The Redefining Love Blog

Check back regularly for Sara Beth Wald’s latest blog postings about her own journey through Redefining Love, applying Redefined Love to your day-to-day life, and the impact Redefining Love has on our lives and the world.

Sara Wald

Oversharing vs. Healthy Vulnerability

We all know that feeling… You’ve just spilled your guts to someone, and you’re wondering if you shared too much. Brené Brown calls this a “vulnerability hangover,” and YES to this perfect description of what it feels like to leave it all on the table. You know that feeling… A vulnerability hangover occurs when we

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Sara Wald

Secrets can only control you when they are kept

Have you ever thought about what is hiding at the bottom of your shame? It’s the one thing all shame has in common. It’s sneaky, and shockingly simple. It’s secrets. Think about it… How does domestic violence survive generation after generation?… Nobody talks about it. What’s the biggest threat a sexual abuser uses to control

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Sheridan Cotrell

Radical self-trust and tuning into our own intuition

Trust is the root of everything and the foundation of any healthy relationship. It is no different with ourselves. In order to love ourselves, we have to be able to trust ourselves, which often requires a lot of healing.   The reason why self trust is so hard is because trust is a need, deeply rooted

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Sara Wald

What to do when you can’t walk away from a relationship

Have you ever been in a relationship where you felt stuck; where both leaving and staying seems impossible? You love your job, but you absolutely hate your boss. You have bills to pay. You can’t just up and leave. Jobs like yours are a one in a million. Your dad is a narcissistic jerk, but

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Sara Wald

Choose your travel companions wisely

Last week for our discussion topic I resurrected an old newspaper column I’d written years ago. Although I’d revisited my earlier writings because I had writer’s block, once I got in there, I (re)discovered some of my old thoughts that were the inspiration for Redefining Love. Our discussion last week was so successful that I

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Sara Wald

The evolution of a life

It isn’t often that I have writer’s block. I was blessed and cursed with a whole lot to say (at least when I’m writing). But for two days this week I sat at my keyboard and drew a blogging blank. It isn’t that I didn’t have any words. It’s that I had too many. You

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Sara Wald

Letting go

I love quotes. I have been a quote nerd since I was a kid. I used to recopy inspirational sayings from books into a journal, and then reread them over and over when I was sad or needed courage. One of my all-time favorite quotes is: The trees are about to show us how lovely

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Sara Wald

What does INTEGRITY really mean?

Years ago, when I first started in therapy, I was faced with what I would consider a typical situation with my family of origin. Promises had been made and then broken, and as usual it knocked the wind out of me. Somehow, even though I had 30 years of experience with these people, I was

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Sara Wald

14 modalities to reset your brain after trauma

TRIGGER WARNING:This post contains discussions about mental health that may be upsetting or triggering for trauma survivors. If you are at risk for serious depression, anxiety, emotional instability, or self-harm, consider reading this post in the company of a trusted, trauma-informed supporter. In this final post of our series about understanding how trauma transforms our

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Sara Wald

Understanding emotions

When we think about how trauma effects the brain, we don’t necessarily think about emotions. We tend to associate emotions with the heart. Certainly we feel emotions in our hearts. But we also feel them in our skin, hair, lungs, muscles, gut, and throughout the rest of our bodies. Even though we feel emotions all

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Sara Wald

BONUS BLOG: The six types of trauma

A search for “trauma” online results in hundreds of definitions of trauma. The American Psychological Association defines trauma as, “an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape, or natural disaster.” This definition feels woefully inadequate to me. I prefer the definition provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):

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Sara Wald

Naming, blaming, and the uncluttered subconscious

We are heading into our second week discussing how trauma transforms our brains. I originally intended this to be a four-part series, but during our discussion last week, I realized that there is another segment of this discussion that needs to be addressed: naming versus blaming. Last week we talked about how we get trapped

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Sara Wald

How we get trapped in toxic circumstances

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to dive deep into how trauma transforms our brains, and why it’s important for us to understand it in order to heal. This is the first in a four-part series on trauma and the brain. The human brain is very much like a computer. It does what we

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Heather McAbee

How Trauma Effects Your Money

Have you ever wanted to uplevel your income and cannot figure out why what you are doing isn’t working? Looking back on early childhood and young adult events, I notice an underlying theme throughout all areas: my health, my relationships, and my wealth. “I’m not worthy.” I grew up with an abusive, alcoholic father until

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Sara Wald

Love is the only way

If you feel invisible, I see you and I love you. If you are afraid, remember that courage is not the absence of fear, but standing strong against it. You can do it, and I love you. If you are weary, stay strong. You are doing better than you think. And I love you. If

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Sara Wald

Live a life without shame

What would a world without shame look like? There’s no way of knowing for sure, of course, because shame currently permeates every level of our culture. If you look at every instance of human suffering – big and small – at the root of it is not anger, not sadness, not envy, not even fear.

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Sara Wald

Stepping beyond a warrior mindset

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the word “fight.” We fight for a cause. We fight for a marriage. We fight against darkness, or as some religions call it, “the enemy.” The angry cousin of fighting, of course, is “attack.” Our way of life is under attack. Our rights are under attack. Our freedoms

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Sara Wald

Surround yourself with those going in your direction

I’ve been thinking so much lately about my incredible friends – my self-made family. And I’ve been thinking about how different my life became when I realized that I was not floating through life haphazardly, bumping up against people in ways that were beyond my control. Once I realized that every relationship in my life

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Sara Wald

On growing pains, dark times, and beginning again…

My community had a rough week. We yelled at each other. We let our big feelings get the best of us. Feelings were hurt. Friendships ended. It doesn’t really matter what happened. It’s the universal story of our times. This is our Zeitgeist – the mood of the moment. If it hadn’t been this, it

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Sara Wald

Relational Shame Cycles

I talk a lot in Redefining Love about the Three Pillars of Boundaries, Accountability, and Grace. As a review, these three principals must be in balance both internally, towards self, and externally, towards others in order to maintain peace in your complex relationships. So the key is to learn to identify which of the Three

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Sara Wald

Managing anger and other big feelings

There are a lot of big feelings flying around out there lately. Understandably so. Our consciousness is overstimulated with local, national, and worldwide news that has all our systems on high alert. It’s crucial that we understand how our body is designed to respond to our circumstances, so we can be healthy and regulated as

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Biljana Hutchinson

To be creative is to rebuild yourself

Oxford Dictionary defines creativity as ‘the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness.’ The thesaurus includes innovation, vision, expressiveness, creative power, and ingenuity.  Depending on the stage of healing, these words can describe you so that you take pride in them, or they can seem distant and unreachable. I never thought of

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Sara Wald

Exploring the reality of choice

Trauma is tricky because it makes us believe that we don’t have a choice – a choice about our relationships, our emotions, and our reactions. The truth is, unless we are physically held captive,* we do have choices. A huge part of healing is learning to recognize our choices, and trusting ourselves to change course

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Sara Wald

What does it mean to be “safe?”

Trauma causes our brain to get stuck in a place of defense. Anything that reminds our trauma brain of the original experience, whether conscious or unconscious, will trigger our fight, flight, or freeze response. In order to shut off our trauma response, we must be in an environment that is truly safe. Otherwise, we will

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Sara Wald

Boundaries the Redefining Love Way

Setting boundaries is so much more than saying “no.” Boundaries determine where you end and other people begin. In enmeshed family systems or codependent relationships there are few, if any, boundaries. Without boundaries, there is no you. In order to love yourself, you must know who you are. In order to know who you are,

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Sara Wald

Grace is the guidepost

I’ve had grace on my mind a lot lately. It’s a thread that runs through all the other work we do here in the Redefining Love Community. Over the past few months, we’ve talked about forgiveness, talking to our wounded selves, adult friendship, perfectionism, and so many other things. And woven through all of that

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Sara Wald

Is It Just Me? Why Is Adult Friendship So Hard?

We are all so busy. And our kids are so busy. And marriage takes work. And work takes work. And somebody in the house is always sick. And when we’re not sick we’re running in a million directions. And sometimes we just need to eat a meal at home. And sometimes we need to just

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Sara Wald

Why “forgive and forget” is a toxic phrase.

Like everything else in Redefining Love, forgiveness of self and forgiveness of others are inseparable. You can’t have one without working on the other. Feeling unforgiving towards others creates shame. Why? The standard definition of love is “strong feelings of warmth and affection,” while culture also mandates that we “forgive and forget.” When we aren’t

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Sara Wald

Growth is not a crisis

I was talking to a friend earlier this week about all the ways I’ve changed in the past year. I jokingly said “I think I’m going through a midlife crisis!” I haven’t been able to stop thinking about that since I said it. Because here’s the thing… I’ve definitely grown and changed more this past

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Sara Wald

Thoughts on Forgiveness

In Friday Zoom last week, someone suggested we talk about self-forgiveness. And I was like YESSSS, please!  As I sat down to write this week’s post, I kept having this nagging feeling that I had been here before. And then I remembered, I’d written very similar words in my newspaper column years before. I went

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Sara Wald

Talking to your wounded self

When I was a teenager we moved to a new town. I’d never lived in town before, with neighbors walking by with their dogs on a leash, or kids using our front steps to jump their bikes when they thought no one was looking. Because I’d always been an out-of-town kid, the constant stream of

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Sara Wald

Is happiness a choice?

Last weekend my teenager blew my mind. He said, “Mom, I’m confused. People say that happiness is a choice, but they also say that we should feel all the big feelings, including sadness and anger, and not hold them in.” I had to really think about how to respond to this. Because my son is

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Sara Wald

Grief: Bold, Renewing, and Resourceful

Thoughts on grief and loss For those who don’t know, my dad passed away last week. Thank you to all those who have reached out and offered support. I am so grateful and humbled by my community of people.  My dad and I had a complicated relationship. A word that comes to mind when I

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Sara Wald

What does it mean to “hold space” for someone?

We hear the term “hold space” a lot these days. I use it myself all the time. MindBodyGreen.com defines “holding space” as being present with someone without judgement. This definition is certainly true, but when I use the term in Redefining Love, I’m applying the principles of boundaries, accountability, and grace to it as well. Holding

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Sara Wald

Emotions are the brain’s dashboard

Strong emotions aren’t the bad guy. We all have them, and they serve an important purpose. All of our emotions, including those considered “negative,” are there to communicate messages we need about the world. Emotions are our nervous system’s way of telling our bodies how to react. Joy tells us that this is a circumstance

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Sara Wald

Podcast appearances

I’ve come a long way, baby!  I’m always grateful when I get the opportunity to tell the story of my journey to Boundaries, Accountability, and Grace. I appreciate every gracious host, for the chance to share Redefining Love and also for their dedication to making the world a better place.  Take a Listen! The Selfish

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