4 Signs You Are Codependent and 4 Signs You Are Not

Two months ago, I quit my job. The 2+ years leading up to that decision were survival mode since my divorce: get a new job, figure out finances, move 3x! I was excited for a little break. Despite my enthusiasm, once my break came, all I could do was squirm and complain. I’d never experienced this kind of depression before. It wasn’t the agony I was used to. Depression felt like this constant companion, hanging out right beneath the surface of my words and actions, never screaming, but stifling my motivation for life. What was happening? There were no external voices to tell me what to do, that I was doing a good job, that I was on the right …


Decision Paralysis + Codependency: When My Emotions Depend on Your Emotions

This week has been a metaphorical ringer. Work stress. Relationship stress. Family stress. Home stress. STRESS STRESS STRESS! You know those weeks where you wake up every morning in a panic like you’ve dropped the ball on something major? If you didn’t know – I do not preach meditation because I’m oh so peaceful, I preach meditation because I’m pretty sure it’s already saved me from early onset high blood pressure. A huge struggle this week has been the need to make important choices amidst difficult circumstances. The reason choices are so hard, particularly during stressful seasons, is because there’s often not a right or wrong answer. Most choices come with a slew of positive and negative repercussions that need …


How Awkward First Dates Are a Path for Growth

These past few years have been a motor speedway of personal growth, the conduit being not only a ton of therapy but also destiny-driven personal interactions that left serious imprints. One date in particular was rather surreal, mostly because I was immediately uncomfortable sitting there. This date reminded me of pain from past relationships. I, unknowingly, had written off traditionally religious guys, associating similar traits to being hurt in the same ways I had been before. My subconscious mind kept me safe from those kinds of guys, protecting me from ever being like that again. The hour we sat there became weirdly healing as this guy began to disprove every assumption I placed on him. I thought a traditionally religious …


How To Tell When You’re Saying Yes To Your Worth and NO to Boundary-Stomping Jerks

This year, I’ve met a number of flighty, unreliable types. They chat you up, and they’re super flirtatious. It kinda feels like they create chemistry with everything. Initially, all your warning signs are screaming, “f*** boy/girl, stay away,” but then you find out the guy/girl is kind of creative, or they say something to make you feel special, and you’re in. One date couldn’t be so bad, right?! They ask you on a date (sort of). They don’t really set a time, or a day, and then they text you around the time you sort of agreed on but never finalize plans. A MILLION RED FLAGS. A. MILLION. I know this is a little sad, but the old Ilsa would …


The People We Attract + Why – Unfinished Business Part 2

The primary foundation of attraction and chemistry are tied to our unfinished business + imago match. (Read More Here) To remind us of these concepts: Unfinished business: our unconscious search for the mate that will right the wrongs of our imperfect childhoods. Imago match: someone who carries the traits of what survival looked like for us in childhood, most likely a combination of traits from our childhood caretakers. The final piece of the attraction puzzle is self-esteem, which is defined as “confidence in one’s value as a human being correlated with achievement, good relationships, and satisfaction.” While I like to define these three concepts separately, they are, in practice, totally intertwined. Our imago match will carry our unfinished business from …


Decoding “The Game” + Stop Wasting Time

Like many women, I have run hard after THE mixed signal kings. As the observant, reflective type – their lack of attention and my slight obsession has been strongly disconcerting. Why did their aloofness peak my interest? Turns out I’m not alone – there’s even research on it. According to research, some of us get stuck in the addiction/reward cycle when meeting a potential romantic interest. Their initial interest draws us in, their rejection makes us crave their interest even more (and subsequently  wonder where it went), and then we continuously seek the initial attention as a form of reward. It’s totally dysfunctional. As a typically confident woman, my insecurities go through the roof in this cycle. I can’t send …


When The Ex Is No Longer Our Type

A few months ago, I had drinks with an ex-boyfriend of sorts, let’s call him Dan. Ex’s can be dangerous territory because there’s a familiarity that is oh-so enticing, as well novelty, because we haven’t seen them in while. Some things have changed and some things feel like an old pair of jeans that fit in all the right places. Dan and I had a really nice night. Surprisingly, some of the changes we’ve experienced seemed to converge. We’ve both experienced a dramatic shedding of societal burdens and with that the liberation and sometimes scary self-redefining that takes place. But, I really wasn’t into it. I felt like I was looking at an old version of myself. Not that that …


A little about me…

History Hey there ☺ Ilsa Levine here – I am a your typical millennial. (Meaning I’ve done a million things and will continue to do a million more) After graduating college from UCLA (GO BRUINS) I moved to Beijing, China thinking I’d live abroad for a few years before  pursuing Human Rights law to eventually fight human trafficking both in the US and abroad. What really happened? I learned some Chinese, worked as an executive headhunter, got married (woah), and even hosted a few Chinese Travel TV shows. After getting married, relationships became more and more a source of interest, pain, and joy. I joined my family’s not-for-profit, Marriage Boot Camp, got certified as a Relationship & Life Coach, and started …