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TL;DR is a monthly digest summarizing the vital bits from the previous month's "How to Live" newsletter so you don't miss a thing.

JUNE 2024



I am passionate about writing, researching, editing, and maintaining the How to Live Newsletter. It takes me over 300 hours a month to do what I do, and I do it alone, a one-woman operation.

How to Live is not just my work—it's my life and my livelihood.

If you find inspiration or value in this newsletter, your support would mean the world to me. Whether it's $5 or $1000, every contribution will help keep this newsletter alive.

Without your help, I will have to start charging for these weekly pieces or shut down the project entirely.

With your help, I won’t have to make that very difficult choice.

Thank you,


To those who already support this work, thank you for believing this project is important enough to save.

June 5th, 2024 Was a Piece About Learning Yourself Through Play.

I spotlighted 3 unique offerings from the world of psychology, mental health, and Behavioral Science.

The First:

Be Brave Press, created by self-described “Worrier,” Ellie Campbell, is dedicated to creating books and products that can help kids who struggle with worries of all kinds feel seen and understood, to give them fun, engaging tools to help strengthen their brains… and feel even just a little better.

Discover the others and 👇

June 9th, 2024 Piece Was a Bonus, For Paying Members. Evergreen Articles & Denis Johnson!

In today’s bonus, I’m sharing some articles that stand the test of time and bring me joy. From Rethinking Loneliness to a rare 1969 interview with Lou Reed.

As a BONUS bonus, I'm providing a 69-page document containing quotes about writing that were collected by one of my favorite authors, Denis Johnson, from writers he admired. This document was recently discovered in Johnson's archives and is included at the end of this post.

(Johnson’s novel Jesus’ Son was the inspiration for my first novel, The Long Haul—which is now $1.99 on Amazon!)

This Piece From June 12th, 2024 Is About Psychodynamic Therapy.

A few months ago, an Instagram influencer with a following of 248,000 denigrated "traditional therapy" in a reel she posted, saying it failed her in dealing with trauma. And if it failed her, she implied, then it doesn’t work.

She scoffed at the absence of a formal "end date," saying without one, people remain stuck. However, if you bought her 10-week therapy package (which includes Chakra work) for $899, you'd be "cleared."

I find it troubling that someone with such a huge following would urge others to dismiss traditional therapy because it didn't work for her while selling something "better."

While talk therapy alone isn't always enough for stuck trauma, and adjunctive therapies can be extremely effective, this influencer represents the worst of online personality culture who make their money peddling quick fixes in short time frames, unethically steering people away from solutions that might help them.

As my first anniversary without therapy approaches, I thought I’d write about the slow, hard work, of the branch of therapy I was in. While not a panacea, it worked well for me (I also added in trauma-specific therapies like EMDR and Somatic Experiencing) and should not be discounted as an effective model.

In an era obsessed with the illusion of quick fixes and surface-level solutions, traditional talk therapy stands defiant - an obstinate rebuke to the modern craving for instant results.

Talk therapy scorns easy bromides, elides superficial buzzwords, and pithy taglines claiming to transform your inner pain into permanent joy.

Instead, it invites us on a guided tour inside the uncharted depths of our unconscious mind, our psyche, a headlong plunge into the hidden roots from which human suffering springs.

On June 19th, I Wrote About Why Rejection Hurts So Much.

Few experiences can match the intensity of pain caused by rejection; whether romantic, social, familial, or professional, the suffering inflicted isn’t predicated on the slight’s severity. Major or minor, intentional or not, the emotional distress caused by rejection, abandonment, or betrayal is the same.

Age makes no difference. Neither does gender.

Rejection is so painful that the mere perception of being rejected can cause emotional chaos. The pain cuts to the core because being cast aside violates the root of all connection—attachment. 

This makes good sense because when it comes to the brain, the neural networks that get triggered by such slights prove that there’s little difference between a broken bond and a broken bone. 

This means that feeling rejected isn’t a subjective experience that one chooses because, when it comes to rejection, the brain doesn’t distinguish between feelings and facts.

The desire for acceptance is a common human trait—we’re driven by the need to be accepted. It’s how we know we belong. And when we belong, we feel secure and grounded, strengthening our self-identity.

This feeling of security allows a child to leave her parent to try the world out on her own without fear of being cast off or forgotten because she’s out of sight. 

Lack of acceptance can lead not only to feelings of hurt but to acts of violence; in fact, studies show a correlation between rejection and violence.

We need to feel connected to survive—we’re wired for these relationships, and without them, we become emotionally starved. This consequence makes logical evolutionary sense.

This Announcement from June 21st, 2024, Alerted Everyone of a New Subscriber Tier!


📧 Are you overwhelmed by weekly emails, but don't want to unsubscribe?

I’m excited to introduce: the TL;DR ONLY tier! 🎉 

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I recently wrote a piece on Imposter Phenomenon (IP).

In it, I claim the problem of impostorism shouldn’t fall on the individual but on the systems themselves, whose baked-in inequity gives rise to the phenomenon.

I believe this, and hope you believe it, also.

Yet, it remains true that many people struggle with feelings of fraudulence. Everyone must understand the lived experience of this universal phenomenon.

My predilection for scouring vintage psychology texts and outdated psychometrics (yes, I realize this is an uncommon hobby; my ways are atypical) offers me insight into such experiences, and so I thought I’d share some of the scales used to measure Imposter Phenomenon and Perfectionism.

These scales are not for self-diagnosis or to suggest that IP is a clinical psychiatric disorder (it’s not). Instead, understanding that our distress is universal, can help us feel less alone and more connected.

These scales are for self-educational purposes, not diagnostic.

If you decide to use these measures, please remember to interpret the results only within the context of that specific scale. Don't try to apply the information to your life beyond this narrow context.

This Piece From June 26th Offers Stories From the Front Lines of Bad Bosses.

In the pantheon of workplace horrors, the bad boss reigns supreme—a figure both mundane and monstrous, capable of transforming the ordinary into a landscape of dread.

I asked people online to submit their bad boss stories. I’ve chosen three. The last one is the longest and juiciest.

May these stories of workplace tyranny remind you that you are not alone, and that you can find the strength to forge better paths—for yourselves, and for those who come after.




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Nope, I am not a licensed therapist or medical professional. I am simply a person who struggled with undiagnosed mental health issues for over two decades and spent 23 years in therapy learning how to live. Now, I'm sharing the greatest hits of what I learned to spare others from needless suffering.

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