Millionaire CEO Gets Wake-Up Call, Gives $70,000 Minimum Wage To All Employees

By | Featured, Food for thought, news, stories, uplifting, uplifting news

It’s hard for a lot of people to get by. Many have to work two jobs to make ends meet. When this millionaire boss was confronted with the reality of some people’s lives, he immediately decided to take action.

The minimum wage laws are a big part of it, and Dan Price recently caused a media firestorm after he established a $70,000 minimum wage at his Seattle company, Gravity Payments….and the experiment that really paid off.

Dan’s family struggled financially. When he was a teenager, he started Gravity Payments, which offers credit card processing and financial services. By the age of 31, Dan was already a millionaire. His company was worth millions of dollar and he had been making personal earnings of $1.1 million per year.

What moved him to make this change?

It all started in 2011 when Jason Haley, a phone tech earning about $35,000 a year at Gravity, was feeling stressed out. Dan Price, who has always been attentive to his employees noticed his trouble.

“Seems like something’s bothering you,” he said. “What’s on your mind?”

“You’re ripping me off,” Haley told him.

Dan was shocked at the outburst.

“Your pay is based on market rates,” Dan told his employee. “If you have different data, please let me know. I have no intention of ripping you off.”

“The data doesn’t matter”, Haley responded. “I know your intentions are bad. You brag about how financially disciplined you are, but that just translates into me not making enough money to lead a decent life.”

Price walked away shocked. 

I felt horrible. Like a victim.

Dan Price to Inc.

He had always prided himself on treating employees well at Gravity,  and he was shocked to learn he wasn’t. 

But instead of feeling bad, he took action

Dan ultimately decided that his employee was right. He thought about it for a while and came to a radical decision. “I was so scarred by the recession that I was proactively, and proudly, hurting my staff,” he says.

Most people live paycheck to paycheck. So how come I need 10 years of living expenses and you don’t?

Dan Price

That’s when Dan started to fight income inequality, and change how he did business. For the next three years, he handed out 20 percent annual raises.

But it all came to an ultimate decision this year, when he resolved that he will phase in a minimum wage of $70,000 at Gravity. In order to do so, he immediately cut down his own salary from $1.1 million to $70,000 to help fund it.

I just decided I’m gonna do $70,000,” he says. “I don’t care if I have to stop paying myself or I have to work 20 hours a day. I’m going to do it.

Dan Price

The effect has been life changing for some of his employees, with some of them able to move closer to work, pay for their kids’ schooling and repair their cars.

Even the backlash couldn’t deter him

Price has since moved the dialogue across the landscape of the business world and is getting a lot of attention for it. While his radical decision has brought a lot of backlash–from shareholders, other businesses that feel like the decision made them look bad and even employees who felt slighted that new hires would have such a high salary–he has no plans to back down.

As he told Inc., “he has sold all his stocks, emptied his retirement accounts, and mortgaged his two properties — including a $1.2 million home with a view of Puget Sound — and poured the $3 million he raised into Gravity.”

To Dan, making this decision was a moral imperative.

I want the scorecard we have as business leaders to be not about money, but about purpose, impact, and service. I want those to be the things that we judge ourselves on.

Dan Price to Inc.

His impact has been wider than his own employees

Dan’s employees returned the favor by surprising him with a Tesla, as a thank you gesture for his radical decision. But his impact has been larger than his employees.

The CEO of PharmaLogics, Megan Driscoll decided to follow his lead by “employees pay by 33 percent – from $37,500 to $50,000 a year,” after having attended one of Dan’s talks. Dan’s story is proof that making a significant change in the world only needs to start with oneself. The rest will follow by example.

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Woman Fired For Act of Kindness Now Has Companies Lining Up To Hire Her

By | everyday heroes, Food for thought, news, stories, uplifting

Sometimes, we try to do the right thing and it ends up causing us trouble, which causes us to question that good deed in the first place. Imagine helping out someone, just out of the goodness of your heart, and then getting fired for it!

That’s what happened to one woman in Portland, but her story took a surprising turn.

She wanted to help someone in need.

Emily James was fired from a U.S. Bank call center in Portland when she made the decision to help a struggling client on Christmas Eve.

Emily was a senior banker. On December 23, she received a call from a man named Eugenio, a bank customer whose paycheck from a new job had been placed on hold.

This meant that he had no means to access the money, which amounted to over $1000. It left him broke before Christmas and he could not afford to buy presents for his kids. Emily said she spent more than an hour trying to help Eugenio, but unfortunately to no avail.

Eugenio had tried to visit his Clackamas bank branch in the morning, which was Christmas Eve, and ask that bank manager to verify the fund. Apparently, they weren’t able to lift the hold.

She could not leave him stranded…

On Christmas Eve, Eugenio called her again on the U.S. Bank 800 number. He was at a gas station, unable to even fill his tank as he had insufficient funds.

“I said, ‘I wish I had just $20 bucks to get home,’ ” Eugenio recalled. “And she said ‘Wait, hold on.’”

Emily knew that Eugenio was just a few miles away so she told him to stay put and that she’d be there within 30 minutes with some gas money.

“I didn’t want her to do it,” he said. “But I’m not proud to the point that I’m going to refuse help.”

Emily said that she did get permission from her supervisor before she left, and drove to the gas station.

I handed him $20 in cash, said ‘Merry Christmas’ and went right back to work.

Emily James

Eugenio was incredibly touched by her willingness to help, as he recognized the precarious position that he may have put her in.

It was like, ‘Wow, she really cares,” he said. “Most supervisors, maybe they would have tried, but nobody would have ever come out because I was stranded. She had a big heart. She believed what I was saying.

…but her act of kindness got her in trouble

Emily went back to work and finished her shift. But a week later, on New Year’s Eve, she arrived at work only to find the regional manager of her branch waiting for her.

“She said, ‘We’re sorry, we cannot keep your employment,’” Emily said. The manager cited an “unauthorized interaction with a customer,” as the reason for her firing. This was her first time she ever got disciplined at her job. She has always been an exemplary worker and received many accolades for her good work.

According to Emily, the reasoning behind the decision was that “they were worried about [her] safety” as “he could have kidnapped [her]” or harmed her in some way. But as Emily affirmed, “I wouldn’t have left or even tried to ask if that was OK if I thought that this person would hurt me.”

For her, there was no reason not to help someone in need, especially considering the fact that it was Christmas’ Eve. “I just don’t understand why you wouldn’t help someone if you had the ability to,” Emily said. She didn’t need to think twice.

It’s Christmas Eve, it’s already a rough time for people, and you’re going to leave someone stranded? I couldn’t in good conscience do that, knowing it was something I could fix, or at least get him home.

And yes, she would have helped Eugenio even if she had known that she would end up losing her job. “Had I known then that I was going to be let go, I would have just removed the hold on the check, because that absolutely would have gotten me fired,” Emily admitted.

Eugenio’s check did not clear until days after Christmas. “It was one of the saddest Christmases,” he said. “Promissory notes for Christmas gifts. And I can’t believe (Emily) lost her job over it. The only one who seemed to care was Emily, and she got fired for that.”

Companies heard of her story

While James originally hoped to get her job back, now she’s not sure she wants to go back to an environment that did not value or attempt to understand her act of kindness.

However, she’s so touched by all the support she has been getting.  “It made me cry, just the fact that people actually care,” she said. “I’ve had more people reach out and just have something kind to say in the last (few) days than in my whole life.”

Emily has had many job interviews with banks and other institutions, though she has not yet accepted any position. But as her story went viral, several companies have reached out to her on social media, looking to have her on their team.

Companies and owners are reaching out to Emily James over social media

Emily did not hesitate to help Eugenio because she knew it was the right thing to do, despite the unforeseen negative consequences of her action. Now, she finds herself in a better position than the one she was in, sought after by companies that actually value her kindness.

Her incredible story proves that no good deed goes unrewarded. While getting fired for helping out somebody could potentially detract people from doing the right thing, the ensuing events prove that kindness always manages to come back to you.

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Father Lost 40 Pounds To Save His Son’s Life From Rare Genetic Disease

By | everyday heroes, Food for thought, Motivation, stories, uplifting

Many reasons can motivate someone to lose a few pounds. Perhaps, we want to fit into that new outfit or look great for a specific occasion. Or, we want to be generally healthier and prevent complications in the future.

But for Sean Kelley, losing weight was about saving a life. And no, it was not his own.

A rare disease struck close to home

New Yorker Sean Kelley decided to lose the extra weight when he knew he needed to do so to qualify as a living liver donor for his baby son Sawyer.

The newborn received the devastating diagnosis of Alagille syndrome at birth and needed a transplant to survive, according to WYFF News 4. Alagille syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that causes liver damage and can also target other vital organs such as the heart. The only thing that could save him would be a transplant.

Kelley’s wife, Josie, also suffers from Alagille syndrome, which made her ineligible to donate any of her liver, making Sean the best, and maybe only, viable candidate.

“There’s no reason that I can’t get down to the weight that I need to see if could I be a match as well,” he told Good Morning America.

I didn’t know if I would be a match for Sawyer or not, but to even go through the evaluation process, I had to get my weight down to a certain point.

Sean Kelley to Good Morning America

Sean and his wife have six other kids. The condition already affects three of them. It was no difficult decision for Sean to make, when Sawyer’s condition was declared to be drastic enough to require an organ transplant.

“You want to see them thrive. You want to see them happy,” Sean said. “You want to give them every chance to succeed in life that you can. And this was an opportunity to do that.”

But was he a perfect match?

Sean started working out more in August 2019, and ultimately dropped 40 pounds, all the weight he needed to lose to qualify for the testing needed to become a donor.

Not only did he manage to lose the weight, but it turns out that he was a match for Sawyer. When he received the news, he almost couldn’t believe it.

She said, ‘Guess what? You’re a match. The surgery’s scheduled.’ And I literally had to sit down.

The transplant surgery took place on December 19 2020. It was “complex and challenging,” as Dr. George Mazariegos, the chief of pediatric transplantation at UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, told Good Morning America. However, the prognostic is positive.

“He will be much healthier, we believe, with this liver, and be able to withstand infections and withstand things that right now were really big setbacks for him,” the physician said of baby Sawyer.

The power of a parent

Sean hopes that his story will inspire others to donate. Even if the process was undoubtedly stressful, he still feels that there was also a lot of hope and positivity in the process.

It’s an incredible thing to even consider being evaluated and going through the process to see if you could be a match for somebody.

Sean Kelley

Sean’s story proves that we should never underestimate the difference one can make on oneself and others. Becoming a donor can save someone’s life, but also help others connect forever. Sean will be able to see his son grow up but so will the others whose children, spouses, family members or friends have been saved by organ donors.

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How This Moving Company is Helping Victims of Abuse Escape– And Find Better Lives

By | Food for thought, news, stories, uplifting, uplifting news

Far too many women and men are in abusive relationships where they are struggling to get away from a partner and just don’t know the way out. Victims of abuse remain in the relationship out of fear, sometimes until it is too late. They can feel helpless, especially when they want to leave their partner, especially when the resources are not readily available to them.

Enter Meathead Movers, a California-based moving service founded by Aaron and Evan steed back in 1997. At the time, their moving fee was usually $20 and a pizza! Now, Aaron and Evan have managed to build a successful business and in the process, have found a way to help women in need.

It all started with phone calls.

As their business expanded, the Steeds started to get phone calls from women with little or no money who wanted to quickly move out before their abusers returned home. Whenever these calls happened, they rushed to help the women move and offered their services free of charge.

But when the abusive partner of a particular client returned home mid-move, things got violent. It was then that they resolved to continue helping abused women and find a better and safer way to do it. Their next step was then to partner with a local women’s shelter.

What was good about that is, they could be vetting the requests for help, supporting the women with counselling, and making sure when we went in, the proper restraining orders were in place, or police were on hand if necessary.

Aaron Steed to Good News Network

Their company is expanding in a meaningful way

These efforts inevitably optimized the way the could assist the victims without putting their lives in danger. Beth Raub, director of the local women’s shelter, said that one of their staff is always on-site the day of the move so they can “call law enforcement if things get dicey.”

And the company has expanded. Now they are helping abused women in Santa Barbara, Ventura, Orange, Los Angeles, and San Diego counties. Each time they open a new office in a new neighbourhood, they immediately head to a local women’s shelter and introduce themselves.

For them, the opportunity to help is precious. They are committed to offering the same services to any victim of domestic violence, be it man or woman. This sense of purpose drives them and has become integral to their company’s values.

It’s the special service we like to offer. These moves became very personal to us, made all the employees so proud, and became part of our mission statement.

Aaron Steed

They are going beyond moving

Meathead Movers aren’t done helping. In fact, they have expanded yet again. This week, the company launched a new campaign that asks other businesses to “get creative” and help victims of domestic violence.

Called #MoveToEndDV, the purpose of the campaign is to inspire other businesses to help victims of abuse, whether that means working with shelters, or helping women to get on their feet once they do get away.

“Some of our ideas are for businesses to offer free security systems, a dog kennel service, or for an auto-mechanic to provide oil changes,” Aaron said. “All those little things would help defer costs of starting over.”

Why Meathead Movers are so inspiring

Aaron and Evan Steed started with a small initiative. After all, they only answered phone calls. Yet, instead of treating these situations like any other business transaction, they decided to go beyond and extend their help, free of charge.

They realized that they were in a position to offer assistance and make a real change in the lives of victims. By expanding and raising awareness, they have turned their small initiatives into a widespread call for change.

Their touching story reminds us that we can seize the opportunity to help someone else when it presents itself, however small it is. These women were offered a chance to have a new start in life and that is no insignificant achievement. We never know how a small gesture can have a lasting impact on someone else’s life.

And if you’re suffering in silence, know that there are people out there ready and waiting to help!

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Oprah’s Ex-Boyfriend Ruined Her Valentine’s Day But Taught Her an Invaluable Lesson

By | Food for thought, Motivation, stories, uplifting

Everyone loves Oprah so it is hard to imagine anyone ever not wanting to celebrate her. Yet, as the household name confided recently in her O, The Oprah Magazine, Valentine’s Day for her has forever been ruined by an ex-boyfriend.

In her column titled “What I Know For Sure” column, Oprah talked about her longtime unconventional romance with Stedman Graham. Today, they are in love and happy as ever, but that doesn’t mean she is eager to celebrate Feb. 14.

Why she no longer makes a big deal of Valentine’s Day

In her special Oprah and Gayle Chronicles, she tells the story and the lifelong lesson she managed to extract from it. When answering the anonymous request for advice from a fan, who wanted her partner to take the lead and plan the Valentine’s Day instead of letting her do the work, Oprah recalls her own story.

“Lots of people make a big deal about Valentine’s Day. I don’t– and haven’t since I was a young contestant in the Miss Black America Pageant,” she admits. Thanks to an indifferent ex-boyfriend, Oprah was able to change and communicate to us one of her many precious lessons.

Many of the other girls were receiving flowers and gifts from their beaux. My boyfriend at the time, Bubba — yes, real name — sent me nothing. I felt bad about that and complained to another contestant. She laid this wisdom on me: ‘Girl, if your man has put a flower on your mind, you won’t need no flowers in a vase!’

Oprah Winfrey

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But what did Oprah take away from it?

Obviously, the relationship with Bubba did not work out, but it only led her to greater happiness with her current longtime partner. Even if she initially “proceeded with caution, even with a friendship,” perhaps as a consequence of past learnings, she eventually found the right match in Stedman.

For her, the importance is not whether or not her partner remembers to celebrate Valentine’s day. Instead, she advises to look for “a [partner] who puts a flower on your mind so that it’s Valentine’s Day every day.”

She also concludes with a very real reminder:

And it’s just a day, it means nothing if the rest of the time, you are not feeling like a Valentine.

A good starting point to reflect on your relationship

Not every day has to feel like Valentine’s Day but we must feel intrinsically secure in our relationships and in the fact that we are loved. That is what Oprah’s advice is all about.

Perhaps, it may require changing your mindset on how you envision relationships for yourself or what kind of efforts you require from your significant other. In any case, if you feel any hint of insecurity or uncertainty, it is worth questioning it and having a conversation about it.

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This Man Has a Powerful Message For Anyone Questioning Why He Still Surprises His Ex-Wife Every Birthday

By | Food for thought, news, stories, uplifting, uplifting news

Co-parenting is hard even in the best of relationships, and after a divorce, it can often feel impossible. People who have decided to exit each other’s lives are sometimes still forced together because they have children they both love and care for.

Ideally, a couple can decide their relationship is not meant to be and still be able to maintain love and respect for each other, for the sake of their children. Unfortunately, it is often not the case and the residual bitterness can negatively affect the children and ex-spouses.

Yet, what does a healthy divorce look like?

Healthy divorces are not imaginary

Yes, it is possible to go through a divorce and come out on the other side with a healthy and loving relationship with one’s ex-spouse. Such is the story of Billy Flynn Gadbois, who wrote a Facebook post about the unique and special relationship he has with his ex-wife.

His post went viral because he proved the world wrong about the assumptions we hold towards divorce.

He celebrates his ex-wife as if they were still married

In his post, Billy shares that he woke up early to buy flowers, cards and breakfast ingredients to help their kids surprise their mom, his ex-wife, on her birthday.

However, he was soon questioned about his decision to celebrate his ex-wife. “Per usual someone asked me why the hell I still do things for her all the time,” Gadbois wrote. His response was nothing short of inspirational.

This annoys me. So I’ma break it down for you all. I’m raising two little men. The example I set for how I treat their mom is going to significantly shape how they see and treat women and affect their perception of relationships.

Billy Flynn Gadbois

Divorce is bigger than you

Gadbois is a shining example of how exes don’t have to let negative feelings about each other take lead, especially when young, impressionable children are watching.

The initiative came from both parties and was very much based on what they wanted for their children. “We decided early on that we were going to put the effort into co-parenting,” he said in an interview with TODAY.

So if you aren’t modeling good relationship behavior for your kids, get your shit together. Rise above it and be an example. This is bigger than you.

Billy Flynn Gadbois to Love What Matters

Similarly, Billy’s ex-wife also makes the effort to celebrate his birthday in the same manner. In doing so, they manage to make their children feel comfortable and spare them from the often traumatic effects that divorce can have on them.

A proof that divorce does not have to be toxic

Billy admits that “divorce can really bring out the worst in people” and that “it takes work to get the relationship to a point where you can co-parent like this.” But the work is necessary, as ex-spouses can “show each other respect and care in front of the kids, and help the kids care for that parent, regardless of how [they] feel about each other.”

Billy’s rejection of the traditional narratives surrounding the issue of divorce is a powerful gesture towards challenging our assumptions. Relationships come and go, but family ties last forever. This is why it is primordial to nurture them and foster a healthy rapport with our ex-spouses.

And as Billy said, children learn through imitation so it is important to keep that in mind when we are experiencing rough patches in marriage.

More inspiring stories:

A Year After She Survived a Hippo Attack, She’s Training for a Marathon

By | Food for thought, stories, uplifting, uplifting news

Last year, Kristen Yaldor celebrated her thirty-seventh birthday with a day of nature photography in Zimbabwe when the unthinkable happened: she was attacked by a hippopotamus. She was left with serious injuries but her journey towards recovery is exceptional.

A birthday that went terribly wrong

Kristen and her husband had just started snapping photos when one of their guides cautioned them to paddle toward the left bank. Then, things went terribly wrong. Something emerged under Yaldors’ canoe — a broad, rocklike back. She was immediately thrown into the air and fell into the river.

Yaldor managed to get back to the surface of the water pretty fast, and saw her husband Ryan swimming back to shore. She was working her way toward the land as well, and was pretty close, when something clamped down on her right leg and pulled her under the water.

She tried to remain calm and reached for the animal’s jaw hoping to loosen its grip and get back to the shore. At that time, she still had no idea what the animal was!

That’s when she discovered she was bleeding very badly. In the meantime, Ryan got emergency help and was able to call her mom.

“Do you want me to sing you happy birthday?” her mother asked.

“No, mom,” Kristen said. “I got attacked by a hippo.”

She survived the world’s deadliest mammal

Hippos don’t get as much press as sharks, but they are very dangerous with teeth strong enough to break a canoe in half. Their attacks can be deadly and they are much faster than we assume.

Kristen certainly got lucky Though it certainly didn’t feel that way at the time. She spent weeks undergoing surgeries for her fractured femur and other injuries. In total, she had 14 procedures.

“I’m here,” she remembered thinking at the time. “I have a leg. It may not look the same, but it’s here.”

The process of returning to her old self

Eventually, she started the process of recovery. She had to learn to take things slowly and stay positive. “I don’t care how many surgeries it takes,” she told her doctors. “There are certain functions in life that I feel are, for lack of a better word, requirements.”

After physical therapy, she was about to stand again, and then to walk. Eventually, she was able to drive again. She acknowledges that the process required a lot of mental work:

It’s really amazing what you see your body go through and how you need to somewhat trick your mind into knowing what to go through.

Kristen Yaldor

She never lost her will to recover

Before her injury, Kristen was incredibly active. She used to run between 3 to 10 miles every day, bike and swim. And the process of recovery is leading her back to her passions.

With her husband, she’s signed on for a Disney charity 5k marathon, which will take place in January. She’ll be raising funds for research on muscular dystrophy.

As she tells the Tampa Bay Times, she expects it to be a “brisk walk,” but a walk she is determined to complete nonetheless. For her 38th birthday, exactly a year after the traumatic attack, she took her new bike out and covered a distance of four miles.

Kristen’s story is evidence of the mind’s power over the body. Despite her severe injury, she never lost the will to push her limits. We all have the capacity to accomplish what we want, despite the obstacles, physical or mental, that surround us.

Sometimes, it only takes a simple shift of mindset in the way we perceive what we think is impossible.

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He Spent 5 Years on Death Row for a Crime He Didn’t Commit, Now He’s a College Graduate

By | Food for thought, news, stories, uplifting, uplifting news

Ryan Matthews is a loving dad and husband as well as a recent college graduate, which, at first look, is nothing too remarkable. However, his story is anything but typical.

Until just over a decade ago, he was a death row inmate in Louisiana. He was ultimately cleared of the charges and released. And Ryan set out to make a better life for himself.

“He used it [his past as a death row inmate] as the fuel for him to accomplish each of his accomplishments,” his wife, Candacee Matthews says.

He’s never been angry, he’s never been bitter.

He was unfairly incarcerated at the age of 17

Matthews was unfairly convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 1999, despite forensic evidence that excluded his DNA from the mask the suspect had left behind at the crime scene.

“We knew what the verdict was going to be,” his sister, Monique Coleman, told CNN. “He was a young black man and it was a white store owner.”

Ryan recalls the confusion that he felt at time. “I didn’t know what was happening to me, I had nothing to do with this,” he says. “But I just kind of knew this happens to people that are innocent.”

In the years that followed, his family fought to prove his innocence. Matthews was exonerated in 2004 after serving seven years behind bars, five of them on death row.

He was determined to get a college degree

It took a lot of resolve and determination, but he eventually achieved success. Matthews graduated Saturday from Texas Woman’s University with a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Arts and Sciences.

The degree did not come easy. He worked 12-hour overnight shifts at a packaging firm and his parental duties didn’t stop either. He took his four children to school and sat down with them to study.

However, Ryan was motivated. He knew that he owed it to himself and his family to make the life that was returned to him as meaningful as possible.  

“I’m trying to be the best I could be,” he tells WFAA.

He keeps his options open for the future

As for what’s next, he is considering a lot of options, from financial planning to accounting or some kind of environmental work.

“It’s all something new for me,” he says. “But I welcome the challenge. I love it.”

In the end, Ryan was vindicated. He could have allowed the terrible events of his past to continue dictating the rest of his life. Instead, he decided to take control of the rest of his life.

We can all learn from his determination

Sometimes, we let past events define who we are, which can inhibit us in the long term. If we remove the past from the picture and focus on what’s ahead, we allow ourselves control over the blank canvas that is our future.

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Here’s How to Survive a Holiday Breakup– and Thrive Instead

By | Food for thought, heartbreak, how-to guide, relationships, uplifting

It’s common knowledge that the holiday breakups are the most popular kind.

Known as the “turkey drop,” mid November to mid December tends to be when many couples decide to split. The holidays put people in a good mood, sure. But these extra jollies can make shaky couples even shakier.

But why during the holidays?

Life coach and certified sex therapist Jacqueline Mendez told OkCupid that “many couples break up during the holidays because the cracks that already exist in the relationship are magnified. There is a huge push for love, glee, and happy feelings and when a couple does not have the bandwidth to support this, it breaks.”

As well, many people observe their significant other up-close-and personal with their families, which can offer unflattering insight into problematic relationship dynamics.

Add to this the fact that loads of family time often removes the ability for couples who rely on sex for their bond, to well, bond. It ain’t an easy time of year.

How I handled it

Personally, I’ve found it’s easier to break up when the sky is blue and everyone’s showing a little more skin. But hey—who among us has a choice in the matter?

Truth be told, I too have been through a holiday heartbreak. It was crushing, sure, but also turned out to be a time for deep reflection, self-insight, and growing as a person. And, okay, you got me—maybe even kissing someone new at a drunken Christmas party.

Let’s face it: these are all the ingredients we need for moving onto bigger and better loves!

If you’re going through a holiday breakup, I feel you. Whether you’re the breaker or the breakee, it can be devastating. If you need a little help getting through it, consider the following.

Here 6 tips for surviving with your heart intact

1. Accept your state of mind

Nobody said it was easy, and you don’t need to put on a brave face. The sooner you accept that, the less stressful it will be, and the quicker you’ll start to heal.

If you can be kind to yourself, everything else will fall into place.

This means: making an effort to interact with loved ones, but it does not mean forcing yourself into doing things that make you want to puke.

Feel free to respect where you’re at, and bow out of any activities that are giving you the heebie jeebies (couples’ massages as a family, anyone?)

2. Know you’re not alone

During the holiday season, it can seem like everyone and their cocker spaniel has a fiancée or is swapping tongue under the mistletoe or by the menorah.

But in reality, close to half of all adults are single, and that includes just over half of those between 18-34.

So, remember: you’re really, truly not alone!

3. Don’t delay damage control

Depending on the exact timing of your breakup, you may want (need) to take care of certain logistical matters.

For instance, save yourself the trouble of having the same breakup explanation conversation 2000 times at your family’s holiday party by having a friend or parent spread the news on your behalf.

And, unnatural as it may seem, if you have to return your ex’s gifts, or cancel flights or reservations, get it over with immediately to avoid dragging out depressive feelings.

4. Be social (or at least stay active)

If you had a bunch of social plans with your ex, don’t replace them all with melancholic solo time.

Though, of course, some nurturing solo time is a-okay.

Make plans for coffee/dinner/drinks with good friends, join a yoga class, take up running, or simply make a point of doing things that make you feel good, like seeing a play, going to the movies, or taking long walks. 

5. Do things for others

A holiday breakup may just be one of the best times to focus your energies on others rather than yourself.

Volunteering at a charity or shelter can be an amazing way to give back.

Not only will you be helping others, but you’ll meet new people, and hey, your heart may even feel a bit more whole.

6. Stay off social media 

If you’re away from your support network over the holidays: get off– and stay off– social media!

“If someone is struggling through a breakup and fixated on their ex, staying actively engaged in the relationship through social media will make it harder to move forward and the recovery will take longer,” clinical psychologist Dr. Cortney Warren tells Bustle.

Go one step further and block or unfollow anyone who’s going to make you feel bad.

The bottom line is this:

Breakups are never easy, but they can be especially brutal during the holidays. Try treating yourself the way you’d treat a close friend going through something similar.

And ultimately, never fear, ‘cause a fresh new year is almost here– and with it comes new possibilities and even new love.

More proof you can get through your breakup:

Two Years After Being Shot in the Head, Deserae Turner’s Walking Proudly as Homecoming Queen

By | everyday heroes, Food for thought, news, stories, uplifting

When 14-year-old Deserae Turner didn’t come home from school on February 16, she was reported missing. She was found, eight hours later, shot and nearly dead in a dry canal in her hometown.

Two teenage boys she believed were her friends asked to meet her in an isolated area, robbed her, and tried to kill her.

Luckily Deserae was discovered before it was too late, but doctors had to put her in a medically-induced coma to save her life.

She just wanted to be friends

When questioned on their motives, one of the boys joked about getting rid of Deserae because he was “tired” of her messaging him on social media. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Deserae had been chatting with the boys over Snapchat, and they lured her to the canal to hang out.

At the meeting place, they stole $44 from her purse, threw away her bag, and destroyed her phone and iPod. Then they shot her in the head and left to spend her money at a convenience store.

In court, it was revealed that Deserae was stunned when her dad told her the boys who she considered friends were suspects in her act.

“She was surprised. She had a look of shock on her face,” said Smithfield Detective Brandon Muir.

Deserae remembers very little of that day, but did recall messaging one of her attackers about meeting at the canal to “hang out.” The bullet fired at her pierced her brain, damaging her memory and reducing mobility in the right side of her body.

Deserae’s determination to recover

While Deserae has undergone 10 brain surgeries, chiropractors visits, and hyperbaric oxygen chamber sessions, her attackers have each been sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.

It would be perfectly understandable — and even expected– after a trauma like that for Deserae to close down and not trust people she thought were her friends.

But there is a happy ending to this story: in returning to school, Deserae instead did the most social thing of all – became homecoming queen!

She was welcomed home in style

Deserae Turner was recently crowned Homecoming Queen at her high school. She proudly walked to accept her own with the help of her leg brace– and her Homecoming King– as her classmates, friends, and townspeople all cheered her on.

She sported a silver gown, beautiful curls, and make-up– all donated by her supporters in the town– and spent the evening with her good friend, Logan, as her date.

“’I was just a homecoming queen, there’s nothing special about that,’” Deserae told CNN of her initial reaction to the news. “But if you think about what I’ve been through, yes — it’s very special. It is very awesome.”

Since the boys who attacked her took advantage of her friendly and trusting nature, many people in Deserae’s shoes would close themselves off to the world that hurt them.

Instead, she’s shown so much character and strength by still being a friendly and open-hearted person. She hasn’t lost that part of herself, and we can all learn from her determination to be true to herself and to shine her light on others.

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