Do you feel emotionally safe with your friends or loved ones? Is there anyone you can be truly open and vulnerable with? No one wants to be judged. I don’t understand why judges even get paid so much. People judge me for free. Ouch. While it’s tempting to evaluate and rule on others, remember that we all sin differently.

Please don’t judge someone’s breakthrough unless you know their “been through.” How can you sit in judgment of their choices without knowing their reasons?

Learn to set limits and boundaries, please. It is critical to protect yourself and to safeguard your relationships, as well. Let your friend know what is meaningful to you. Are you satisfied with your communication skills? Do you get enough “space” or alone time? Speaking of which, do you also keep pressing the Space bar but you’re still here on Earth? Me, too.

Remember, sweet friends, it is not only the words you choose, but how you say them. Maybe you hate the part of the conversation where the other person says things. Or when you’re texting and auto-correct decides to join the conversation. Sheesh.

You may want to pause and ask yourself what your body language is conveying. Are your arms crossed? What is the tone of your voice? Are you even aware? Remember, you had body language before you even had speech.

Do you make eye contact when she speaks? Everyone has two eyes, but no one has the same view.  Then again, remember avoiding eye contact with your teacher when you didn’t want to be called on? Even as a teacher, when you get called to the principal’s office, you wonder: What did I do?

But truly, you may be thinking: “If I show him my weakness, I may get taken advantage of.” Does he tend to your feelings with concern and kindness? Does she validate your emotional experiences? Make it known to your friends and loved ones that you care about their pain, hurt, or what an experience feels like from their perspective. You know what they say: Everything is funny, as long as it’s happening to someone else.

You like your bed more than you like most people? Aww. Try to make your friends feel loved and wanted. Many know what it feels like to feel not loved or wanted. Hey, if I send you my selfies, our friendship is real. Then again, my imaginary friends that I had as a kid dropped me because their friends thought I didn’t exist.

Please stop believing that the only perspective that matters is your own. Much of what we think constitutes “facts” are really “interpretations.”

Just call me a parking ticket, because I need validation. Practice venerating and validating her. Say things like: “It makes sense to me that you may feel that way.” Put your own feelings on hold for the moment while he shares. Toss away your defenses and distractions and simply listen.

You don’t understand? Ask her for clarification. Try to reflect back to him what you heard so he feels understood.  Practice being “curious” instead of condemnatory about others’ motivations.

Are you making up stories in your head as to why he did what he did? Learn to deal with difference and disagreement, but don’t focus on them. Remember, it’s not what you fight about; it’s how you fight.

If you’ve been criticized even by a well-meaning loved one, it’s all right to say: “It was hard for me to hear that.” Sure, you may graciously share your feelings; but only after your friend feels understood.  Then again, sometimes we can’t understand people even after they’ve repeated themselves seven times.

Your autonomic nervous system is wired in such a way that it is fundamental for you to feel safe. Your brain is always on alert, detecting through your senses if you are in any danger: physical or emotional. As you know, media outlets choose to capitalize certain words and apparently place some in BOLD letters. Some go so far as to capitalize Black people. But do not afford the same to White people.

So, what is the purpose of the BOLD letters used to designate a virus, for example, and what effect does it have on you emotionally? It relentlessly grabs your attention, convincing you to suspect possible danger and threat. When you perceive safety and assurance, on the other hand, you can feel secure, joy, and connection with others.

Please do not stay in a perpetual state of unease or anxiety, as you will not be able to give or receive the emotional warmth you need to thrive. Deepen your connections and closeness to those you love, sweet friends.

It’s been said that some see life as a glass half-empty or half-full. How about seeing a glass that’s twice as big as it needs to be?

 Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at