everything isn’t terrible

Instructions for Living in a World on Fire

INSTRUCTIONS FOR LIVING IN A WORLD ON FIRE

The other day, one of my publishers posted a picture of my book, Everything Isn’t Terrible, on social media. I try my best not to read people’s comments, but I couldn’t help but notice one:

The planet is BURNING, DROWNING, DYING! We need to STOP looking at ourselves, like the NARCISSISTS we are AND BE PROACTIVE about why we were put on this Earth.

While I appreciate the passion and urgency of ANGRY COMMENT person, I have to disagree with them. Looking at ourselves, and harnessing our ability to act outside the bounds of a panicked, reptilian brain, is exactly what makes us human. And it’s exactly what will save us and the planet from ourselves.

It’s a common sentiment these days that if you’re not angry or anxious, then you’re not paying attention. Perhaps this is true—it’s impossible to read the news and not feel fearful or hopeless. How we choose to respond to these facts, however, is more interesting to me than the degree of our panic. Because when we feel panicked about politics or the environment, often our reactions become more about relieving the anxiety we feel in the moment than about generating thoughtful, reality-based solutions to the world’s problems. (more…)

Breaking the Cycle of New Year’s Resolution Disappointment (and book news!)

 

How Will You Start 2020?

It’s officially crunch time! My book, Everything Isn’t Terrible, is available in now!

I don’t have an essay for you this week, because I’m working on several essays that will be featured in online publications next month. I’ll be sure to share them with you, so keep your eyes on your inbox! You can also follow me on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter for updates, book events, book giveaways.

I have gotten so many new subscribers to this newsletter in the past few months. Thank you to those who are forwarding it to friends and coworkers and sharing the links on social media. I’m proud that I managed to write 25 free newsletters for you this year, with a new baby and a book to write. And I wanted to take some space today to make sure you didn’t miss some of my favorites in 2019.

How do you want to grow in 2020? Do you want more authentic or calmer relationships? Do you want to be guided more by your own principles than by societal narratives of success? Do you want to be a person who can thoughtfully respond to local, national, or international crises? Browse through the list below, and see if any of these 2019 newsletters can help you start that thinking.

Do you want to give your children or family the gift of calmness by increasing your ability to self-regulate your emotions? Read my newsletter about The Gift of Self-Regulation.

Do you wanted to be guided more by your own thinking than by other people’s reactions? Read my newsletter about Being an Inside-Out Person.

Do you want to build stronger one-to-one relationships that don’t revolve around superficial conversation? Read this newsletter.

Would you like to be more curious and less anxious at family gatherings? Read this newsletter.

Would you like to spend less time obsessing about what other people think of you? Read this newsletter.

Would you like to be less anxiously focused on your kids, your career, or your dating life? Read my newsletter about Anxious Attention Vs. Thoughtful Attention.

Would you like to step back and stop managing your spouse so much? Read my newsletter, Moving Mountains of Underwear.

Would you like to act less helpless when you’re anxious? Click here.

Would you like to share more about your life with your family? Click here.

Would you like to stop overfunctioning for everyone else, and be more responsible for yourself? Read my newsletter, 50 Ways You’re Overfunctioning For Others.

Do you want to be a better resource to your siblings? Read my newsletter about Understanding Your Siblings. 

Happy Holidays, and I’ll be back soon with more news!

Kathleen

Let It Begin with Me

There’s a popular hymn, often sung at Christmas, that goes,

Let there be peace on Earth
And let it begin with me.

When I’m frustrated with someone, I sing a different version in my head.

Let there be maturity in this room
And let it begin with me.

Though less lyrical, these words remind me of an important principle. It’s the idea that better relationships start with changing the only variable I can manipulate—myself.

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25 Ways You’re Using Triangles to Manage Anxiety

A two-person human relationship is about as steady as a two-legged stool. We often look to family members, coworkers, and friends to calm us down when we’re angry, disappointed, or confused by another person. When we pull in or focus on a third person to manage our anxiety, we are activating what is called a triangle.

When you start to look for triangles in your day-to-day life, you’ll find them everywhere. How many of these examples feel familiar to you?

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The Slow, Steady Work of Growing Up

When I was in kindergarten, stepping through my piano teacher’s front door felt like entering another universe. I was excited to learn a new language and show off my developing skills to others. Eight years later, I dreaded my weekly lesson. I had stopped practicing, and every week I was struck by temporary amnesia. I believed I could just show up and sight-read my way through increasingly difficult pieces. My progress stalled, and I quit before high school.

Working on being a more mature human, especially in your family, is a lot like playing an instrument. If you’re only calling your parents once a month, or making a single “duty visit” home for the holidays, you may find yourself clunking and wincing your way through relationships. (more…)

Preorder my book for a sneak peek!

I have spent many years working as a writer. But I have never been as excited as I am right now to share my work with you. My book, Everything Isn’t Terrible, is dropping on December 31st. If you’ve enjoyed my weekly anxiety letter, then I absolutely believe that it will be a resource to you. The book is a helpful and humorous guide to shedding your anxious habits and building a more solid sense of self in our increasingly anxiety-inducing world. It’s a wonderful guide for what’s certain to be an anxious 2020!

But here’s the thing–I’m way too excited to make people wait until New Year’s Eve to start reading it. So if you preorder the book and submit your receipt, the folks at Hachette Books will send you one of my favorite chapters to read right now. It’s called “Your Parents,” and I tell the story of Grace, a young woman who wanted to be less reactive and more mature around her anxious mother and distant father. It’s one of my favorite chapters from the book, one I think that will resonate with pretty much everyone.

When you preorder, you’ll also get some very cool bonus materials to supplement your reading of the book. I created an anxiety flow chart you can reference on days you feel reactive or worried, and I wrote some other helpful little materials you can print out and hang on your fridge or mirror.

So how can you start reading Everything Isn’t Terrible today?

1. You can order on AmazonBarnes and NobleIndiebound, and many other retailers. You can buy it anywhere, but I especially encourage you to support your local bookstore in person or online. The book will be available in hardcover, digital, and audio form.

2. Once you’ve ordered, click here to submit your proof of purchase (before 12/30*) to receive bonus content and the sneak peek! Proof is simply a picture or scanned image of your receipt. The easiest way to do it is to take a picture with your phone.

Thank you again for subscribing to my newsletter, and following my thinking about anxiety, relationships, and my work on myself. Feel free to email me if you have any questions about the preorder materials or the book. I’ll be back next week with a new letter, but you can check out the archive and see what you’ve missed.

Thanks!

Kathleen

*[50 U.S./DC, 18+, Ends 11:59PM ET on 12/30/19, Terms and Conditions apply: http://bit.ly/EverythingIsntTerrible]