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What the Germans can teach us about embracing negativity

I didn't realize until years after I moved back to the States, but the German outlook suits my personal view of life much better than the American one. I admire their unapologetic skill in taking the bad with the good. That means that negativity is not only normal, but totally healthy from their perspective!

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A tragedy survivor's 9 keys to happiness

I've survived a lot: a tragic house fire, multiple severe car accidents, abuse as a child, multiple suicide attempts, my biological mother abandoned me, etc. I have a learning disability and other mental illnesses, as well as a very rare, incurable bone disease.

Given all I've been through, you'd think I'd be miserable. Quite the opposite, however. My keys to happiness are simple…

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The idea of "home" in my head looks nothing like where I actually live

When I picture a "home" I imagine a 2000 square foot cookie cutter suburban house, with builder beige walls, that is neat as a pin and sparsely decorated.

But I've never lived in a house that's been decorated like this. If you gave me a million dollar budget and an entire Pottery Barn catalog to choose from I would never, ever come out of the other side with rooms decorated like this.

So why is this somehow the gold standard for me? How in the world does this read as "home" when I've never had a home that looks anything like it?

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How to know when to conform and when to rebel

No matter how determined you may be to fit in and go with the flow, there is a point at which you, too, would rebel. Where you would draw the line between conformity and rebellion would be much different than mine. But it's really important to articulate exactly what that line is for you. Here are two questions can help you get started…