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The 6 Things Guys Notice 6 Seconds After You Meet

According to a new study, a person’s physical appearance allows others to form surprisingly accurate first impressions. So you may want to think twice about what kind of image you’re projecting with these traits dudes check out immediately.

1. Your Smile
Does it seem sweet and genuine? Does it seem awkward and forced? Does it seem like you ate a sesame-seed and parsley salad for lunch based on what’s lodged between every single one of your teeth?
2. Your Hair
Guys have no idea what split ends are, and if you mention roots, they just think of the band. But they do look to see if your hair looks 1. soft and 2. as though it would smell good. So don’t request “The Gosselin” at the salon, and wash it every so often. That’s all guys ask.

3. Your Cleavage
Newsflash: Dudes like to look at your chest. Now, that’s not to say they think all women should unbutton their shirts to their bellybuttons at funerals. (Though really, who are guys to judge?) But they will notice how you’re showing off what you’ve got.
4. Your Makeup
If you’re wearing so much makeup that it looks like you’ve painted an entirely new face on top of your actual face, guys will wonder if you’re trying to cover up some bizarre deformation — or if you’re Gotham City’s most dangerous criminal mastermind.
5. Your Skin
You know that blemish you’ve been obsessing over all day because it’s so huge? Chances are guys won’t even notice. What will they notice? If you look like a jaundiced Oompa-Loompa because of overenthusiastic tanning.
6. Your Bag
Are all women who haul around big purses — in other words, cavernous rucksacks stuffed full of old receipts, emergency sweaters, and half-used bottles of hand sanitizer — high maintenance? Maybe not. But guys will go ahead and assume they are anyway.


Have you ever wondered why THAT guy always seems to get the girls? He's brash, cocky and he marches to the beat of his own drum. He's on (or over) the edge, bordering on rude and doesn't seem to give a damn about anyone but himself - what exactly do women see in a guy like that?

You consider yourself outgoing, but conservative; interesting but a little shy; you can keep a conversation going, but with the right people... sounds good doesn't it? Why do the bad boys always seem to get the ladies? Here are 7 reasons why:

1. Rebels are confident

That's right. They wouldn't be able to pull off half of the antics they do if they weren't brimming with confidence. Bad boys aren't just confident around their friends, either - their cavalier attitude is in everything they do, from eating their cereal in the morning, to asking the bartender for a cool glass of draft... to talking to the ladies on the balcony at a friend's party. No matter where you look, women find confidence a major turn on.

2. Rebels are indifferent

Bad boys just simply don't give a damn. They can take it or leave it. That's one reason why they fare well with women. If a woman says no, who cares? They move on to the next one, and they do it with the same verve and maverick attitude as they did the last one. Here is a great quote, "Mr. Right doesn't necessarily care if he is Mr. Right." That's indifference in a nutshell.

3. Rebels are exciting and adventurous

Ask yourself, "when was the last time I took a walk on the wild side?" If you are asking yourself that question, then you obviously aren't a rebel. The 'bad boys' are always testing the boundaries and pushing the envelope when it comes to their life - and women can't get enough of it. They find it intriguing. And when you put exciting and adventurous beside the other rebellious traits, it sends women into a tizzy.

4. Rebels are challenging and mysterious

Women don't dig men that are pushovers. They also don't like men that they can see coming a mile away. Contrary to the belief women like men they can read and men that provide them with a sense of security, women actually LOVE to guess! It is challenging for them, and it is one of the elements of the bad boy that keeps them coming back for more!

5. Rebels are very masculine

This often goes hand-in-hand with being confident, indifferent, exciting, adventurous... etc. Bad boys are often rugged and in-control. That doesn't mean controlling; they just know how to get what they want. They speak clearly and confidently, they look you in the eye, they are passionate about what they believe in... but most importantly, they still know how to treat a lady.

6. Rebels give women a feeling of power

The illusion of control is often more powerful than control itself. Power within a relationship, power outside of a relationship - it doesn't matter - being with a bad boy, encompassing all of the above traits, gives women an air of strength and togetherness. Essentially the confident, cocky bad boy image rubs off a little bit on her - and she laps it up!

7. Rebels know how to talk to women

If they weren't confident, rebels would not be the chick magnets they are. Instead of indifferent, they would be self-conscious and non-committal (how many women have you passed up because you didn't think you were good enough?) - you see, rebels don't care. Rising to the challenge, living the wild side of life, being something more than conservative, and keeping her guessing about you - and her - it's an explosive combination! And one that is geared to success for the dating male.

The combination makes the talking part almost a given - considering the woman's interest has already been sparked. Talking with them is just the part that reels them in. And the bad boy knows how to tell her just what she wants to hear.

Rebels know how to talk to women because they are all of the above. Confidence followed up with indifference, sprinkled with a little bit of mystery, intrigue and excitement is what attracts most women to start. That gets you the 'in' to talk with them - they're interested, now you have to show them what you've got. Figuring those things out is the trick. Bad boys use their conversational skills to keep a woman interested and wanting more - and you can too.


Some proposals of love are traditional, and some are lousy. But there are a few all-time greats that still stand the test of time. Use these time tested romantic proposal ideas to make your proposal oh-so-memorable.

The Best Romantic Proposal Ideas
The Champagne Ring
Cook and set an elaborate candle light dinner for a quiet romantic dinner for two at home (or cater if you’re not talented in the kitchen). Serve her a flute of champagne with the diamond ring in the bottom or ribbon it to the stem.
Puppy Love
Bring home an enthusiastic new puppy with a ribbon for a collar. Place the ring in a nice collar for her to find as she cheerfully greets the cuddly pup.
Your Favorite Restaurant
During dinner at your favorite restaurant, arrange with the waiter to have the diamond in a box as one of the choices on the dessert tray. Tell her she is the sweetest thing you know and you can’t resist her any longer. This may not work too well if the waiter chooses to keep the diamond, so choose your waiter carefully.

Chocolate Lovers
Chocolate-dip the diamond box, and put it in the center of a box of chocolates when both of you have cuddled up for the evening. She will always wonder what’s in the largest piece of candy. Pick it up for her and open it slowly, keeping your eyes on her all the time.

Surfaholic Proposal
Create a personal web page with her name and your proposal with a picture of the diamond in its velvet presentation box, and send her the web address. Alternatively sit down together to surf for good vacation sites, and visit a site or two before you type in the site address.
Seashells and Flowers
Take her for a surprise picnic at the beach or in the woods. At the picnic spot, spell out “Marry Me” with stones, flowers or seashells. Slide the diamond into her fingers when she says yes.
Beach Bums
Arrange for a day at a private beach together, building sand castles or digging for shells. On the night before, write a love poem on a piece of parchment paper, roll it into an antique bottle with a cork, and bury it in a well marked spot in the sand near your diggings. Make sure you are the one to “find” the bottle as you dig together. Open and read the poem, then present the diamond from your pocket and ask for her hand in marriage.
YouTube Proposal
Not many have tried this, but we assure you it’s great. Make a personal video of yourself proposing to your lover, and upload it on Youtube and give it a fancy name like “New Romantic Movie Trailer – A Happily Ever After”. Watch a few movie trailers and find a way to open your video link. Aww, don’t we all love happy endings!
Now that you know these romantic proposal ideas, perhaps it’s time to go down on one knee. Or you could also read the guide to proposing to your partner.

14 Ways to say YES: the art of saying yes to your partner

Mastering the art of saying “No” is compulsory in many cases. We do have to learn how to say it without offending the other person and still getting what we want. Appropriately saying “No” can really save our butt from a tricky situation and that’s why mastering our “No”’s is so important.
And still, the real power lies not in saying “No”, but in saying “Yes”. If mastering the “No”’s will activate an invisible safety belt, a good, plain and timely “Yes” will push us higher than we think we can. If “No” is the savior, “Yes” is the creator. “No” is defensive, “Yes” is empowering.
Let’s play a little with the art of saying “Yes”.

1. I Do!

If you ever asked somebody to marry you, than you know what I mean: “I do” is a very interesting form of total submission and commitment. You say “I do” with almost your last breathe, still thinking the other person would never ask. You are almost shouting, raising your voice in an effort of being heard and accepted. Can you hear me? I’m here! I do!

2. Let’s Do It!

The practical approach of starting stuff together. You use “Let’s do it” when you’re eager to start, have almost everything it takes, the only extra piece being saying it out loud so the other part can hear it. “Let’s do it” is the ultimate involvement answer, it’s so enabling that it barely qualify for a plain “Yes”, it’s more of an informal affiliation statement:.

3. What Are We Waiting For?

The standard “Yes” of the impatient (and maybe of the compulsive one, but I’m not quite sure about that). This answer literally bury the question and move the focus on the physical action. If you get this type of “Yes” it means the question was superfluous. Instead, you should just move on and start doing things.

4. Hell, Yes

Enthusiastic and passionate, this answer always reminds me of a long dusty road in the desert and a nice bike under the rider. It’s the ultimate expression of freedom, of leaving behind the old version of you and starting over. Every time I hear this answer, I know something fundamentally new will happen.

5. I’m In It

Business-like expression of a partnership. This “Yes” is wearing a suit and it’s quite disciplined. If your question involves some long term plan, receiving this “Yes” could be a very good sign. It shows commitment and strictness. The tricky part is that the other person is looking forward for the same things in you, so be careful.

6. I Was Born For It

“I’m waiting for this question since I was born, dude. Of course, it’s yes. How can it be the other way around?“ This ”Yes“ is always making me smile. Makes me actually visualize the whole process: well, I think I would like to be born for…. that thing! Can we do it? Please? Wow, great, now let’s find some guys to spread the word about it.

7. Of Course

Chilling and kinda polite. This ”Yes“ goes well with a cup of the and some biscuits. Maybe a little break in the afternoon, around five o’clock, but let’s not push it. Whenever I hear this ”Yes“ I’m also prepared to hear a ”but“. I think this ”Yes“ is the most ”but“-prone from all. Nevertheless, hearing it makes me feel like I’m having some very important negotiation.

8. My Thoughts Exactly

Confirming and validating, this ”Yes“ is almost a confession. It’s so powerful that I’m sometimes afraid I actually penetrated into the other guy’s mind. I mean, are those really his thoughts? Wow. Whenever I use it, I do it because I really trust the other person or I try to build a more intimate connection. Which is always happening after this type of ”Yes“.

9. Are We There Yet?

And that would be actually the “Yes” of the compulsive. I admit I get the shivers when I hear it, although I do know it’s funny. But the confirmation level is so high and the triggered energy seems so available, that I’m almost feeling guilty for not going “there” yet. I also think this is the more validating “Yes” from all.

10. You’ll Lead, I’ll Follow

Any “Yes” expressed in this form will show total trust and confidence from the other part. When it does not show a fine sense of irony too, of course. It’s the most uncertain “Yes” from all. If I hear this, I know that although I’m getting followed, I somehow keep all the responsibility. This “Yes” comes with a little bit of extra caution.

11. Aye, Aye, Sir!

Military-like acceptance. You can’t mistake this one as a disguised “No”, in my opinion. I almost always respond to this “Yes” with a relieving “Dismissed!”, just for the fun of it. And every time I hear it, I’m compelled to continue the discussion in short but strong sentences, also know as orders. The nice thins with orders is that you expect them to be followed, most of the time.

12. Undoubtedly

In case you’re having any doubt, I mean. If you’re hearing this, you’re taking off the veil from a possibly foggy situation and acknowledge total confidence. This “Yes” is coming with the sound of a hammer hitting a nail right in the head. If you know what I mean. I think this “Yes” is the most relieving of all.

13. Always!

You know I do, why are you still asking? It’s also a form of past, present and future commitment. If you hear this, your next question may not be necessary at all. This “Yes” is more than often the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

14. Totally!

Unreserved immersion and acceptance. That “yes” is my favorite, but if you ask me why, I’m not sure I know the answer. Maybe because I am that kind of guy: if I’m in it for something, I simply don’t know the meaning of half, I do it all the way up to the end.

What’s your preferred way to say “Yes”? Doesn’t necessarily have to be from the list above, surprise me :-) . When do you say it? To whom do you say it? Leave a comment and let me know, I’m really curious.
And if you wonder why I chose exactly 14 ways to say “Yes”, well, it’s because I think for every “No” in our lives we should be able to come up with at least two “Yes”. :-)


You have been methodically and diabolically abused and suddenly you hear "don't be a victim, choose to be a survivor." The concept that a victim can always consciously choose how to proceed, is wrong.
The phrase, "move on with your life" is common. In a commanding, offhand and arrogant tone, those who have fought and lost a custody battle, their home, car and savings, family, job and may be suffering physically (adrenal exhaustion is common), emotionally & mentally are stunned to be told, "well, better move on with your life."
The entire infrastructure of a life is often destroyed leaving the victim, stunned, numb, hypervigilant, indigent, betrayed and perplexed as to why they are expected to "choose" to not be a victim. Give them a time machine and this can be done. Give them revictimization abuse and it cannot. They are victims.
It's time to give that word back its status and in doing so, give respect to the abused. Respect comes in the form of providing help. An empowering, compassionate approach to those who have been stripped of dignity through repeated abuse in courts of law, or by their partners, begins with recognizing and defining the situation of the victim.
What is the definition of a "victim"?
According to the dictionary a victim is: One who is harmed by, or made to suffer from an act, circumstance, agency, or condition; a person who is tricked, swindled, or taken advantage of.
The victim of a narcissist or abuser is traumatized. There are biochemical changes in the body and structural changes in the brain. Thought patterns change, memories are lost, immune system strongly affected, brain cells die, there is chest pain, muscle pain, feelings are intense and emotions chaotic. Victimization is never deserved.
Why are victims revictimized?
So why does someone brutalized, abused, and traumatized have to be afraid of the word "victim" ? Because it's 'politically correct' to say I'm a survivor not a victim. But when the playing field is not level some have an advantage.
Not everyone who is the victim of emotional, verbal, and narcissistic abuse are the same. Some have more resiliency than others. Some are numb, some are without any resources or support. Many have physiological changes that need to be addressed. And when those who need help come looking for it, instead of being welcomed, they find "helpers" that tell them THEY are responsible for their healing and they better "choose it now or they will always be a victim and never a survivor."These people are revictimizing those they want to help because "choice" is NOT always an option.
Dr. Frank Ochberg, Harvard trained MD and trauma expert, says our culture now disparages, blames, isolates, and condemns someone for being a victim.
We must reclaim the word "victim" and renew our commitment to those who are victims. We should examine the role of a victim impact statement and victim advocate for those who are traumatized emotionally as well as from a criminal act.
Are you being victimized again by someone who says, "if you won't stop being a victim. I won't help you"? Maybe your attorney, therapist. siblings, or friends are claiming you can just choose to stop being a victim. Maybe they think you can start a company without money, and buy a house with bad credit.
Maybe they don't know what they are talking about.
As a victim of any kind of abuse you deserve:
1. Compassion
2. Validation
3. Freedom from therapeutic verbal abuse
4. A support team to open doors to resources
5. A friend, therapist or counselor who can teach you the skills to rebuild your life.
Depending on who you are, this may take a long time or not. Variables include amount and length of abuse, health, supportive family or not, finances, genetic explanatory style (optimism or pessimism), coping skills you may already have and many others. As a victim, you have the right to say, "STOP" to those who blame the victim.
An entire self help industry has arisen that believes if you just really really wanted to, you can be happy and healthy and fully functional as soon as you choose to be. Baloney! A starting point for recovery are post traumatic stress sites. There you will find trained and compassionate support people with articles that explain trauma healing methods.

How to Break up

Breaking up isn't easy, right? They wrote a whole song about it. 

Nonetheless, break-ups are an inevitable part of growing into the people we want to become, living the lives we want to lead.

Break-ups can happen for limitless reasons. But you can handle this event with dignity and sensitivity for the other person's experience. 

The following are my suggestions for staging a respectful, honest break-up, while leaving room for a potential friendship in the future. Even if future contact isn't your goal, you'll be a happier person for handling a break-up responsibly, with grace and dignity.

step 1 Know why you want to break up

Your partner's going to want to know what the heck is going on. It's best for both of you if you are prepared to face this question.

If you're mad, that's one thing. Don't act on it just yet. It's really important that you take some time and consider exactly what it is that's made you mad.

If you're sad, or feeling some kind of hard-to-explain or unclear (even to you) emotion, you need to identify that too. It might not seem easy (perhaps you've been avoiding it?), but now's the time.

Is there someone else? Has another prospect drawn your eye? Have you already acted on these feelings? Whether or not you have, you need to get to the bottom of why this is happening - why you're attracted to someone else right now. Working this out now will help prevent a long series of making the same mistakes in the future.

Get some paper. Write down everything you're feeling.

It doesn't have to make sense. It doesn't need punctuation or good spelling or even legible handwriting. This is for your eyes only!

While you're writing, ask yourself some questions:

  • Does the relationship make you feel good?
  • Does the relationship allow you to evolve and grow in your own directions?
  • Does your partner accept you exactly the way you are?
  • Do you communicate well?
  • Can you resolve conflicts together?
  • Do you feel safe?
  • What do you feel you're missing?

step 2 Talk it over

Now that you have your list, you have some "actionable" items! Before you take the leap into singledom, see what you can do to resolve some of these issues.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by engaging in an open and honest discussion with your partner.

Agh. But how?!? 

Try telling your partner you haven't been feeling like the relationship is everything it could be. Talk about the things you discovered while you were writing.

Don't make accusations. What you feel comes from within you. Example: replace "You make me feel. . . " with "I feel. . . "
Discuss alternatives to your current ways of operating that might make you feel more fulfilled.
If you feel unappreciated or unaccepted, voice your concerns. It could be that your partner really digs you, but doesn't express it in the way you're accustomed to recognizing it!

Whatever results from this discussion is your doorway to what happens next.

You may find that talking about it without being afraid of hurting each other's feelings is all you needed to set you on the right path!

Depending on the depth of your relationship, you may consider speaking with a counselor, either as an individual, or as a couple. 

Many couples see a counselor when they are uncertain whether or not to continue on with their relationship, long before they've even reached the stage of breaking up! Therapy is a safe place to explore concerns you're both having. It's common to find that you're both able to understand each other more deeply when you have a professional moderating!

Whatever you decide to do, this conversation should make that clear to you both, making the ensuing steps infinitely easier on you both.

You and your partner both deserve to have this conversation.

step 3 Take a break

If you've decided it is indeed time to break up, you may want to take a few days to yourself. This will allow you to gain some emotional distance, helping to ensure that the break-up won't turn ugly.

Use this time to plan how you're going to handle the break-up.

Consider what you'll say, and envision some possible reactions so you're prepared a little better to handle the situation without losing control.

This time away should also be a warning sign to your partner.

Hopefully they'll realize you're retreating, and considering the conversation you've already had by now, they'll be using this time to emotionally prepare themselves for what's to come.

step 4 Make a plan

Decide how much time you're willing to spend breaking up.

It's probably going to go on longer than you'd like. But by now, you know what you want, so don't let it drag on. The time you spend should be proportional to how long you've been together and the intensity of the relationship.

Be respectful of how much time your partner needs to digest this information, but make sure you prepare an exit strategy. It's ok to say, "I've said everything I can, and I can't talk about this more right now." 

Prepare your discussion as much as you can.

It's obviously not going to go exactly as you plan, no matter how many contingencies you anticipate. Help yourself by remaining honest and staying on topic.

  • Stick to the truth
  • Avoid statements like "always" or "never"
  • Don't nitpick
  • Be respectful, but don't mince your words to spare your partner's feelings
  • Be prepared for a strong emotional response
  • Be sober

step 5 Location and timing

You must do this in person.

In no way are you allowed to break up via text, chat, facebook status, email, or letter.

You're not allowed to just disappear either. The lack of closure can be psychologically damaging to you both. 

Choose somewhere safe.

If there's any chance whatsoever of this discussion becoming physical, or if you and your partner are prone to screaming fights, choose a public venue for this event to keep you both on your best behavior. 

If this isn't case, choose a place where your partner can be free to express his/her emotions. You might wish to avoid this, but they deserve the ability to do this in front of you. 

Make sure it's a place you can walk away from

If you do it at your house, they choose when to leave. Baaaaad idea.

If you live together. . . ouch. This is hard. Be prepared to leave and stay somewhere else for a while. If you don't have the time to pack and move entirely before having this conversation, be prepared to stay away long enough for the heat to die down. Then find a time when your partner is away and finish the job.

step 6 The Break Up

This is anything but easy. But you're prepared! You know your reasons, and you know what to expect.

Stay calm.

"We need to talk" is a completely acceptable lead-in. It's a clear signal that this is serious, and something unpleasant is going to follow. 

Sit your partner down and let them know that it's time to end the relationship. Don't mince words. Let them know that you think you've both done everything that you can, and he/she is a great person, but this is just not the right "fit."

Hopefully you know your partner and the state of the relationship well enough to know what to expect. You might, however, be surprised. Try to stay calm, no matter what happens.

Expect a reaction.

This include (but not be limited to!):

Questioning - He or she will want to know why, and what they could have done to prevent the break-up. Answer as honestly as possible.

Crying - The other person will likely be upset. You can comfort him or her, but don't be manipulated into changing your mind!

Bargaining or begging - Your partner may offer to change, or do whatever you want to preserve the relationship. Know that if the person hasn't been able to change in the past, they won't be able to now.

Lashing out - The other person may be hurting now, and may want you to hurt too. Whether it's as simple as "You'll never find anyone as good as me," or as scary as "If I can't have you, no one can," he or she is usually just trying to make themselves feel better by hurting you. However, threats of physical harm are serious, and should not be ignored.

Arguing - He or she may dispute anything you've said at this point, even debating examples you've used in your reasons for breaking up. Don't get dragged into a fight. Don't split hairs - it doesn't matter now. Let your partner know that arguing isn't going to change your mind.

If you can't avoid a fight, be ready to leave, acknowledging to your partner that you will continue this discussion when you both have calmed down.

step 7 How to behave

Ending a relationship is a humbling experience.

Most of us don't handle rejection well.

Sometimes our reactions can be a surprise even to ourselves. Don't allow yourself to be taken in by the other person's reactions.

  • Always be understanding
  • Say that you are sorry things didn't work out
  • Be confident, even if you haven't been so in the relationship in the past
  • Control your emotions to send a clear signal
  • If you do still love the person, you can let them know how important they are to you and that you want them to stay in your life. Make it clear that this will not be in a romantic way.

Make it stick.

Be clear that the romantic relationship is over. If you don't want to have a platonic relationship with them, be clear about that too. 

The sooner the other person can understand that you are not going to change their mind, the sooner they'll be able to get over your sorry a** begin the healing.

step 8 Closure

Both you and the other person will now need time to digest the break-up. Your lives are now changed. Give it time! You both need time away from each other to get on with your lives.

Don't call. Don't text. Don't email. Don't be where they're going to be.

This "no contact" rule is essential to the healing process. But sometimes the urge to make contact can be too hard to resist! 

Get your friends to help you. If you're going out for drinks, give them your cell.
If you find yourself up late at night writing an email, send it to yourself. You can delete it tomorrow.
If the other person is trying to contact you, help them out by not responding.

Though you may be able to be BFF in the future, you'll both need plenty of time and space before you can make that happen.

The sooner you accept this, the sooner you can move on! 

step 9 Moving on

So. That sucked. But you handled it with grace and dignity! Good for you.

A bad relationship is a stalemate. It's not only stopping you both from living a fulfilling life, it can also harm your self-esteem and confidence.

Remember, breaking up is a normal part of life.

It happens to most everyone at some point in their lives. 

We all have heartbreak, but we can survive it.

Take care of yourself now.

  • Eat well, exercise, allow yourself plenty of sleep.
  • Spend more time doing things you might not have done otherwise!
  • Pamper yourself for no reason.

You've accomplished a painful and arduous task, and you are now one step closer to happiness.


Forgiveness: Letting go of grudges and bitterness

When someone you care about hurts you, you can hold on to anger, resentment and thoughts of revenge — or embrace forgiveness and move forward.

What is forgiveness?

Generally, forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. The act that hurt or offended you may always remain a part of your life, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, positive parts of your life. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.
Forgiveness doesn't mean that you deny the other person's responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn't minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.

What are the benefits of forgiving someone?

Letting go of grudges and bitterness makes way for compassion, kindness and peace. Forgiveness can lead to:
  • Healthier relationships
  • Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
  • Less stress and hostility
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Fewer symptoms of depression, anxiety and chronic pain
  • Lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse

Why is it so easy to hold a grudge?

When you're hurt by someone you love and trust, you may become angry, sad or confused. If you dwell on hurtful events or situations, grudges filled with resentment, vengeance and hostility may take root. If you allow negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you may find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice.

What are the effects of holding a grudge?

If you're unforgiving, you may pay the price repeatedly by bringing anger and bitterness into every relationship and new experience. Your life may become so wrapped up in the wrong that you can't enjoy the present. You may become depressed or anxious. You may feel that your life lacks meaning or purpose, or that you're at odds with your spiritual beliefs. You may lose valuable and enriching connectedness with others.

How do I reach a state of forgiveness?

Forgiveness is a commitment to a process of change. A way to begin is by recognizing the value of forgiveness and its importance in your life at a given time. Then reflect on the facts of the situation, how you've reacted, and how this combination has affected your life, health and well-being. When you're ready, actively choose to forgive the person who's offended you. Move away from your role as victim and release the control and power the offending person and situation have had in your life. As you let go of grudges, you'll no longer define your life by how you've been hurt. You may even find compassion and understanding.

Forgiveness: Letting go of grudges and bitterness

What happens if I can't forgive someone?

Forgiveness can be challenging. It may be particularly hard to forgive someone who doesn't admit wrong or doesn't speak of his or her sorrow. If you find yourself stuck, it may help to write in a journal, pray or use guided meditation. You may want to talk with a person you've found to be wise and compassionate, such as a spiritual leader, a mental health provider, or an unbiased family member or friend. You may also want to reflect on times you've hurt others and on those who've forgiven you. Keep in mind that forgiveness has the potential to increase your sense of integrity, peace and overall well-being.

Does forgiveness guarantee reconciliation?

If the hurtful event involved someone whose relationship you otherwise value, forgiveness may lead to reconciliation. This isn't always the case, however. Reconciliation may be impossible if the offender has died or is unwilling to communicate with you. In other cases, reconciliation may not be appropriate, especially if you were attacked or assaulted. But even in those cases, forgiveness is still possible — even if reconciliation isn't.

What if I have to interact with the person who hurt me but I don't want to?

If you haven't reached a state of forgiveness, being near the person who hurt you may be tense and stressful. To handle these situations, remember that you have a choice whether or not to attend specific functions and gatherings. Respect yourself and do what seems best. If you choose to attend, don't be surprised by a certain amount of awkwardness and perhaps even more intense feelings. Do your best to keep an open heart and mind. You may find that the gathering helps you to move forward with forgiveness.

What if the person I'm forgiving doesn't change?

Getting another person to change his or her actions, behavior or words isn't the point of forgiveness. Think of forgiveness more about how it can change your life — by bringing you more peace, happiness, and emotional and spiritual healing. Forgiveness takes away the power the other person continues to wield in your life.

What if I'm the one who needs forgiveness?

Consider admitting the wrong you've done to those you've harmed, speaking of your sincere sorrow or regret, and specifically asking for forgiveness — without making excuses. Remember, however, you can't force someone to forgive you. Others need to move to forgiveness in their own time. Simply acknowledge your faults and admit your mistakes. Then commit to treating others with compassion, empathy and respect.


It was 75 degrees outside. Not a cloud in the sky. The kind of weather San Diego is famous for, and a perfect Easter Sunday.  Reena Becerra was already dialing her boyfriend as she got off work. She could barely wait to see him, even after five years, even after all they'd been through.   
But he didn't pick up. She went to his place, and found his cell phone on his couch, and tried the last couple of numbers on it. Nothing. Not knowing what to do, she decorated the house, cooked an Easter dinner, and finally got in her car and went home. 
As she pulled in she saw him. He was standing in his underwear, drunkenly trying to punch the numbers of her security code. "I had a feeling it was going to be a long night," says Reena, now 37.
"What are you doing?" she demanded. "Just let me in the house," he seethed. On the way, he knocked her down two flights of stairs.  She got up, planning to end the whole thing. Once inside, he kicked her dog, who flew across the room and hid. "The next thing I know," says Reena, "we're in the kitchen and he's telling me, 'I'm going to kill myself tonight and I'm going to kill you too. I'm going to chop you into little pieces. Do you know who Laci Peterson is?" At one point he slammed her with a frying pan; at another he was banging her head against the linoleum floor so hard the neighbors below screamed, "Shut up, we don't want to hear you." 
And then, Reena says, "He's on top of me and, I'm blacking out, and I can't breathe. He's got his hands around my neck and I can see his eyes are dead. They're cold, there's no feeling in them. I thought, OK, this is it. I'm going to die."
Somehow she managed to call 911. 
HERE'S THE PROBLEM: After we wrote about the law and choking—and by that I really mean strangling—many of you posted your own chilling  stories. I wanted to find out more. Why is this deadly aspect of domestic abuse so swept under the rug? And what can we do?
Here's what I've discovered about when a lover tries to strangle you...
1) KNOW THAT YOU ARE LIKELY TO DIE. Most people blow off choking as just one more smack, fist, black-eye—par for the abuse course. It's not. This is a sign the man has crossed the line. A study done by Nancy Glass, PhD, at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing showed that attempted strangulation increases the odds seven-fold that he will end up murdering you. "Choking an intimate partner is one of the top five leading indicators that the violence is likely to become deadly," says Linda Fairstein, former Chief of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit in New York and author of Hell Gate. "Choking and saying, 'I'm going to kill you?' Off the charts." 

2) SEE A DOCTOR: Strangling cuts off oxygen to the brain. Even if you feel fine, women sometimes regain consciousness only to die three days later from brain damage or other internal injuries. "This is like you've been shot or stabbed," says Gael Strack, CEO of The National Family Justice Center Alliance, who has done more than almost anyone to educate the world about choking, and train victims, doctors, police, and prosecutors to take it seriously.

3) GATHER EVIDENCE: At least half the time, Strack's research found, this crime leaves no visible trace—at least to the untrained eye. But there are symptoms. Anything you can document or photograph will help your case. Check for: 
Raspy, hoarse voice (if you call 911, it will be recorded on the tape)
Difficulty breathing or swallowing 
Nausea, vomiting 
"Petechiae" —red pinpoint marks (ruptured capillaries) around the eyes and neck
Swelling or redness on the neck
Very faint small bruises made by a thumb or finger 
 Blood-shot eyes  
 Involuntary urination or defecation (embarrassing as it is, Strack advises, don't wash or throw out the clothes; they're good evidence)   

4) WATCH FOR LONG TERM EFFECTS:  "There may be risk of future stroke and lost cognitive ability, memory and concentration," says Glass. If you're having trouble thinking, see a specialist who deals in brain injuries.

5) LEAVE THIS MAN: Reena got Mike convicted of a felony. Three years later, it's hard to believe this pistol of a woman, who works two jobs, just got into a PhD program for psychology, and is the chair of the domestic violence advocacy group VOICES, had let herself end up on the kitchen floor. The thing of it is, she'd left this guy twice for cheating, and dragged his ass to two different couples therapists. But, as anyone who's been down this road can understand, by the time she discovered he'd killed a man over drugs, the cycles of controlling and isolating, beatings and diamonds, had caught her from behind. Her mind was runny—she was a mess. 
"I still wonder why I stayed," she says now. Knowing others will too, she decided, after sharing her story with me, that she didn't want to use her real name for Shine. 
But a moment later, she changed her mind. She has moved on to helping others. "Let people think what they want," she said. "It's not about me anymore."