Becoming More Comfortable with Yourself: Reading Tea Leaves Part II

Where do our biggest mental and emotional problems come from? Well, they often begin and end with our own perceptions and opinions of ourselves. Happiness and fulfillment are less about what happens to us than they are about how we interpret and react to people, events, and surroundings.

A rich man can be poor in spirit, and a poor man can be wealthy and satisfied. Someone with a hundred “friends” can feel all alone and angst-ridden, and a person who lives alone can feel connected and comfortable. If someone pays us a compliment, it only makes us feel good if we internalize that compliment, and if someone throws judgement or harsh words at us, those things only make us feel terrible if we cling to them and take them seriously.

Last month I began writing about little pieces of wisdom that I’d seen over the years printed on Yogi brand tea packages, and this month I continue with that reflection. The aphorisms that I’m focusing on in this post are specifically geared toward making us stronger and more content internally. Because if we don’t have that inner love and strength—that comfort level with ourselves—then the stress and vagaries of the outside world can toss us this way and that. Love yourself more this month. Get more comfortable with yourself, and the rest of the world begins to look a little brighter, too.

“Practice compassion, forgiveness, and kindness.”

If you want to break away some of the “sludge” that might be clogging up your mind and heart and preventing you from experiencing calm, joy, or optimism, then this is a good place to start. And we need to apply this dictum of compassion not only to our family, friends, and the outside world, but to ourselves.

How much time and energy do we waste dwelling on ways in which others have wronged us (in ways real or perceived)? How often have we allowed those wrongs to affect our self-perception? Also, how much time do we waste in a “spirit of competition” with the outside world? And how often does all of this add up to us dwelling on our own past mistakes or allowing a mean-spirited voice to infect our head in a given day?

Get past the negativity and move forward with compassion, forgiveness, and kindness. Both toward others and toward yourself.

“Self-reliance is the greatest art.”

We all need love and support. And at times—especially when we are on our last dollar or at the end of our proverbial mental and emotional ropes—we need to rely on the compassion, advice, and even charity of others. But in the long run, a spirit of self-reliance is going to ensure that we can survive future calamity and, at the end of the day, be content with our own company during prosperous times.

Learn how to rely on yourself more, learn how to trust yourself more, and learn how to love yourself more. That way, no matter where you go and no matter how good or bad the fortunes of the day, you will be okay.

“Socialize with compassion, kindness, and grace.”

I think that this one is especially useful for people like me, people who have traditionally struggled with a little bit of social anxiety. Because what is social anxiety, at its heart? It is often a fear that we are being negatively judged, that we aren’t good enough. It is a hyper-focus on self instead of a healthy focus on the needs, opinions, and companionship of others.

No matter if social anxiety is a struggle for you or not, take this one to heart and try to truly “connect” with those around you the next time you are socializing. Ask questions about them, and really listen when they give answers. Give them compassion, kindness, and attention, and see if that has the pleasant byproduct of putting you into a better emotional place.

“Experience will give you wisdom.”

The beauty of this phrase is that it allows you to envision yourself growing with each day of your life. Succeed or fail, we are constantly able to gain wisdom just by existing and trying. I know from experience that the greatest wisdom in my life wasn’t gained from school curriculum or work training. Rather, it was gained from experience. From personal triumphs, and mistakes.

Approach each week of your life with an open heart, knowing that succeed or “fail” you are getting wiser. Keep gaining little bits of life experience each week, and think about how that is making you stronger.

“Happiness comes from contentment.”

Usually we spend our days thinking about how are advancing. Or about how we ought to be advancing. We think about how we can elevate our educational or professional standings, we think about how we can improve our social standing, and we think about how we can earn more money. We plan for newer cars, bigger houses, more efficient personal routines, and on and on.

But do we take time to simply be content?

Today, take a deep breath and forget about advancement for a moment. Forget about proving yourself. Think of everything you have to be grateful for—your home, your car, a relationship you treasure, a little bit of free time, the fact that you aren’t in the middle of a war, your health, etc.—and allow that focus to bring you contentment. As I try to remind my coaching clients (and myself), “You are right where you need to be in God’s plan for you today.”

Michael Priebe is a writer and personal development coach who has studied psychology, literature, and print journalism. He holds a journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he graduated with honors. and over the years he has used both fiction and nonfiction formats to write about health, sports, professional life, politics, relationships, and spiritual issues. He puts out a variety of spiritually inspiring content at The Lovely Grind, and he blogs about his life at He invites you to find out more about his life coaching here, and he hopes you'll reach out to him on Facebook and Twitter.

“Michael helped me in a way that no doctor or therapist has been able to! His personal experience combined with his optimistic, constructive input and guidance is priceless. I highly recommend his coaching sessions.”

Shelly, Ohio

“I contacted Michael for coaching because he has the ultimate credential of having been through it all himself! I liked his warm, empathetic manner. He is easy to talk to, and I felt as if he were a family member in his warm caring toward me. Michael has a very reassuring way of communicating, and I would highly recommend him.”

Jon - British Columbia, Canada

“I came across Michael’s videos by chance while looking up information on prescription drug withdrawal. I found his YouTube videos to be very informative, honest, and consoling. I was watching one after the other and even converted the sound on the videos to MP3 so that I could listen to his advice while going for walks. That was very soothing for me, and therefore I decided to try his coaching services. Great decision.

"Michael is a great and patient listener, and during our time together I felt that he sincerely cared about my healing progress and had genuine empathy for all those going through withdrawal. He is a positive-minded individual who disseminates hope, and I appreciated the useful, personalized follow-up notes he sent after our session. Most certainly I would recommend his coaching.”

Yasmin - Cairo, Egypt

“No one else is doing what Michael is doing. It truly is a ministry! Michael is willing to make himself vulnerable to help others during their journey in the valley. He is very easy to talk to (I felt like I had known him forever), and I would most definitely recommend his coaching to others.”

Andi, North Carolina

“Michael’s coaching is truly a game-changing experience. I appreciate the level of understanding he brings … tons of knowledge on how to survive the days and get closer to recovery. When you finally get to look someone in the face and know they understand exactly what you’re going through, it can bring a different level of comfort; that is what Michael’s coaching provided me, and without a doubt I would recommend it to everyone going through this.”

Alex, California

“I decided to use Michael’s coaching services because he seemed very genuine and trustworthy. After speaking with him a couple of times, I realized that I am strong enough to overcome certain obstacles, but also realized that I need not rush the process [of becoming medication free]. It was comforting talking to Michael about my withdrawal issues so that I could realize that what I’m going through is common, and it was also useful that Michael took the time to give me feedback in specific areas—like making a schedule and forming realistic expectations for myself. Michael gave me more useful feedback than a lot of mental health counselors I’ve had. Michael has helped me, and I hope he continues to help others. I would definitely recommend his coaching services.”

Catherine, Virginia

“I learned a lot from Michael. At first I was so confused by withdrawal (wondering what I was going through and if I would be this way permanently), but Michael helped me to realize that we do heal and that things do get better. I had a lot of worries, but he helped to ease my mind and he gave me positive feedback regarding how to approach each day in this process. Michael has a caring heart, and I would 100 percent recommend his coaching to others going through this.”

Erikka, South Dakota

“It can be frustrating having to deal with [withdrawal] symptoms for months on end and getting next to no support from doctors or anyone in the medical community (people who for the most part are clueless). Simply getting a chance to speak with Michael—someone who has gone through what I have and is able to offer support—was comforting. I also really enjoyed his follow-up notes. They were insightful and helped me to consider things I hadn’t thought of. I very much enjoyed working with Michael, and I would recommend his coaching to anyone who is going through this process and looking for support.”

Kim, California

“Michael is relatable and non-judgemental. I liked his positivity and follow-up notes. He provided good support overall. I believe that if a person really wants to withdrawal from medication, then support like this, from someone who has personal experience, is invaluable, and for that reason I would recommend Michael’s coaching to others going through this process.”

Leanne – Ontario, Canada

"Because of Michael’s own experiences, he knows what serves and what damages. He helped me to control my intake of negative information, he made me more optimistic, and he gave me a sense of the “whole [healing] picture.” Michael is a good listener and his comments are very precise. I would definitely recommend his coaching to others going through withdrawal."

Miguel, Atlanta, GA

"I really enjoyed my coaching sessions with Michael and looked forward to each call. He is very easy to talk to and offers very good advice. Our conversations gave me hope and coping skills, and his follow-up notes and progress plan were very helpful; I reference them often to stay on track. I found it comforting talking to someone who has been through this and really understands the struggle. I now look at withdrawal as something that can be overcome, something that I can heal from. I felt very comfortable talking to Michael, and I would recommend his coaching services to others going through the withdrawal and healing process."

Eric, MI

“I decided to try Michael’s coaching because, in his videos, he seemed so honest, relatable, upbeat, hopeful, and knowledgeable. I believe I got more out of Michael’s videos and coaching than I got from years of professional counseling. It is very comforting talking to him because it is like talking to a very knowledgeable, long-time, close friend. I have more hope for the future after talking to Michael, and that helps me to survive the times when I am feeling blue. I would recommend his coaching to those going through the withdrawal and healing process.”

John, WA

“I really enjoyed the care that Michael put into every contact with me. I appreciate how he shared his own experiences, found out about my overall context, and made direct suggestions; it was so important to believe that I was not losing control of my mind and body and that I could carry on with living while going through the process. It was also helpful to set goals and a plan and check back in on these things. Michael’s coaching is very professional and authentic, and I would highly recommend him to anyone who is going through the withdrawal and healing process.”

Emma, United Kingdom

“I always refer back to what Michael coached me on in the past regarding dealing with such times during the recovery and healing process. I enjoy working with Michael because he takes his time answering each of my questions in detail. Michael has true answers and guidance. It is comforting being coached by someone who understands my symptoms, and also Michael is a very compassionate person. I would definitely recommend his services to a person in need of help during the withdrawal process.”

Ram, AZ

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If you or someone you know is struggling to survive the pain and confusion of prescription drug withdrawal or chronic stress, I would like to offer my coaching services. Stress can suck the joy out of life, and the withdrawal process can be challenging (I know from experience). However, with the proper tools and mindset, these things can be survived and even used for greater growth. If you or someone you care about is trying to quit antidepressant or benzodiazepine medications (or simply trying to reduce stress levels), please click here to email me about coaching options and availability.