are a few ideas for how you can build a celestial marriage with your spouse and the Savior no matter where you are at in your marriage.

The Newlywed Stage

We can also call this the “Hollywood Stage.” And like Hollywood, what we think we see is not real. We have amazing passion and believe it is real, but we are more likely living on a high, feeding this belief through excessive generosity to our loved one. We build trust, respect and emotional intimacy at this stage, which is needed and important. But this type of cycle is like running a sprint: we do great at first, but eventually run out of steam and revert back to our previous habits and self. Often during this shift, we may feel discouraged, like our marriage is broken, like our spouse is no longer the person we married.

Tips: We need to focus on what matters most, and what will create the strongest foundation for future stages of marriage.

1. Set gospel foundations early on in your marriage. Develop habits of attending church and temple, reading the scriptures together, and holding some form of FHE. These habits will keep you turned toward the Lord and remind you of the celestial covenants you have made together, even if the passion of being newly married tapers off. It will also help you continue to build trust, respect, and emotional intimacy needed in the next stage of marriage as you discuss things of the spirit.

2. Pray for patience and understanding. When frustrations or irritations start to encroach on your newlywed bliss, remember to involve Heavenly Father in your reasoning and disagreements. Chances are, things that make sense and are familiar to you may not be the same for your spouse, and you will need the Spirit to have patience as you talk things out and learn to understand the way your spouse thinks and consider different opinions.

3. Keep a journal of positive things about your spouse. Whether you write them down in notes and give them to your spouse or go back and review them, remembering some of the things that you loved about your spouse before and right after you got married will help you stay focused on the positive. And remember, it’s not up to them to do all the changing. You’ve probably reverted to some old bad habits as well. Find a strategy to help each other recognize and work on these habits together—like the team you want to become.

The Cooperative Stage

Often called the problem-solving stage, we focus on our jobs, raising kids, or paying the bills. The passion tends to turn to business and we discover our partner is really human. We learn acceptance, empathy, and openness during the disappointments and conflicts and begin to overcome some of the shock from the shift that happens during the newlywed stage. The great potential of this stage is we can create the foundation for being truly known, understood and supported for the rest of our lives as long as we keep trying. Just remember a Thomas Edison statement, “The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are: first, hard work; second, stick–to-itiveness; and third, common sense.”

Tips: We need to stay focused on what is the most important. In our busy lives, we can be easily distracted, but if we remember to try the following, building on the tips from the previous stage, we will have greater success:

1. Make shared goals. These could be home improvement projects, hobbies, travel plans, temple attendance, etc.

2. Laugh together. Avoid laughing at your partner or expecting a certain kind of humor. Laughing together is a sign that you are in it for the long haul and are willing to have fun together.

3. Keep expectations real. Do not expect a partner to fulfill all of your needs. They may be able to fulfill many of them, but talk about it together. If you need to join an exercise group or make a few new friends in the ward because of limitations your spouse has, that’s okay. Do your best to fulfill their needs as well, but don’t be hurt if they still need some outside support from family or friends. Make sure you involve the Lord in your efforts to help each other succeed and be happy—He knows the needs of you and your spouse better than anyone.

4. Remember that intimacy is more than sex. You also need emotional intimacy, which requires communication and vulnerability. While finding time to have heart-to-heart talks can be difficult during this stage, it’s good to share who we really are and learn who our spouse really is. The more you talk together, the more you learn, and the deeper the relationship grows. Talk while you are both getting ready for bed, while you are on a lunch break, or on a scheduled date night, and practice discussing topics that go beyond the everyday tasks you already have to coordinate.

5. Do something new. Keep growing, learning, and sharing together. You may find a new part of life you love and didn’t know you could as you attend community and cultural events, creating new memories together in new places, or attending a class together.

6. Work it and work it some more. Listening and working will continually create that heaven-on-earth feeling as you involve Heavenly Father in your decisions and efforts to truly understand and help each other succeed. Remember that marriage isn’t a competition. It’s a team effort.

“Love is taking a few steps backward, maybe even more…to give way to the happiness of the person you love.” —Winnie-the-Pooh

For more on increasing happiness go here.

The Endearing Stage

This is the most stable stage, bringing the most satisfaction. This is where we begin to truly know and love the other person. This stage makes it easy to see that you started with infatuation and what you have now is true, lasting love—a marriage of admiration, respect, appreciation, and honor of the intrinsic worth of this amazing person you married. You see his/her character, virtues, talents, quirks, faults, weaknesses and strengths and you still love him/her. At this point, you see all the parts of your partner and have found ways to communicate and solve problems. Your marriage is no longer a fantasy of happily ever after but a realized and attained happily ever after.

That doesn’t mean everything goes perfectly from here on out, however. Here are a few additional suggestions to help keep your marriage celestial at any stage.

1. Get professional help if you are feeling overwhelmed in the troubling times of marriage. A little help from an expert can return the focus on what matters most.

2. Make regular, scheduled traditions. For example:

a. Daily reminders of your love such, as goodbye hugs or lunch break texts of affection.

b.Weekly simple dates.

c. Monthly bigger dates, such as an overnight adventure.

d. Yearly honeymoon.

3. Listen, listen, and listen some more. Listening is the most powerful way to show a person you value them.

4. Make sure your spouse feels appreciated, admired, respected, and wanted every day. Learn their love language and speak it. Pray out loud for them. Ask them what makes them feel loved and make an extra effort to do those things.

We are given many opportunities to become like Jesus Christ. Our spouse can be our greatest purifying fire, our greatest teacher, and our greatest gift if we will allow them. Our purpose in marriage is to help each other meet the Savior.

Kristena Eden

Kristena Eden has also published several books, including Book of Mormon 1-2-3s, and Prophet Joseph’s 1-2-3sFind them all at deseretbook.comShe believes that when we read to our children, we instill trust, direction, and a deep personal connection that surpasses childhood. Read together and then read some more.

You can reach Kristena, who is a personal coach,  by email at

Read more from her at 

LDS Life Skills Meditation, Spirituality

The Real Reason We’re Here on Earth


When discussing the purpose of life, we often hear the mantra “we are here to be tested,” but how many of us cringe at that thought? So few of us want to feel like a kid again sitting in a classroom taking a test on things we don’t remember, we don’t understand, and we can’t leave until we finish. Comparing life to a test can be a downer and not the inspirational mantra that it should be. But if we look at life as a lesson we learn from over and over again as more things become clear, we can gain the inspiration we need to improve. We didn’t learn algebra before we learned addition. Life can be viewed as a continual learning process, not the end test. It’s more about what we are learning and becoming than about having all the right answers.

The scriptures give us some insight into this view of why we are really here on the earth:

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37–40; see also Galatians 5:14).

We are here on this earth to learn to love God, to love others, and to love ourselves. Love is the driving force behind the gospel and our lives. The scriptures are filled with examples of love that we should emulate.  God is love, and because we are His children, we have also inherited that divine attribute. Yet there are times in our lives when we don’t fully understand the meaning of this principle, and at times we forget or choose not to live that principle. Here are a few things we can do to return to the view God wants us to choose.

Love Yourself

Our lives are centered around us either trying to give love or to get love. Think about that for a minute. Why do we choose to do some of the things we do? Is it because we want love? Or because we love someone?

First, we need to love ourselves, or we will often find we don’t have room to love others. One of the largest stumbling blocks into loving ourselves is our belief in our imperfection.

We are familiar with the scripture verses that teach us to “be ye therefore perfect even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48; see also 3 Nephi 12:48). But is our Heavenly Father’s definition of perfection the same as we are imagining it to be? How do you define perfection? How does He define it?

As you search the scriptures, one truth you will find is that we are to learn “line upon line, precept upon precept” (D&C 98:12; see also Isaiah 28:10). We were not born knowing all that we needed to know. We are not meant to have the end results at this exact moment—we just need to know enough to take the next right step.

One exercise I recommend is to write down what may be preventing you from loving yourself, or what makes you feel you’re just not good enough, fast enough, pretty enough, or smart enough. Then write a statement that corrects that negative thinking. So if you feel that you are not good enough, say, “I am good enough for where I am on my journey right now. I am a child of God filled with His love and His mercy.” The key here is to rewire your subconscious thoughts. After you have written your positive statement in a way that is personal to you, say it aloud at least five times a day. Read it and reread it.

Now that your negative thoughts about your insecurities are out of the way, list a few lessons you have learned from your life experiences or from your struggles. As you reflect on these experiences, look for patterns in the way you learned and overcame difficulties. Can you see your next right step? Take the time to brainstorm ideas and write them down.

Your value does not change according to your circumstance. No matter what choices you make, you are still of infinite value. Your value does not depend on possessions and successes. You are a child of God, like all of us on this earth. Even if we all have different classes in our school of life, we are all still worth the same value. What we have to give back to this world is part of our lessons learned, not our personal value.

To read more about your personal worth, click here.

Love Your Neighbor

In his book Thinking and Acting with a Compassionate Heart, Bishop Illens Dorts wrote, “We serve those we love. We come to love those we serve.”

We may feel romantic love, love for our family members, and even love for some of our community members, yet what does it really mean to love our neighbor? How deeply do we love those who are different than we are?

Are we guilty of these responses?

– I wish she would be a better parent; those kids are just a pain.

– Why can’t that woman wear modest clothes? Does she have any idea that she looks terrible?

– I am not going to be a friend to them. They will just want too much from me.

– No way will I invite them to family home evening; they’re just weird.

– I don’t have time to say hi—they will never leave me alone again.

– I am too busy to bother with those older people. They have family someplace; someone else will need to take care of them. I have way more important things to do.

It does take character to be aware of how we choose to live and how we define what love is. Character means that we have the moral strength to live what we believe at all times, even when others are different or when others annoy us or cause us harm. If we believe in love, we need to react with love during difficult situations even if others mean us harm.

To read more about learning to love others, click here.

Love God

As natural men and women, we tend to doubt what is not really tangible and have difficulties having complete faith in what God counsels. Part of perfection as defined by the scriptures is to have the pure love of Christ. The fruit that Lehi partook of in his vision that gave him exceeding great joy and was the most desirable of all others things was the love of God. So how do we attain that love? As Lehi’s dream states, we must search for it, hold on to it, and not allow life’s complications to take us away from it.

God’s love is offered to everyone on this earth. We must put Him before fads or friends’ opinions and any other more easily tangible thing in life. The Lord said, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37). Daily we choose our thoughts and actions. Are we choosing with faith the love of God?

If we could feel His love even for a few more minutes, we would have greater strength to avoid temptation. The more we serve Him and His children, the more we come closer to feeling that love in our daily lives. We can find His love through prayer, scripture study, studying good books, attending church, seminary, conferences, and learning from righteous leaders.

The first and greatest commandment in this life is to love God, love his children and love ourselves—that is the real reason we are here on the earth. We need to learn to love.

Prophet Joseph's 1-2-3s

Check out Book of Mormon 1-2-3s and Prophet Joseph’s 1-2-3s by Kristina Eden, available at Deseret Book and

Kristena Eden is an author and personal coach who believes that when we read to our children, we instill trust, direction, and a deep personal connection that carries beyond childhood. To read more from Kristena, visit her website at  You can also reach Kristena at

Anxiety Disappointment Friendship LDS

4 Ways LDS Singles can Thrive in a Family Ward

4 Ways LDS Singles can Thrive in a Family Ward

I often hear that single people want to be married and married people want to be single. Life seems so much easier on the other side of the fence. We often only see the other sides’ finished product or the public appearance, not what really goes on behind the scenes.

Singles are often isolated in a church of families. Feelings of isolation and rejection can be distressing, and potentially even deadly. And when you are a single person living in a ward of families and couples, you may deal with that nagging feeling of not belonging, even as you are participating in a group that preaches love and acceptance. You may feel you have nothing to contribute because you have nothing in common, or even feel rejected because of your situation. I’ve even had people tell me that they feel that they have been overlooked for callings because they are single. These feelings of loneliness originate from our perceptions but are you truly rejected?

There is no perfect solution to fix these feelings of isolation other than to remember one simple truth: no matter what our situation is, happiness comes from within, not from someone else. Dependence on others for happiness generates an unhealthy relationship for both persons, effectively stunting spiritual growth.

Here are four strategies to help you find personal happiness being single in a married environment.

1. Recognize and Adapt Expectations
Your expectations more than anything else in life, determine your happiness. Expectations not only impact you, they impact how you treat yourself and others. Even though many people have been told—and probably believe—that life isn’t fair, we still find ourselves devastated when life doesn’t end up the way we planned. None of us have every part of our life turn out exactly as we expected.

A story of two brothers starkly shows the importance of managing our expectations:

The older brother is slow in cognitive abilities, emotionally and physically; so much so that he often leaves a horrendous mess in the restroom. This is a constant issue for the younger brother, who expects poop to be in the toilet not on the walls. Because his expectation that whoever makes the mess should clean it up, he screams and berates his older brother constantly about the mess. The big question in this situation is, whose problem, is it? The answer is the younger brother’s. He is angry and irritated about something that his older brother has no control over. Though the older brother could possibly learn more about how to better care for his bathroom cleanliness, if the younger brother could develop a more realistic expectation, that his older brother will always leave a mess in the bathroom, they could both avoid some heartache.

So how does managing expectations work for singles in a married ward? Find something that fits you and your situation.

– Be the first to be a friend. Look around and see if someone needs help with children or if the elderly need assistance. Who else is sitting alone?

– Let the Bishop know you would like to serve and remember the ward is large; find those you can connect with in similar interests.

– Don’t take things personally, even if they were meant that way. It really is a choice.

– Don’t always complain about your emotional struggles; this chases people away. Listen to others also! Most of us want understanding for our pains and we bond in our struggles and we can still help others to rise above them.

Remember, we all want connection. Be open for healthy connections in your ward family. We all have a different purpose in life and a different road to travel. We should not expect all people to act and think like we do. There is great and beautiful variety in people, let’s celebrate that variety.

To read more about expectations and how to manage them click here.

2. Acknowledge and Address Fears
Our fears can cloud our perception and distort our expectations, especially in relation to our happiness. Neuroscientists tell us 95% of our choices are made subconsciously. Throughout life we have experiences that our minds must interpret and understand. We often interpret those experiences very differently than was intended whether we are children or adults; we see the world from one perspective.

For example, a 2-year-old used a red marker to scribble all over his mother’s couch and when she saw it she, of course, reacted. She may have yelled at him, or tore the marker away from him or spanked his hand. How does a small child interpret this incident? He could think his mother is afraid of markers, or he is a bad boy, or that markers are bad or scary. These interpretations are stored in his mind as scripts. And possibly, when at elementary school, his classmates start having a marker fight for fun, throwing markers around the room, and he screams and hides under a desk. This may sound bizarre to us, yet to him it is real. We all have those teaching moments in our lives where we learned response or behavior according to our perception, but is that really what we should perceive? Could we view our experiences from another perspective?

One fear some singles have is that they won’t be able to connect with those who are married, and so in response, they avoid talking to married people, or may think that married people are avoiding talking to them. Sometimes those who are married may actually be the ones who fear talking with you because they don’t want to hurt your feelings or may not know how to act around you; they may have forgotten what it is like to be single and can’t fathom a way to connect. But perhaps using interests outside of children could be a starting point, such as exercise, trying new foods, hairstyles, a love of reading blogs, etc. Visiting Teaching is a great time to get to know these things about the single and married people in your teaching route. We can find common ground for both single and married persons at church to bridge the gap and overcome a fear.

How many of us are apprehensive when we try something new? How many of us have changed our subconscious script and take on new challenges? It is possible to change our natural subconscious reactions. It is possible to change fear into love. We need to choose to reach out to others.

If you would like to read more about life and its paradox click here.

3. Keep Moving
When we give in to our unrealistic expectations and keep our incorrect perceptions, we are stuck in a path of life that is preventing us from becoming our best selves and can greatly diminish our ability to remain happy. Accepting what has happened or not happened to you is a large part of being healthy, happy and whole. You need to be healthy emotionally, spiritually and in your career. You can move forward not upset over what didn’t happen. Or you can choose misery and be the victim of the world or you can take a breath and move forward. Yes, this process hurts and it is hard, yet the harder you work the quicker you will find progress.

Instead of viewing yourself as the victim look at life as a school. You have opportunities to learn and you have opportunities to make mistakes or learn from others’ mistakes, or experience things that others cannot. Life is not like a test that you take and you’re done and if you fail you are out. You are living in this classroom and it gives you a lot of opportunities to keep moving forward. Try working in the temple, gaining a new skill, or putting more effort into magnifying your calling. There are many ways to move forward.

Life has a past, present, and future. How much misery do you want to suffer over an unmet expectation? It really is a choice. Learn from the past, make changes in the present, and accept the future as it comes. Many good people and tremendous global contributors (Mother Teresa for example) have been single yet engaged. Don’t wait for something to happen and lose good opportunities. It is important to accept yourself and your situation.

Take an inventory of your life. What is the next right step spiritually, emotionally, physically, and career-wise? One step at a time.

If you would like to read more changing your perspective click here.

4. Learn to Accept and Interpret Emotion (EQ)
The strongest and surest way to control your happiness and possible frustration of being single is to manage emotions. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. All of us have what scientists call intelligences. Some have kinesthetic intelligence—they make a lot of money throwing a ball into a hoop. Others have spatial intelligence—they can walk into a room and have it organized in their mind within a few minutes. Many have musical intelligence—we are enthralled to listen to their gifts. There are also less tangible forms of intelligence or “giftedness.” We all know those people who seem to make friends with everyone. They are endowed with emotional intelligence, and they use it. Others of us, however, need to learn and practice it.

If we struggle to see the emotion or understand emotions (ours or other’s), we tend to be excluded in many areas of life. The ability to be more emotionally intelligent is learnable and has three main steps:

– First, be aware of how you treat others. Also how they react when you are around.

– Second, be aware of how others treat you.

– Third, take what you have learned and either change your behavior or learn to understand other’s behavior.

Christ was a great example of emotional intelligence. He loved all of us and wanted us to reach our potential. He had unconditional love and also taught us how to love ourselves as well as our neighbor.

When we are feeling the most alone is when we need to have the greatest faith, and single members of the Church frequently face this decision. Choose faith now and believe things will work out in time; especially choose to react in happiness to your situation. You can’t control what happens to you but you can control how you react to it.

The downloads and other blogs to enhance the meaning is listed below.

To read more about expectations and how to manage them click here:

Your Happiness Does not Depend on Who You Married

If you would like to read more about life and its paradox click here:

If you would like to read more changing your perspective click here:

The Anti-Feeling Good Life!


Fear Hope LDS Marriage

You are enough: How we can improve our relationship with God by Trusting Him and Ourselves

Makes You Think published on LDS Living –

A recently married couple shared everything they had, even their passwords to their emails. While this was initially a sign of trust, over time they gave into the fear most couples have and began asking themselves “Is my spouse faithful?” Instead of trusting their partner, they began checking each other’s emails and phones when the other was not looking for indications of unfaithfulness. Yes, there are times, when prompted to do this. Yet is this done because of lacking trust in self or in the other. And inevitably you find what you are looking for. When you only dwell on one idea, you become that idea. In this case, one partner cheated and the other found out and cheated too, just to get even. Their trust diminished and replaced with fear.

Trust is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe someone can’t be trusted, then there will be none given. Yet if you give more trust, you get more trust. Our natural man sees the negative and we have to work very hard to see the good. We often easily underestimate people’s sincerity or generosity and overestimate their selfishness. In these moments when we are controlled by our fear, our relationships can be harmed. We can become hardened, cynical, unhappy, and untrustworthy. Many of us consider trust risky, yet it is at the core of all relationships and without it there is no real connection. This is especially important in our relationship with God.

So how do we reverse our view of mistrust? In small ways, we teach ourselves to trust. In small steps, we can view things from a healthier perspective and expand our trust in others. Below are three ways to help us change our perspective and extend more trust in all aspects of our lives.

Trust Yourself
At times, we doubt ourselves and fear we aren’t good enough to the point where we try to prevent punishment, rejection, or shame, we try to hide what we have done. Then we live our life in fear, feeling we need to be in control of every situation. One way to combat this is to replace bad memories with good moments. Here are a few guidelines to help you increase your trust.

1. Identify your feelings and link them to a reason, i.e. I am angry because I fear loss.

2. Define your principles and live them. Are these feelings in alliance to your principles? If not, what needs to change?

3. Remind yourself that one wrong choice doesn’t mean you always make the wrong choices.

4. Believe that you can learn and grow from any choice you make by examining the advantages and disadvantages of the situation from everyone’s perspective.

With the understanding gained in this exercise, you can map out a way to act and view the next situation more in line with our principles, regardless of your fear. This is how you change. With recurring change and intentional focus on these steps, you begin to trust your own judgment, fear less, gain confidence, and see the truth of the situation. Trusting yourself is like building a muscle. You cannot get in shape in just one trip to the gym. It is a process. Every time you practice, your self-trust is strengthened. Try it and see for yourself.

Click here to read more about healing trust issues.

Make Trust Work for You
We can so easily get wrapped up in all the things that go wrong that we often no longer see the good. As a child, we trust everyone. Then, as life goes on, we are hurt and hurt again. We start losing faith that life and people can be good. Take a moment to imagine our life as a school, here to teach us what we need to learn to become our best selves. We learn so much more enduring hardship than when life is good. You can choose to view all experiences as for our growth or we can choose to view them with fear. According to the steps in trusting yourself, which perspective would be choosing trust—growth or fear?

For example, one teenage girl shares that she had a friend, Mary, who often asked to borrow something like jewelry or books. But Mary would not return the items, claiming they were hers. The teenager had also shared her struggles with Mary, and the next day, Mary had spread rumors about this teenager all over school.

What is our reaction? Do we consider Mary an enemy or do we view her as she really is: weak in some areas of her life but strong in others? Perhaps we just need to tell her no when she wants to borrow something and perhaps share our secrets with someone who will keep them secret. None of us are perfect, but we can decipher who to trust and how much. Just like our muscle example in trusting ourselves, we pick exercises that gain insight and confidence in order to make better choices; the same happens with trusting people and we see the limits of trusting others, whether the limits are small or great.

Trust God Not Man
We live in a world of changing values and constant skepticism. Often, we are overwhelmed when we see or hear about something horrific happening. We ask why God would allow this to happen. In the face of human error, we can easily forget that God gave all of us our agency.

God gave us a gift, and He will not take it away from some or only give it to a few who use it well. As difficult as it sometimes is for us to understand, God, at times, uses tragedy to bring a deeper connection to Him and to each other. Yet through this, He does not leave us alone. In the midst of pain and suffering, we need to seek to remember His purpose in pain. If we feel forsaken, we can put our trust in our Lord and He can show us understanding that will heal us.

For our part, we need to find this understanding by analyzing. Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Who is really responsible for the offense? Was the offense intentional or accidental?

2. What is the real problem? For example, an official from the church caused harm but even though there were protections and protocol, he found a way around them. The real problem is not the situation but the weaknesses of the person’s own addictions. He or she, after all, is only a person making a decision, not a church making a decision.

3. Can we stop more harm? A person doesn’t just decide to do cause harm; a lot of conscious destructive thoughts lead to poor decisions. That is why we read scriptures, pray often, and try to be guided by the Spirit, for guidance to choose a better direction.

4. Are people the real villain? We are all influenced by the world around us, which is heavily saturated with Satan’s influence. How many of us are duped by Satan? People are often not the evil in the situation, just weak enough to be influenced poorly, especially if they do not consistently read scriptures, attend church, and associate with people who make good decisions. We are here to experience Satan’s influence but to choose God over that influence. And God gave us steps on how to succeed: The gospel. We are not alone, and we can trust God to show us how to combat evil influences.

“I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance” (1 Nephi 1:20).

The Lord can deliver us from Satan’s influence if we choose humility. We can choose to ask for understanding. We can choose to listen. And we can choose to put our trust in God.

Check out more from Kristena:

Add some scripture power to your counting practice! With gorgeous artwork, interactive text, and stories from the Book of Mormon, this board book is perfect for little learners. Whether you bring it with you to church or read it together at bedtime, you can “count” on hours of fun with your kids as you learn precious scripture truths together! Book of Mormon 1-2-3s is available at Deseret Book stores and on

Image titleFrom ONE true Church to FOUR visits from the Angel Moroni, have fun counting aloud with your children with this picture book. Introduce them to the stories of Joseph Smith and the Restoration as you begin building the foundation for their testimonies! Prophet Joseph’s 1-2-3s is available at Deseret Book stores and on

Kristena Eden

The author has written other books. The Mission Journal is more than just for missionaries; it has inspirational thoughts, lessons on communication, and how to effectively study the scriptures.

Kristena Eden

Depression Friendship Hope LDS Life Skills Marriage Perfection

3 Ways to Find Healing After a Broken Relationships

When we have a broken heart, we often avoid feeling the pain—whether it is a divorce, a breakup, or even a job loss. We fill our lives with busywork to get through the pain, but there’s no easy way out of those overwhelming empty feelings. We need time to grieve and accept the heartache; otherwise, it will heal very slowly or not at all. Experts recommend we go through the emotional pain, not around it. By learning to deal with these emotions, we become stronger people and more capable of handling our trials.

Get out a paper and pen and jot down potential personal goals to work through emotional pain you are facing as you read through the strategies below:

1. Find a New Purpose
“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how.’”

― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

The first step to accepting pain is to understand who we are inside and why we react the way we do. You need to let go of whatever is prolonging the pain (fear, anger, anxiety, discouragement, etc.) and find a new purpose. For example, war veterans, who face years of prolonged pain, have been found to flourish when they find a new purpose to put their energy into, which could include family, purposeful employment, or service of some kind. Think of your broken relationship or situation as a classroom. Ask yourself what could I learn from this? I know of a man who hated his job, and then was eventually laid off, and endured a horrific year before gaining new employment. At first, he questioned his worth, but instead of harboring the pain, he worked through it and realized with the new job he gained improved employment and pay as well as giving him more time with his family. When you are filled with pain it is not easy to see it as an opportunity to learn, but it is the best way through. It may seem impossible to recover from a divorce or a break up, yet the very same principle applies. You decide your viewpoint; you also decide how much pain you will go through, just as this man did. You need to know your purpose or find a new one. We are all children of God and remembering our worth in His eyes can help us find a new purpose, perhaps in a Church calling or family relationship.

Click here for more on a finding new purpose.

2. Exercise
Depression and anxiety are often feelings that accompany emotional pain, and physical exertion gives you immediate short-term relief to these sometimes crippling side effects. Activity increases the level of serotonin and/or norepinephrine and stimulates brain chemicals that foster the growth of nerve cells. On an emotional level, this is one thing you can control and become master of for your body’s and mind’s well being. Getting started is often the hardest part of this step toward healing, so find something you enjoy doing or have always wanted to try such as walking, hiking, tennis, running, swimming, or maybe kickboxing. Find out if there’s someone in the neighborhood or church who participates in one of these activities and would let you join. Just remember to take it slow at first. In these endeavors to keep our bodies and minds healthy, we often make new friends, who can support us when we have relapses of emotional pain or bouts of depression or anxiety over the situation. There is also power to working out in a group. It can provide you with a tribe that soon becomes family. This can also help provide you with a new purpose in life. Make it a fun journey by tracking your progress. It doesn’t need to be about losing weight as much as to get in shape or to just feel better, connect with new positive influences and friends, and give youself a goal to focus on instead of your pain.

Click here to read more about anxiety and depression.

3. Forgive and Move On
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

—Martin Luther King, Jr.

When we have been hurt in relationships, we could also just jump into the next relationship just to fill the void and potentially start the same bad relationship all over again. Or we often build walls to prevent from being hurt again. Yet that also keeps people out who could help us, especially the Lord. In our time of need, we should seek the Lord, rely on Him more, and search for how He would forgive others in this same situation. He is the way to change our perspective and to heal. People need people; we just need to surround ourselves with mentally and emotionally healthy people and have healthy boundaries.

Forgiveness allows the pain inside to be set aside in order to see things from a different perspective, and maybe begin to see why the actions of those who hurt you happened. It doesn’t always mean we have to provide them opportunities to act on those shortcomings, fears, or struggles in a way that will hurt you again, but it can mean that you can, with the Lord’s vision and help, stop carrying their burden as your own and move on. If they are open to it, we can have a conversation with them. Or we can choose to distance ourselves from them.

We often believe they don’t deserve forgiveness, but we must remember that we forgive for our own well being, not theirs. When we don’t forgive, we are bound to that person and the link between you will stay connected through feelings of hurt and resentment. Do you really want to live with that all of your life? Forgiveness will break that bond and you can walk away free with a great weight lightened.

We all struggle with the fear of loss and failure at some level. Dealing with emotional pain, whether it was a good or bad relationship or other heartaches, is immensely difficult. Work to change your view. Learn to see the person who hurt you as no longer the villain, but a teacher who has helped you understand yourself and ask “Am I strong? Am I compassionate? Am I empathetic? Do I know my divine identity?”

Learn to forgive those who never apologize. It will free you.

Click here for more on changing your viewpoint.

Author’s Note: Though these strategies can help, there are times when we need professional help to get through situations in life. Like having a broken leg, if those serious things are not treated or taken care of, they could potentially kill us. If you need outside, professional help, ask for it.

Need some help deciding if you should give a broken relationship another try or walk away? Get the free download below.
Kristena Eden

Kristena Eden
Core Living Essentials on Facebook

Life Skills Podcast

Elephant Rides and Our Kids?


Happiness Life Skills Marriage

How to Heal a Broken Life?


Question – Time and time again I find myself at the end of a bad relationship. Why am I doomed to live a life of hurt, anger and loneliness? What is wrong with me?


Answer – The question of what is wrong with me is probably not the best question. Maybe you should ask: “what is right with me”? “We do not heal the past by dwelling there; we heal the past by living fully in the present.” Marianne Williamson


Most all of us have suffered multiple devastating situations, such as an unexpected divorce, relationship loss, job loss, loss of a child, loss of our home, or even identity theft. When so many things happen all at once, is it even possible to bounce back? Can we even find some kind of explanation or understanding? Nothing stops the healing like denial, or focusing on the injustice that we experienced. There are 5 basic principles that will help us heal and pull away from denial to find a refreshing new life or recapture the life we want without the fear of failure and loss.


  • Focusing on our senses.

When you are so filled with pain, it is even hard to get out of bed or off the couch. Start where you are- in bed. Just notice your senses. Start feeling the softness of your blanket or the comfort of your bed and how it feels to your body.

  • What other comforts can you feel around you?
  • Is it warm, or cool, dry or damp?
  • Pay attention to how the light pours through your windows.
  • What is the weather like outside?
  • Can you see shapes in the clouds?
  • Are there spectacular sights in the weather?

Take a few moments to notice the smells.

  • What are your favorite smells?
  • What smells brings good memories or makes you feel comfortable?
  • Is it the smell of cookies baking, or your favorite flower?
  • Is it the fresh smell of a clean house or laundry?
  • Is it the smell of the damp soil after a rainstorm?

What sounds can you hear?

  • Is it soft music?
  • The cars passing by?
  • The sound of water falling, or rain falling?
  • Do you hear the crash of lighting and thunder?

The purpose of this exercise is to begin feeling the good things in life. It helps you to be present instead of being locked in the pain filled past. You have one of two choices to make – stay where you are or begin the healing process by opening up to other possibilities. It really is your choice. Could it really be that simple to start the healing just by focusing on your senses? Yes, you can find comfort in your senses and see beyond the pain by broadening your awareness of the good things around you- the awareness of life beyond the pain. For every pain, there is pleasure and even a possibility for more pleasure than pain. Doing this small exercise gives us the space needed to heal broken lives.


  • Focus on recovery not on what happened.  

Do you ask yourself any of these questions: Why did they leave me? What did I do to upset them? Can we get back together one day? Why did I make the wrong money decisions? How did I even think I could be a good businessperson? Why do I continually make stupid mistakes? One of the best things to learn is that with or without all of these people or situations, the most important relationship we have is with ourselves.

  • At this moment of being present, you need to ensure your own well-being.
  • Allow time to heal.
  • Remember you are not alone.
  • All humans have lived through these same feelings.
  • That which feels the most personal is the most universal.
  • Don’t get lost in the infinity of things you could or should do.
  • Do you need to go for a walk, take a warm shower, or start a project you have wanted to do for a long time?
  • Just be in the present and focus on what is at hand.


  • Do something completely for yourself. Alone.

Give yourself the time to get reacquainted with who you really are. Reevaluate the cycles in your life.

  • Do you do the same thing over and over?
  • Do you think the same things over and over?
  • Do you congregate with the same kinds of people over and over?
  • Do you go to the same negative environment over and over?
  • Make a note about the things and people and places you really want in your life.
  • Surround yourself with positive people that like you for who you are.
  • Look within to see how to break your repeated cycle.
  • When alone you can find that you enjoy your company and it opens a door for understanding the cycles, people, or situations that are not serving you.

Remember that if you feel broken that is a good sign meaning that at least you have tried something. Life is filled with solutions and ways in which to overcome hardship. If you are willing, you will find what you are looking for.


  • No rebounding.

It is easy to fill the void in your life by finding the first relationship, the first job, or just jumping into the next thing that comes into your life. Instead of filling the void, allow it to be a part of you and then work for what you really want. Your fears can cloud your decisions, and your healing process. But you become a more creative, motivated and happy person when you have time to regroup. Jumping into the next dysfunction makes each step more dysfunctional and continues the cycle. We don’t like to hear the words: be patient. Yet it will make your life stronger and filled with more of what you want.

  • Feel the pain and accept it as a part of life.
  • You will feel empty.
  • Accept it.
  • You might feel empty or lonely for a while.
  • It is a loss that needs to be mourned so you can move on.


  • Get into nature, and commune with your God.
  • Going for a walk will rejuvenate you and your senses.
  • It will bring life back to your lifeless world.
  • Again, let your senses take over your body and mind while you are present in the beauty of the world around you.

This is a very good place to reevaluate your living cycles. This is an exceptional place to open your heart and to hear inspiration from your higher power. You will be amazed at the direction given.


We often think that success and freedom from pain is people’s ability to avoid failure when, in fact, the opposite is the case. Successful, happy people are successful because they do not fear failure; they embrace it; they learn from it. Their tolerance for failure enables them to succeed because they will get up and try again. They feel what life gives them and they try again. Any great invention and any great romance was filled with pain, failure and healing enough to start again. It is so much better to have tried and failed than to have chosen to stay in our misery.

At some point in your healing ask yourself, “What have I learned from this? What have I received because of this?”

Keep in mind that the magic we are looking for is found in what we are trying to avoid.

Kristena Eden 



Disappointment Hope Meditation, Spirituality Perfection

Why We Make Resolutions and Why We Can’t Keep Them – Or Can We?

Question – The same big question I ask myself every year- why we don’t manage to keep our resolutions. I want to change some things this year, not repeat them over and over again. Every year I make these same resolutions but to no avail. Are we really truly in control of ourselves?

Answer – Millions of people feel and live that same experience every year. We want change and we are sincere about it! Right?

If we take a look at how our brains work, we may better understand how our brain sabotages our goals. Does it sound a little unreal that we do sabotage our own goals? We do but only partly because of our subconscious habits and partly because we feel inadequate or incapable.

There are several reasons why we fail year after year at reaching our goals. The largest barrier to our success is our choice of goal. Goals should not include what we like to do, or what we feel can already do. So immediately we are trying to accomplish something we may not like doing. We just want the end result. Sorry, I cannot tell you how to get the end result without the work in-between. I can tell you how to enjoy working on that goal to the point that you are starting to like it. Let’s first start with an understanding of how our brain can cause defeat: mindfulness, dueling goals, affective forecasting, and procrastination.

Mindfulness- is a state where we are paying attention to what is going on in our life at the present moment. When you’re mindful, you pay attention to your feelings and thoughts as if they are just facts not interpreting them as good or bad. Living in the moment and being self-aware rather than dwelling on the past or the future.

How do we get to that point?

  • Focus on the situation that is here and now. (When your mind wanders bring it back to the present)
  • Take a deep breath and visualize your body relaxing.
  • Just listen to others without concentrating on a rebuttal.
  • Accept that all people are different, and that all things change.
  • Let go of what you can’t change.

We live our lives by our automatic subconscious thoughts. Those thoughts are faster yet not as strong as when we stay mindful. We can make changes in those automatic thoughts and have them help us enjoy the moment and work towards our goal by bringing out thoughts back to the present. This is a continual process yet well worth the work. When our minds wander to the past pain or fear of the future we loose power over them. Keep bringing thoughts back to the present.

Dueling Goals – This one principle that impacts all of us- when we have two amazing goals we want to achieve, but they may be working against each other. An example could be, you want to lose weight and you want to get more done at work. They are both very noble goals and why would they not work? So, you are in the middle of a project at work and if you take the time to go eat lunch you may not finish on time. To speed things up you run through a fast food drive up, which is contrary to losing weight. Now ask yourself, how do I prepare for the losing weight so that it also allows me to finish my projects in a timely manner? The answer would be to prepare ahead of time. Maybe have simple lunches made ahead of time or nutritious snacks readily available so that you don’t have to choose unhealthy food to save time. You would need to decide for yourself how you want to prepare for your goals, so they don’t duel, or conflict with each other. Just be aware when they work against each other and that will help you accomplish both amazing goals.

Comparing our converging our dueling goals to a beautiful rainbow can make this idea stick in your mind. In a rainbow you have water and light. They seem to be different yet by converging light and water you have something amazing as a result – a rainbow. This same principle applies to our dueling goals. Finding a way to have them work together will bring success.

Affecting and Forecasting – is the belief we will feel the same as we do now about our goals when working on them throughout the year. So, when we make our resolution, we are very positive that the end results are exactly what we want. And we are positive we will be excited about it when we start to work on it. What often happens is when it’s time to work on our goal we would rather watch a TV show or anything else except work on our goal. The action of working on goals itself doesn’t make us feel as good as we thought it would. So, we put it off. Put goals in easier step by step achievements so that a little distraction does not sideline us.

Procrastination. “Humans are predictably irrational,” Procrastination is one of the reasons resolutions fail.

We keep ourselves stuck in procrastination. The more we practice these habits, including procrastination the stronger they become. Use mindfulness (staying present) and start practicing small portions of your goal. The first few steps are always the hardest but it gets easier each time we step away from procrastination.

Napoleon Hill tells us that procrastination is at the head of the list for failure in all of our lives. When we are faced with choosing to work on something or procrastinate is our battlefield. We need to decide on work fast and then stick to it. Not changing our mind when things don’t work out the first time. Procrastination is the opposite of decision and a common enemy to most of us. Reach a decision quickly and change it slowly. The hardest part of any project or work is getting started. Just get started. Make 3 focus times a day anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 or 2 hours. Then take a break.

Whatever you choose for your goal spend at least 15 minutes a day studying how to accomplish that goal. If it is to improve your relationships, then spend that 15 minutes a day studying ways to improve your relationships. If it is to improve your health, then spend that 15 minutes learning more about how to improve your health. 15 minutes in reality is not very long. It is so easy to do and so easy to just skip over it. You can and will achieve your goals in 15 minutes a day. The practice of 15 minutes a day will also increase our confidence and greatly impact our thoughts that we are not capable of accomplishing our goals. We can do anything for 15 minutes. Just do it.

One day at a time and one step at a time.

Kristena Eden


Core Living Essentials on Facebook

Anger Anxiety Depression Disappointment Friendship Life Skills Parenting

Holiday Happiness

Holiday Happiness, or is it?

Question- I love my family, except during the holidays. We are in  constant battle mode when we are all together. We all have to ONE-UP everyone else. For example: everyone is on a different diet so they can’t eat that, or their kids are on the #1 team. Or we are all on a different political group. Or it just may be that the kids are choosing a different way of living than the rest. Why can’t we just have a good time together? Our constant show-and-tell ego mode causes us to lose our close connection. Now I don’t like getting together and would rather do something else. We were once a fun-loving family. What happened?

Answer –The holidays seems to bring out a lot of stress. Also, when we get together with any collection of people, there is going to be some kind of conflict. That is true even in the most connected families. Of all the people we know, it is our family who can trigger our fears or help build our peace the most. That is because we have deep expectations that have changed over time.

The holidays mean getting together with loved ones and family , a potentially explosive combination. Or great potential to build deep bonds. A common misconception is that this gathering is a time to work it all out. No, this is a time to build up each other and to let go of any conflict that can be taken care of at a later date, or talked about one on one. Resolving deep conflict takes time and the holiday season is not a great place to start.

The following are strategies that help to reconnect family.

Go for a walk together, or create some structure. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan found that taking a group nature walk is associated with a whole host of mental benefits. It helps to clear the air when you feel stress. It is a huge stress buster. It improves the mood, and builds the positive emotions. This in turn impacts our bodies. It enhances the nervous system, endocrine, and immune systems. It reduces anxiety and those helpless feelings. Nature reduces anger and fear. It also helps us cope with pain. The fresh air and trees distract us from our underlying concerns. When you are having a pleasant experience, you associate that with the people around you. Walking together, even for a short while, builds stronger connections.

Pick a neutral environment, and avoid heavy topics- Meet in a location that is different, not in someone’s home so the environment is different for all involved. This reduces the stress of getting the house clean or decorated and also reduces the worries of things getting broken. New adventures bring new light to old relationships and that way you are all in this together, maybe even feeling the same fear of the unknown, keeping all involved humble. Also this new adventure requires courage or being out of our comfort zone, yet we are all there in that same experience. Another benefit is that a new place will keep families from getting bored and perhaps this new adventure will be the start of a continued adventure unique for your family. Such an experience will force you to grow together and you will develop a new attitude, giving you a new perspective of yourself and your family. Most people have shown not to argue when on an interesting adventure. Also a new environment opens the way for fresh new conversations.

Let it go- Our family can trigger our core fears like no one else can. They mean well and they are doing the best they know how at this level of awareness and understanding, so we need to learn to accept your family for what and who they are. In order to avoid bad habits and pitfalls of our usual arguments we need to stay in the present and not worry that you have to deal with them again or not. The past is behind us so let it go. Instead we need to look at and learn to enjoy their eccentricities or dysfunction; you may even find humor in what they are doing. Even though they are family and we have known them forever, they are people and are in a different path in life than you. So, it is imperative that they make choices according to their personal experiences and growth. It really is ok to be different. We can still love them where they are, even if we don’t agree with them or their actions.

Bob, a friend of mine, told me about a conflict experience. A person continually harassed Bob, calling him names and demoralizing him. One day this person got in Bob’s face and said, “I am going to beat you up.” Bob said, “If you beat me up, we will never know if we can be good friends or not.” That comment changed the direction of their relationship and they became lifelong friends.

Stay Present- Most of us have a tendency to live in the past. We remember past hurt and misunderstanding. Constantly thinking about the past and worrying about the future can make it difficult to enjoy the good things in your life here and now. Notice what people are saying, notice the atmosphere in the room. notice the mood. All of things will keep you in the present and enjoying the moment. When you are in the present life is lighter and it’s easier to communicate with love. Try to savor each moment as it passess.

How can our family be lifelong friends if we don’t try? We could be missing the best adventure in our lifetime.

If you need help reach out. 

Take the free assessment to see why things feel stuck.


One Principle Above all Others Will Increase Happiness in Your Marriage

Question – We have read many books on how to save our marriage and it seems like nothing sticks. We still have huge arguments and then it’s back to the sulking and avoiding and the loneliness. Why do all of these things not work for us? They sound good and still don’t work. We both have the intention to improve at one time or another. Why won’t these skill sets work?

Answer – The best answer for that is that we are missing the one principle that governs them all – our ability to persevere, or be consistent. It boils down to the moment conflict happens – do we choose to live our principles or react? When life doesn’t go as we planned or someone else made a mistake that affects us, do we choose to react out of fear, anger, or pain, or do we react according to our principles? Even when someone makes us mad, or hurts us, are we consistent in living what we know is right? We get overwhelmed or even steeped in fear and believe we really don’t have the ability to do the right things. Do we feel this is just not who we are!  Or is it that we don’t know of a better way? Does that better way seem not to work the first few times anyway?

There are three connected traits that play a large role in why we struggle to be consistent: being self-aware, having strong character, and having a deep desire.

Let’s take being self-aware first. Do we realize that at times we are our own worst enemy? Do we have full understanding of how our actions affect others? Do we realize that sometimes we choose to go against what we believe to be right? Being self-aware includes stepping away from our go-go daily schedule, which we often do in autopilot to get through it all. We need to be present in the activities and take control of them – no autopilot. Also, self-awareness includes our instinctual reactions – we need to pause before we react to a situation, comment, or other’s actions and we need to take control of our reaction to be in line with our principles. So instead of calling out profanities to someone who cut you off on the road, because you’re late, you can pause a moment and realize they might also be late. Eckhart Tolle stated, “Awareness is the greatest agent for change.”

The word self-aware seems to be the latest buzz word; you hear this word a lot. Yet what do we really understand about what it means? In theory it sounds good, but how do we really practice it? Simply stated it is paying attention to what is going on around us and inside us.

In practicing self-awareness, pay special attention to:

  • What you are thinking.
  • What you are doing.
  • How you react to what others are doing.
  • What cycles in your life do you keep repeating time after time.
  • What you say and how others react to it.

Eckhart Tolle explains this concept as follows:

“Be present as the watcher of your mind — of your thoughts and emotions as well as your reactions in various situations.  Be at least as interested in your reactions as in the situation or person that causes you to react.  Notice also how often your attention is in the past or future.  Don’t judge or analyze what you observe.  Watch the thought, feel the emotion, observe the reaction.  Don’t make a personal problem out of them.  You will then feel something more powerful than any of those things that you observe: the still, observing presence itself behind the content of your mind, the silent watcher.”

The biggest success from being self-aware is that you can then discern if what you are thinking, feeling, and doing is in line with your principles. Are you really being who you think you are? Is this preventing you from becoming your best self? What are you doing to self-sabotage?

Barrie Davenport states, “We can’t be fully ourselves and fully alive; we can’t experience the depths of joy, intimacy, authenticity, connection, peace, and fulfillment without constantly seeking self-awareness.” I might add to this- BE HONEST with yourself!

Trait 2: Character – Our character reveals itself in hard times. We live in a world that is dictated by logical force. People often tell us “I had to do it” because they did it to me. Even in family abusive situations, they feel obligated to dole out punishment whenever there is any kind of disturbance. This is a learned perspective. Is it right? No. We can learn to have greater character. It comes to light when we are in a bad situation. It is easy to have character when things are going good and everyone is in a good mood. Our character is built in the small places in our heart and in the quiet reserves of privacy, and in times of trials and resistance. Character is when you live by your principles no matter the circumstance or the mood. It is when you decide to be morally strong. As Steven Covey stated, “We must have a private victory before we have a public victory.” What we live behind the scenes is what emerges in public. We cannot hide it.

In reality, having moral authority is what brings the most peace, love, and connections with others. Moral authority is authority built on principles, or truths – written truths or, culturally imposed – this builds greater character. Our decisions and actions can come from this perspective instead of from changeable moods. Even when we have a bad day we can choose to be moral not destructive. Is that hard? Yes. A friend told me a story about an experience he had in school. He played soccer and an opposing team member was taunting him. This opposing person called him names and egged him on as often happens in sports. But it came to a point where he was accused of being a coward. How would you feel in that situation? Maybe fight back? What could be done to make this situation into a good one? What principle do you still need to live? My friend chose to say, “If we fight it out, we may never know if we could be good friends.”

That simple response changed the outcome of this potentially hazardous situation. And they did actually become very good friends. That was the principle of “LOVE” or the principle that we view all people to be the same value. My friend chose to live his principles. That takes consistent character. Yet, sometimes we fail and we have to ask for forgiveness and try again to react according to our principles.

Sometimes we hear about great people who shine above the rest. They show great character in times of trial. Nelson Mandela is one. He is a man that chose to treat all people with respect even when they incarcerated him for 27 years for his belief that people should be free. When he was finally released, he became the President of South Africa and even invited those who incarcerated him to his inauguration.

Another example a little closer to home happened during a high school football game when one of the players was injured. The players of the opposite team stopped the game long enough to have a prayer for the injured opponent. That shows great character. Booker T. Washington stated, “Character, not circumstances, makes the man.”

Trait 3: Desire – How bad do you want it? There is a difference between wanting something and having a deep desire for something. If we generate enough emotion, or deep feeling in the right direction, we can achieve the seemingly impossible. Let’s take the Olympics for example, no one ever won a medal just by hoping they would.

What about the words of the Cheshire cat? Alice asked the cat which way she should go. He asked where do you want to be? Her comment was she didn’t know where she wanted to be. The cat then stated in that case it doesn’t really matter which road you take. Do you know what you want in your relationship? What are you willing to do to get it?

To get started with your relationship, try these steps:

  • Write down what you want.
  • Learn from books and experts in the field.
  • Practice, practice, and practice. Be Consistent and keep practicing. If it didn’t work the first time, try again.
  • Gain desire. The more you learn and practice, the more it builds desire, which in turn brings better results.
  • Constantly remind yourself of the vision of what you can become!

Desire grips you with an insatiable appetite for action. It pushes you relentlessly to meet the challenges of life. It compels you to fulfillment and purpose.

Mohammad Ali stated, “Champions aren’t made in gyms.  Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision.  They have to have the skill, and the will.  But the will must be stronger than the skill.”

Take these three traits: self-awareness, strong character, deep desire, and use them to help you be more consistent.  Be honestly self-aware to know when you are out of character or not, then live your deepest desire.

I challenge you to spend 15 minutes a day working on your deepest desire to have better relationships. Fifteen minutes is not much time, yet it will make a world of difference.

One step at a time.

Kristena Eden

Disappointment Life Skills Marriage

This is My Marriage Not Yours

This is My Marriage Not Yours

Question- This same comment came from both the husband and wife- “He or she just doesn’t

seem to care; there is not enough tenderness or support and there is no connection- just


Answer- There are probably a lot of couples feeling the same way. Why is that? Why would two

people in the same relationship feel that same loss? Is there a solution for both of them?

This problem presents two main principles. The first is our expectations in a relationship and

the second is self-deception. Both of these principles are based in fear of not being good

enough and fear of loss. How hard is it to show love to others when you feel empty too?

To find a solution to that last question, let’s look at each principle separately.

Expectations – We often tell ourselves that if we lower our expectations, then others will never

reach their potential. In reality this is not true. It sounds right, yet it really does not inspire

others to improve. In most cases, it causes anxiety and further enhances their feelings of not

being good enough. Try using the term ‘managing our expectations’. You have probably heard

the phrase that if you expect a fish to climb a tree, you will be very disappointed. The catch to

the phrase is that we also need to keep in mind that the fish is no less a fish if he can’t climb a

tree. He is still an amazing fish. We are still amazing people, even if we fall short of an


We all have expectations in our lives: what we want out of life, who we want to become, and

even what our partners should be. But really, a large part of personal happiness is in managing

our expectation of people and circumstances. Let’s make our expectations real. One major

challenge we face in life is learning to accept people for who they really are. Our expectations

of another person will not change who a person really is. When our expectations are too high or

even to low, it really causes us more pain and disappointment. Being more realistic with our

partner’s abilities can make us happier and can relieve a huge burden we feel we carry.

Every one of us has gifts or intelligences. Yes, we can learn more about other intelligences, yet

we do have some that are uniquely ours. For example:

1- Musicians seem to have an amazing gift to understand music, to feel the music, and to

share what they do. We can’t all be concert pianists.

2- Kinesthetic – Those are the people that make a lot of money playing ball. How many of

us can make a living with how well we handle a ball? There are a good many of us that

are not sure what to do with a ball if we had one in our hands.

3- Emotional intelligence – the ability to understand and manage our own emotions and

the emotions in others. It is very true that a lot of people lack the ability to be aware of

their own emotions and they lack the ability to see emotion in others. This is one area

we should cultivate. It may not be possible for some to improve in this area, yet we can

all learn more about empathy and understanding.

The list of gifts continues infinitely. Think about your gifts? Is it making friends, cooking, fishing,

organizing, public speaking, teaching children, sewing, artistic, and many more?

Let’s look at some hardcore examples of what I discussed above. For example, if you are

married to a person for 17 years and your spouse still won’t take the garbage out until you nag

them to death, try to see if it is that they are just not capable of seeing what needs to be done.

Or if they only sent you flowers when you were dating, then the amazing thing was that they

did it once. They may not have the ability to see that it makes you happy. This would be a good

time to stop and make a list of his or her abilities and your abilities. Ask yourself some of these


• How can you use these differences to enhance your marriage instead of putting a wedge

in it?

• Is this where chores and obligations need to be changed?

• Is this where we need enlightenment or more instruction from others?

• According to your gifts what needs to be changed?

This is the same principle for expectations for ourselves.

• Are we excepting something different than what we were meant to be?

• What do you love doing?

• What is a struggle?

• What do you need to learn?

• What do you need to let go of?

These questions and ideas are a great topic of discussion for the two of you! Do it and build a

stronger connection.

Working together on our struggles makes us stronger if we allow it. If we fight against that by

continuing to expect more than can be given, we also weaken ourselves. The strongest people

are those who learn to understand others and give when needed, and teach when needed.

When things do not work out the way we had planned, it is much more beneficial to realize that

this is how life works rather than becoming frustrated at the situation. Life will always throw us

a curve ball.

Give without expectation, accept without reservation, and love unconditionally.

Self-Deception- None of us like to think of ourselves as selfish. We can easily see it when others

are selfish, yet in ourselves, we often view our actions as standing up for ourselves and that

everyone should see life the way we do. Facts are facts, right? Or is some of that opinion?

When we can’t or won’t try to see another point of view, we deceive ourselves. We even have a

tendency to lie to ourselves about the smallest details, self-deception. For example, how much

we really ate today, or how much we really spent on an item. How many of us put down our

real height and weight on our driver’s license? We lie to ourselves because we do not want to

admit the truth and deal with the consequences. We, in our deepest hiding places, constantly

feel we are not good enough, yet we do not want others to know that. We are imperfect, yet

we like to think that at least we are more perfect than others. We would never make that big of

a mistake!

We learn cognitive distortion at a young age, which is irrational in the way we think. A child

two years of age scribbled on his mother’s couch with a marker. The mother screams at him,

grabs the marker away, and may even say you’re a bad boy then spank him. He could interpret

that in many ways:

1- He is bad.

2- Markers are scary.

3- His mother doesn’t like his artwork

4- Or maybe that markers are very harmful objects.

When he grows up and in his junior high class the kids in his class start throwing markers

around the room and he freaks out and hides under his desk. That seems very illogical yet if you

knew how he was thinking, it would make sense. He was acting out his deeply hidden fears. The

fears in reality were not grounded in truth, yet that was what he experienced and believed.

How many of our beliefs about life and ourselves are hidden in misinterpretation? We, at times,

believe that how we feel is reality. That again could be a lie we are telling ourselves.

Self Deception Indicators:

When these thoughts cross your mind, you are deceiving yourself:

• We start making conclusions and stories about our environment and about other

people. These interpretations we made, whether they were right or wrong, affect our

identity and how we choose to treat others.

• We think we need to be perfect to be loved.

• We believe that to love others, they have to be perfect.

• When others mention our weakness, we become very defensive

• What we learn as a youth will stay with us as adults and come out as living a life of lies.

This also comes out in our relationships.

• We think or say, “I wouldn’t have yelled at you if you wouldn’t treat me so bad.”

• We think or say, I wouldn’t do this or that, if you wouldn’t do this or that.

• We feel justified in being less than we could be just to not expose ourselves for who we

really are; a person who is constantly wanting to give love and get love.

• We deceive ourselves to avoid the pain.

• We forget that we really are human.

• We often make comments like, “I am this way because that is how I was raised”, which

is putting the blame on our parents.

• We think or say, I am this way because of this or because of that, therefore, it is not my

fault or my problem.

These concepts prevent us from reaching our potential and reaching happiness but we are not

the only ones affected. In self-deception, we often make decisions that are harmful to others

also. We deceive ourselves in believing that our significant other should fulfill all of our needs

and all of our wants. That is self-deception.

We have the choice to continue to live life in lies remaining in incredible pain continually

pushing our pain onto those we love or we can choose to change. Our feelings, most of the

time, have nothing to do with the people around us. These feelings are part of our

interpretation of our experiences and can be deceiving. Can we catch the moment when we

interpret it poorly?

We need to become observers of ourselves. The problem with that is that we need to evaluate

our thinking with our own thinking. We need to be very honest and dig deep into our hearts.

Ask yourself, what does this say about me? What was my contribution to this problem? The

more we become aware of our inaccurate thinking, the more we can become responsible for

our choices. We may not have control over all of our situations in life yet we do have control

over our reactions and our willingness to learn from them, and to allow others to learn also.

Ask your self- What if my whole life changes? What if my whole life doesn’t change? Use the

truth to help you find the most fulfilling life for you.

How does this look in a marriage? You cannot hide who you are for very long. Eventually it will

be known. Remember that your spouse is in the same boat as you. He or she is also struggling

with fear, self-deception, and expectations. This would be a great time to get together and

answer all these questions and also do the free download together. It may excite you, or

disappoint you, yet what it will do is bring connection and remember the truth always sets you free.


If you would like further discussion or help in finding your truth email me or take the free assessment on my website and start the core living process.

Kristena Eden

Anxiety Life Skills Parenting

Protecting Our Children From Abduction

Question – My wife and I feel like we live in fear all of the time. We hear the stories of children being taken from their yards and from their bedrooms- there appears to be no safe place for our kids to just be “kids.” This fear dictates our children’s play time, limiting their ability to go to the park or walk around the block to play with neighbors. Is this really what our world has come to? Is there something we can do to build a better and safer world for our kids to live and for us to feel we can trust the world enough to let our kids enjoy being kids?

Answer – That is a question a lot of us are asking. One of our greatest fears is that we will lose our children. This idea paralyzes us. We can take steps to create more safety yet there is not a tool or device that will keep your kids safe 100% of the time. The following suggestions good suggestions on how to help keep our kids safe. 

Be aware- We need to know the signs. Trafficking happens in more places than you may think. Children of any socioeconomic background between the ages of about 11 and 17 years old, with any one of the following factors, are at higher risk of being victims of sex traffickers, such as:
• Lack of education
• Poverty
• The breakdown of the family,
• Low self-esteem
• A strong desire to be independent
• Identifying as LGBTQ
• Being bullied or teased

Some things to watch for in your children:
• Unexplained bursts of wealth
• Hanging out with an older man,
• Hotel keys or receipts
• Unexplained absences from home
• Withdrawing from people own age
• Bruises, cuts
• Drug and alcohol problems

The biggest problem in protecting our children is not being aware of other people and our surroundings. Put your phones away when you are out with your children.
The typical abduction is not by force- it is usually by winning over a child who feels insolated and alone, especially through social media, or an intermediary like a teenage girl. The trafficker will flatter the children and tell they are worthy of love. The children will think the trafficker can provide for them because the trafficker appears to have lots of money or drugs or alcohol for free. The children may be told that they only have to do one thing to get all they want.
Still, the task force says, sex trafficking can happen anywhere. “Where ever there are people, there is sex trafficking.” It happens in the suburbs, in upscale neighborhoods. And oftentimes, the abductors don’t take the child very far at all.
Protect your children: Make plans for a place of safety children can go to if needed. This can be in your house, neighborhood, police stations, or an authority figure in a store. If your child carries a phone, put emergency numbers in it. Or even emergency numbers kept in their backpack. It would be good to have them memorize a couple of numbers as soon as they are old enough to do so. Kids need to know their own address, even state, and city. They need to know parents’ names, and place of employment.
You can make ID kits: The kit should include:
1. A physical description, such as nickname, date of birth, height, weight, gender, fingerprints, hair and eye colors
2. Any identifying features, such as glasses, braces, scars, birthmarks and piercings
3. Any medical information, such as conditions, disorders, diseases and medications
4. Most important, an up-to-date, high-quality digital photo.
5. Be sure to take your kits with you on trips and vacations.

GPS tracking devices are developed specifically for kids and allow parents to locate their kids using their smartphones, iPads or computers. They can come with an immediate alert button that texts you and a secure latch to prevent unintended removal; a removal alert that texts you when the band is taken off; and a Geo-Fence Boundary Alert that sends you a text if the band crosses a boundary you set. Every child is different so find the one that works best for you and your family. Many of these devices are found online.

Family talks – One of the best ways to protect your children from being abducted is to have an open line of communication. Listen to understand them and do it often. When children feel understood, they feel safe at home and feel safe talking to parents. They are less likely to go to others for love and understanding. It just takes listening without judgment and without criticizing. Yes, you may find in listening that there are teaching moments. These moments need to be addressed with lots of love and concern, not interrogation and criticism. Everyone can help keep children safer by building stronger families, and stronger neighbors- one day at a time. Help us keep children safer from trafficking by intentionally doing something to build up your family or someone you consider family.

Even after all we can do, things can happen. Elizabeth Smart tells about her will to survive because she could remember her parent’s love for her. She states that this advice is the best she received after her ordeal:

“My mom said, ‘Elizabeth, what this man has done to you is terrible, and there aren’t words to describe how wicked and evil he is…but the best punishment you could ever give him is to be happy. Move forward and follow your dreams and do exactly what you want to do.  You may never feel like justice has been served, but you don’t need to worry about that because in the end, God is our ultimate judge, and he will make up every pain and every suffering that you’ve gone through. Those who don’t receive their just reward here will certainly receive it in the next life, so you don’t have a reason to hold on to that.’”
“If you relive it, you’re only allowing him to steal more of your life away from you,” she continued. “That’s the best piece of advice I’ve ever been given, and I have tried to live it every single day. We always have a choice to move forward, to make a difference,” Smart said. “I like to think that we’re not defined by what happens to us…because so many times they’re beyond our control. I like to think that we’re defined by our choices and our decisions.”

If only we could live in a perfect world where we could just teach our children the simple things in life. But life is not simple and it is not perfect, yet we can still choose to live in love not our debilitating fear. We can do our best and then live our best. One step at a time.

Kristena Eden

Anxiety Depression Hope Life Skills Perfection

The Anti-Feeling Good Life!

Anxiety and Depression

Question: I have been struggling with anxiety and depression frequently these last couple of years. I have tried medication after medication yet it seems nothing has had any long lasting benefits. I had an incident at work a few years back that has cause a great deal of pain and my husband keeps telling me to just get over it. That makes me angry and it seems impossible to just get over it.

Answer: Many of us struggle with this concern. In answer to the question about having longer lasting benefits, there have been a lot of studies that show that medication alone is not as effective as using cognitive therapy with medication or cognitive therapy alone to help deal with depression.

First, what is cognitive therapy? This is a talk therapy that helps us change the way we view our lives. The therapist can help guide the conversation to find the deep feelings and how it affects us and then teach skills to change those thoughts and feelings to something more productive. According to Science Daily, after just a few weeks of therapy the brain of patients changes in volume. Anxiety and depression are reduced significantly. This therapy seems so simple yet often overlooked because we feel our lives are so steeped in pain that it cannot possibly be an easy solution. We tend to think that the cause of our downward spiral or our feelings of despair is beyond our control. Yet we can change the way we think and we can change our basic belief about our abilities and ourselves. In the end we can change our situations, our productivity, and these changes can be more lasting.

There are two areas we need to be more aware of: one is emotional resilience and the other is the therapy itself.

Emotional resilience – To be emotionally resilient means to be able to spring back emotionally after suffering through difficult and stressful times in our lives. Some people have the ability to “just get over it.” Others lack that ability. There are a lot of variables connected to resiliency.

Will power- Will power depletion can be a culprit in believing we can or can’t overcome struggles. There have been studies done at the University of Toronto, which found a decreased activity in the anterior cortex, a brain region involved with our thought processes, when we have used our will power to resist temptation. When your will power has been tested, your brain may actually change and function differently. Other evidence suggests that the depletion is cause by low blood sugar. Still other studies have suggested that when it comes to will power, those who are in touch with themselves, their goals and knowing who they really are tend to be less prone to depletion than are their counterparts who are people pleasers.

Past experiences and beliefs- People who feel hopeless and believe they are not good enough do not usually see that they have a choice. Experience tells them this is the way it has always been and this is the way it will always be. Their emotional resilience is non-existent. They do not believe they can change their mood, their thoughts, or their life and this propels them continually down a hopeless path.

What motivates emotional resilient people?

  • They believe that life can change.
  • They can see if their life expectations are realistic.
  • They are more persistent.
  • They are more empathic toward others.
  • They are more optimistic.


These beliefs help them to keep a better more functional perspective and are better able to cope long after less resilient people give up.

Cognitive therapy – Our dysfunctional thoughts lead to extreme emotions. Those emotions lead to dysfunctional behaviors. It is a cycle that feeds on itself. In the 1950’s a psychologist named Aaron Beck believed that problems occur when distorted thinking influences our lives. He believed that our behavior is not really determined by what is actually happening instead our behavior is determined by our thoughts about what is happening. If a person bumps into us we can determine in our own minds if that was a threat, intimidation or just an accident. Our interpretations come from our experiences in life and from our emotional resilience or just understanding that other people are also living in their own minds.

So now the question is how do we use cognitive therapy to change our lives for the better?

The real truth about our depression and anxiety is that we do have a lot of control. We can change the way we think and the way we view how life treats us. We can even change how we think others view us. Yes, some of us do need added help with medication or finding a professional that can help us walk through our changes, and we should use those resources. Still remember we do have the power to make our lives better.

Keep in mind that the magic that we are wanting comes in what we are avoiding.

One step at a time. If you need some added help please reach out.

Kristena Eden

Disappointment Hope Life Skills Marriage

Saint and Sinners

Who in your marriage is the saint and who is the sinner?


Question – When my husband and I were dating and when we were first married, it seemed we were on the same wavelength. We had the same values and we wanted the same things. When we were dating we had such a good time together. We could talk and just be together. Some months after our honeymoon I noticed that he would spend hours playing video games, sometimes for money. While we were dating I had no idea he did this and I wondered why he still would do that now. We don’t have the money or the time and energy.


Answer – We live in a society where we are all expected to be saints or at least be close to perfect. Yet in our relationships we fall short. In fact, we end up switching being sinners and saints between each of us – sometimes we are good and sometimes we are bad. In a lot of our relationships someone ends up taking the role of saint. This sets up the dynamic that the other person is the sinner and this cycle is a devastating dynamic on both sides. It limits our ability to take responsibility for our part in the relationship. Unfortunately this situation is very common. If you have ever known someone or been in that scenario, you know how agonizing it can be. You feel that you can never be good enough or that your partner will never get his or her act together. It is a lose = lose dynamic


The saint and sinner dynamic can start out very innocently; such as we want to move our lives and relationships one-step forward – we want our house to be a little cleaner and our kids a little more behaved. But then we set our standards and expectations at an unreasonable level and we start this saint/sinner cycle. If one of us fails to make the effort toward these goals, we become the sinner and in the roll of being blamed for failure. While in the middle of this cycle, we often forget our original intent of moving our relationships forward. We start to take the role of a martyr or victim and make our significant other the villain.


Bettering ourselves is definitely desired in our society and rightfully so. Yet it can have a dark side if it is carried out of proportion. How could improving oneself be potentially destructive? Let’s take a look at the roles we can take on when we feel stuck.


Martyr or Victim – In these roles we feel we are not good enough or that we don’t deserve a better life. In this scenario we can start to believe the SAINT is right and that we can’t rise above our lowly state. This belief takes away our power to progress and make our own situation better. Instead of taking responsibility for our own actions, we start to sink more. We can get to the point that we no longer see a reason to get out or that there is even a way to get out of this situation. This continues to plant more seeds of doubt. Yet we can change this cycle.

  • Do not see yourself as the victim or martyr.
  • Take the time to look deep inside and start taking responsibility for your own actions one step at a time.
  • Ask yourself what one thing can I do today to be one step closer to taking back my life.


Villain – On the other hand, we can view others as the villain. For example:

  • Are we treating them as the bad guy, instead of encouraging or allowing them to start taking more responsibility for their own lives?
  • Are we constantly criticizing every little thing that is not done according to what we think should be done?
  • Do we look for the mistakes because we want so much to have things better?
  • Do we continually regret that we have been lied to and entered this relationship under false pretense? They hid their true selves from us!

What answers did you give above? In reality these views cause us to also give away our power and not take control of our thoughts and actions. We are stuck in the devastating feeling that we have lost the life we should have. We spend our time in the depths of despair instead of staying in the present to figure out what we can do today to take one more step to a better life.

  • The first step would be to look for the good.
  • What we focus on is what we get.
  • Next, stop the criticism.
  • Any and all negative remarks just fuel the fire for an empty life.
  • We can find positive ways to kindly ask for what we want. Then, if not accepted, let it go for another time.

Villains can chose to be really good at being really bad when they are feeling there is no hope.


Is there a way to change this scenario? Yes!

This cycle needs to be stopped as soon as possible for the sake of both partner’s emotional well-being. If there are feelings of complete hopelessness, it would be good to get some help and find a marriage coach. Following are some skills that can change your relationships to be much more progressive and peaceful:


  • Both partners take a good look at what each is contributing to this negative cycle.
    1. The saint has a tendency to think they do not contribute negatively.
    2. The sinner has a tendency to think they are the cause of all the problems.
    3. In a healthy whole relationship there is a need to look at both sides and start to understand what is really happening.
    4. Stop blaming or believing one person is responsible for all the bad. It is never all one sided. It really does take two to tango.
  • Make a plan.
    1. This plan can be an end result plan or just a plan for today. If it is an end result plan and therefore more complex, make small steps for each day.
    2. Take a piece of paper and post it where you can both write on it daily.
    3. Label one side your name and the other side your partner’s name. DO NOT LABEL THEM AS SAINT OR SINNER, but your personal names.
    4. You are looking for the good, so write on your side what you see as good in your partner. The other side is for your partner to write down all the good he or she sees in you.
    5. This is an opportunity to look for the good in each other and an opportunity to hear the good from you partner. This is a “Finding the Good” chart. Do not put any negative findings on it.
  • If the decision is to go separate ways, then there is still the need to find understanding and taking responsibility for our own part so that we do not take that cycle with us for the rest of our lives.



The truth about relationships is there is no such thing as line of demarcation for bad or good. These are judgments. It is a very natural expectation for us to want another person to fix all the problems. At times we are filled with so much self-doubt and feelings of loss and pain that we struggle to fix or see the problem in ourselves. Finding a solution can be overwhelming yet it doesn’t have to be. Take it one problem at a time.


When we realize that we have married a sinner, this is our greatest opportunity to be a real saint by taking responsibility for our own actions and to find the good in others. All of us need to realize that our spouses can fall short at times and we can also expect that we will also. When we give each other the freedom to make mistakes, we give each other permission to become our best selves. That is a whole, and happy way of life.

We can do this one step at a time.

Kristena Eden

Core Living Essentials on Facebook

Life Skills Parenting

Power Struggles with Our Kids

Question – I am a mother of 3 children. The oldest is 10 and the youngest is 3 years old. Our house is in constant turmoil. The three year old throws tantrums and the other two are constantly in a power struggle. They refuse to do what they are told. They do not respect my husband or me. I love my kids and I just can’t find anything that brings peace to our home or any sign of them being responsible at any level.

Answer – That is a question many of my clients ask – how to parent from love not fear. How can I teach my children to make better choices? There are many different parenting styles. Each style brings with it a family culture. The real solution is our basic belief principles.

To begin with we need to know what our principles include. Take a few minutes to write them down, for example “love” is a principle that would be good in every area of our life not just in parenting. What other principles do you want to instill in your children and incorporate in your own every day living? Know your principles when you are making your plan for how you want to parent. Principles lead to behavior and that leads to outcomes.

There are 3 basic parenting behaviors. Which one are you? Which one should you be?

Authoritarian: This is a very highly structured climate. What the parent says is the law; there are no exceptions. The rule is the most important element in the family and children are not involved in making the rules or even allowed to give their opinions. Children will learn to follow rules, yet it will be out of fear more than out of understanding the consequences. They may not even have any idea what a consequence is other than what will happen if they break their parents rules. Children may focus more on their anger than on learning how to make decisions and how to live in peace and harmony.

Some questions to ask yourself to see if you are authoritarian:

  • Are you short on patience or have a low tolerance for any exploration or misbehavior?
  • Do you use shame or threats to get your children under control?
  • Are your rules the only thing that matter?
  • Do you have little trust that your children can make good choices?

Permissive: This is a more responsive climate. Yet there can be total chaos – the children rule. They do what they want when they want. The parents give in to keep the peace, which only reinforces their children’s inappropriate actions. These children tend to struggle in academics and in relationships because they have not learned how to live in a societal norm. They do not understand how their actions affect others around them.

Some questions to ask yourself to see if you are permissive:

  • Is your home life random; is there little or no structure?
  • Is the child’s freedom more important than learning responsibility?
  • Do you bribe your children or pay your children to do what you want them to do?
  • Do you have no age appropriate chores around the house?
  • Do you seldom have consequences for misbehavior?

Nurturing: This is a climate that involves a balance of structure and responsiveness. These parents trust their own authority that they can create a positive home environment. They have a basic trust that children are good and that they can learn what is needed to live an effective adult life. With this understanding they can involve, age appropriately, their children in making the rules and the consequences. The children learn responsibility one step at a time. These parents usually:

  • At first we do things for them.
  • As they grow and watch, we do things with them.
  • Progress continues we let them do it alone. Yet if we are needed we can be there.
  • The last growth point is when they do it on their own. This one takes trust yet a good feeling because we have been with them up to this last step.

These steps can be achieved by early teens. With this process they can learn to be responsible at an early age.

We have a tendency to choose one of these parenting styles according to our fear. If we fear we are not good enough and that we may be a bad parent, we tend to choose permissiveness. If we fear loss of our children or loss of control, we tend to choose authoritarian. To have a healthy environment in our homes we need to find growth in ourselves as well as with our children. There is no better relationship than when we grow together. Choosing to use a more nurturing style puts a stop to the power struggle and allows all family members to contribute and give love.

Parenting is like climbing a mountain. It takes one step at a time. It takes one principle at a time. It takes one day at a time. Yes, we do make mistakes, yet we can’t give up. Once the top of the mountain is reached, we have a great view of what our children have and still can accomplish. The climb is worth it. Parenting is not about getting our children to do what we want; it is in helping another human to become the best they can become. You could say we are the guides on the mountain; we are not the pack mules.

If you feel your family life is way out of balance reach out for help.

Get your free guide on the parenting mountain below.

One Step At A Time.

Kristena Eden

Anger Friendship Hope Life Skills Marriage Parenting

When Someone You Love Hurts, You Hurt Too


My spouse and daughter have been struggling with the loss of their mother and grandmother. We all knew this time would come yet I still have no idea how to help them get through it all. Can you give us some help?


We deeply want to help our loved ones experiencing a tremendous loss and we also know we can’t bring back the deceased family member. We are left with helping deal with the pain. Mostly we are afraid to say or do something wrong, so many times we choose don’t do or say anything. There really is no perfect way to respond or support someone who is in pain.

Keep in mind that because of loss or trauma, there can be a fundamental shift in their views of life or even their sense of identity. The result is a domino effect influencing everyone in their lives, which many times causes tremendous stress in all relationships manifest as irritability, mood changes, guilt, depression, avoidance, fear, and preferred isolation.

The following are some ideas to help the griever get through in a healthy place of peace:

  1. Prepare yourself. To prepare physically and emotionally, be more aware of your own anxiety and feelings of inadequacy. Learn to soothe yourself through meditation, breathing exercises, and self-talk. When you are personally ready, think about what needs to be learned from this loss and then you will be better equipped to help those who are hurting by making a safe haven for them. Your approach is what makes the difference: no negative talk, no expectation that they should just get over it and move on, expect time – grief and trauma take time so use that time with them. You need to be predictable, stable and available for them.
  2. Listen and listen and listen some more- especially at the beginning. As time goes by you can gently bring in some soothing strategies. Talk about the good memories and share ideas of all that you had learned from the deceased. Encourage those struggling with loss to start joining you in this conversation, but absolutely do not give unsolicited advice. When they are ready, they will ask for advice. If they are not ready, they will not listen to the advice and the feelings of loss will increase. You’re not there to solve their problems; your focus should be support and empathy, to be there and to listen.
  3. Find a New Normal. It is imperative to understand that we all have a different path we are meant to follow. When we feel our path is suddenly changed, we need to realize that maybe this bend was part of the path all along. We make choices daily that affect our view of that path – we can choose to find the good in all of life or we can choose to continually feel the pain everyday. In reality that pain never goes away completely, but it can remind us of all the good or of the blessings. Just don’t forget, we need to take the time to grieve.

What is normal?

We could say that it is completely normal that I am in so much pain because of my marriage, or because of the way I am treated at work or because I just lost a loved one.

The emotional pain is normal yet it is not okay with me. And this is what I am going to do about it. Maybe that would be get divorced, get a new job or it could be changing my mind about how life should be. I am going to make a change because this pain is not acceptable.

This is not how I want my life.

Drop the idea that life is all about tranquility, Make a plan on how to meet this struggle. We need to write some real plans on what is a bearable life. Focus on stress reduction, rain relief, and learn more about coping strategies and then how are we going to invite happiness. Struggle is part of this life and we can make it free of fear and filled with hope by creating a plan for change using tactics for dealing with this struggle.

When making a new norm consider the following:

  • Not all of our struggles are external.
  • We need to change our negative thoughts with positive thoughts. Our failures come from us believing our negative thoughts instead of seeing ourselves in a more positive light.
  • The most important relationship you will ever have is the relationship you have with yourself. Are you your best friend or worst enemy?
  • Plan for private victories. What are your bad habits you need to conquer then you will be ready to take them public. You act out your private life even if you think you don’t.
  • Recognize who you really are. Not what you do but who you really are.

We cannot determine their new normal, but we can help lead the way by making a safer path. Maybe we can even building our own new norm. We can offer a supportive ear, a hug, help them find support groups, and help build their self-confidence. Learn to be happy because sadness can become a habit.

Be aware that this loss can be bigger than both of you and that it can easily bring a wedge between you and your loved ones. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help from professionals when you are feeling hopeless. That is all part of the new norm. Remember that there can be and is another life of amazing experiences yet to come.

More information on mourning and rebuilding a new norm. a free download.

One step at a time.

Take the free assessment to find what is keeping you stuck.


Your Happiness Does not Depend on Who You Married


Question- When I got married, I had this wild idea that I would be happy for the rest of my life. I was so absorbed in what I thought our marriage should be that I didn’t expect so many problems showing up in my life. My husband does not try to keep me happy. It’s like he sees me as a pain or obligation, not the love of his life. What can I do: to help him see me as his love and increase his desire to make me happy?


Answer: That is a question that I hear a lot in my practice. Yes, there is an answer and yet it is an answer that isn’t what we always want to hear. The best answer for that question is: to be truly happy you need to be your own person. The real solution to this question regards how to accomplish that state of being.


One large obstacle in pursuing happiness is our fear and inner lie that to seek our own happiness is selfish. Yet, in reality our refusal detracts from our compassion for others and our dedication to improve our relationships. In reality denying ourselves pursuit of happiness can cause destruction, loneliness, helplessness, and prevent us from finding happiness.


The real truth we must accept is we cannot find true happiness in another person. We can only find this happiness within ourselves. The secret is the choices we make many times all day long; basically there are only two choices. You can choose to view things in a way to make you happy or you can choose to let your situation and mood to choose your unhappiness. Or in other words, influences can choose for us or we can take control or our emotions and the situation.


Here are some hints to help understand how to accomplish happiness:


  • Start accepting people for who they really are. All of us are of the same value and every one of us has a different role to complete. Keep in mind that if we all have a different role, then we also need to do things differently to accomplish that role.
    1. In other words we need to stop criticizing people or trying to change them. Their value and yours is fixed and it is not always our job to change people. In reality the only thing we can do is influence them. We can love them enough that they will want to be better or they will want to make your relationship flourish as much as you do. That change comes from love not from our fear that they or we will not measure up.
    2. Refrain from giving unsolicited advice. If they want it they will ask. If they don’t want it they won’t listen anyway. We can waste so much time in trying to move a mountain or change a person instead of understanding and then letting go. This is more for ourselves than for the people who we feel is trying to make us unhappy.


  • Call out the jerk. Is that a nice way to put it? There are days when we need to be the teacher. We can accept people for who they are and offer some occasional feedback. This feed back needs to be in a place of love not fear. When this is given remember to say that it bothers you, not that they were the villains. It can be stated in a way to let them know you still care about them and that you need something to be different. This is much easier to do when we can see others as the same value as we are and we know that they also have a mission to perform. Are they out of character? Are they forgetting who they really are? Will this help them to grow? These are questions to ask yourself before stepping into the role of a teacher.


  • Choose to do what is right. What are the principles we live by? When we are angry or unhappy, we tend to forget what our principles are. Fear chases them away. Just because we can make others as unhappy as we are, doesn’t mean that is the right thing to do. We do live in a society that choose logical force instead of moral authority. Logical forces tell us that it is right to do unto others as they do to us. That really does not make us any happier. Moral authority such as demonstrated by Nelson Mandela can change our life and the lives of those around us. He was incarcerated and tortured and he still chose to forgive his jailers. He even invited them to his inauguration when he was made President of South Africa. Because this was his choice, he was able to have power with his people. His love overpowered his fear.


  • First things First. Our closest relationships are vital to our happiness. This also means ourselves. It is important to take some time for ourselves to do something that we really love, and makes us feel alive. We don’t need to wait for someone else to do that with us, nor do we need to expect them to find that for us. It really is ok to have that something of your own as long as it does not destroy the lives of those you love (All things in moderation). If we are struggling to find that something, then we may need to open up to new growth opportunities. Do something different and you will be amazed at all the new possibilities that come.


  • Let the little frustrations go. The longer we dwell on something the bigger it gets. We can’t let one bad moment spoil the good ones. We as humans tend to live in our negative thought patterns. The sooner we notice those negative thoughts, the sooner we can dismiss them and find the happiness that is buried below. We can control our thoughts about everything for good and for bad. The only person who can hurt our happiness in the long run is OURSELVES. Throughout our lives we store in our brain the experiences we have encountered and we store our interpretation of those experiences. Just like a fish story, when retold the fish gets bigger and bigger- I am absolutely positive that fish was 6’ tall. So it is in our brains. What we remembered and stored is many times an exaggeration and could cause detrimental repercussions when we dwell on them. We need to let them go.


  • Gratitude changes everything. If we could only remember and hold onto our good memories or even better our gratitude for our good memories, we would have a powerful arsenal. Gratitude grows when we look for it, when we talk about it and when we are truly grateful for it. Growing gratitude fills in the soul with strength and happiness and there is not room for fear, pain, or frustrations. Gandhi said, “Start being the difference you want to see in the world.” Be kind, be present, and be the happiness you want to feel- what you give to another is what you are really giving to yourself. Give without expectations. Not everyone has the same heart or expectation and at times we must give twice as much. And that is really ok. At some point in our life we will find that there is something much bigger and much better than we could have ever imagined. Choose to be your own happiness.

One Step At A Time

Kristena Eden

LDS Life Skills Parenting

3 Important Lessons from Joseph Smith to Teach our Children

Little boy lying on the floor and reading a book. The boy is aged 6. Sunny day.

Published on LDS Living
As faithful parents, we want to instill in our children principles that will guide them to reach their potential and find eternal happiness. We want them to have strong convictions of truth and be prepared to handle life. Yet to effectively teach all of that, we have to be that image as well.

Our children learn the most by watching their parents. The younger they are, the more cues they take from us. Do we want them to emulate us—behave like us, act and think like us? We all need some refining. We can look to great leaders, such as Joseph Smith, to give us inspiration. We can use his example to improve ourselves and teach our children. Here are three major characteristics Joseph Smith emulated daily that we can also strive to emulate for our children:

1. He viewed his tribulations as opportunities.

Whether we like it or not, adversity is part of life. We face problems, large and small, throughout our lives. Regardless of how spiritual we are, we have room to grow, and learning to deal with adversity is what builds character and resilience, teaching us to love others more deeply. Choosing to not react to adversity is the reason Joseph Smith was so great and effective. He did not sulk, complain, or refuse to put up with pain, frustration, or stress. He chose to accept everything as an opportunity and to use it for God’s purposes. Joseph Smith demonstrated this especially when his adversaries pulled him from his bed and tarred him. Despite the pain for himself and family during this scary time, he attended and conducted church the following morning, where a few of those adversaries were in attendance. He was able to teach them a valuable lesson that forever influenced them.

Most of us will never have to encounter such extreme trials; our challenge is to face our own unique problems in our busy lives and to react well. We can choose to see our frustrating life situations as bad luck, or we can use them as an opportunity to learn and prepare for the celestial kingdom. As we begin to see life as a learning experience, we can use each frustration as an opportunity to reach our own potential and be an example for our loved ones. We can take time to explain this concept to our children so they can also find ways to view challenges as opportunities.

2. He loved all people, not just the ones who were kind to him.

Loving others regardless of their life choices is a sign of having a deep love of our Heavenly Father. This approach takes deep character and is taught by example. We do not have control over how other people think, feel, or treat us. What we do have control over is our reaction and our viewpoint. The way people choose to live is a reflection of their character or understanding of life. It is not a reflection of their value. The prophet chose to rise with love amidst the hate, anger, and conflict he was faced with because he trusted the Lord. He did not hold resentment for any who came to church, but he welcomed them with Christlike love.

At first, staying in this place of love and belief requires great strength. But when used, often becomes a natural part of us.

Instilling in our children their infinite worth, which is not determined by their actions or social standing, will give them a foundation to treat others the same way. We just need to show them the fine line between love and fear , which will determine being ready for the celestial kingdom and the gift of salvation.

3. He loved learning.

I think Joseph’s biggest accomplishment was not a formal education but a heavenly education. However, while he did study works of men, he stated to his family that he loved being taught by the angels.

Joseph Smith told us, “Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandment of God.” But we cannot keep all the commandments without first knowing them. He also emphasized the importance of listening with the intent of being obedient.

As parents, we do not need to stop learning just because we are not in a formal school setting. Now is the time when we are free to learn whatever we desire. If we want to eat better, we can learn about health. If we want to parent better, we can read a book on parenting. If we want to learn anything in this life we can do that. Again, it is a choice. Let our children see us learning and using that education to better our lives, like they are. Let them see us make a mistake, show a repentant heart and learn, and then make it better.

There are many valuable lessons we and our children can learn from the life of Joseph Smith. As John Taylor stated in D&C 135:3:

“Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. In the short space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing it on two continents; has sent the fullness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men; gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded a great city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so has his brother Hyrum. In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated!”
Lead image from Getty Images.

Prophet Joseph’s 123s From the author: I wrote the book Prophet Joseph’s 1-2-3s so that my posterity could understand and appreciate all that Joseph Smith gave us. He is truly an inspiring example.

Find more from Master Life Coach, Kristena Eden in her book, Prophet Joseph’s 1-2-3s, available at, or at her websites, or To get a free page of ideas for teaching children emailed to you, click here.

Master Life Coach, Kristena Eden


Disappointment Friendship Life Skills

How To Survive the Family During the Holidays Part 1



Why can’t we just have one day of peace?



Question- I do not look forward to the holidays. We argue more and no one helps each other- there is no joy. Then to top that off, we have to go to the in-laws. Wow, and I thought my little family bickered a lot. Please, please give me some ideas on how we can make it through the holiday season and not end up getting a divorce or permanently grounding the kids?


Answer – That is a good question. This should be a time when we can spend more quality time together. A time when we should relax, distress, and just have fun. And yes at times it does feel like an impossibility to feel even just a small amount of peace.


Scholars have dedicated years of study and research insight into this family dynamic. Following the advice from them, found below, can perhaps help us find the peace that seems to be illusive. I have separated the life changing information into 5 blogs. 1- De-emphasize the materialistic part of the holiday 2- Setting our differences aside for the time being 3- Acknowledge our own needs and limitations 4- Finding fault and 5- Speaking our mind. The first is found below:


Research shows that unhappy people are more materialistic. When we are less satisfied with life, we tend to try and fix it by buying something. That does work for the ride home, and then we start feeling that same feeling of emptiness. We may also try to fix it by attending every party or gathering we can, to feel that we belong. Another attempt to make life seem happier is to be the best decorator on the block.

If you are feeling any or all of this, it is time to take a deeper look at why we are really celebrating the holidays.


De-emphasize the materialist part of the holidays. Good questions to ask your self are:

  • What do I really want?
  • Do I want the house decorated and if so why?
  • Is it for prestige or celebration?
  • Will it bring lasting memories?
  • Is it to outdo the neighbors?
  • Can it be just simple enough that even the kids want to help?
  • If you want to do an activity and no one else in the family does, then it might be time to reevaluate how much it means to you.
  • If you still want it, then ask them if it is fair to have everyone pitch in if they didn’t want it? (This could be an act of love from all sides freely given if it isn’t overdone)
  • Ask the same question when it comes to feeling that you have to give all the neighbors a gift. That is a nice sentiment and it makes others feel welcome, yet is it really too stressful and is it really needed?
  • What other traditions are expected that really do not bring you or your family joy?


This time of year especially can make us feel that we are not good enough. We have in our mind that we will only be good enough if we decorate, make goodies, buy everyone a gift, go caroling, send cards, and we definitely have to have an elf. In reality our value is not linked to all of this commercialism. We are of much greater worth than that. Just having the memories of simple family traditions and of having time together is what will really last. (If that includes and elf, then so be it.)

  1. One of the ways to be able to de-emphasize the materialism is to stay present.
  2. Don’t worry about the future because that causes anxiety.
  3. Don’t keep thinking about the past because that can cause depression.
  4. Staying focused on what is present in front of you and only what you can do at this moment will take away so much stress.


Get the free download to help you find what is a real priority and what needs to go. This would be good to have all family members fill out. That will help get everyone on the same page.

Peace and love can be found in the holidays, one step at a time.

Anger Disappointment Friendship Life Skills

Living In An Antisocial Society

Living in an Antisocial Society?

Am I Standing in a Crowd All Alone?

Question – We have moved a few times in the past and usually have lots of friends. But in our new location, we have a hard time finding friends. We are labeled and uninvited to gatherings; we hear rumors about our family. We are told to our face and online that we do not belong. We tried a lot of different things to change this but I feel we are just different than “most“ of the people in our new life. Is it just us? What can we do to really feel we belong?


Answer – We do live in a time where so many people are more mobile. It may be because of the refugee movement or it could be that we live in a more mobile lifestyle than there has been in recent history. But we are complex people and no real single reason exists for being without friends or not being accepted into a new society. So to keep this short, we will just hit on a few ideas and share some possible ideas in order find a solution or even an acceptance of reality. A couple of things to consider is, what part of the problem are we? Or is it that others lack the understanding or ability. Others may not have the skills, time, or energy to include more people into their circle.

Some more insight to think about:


Shaming Privately or Publicly- We live in a time when we can, and maybe have, been shamed or humiliated in public or private.  We can feel this shame at such a deep level because we are bombarded with social media, the radio, TV and gossip. With all of the ease of publicity, we risk losing our reputation and respectability almost instantaneously. Our standing can fall so fast that we have no opportunity to share who we really are before our good reputation is gone. We even have a name for this type of risk and abuse: cyber bullying and harassment. We have all felt the emptiness of wanting to belong and that feeling there is something wrong and life can become unbearable. At times we believe that people have little compassion and concern. The consequences can be irreversible because humiliation is a much stronger emotion than either happiness or even anger.

Here is the time that we need to take a step backwards and reevaluate the situation and ourselves. We are all in this world together and we all share the same fears the same struggles and the same need to belong. We are all more than just our online reputation or more than what we even may appear.

If we do not take the opportunity to get to know people and look for the good in them, we may never know if they could be our new best friends. They just may have what is missing in our lives. It is okay to speak our mind in a loving kind way and it is okay to listen and learn to love and accept people not because of their mistakes but because they are human just like we are. We are all the same value. We have more alike than we have different.

Perception – How many times do we think that everyone else is already in a closed group of friends? The lonelier a person is, the more he or she tends to only notice extroverted people who have fun any place or any time – funny how we are one-sided sometimes. Somehow our mind becomes blind to all others who may be as lonely or even lonelier than we are. According to the “Journal of Nature Neuroscience,” it reveals that being lonely and isolated for too long does change the brain and prolonged loneliness can change the brain to make someone more antisocial. But our brain can be changed back when we start socializing again.

Gwyneth Paltrow told about her experience in a film she made; she had to wear this very convincing and extreme fat suit. She said later that she wore it out in public a few times, and she commented at how “invisible” she felt. No one said hello; no one made eye contact. How many people live a life of quiet desolation?

Yes, there are those groups who have their established circle and no matter how you try you cannot buy your way into it. In reality, do you want to be a part of that group? Everyone is craving for more close and loyal friends; so don’t be envious or disappointed by that group’s appearance. Easy to say, right! You may want to consider some of the following ideas in your own perception.

  • Did friends hurt you in the past?
  • Are you viewing these pains as scars or your classroom? Is it just this one moment in time?
  • What new skills do you need to learn? New customs, new food, new social norms?

Disappointment – It is a common ere for someone to get psyched about a social event and then quickly get discouraged or very disappointed because others aren’t very responsive or they even give off negative vibes. You really can’t count on just one social interaction to decide if it is really a negative experience. They may just be having a bad day. You have two choices to make in these interactions.

  • they really are out to make you miserable.
  • they are struggling with some of the same fears you are.

If you really know that they do not want to be friends, you can still choose to be happy and look elsewhere for friendship. You do not have to choose a thinking process that is destroying your own self-worth. Do not make a guess that is not to your own best interest. 

Reasonable Expectations – One big realization we need to be aware of is that we are the new people here and we should not expect people and places to be the same. The world and its people are beautiful in part due to the amazing variety.

The second expectation is cruelty and non-acceptance of others is nothing new. A reasonable expectation might even be that you know there will be some differences. Be aware of that when you are moving to a new location. Do some research about the customs, or the food, the schools, the local laws, and maybe even the social norm expectations.

A third expectation point to remember is that every one of us has differing abilities. There really are people out there that are not capable of reaching out and loving others outside of their own circle of family and friends. They may be the ones that need a friendly hello from us. Confucius tells us “The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.”

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Am I asking something of someone else that I would not do myself?
  • Am I prepared and willing to understand and act without expecting a return? (In order to have someone care about you, you must first care about them)
  • Find peace in the fact that you did what you could even if it is not reciprocated. Your value does not depend on their ability to be a friend.
  • Remember that a really good friend is one who will kindly let you know when you need to make an adjustment. Listen and evaluate your own thought process. Are you the one that needs to make the adjustment or are you the one who needs to let it go, or in a loving way, do you need to address the issue?

If you are struggling with overwhelming feelings please reach out and get some help. This can be a very hard time and a very good time to learn to be stronger and believe in your own value. Start with a free download below to find out your real friends and to help in knowing if you are the toxic one.

Choose to be the friend. One step at a time.

Kristena Eden

Take the Free Assessment that could be helpful in helping with finding a true friend.

Life Skills Marriage Parenting Perfection

Is Saying Sorry Demoting You?


I am not sure if I am way too sensitive or if others just don’t value me enough to apologize for their wrong doings. Perhaps we should just except they will never apologize and move on. Yet there is still so much deep pain.


On the other side of the question, when we become aware that we have truly wounded someone, we need to apologize. That doesn’t mean that an apology is always warranted. It is not necessary to keep saying “I’m sorry’ for everything.

But in answer to the question, we often feel wounded when our core fear has been triggered: our fear of failure or our fear of loss. A couple of thoughts to keep in mind are:

1- are they offending us because they are in a fear mode?

2- are we interpreting their actions or comments as an offense because we are in a fear mode?

Another issue we have regarding apologies is we as a society tend to view apologies as a sign of weakness.

In fact they require great amount of character strength.

A sincere apology offered and accepted is one of the most profound interactions of the human race. It is a powerful builder of damaged relationships. Even with that, we tend to not give it much thought. It is also one of the social skills that is often neglected when teaching our children and may even be a skill that most of us as adults have not learned very well.

To say we are sorry can make us feel our deepest fear: that we have failed or made a mistake.

How can we admit that we are lacking in some way?

How can we admit that we also struggle with fears and that we are not perfect?

Maybe we fear that if we say sorry that others will take liberty and offend us again. That is a fear of loss- maybe a loss of self-worth, or a loss of our standing in our community.

And on the other hand, a direct personal offense is the hardest to find peace around. Whether we have been ignored, belittled, betrayed, humiliated or talked down to, we can feel we have been diminished. That can validate our fear of not being good enough. It can validate that just maybe we are not capable of being who we thought we could be.

There are some very good reasons to apologize. Keep in mind we apologize not just for the other person, but also for ourselves.

  • The biggest reason to apologize or accept an apology it to restore relationships, whether with an intimate relationship or it could be that other people just need to feel some peace in their lives.
  • Some need to rid themselves of the guilty conscience. They are feeling ashamed, and they need some self-respect back.
  • You may have an empathic reason for apologizing. You regret that you lost some integrity in your own life.

Whatever the reason for the apology, it does take the shame of your offense and redirect it to yourself. It helps you, the offender and offended, to come to grips with understanding your own fears as well as the fears of the other person.

Just knowing that we are all of equal value, makes the apology and acceptance easier. None of us has more value than another. This thought process allows us to better understand and give love and forgiveness.

We can all make a mistake.

We can all ask to start again.

Just admitting that a moral code has been violated, creates a stronger moral ground.

It is not as easy as it sounds, nor is it as hard as it sounds. The following is a guideline to make a sincere apology that will make a difference for all involved.

  • Acknowledge to yourself; then to others that you really may have made a mistake.
  • It needs to be specific and very sincere.
  • Tell why you offended them. Promise that it won’t happen again and MEAN it.
  • The other person needs to know that they can be safe with you in the future.
  • This is the hardest part: the offender needs to feel soul-searching regret, which would mean if they could go back and redo it differently, they would.
  • Is there a debt that needs to be settled? How can the damage be repaired?

Nelson Mandela was a man considered having great character and integrity. He apologized for atrocities committed by the African National Congress. And he was not even responsible for that struggle.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

He knew the important of an apology for the healing process.

The biggest stumbling block to saying you’re sorry is that most of us have a belief that apologizing is a sign of weakness or it is a sign that we are guilty. In reality we are not better off ignoring or denying our offenses because they will not go away. The truth is that to apologize and making amends requires strength of character, because it makes us vulnerable yet we are still good people. The same principle is true of the offended. It takes strength of character to forgive and still love.

One Step At A Time.

Life Skills Marriage

What is Your Problem Anyway???

Spouse Communication Struggles 101

Question: It seems like my wife and I speak different languages. She argues with whatever I say. She doesn’t seem to understand my real meaning. It’s as if she purposely takes the opposite view. What is so hard about just talking or just hearing what I am saying?

Answer: That is a good question and one that is a daily battle between husbands and wives. According to Deborah Tannen, Ph.D in her book, You Just Don’t Understand, men and women are on different wavelengths or different hormonal functions.

Her research shows that this communication struggle goes beyond just the exchange of words and socialization.

There are several core communication differences.

These range from: eye contact, staying on tract, activities, emotions, data, body language, priorities, behavior patterns and internal processing.

But in order to increase the ability to communicate, we must understand how the other gender typically communicates. It is easy to misunderstand or misinterpret what is being said because we assume their perspective would be the same as ours. The following are some tendencies on these differences:

Eye Contact and Body Language

Even from birth a baby girl will make more eye contact than a baby boy. They pay more attention to facial expressions and body language.

They will notice when mom is upset long before a baby boy will notice. It is not really a women’s intuition necessarily. From the beginning women have been nurturers naturally, so they pay more attention.

Because of this innate characteristic, women tend to be more empathic and deal with life more from an emotional point rather than from just data.

Staying on Tract and Activities

Men have a tendency to not remain focused as much as women do, but their versatility can be helpful in certain situations, especially in an emergency.

Men also bond through activities. They can feel a connection in sports or projects, but women feel that same bond through talking. As a consequence women tend to talk a lot more than men.

Women need a deep emotional connection with others and they get this through verbal communication. Men get it through activities.

Priorities and Behavior Patterns

Just by nature, women have a tendency to be the nurturer. That doesn’t mean that some people can’t have a role change.

We are not all the same.

These are generalizations from scientific studies. The male patterns of communication usually follow first instinct to fix everything not just talk about it, with the idea of get it fixed so you don’t have to keep bringing it up.

Fix it and move on.

Men also tend to make decisions quicker than women. They feel that asking for advice may be demeaning.

Women can put their ego aside when communicating because they are more interested in bonding than exchanging data. For a man to communicate, he is more interested in the exchange of data and leaves out the emotion.

Internal Processing

From the beginning of time, society and hormones have dictated that the man is the protector and provider.

Though this does not always play out in our society, men generally are bigger and stronger in stature. Their hormones dictate they are more aggressive.

Because of their internal build, they do not need the emotional part of life to do what is required of them. It is the emotional part that would be helpful to be learned.

Women, because of their hormonal make up, tend to be more emotional and service oriented. Yet they could learn from men how to remain unoffended.


Wouldn’t it be great if we could put us all in a bottle, shake it up and be more alike.

Yet in reality these differences are complementary. Life is more interesting when there are differences.

The best way to become our better selves is to learn and understand others. Put ourselves in their shoes.

Learning to communicate with the opposite sex can be a challenge and an opportunity. To better understand this concept, see the free download included later. It is a step-by-step diagram on communicating with power.

It works every time.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” George Bernard Shaw

Download the Free Worksheet!👇🏼

Disappointment Hope Life Skills Perfection

6 SOLUTIONS When Life Feels Hopeless

By Kim Giles, And Kristena Eden on

SALT LAKE CITY — In this edition of LIFEadvice, coaches Kristena Eden and Kim Giles share tips and suggestions for those who feel hopeless and discouraged.

Client Question:

I am in my 50’s and have been on disability for three years. Part of my challenge is that I can’t do anything physical. My yard is a disaster and is a constant reminder of just how worthless I am.

My sweet little wife does everything, and I am so blessed to have her. She is not so lucky to have me.

I have been on depression medicine for eight years so I should be fine, but I’m not. I have thoughts of suicide, at least weekly. My focus is gone and I am lost as to what I should do and who I even am.

I was once a helper and a problem solver, people talked to me when they had problems to feel better. I don’t know where that person is now. What can I do at this point to get my life back?


Our Answer:

It sounds like you are feeling rather hopeless.

The most important thing when going through times of hardship, illness, grief or depression is not to lose hope.

You must hold onto belief around two things:

1) This experience is in your life for a reason, and that reason is to serve you in some way.

2) It will change, because no state lasts forever.

Victor Frankl’s book “Man’s Search for Meaning” has always helped me get through rough times, mostly because he has credibility with me when it comes to suffering.

If he found the strength (both physically and mentally) to survive a concentration camp, torture and I’m sure horrible discouragement, then I can do it. Frankl said that, “suffering ceases to be suffering in the moment it finds meaning.”

What he meant was if you see every experience as here for a purpose, to serve your growth, it makes it at least count for something, which helps.

I would recommend you sit down with some paper and answer Frankl’s question to his fellow prisoners after the war,

“Can you write down 10 positives this experience has created?”

When you can see the ways this might be making you stronger, wiser, kinder or more compassionate toward others, you will see life as a wise teacher trying to educate you; you will see this whole experience from a more positive perspective.

But when your challenge is one that most likely will last the rest of your life, I have another suggestion (and I have a health problem like this myself, so I know how discouraging it can be). In this situation you must focus on this hour or this day — and no more. If you try to carry the weight of all the coming years today, it will crush you.

Don’t think about the long haul. Focus on getting through this hour as positively as you can and keep doing this every hour.


Hanging On to Hope

Claritypoint coach Kristena Eden interviewed an inmate from the Utah State Penitentiary recently to talk about hanging on to hope (since this is a place where life often feels hopeless).

These are some other key principles that came to light.

Ready to Get Started?

We’re excited to work with you and help you find the hope you may feel is missing. Take a few minutes to fill out the Personal Assessment and let’s start the process together!

6 Unique Ways to Hang on to Hope

1. Keep believing there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Allow room in your heart for dreaming about better times. It is easy to let our dreams go because we just feel they are impossible or we are not good enough to accomplish them. But take a look around your world today.All the amazing technology and the conveniences we now enjoy were at one time thought to be impossible.

If you can dream, then you can hang onto hope.

2. Give sincere encouragement to others.

This is a big one.

Giving encouragement to others is one of the greatest ways to validate them and make them feel valued.You don’t have to agree with what they are choosing in their life, but a few minutes to just ask questions and listen to them can make a world of difference. When other people feel that you care about them, they feel better and you do to.Even when you can’t do much physically, as long as you can talk you can encourage others. Lifting others lifts ourselves.

3. Replace destructive thoughts with positive ones.

Your thoughts are the building blocks of your quality of life. Your thoughts become feelings, so you want to monitor your thinking and recognize when negative thoughts show up, you have the power and agency to embrace them or replace them.In my book “Choosing Clarity,” I teach a four-step process for choosing trust and love in any moment.Trusting your value as infinite and absolute and that this situation can’t change it. Trust this experience is here to teach you something (and bless you in some way).Choose to see all people as the same (having the same value).

Choose to focus on love for yourself or others right now. You can’t stay in a negative place with a trust and love focus.

4. Be an overcomer, not just a survivor.

A survivor is still a victim, an overcomer is a victor who understands it was just a lesson and you were meant to get through. Overcomers don’t complain about the hardship forever because they leave it in the past.

5. Focus on gratitude.

It doesn’t matter how bad things seem, they could be worse. There are always things to be grateful for.Sometimes it’s things you are grateful you don’t have, as much as for what you do have. Count your blessings (especially the small ones) every day and you can’t slide into hopelessness as deeply.

6. Keep your confidence, you are meant to overcome this.

You are not in this place to fail or be crushed. You are here to grow and meant to find solutions, courage and strength to get through.The answers you need are around you somewhere, but they may require work and effort to find and only when your lesson is done. For now stay solution focused not problem focused and ask for help from every resource and person that shows up in your path.

Stay optimistic, because pessimism doesn’t help. “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. One step at a time! One Step At A Time

Nothing can be achieved without hope and confidence” — Helen Keller.

Core Living Essentials on Facebook



Life Skills Suicide

It is Perfectly Okay to Admit You Are Not Okay


Question – There are days that I just don’t want to do this life thing any more. I hate these horrible thoughts in my head. Are they real or what is going on?     

Answer – Those thoughts can be very destructive. Yes, the thoughts are there, yet that doesn’t mean they are telling you the truth. If you or a loved one is having these thoughts or even have attempted suicide, here are some phone numbers you need to put in your phone.

Your local emergency department –

Suicide Prevention – 1-800-273-8255

Your Dr. or Their Dr. –

Your Coach –

Family members than can and are willing to help –

Clergy members –

Fill in these numbers now.

The more people are involved, the more help you can get. You can also download a free guide to help or detect if someone you are concerned about needs more help than he or she thinks at the end of this article.

The following story is a success story. We are hoping to have more of these success stories.

written by Katie

It has been a year and a half. A year and a half since I put aside my fears, pride and especially my shame. One and a half years since I walked into my doctor’s office and admitted that I had been having suicidal thoughts. No scratch that, since I had almost taken my life. Wait what? Not what you were expecting? I kinda think that’s part of the point. I haven’t really said much to anyone about it. For so long I just wanted to make it through one more day without having awful thoughts about myself or how much better off my family would be without me.

When I finally made it through those storm clouds, I had too much shame and fear to ever say anything. I did tell people that I was dealing with postpartum depression, which was scary enough to admit for me, but that was basically the extent of it. I was afraid to tell people the entire truth. I didn’t want them looking at me different or treating me like I had an infectious disease. I just wanted to be the normal Katie that people knew. More importantly, I just wanted to focus on improving myself and getting better. I wanted to be a better mother, wife and well, just a better person in general. That’s still a work in progress for me, but I have finally found the courage to tell my story.

Why do I feel a need to tell my story?


I don’t know other than the thought keeps coming to me that I need to get this out. If putting aside my vulnerability gives someone the hope or courage that they need to just make it through one more day, or better yet to say something to someone about their thoughts, then I’ve made a difference. Suicidal thoughts are real. It’s not some mythical problem that will “never happen to me or those I love”. I NEVER thought it would happen to me. Now that it has, I don’t want to be silent anymore.

 In December of 2014 we welcomed our second child into this world. He was amazing from the moment he was born, and our life has been richly blessed because of him. There are no words to describe how upside down my life turned from that moment forward though.

It was a slow and gradual process, but eventually the “s#!t hit the fan” as it were. At 6 weeks, most women have a follow up appointment with the doctor to see how things are going, and those 6 weeks leading up to that appointment were pure hell. I couldn’t sleep when he was sleeping, so I literally was getting 45 minutes of sleep a day. I felt like the worst mom in the world, constantly wondering why I had considered bringing another child into the world. I constantly had the feeling that I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t ever be a mom to 2 kids. Thoughts constantly nagged at me that my family would be better off without me. That surely my husband could find someone much better suited at being a mom than I would ever be. Then the rage started. Oh the dreaded rage! Little things would make me crazy mad and even though I knew logically there was no reason for me to be so upset, I couldn’t stop. I just couldn’t stop. I honestly thought that I was going crazy.

 And that’s where it all started. One night, my husband got home and said something that made me snap. I don’t even remember now what it was, it was so insignificant, but at the time, the rage overtook me. I slammed the door on my way out of the house that night. I left my phone at home and I had every intention of never coming back. I do not want to relive the details. I refuse to. I do not wish to be a trigger for someone else. All I know is that amongst all of the chaos going on inside my head, there was a moment of clarity. A moment where I realized just what I was doing and it scared me. It still scares me, my hands are shaking as I type this. I went home that night scared and ashamed of what I had almost done. It took every ounce of courage I could muster to tell my husband what I had done. Who wants to vocally admit that they have had thoughts of suicide? Even worse that they’ve had a plan or have tried?

 I will never forget the look on my husbands face when I told him that night. Never. Sadness came to his eyes like I’d never seen before. At first I thought it was disappointment but as time has passed I’ve realized it was sadness for me. For what I thought I was worth at the time. We agreed to go to the doctors and talk with someone. He came with me to that appointment. He came with me so that if out of fear, I couldn’t speak up he could be my voice for me. It had to be that way. Asking for help is such an unbelievably hard thing to do. I don’t regret that decision.

 The very first thing that the doctor told me I needed to do was to start exercising. 7 days a week I needed to be exercising. I was also told I needed to start taking care of myself. That meant eating right, getting enough sleep, and in my case taking some medication to help my hormones get back on track.

That’s really where my journey began. I walked away from that appointment scared and afraid of what lay ahead for me, BUT I was also armed with what I needed to at least start the process of healing. In the weeks following my appointment, I did the things I was told by my doctor and it started to work. Slowly, I started to see some of the old me coming back. One night my husband approached me about doing a bodybuilding competition. He said he had considered doing one, but that he didn’t want to do it by himself and asked if I would be interested in doing it with him. Anyone that knows me well, knows that I’m willing to try anything once especially if it’s to support someone else in their goals. So, not really understanding what I was getting myself into, I said I would.

The following few days were spent researching just what exactly I had agreed to. I always enjoyed working out, but when it came to nutrition I had NO idea what I was doing. I stumbled upon an awesome nutrition site that gave us tips to incorporate into our daily routine to help successfully reach our goals in a healthy way.

 At first it was all about getting into a routine. I hated getting up at 5 to go workout before the kids woke up. I hated planning the menu for 5 meals a day for a week, the grocery shopping for it all and then the meal prep that literally took ALL DAY to do. Worst of all, I hated looking at myself in the mirror because I hated myself. I couldn’t even make eye contact with myself. I hated all of it, but I knew that I had to do it. I never wanted to go back to that hell that I had been living in, and these were the steps I needed to take to dig myself out.

I can’t pinpoint where the shift took place, but looking back I know that it did. Somewhere along the way, I came to love what I was doing. The workouts gave me the positive boost of energy and outlook that I needed on a daily basis. The menu, shopping lists and food prep gave my body the right nutrients that I needed while shedding the pounds that I so badly wanted gone. More importantly, I was able to start seeing myself. I can still remember the first time that I was able to look into a mirror and not have a single negative thought come to mind about myself, and it felt good. So good!

 I have heard the comment from people so many times throughout the last little while that they couldn’t do it because ___ (insert any excuse you can think of), but people don’t realize I can’t have an excuse. I need to do this. I need to get up and workout every day for my kids, for my husband, for those I associate with on a daily basis and most importantly, for myself. I need to do it because I know what it feels like on the days that I don’t do it. There is a huge difference in the way I meet the daily challenges in my life. I need to do it because somewhere along the way, I began to realize that I AM worth it. I am worth every single minute I spend trying to become a better version of myself physically, mentally and emotionally. And I love knowing that.

So do I have any advice? Absolutely. If you’re struggling, or overwhelmed and for some reason can’t talk with those closest to you, PLEASE talk to someone. Even though you may not see or feel it, you matter. You matter to those close to you and even those that were in your life for only a brief time. It’s an awkward and hard conversation to have, believe me when I say, I’ve been there and I know. Fight for yourself because you do matter and then with every ounce of strength you can muster, find something that you love and do it. Every. Single. Day. It doesn’t have to be the same thing you’ve always done. Try something new! What could you possibly have to lose at this point? You’re bound to find something that you love and when you do, I hope you’ll start to see your life in a whole new way and truly realize just how amazing you are.

 What an inspirational story. We may not all choose to do the same thing. We may each need a different routine or process. What we all do need, is to ask for help and be consistent. You are worth it, you are amazing, and those who love you need you to do all that you can. If there is a concern with you or loved ones reach out for help and be another success story.

Anxiety Disappointment Life Skills

Life is a Paradox


Question – It seems that no matter how hard I try, I keep failing. Is there such a thing as getting ahead or even finding some peace in life? In every part of my life I continually fall short. Where is the joy and the love?


Answer – Life is a paradox, it is good and bad, it is fun and hard, it is filled with joy and sadness, it is incredibly overwhelming and sacred, we don’t want to live it, yet we don’t want to leave. Our duty in this paradox is to learn and understand our path, accept the bumps, laugh at the struggles, and keep moving forward. The very paradox of life gives us the strength to do what we were meant to do.


There have been many studies done on that very paradox, studies such as “How to be Happy”, or “How To Make Choices That Will Lift Our Life and Its Situations”. And even studies on “How To Be Successful” and “How To Have a Perfect Love Life.”


The only problem with these studies is that we are human. And for us to fit into that perfect “How to be Happy” profile, we would have to very consistent, be very un-human. There isn’t such a paradigm that makes us the same day after day.These studies are helpful and have useful info but it is up to us to make them apply to our lives, so maybe our goal should be to see the paradox, appreciate it, and learn to have peace in it.


According to Professor Jason M. Satterfield, we can find our place and our peace in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. In simpler terms, we can retrain our brain to be more productive and happier in our lives and our relationships.


Have you ever taken the time to monitor your thoughts? Scientists have estimated that your brain will produce around 70,000 thoughts per day (Laboratory of Neuro Imaging). It works whether we are aware of it or not. Our thoughts go from one subject matter to another in a split second. And our human brain habitually travels to the negative thoughts with out much prompting. We have a tendency to gravitate to the lowest common denominator of our negative thoughts. It is when we choose to stay in these negative thoughts that we find ourselves stuck or lacking motivation or even lacking the ability to see that there could be a way out. Is there a way out?


When we stay stuck, we find ourselves depressed, anxious, tired, frustrated, and angry or maybe we just no longer care.


It is possible to train our brain to think differently and to see or perceive things differently. If that is the case and we can train our brains to be more of what we want to be, then why do we choose to not train that brain? That is a good question. The following are some tips on how to train your brain. It’s up to you to choose to do it.


Observe your thoughts. Take a few minutes just to think about your thoughts. If you are having a hard time getting past all the negative thoughts, then start there. Write down the thoughts when they come. If you are having some very detrimental thoughts, you may need someone to help or to just listen. Write down as many as you can. You will come back to this list later. Our brains tend to drive us to seek the short-lived comfort of satisfaction in the here and now. Our brains follow habitual patterns. Our subconscious mind is automatic and it is fast. Yet it is not as strong as our conscious mind.


Make a gratitude list. This may be a short list to begin with and that is okay. Keep adding to it as time goes on. It could be just the fact that there is a nice cool breeze or that you have a doughnut you do not have to share. This list is a good starting point to change the automatic responses that are not serving us. It focuses our brain on the thoughts that will project us out of being stuck into a more successful arena. The more we practice our gratitude list, the more comfortable our subconscious thoughts become to this new pattern. With this repetition, the brain will eventually “believe” the behavior and thought patterns and start integrating them into our lives automatically. Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy.


Decide specifically what you want. If you know that you are stuck, then deep inside you know what keeps you there, or you must know where you would rather be. If your job feels pointless, then maybe you want a job that is more exciting. Write down exactly what that would look like.


Rewrite the stories you tell. If we have a belief that everything in life is a tragedy, then most likely that is the way it would be. If it’s never our fault, we can’t take responsibility for it. If we can’t take responsibility for it, we do not have the power to improve it. In this space, you feel sorry for yourself and feel that everything and everyone is against you. Think about this scenario. It does feel comfortable or pleasurable for a time, especially if you have played the victim for most of life. There will be more pain in trying to change that feeling at first. Break away and you will find that being in control of your choices feels even better. In the free download there are step-by-step directions on how to get out of the victim mentality and start rewriting your more productive story. We all have our own classroom and our own stories. Write yours the way you want it written.


Live your new stories one day at a time, one moment at a time. When we know what we want and we have our new stories written, we can now break them down into doable goals- one goal at a time. And when we do make a mistake, just remember that is just another opportunity to learn. We can start again, refine and rework. We have spent a lifetime of believing our automatic thoughts, when in reality they are no more than just thoughts that may not serve us. Thoughts lead to feelings, which lead to actions. Build a new pattern and a new life. It is the very thing that we have felt is keeping us stuck that will help us to become strong if we choose to take the responsibility for that change within ourselves.

Kristena Eden


An Honest Marriage or Trust on Any Level

Question – In our relationship, we have no trust on any level. My wife is constantly accusing me of taking money from her wallet. And I think she is always talking on the phone to her many boyfriends. She says she does not have a boyfriend, yet she is gone far too long to have really gone where she says she is going. I want this to be different, yet it feels totally hopeless. How do I get her to be trustworthy?


Answer – Trust within a relationship covers many areas of our lives. Yet it is all encompassing in that nothing in a relationship works if there is a lack of trust. Without trust, there would be no relationship at all. There are various forms of mistrust, which can severely strain relationships. The most apparent is a cheating partner. Yet that is not the number one concern with trust in most relationship. Nor does that feeling start here.


Mistrust can occur if one person is dishonest with his or her choices or not even keeping promises that have been made. It could be that your partner just does not have your best interest at heart. This can trigger the feeling of loss. If they don’t have your best interest in their heart, you may feel they will abandon you or betray you.


The biggest concern is the self-fulfilling prophecy. If people are accused enough for doing something they have not done, they may start to consider doing it. That is a choice that comes from the fear of not being good enough. Their thought may be ‘because that is what they believe me to be, then maybe I really am not good enough to change me or their thoughts of who I am’. Maybe we feel we are not good enough to be their partner or maybe they will never be what I need. They are not good enough.


This is a vicious cycle. Yet there is hope to change this cycle. The keys to change the mistrust cycle are: better communication, understanding, empathy, and then a very important component is to trust yourself and your own life.


Better Communication – The problem with communication is that most people assume it has happened. Keep in mind that both sides need to feel there has been some good communication. Both sides need to feel understood.

Here is a communication formula:

  • Choose to see this person as an equal. When you view yourself as better or worse than another person, you make choices that are not beneficial.
  • Set your stuff aside and just listen. Listening is the biggest form of validation. Even if you have to tell another person “NO” you don’t like that, they will feel good about it if you have listened to them.
  • Ask questions about their thoughts or concerns. Be interested to learn their side of the story.
  • This is the most important. Ask them if you can share your advice and ideas. If you ask, then they have to be invested in your answer. If they say no, then don’t share. They usually get so curious, they soon come back and say, OK, tell me your ideas. Then they will be ready to listen.
  • Repeat until all participants feel they have been understood.


Understanding – Do not finish the communication cycle until you have an understanding of where they are coming from. Why are they making the choices they are making? What do you need to change and do differently? Understanding is not an easy thing nor is it easy to know when there is a good understanding on all sides.


Empathy – Try to determine if the needs of your partner are being met. What is it like to be in his or her shoes? This is not to just feel sympathy, it is to get deep into his or her understanding so you can breathe and cry with them.


Trust Yourself and Your Life- When you are struggling to believe in yourself, it is hard to see the rest of the world as it really is. It appears as if it is dark and others don’t love us or they are just trying to get what they want from us.


All of us have our own path we need to follow. And we have our own tool set. We do not walk another person’s path nor do we use another person’s tools. If we can understand that one principle, we more easily see that we are good enough for what ever we need to do. We have the tools we need for our paths today. Truly believe that principle and it will take away the fear of not trusting in yourself or your life. There are no mistakes, only opportunities to learn. The lack of trust is a good place to learn more about yourself and about your partner.


Don’t get overwhelmed by all of the misunderstanding and mistrust; just ask yourself what is the right choice at this very moment. What is more important at this moment? Is it more important to just love your partner or is it more important to teach them a lesson about trust? At this moment, what do you need to let go of and what do you need to change in yourself?

Stephen Covey- “I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”

You can choose trust.

Kristena Eden


Parenting is not what I expected! What Happened?


Question: I am a mother of four children and I thought that being a mother would be so filled with love and togetherness. What happened? It is about as opposite as it can get. I am exhausted and there seems to be constant arguing and very little cooperation. It has to be different than this, or at least some form of peace somewhere. Is there any hope of love? What am I doing wrong or am I doing anything right?


Answer: Expectations in life can be totally different than reality. This can throw us off and prevent us from really seeing the situation. Yet there are some key elements that we need to put into place to grow that love and peace we seek while raising our families.


These elements are: communication, trust, time spent, and our fears and how we can put them onto our children. We have children so we can learn and understand the power of unconditional love. Few relationships require as much from us as being a parent. What a growing experience this can be. And it needs to be on purpose not just occasionally when we are in the mood. You cannot become rigid believing that you have to be perfect. It means that you stay tuned into each child and learn to feel their hearts. Do not be so authoritarian that the child does not matter. Do not be so permissive that a child learns that they are the center of the universe.


Communication – A big part of communication is to LISTEN and LISTEN and LISTEN some more. If a child feels understood they will then accept a “no” easier. If you want a child to believe you then listen to them. You do not have to agree but it is imperative to try and understand. There is a free download of a diagram showing step by step a communication format that works every time. It is called “Communicating with Power” The more you practice the more it brings trust, understanding and love. Communicate clearly and directly, be an active listener, be present, pay attention to non-verbal cues, be positive and lifting.


Trust – This is a characteristic that needs to be taught by example. Be open and honest. Some things you shouldn’t share until your child is able to handle the subject matter. Yet do not instill any misunderstandings. Do not be afraid to admit you do not know all of the answers. Be sincere and genuine. The best lesson is to say you are sorry when you have made a mistake. Acknowledging your inadequacies and mistakes will form a mutual trust and will teach your children to respect and trust you. You need to be consistent, and reliable. Do what you said you would do. Do not go by mood or situation. Live your principles and let your children know what your principles are.


Time spent – This can be different for every family. For some it is to play games, do sports or play music together. Time spent together can be the glue that holds a person together in hard times. You will find that the ways your family spend time can change throughout your life. As children and parents age then family time can change also. It is just important to have the time to grow and bond. This time spent can be one-on-one or as a group. Both are important for the growth of all. It is easier to spend fun and work times together than to just preach and teach.

Quality time is when you and they are present. No multi-tasking. Just time together.


Fear – We all as humans struggle with the same fears. The fear of not being good enough and the fear of loss. These fears seem to be passed from one generation to the next. We tell our children, “Don’t do that” Or “Can’t you be like someone else”. We can also learn these fears from pears or from the media. We don’t look like the movie stars, or we aren’t as smart as the child in the next chair. Yes, they do need to learn boundaries and they do need to learn self-love in order to live in society. Our fear can teach us what our next step needs to be. We need to name our fear and even help our children to name theirs. That gives us the opportunity to learn more and it opens the opportunity to make changes that can grow a stronger relationships. It can grow stronger children and parents, specially if we share and try to understand. Your child’s fear can trigger your fear and visa versa. This makes a good topic for discussion when your child is old enough.


Parenting is a learning process. Some people are lucky in that they learn how to parent from great parents. Others aren’t so lucky. The process of life is different for us all and that is good. Learning to parent can be an amazing journey for both parent and child. Keep loving, keep saying you’re sorry, keep teaching, keep learning, that is what the journey is all about. The speed to arrive is not as important as the direction we go.

“Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.” unknown



What Kind of Love Do You Feel?

Question: I often ask my husband if he loves me. I am not sure why I feel that love is lacking in our relationship. He seems at times very passionate and then the next minute, it’s like I don’t exist. I really doubt at times that he sincerely does love me.


Answer: That is a good question. All of us at times in our lives have asked that same question. Maybe we could look to the Ancient Greeks to help us understand love. In the same breath we say we love caramel chocolates, and we love the cool breeze on a hot day and we love our spouse. So, do we love caramel the same as, or more than our spouse?


Love is a complicated emotion and it plays on our deepest fear if we don’t understand it. And it is very difficult to understand.

The Greeks divided this word and emotion into at least four different loves: Agape, Phileo, Storge, and Eros.


Agape – is an unconditional love that goes beyond the surface. This describes those who love regardless of their flaws, shortcomings or faults. And is the type of love that every person would like to have for the human race. Even if you do not “love” a person, you can still have for love for them. You can still sacrifice expecting nothing in return. This form of love is considered a verb. This is where a person chooses to be committed. C.S Lewis calls this stage “Do you want my cake?”


Phileo – is more of a brotherly love. It is an affectionate, and tender platonic love. This describes the love between two people who have common interests and experiences. This word is translated as a noun. It is also a chosen and a committed love. C.S Lewis calls this stage “The punch on the side”


Storge – is a love between parents and their children; the love that members of the family or a strong friendship has. It is one of the stronger loves, because it involves a commitment that relies on a dependent. This is unconditional love and makes you feel secure, comfortable and safe. And is a type of love that is toxic to a marriage if it is more like the relationship of mother and son, or a father and daughter. C.S. Lewis calls this stage “The frosting on the cake”


Eros – is a passionate and intense love that arouses romantic feelings. This love gives you a chemical high. It is simply emotional and a sexual love. Eros love is that insatiable desire to be near your loved one. This is more like, “I love how you make me feel.” C.S Lewis calls this stage “My cake!” And is a type of love may not last unless a commitment is kept long enough to allow it to evolve to the other loves previously mentioned. If the love does not transfer, we often easily to give up on a commitment and just say I don’t love them anymore. If a commitment is kept, the love journey can evolve to have all of the types of love, which is required to keep a relationship for a longer time. Most relationships start in Eros alone and only evolves to more when a commitment is kept.


Here are some rules to help build your love:


  • Never take each other for granted.
    1. To take someone for granted means that you are not appreciating the ways the person contributes to the quality of your life or the relationship.
    2. Not being considerate to your partner’s feelings indicates a lack of appreciation.
    3. Feeling fear in yourself that you are not worthy of love can leave both sides feeling empty.


  • Never shy away from positive criticism.
    1. There is nothing pleasant about criticism. Yet given and taken in the spirit of love and trust it can build more meaning between you.
    2. Let go of your ego or your fear of appearing weak.
    3. Remember that you are each other’s best friend in that you can help each other rise to become better people.
    4. Learn from the criticism and learn to give it in a loving manner.


  • Be the shoulder to lean on.
    1. We all need someone to lean on.
    2. We don’t have to agree with all they say; yet we can listen.

Love is many things to many people. Real love does not come with boundaries or stipulations. It cannot be bought or sold; yet it comes only with work and commitment. Love comes to those who believe in it.

Marriage Perfection

Is Your Marriage or Life Broken?

By Kim Giles and Kristena Eden, Contributors


When my husband and I were first married we were so happy. It seemed like everything was easy and he could do nothing wrong. Now it seems like he purposefully tries to make my life miserable or at least doesn’t care how I feel. I have less and less respect for him and we fight more often. I think our marriage is completely broken. Is there a way to get back that love we once had?


There are ways to create more love, respect and attraction in your marriage, but it probably won’t ever be like it was at the beginning, nor should it, because it could be something even better.

In the book “The Lifecycle Stages of a Marriage” by Barbara Markey, ND, Ph.D., she explains that relationships proceed in three basic stages. We call them the newlywed stage, the cooperative stage and then the endearing stage.

The newlywed stage is the stage of romance and giddy feelings. We are high and the love hormone is racing. We feel that nothing can go wrong. This stage is filled with passion, and we find it easy to give and give, fulfilling all our partner’s needs. We tend to romanticize and idealize the “idea” of marriage in this stage. Here, we think because we have the perfect partner we will stay in this stage forever. When this stage starts to shift and change to the next stage, we sometimes feel our love is broken.

The cooperative stage is the problem-solving stage. Here, you both start putting most of your efforts into your jobs, raising kids or paying the bills. You may even feel that you’re more in a business relationship than a marriage.

This is a stage of utility where you are trading services and here, you have to work at remembering why you even married. You may forget who you are here, and life may be filled with stress and fear. You may have fear you are not good enough and fear of loss that makes your spouse feel like the enemy. You may feel that you have lost real love, but that is only because it’s different than before and the sacrifices and struggles of this stage may feel overwhelming.

It is at this stage you need to remember that every worthy end we obtain comes with great work. As Thomas Edison states, “The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.”

It takes a great deal of common sense, hard work and maturity to get through this stage of life still admiring and caring for each other. As you and your spouse work your way through this part of life, your character is tested and you will have many opportunities to see your spouse at their best and worst. You will watch them growing, stumbling, rising and learning in the classroom of life. You will have many opportunities to be forgiving in this stage and give your spouse space to learn and be a work in progress — since that is what you both are.

You will also have many opportunities to ask forgiveness for your mistakes, faults and flaws. Hopefully as you both fight your way through this stage and life’s challenges you will begin to admire each other and focus on the goodness you have inside you. This begins to create the final stage.

The endearing stage is the last and best stage. This is the most stable of all the stages and the most rich. This is where you begin to truly know and love the other person. You thought you loved them at the beginning, but you now realize that was just infatuation and attraction, it wasn’t real love.

Real love is about admiring, respecting, appreciating and honoring the intrinsic worth of this amazing human being your married. It is truly caring for them and their happiness as much as you care about your own (or even more.) It is a space where you love their character, their virtues, their talents, their quirks, their faults and their weaknesses. You now understand both their light and their darkness, but you choose to forgive their faults and completely embrace their light. This is a stage of mature love, understanding and wisdom.

By the time you reach this stage, you have probably better learned how to communicate and solve problems together. It is here that you finally know who you are and also who you married. You have learned how to lift each other and how to understand each other at a deeper level. Your expectations are no longer fantasized, they are now realistic, understandable and acceptable. You have arrived at a place of peace. Not perfect bliss with no problems, but a place of deep devotion and connection.

What is the key to making it through the broken times and achieving the enduring stage?

It lies in focusing on admiration for their efforts, their striving, their intentions and their intrinsic worth. They won’t ever be perfect and they will continually disappoint you (as you will them), but if you will focus on their goodness and give them the same level of forgiveness and compassion you want back, you can get here. Here are a few other suggestions:

  1. Get professional help at the first sign of trouble. Don’t wait years (like so many do) until the hurt is deep and the wounds are mortal. A little help from an expert, right now, can make fixing your relationship much easier and faster. If you haven’t found someone you both like, keep looking and find someone who can work with you both individually so your focus stays on fixing yourself, not your spouse.
  2. Figure out what your spouse’s fears are and identify the fears your spouse triggers in you. There is a free download that will help you do this. Once you understand the fears, you will understand what triggers them, and you will also know what needs to change.
  3. Spend time together. Marriage and family therapist Brett Williams says that real love comes down to attention. You cannot create real enduring love without spending lots of time and attention on your spouse. Remember what you did when you were first in love and do that again. What made the two of you laugh? What made you both feel loved? Make sure you acknowledge, listen well, validate and build up your spouse.
  4. Make a date night. Have at least one a month without any kids.
  5. Find a hobby or fun activity to do together.
  6. Surprise your significant other. For no reason at all give a gift, do a chore for them or give a back rub. Let them know you are thinking of them and desire to serve them.
  7. Daily good mornings or good nights. Greet each other when you come and go each day. Give a hug, a smile or a kiss, a simple reminder that yes, life is overwhelming, but I still love you.
  8. Listen and listen, and listen some more. Listening is the most powerful way to show a person you value them. Spend lots of time here and honor and respect their right to see the world the way they do.
  9. Make sure your spouse feels appreciated, admired, respected and wanted daily. Work on a better intimate relationship — a good one takes time and effort. Thank them often for every little thing they do for you and the family. Tell them often about the character traits you see in them and admire. Tell them how lucky you are to be married to them.
  10. Remember that your spouse is the same as you. No matter how many or which faults each of you has, your intrinsic worth is still the same. Make sure you never talk down to or insult this amazing, miraculous, one-of-a-kind soul you married. Build them up and help them to see their potential. Positive encouragement creates more change than criticizing ever will.

Most broken marriages do need some professional intervention to repair though. I highly recommend that you seek out a trained coach, therapist or counselor to work with. Some people stubbornly insist they can fix the relationship on their own, but it will happen faster and with less pain if you get some professional help.

You can do this.

IF you feel you need some help check our my coaching page. Take the free assessment

Kristena Eden


Anger Marriage

Is Anger Ever a Good Thing in a Relationship?


SALT LAKE CITY — In this edition of LIFEadvice, Coach Kim and Coach Kristena Eden help you understand why anger is a choice and how to stop it.

I am a good person, but I do lose my temper and get excessively angry at times and often take it out on my kids and spouse. I don’t understand why this happens and I don’t know how to stop doing it. It is not the person I want to be. Do you have advice on this?

When you get angry and lose your temper, it’s usually because one or both of your core fears has been triggered. Your two core fears are:

1. The fear of failure (the fear you won’t be good enough) and

2. The fear of loss (the fear your life won’t be good enough).

The fear of failure is about feeling insulted, unloved, unvalued, unappreciated or unwanted. The fear of loss is a fear that you won’t have what you need, want or deserve, so you feel mistreated, cheated, robbed, short-changed or taken from at some level.

Take a minute and think about the last time you were angry. Did you feel dishonored or mistreated in some way? Was it a fear of loss issue, or a fear of not being loved, honored or appreciated issue? Do you find yourself feeling this same way often? Do you have an easy button to push in this area?

Your children trigger your two core fears better than anyone. When they do things wrong or make messes, you will either experience fear of failure (looking bad) or fear of loss (losing them or reputation or money). That is the reason you get angry with them so often.

Most people have one core fear that is more dominant though, and is their easiest to trigger. If failure is your trigger, you might feel insulted and get defensive too easy. If loss is your trigger you might be overly protective of yourself and feel mistreated all the time. See if you can see a pattern with your anger. Are you always feeling taken from or do you get angry when you feel insulted? If you can figure out your core trigger and recognize it, you will have more power to stop it.
The problem with anger is it’s a very powerful emotion, even more powerful than love. Because of this, it can completely take over, confuse your judgment and cause some really bad, selfish behavior.

Here are some tips for getting control when anger strikes:

1. Calm down your body first
When you are angry, you experience the fight or flight response and your frontal lobe (the part of your brain that makes good decisions) shuts down. You will need to stop this physiological reaction and get your frontal lobe back on board, if you want to think your way through this maturely. You can get control by relaxing your body first. Step back, go in another room, ask for a timeout and then do some diaphragmatic breathing or relaxing muscle exercises. This is something everyone should learn to do to combat stress too. There is a worksheet on Clarity Point website with different ways you can do this. Once your physical body is calm and you are thinking straight, go on to these other steps.

2. Recognize you have a choice
It is easy to believe that external events are what made you angry. It is even easier to blame other people, especially when they annoy you or they get on your nerves. The truth is you create your emotions. Your past experiences, perspectives and subconscious beliefs cause you to attach meaning or significance to events. This often involves inaccurate meaning that drives your angry reactions. But this first reaction is never your only choice. You could stop and think through some other options. Write them down and write what the outcome of choosing each option would be. You will quickly see that anger never produces the outcome you want. There are always better ways to discuss problems, find solutions and change things.

3. Find the real problem
Anger is an indicator there is a problem. The question is, “Is it your problem or is it someone else’s problem?” Is it a problem that can be changed or influenced by you or is it beyond your control? Do you need to get help with it? Is this really even about you? Or is another person having fear issues about themselves and just projecting that towards you. If this problem doesn’t belong to you, set it down and walk away. If it does belong to you, figure out a mature, balanced, calm way to address the issue. You may want to run it past someone less emotionally involved to get some advice.

4. Use empathy to change how you feel
Empathy is the ultimate game changer. Ask yourself, why would this other (intrinsically good) person do what he or she is doing? What are they scared of or why might they feel threatened or insulted? When you start to understand the issue from their position, you may gain some wisdom on how to solve it. You may need to give the other person some validation or reassurance to calm their fears. Even being willing to let them vent and get it out may calm things down. Focus on giving love, understanding and attention to the other person, because when you are focused on love you can’t be as angry.

5. See this experience as a lesson
What can you learn from this incident? How can you use this situation to help you become a better, stronger more loving person? How were you part of the problem? What could you do differently next time? If you focus on these questions you will process your anger better and quickly get past it.

6. Get some exercise or do an activity that releases angry energy
Take a walk, go for a jog, run up and down your stairs or hit a pillow. Just getting the anxious energy out will help.

7. Remember no person or situation can make you upset or angry
It is your thoughts about the situation that create your angry feelings, and you alone are the one responsible for those thoughts, so only you can make you angry. Situations themselves also don’t mean anything until you apply meaning to them. This means there are always other perspective options that might make you feel better. When you are responsible for your anger, you also have the power to change it. Stay responsible for everything you feel.

One Step at a Time.

Kristena Eden

Marriage Perfection

The Art of Imperfection in Your Marriage


– When we first got married I believed that the guy I was marrying was so amazing, that he could do no wrong. Then as time went on I found that he is just impossible at times. How could I have been so blind? Sometimes I feel he even purposefully tries to annoy me. Is this really marriage?


Let go of what you think your marriage should be and embrace what it is. As long as you have married an imperfect human then that is marriage- imperfect. Yet there are some important keys that can change that “should have been marriage “ to a marriage of love and devotion.

I had a client who came to me with the following scenario. They wanted that perfect marriage. So they decided to try and find the problems. On a separate piece of paper for 3 days, they would write down all of their concerns or what they felt their partner needed to change to make their marriage better. After three days they shared their findings. The wife started with her very long list of things she felt he needed to change. She started I really don’t like it when you do this, or this, or this. She went on for all 6 pages. The husband became despondent and felt really hurt as she kept going on down her list. After she had finished she was feeling that maybe, finally, she was going to find some relief. She then turned to her husband and said ok now it’s your turn. He very calmly stated that he had tried and tried to find something about her that he want to change and he could not find a single thing. He then handed her the blank piece of paper. He again said that he loved everything about her. He even loved the frustrating times they had. At that moment she broke down in tears and gave him a hug. That was a life changing experience for them both.

That is the key to making your marriage perfect: A perfect place to learn, a perfect place to live and grow, and a perfect place to find that together you are good enough. The following are the gifts that you get from you imperfect marriage:


Many of us mistake love to be only a feeling, maybe even an overpowering feeling. Yet depending on our mood these feelings can go up and down. Feelings are transient so love needs to be more than just a feeling. According to social psychology, love is emotions, behaviors and cognitions all working together. This is where we need to understand that love really is a verb or that we need to do more than just feel. We need to work at it.   Questions to ask your self:

What is it that makes my spouse feel loved?

 Can I, and am I, willing to do that for him or her?

What can I do to bring more to the relationship?

  • Empathy -It is easy to fall into a rut or trap and take each other for granted. Then because of human nature, we start to notice each other’s failings. The first step to increasing empathy is to focus on his or her strengths. Turn your focus from being turned into yourself and your needs to being more turned to him and his strengths and all the good he does. Notice what he is feeling. What is in his heart? That is not easily done especially if we are hurting ourselves. Yet that is a way to change your relationship for the better. When you notice what he or she is feeling, then that is a good time to tell him what you see. When you validate his feelings that makes him feel that he really is good enough and he is important enough to you that you are noticing.
  • Connection –Recognize that even in the middle of a conflict both you and your spouse long to be seen, understood and of worth. Some key points to remember:

Respond sensitively to each other with no loud voices or blaming.

Be emotionally available. Do not let yourself get distracted when you need to be present with your partner. Make the relationship the most important. What is good for the relationship?

  • Build trust.Start with doing what you’re promised to do or if that is not possible then talk it over. Remember neither of you can read minds. Speak your mind in a kind way.
  • Find ways to renew the spark.                                                                     Try something different together or go back to when you first meet and do what you did at the time you were totally in love. 

Living with another human being is bound to bring some conflict. And the quickest way to feel stuck and not gaining peace is to avoid conflict. Yet the conflict needs to be handled in a peaceful manner.

An imperfect marriage can bring those amazing gifts of love, empathy, connection and peace. Remember we are imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, yet that doesn’t change the truth that we can have a great marriage.

Passion for Life

Are you not living the Life everyone thinks you should?


Question – I feel like a failure because I can’t seem to live up to what everyone expects of me. What is my problem?


Answer – Life can drain the happiness, motivation, and joy out of us. No matter how hard we try, we end up being less than perfect. And on top of all that, others let us know it- whether they say it behind our back or to our face. We are so often told how inefficient we are.


The larger problem could be that we start to believe them. But in reality, we should not even be following that train of thought. The question we should start with is: are we trying too hard to live their ideal and not our own true path? We are so imbedded in our fear of not being good enough that we can easily miss seeing that the real problem is we are not choosing our own path or maybe we don’t even know our path.


This cycle will repeat itself if we do not take steps to see who we are personally and start to live that life. To stop that cycle, start with the question: whose life am I living? That can be a very difficult question with hard to find answers. Below are 5 skills that can help attain those answers:


  • Who’s life am I living – Be honest; are you trying to function under their expectations and from your fear or from your strength? Write down your answer, not in an organized paper, just all of your first thoughts. Write ideas of what you love to do, what are you complimented on the most, what do you think about more often, what adventures or ideals do you fantasize about, what are your first thoughts in the morning and what are your last thoughts before you go to bed? Answering these questions will help you start seeing your personal path from a clearer perspective.


  • Stop believing your own negative thoughts – One of the hardest steps is to stop believing every bad thing we tell ourselves. Human nature means we feel we are not good enough, we can’t achieve or even be ourselves, or we believe that we have issues too hard to get past. And yes, some days even doing the dishes is impossible.


In order to change a negative thought pattern, we must notice every time a personal negative thought comes to mind and then replace it with a positive thought or even a funny thought. For example, if someone, or yourself, says your house is such a mess. Your reply could be, “You could be right, but boy I can sure cook!”


  • A lifetime of learning – This mindset is a great place to live. If you are still struggling with knowing for sure your life’s direction, then this can be an adventure. Even this perspective of adventure can make life a pleasure to live. Pick one of the thoughts or items from step 1 and pursue it. You do not have to commit to it at this point nor do you have to be perfect. You may even have doubts. Just keep in mind reading a book on this subject or talking to an expert may be just a good place to begin. Remind yourself you are on an adventure and where it leads can either bring you to a place of peace and love or it can open up many more paths to try. You have not failed until you stop the adventure. If the first item on your list doesn’t bring you happiness, then go on the next one on the list. One of the best things about being on an adventure is that it does not ask for skill level, age, or experience, just a willingness to take the first step.


  • Did you find something you love – In all of your adventures did you find something that brings a smile to your face? The only thing standing between you and your goals is the story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it or why you’re not good enough. In truth, if it brings you joy, then do it. If you are not very good at it at first, then just remember that even Olympians started at the beginning. Try it again and again and again. You do not have to be the world champion of what brings you to a better place. Just keep working it. Read more about it; ask for more help with it. But remember, most of all, do not compare yourself to others. There will always be someone better than you and there will always be someone worse than you. Your purpose has nothing to do with them. You are not finished yet and that is okay.


  • Be grateful daily even for the little things – The benefits of practicing gratitude are nearly endless. People who regularly practice gratitude experience more positive emotions, and they feel more alive. Recording these experiences keeps them closer to our minds, so we can reap the benefits over and over again. Focusing our gratitude on the people who are in our lives rather than the material items we lack, will bring us a deeper peace.


Looking for the negative experiences in your life will always lead you to the negative and you will often miss the good. Looking for even the small things in life with gratitude will open your heart to even greater things. Your heart is drawn to what you are looking for. If you want the best, look for the best and be grateful for the portions of that which does come your way. Then you will not miss the best adventure. Spend two minutes a day to reflect on gratitude and write your experiences down.


Practicing GOOD habits makes perfect, not practicing BAD habits or negative thoughts.

Remember you are not what people think of you! Your value is unchangeable and no one has ever been in your shoes. Above all, love where you are in your adventure and love who you can be, then you will be it!

Disappointment Marriage

One emotion that can destroy your marriage

By Kim Giles and Kristena Eden, Contributors

In this edition of LIFEadvice, Coach Kim and Kristena explains why disappointment can poison a relationship and how to overcome it.

My wife seems to love our children a lot more than she likes me. She isn’t enthusiastic about intimacy either, and this is a great disappointment to me. Because I don’t feel loved, I find myself frustrated and even angry towards her. I know I hurt her feelings sometimes, but I’m not happy, and this isn’t the marriage I wanted. Having said that, I also don’t want to leave. I want to keep my family together. I am trying to forgive and love her as she is, but it is hard. How am I supposed to deal with this? Is there any way to encourage her to change?

It sounds like what you want is to feel more important, loved and wanted by your wife. The trick to making this happen is to get rid of disappointment. I know it sounds illogical, but your disappointment can be relationship poison that does further damage and infuses your relationship with fear (of failure and loss).

The truth is we are all disappointed in our spouses at some level, because no one is perfect and anyone you marry is going to have some faults and flaws. There is a down side to being married to everyone, even you. When you become frustrated with your spouse’s flaws they feel this and subconsciously pull away from you to protect themselves.

This happens because all of us are battling two core fears every day, which cause most of our pain and bad behavior. The first is a fear of failure (the fear that we aren’t good enough) and this is our deepest and most painful fear, but fear of loss (the fear of missing out, being robbed or mistreated) is also painful and scary.

When you or your spouse experience either of these fears, you end up in a selfish space where your focus is primarily on yourself and getting what you need. In this space you are literally incapable of love. You can’t do fear and love at the same time.
I would guess you are both living in fear and therefore not giving enough love to the other. Your wife is probably afraid she isn’t good enough (most women are) which could make her less comfortable with intimacy. Her disinterest in spending time with you triggers your fear of loss. When you feel loss you then act disappointed in her, which makes her feel like a failure even more. This can become a vicious cycle and suck the love from the relationship.

This is fixable, but it is going to require a shift in your perspective, some forgiveness and a commitment to being more loving and validating than you ever have before. Here are some things you can do to create more positive feelings, less fear and less disappointment in your marriage:

1. Allow your emotions in and sit with them. Take some time to experience the disappointment you are feeling. You may want to journal about your feelings so you have a chance to express them without further hurting your spouse. What expectation did you have that is causing your greatest pain?

2. Ask yourself, “Are these emotions going to create what I want?” What is it going to create if you keep telling yourself this story of disappointment and continue to feel anger and resentment toward your spouse? Is this going to motivate your spouse to give you what you want?

The answer is no, it won’t. Holding onto feelings of disappointment toward your spouse will only trigger more fear of failure in your spouse, which will actually make her less loving toward you. Fear, sadness, self-pity, begging, blaming, nagging and sulking do not create loving feelings. These are fear and lack behaviors, which only create more fear and lack.

Need help but don't know where to start?

Let’s Talk! Take a few minutes and fill out a FREE Assessment to get started.

If you want more love you have to give love, encouragement, praise, appreciation, admiration, respect and kindness. These create more love.

3. Ask yourself, “How can I create what I want?” We recommend you try the encouragement approach and shower your spouse with appreciation, respect, admiration and praise. Instead of focusing on your disappointment, write on paper all the good things about her and who she can be and choose to focus on those. The opposite of disappointment is gratitude. Show your spouse you are grateful to have her in your life and mean it!

We have found that when a person feels greatly loved, appreciated, admired and wanted, they become a lot more giving back. Tell her how lucky you are to be married to her and make sure you are not being loving with strings attached. You cannot expect anything back. You must build her up and give to her because you are working on becoming a more loving person, not just to get what you want. If you will consistently show up for her and give more, it should start to change how she feels about you.

(If you try these things for a long time and still get nothing back, you may then decide this relationship isn’t working for you. But don’t throw in the towel until you have done your part to give love, to the best of your ability first.)

4. Never cast your spouse as the bad one. It is human nature to want to see others as worse than us. We subconsciously do this because casting anyone else as the bad one makes us feel like the good one, but this is rarely accurate. And all human beings have the same infinite, intrinsic worth and deserve to be treated and respected as your equal. You must also remember that though you may not have the same flaws as your spouse, you do have flaws. Committing to see your spouse as the same as you, especially during conversations with her, will make her feel safer and less defensive. Admit when you are wrong, apologize often and let your spouse see your heart is soft, teachable and open. This will create a safer space for her to do the same.

Seeing her as the bad one will not make her want more intimacy either. We like and are drawn to the people who like us. Show her she is wanted, admired and liked, and she will grow more and more fond of you again.

5. Trust that your life is the perfect classroom for you. You are here to learn and grow, and your marriage is the class that will teach you the most important lessons on love. We always marry our greatest teacher (for better or worse) we sign up for this class. This person is going to help you grow by pushing your buttons, triggering your fears and thus help you to stretch and become stronger, wiser and more loving. That is the real purpose of this relationship. (I know this because it’s the purpose of our whole journey.)

So, figure out and focus on the lessons your unique marriage experience (with your spouse) could be meant to teach you. This is your opportunity to grow in love, strength and wisdom. Marriage is hard because you get to see the very worst of another person, and they get to experience the worst of you, yet you both must learn to forgive and accept each other anyway. This is a challenge, but you are meant to conquer it. You can do this.

The more you accept this person and this situation as your perfect classroom and focus on improving you, the better the relationship will be. Once you have created a more safe and loving space in your marriage, you can then communicate with your spouse about what you want to change. You should ask her what you can do better to make her happier and then share what you would really appreciate in the future from her. Just don’t have these conversations while in fear and judgment. Communicate only when you are firmly grounded in trust and love.

Meditation, Spirituality

Mountains to Climb, Meditation

There are mountains in our lives to climb- mountains and mountains to climb. Some times life seems to be only an uphill struggle. We all have our Kilimanjaro to scale.

As a child I loved to go hiking in the desert of Moab Utah. A couple of miles behind my house there was a creek that wound through a gully. It was such a peaceful place for me to visit. During rainstorms, which didn’t happen that often, a flash flood would rage through this hidden garden. It seemed to just wash away all debris and leave in its wake the fresh earth and the remains of a small stream.  How could you find peace and hope for something better in the after math of a raging storm?

Every one of us has a job or purpose that we are to fulfill and we all have that raging storm that comes and hopefully passes on. How do we find that peace in the aftermath? How do we see the fresh start in all that lies before us?

I often turn to the scriptures for guidance. It is here at times a spark can be found to help me start moving my feet up the mountain once again after that storm.

To begin, the more understanding we have about ourselves the better able we are to make the climb.

Lord gave thee understanding in all things. 2 Tim. 2:7

Here is a promise that we can find understanding about ourselves and of what it is we need to recover from our storms.  That is a beginning.  How do we understand our understanding?  In this scripture it states that the Lord will give us understanding. So that must mean that what we need is already inside of us and we just need to gain the understanding of what we have.

I love the parable that was told in Eckhart Tolle “ The Power of Now.”

“A beggar had been sitting by the side of the road for over thirty years. One day a stranger walked by. “Spare some change?” mumbled the beggar, mechanically holding his old baseball cap. “I have nothing to give you,” said the stranger. Then he asked: “What’s that you are sitting on?” “Nothing,” replied the beggar. “Just an old box. I have been sitting on it for as long as I can remember.” “Ever looked inside?” asked the stranger. “No,” said the beggar. “What’s the point? There’s nothing in there.” “Have a look inside,” insisted the stranger. The beggar managed to pry open the lid. With astonishment, disbelief, and elation, he saw that the box was filled with gold.”

What a powerful insight. We have hidden within us a great treasure waiting to be understood.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, James 1:5

This is the first stepping-stone on our way to understanding. Ask of God.

I often liken this to my own children. It seems everyday at around noon my kids think they are hungry.  They keep asking when lunch will be ready and some days I would rather not bother with fixing the food. Yet I do it anyway. Right? What parent who really loves their children would deny them something to eat.

Sidney asked one day of all the food on the table, which one was the healthiest and which one was not. I told her that the salad was the healthiest and that the cookies were not. “Oh man,” she said. “Why didn’t you tell me the cookies were the healthiest? That is what I wanted to eat. I don’t want the salad. Please tell me the cookies are the best.” (The heart of a five year old)

Does that sound so familiar? What we want isn’t always what we need. That is so important to remember when we ask God for guidance. Like our own children we will provide for them yet not always the way they want it.

The Lord shall guide thee continually, Isa. 58: 11

Even though we do not always get what we feel we want, He will continually provide for us. And like Sidney, it is a choice if we devour what he gives us.

I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, D&C 8:2

There are so many ways in which that understanding can be given to us. We can receive it in our minds, through studying, or through learning from others. We can be inspired through our hearts and be led one step at a time.


He will manifest the truth of it unto you, Moro. 10:4

What ever our choice is to learn and then to live, our Heavenly Father will manifest the truth to us. Are our minds and hearts open?


I have often read in the scriptures how important it is to meditate and pray. I have so often wanted a deeper understanding of the word meditate. Is this just to have us think about something for a few minutes—ask about it and then move on?  Is that what it means?

Meditation is a time for deep communion with God and listening to what he has in store for us. Remember this is not a race to the top.


Over the years I have study how to communicate, study, learn to receive this understanding from God in all areas of my life. One of the greatest tools I have found is the opportunity to use deep meditation. Putting out of my mind all the overwhelming daily activities, worries or concerns this gives me peace and effective focus.  I have learned that if I can concentrate on one concern at a time that I can find direction. And direction at all is exhilarating.


To help you better understand what we need to do, here is some information on brain waves. What does that have to do with finding direction and purpose? That is a good question. Knowing how our brains work at different vibrations helps us understand that there is a possibility to be in control of what our brain is doing, or what we can have our brains do.


Whether we are mentally active, resting or asleep, the brain always has some level of electrical activity.


Our brain is composed of billions of neurons. Neurons function by continuously firing energy and then resting. The number of times per second that they fire and rest is called their frequency. When we are in deep sleep, most of our neurons pulse very slowly. They pulse faster when we are in a light level of sleep. When we are wide-awake, they pulse even more rapidly.


When we are wide-awake, we are in the beta brainwave frequency. When we are more relaxed or in a light level of sleep, we are in the alpha level. At slower frequencies, we are at the theta and delta levels, with the delta being the slowest and the deepest levels of sleep.


The best meditative state is the Alpha level. When we learn to slow the brain waves to this level, you can use the entire brain to aid in understanding. At this lower level our mind is no longer racing to all the things in life that need to be done. We are no longer distracted by the stress in our body. Our brain frequency has slowed down and because of this, both sides of the brain can be used to find solutions and understanding.


This would explain why we are told to meditate. At these lower levels of brain waves, we are more open to inspiration. We have closed down the outside noise and confusion. Our bodies are relaxed so we are not concentrating on the tension in our bodies. We do not feel anxious and overwhelmed when we have slowed down our brain activity.


We can use this information to enhance our abilities, and skills, to change our health, personal growth, well-being and have a deeper communication with our higher being.  This opens the way to different, and better paths to the top of our Kilimanjaro.


Daily meditation will develop intuitive faculties, improve heath, and bring inspiration. This process is a guide to become “in-tune” with the real you.



The steps to knowing and understanding:


1-    Mental housecleaning- it is imperative to rid our mind of the negative ideas and thoughts that can plague us. When a negative thought or unproductive thought enters the mind repeat, “ This idea is of no value to me. It is a roadblock not a stepping-stone. I will abolish this idea because it no longer serves me.”

2-    Substitute in its place the goal you want to achieve. Count all our blessings and understand that we are and can receive what we need.

3-    Choose one concern. It can be overwhelming if we choose too many concerns at a time. Pick the one that is most relevant at this moment.

4-    Have a piece of paper and pencil close by, so that thoughts can be written down with eyes closed.

5-    We must study it out in our mind, D&C 9:8. It is very helpful if we learn as much as we can about the subject on which we want to meditate. For example, if I want to learn to be a better parent, it would be good to research, and ask people who have been successful, and talk to professionals. Have several options ready. Sometimes a meditation session will give you directions or locations or people whom you need to learn from.


That may seems like a lot of time spent to prepare for meditation. In reality we have a lifetime, right? In searching for truth, time is irrelevant. This process can be faster than years of trial and error. Finding truth can bring peace faster in the long run.



Here are the steps for meditation.

Find a comfortable place and have on clothes that will allow you to relax. For me, I like to wear my morning sweats and just lay on the floor. You should not get too comfortable because you don’t want to go to sleep. There is a difference between meditating and vegetating.


Now that location is decided, we are ready to start clearing the mind. Any time our mind starts to wander we need to bring it back to the present. This is not a time to think about the entire world revolving around you, or about the laundry, dishes and dinner.  This is a time for healing and inspiration.


Put on some music (no words) or a sound recording such as rain or water. This helps to keep the mind focused on what is at hand.


Start concentrating on the top of the head. Then move down the body to the toes.


1- Concentrate on the top of my head saying to myself, “Relax this portion of my body. Relax every cell every muscle, letting go of all my tension in this part of my body.”


2- The next part of the body is the face. Concentrate on the face saying, “Relax every cell, every muscle. Relax the muscles around the eyes and lips, then the cheeks.”


3- Move to the neck area repeating the same words and concentrating on these portions of the body. I then move to the arms, the chest, the hips, the legs and the feet. After I have relaxed my entire body, I count backwards from 20 to 1. Or count from 10 to 1 or 30 – 1 which ever is need. As I do this, I feel myself going deeper into relaxation.


4- Now think of a very peaceful place. For me, I like the beach listening to the water rush to shore. Maybe it could be sitting in the mountains, feeling the breeze blow.


5- After visualizing this peaceful place again count backwards from 10 – 1. I am now deeply relaxed and very open to inspiration. If you or someone you know is struggling with problems, this is the state that you are able to help.


6- An example would be if I have a headache I would visualize the pain leaving and energy entering in. I might visualize the pain as a weed being pulled out, leaving my head, and flowers (new thoughts or ideas) being planted. Use whatever visualization needed in order to see the healing take the place of pain. One could stay in this state for a few minutes or how much time is needed. It is a time to communicate with our greater power. We are now more open to Heavenly Father’s instruction.


7- After I have spent the time needed in this meditative state, I can count from 1- 10 to come out, saying to myself, “I am now awake feeling better than before, having greater health and peace than before. This is a new beginning and the rest of my life is the best of my life. I am now ready to help others in their journey.”


I now feel very relaxed, the tension has left my body.  With my new inspiration and energy, I am better able to move forward on my destination.


This technique could only take 20 minutes or more if need. If time is short, a 5 min run down is better than none.


The first few times that this is done there may not be a great deal of change. It is important to keep practicing. 


Believe in yourself, and in your ability to receive direction. It will happen. These sessions will become a time to lift and inspire. It will be a joy to climb your Kilimanjaro.

Meditation, Spirituality Stress

Finding the Path to Health and Peace

Can you imagine feeling high with energy? Can you imagine feeling good and being fully alive? Is that an easy thing to imagine, or does it seem like a daily struggle?

You are entitled to have every success, happiness, health and fulfillment you could dream of.

So why settle for less, why become burdened with illness, frustration, and so many roadblocks that prevent or slow you down so that climbing to your highest purpose seems impossible?

One reason we don’t is possibly because we don’t know the steps of progression. Maybe we’ve just forgot them, or had a bad day. And sometimes our preconceived notions stop us from what we were meant to do.  Or possibly we feel we need to do it alone.  But in truth, there are answers for each of us to make it possible to achieve our potential. For all of us, answers are an uphill struggle and our final potential will be a mountain of a climb, but we can arrive and rise to our highest peak.

Author Louise Hay contends that disease is caused by mental thought patterns, especially patterns of criticism, anger, resentment, and guilt. Festering resentments eat away at the self and can ultimately lead to tumors and cancers. Anger turns into things that burn, boil, or infect the body. A pattern of criticism can turn into diseases like arthritis, and guilt seeks punishment and leads to pain.

Is this the life we are choosing? How do we choose a better more fulfilling life?

Child hood is a learning time when we are very impressionable and our soul can be easily shaped and molded into what we are now. This could be good or bad.  We can learn truths or untruths or misguided information.

Maybe we learned that money doesn’t come easy and we will always be poor. Maybe we learned that we will never amount to anything or we don’t deserve being loved. These can mold us into sickness or maladjustments.

Some of us have been luckier in that, real truths were instilled in us. Like for example we are good and we can achieve what ever we put our hearts to. These two attitudes make deep felt roots into our soul. It is not easy to retard the growth of bad roots and turn the roots to truth.

A funny story about my youngest son, when he was around 4 yeas old he was playing with another friend around his same age. During their playtime the boys started taking each other’s papers. They were screaming and making the usual 4-year-old threats. I suggested they talk it out. My son took his stance, hands on his hips and fire shooting from his eyes, glared at me, he stammered, “I don’t want to talk to him. I just want to haul off and hit him.”

What a normal human response, very basic and very honest. At this moment he could either learn a better way for a happier solution or both kids could learn and imprint on the mind that it is bad to share or you may loose what you have. Maybe thinking that life is limited and there isn’t enough to go around.  What ever is learned at this age, even if the incident is not remembered, the end result is learned for good or for bad.

Throughout our lives we are in situations that can imprint untruths. Do we need to change some of our learning? Do we need to recognize and acknowledge some bad habits of thought? What deep seeded imprints are we carrying around that are preventing us from healing ourselves and reaching our mountaintops? How do we find what the mill stone is and how do we pluck it from around our necks.

One manner in finding answers to these questions I posed today is through meditation. Meditation can help us to focus on our destiny and help us follow a healthier lifestyle. It can train us to use more of our brainpower and receive help from outside our selves.  We can learn to take advantage of all the gifts that life has to offer.

So what is meditation?

Meditation is a state wherein a person is in deep concentration on a specific object of thought or awareness; meditation is considered one of the oldest yet most effective means of relaxing the mind, the emotions, as well as the soul.

This state of mind, learned with practice, can be reached by slowing down the brainwaves. Electrical activity emanating from the brain is displayed in the form of brainwaves. There are different levels of brain waves. Ranging from the most active to the least active. The main purpose for meditation is to slow the brainwaves down so that we can focus more deeply.

When the brain is aroused and actively engaged in mental activities, it generates beta waves. These beta waves are relatively low amplitude and are the fastest of the four levels. Beta waves are characteristics of a strongly engaged mind. A person in active conversation would be in beta. A debater would be in high beta.

The next level is called alpha. Alpha brainwaves are slower, and higher in amplitude. A person who has completed a task and sits down to rest is often in an alpha state. Walking through a garden is in this state.

The next level is theta brainwaves. They are typically of even greater amplitude and slower frequency. A person who has taken time off from a task and begins to daydream is often in a theta brain state. A person who is driving on a freeway, and discovers that they can’t recall the last five miles is often in the theta state. People who do a lot of freeway driving often get good ideas during those periods when they are in theta. Individuals who run outdoors often are in the state of mental relaxation that is lower than alpha and when in theta, they are prone to a flow of ideas. This can also occur in the shower or tub or even while shaving or brushing your hair. These tasks become so automatic that you can mentally disengage from them. Ideas in this state are often free flowing and occur without censorship or guilt.

The final brain wave state is delta. Here the brainwaves are of the greatest amplitude and slowest frequency. When we go to bed and read for a few minutes before attempting sleep, we are likely to be in low beta. When we put the book down, turn off the lights our brainwaves will descend from beta to alpha, to theta and finally, when we fall asleep to delta. During this time just before falling asleep or arising in the morning is a good time to have a free flow of ideas. This can be an extremely productive and meaningful creative time.

Meditation is a learnable skill that we can use to move our brainwaves to a level where we can make better decisions in all areas of our lives.

We as women may have a hard time getting to the meditative state because our brains are like supper highways. We are well adept at multitasking. We can take care of the baby, put dishes in the dishwasher, prepare dinner, answer the phone, balance the checkbook, and run a business. We move from one to the other without having too many mental meltdowns. So when it comes to meditation it is hard for us to put out of our minds the daily grind enough to slow the brainwaves down to allow healing and inspiration.

We as women often feel that taking time for ourselves is last on the list but that is a myth. If we took a few minutes to ourselves everyday for meditation we could improve relationships, our situations, and improve our own health and the health of our loved ones. That is a lot of power and we have the core to do that.

So that is enough scientific jargon about brain waves, hopefully it was enough to let you know that you can have control over this part of the body. You can have control over how fast or slow your brain functions. Now that you know the subconscious can be changed and higher levels reached our next step is to learn this process. Lets take it one step at a time.

The first step -If you already know what solutions you seek then you are well on your way.  You probably have heard the quote “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” Lewis Carrol

If you have millions of things you want to solve, that may be an overload. That’s what we women are good at – overloading.  This can also be true for men, and children.

It is important to climb our mountain one step at a time.

Deciding what problem we want to attack first. A possible item would be that your child has emptied every container in the house and used these items to decorate your walls. So if you could get to the wall through the disheveled piles you might really loose your temper. So the problem would address how to best handle this situation. I am sure this scenario sounds familiar to some of us.

Maybe another scenario is that your significant other is struggling with constant colds or maybe even something like fibromyalgia. Health issues are always top on our list.

What ever your scenario your first step in isolating a problem would include knowing about the subject, which might require research depending on the subject matter. This doesn’t have to be time consuming. During a walk or shopping, listen to what others are saying. Ask questions especially if you’re in the presence of someone who has conquered this scenario. And you can always look it up on the Internet. Preparation time is totally up to you on how much you need to know or how little.

Now you are ready for the second step. There are two things that need to be done during each of your meditation sessions.

1-   Eradicate any negative thoughts, or any untruths in your life. For example if you feel that you are sick and you will always be sick because your mother was always sick. That is a thought that needs to be dismissed. No longer believe it. Telling yourself during meditation that this thought pattern is of no value to you.

2-    The second milestone is to know that what you want is good for you and for others. You are worth it and it is in your power to obtain it.

While true science is based on observation, experimentation, and continuous readjustment of thought processes and beliefs, depending upon its findings, the same is true for trusting our inner guidance. Ultimately, it is enormously empowering to realize that no scientific study can explain exactly how and why our own bodies act the way it does. Only our connection with our own inner guidance and our emotions is reliable in the end. That is because we are all different. No two are a like. One size does not fit all. It is important to know one’s self.

The third step is to find solitude. It is important to find a place with no interruption at first. When you become more adept at this process the location does not matter.

In your solitude, move into a comfortable position. This is different for everyone. The most popular postures ever since the history of meditation started includes:

  • Sitting
  • Supine
  • Standing

Which ever is most comfortable for you. Not too comfortable because you do not want to go to sleep. This is meditation not vegetation. I had a friend that meditated everyday and was very frustrated because he was not making any progress. Come to find out he was really taking a nap. Sometimes a nap is needed yet at this point it is not achieving the desired objection, unless you are using these relaxation tools to solve insomnia. Then you are accomplishing your desired outcome.

Once you find the posture of choice you will begin the actual meditation process. I will not go through these steps at this time in case any of the listeners are not in a position to meditate. It is important to have a good guide when you are first learning. From there you can do this process any time or place. You can order a meditation CD on this website:  My CD has two tracts. The first tract is with a guide the second is just music. You can also read a step by step guide on this same site.

The mediation steps takes you through the sequence of thought and muscle control that brings your mind and body in sync with each level of brain waves until you reach theta. When you reach this level you focus on the problem you have chosen and researched, opening your mind to inspiration and solutions.

After a specified time focused on this problem and with its solution the meditation steps will take you out of the deep level of brain waves and will end your session. Each session can last as long or short as needed for the individual problem. It is best to meditate at least 20 minutes a day.

People of today as well as of those future generations will continue to practice meditation because of the health benefits as well as the limitless possibilities it brings into our lives.

“Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless.” Jamie Paolinetti

When I was teaching preschool I had one little boy in particular that had a hard time sitting still. We often went on field trips each time before going we would review the rules. He was the first to scream the rules. His favorite rule was “No Running”. We lined up to go to the bus and he was in the middle of the line. As soon as the door opened he was so excited that he couldn’t contain himself. He took off on a dead run and as the sidewalk turned he did not. Smack right into a mud puddle headfirst. As I picked him up out of the mud he had tears streaming down his face “Teacher I tried so hard to turn but my legs just keep on going” Is that what our lives are like? We have good intentions and great desires with achievable goals. And now we also have the knowledge, to make our legs move in the direction of those goals.  “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” Charles R. Swindoll

I have worked with people who have had such differing experiences and illnesses in their lives. One friend in particular struggled with depression and fibromyalgia. She felt that no matter what she choose to do in life that she could not change her out come. What ever she had was given to her for a reason so she had to learn to put up with it. In spite of this kind of mind set she decided to meditate for the benefit of her friends and family. She had been able to help others improve their health. People would come to her just to ask her to meditate for them. During this process of her helping others she also found greater health in her own life. She was able to restore her life. Keeping all things under control and in continual healing. After one year she no longer had symptoms of these dreaded diseases. The time will pass anyway. We are making the movement continually forward.

One step at a time.

Kristena Eden


Meditation, Spirituality

Who Are you really?

I love to study and so it would seem that at my age I would know a lot more than I do, yet invariably, each day I learn something new. A dear friend of mine shared some very soul-searching insight. In some small way I would like to share this deeply felt information with you.
Reading the scriptures brings peace, insight, and relevance to our lives. One story I would like to share is so very pertinent to our lives today.
Alma Chapter 5
To gain salvation, men must repent and keep the commandments, be born again, cleanse their garments through the blood of Christ, be humble and strip themselves from pride and envy, and do the works of righteousness.
Alma 5:26 And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if you have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?

Wow! Great words of wisdom! In order for us to achieve our greatest gifts we must be humble and strip ourselves of pride.
A little of the background of this scripture is a story about a father named Alma. He was a very righteous man and taught his children well. It must have been a lot like us, we teach, and teach, and teach yet to no avail. Our children have also been given the right to make choices. They have their agency and they also need to find their destiny. Alma did like most parents; he continued to pray for him and continued to teach his son hoping that he would start making better choices. Not only did his son make degrading choices but he made choices that were in deliberate defiance of his God and his father. Invariably, Alma the Younger lived a riotous life. He seemed to be involved with the popular “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die” ideology. In spite of his choices his dad still loved him. He knew that his son had great potential and a mission to do. So why was he choosing to ignore his destiny? Alma continued to pray day after day for his son. After a time, Alma’s prayers were answered and his son (Alma the Younger) received a visitation. We more than likely will not be touched in such a manner, yet for Alma the Younger, this must have been a necessity. Maybe we need to loose a job, be betrayed by a loved one, or have some catastrophe before we realize that we need to make different choices. Can we take a good look at ourselves from the inside out and really see what direction our choices are leading us? Do we have the character to not only be self-aware but to make the needed change? Are we stuck and feeling we can’t go in any direction. Do we feel stale and unproductive? Are we able to provide for ourselves and loved ones in all areas of our lives? Do we make choices that affect our health negatively in all eight areas, for our families and ourselves? Do we need to completely step outside our comfort zone in order to start moving in the right direction?
Alma the Younger was stopped dead in his tracts by an angel and for days he was unable to speak or move. It was during this time he was taught about the end results of his choices. After he could see what he was doing to others, and only then, was he allowed to regain his health, to repent and to start moving forward. Only after this understanding or complete change of heart was he able to move forward and to achieve his destiny. At this point, he became a great healer for all with whom he came in contact. Are we here in this life just to be completely selfish, to only do whatever whim comes to us or is there a way to understand our sole purpose? Then with great soul-searching and character, change any or all habits and thoughts that prevent us from moving in a better direction. We CAN get out of our rut. We start with looking deep within and see what is really there.
I believe that we are made of two parts. Some may call it the soul, or the inner self, or our essence. Then there is the physical part of our being, our bodies. Scientists have done studies where they were trying to capture a person’s brainpower or essence right at the time of death, hoping and thinking that if they could capture some great thinker’s abilities and continue to use them, that we would be leaps ahead in the world. What they have found is that the body is rendered totally useless. The brain, soul, or essence is gone as soon as the body gives up life. There is a separation at this time. In order to find peace and progression while you are alive, these two parts need to work as one. Below is a diagram of a gingerbread person. On the outside there are spaces that have room to write in. This outside area or crust represents our ego or our thoughts on who we are outwardly. Take some time to write in each slot your thoughts on your life. For example you could write – I am a wife, or husband, a dancer, CEO, teacher, sister. Write any or all ideas of what you are involved in or the way you or others view you. Include your job, or status and most importantly your needs. Do you view your needs as having a huge mansion? Or do you view your needs as having just the amount needed to survive? How would you view yourself if you didn’t have this? What do you do and how do you live?

Write all this in the outside crust area on this gingerbread person.
I will call the outside of this person the Ego, and the inside the Essence.
Here are some feelings and emotions we feel in our ego:

1- Anticipation
2- Creativity
3- Importance
4- Stress / anxiety
5- Power
6- Sadness
7- Frustration
8- Loneliness
9- Uselessness
10- Being stuck

There are many more but I think you get the picture.

Some feelings and emotions we feel in our essence –
1- Love
2- Patience
3- Fruit of the Spirit
4- Humility
5- Service
6- Consideration
7- Concern
8- Empathy
9- Peace
10- Light

Our essence is our basic foundation from which we build everything we become, whether we choose to reach our purpose or choose to stay entirely with our ego. For instance, a child under 2 years of age shines in their essence until they start mimicking everyone around them. What are they mimicking? Is it how to use their essence or learning to hate, self indulge or just learning to be selfish?
How do we use our essence to make decisions? Deep down we know what is right or wrong. We have an idea of how our choices affect others. If the intent of our actions is to hurt others or if we are doing things just for our own well-being then maybe we are neglecting some inner direction.

If we were to drop our ego or the way we view ourselves, who would we be? If these things we wrote on the outside of this person were secondary in our lives instead of the only way we view ourselves, what would be the choices we make in our lives?
Lets say, for example, we had a choice to either hurry to get to work on time or to stop and help someone in need. Would we make our choice from our ego or our essence?
From this story about Alma it shows that he went through some hard times in order to have a total change of heart.
A challenge for us all is to again look at our ego side and then contemplate what is our true essence. The hard part might be to consider when making our daily choices — does it come from the essence or from the ego?
Our challenge in life is to find our purpose, then have the character to live it and share it.