Essays

It’s Easier Not to Be Great.

How performance-based identity dysregulates athletes. The Tokyo Olympics have concluded, but the mental health challenges of so many athletes remain. Gymnast Simone Biles catapulted the issue front and center in the midst of the competition. Her courageous acknowledgment follows the stories of Michael Phelps, Aly Raisman, Kevin Love, and many other high-profile Olympic, professional, andContinue reading “It’s Easier Not to Be Great.”

The Wrong One Died: Face-to-Face with Survivor’s Guilt

As I prepared to start my graduate school counseling studies, I began reading psychiatrist Irvin Yalom’s book, “Love’s Executioner.” The book is a compilation of patient case studies, which provides a fascinating peek under the hood for a future therapist. Since I’m naturally curious about people and what makes us tick, Yalom’s book was hardContinue reading “The Wrong One Died: Face-to-Face with Survivor’s Guilt”

Ready, Set, Go. A 64-year-old’s First Day of Grad School.

The author poses on the campus of Northeastern Illinois University. It’s incredibly difficult to fathom, but I’m just seven months away from my 65th birthday. Holy shit! Some of my same-aged friends are at this very moment planning for imminent retirements. Others have already stepped away from their respective vocational rat races. But not me.Continue reading “Ready, Set, Go. A 64-year-old’s First Day of Grad School.”

It’s Not Your Fault

The 1997 movie Good Will Hunting is one of my favorite films for a number of reasons. Each of the main characters is deeply flawed, lonely, fearful, and trying desperately to mask the pain that envelops them. Among the numerous powerful and poignant scenes in the film is a breakthrough moment in the relationship betweenContinue reading “It’s Not Your Fault”

Holier than Thou: The Scourge of Religious Hypocrisy

I am sick to death of religious hypocrisy. It’s a widespread, ever-burgeoning malady that infects our relationships, communities, institutions, politics, and even our families. I first experienced this ungodly paradox while attending a parochial elementary school in the Midwest. A cadre of old ladies, mostly widows I assume, were regulars at daily Mass. And withoutContinue reading “Holier than Thou: The Scourge of Religious Hypocrisy”

The Toxicity of Shame

I’m not sure who first identified the acronym for shame, but it’s spot-on: Should Have Already Mastered Everything. In other words, I should be perfect. I should understand this. I should know how to do this. I should… fill in the blank. Author Brené Brown, who spent many years researching shame says, “Where perfectionism exists,Continue reading “The Toxicity of Shame”


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