Tag Archive | love

Stability & Security


We are set to close on our house in less than a week. It still seems surreal, like it’s not happening yet. It’s been a summer of ups and downs, learning about the housing market and the process of buying a home. It’ll finally be all over soon. These last few weeks have been ones filled with waiting for the appraisal to process and the loan paperwork to go through. Now we’re finally moving to the last step of closing. Still, many things to prepare for the move and to set up with the new house.

It’s not our dream house but it’ll do for now. It’s a house and it’s ours. That means more than anything. Ever since I can remember, my family has always rented. In the over 20 years that my family has been in the U.S., we have always lived in public housing. My parents were too afraid to take the risk of venturing out to buy a home in the case that something happens, we foreclose, lose the house, lose a place to stay.

I don’t disclose to many people that I live in public housing. I never did and I still don’t. I’ve never admitted to anyone about this but I am glad that my family never lived in townhouses or “the projects” where your building could easily be identified as a public housing unit. Where you would be labeled a child of poverty, less than, because you lived in public housing. While I hate all the paperwork involved with public housing re-certifications, all the prodding into your personal business, and the scrutiny into all the details of your life, I was grateful that I was shielded by the facade that my house was a normal house. I could for a moment, after our annual re-certification period, pretend that I lived a normal life, in a normal house and not a public housing unit.

Our eligibility technician (as they are called) was a stiff, mean lady. I detested having to go in and meet with her for our re-certifications. All members in the household over 18 had to be present at the re-certifications. 5 years. 5 re-certifications. (I was excused from the 4 others I should have been at because I was away at college). How many have my parents had to go to? Too many. Too many more than they should have. 5 was already too many for me. I don’t know how they did it for all those years. That unbearableness of waiting in the office for your appointment. The hum of the lights. The feeling of being less than the staff that worked there. Going into her office, having her be upset because not everyone was present, having to explain to her they were away at school and they sent their verification forms, having her go through all the forms and talk to you like you don’t understand. She’s trying. I give her credit for that but she still hasn’t quite got it yet.

The public housing life is not one that allows you to live with dignity. Every and each aspect of your life is subject to scrutiny. Your privacy is constantly intruded upon. Any little change can disrupt your housing. The constant moves to adjust for increasing or decreasing numbers in your household. The rent changes if your income went up or down even if it was only minimal. I’ve wondered if it would be possible to move out of public housing giving how rent and income are tied. Make a lot of money? Trying to save up and move out of public housing? Don’t worry. Just pay flat rent which often equates to the cost of a mortgage each month. How can one escape this cycle?

20+ years later, we are finally moving out. Through it all many low-paying blue collar jobs, 1 layoff, 1 shift in the primary breadwinner, 4 children transitioning into adulthood, 4 college degrees obtained, 1 entry level professional job, 1 aspiring career pursuit. All of this and we are finally moving out and moving on.

I have put in so much, so much more than needed (but by who’s standards anyways?) but there’s still so much more that is needed. It has been a difficult journey but they are all I have. Who am I if I cannot lift my family up with me? What does that say about me? We have been in public housing for too long. It has become a lifestyle. I don’t want my family to live in public housing for the rest of their lives. If not me, then who? If not now, then who? I can only hope that my younger siblings will be grateful for what they have and give back in return.  It is a worthy sacrifice. To know that my family has a stable place to live, a secure home to call their own; to know that they won’t be upended from their residence when the household size changes; to know that they don’t have to worry about not knowing where their next home will be and have to accept the option they are presented with if they want affordable housing; to know they have 3 days to move all of their belongings out into the new home; is all worth it. My contributions seem minimal compared to what they have to gain.


“Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no, it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.”

(Sonnet 116)
― William Shakespeare, Shakespeare’s Sonnets



Love is Patient, Love is Kind

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

你有没有看过什么,念过什么, 就以为你懂它的意思?那就是我。以前我看过上面写的我就以为我懂它的意思。我才发现,等你真的爱过,失去过,你才会董他真正的意思。




Security in Relationships

As I approach my one-year anniversary in my current relationship, I am starting to feel anxious. Not because it will be a year but because I am feeling anxious about other things like where this relationship is headed, whether feelings are mutual, where commitments lie, etc. I guess I am partly apprehensive because my previous relationship went on for too long and I should have  noticed the warning signs that the relationship was going downhill. This time around, I am trying to not tune out my gut instinct and feelings but more importantly I don’t want to be living in a false world and then have everything come crashing down on me again. My previous relationship and the time I took for myself to heal, develop and to move on, has taught me a lot about valuing myself, making sure my needs and desires are not put below that of the other person, and more importantly that I am not the only one that is tirelessly and endlessly committed to the relationship, to working to keep the relationship going.

Another reason I feel anxious is because I would like to settle down in the near future. I long for companionship, to be able to share my life with someone and to be able to see them everyday. I am ready but don’t know if he is but more so, I don’t know if he is the one. I find myself pondering this whole question and concept of “the one” a lot as I have been thinking more about my future and about marriage. The idea of prince charming, the fairy tale story and happily ever after, it all seems so happy and great. On the flip side, the thought of having one chance to get everything right is a little intimidating.

I think about security and trying to find that security in a relationship for me. What do I need to feel secure? Or rather, what do I need to feel secure as an individual who is clingy and constantly needs assurance? I find that because I need so much assurance – not as a sign that I am doing something right but rather as a sign that things are right – I need and crave so much more communication and expression. When I don’t have that, I start to ponder, and think and blow things out of proportion (which does not help my situation at all).

Because I am very self-aware, I try not to over-think and over-interpret but at the same time I am conflicted by not doing so because I do not want to fall victim to the same things that happened before in my previous relationship. I know the best thing is to talk to the other person and make things clear about where I am coming from, what I need, and why I need it. But how do you begin to broach a topic of conversation when there is so much ambiguity? You know where you stand but not where the other party stands, their expectations, or what they have in mind? 

10 Reasons We Love Love

*** This is a re-post from Salon.com. See original post here.***

10 reasons we love love – By Kira Peikoff

Research shows being in love is good for your health, and can even make you less sensitive to pain

10 reasons we love love
(Credit: Gemma Ferrando via Shutterstock)

The riddle is as old as the spark between the first man and woman who ever locked eyes across a cave: Why do we love?

Those first hunters and gatherers likely got together so they wouldn’t starve to death alone. For millennia, practicality ruled. Status, wealth, her family’s number of cows — these were far more important reasons to choose a mate than some fuzzy notion of romantic connection.

Since then, things have changed. We seek out the spark any way we can. Love today is a big business — see dating sites, pop songs, romance novels, rom-coms, Hallmark, etc. But if you believe love is overhyped, think again.

According to renowned couples therapist and relationship researcher Dr. Sue Johnson, the desire for that explosive, shout-it-from-the-rooftops, knee-melting connection with another human being is actually the prime driver of our species. We are hard-wired to form deep bonds with another person — bonds that can measurably enhance our lives.

In her new book “Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships,” Dr. Johnson shares a number of compelling studies that reveal the beneficial effects of love. Forget the divorce rate and the disenchanted — turns out the spark has been a pretty big deal all along.

1. Love lessens our physical perception of pain and threat

In a groundbreaking experiment, Dr. Jim Coan at the University of Virginia gathered a group of happily married women and put them in a functional MRI machine. (Rather than just showing static, structural images of the brain, this type of MRI measures which areas “light up” when a person is exposed to various stimuli.)

Once in the machines, the women were shown pictures of x’s and small circles. They were told that when they saw an x, there was a 20 percent chance that an electric shock would be delivered to their ankles. After they received each shock, they rated how much it hurt.

At various times, the women faced the threat alone, with a stranger holding their hands, or with their husbands holding their hands.

When they were alone and saw an x, alarm signals raged through their brain. They rated subsequent shocks as very painful. But then the study took a fascinating turn. The presence of strangers diminished their alarm and pain, though the shocks were the same strength. And when their husbands were by their sides, their brains barely responded to the threat of the x’s — and they rated the shocks as merely uncomfortable.

On a neurobiological level, love makes us feel safe.

“It helps us deal with our pure existential anxieties that we are small, vulnerable human beings in a great big indifferent world,” Dr. Johnson says.

2. Loving contact in very early life benefits emotional development

The catch phrase in evolutionary psychology is no longer the “survival of the fittest,” but rather, “survival of the most nurtured.”

Psychologist Michael Meaney of McGill University in Montreal did a study showing that rats who were intensely nurtured with lots of licking and grooming as pups grew up to handle danger and fear more adaptively than their less-loved counterparts.

Such highly nurtured rats remained calm even when researchers dropped them into canisters of water. The rats also registered lower levels of stress hormones than the neglected group.

3. Loving contact in childhood can “switch off” bad genes

The geneticist Danielle Dick of Virginia Commonwealth University collected DNA from 400 adolescents who had been followed from birth. She analyzed their genetic profiles for variations in a gene called CHRM2 that is associated with alcohol dependence, antisocial behavior and depression.

The teens possessing the variant who had distant, unengaged parents showed the most undesirable behavior — violence and delinquency. But the teens with the variant who had more involved, nurturing parents had fewer such problems.

These results are similar to many others affirming that life experience can affect gene expression, and that close loving care early in life can have a profound impact later on.

4. Love can protect against addiction

Research at Duke University reveals that rat pups who received lots of loving contact from their mothers had higher brain levels of interleukin-10, a molecule that suppresses a craving for morphine.

In a similar study, prairie voles who were monogamously bonded responded less to the rewarding effects of amphetamines in the brain.

5. Feeling secure in a loving relationship makes us more open to the world

Psychologist Barbara Frederickson at the University of Michigan performed an experiment in which she asked people to view videos showings three types of situations: joyful ones, angry and fearful ones, or emotionally neutral ones. Volunteers were told to imagine themselves in the scene, and then afterwards were asked what they wanted to do next.

Those who had just watched the joyful clips came up with more and varied possible actions than those who had watched the distressing or neutral clips.

Positive emotions invigorate us to take part in the world, and few experiences bring as much joy as a loving bond.

“We’re much more confident when someone has our back,” Dr. Johnson explains.

6. Love can protect your immune system

The results of a study by psychiatrist Janice Kiecolt-Glasser found that recently separated or divorced women had decreased immune functioning compared with married women.

Dr. Johnson reports that married patients who have coronary bypass surgery are three times more likely to be alive 15 years later than their unmarried counterparts.

Some psychologists, like Bert Uchino of the University of Utah, go so far as to declare that a loving relationship is more valuable than diet or exercise in sustaining good health.

7. Love can help you better cope with painful emotions

Dr. Johnson identifies three different styles of bonding: secure, anxious and avoidant.

Those who form secure attachments, she says, “have a sense in their bones that their partner is there for them. Security is this profound level of trust and confidence that you matter to someone and that they will come when you call.”

Anxiously attached people, by contrast, worry that they don’t matter to anyone enough, and so seek constant reassurance. People who form avoidant bonds are uncomfortable depending on others and resist opening up to their partners.

A brain-scan study conducted by psychologist Omri Gillath at the University of Kansas found that women who were in secure partnerships were better equipped to process difficult emotions like grief and loss than women whose bonding styles were anxious or avoidant.

When confronted with emotionally distressing scenarios, the securely attached women showed less activity in the brain region that processes sadness, the anterior temporal pole.

8. Love can be a source of not just good sex, but lasting passion

According to stereotype, sex between long-term partners gets dull and routine. But that doesn’t have to be the reality.

The more we connect emotionally, Dr. Johnson says, the more we connect sexually. A secure bond can lead to increased intimacy and adventurousness.

In his survey research of sex in America, sociologist Edward Laumann finds that long-term happy lovers have more sex and enjoy it more than singles. This fits with bonding studies by psychologists like Deborah Davis at the University of Nevada, in which lovers with stable loving bonds were more willing to experiment sexually and reported enjoying sex more than those whose attachments were less solid.

9. With help, even damaged bonds can be repaired

Dr. Johnson is the one of the originators of Emotionally Focused Therapy, which “helps people make sense of their strongest emotions — especially their longings, needs, and fears.”

Couples who take part in EFT and learn how to read and respond to each other’s signals actually undergo measurable changes in their brains.

In a recent landmark study, Dr. Johnson teamed up with Dr. Jim Coan for a variation of his shock study. Instead of recruiting happily married women, they found women who were insecurely bonded with their partners.

These women were scanned in an fMRI machine and given shocks just like in the original study — alone, with a stranger, or with their husbands. Their brains lit up with alarm while alone, which eased a little with a stranger. But unlike the group of happily married women, holding hands with their husbands did little, if anything, to mitigate their sensations of alarm and pain.

Then, after the couples underwent 20 sessions of EFT, the study was repeated. This time, when the women were with their husbands, the brain region that regulates emotion — the prefrontal cortex — did not even activate in response to the alarm cues. And when the women received a shock, they rated their pain as just uncomfortable, like the group of happily married women.

“I never expected to see the lack of activation in those women’s brains that we saw,” Dr. Johnson reflects. “But what science is saying is this impact [of secure bonding] is absolutely huge.”

10. We can depend on love for the long haul

It’s not necessarily true that human beings are wired for promiscuity or that monogamous passion is doomed to shrivel over time.

In her latest study, Dr. Johnson found that as couples became closer and more securely bonded in therapy, their satisfaction with their sex life improved as well, and they were still feeling that passion when she followed up with them two years later.

The research on sex and bonding she summarizes in her latest book sends a clear message: We have many wonderful reasons to love love.

Kira Peikoff is a freelance journalist who writes about science, health, and society. She is the author of “No Time To Die,” a thriller about a girl who mysteriously stops aging. It is available now for pre-order, and will be published on Sept. 2, 2014. Connect with her on Facebook or tweet her @KiraPeikoff.

Brown on Love

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honour the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness, and affection.

Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.

Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.”

– Brene Brown

Are You in Love with the Idea of Being in Love?

** This is a re-post from http://www.tinybuddha.com. See the original post by Annie Oudom here. **


“When we can no longer change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” ~Viktor Frankl

“But no. We can give it another chance; I know we can. We just have to try harder…” were my desperate words to him as he was breaking up with me for the second time.

As I am reading those words, out loud, I feel a little sting in my heart. It’s been a while since I revisited this experience and for some reason, it feels bittersweet.

It’s been about nine months since he told me that he didn’t see a future for us, that he felt like he was pretending when he was with me, and that sometimes he just didn’t want to be around me.

But I didn’t hear those words. I heard it, but I thought knew that I could change his mind if I just tried a little harder to convince him that he did want to be with me; he just didn’t know it yet.

I felt beaten when he firmly said, “no.” I was even more devastated after suggesting that we remain friends when he again said that he didn’t think it would be a good idea, since he didn’t think I could handle it.

That’s when I knew it was over and I knew that there was no way in this lifetime that I could change his mind.

A flood of thoughts and emotions ran across my mind and body:

What could I have done that was so horrible that he couldn’t even stand the sight of me anymore? How could I have missed the warning signs during the last three months that we were together? If he wasn’t happy, why didn’t he just say so?

There were countless questions that just would not stop.

I finally realized he’d been telling me all along that he didn’t want to be with me. His actions spoke loud and clear, but I was so involved in trying to change the situation that I didn’t see the reality. And that reality was: He just did not want to be with me.


Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first relationship that I allowed myself to get lost in. So how in the world did this happen to me? Again?

The idea of being in love happened. That’s what.

I wanted that romance, that fairytale. I wanted to finally know what it was like to be in real. Grown up love and not kiddie, high school love. I wanted all of that.

I was so tired of always being the bridesmaid and never the bride. I was starting to feel like maybe it just wasn’t in the cards for me.

And that scared me.

When I finally woke up from this, I started to ask myself, “Who the hell are you, and why did you allow yourself to go through that?”

I used to think I was this strong, independent woman who knew exactly what she wanted in life and wouldn’t tolerate any BS from anyone.

I was always so proud to list all hundred qualities that my future husband would definitely have, and I told every one that I was never, ever going to settle. I was all talk but never walked the walk.

After much soul searching, I finally had the courage to put my foot down and say enough is enough. That was when the real challenge began.

Who am I again? I don’t even know anymore…

I had to find a quiet spot and re-evaluate me.

I figured out that I’m one person with friends and family but the complete opposite when I’m in a relationship. I try a lot harder to please; I’m less outspoken, less confident, and less of myself. I was scared to let the real me out in fear that maybe they wouldn’t like me.

I was too scared to say no to something that I knew I was against.

I felt like I had to create this façade of someone that was fun, loving, and patient, and what I thought was “perfect” in someone else’s eyes. Not saying that I’m not fun or loving or patient; I just tried too hard to be seen that.

Far enough that I even agreed to hang out with his ex, who he was good friends with, if that’s what he wanted.

Don’t get me wrong, many people are still friendly with their exes and their current significant other is fine with it, but I was never fine with their relationship.

They had a history—friends before dating, four years as a couple, and three years living together. I knew about this from the beginning of our relationship and I was absolutely fine with it.

In my mind, I thought they broke up on good terms and talked to each other occasionally. I didn’t know about the late night phone calls, meeting each other for dinner, going to the vet together when “their” dog had appointments, and the fact that she still had a key to “their” condo.

He made an effort in the beginning and assured me that they were just friends and that I didn’t have anything to worry about, and of course I made myself be okay with it.

I made myself okay with anything if it meant that it would make me the person he always wanted to be with.

What I didn’t realize was that it was slowly killing my spirit.

She always came up in conversation, not because I brought her up, but because he wanted to share his past. I put on a brave face and would listen and laugh at some of the stories, but it made me feel like I had to live up to what they had.

And what had just wasn’t good enough.

I’ve come a long way from where I was nine months ago. I’m admitting that I have made huge relationship mistakes, but my biggest mistake wasn’t that I tried too hard or that I would’ve given anything for my relationship.

My mistake was not being true to myself—not standing up for myself, not keeping true to my morals, and not loving myself enough to just say no when I wanted to.

I’ve discovered that I am not flawless and that it’s okay to not be perfect. But most importantly, I’ve learned that it’s okay to love yourself first, and if you have to lower your standards to get the love that you think you want from someone else, then it’s not worth it.

These challenges haven’t been easy but if it’s challenging me to define my true self then why not jump feet first and go all in? I have made a promise to myself that I will love myself first and not be in love with the idea of love.

Sometimes letting go of someone or something is the best thing that you can do for your soul. Write the last chapter and tuck it away. It’s time to start a brand new book.