An exercise in the language of love…

I want you to feel the difference between these statements below about two different scenarios… Really say them in a way as if you are hearing your loved one say them to you and notice what senses, thoughts, feelings, reactions come up for you?

“You should have called me when you knew you’d be late. Why didn’t you?”


“I felt very worried when I hadn’t heard from you. It’s hard for me to understand how you couldn’t call me. I need to know you are safe. In the future, please call me as soon as you are aware you may be late.”

Try this one:

“You should have come to the party. Everyone was asking me why you weren’t there.”


“I missed you at the party. Seemed many did too as they asked me where you were. I felt sad thinking that maybe our fight earlier led you to not going. Did it?”

From my experience, the first statements are fear-based reactions. They provoke feelings and negative core beliefs around fears, shame, resentment, insecurity, and inadequacy. They send the message that You should have known better and What the heck is wrong with you?.

The latter responses are loved-based, assertive and seeking to meet vital needs of love, security, safety, connection, and understanding. They send the message that I take responsibility for my own feelings and needs. That I genuinely care about your wellbeing and want you in my life. That I know that you are a good person and something reasonable must have occurred to make you act in this way. We all have valid feelings, needs, points of view and experiences that influence our behaviors and choices.

Loved-based responses with still awaken negative feelings like guilt and sadness thus our loved one will still have defense mechanisms get activated yet when we stay aware of and connected to our loved-based intentions then we create opportunities for deeper healing, connection, and growth. That’s how trust and secure relationships are built. That every time we lose it, we can with confidence know that someone will be there for us no matter what. That they will make time for us because they care about our wellbeing too.

Now because we are human, fear-based reactions and defense mechanisms are normal. We will still have them. The goal is to catch these reactions sooner and make authentic attempts at repair, connect, and understand. We need to accept the reality of the situation and our own role in it. We often aren’t able to do this in the heat of the moment so taking time to pause, self-soothe, reflect and connect to our feelings, thoughts, needs, and intentions. Then make a conscious choice to align our beliefs, thoughts, words, and actions to match that intention as well as get our needs met in a direct, respectful and nurturing way. It’s a win-win. Still not easy yet we will gain so much more in the long run. Embrace fears, love more and trust the process. The key is to send the message that even when we disagree and feel hurt by another, that we will work to understand each other and love each other though because deep down we know we are good, trust-worthy and lovable.


Positive Reframe shares resources with the intent of the positive progression of informed decision making related to issues associated with emotional, relational, physical and spiritual wellness. While I share personal and professional perspectives, my writings reflect my personal opinion and not intended to substitute professional advice, diagnosis, and treatment. The online medium does not lend itself to the level of detail and rapport building required for thorough assessment and therapeutic intervention thus the content shared on this page is for informational purposes only. To make well-informed decisions that best meet your family’s unique needs, I highly recommend exploring and researching available options, consulting primary health care providers,  as well as seek referrals from a trusted source for professional counseling. I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy in the state of Illinois, USA

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Your bill of human rights…

You have the right to be you.

You have the right to put yourself first.

You have the right to be safe.

You have the right to love and be loved.

You have the right to be treated with respect.

You have the right to be human – NOT PERFECT.

You have the right to angry and protest if you are treated unfairly or abusively by anyone.

You have the right to your own privacy.

You have the right to your own opinions, to express them, and to be taken seriously.

You have the right to earn and control your own money.

You have the right to answer questions about anything that affects you.

You have the right to make decisions that affect you.

You have the right to grow and change (and that includes changing your mind).

You have the right to say NO. You have the right to make mistakes.

You have the right to NOT be responsible for other adults’ problems.

You have the right to not be liked by everyone.


I was 18 when I first read a list of rights like this one. I was actually surprised to learn that I had these rights. I had to read it daily for awhile to kick start my healing. It takes on average 21 times to experience a situation the way you WANT  to experience it before our brains can make a secure connection, to FEEL the benefits and to BELIEVE it is real. I use to have to read at frequent intervals when fears and insecurities would try to sabotage what my heart knew and felt. Fortunately, my healing grew exponentially as I accepted & asserted them.

Here’s a video on the history of Human Rights. I guess I was not alone in not knowing them. Please share them with love and compassion and put these rights to action.

Vital Needs

We are all born good and connected which gets disrupted when vital needs go unmet. Every interaction is an opportunity to connect, nurture, heal and grow… 

Burning Man sculpture called “Love” by Alexandr Milov
Burning Man sculpture called “Love” by Alexandr Milov

Human defense mechanisms intrigue me (i.e. passive/aggressiveness, distortion, projection, denial, fantasy, rationalization, minimizing )…They protect us from absorbing too much pain at once so that the body/mind/heart can prepare to process the uncomfortable, hurtful, and overwhelming experience in order integrate and transcend but if we depend on these mechanisms or use them too long, they harden to bricks that build a wall. You might feel the illusion of safety behind this great wall, but the build-up of toxins, the natural consequences and negativity will delude you. Connection, being able to touch another’s mind/body/heart is one of our vital needs. Many of our other needs are cultivated within safe, well-connected, mutually satisfying and respectful relationships. Unfortunately, what we need the most to heal, few have ever truly received or witnessed. The unknown triggers fear as it is perceived as a threat. We then end up learning to fear and mistrust what we need the most.

When I reflect on my life, I took risks to allow people behind the wall I had built to protect myself. Of course, a few of these people I trusted backfired yet they all helped break down my wall.  My need for these defenses continues to decrease as I find more pro-active and responsible ways of getting my own needs met. I am unsure if it is possible to rid them completely, after all, we are human. Yet as I become more aware of my use of defense mechanisms and triggers, I am better able to embrace the value and those around me. I can love myself and everyone else through the hurt even though I may be running into their walls.

Below is my favorite list of needs from the book, Healing the Child Within by Charles L. Whitfield. It is difficult to move on to getting another need met if the one before it is unmet or threatened. Sadly, I witness too many stuck and fighting at number two… 

Hierarchy of Human Needs 

  1. Survival
  2. Safety
  3. Touching, Skin Contact
  4. Attention
  5. Mirroring And Echoing
  6. Guidance
  7. Listening
  8. Being Real
  9. Participating
  10. Acceptance
    1. Others Are Aware Of, Take Seriously And Admire Real You
    2. Freedom To Be Real You
    3. Tolerance Of Your Feelings
    4. Validation
    5. Respect
    6. Belonging And Love
  11. Opportunity To Grieve Losses And To Grow
  12. Unconditional Support
  13. Loyalty And Trust
  14. Accomplishment
    1. Mastery, Power, Control
    2. Creativity
    3. Having A Sense Of Completion
    4. Making A Contribution
  15. Altering One’s State Of Consciousness
  16. Sexuality
  17. Enjoyment Or Fun
  18. Freedom
  19. Nurturing
  20. Unconditional Love

(compiled from Maslow 1962; Miller, 1981, Weil, 1973; & Glasser, 1985)

light waitalk

Below is a talk I gave on how getting vital needs met lead me to my Light…