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

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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