Merry Christmas, Ya Filthy Workaholics!


Snarky Photo Courtesy Of:

It’s hard for me to stop working.

I’m a passionate person, and highly driven. When things go well, I’m on top of the world. When projects go badly, I triple my efforts in trying to fix them. 2016 has been a garbage year, for a lot of people. I am no exception. There’s too much to do, too much to fix, and not enough time.

Now, the holidays are here. The candles are lit, Christmas cards are arriving, lights go up on surrounding houses, carols drift by with each passing car…and I’m working. I’m typing furiously, checking boxes off of my to-do list, and fighting a heavy cold. Now is not the time for rest. My hustle is unstoppable.

Everyone around me is hunkering down in cozy sweaters and sipping egg nog with loved ones. Why are all my friends so relaxed? It’s both mystifying and enviable. I’d love to lounge around and feel merry. But the very thought of doing nothing makes me feel anxious. Why?

I guess I’m just not ready for the year to end. With so many projects up in the air, and a mountain of unfinished messes on my desk, I simply can’t stop working. My goals are huge, and I’m never going to reach them if I stop now.

It’s been this way for nearly every holiday that I can remember.

I’m scared that if I stop working, success will pass me by. I’m worried that if I don’t have a list of new achievements to show my friends and family, I won’t be making them proud. And if I’m not making my family proud, they aren’t going to love me.

…In typing this, I realize just how f*cked up that sounds.

My name is Rachel, and I’m a workaholic…?
At least, that’s what my family, friends and therapist tell me.

But how reliable can their opinions be, really? For the sake of this blog post, I’ve decided to turn to the real expert in my life: Google.

Searching: “Signs You Might Be A Workaholic.”

-“You may be a workaholic if… you devalue self-care and personal priorities in favor of professional goals.”
-“The thought of not working is more stressful than actually working.”
-“You don’t take real vacations. You sneak in work wherever you can.”
-“You rarely tell your bosses ‘no,’ but your friends and family rarely hear ‘yes.’”

Uh….sure, I display all of these qualities, but I think there’s a difference between ‘workaholism’ and a successful mindset. I thought passion and persistence were good things. I work hard, so I can play hard…someday.

After all, this isn’t an addiction. It’s dedication and drive!

I want everyone to see me as ambitious, busy, and on the way to something great, because that’s who I want to be. I’m terrified of sitting still, because I’m not a lazy person. I’ve got important things to do.

…That said, I should be working on my dreams, not Googling made-up diseases.

So screw you, Google. I’m fine.

-“You never call yourself a workaholic.”


Mental illness is no stranger to me. I’m not exactly hiding that I’ve struggled with depression, OCD and CPTSD for most of my life. I don’t need – or want – to add one more label to my long list of problems.

But that’s why I’m wrong. The problem is already here. Becoming aware of it and adding a handy label won’t add fuel to the fire. Noticing the rainstorm is just step 1 to finding your umbrella.

So, I’m coming up with a plan. Perhaps there’s a way to trick my workaholic brain into embracing the impending holiday as an opportunity, instead of a drag on my momentum. I’m making a list of tips for myself to follow as the holidays unfold. It you’re anything like me, I hope you’ll give it a read.

This is me telling the internet that I’m going to follow my own advice.

You’re welcome to join me.

A Workaholic’s Guide to a Happy Holiday

Week 1. Pre-Game!
In the week leading up to your holiday plans, you can maximize your productivity in a final year-end push. Tying up loose ends in this way can help to diminish your guilt and stress while you’re away.

A: Schedule your final week of work with the most intense tasks, first.
Then in the last few days of this workweek, give yourself more time in the evenings to relax. This will help you practice ‘putting it down’ and focusing on what’s important.

B: Give yourself a year-end review.
Go over your calendars, notes and milestones from the year and make a list of your biggest accomplishments. You’ll be surprised by how much you’ve done in the last 365 days.

C: Don’t plan what’s next.
Take your list of accomplishments with you for the holidays, and skim over it once a day if that makes you feel better. The holidays are a time to celebrate what’s important, and you are worth celebrating. You’ve worked hard to get here, so stop and appreciate it for a week or two. Every business needs to take a little time out for inventory, and you are no different. Celebrate what you’ve got!

Week 2. Merry Christmas!
Whatever holiday you’re celebrating, this time of year is about family and friends. If you’ve cut them out of your life, now is the time to reconnect. If being around family overwhelms you, remember to squeeze in some ‘you’ time. The holidays can be triggering for many reasons. It’s tempting to fall back into work mode, and hide there. But don’t give up! The following steps will help you make the most of this time away from work.

A: Get lost in activities.
Play scrabble, go skiing, build a snowman. Engage in a long conversation with your grandma, and ask her what life was like for her at your age. Whatever your family and friends like to do for the holidays, jump in. Putting work down is surprisingly productive for your general sense of well-being, health, and clarity of mind. Life is happening in front of you. Don’t miss it.

B: Give yourself five minutes (every other day) to scan your emails.
Don’t analyze or reply to any of them, just skim through subject lines. It’ll give your peace of mind in knowing that nothing’s caught on fire while you’re away, and lower your anxiety. That said…make sure to set a timer, so you don’t get sucked in.

C: Put down your Smartphone.
Everyone around you is taking pictures, and they’ll be there when the holidays are over. Social media can be a one-way ticket to comparison, competition, emotional triggers and conflict. Do your professional spirit a favor and unplug for the holidays. You’ll come back to your work refreshed and ready to rock, without any extra baggage.

Week 3. Have a Happy New Year.

A: Remember that list of last year’s accomplishments? Keep it. When you’re on the plane back from your holiday travels, pull out that list and think about how far you’ve come. Add “enjoyed the holidays” to the end of that list, and decide to do even better next year. Now that the holidays are over, you can jump into goal-setting and evaluating your priorities for the new year. Enjoy the brainstorm, but don’t burn out.

B: Set aside time to examine what you missed over the holidays, organizing emails by priority and responding in little chunks.
Pace yourself and ease back into your routine. Don’t work late. Instead, use your evenings to relax (like you did before the holidays). Implementing a healthy balance will make you even more productive in the long run.

C: Take time to review what just happened.
We can only understand the object of our addiction once it is taken away. So how were the holidays for you, really? Do your shame-based feelings suggest that a deeper healing needs to take place? Call your friends and family to check in, now that the holidays are over. Ask them what they think. Remember where your support system is, and use it. There are many ways to achieve a healthy balance in life, so figure out what’s best for you. Perhaps you can commit to reading relevant books (like Daring Greatly) and implement their teachings. Maybe therapy is a good option.

The new year is a great time to commit to your success – and a healthy mindset is key to success in all areas.

I’ll be working to follow my own advice this holiday season, and I hope you’ll join me in the journey.

Are there any tips that work (or don’t) for you? Let me know in the comments.


This post originally appeared at

The Weight of Water.


Standing Rock was hard to leave.

I don’t know how to summarize this in an easily digestible way. It’s a 400+ year struggle that many of us learned next to nothing about in school. My analyzing brain is steaming and frazzled. I just…can’t.

What on Earth can I say that will fully convey to you the terrible and beautiful reality that I was so honored (and appalled) to witness at Standing Rock?

It’s going to take me a bit to translate what I’ve learned, but something tells me that the language I’m most comfortable with is not even close to enough.

This movement won’t be defined by politics. It can’t be squeezed into a box and tucked away on history’s shelves. It’s bigger in shape and scope than any hashtag, t-shirt or headline could suggest.

The community that has assembled at Standing Rock represents a circle of solidarity that transcends geography and time. What you’re hearing of it now is just a tiny crescendo in the ballad that’s been sung for centuries before we were born. It’s just finally reached a volume (thanks, Internet) that’s piercing the veil of western privilege and smashing past and future together for the world to see.

It’s humbling, horrifying, illuminating and revolutionary – ‘Evolutionary,’ as Ed Higgins puts it.

We are all two-leggeds, they say. If we are to evolve, we must evolve together.

The fight at Standing Rock is one of peaceful resistance – water & fire, thought & action, glued together in prayer. Empathy. Respect. Wisdom. Love.

This week in North Dakota, I saw history dance in a circle with its uncertain future. I spoke with people on all sides of this circle, including some who would prefer to smash it.

Walking into a group of ‘ProDAPL’ protestors yelling racial slurs was definitely one of the riskier things I’ve done in my life. Only one of them stopped yelling long enough actually speak with me, and what she said was a gift (as upsetting as it was) because it helped me to better understand the opposing view.

Beneath our battles, most people want the same basic things. When we dehumanize others, we dehumanize ourselves. And without understanding, there can’t be any progress. The people of Standing Rock shared that message loud and clear, this week – not by talking, but by doing.

The truth is, I saw more cooperation and love in this environmental war zone than anywhere else I’ve been on Earth. Getting back to LA is jarring, but this just illuminates the work to be done here.

It’s time to listen, learn, and create a future that does not perpetuate trauma, but heals it. We need all hands on deck. Everyone who marched across the country in support of #NoDAPL added something truly unprecedented to the spirit at work in ground zero. The crowds of volunteers braving winter in North Dakota and building, building, building are all the proof I need that America’s going to be okay.

The events of this week restored my faith in humanity, in ways that I did not expect.

Now that I’m back in LA, I’m choosing to follow the Standing Rock elders’ example. I’m funneling my post-election feelings (of which there are plenty) into positive action. And I’m grateful that there are millions of other Americans who are choosing to make the same commitment.

America is much bigger than I imagined. It’s not quite the country I grew up thinking it was. Fortunately, it’s still full of GOOD people who are doing their best to help, without recognition.

This week taught me to look for the helpers. There are helpers everywhere.

Join us.

I’m Going to Standing Rock.

If you don’t know what’s really happening at Standing Rock in North Dakota, you’re not alone. And if you think you know what’s happening, but you’re confused – join the club.

It’s a lot to process. Election anxiety is bad enough without one more thing to worry about, right?

But knowledge is power. The more we understand, the less intimidated we are. Facts help us make better decisions. And as hard as it is to swallow, Standing Rock is a HUGE DEAL no matter who wins the election. Unfortunately, it’s an issue most of us know the least about.

We can’t fix what we don’t see. Welcome to the blackout. 


Image: Source

Here’s what’s happening:

Native American men, women, and children are fighting for their basic right to water, free speech, and land that is rightfully theirs. The Dakota Access Pipeline is being constructed before their eyes – eyes that are repeatedly maced and beaten by police whenever they open their mouths in protest. They’ve been shot with rubber bullets, arrested, and allegedly put into cages – simply for exercising their right to peaceful protest. 

Here’s what’s not happening:

Mass coverage by leading US News outlets. Legal reparations. Actual freedom of speech.

Oil is power, like knowledge is power: whoever successfully controls both, wins.

There have been too many fake headlines of Obama ‘halting’ the pipeline, based on his decision to ‘let it play out for a few weeks.’ What he actually means is that he’s putting it off until after the election, so that the next President can deal with it.

This is what I’ve put together, based on what I’ve heard from those involved. But if this year has taught me anything, it’s that ‘I heard’ is not enough. The UN is investigating human rights violations. Independent publications like The Guardian are doing what they can. But I still have so many questions.

The best way to truly understand is to show up. So I’m going.

You deserve to know what’s really happening. Social media has helped matters somewhat, but with so many false news stories floating around (seriously, this is the year of fake news), it’s hard to know what’s real, fake, or exaggerated.

Instead of waiting for the truth to come through, I’m going out to get it.

Mainstream media is a business, built on making money. It’s not really motivated by humanity and facts. Yet it has SO MUCH control over how we think, feel and vote. Fake news and blackouts are as bad for your integrity as they are for the stories themselves. Nobody wants to be misinformed, myself included. So, I’m going to collect facts and offer support to those who are suffering.

My friend Kevan and I are collecting items for donation. When we get there, we’ll be offering manual labor and supplies to help keep people from freezing/starving this winter. If you live in LA and would like to donate supplies, please fill out the contact form. I’ll be happy to deliver for you. But no matter where you live, it’s possible to send survival gear and necessary items directly to the camps.

Disclaimer: I have friends and family who work for the oil industry, and I care deeply about their well-being. I also have loved ones who have been endangered by the oil industry, and I care deeply about their well-being. 

I’m choosing to be open about my personal views from the beginning (transparency, hello), but gaining understanding of both sides is my #1 priority here. Without understanding, knowledge is useless. End of story.

Standing Rock (and what it represents) is a big deal, no matter where you live or how you vote. If freedom of speech is at stake for the Native Americans of North Dakota, so is yours. 

I don’t want to look back on this and see myself hiding behind a computer, ranting my frustration until the next issue came long. I want to have actually done something. Helped out. Shown up.

So I’m going to Standing Rock.

See you soon.



Confronting the Halloween Trumpkin.


Last night, I had an unusually vivid dream that Trump won the election. 

It was devastating.

I was immediately desperate to place blame on everyone I knew who never registered to vote. I blamed every wasted write-in for weakening our opposition. I blamed the primary election, and our loss of Bernie Sanders. I blamed myself, for taking too long to refocus my efforts and rally for Hillary. I blamed the media, for choosing sensationalism over facts. I blamed America as a whole, for choosing division over cooperation, hatred over freedom.

In this dream, my heart filled with the same resentment, rage, and fear that probably got him this far in the first place. Ironic.

I woke up in tears and rushed to scroll through the news on my phone. The headlines made everything worse.

So I texted my mom about the dream, hoping for some sort of comfort.

What will happen to our country if it all goes to hell? I wondered.

“Americans are great in times of crisis,” my mom replied.

“What do you mean?!” I texted furiously. “LA can’t even handle their shit when it rains.”

As usual, she gave the most adorably Russian response:

“I will let you know when to worry. I have friends in Russia.” 

…Thanks, mom?


After some whining, soul-searching and inner rambling, the antidote to fear hit me with the force of a million tiny raindrops. It’s so simple, it feels dumb to say out loud.

Everything is ultimately as it should be.

Yes, everything. Even the awful, unthinkable  parts.

This is easy to say, painful in practice. But whether we accept it or not, life is happening – with or without our consent.

Perspective is power. That’s all we can control.

Regardless of whatever mess we tiny humans make here, the universe won’t stop moving. This election doesn’t matter as much as we fear it does.

It’s funny that the timing of this fearful nightmare coincided with Halloween. Because in Pagan traditions, Samhain marks all endings (and beginnings). It’s a time where seasons change, leaves die, and cold winds bring on transformation. This theme is present in many spiritual traditions. Whether you observe this holiday or not, the harvest can be an important symbol. We reap what we sow, as they say.

Election, much?

As for our planet, I believe that no matter how severely we destroy ourselves, nature will ultimately win. Nothing short of an asteroid or supernova will completely destroy the planet we live on. If climate change were to wipe us out, the Earth will go on without us, in some new form. Even if the election somehow triggered the ultimate apocalypse, our planet keeps on spinning – mushroom clouds and all.

Humanity’s undoing will be ours alone. Scary, but oddly comforting to think about.

But even if the unthinkable happened and planet Earth was no more, our disappearance would have little to no impact on the universe at large.

It’s nice, in times of chaos, to remember how small and insignificant we actually are. 

…How Russian of me, to find solace in the worst case scenario. Thanks, mom.

We can throw whatever we want at each other, but we can’t survive without our planet and the gifts it continues to give us. Our society can’t thrive without cooperation. At some point, humanity must kick in. If it doesn’t, we fail and the species (or country, or government) starts over.

Death is rebirth. Failure is a beginning. Loss is the seed of transformation.

The most important and necessary changes usually happen beyond our control. It’s how we respond that matters.

I’ve lived a miraculous life. How I’ve come this far is baffling. I can’t take credit for who I am because there have been a multitude of contributing factors that came into play without my request. So many worst-case scenarios have come and gone, and it all turned out okay.

The election might suck no matter what side you’re on, but it’s going to be okay. Eventually.

I don’t subscribe to the idea of predestination, but there’s a certain magic in the aftermath of upset. When chaos hits, I feel that there’s a driving force behind whatever comes next. It’s not up to me to define it, but I will accept it. Because we need it.

The things that scare us also build us. If it’s a challenge we need, here it is. Accepting that makes me feel so much less worried.

Fear never leads to inner peace, but the overcoming of it will.

In Paul Coelho’s book The Alchemist, Santiago goes in search of treasure, but his journey stalls when he is victimized by theft. Santiago could choose to mourn and be a victim of his circumstances, or to pause and remember the bigger picture.

“I’m an adventurer in search of treasure,” he says, and then continues on his journey.

If your candidate loses, what will you do? Act, or react – it’s your choice.

In the grand scheme of life and death, this election is a catalyst for change – regardless of its outcome. Rebirth of any kind is tricky, frightening and often painful. But it’s necessary.

So today, I offer love and gratitude to the opposing forces at work within all of us. I don’t know what the election’s outcome will be, but I surrender the ego part of myself that wants to control it. I vow to contribute (in my own small way) to the goodness of humanity, and to trust how nature works. Because in the end, the Earth will outlive all of us.

I matter, and I don’t. How freeing.

Halloween = Samhain = “End of Summer” = Death = Rebirth.

Halloween and Elections have a lot in common: we get to contemplate the things that scare us, learn from them, take action (or not) and do our best with the outcome.

November 9, it all begins again. I’ll see you on the other side.


An Unraveling.

The Dolls

Since I was little, I’ve had a collection of porcelain dolls and they would stand on top of my bookshelves, peering at me through yellowing lace and from under gaudy plumed hats.

I used to have nightmares about those dolls and their cold cheeks, their blank eyes framed by someone else’s lashes, their perfect curls and full pouting lips.

I would dream that I was trapped in porcelain, that I too was peering through glass eyeballs from the top of my bookcase.

I couldn’t move, or talk, or think – I could only exist, a fragile, hand-painted porcelain child frozen in perfection.

When I woke up, I would cry with relief at the blood pounding in my temples, my trembling fingers, and my own eyelashes.

Those nightmares have since given way to new ones, but I still have those dolls, and every time I see them I suppress a gasp and I wonder if there is someone in there, staring through glass pupils,


-“Alice J. Byrd,” 6S Volume 2 [2009]

This was my first published piece. At 15 years old, I thought I’d marry an Emo rock star and write under the same fanciful pseudonym forever.

Having my work featured in 6 Sentences was the best thing that had ever happened to me. Everything felt possible in a brand new way. This started a new life for me, where I could be whoever and whatever I wanted.

At the time, I wanted love. This required being noticed. I was determined to make it happen.

Here I was, at 15. I felt pretty, in this picture.


And there I was, at 20. I felt fat, in this picture.

kandace selnik

In my quest to be worthy of love, something went very wrong.

I took my heart to Hollywood and put it up for sale. Admiration morphed into assimilation. Comparison was my life. I wasn’t a voice anymore, but a brand. I hadn’t known it then, but at 15 years old, I had written a self-fulfilling prophecy.

At 20, I looked back at my 15 year-old self and felt ashamed of her. So I kept her a secret. The world couldn’t know who I really was. I didn’t think they’d want her.

When people looked at me, they saw someone who was making her Hollywood dreams come true. This Rachel was ambitious, successful, photogenic.

She was someone else.


“I suppress a gasp and I wonder if there is someone in there, staring through glass pupils…voiceless.”  Five years after I wrote those words, I found myself imprisoned within them. And if I trapped myself any longer, I knew I wouldn’t make it out. Something had to change.

The shift was gradual, painful and necessary. I chose to eat food again and focus on healing. I got into the habit of writing again, one agonizing word at a time.

Luckily, the truth wanted to be heard. My delicate, ‘professional’ persona wasn’t strong enough to contain her. Today, I thank my younger self for giving me another chance at the life she always wanted.

At the end of 2015, I stopped pursuing modeling jobs…but the universe had a sense of humor.

The second I said “I quit,” all the good stuff started happening. A few months after my decision, PinupGirl Clothing reached out to me and asked if I wanted to shoot. This was my favorite brand, asking out of nowhere. WHAT? Working with this body-positive, female-driven company was something my younger self would have been proud to see me do. So I said yes.

I wanted to be the woman that 15 year-old Rachel would have looked up to.

Healthy. Genuine. Fun. Happy. Intelligent. Classy. Smart. Courageous. Whimsical.


These photos were also taken five years apart, and I love them. (Left: 2011. Right: 2016.)

I love them because both are genuine. Both of them are beautiful. Both of them are smart. And both of them are writers. The girl on the left just didn’t know it, yet.

Vulnerability is strength. When I accepted and embraced the ordinary, I finally felt extraordinary.

A lot of us don’t feel empowered. We struggle with competition and comparison, no matter how successful we are. But beneath every airbrushed fashion model is a girl who wanted love. Behind every jaded actress is a child who craved acceptance.

Within every ordinary human is an extraordinary being.

Can you see yourself? Because you’re pretty damn wonderful. How you look does not define you. Neither does social media, who you know, or what you do for money. What defines you is a fragile link between who you really are and what you choose to show people. It’s a personal choice.

I’ve tried to remodel my old website and public Facebook page to reflect who I am now. But I can’t bring myself to delete all the old stuff. Yeah, I went through a million phases and made a lot of mistakes, but they made me better.

I’m grateful to have met some important milestones in the last few years, but what makes me truly proud are my failures. They’ve taught me more than all the good stuff combined. I am grateful for every little step, every first time, and every do-over. Those things were what led me here. 

Today, I look back at the little piece I wrote at 15 and can’t help but marvel at it. I don’t care if it’s good or bad, or how it compares with what I’ve done since. Those six sentences meant a lot to me when I wrote them – and they’ve come to mean even more, now.

I loved to write, until I convinced myself I couldn’t. I loved myself, until I decided that I shouldn’t. This year has been an unraveling.

Now, we’re here. It’s your turn.

What’s something wonderful you did, before you taught yourself to hide? 

The world and I would love to know.



The Smartest Tree I’ve Ever Met


Humans have a lot to learn.

Our eyes can only see so many colors. Our ears can only hear a few select frequencies. In the grand scheme of things, we know next to nothing about life in the universe. Our perception is limited, and that can be infuriating. It’s easier to just pretend we know everything.

Sometimes, having this kind of vulnerability scares me. I overcompensate for it by trying to do everything, defying my nature. I act like I’m invincible and don’t have needs…until shit hits the fan and I burn out.

Trees are the exact opposite of humans. I like the way they do things.

I breathe in oxygen (yay) and breathe out carbon dioxide (gross). Trees do it backwards: they inhale carbon dioxide (gross) and exhale fresh air (yay).

I’m soft and sensitive; trees are hard and tough. I’m movable and clumsy; they’re strong and firmly grounded. I can’t make up my goddamn mind. Trees don’t see the need to.

It doesn’t take much to hurt a human, but it takes a lot to end a tree.

Trees are carved into, spray painted, and mutilated. They keep growing.


A few months ago in Griffith Park, I noticed a little sycamore tree with a badly charred trunk. It had hundreds of bright green leaves sprouting through its own ashes.

The tree’s deepest trauma became a rich bed of nutrients for its most beautiful gift. That’s a superpower I’d like to borrow.

Life with no direction didn’t always bother me so much. Mystery used to excite me more than scare me. Self-care was a daily treasure, not a shameful aversion. Self-compassion was not frowned upon as self-indulgence. Adulthood changed the way I treat myself, and not for the better.

These past few weeks have been overwhelming, in good and bad ways. With so many great changes coming on, I’ve lost a great deal of sleep. I’ve forgotten meals. I’ve ignored the things that fuel me, in favor of things that deplete me. I’ve spent one too many mornings crying from exhaustion.

On one such morning (okay, this morning), I tried to recall the last time I took a walk in the park for no reason. I realized it was months ago, the day I saw the burnt tree.

It’s important to remember how little I know.

When the thought of insignificance makes me fearful, I’m an asshole to myself. But when I appreciate my smallness, anxiety disappears.

Ego is abusive. Self-compassion is motivating. A tree won’t deny itself sunlight. She’ll grow around obstacles to reach it, and that takes a lot of patience and self-care.

So, that’s what this week is all about – being nicer to myself.

You’re welcome to join me. 

Trees are great teachers: By taking in the things we need, we’ll be better at bringing fresh air to others. Our roots will run so deep that we’ll be able to endure the fire, when it comes. This kind of strength requires water, air, rest, and self-compassion.

When I decide to make myself happy first, I feel better if/when things don’t work out in other areas.

When I choose to see myself the way that I see all of you, it gets easier to say “good job” and “relax.”

So…good job. Relax. Go outside.



Why Modern Relationships Suck*

*(And reasons why they don’t.)

-This post was originally written by request (with alternate edits) for LoveTV.-

I’m married.

A lot of people ask me why, and I don’t blame them.


This was our actual engagement photo, because marriage is jail.*

Modern relationships suck. Didn’t you know? It’s everywhere.

If you Google ‘Modern Relationships,’ you’ll find a medley of bitter blog posts and cynical tweets about why Millennials fail to commit. Our Facebook feeds are full of reasons why love is doomed. It can seem like everyone is happily single (because relationships are a waste of time), unhappily single (because break-ups are the worst), or soon-to-be single (because commitment is boring/stressful/hard). And those of us who are in relationships find ourselves crossing our fingers, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

A lot of click-bait articles and relationship ‘experts’  are declaring a state of emergency for millennial love. We believe them, so they’re right.


We say our generation is too busy, too self-involved, too distracted. We blame technology, our upbringing, our finances, and each other. We swipe right, hook up, hang out, and disappear. But that’s just the world we live in, right?


We all have a natural tendency to believe what we see. When all we see on social media are unhappy people bemoaning relationships, happy couples look pretty delusional. But the truth is, people in strong relationships might just be too busy putting work into their partnerships to gush about how awesome they are online. And in today’s culture, avoiding social media can be like wearing an invisibility cloak.

Marriage used to be the only acceptable channel for love, sex and long-term intimacy. Nowadays, there are other options. And that’s great! There have been countless apps made to facilitate, simulate and imitate nearly every aspect of human connection. But with so many ways to diffuse our feelings, it’s easier than ever to see what we want to see, and believe only what makes us comfortable.

So what’s the real reason behind our failure to commit? Hint: It’s not me, it’s you. Relationships are not any harder today than they were fifty years ago. The only difference between our commitment issues and those of our grandparents is simple: we just have fancy phones, now. Back in the day, a shitty relationship was still shitty, whether divorce was an option or not. Modern couples don’t have new problems; we just spend more time raving about them online.

I think that modern technology hasn’t changed our need for connection, but simply enhanced it. We, the socially connected-yet-chronically-isolated Millennials, are not too ‘damaged’ for love. We’ve just grown more afraid of it.

It’s an easy problem to ignore, because there’s nothing wrong with being single. It’s great that we’ve accepted single life as a positive thing. But there are ways to enjoy our options without writing off our basic human needs. Some of us really are happy being single or celibate forever (I see you, Aces!) But for many, it’s more convenient to say we’re ‘incapable of commitment’ than to face our real issues (fear, insecurity, unhealthy patterns, etc.).

With so many other big problems to deal with in life, it’s easier to buy into the notion that relationships just ‘suck,’ instead of investing time and energy into their success.

But here’s the thing – if you continually blame your heartbreak on society, know that your dream guy or girl might be, too. And denying love’s potential just makes you 100% more likely to never make that connection. Dodging relationship obstacles (and not overcoming them) is the quickest route to failure.

Success in love is just like success anywhere else; it takes work.

If you set out to run a marathon, only to quit the second you start feeling uncomfortable [or tired, scared or in pain]… you won’t even get halfway.

If your goal is to make a million dollars, but you can’t take risks, bounce back from loss, endure criticism, or spend years in pursuit of that goal…you’ll never be rich.

…Why should love be any different?

We are fully capable of greatness. Our generation lives for passion, persistence and ingenuity. We are not ‘lazy,’ as trends had once predicted. But now that ‘lazy’ has been replaced with ‘anti-social,’ we have a new label to overcome. Millennials are devoted to making dreams happen. But when it comes to love, we fall and can’t get up.

I’m not saying this to discourage anyone, or to label a whole generation – quite the opposite. I just think Millennials are capable of a lot more than we give ourselves credit for.

Success in long-term love isn’t harder for us; it’s just not as mandatory. We don’t choose to see committed love as important as wealth, fitness, travel, or other #goals. This is why, when we reach success in all these other areas, a lot of us are still unhappy. Victory doesn’t always taste as sweet when there’s nobody to share it with.

So here’s some unsolicited advice from someone who’s definitely not an expert but has learned some stuff the hard way: Changing your story begins by making a choice. If you want to find (and keep) the love of your life, a shift in perspective needs to happen. Happy relationships are like any other goal: we choose to fail every day that we don’t try.

Eat your vegetables, or don’t. Apply for jobs, or remain unemployed. Exercise daily, or complain that it’s too hard. Either way, success or failure is your decision. You can work hard to get better at loving yourself and others, or you can keep pretending it’s impossible. A mistake doesn’t have to mean ‘game over.’ Pain does not have to be death. You can let failure push you away from your goal, or use what you’ve learned to do better next time.

They say, “Success comes when opportunity meets readiness.” Millennials have a wealth of opportunity, but a lot of us just aren’t ready. And for now, that’s okay.

Skill and luck in love can only come with practice. So get out there and practice.


* P.S. – Marriage is not jail. It’s like a really fun amusement park, with a long line to the bathroom and no exits whatsoever. Thanks, Mitch. I love you.

Additional Notes:

I am not an expert, and nothing I write should replace professional help. 

You can see the original piece on LoveTV here.

You are wonderful. Thank you for reading.