An Authentic Life

Living an authentic life is a concept that is easy to understand, but often challenging to implement. This year has presented more challenges for the general population than the typical year. Thus, living an authentic life today is even more challenging than ever.

 

Living Authentically

 

In the simplest terms, living an authentic life means being who you really are. This means that you let go of who others say you are and who they want you to be. You are also honest with yourself about both your positive and negative attributes.

 

You can start by defining basic attributes that someone might use to describe you. Perhaps you are tall, have medium skin, blue eyes, and brown hair. You can dye your hair, wear contacts that change your eyes color, and go to a tanning salon. Still, your DNA will indicate that you are tall with medium skin, blue eyes, and brown hair. You can pretend to be different, but that isn’t who you are underneath.

 

Additionally, when living authentically, you recognize your achievements, give credit to others where credit is due, and take the blame when appropriate. This relates very much to the concept of taking 100% responsibility. Taking too much or too little responsibility never leads you to authenticity or happiness. If you take responsibility or claim credit when someone else should be doing the work, did the work, or is to blame, you are cheating the other person and yourself. Thus, 100% responsibility is a key ingredient to living authentically.

 

2020 Challenges

 

Under the best of circumstances, living an authentic life takes work. 2020 has added challenges that make it even more difficult to maintain the focus and internal personal view that is required to create and maintain an authentic life.

 

COVID-19

 

COVID-19 has brought out interesting behaviors in people. Most of which have been brought about because of fear, as we discussed in a recent article, “Why Fear?” The combination of fear, ever-changing rules, and unknowns present challenges to people. As a result, people end up with differing opinions and different interpretations of the rules. Some of these people choose to chastise those who see things differently than they do.

 

Even when pressure is applied with the best intention, it often results in the other person fighting back – at least mentally. You may find that although you are acting and even believing things that are not aligned with who you really are. You may even push back against them although you agree with the person in principle.

 

Likewise, the COVID rules may drive you to behave in ways that are not aligned with your experience or desires. For instance, if you are an extrovert or a person who likes lots of physical touch, you may not be behaving in alignment with those qualities. It is important to recognize those attributes of yourself and find a way to honor them.

 

The History of Our Country

 

Protests, riots, and destruction have also created pressure to destroy our past and for the country to become something it is not. Like it or not, the country was not formed by people that simply came together, sang “Imagine,” and lived in perfect harmony. Instead, it was a hard fight. People had different perspectives, but in the end the people came together as one country.

 

Like it or not, our country’s history is our country’s history. Owning up to the country’s history is just as important as owning up to your own personal history. Without both, you can’t live an authentic life. Like with historical statues that have been dismantled, you can ignore and take your history out of sight, but it is still part of who you are.

 

Pretending that your past isn’t your past never leads to an authentic life. Now, you can do internal work to grow from your past and it is something that you don’t have to outwardly share in all situations. However, you should never hide from it.

 

Race Wars

 

In addition, there is pressure to see our country in the midst of a race war despite the fact that people of all backgrounds have many positive interactions each day. This is not to say that prejudice does not exist. It does. Our article “Retraining the Brain” discusses bias and how it plays a part of everybody’s life.

 

With awareness, everyone can make better decisions and limit how bias affects decisions that they make. This does not, however, mean that anyone needs to denounce their ethnic background – even people of European heritage with a long history in this country. Instead, consider that each person has their own story that is made up of many attributes.  A portion of that story is the history of their ancestors.  But, the most important part of their story is their personal story and the life they have lived.  Facts of the past cannot be changed.

 

Similarly, an African American police officer can be proud to be African American and simultaneously be proud to serve as a police officer. According to some people, these officers are “no longer black;” they are blue. Again, their heritage and their occupation are both facts. They are what they are.

 

A person who is authentic will not apologize for facts about themselves. Additionally, an authentic life does not include guilt or victim-hood for events that occurred years before the person’s birth. They can be considerate and can make good decisions in their life with regards to people of all backgrounds. No one needs to take on the burden of the past. It is fact and it cannot be changed.

 

Cancel Culture

 

The current trend toward “cancelling” anything that someone dislikes also pressures people to be less than authentic. People are afraid that if they don’t outwardly support certain opinions that they, too, will be cancelled. They know that in today’s world, they don’t even have the option to remain silent. It is almost as if the right to remain silent has been stricken from the law books.

 

This pressure is very strong, especially for people in the public eye. Yet, according to Psychology Today, “The authentic person will not . . . let others bully them into taking a position they don’t agree with.” They go on to say, “Authenticity requires us to be able to overcome our desire to fit in and be part of the crowd.”

 

So, if you are feeling like you need to take up a position that you wouldn’t have considered taking up six months ago, you might want to ask yourself if you are being authentic. It is possible that you have become aware of an issue and now feel driven to support that position. However, it is also possible that you are simply being intimidated into a position that you don’t really support.

 

Leading An Authentic Life

 

It is more important than ever to focus on who you really are at the core. Act based on your life, your beliefs, your values, your opinions, and your knowledge. At this time, it is critical that you really think things through. Know that you are 100% responsible for your life and your decisions. However, you are not responsible for other people’s life choices.

 

You can be compassionate and empathetic. Listen. Learn. Those are good things that enhance our lives and help us to be more authentic. Just be careful of the trap of taking on someone else’s view of who you are. By doing so, you nearly always become less authentic.

 

If you would like to work toward a more authentic life, consider our “Finding Your Authentic Self” coaching sessions.

 

 

The Salem Witch Trials

I have always been fascinated by the Salem Witch Trials. The belief that witchcraft was behind unexplained fits of young girls resulted in accusations of witchcraft being thrown in every direction is quite intriguing. I would love to know what “caused” those symptoms the girls displayed. The bigger question, however, is . . . Why did accusations of witchery become popular in 1692?

 

The Salem Witch Trials of 1692

 

Looking back at what is known about the beginning of the Salem Witch Trials, we find young girls behaving in an unusual manner. Not knowing what caused the behavior, it was believed that the girls were possessed by the devil. They then accused three women of being witches and bringing this upon them. Thus, the first case of witchery came to trial.

 

Oddly, there were other girls that soon exhibited the same symptoms. Hence more cases. Still, more and more accusations abounded in Salem and other areas more distant. By May of that year, there were so many cases that a special court was appointed to handle them.

 

Even upstanding members of the community were accused and found guilty of being witches. Rebecca Nurse, a possible distant relative of mine, was one of those people. In her case, they found her not guilty, then guilty, then she received a reprieve, and finally she was hung. She was 71 and was supported by a large number of people in the community. Yet, it didn’t save her.

 

In most cases, however, men and women were found guilty based solely on the accusation. None of them were allowed to have lawyers and had a difficult time defending themselves. Have you ever tried proving that you aren’t a witch?

 

The question was . . . Why were so many people so willing to believe that members of the community were witches? Speculation includes that the people funneled their fear of outsiders and other fears into the witchcraft hysteria.

 

The hysteria quickly wound down and dissipated in 1693. Many of the convicted witches were later fully exonerated. Unfortunately, it was too late for those who were hung or died in prison.

 

McCarthyism

 

In 1953, Arthur Miller brought the Salem Witch Trials to life in his play “The Crucible.” He was driven to write the play because of current events. At the time, Senator Joseph McCarthy used “witch hunts” in the name of stopping the spread of communism.

 

McCarthy was a fearmonger, constantly stirring the fear of Communism, which was very pervasive in the 1950s. The fear was so strong that many people were accused of being communist or communist sympathizers. Many of them lost their jobs or were blacklisted despite not belonging to the Communist Party. Others were afraid to object for fear that they, too, would be given the badge of communist.

 

Those accused were investigated or questioned before panels. Like the Salem Witch Trials, accusations were often accepted even when there was a lack of evidence. Likewise, the risk the person posed to the country was often elevated. Still, the damage was done although many decisions would later be reversed or determined to be illegal.

 

Repeating The Past

 

It is 2020 and despite the 5th and 14th amendments to the Constitution guaranteeing due process we are again repeating the Salem Witch Trials. The witch trials have been modernized, but they still have the same principle of guilt by accusation.

 

In today’s world, you aren’t likely to be hung after an unfair trial where you have to defend yourself. Instead you are “cancelled” by a decision of the Internet mob. In cancel culture, you aren’t given a chance to defend yourself at all. The Internet mob decides what is right and what is wrong. You can be found guilty by association. Worse yet, you can be found guilty for not publicly taking a stance on an issue at all.

 

It seems that like in 1692, fear has driven the world a bit mad. Today it isn’t a fear of witches or communism that is behind the accusations. Yet, it remains a fear based on people being different and having different perspectives.

 

The Tech Giants and the mob rule simply do not allow for free thought and conversation. They have decided to take the law into their own hands and change all the rules. One and only one opinion is allowed in the social media court. Wish to explain yourself or even to apologize and you just may find yourself banned from the platform.

 

If you think it is only people with extremist viewpoints that are banned, I suggest you do more research. Like Rebecca Nurse, who was an upstanding citizen respected by many, you may be accused if you don’t parrot “the stance” perfectly.

 

What We Can Learn?

 

So, what can we learn from our current situation? First, history does repeat itself unless you learn from it. Clearly, we have not yet learned this lesson.

 

Second, there are many dimensions to being different. Anytime someone is condemned simply because they are different it is wrong.

 

Third, judging without a fair trial or worse without any facts is a disgrace. And, it means that a majority of the time you will be wrong.

 

And, fourth, fear can drive people to act a little crazy. As discussed in our recent article “Why Fear,” Franklin D. Roosevelt was correct when he said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

 

The bottom line is that we need to learn to accept people who are different – no matter what that difference may be. They may look different, act different, express their feelings in a different way, have different religious beliefs, have different political beliefs, raise their family in a different way, etc.

 

This sentiment was echoed on a Little House on the Prairie rerun as I was writing this article. Laura was pleading with the people of Walnut Grove to stop a woman who was considered odd from leaving town. Laura said, “So what if she was different? We’re all different!”

 

Retrain the brain

In the first three articles in the Misconnection series, we explored misconnections that are created because of the illusion of a connection, because our survival instincts kick in, and because information is judged by our unique perspective. In this final installment of Misconnection, we discuss retraining the brain to make more accurate connections.

 

Recognizing Misconnections

 

The first step in retraining the brain to eliminate misconnections is to recognize that misconnections occur. For some people, realizing that their assumptions (i.e. connections) they have made about other people, situations, and events might not be accurate is a shock. These people trust the assumptions that their mind makes without giving them a second thought. Often, they don’t even consider that their mind has made a judgment.

 

Yet, everyone – even those who are conscious of misconnections – makes misconnections.

 

No Assumptions

 

It has been suggested by some that the solution to part of the issue is to simply stop making these connections. Those people believe that survival instincts, in particular, are out dated and no longer needed. However, this is not accurate.

 

Today, people need survival instincts as much as they ever did. It is just that what constitutes danger is always changing. In what would become the United States, people had to be highly aware of wild animals and unknown individuals. Encounters with either could be deadly.

 

Although dangers associated with animals and other human beings still exist, the dangers have transformed. Similarly, new dangers have been created, such as, dangers to our livelihood and identity, which didn’t exist 400 years ago.

 

Analysis

 

Often our instincts and other factors that influence connections don’t adapt fast enough to the ever-changing dangers. Thus, it is important for people to analyze the connections they make for accuracy. This applies to things identified as safe, as well as those identified as dangerous.

 

For each connection analyzed, the person should note the accuracy. When encountering something they deemed dangerous that was actually safe, the person should consider what made them believe the person or situation presented danger.

 

Likewise, when encountering someone that they felt was safe only to find out that they were not, the person should consider what made them feel the person was safe. Then, they should consider if there were flags that they missed.

 

Bias

 

This analysis should include independent research about the person or situation. The more knowledgeable a person becomes about a topic; the more likely they are to understand if they have made a good connection in their judgment of that person or situation.

 

However, it is critical to check the information for accuracy and bias. Reading biased information just leads to more bias. Thus, it is critical to utilize different sources with different points of view. If a person simply finds a point of view that supports their original perspective, they will not accurately analyze the person or situation. Instead, they will use the point of view to reinforce their original perspectives.

 

A simple example is a person applies for a job. They have an immediate negative reaction to interviewer. They just didn’t like her for some reason. And, they apply that negative reaction to the job itself. Now, if they leave and go talk to a friend who supports their opinion without any knowledge or they talk to someone who was fired from that business, they are only gaining support for their opinion.

 

If, however, they ask themselves why they had a negative reaction to the job and they are honest with themselves, they may realize that it was the interviewer. Then they can consider why they reacted to the interviewer. They can also seek a balanced set of input from people who have worked there to make a better assessment of the job.

 

It would be awful to turn down a job if the source of the issue was that the interviewer looked similar to the girl that stole your boyfriend in high school. That is exactly what can happen with misconnections.

 

Retraining The Brain

 

The first two steps in retraining the brain are to recognize the misconnection and to analyze it. Once that is complete, the next step in retraining the brain to make better connections is to have a keen awareness to when similar judgments are being made. The next step is for the person to take to retrain the brain is to immediately stop and ask, “Why do I feel this way?” They can follow that question with “Is my assessment really true?” An honest assessment of these questions is a move toward changing the judgments themselves.

 

Once a person does this for several things, they will find that questioning becomes habit. Thus, they will pay attention to the automatic connection, but they will also automatically assess if that connection is accurate. This will lead to a better judgment of that situation and will help retrain the brain for future situations.

 

Unique Perspective

In the first two articles in the Misconnection series, we explored misconnections that are created because of the illusion of a connection and as a result of our survival instincts. In this segment, we will discuss how our culture, experiences, beliefs, and values that make up each person’s unique perspective add to each person’s connections and misconnections.

 

Unique Perspective

 

Each person has a unique perspective that belongs to them and only them. The person’s  environment and culture in which they live combined with their experiences, underlying beliefs, and values create this perspective. All of these things come together and create a filter through which every piece of information they receive flows.

 

Thus, people never evaluate unfiltered information. By the time they consider the information, their filter has already tainted the information. Thus, people can have different perspectives on something as simple as a rock in the middle of a sidewalk.

 

A person who has had kids playing in their rocks repeatedly may assume a kid put the rock in the middle of the sidewalk because they had been playing there. Someone else may be angry because they assume someone put it there so that someone would trip on it. A person with a different experience, may assume it was kicked up off the street by a car. Meanwhile, the facts may be that someone accidentally kicked it there and didn’t realize it.

 

World Situation

 

People’s filters are very obvious in their perspectives on the current world situation. Some people believe that everyone should do as the authorities tell us. Meanwhile, other people feel that authorities have overstepped their bounds and have no right to tell people not to open their business, go to church, or hike in their favorite park. Yet, other people may feel frustrated because theybelieve the entire situation is overblown.  In their mind,  the measures are being taken are without merit.

 

In all these cases, each unique perspective arises from the person’s current experience, previous experiences, beliefs, values, and culture. For instance, a person who lives in an area where no cases of COVID-19 have been reported will not likely see the virus as a big threat.  However, a person who lives in New York City, where their have been many cases, likely feels more threatened by the virus.

 

Likewise, someone who has grown up working hard for every dollar and still finding it difficult to get ahead will have a different opinion that someone who was born rich. And, different factors influence the opinion of retirees.

 

The number of factors that go into a person’s filters that drive their perspective of a situation are endless. It would be impossible to explore all of them. So, let’s take a look at a subset of the factors relating to whether a person should wear a mask.

 

To Mask

 

People hold a variety of  perspectives on whether people should wear a mask when in public. Some people simply believe everyone should follow the rules. In their opinion, since the authorities stated that masks are necessary, they are necessary. This belief may come from their local culture, family values, or religious upbringing.

 

Other people have different reasons for  believing that people should wear masks. Perhaps they are particularly nervous about themselves or a loved one getting sick. Others may have lost a loved one to COVID-19 or a similar disease. Still, others may have anxiety that has heightened due to the virus.

 

Or Not To Mask

 

Like people who feel a mask is necessary, those that desire not to wear a mask do so for many reasons. Often these people do not personally know anyone who has gotten COVID-19. Alternately, they have known many people with mild cases. They also may see getting the virus as unavoidable and wish to get it over with sooner rather than later.

 

The decision not to mask may also relate to cultural norms. Some cultures may frown upon face coverings. Alternately, people may believe face coverings  have a particular meaning. For instance, a person might hesitate to wear a face covering if they grew up being told that was an indication of criminal behavior.

 

There are other very different reasons that people don’t wear masks. The person may have PTSD, claustrophobia, or have a breathing disorder. The person may also have impaired hearing making it difficult to communicate when other people are wearing masks. All of these may present in a person without it being obvious to other people.

 

Misconnections

 

Misconnections arise when people believe everyone should make the same decision they made. I know people who have been on the receiving end of a tirade because they were wearing a mask. One might ask, “Why do you care?” Well, it is hard to determine why they care without a direct conversation. However, it is likely that the person is judging the other person based on their filters.

 

On the flip side, it is common to observe people yelling at a person for not wearing a mask. You might argue that the person has a right to be upset and that they have the good of themselves and others in mind. However, it is important to remember that they don’t know the other person’s situation, history, or experiences.

 

In both cases, the person doing the yelling is judging the other person based on their own rules. Thus, it is very possible that they are creating misconnections about the other person. They may believe the other person is uneducated, uncaring, or out of touch. However, both may be educated and caring. They just have different filters they apply in processing the information they receive.

 

Up next, our concluding article in the Misconnection series. . . We will discuss retraining the brain to make more good connections and less misconnections.

 

connecting in 2020

 

 

Welcome to 2020! Or, as Barbara Walters would say, “I’m Barbara Walters, and this is 2020.

 

Twenty-twenty is a great number with the potential to be an amazing year. Only once in a century are the first two digits of the year and the second two digits of the year the same. So, this is your one chance to experience this phenomenon – unless you are currently 100 years old or plan to hang around till 2121.

 

Perfect Vision

 

Dates like 1919 and 2020 roll easily off the tongue making them candidates to be included in advertising and more. However, 2020 is much more. It is also associated with having perfect vision. Both eyesight and hindsight can be 20/20. Thus, many believe that 2020 has the potential to be a wonderful and insightful year.

 

Connect & Reconnect

 

In order to create a wonderful 2020 for yourself, consider making connecting and re-connecting a daily habit. Connecting can come in many forms: connecting with people, physically or virtually, connecting objects, connecting ideas and more.

 

When desiring to connect with people, look around you. Are there people that you encounter regularly with whom you really never connect? They are a great place to start. Try to understand their point of view, their feelings and who they really are. Extend this practice to new people that you meet. And, consider reconnecting with people from your past.

 

New Eyes

 

Similarly, look at activities, passions, and objects with new eyes. Do those things speak to you differently now than they did in the past? Connect to them in new ways. Also, consider reconnecting with an activity or a passion that you sat aside years ago when life got busy or you were encouraged to focus elsewhere.

 

Connect The Dots

 

Consider how other things are connected. Connect the dots between behaviors and actions. Look for connections between very different things and find an entirely new perspective. For example, Steve Jobs sat in on a calligraphy class where he learned about serif and sans serif typefaces (fonts). He was fascinated by the artistry of the characters. At the time, it was simply something that peaked his interest. However, later he applied what he learned and created a choice of fonts for Mac – something that was unheard of in the computing world at that time.

 

Steve Jobs’ connection between calligraphy and computer fonts not only changed the world of computing, but extended into digital media, print media, and beyond. Yet, he had no idea when he was learning calligraphy where it would lead.

 

At a graduation speech at Stanford years later he said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

 

Yesterday – Today – Tomorrow

 

So, as you go through 2020 consider if something you have encountered in the past applies to what you are doing today – even if they are two very different things. Also, pay close attention to the things you are now encountering as they may apply to something tomorrow.

 

In the words of Doc Brown (Back to the Future), “Your future hasn’t been written yet. No one’s has. Your future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one.”

 

 

 

 

Communities, whether it refers to people in a geographical area, a church family, a school, or another group of individuals, sometimes have a need for healing. In some cases, this is a long-term need arising from neglect, lack of work, or on-going violence. In other cases, the need arises in relationship to a specific tragedy or natural disaster.

 

Healing a community is similar to healing an individual. However, the process varies a bit and can be complicated by having a number of people involved. On the other hand, the people of the community can also be helpful in assisting each other in their healing.

 

Deciding to Heal

Just like with a person, the community first needs to decide to heal. The challenge with this is that different people are of different mindsets with regards to healing and not everyone is on the same timeline with regards to grieving over what has happened. Likewise, those that desire to heal may remain on autopilot for some time simply dealing with the things that have to be done.

 

Support from Outside

 

Each situation is different. In the case of a hurricane, for example, outside assistance may be needed for shelter, food, debris removal, and rebuilding. However, the ultimate healing comes from within the community. The Red Cross and other volunteers cannot heal for the community. Likewise, they cannot force the community to heal. The only thing they can do is support the community while they heal, much like a cast supports someone’s leg while a broken bone heals.

 

Healing Within

 

Different types of traumas require different amount of healing. Likewise, they require different amounts of time to heal. For instance, healing from an earthquake that made various structures in the community uninhabitable might not require the same level of healing as an event that takes several people’s lives.

 

Traumatic Events

 

For people outside the community, the biggest challenge is to allow the community to heal on its own timeline without imposing deadlines or expectations. After 9/11, there was tremendous support from across the country and around the world. However, over time that support for New York and the country in general waned. Thus, the expectations from outside the communities most significantly impacted changed. Yet, especially in New York City, many people are still dealing with the trauma. First responders, in particular, continue to have both emotional and physical issues as a result of their efforts that day.

 

Within the communities impacted by 9/11, the challenge from day one was that various people were impacted in different ways and to a different extent. The same is true of any community impacted by a traumatic event. Each person has a different timeline for grieving related to the event. Thus, after a year some people may be moving on with their life and really spend very little time thinking the event. Meanwhile, others may still be struggling to accept what happened.

 

Long-Term Situations

 

In situations, such as, economic depression, all of the above perspectives apply. The community may need a leg up, but will only truly heal when members of the community make a decision to heal. These situations have different challenges as the issues they are facing have often developed over generations. In these cases, it may be more difficult to gain the momentum to heal despite the desire to move forward.

 

It takes longer in these cases to attain true healing as the trauma has been reinforced over and over. People may have even lost their belief in healing, thinking that things cannot improve. One of the biggest things people outside these communities can do is to spread hope without expectation. If they help these people believe, the people will then be able to start healing.

 

Limiting Actions

 

One worst things people outside the community can do is to use these situations and the people involved to make political statements or to support some perspective that they would like others to believe.   Actions of this nature limit the healing of the communities. In some cases, actions with these types of motives may even cause additional hurt and damage.

 

The Best Action

 

The best action outsiders can take to help a community heal is to provide support and encouragement to the individuals in the community as well as to the community leaders. Within the community, it is important for each person to remember that each person will heal on his or her own schedule. No person can speed up another person’s healing nor should they judge that someone has healed too fast. As each individual focuses on their own healing, they will create an environment for those around them to heal more quickly allowing the community to gain overall momentum in its healing.

 

Remember, healing is possible. It just takes time.

Releasing: A Key to Healing

 

 

Most people have an event from their past that clings to them like a baby clings to their pacifier. Like a parent who thinks their baby is ready to give up their pacifier, the person may think they are ready to give up the memory. And, no matter how hard the parent tries, the baby resists giving up their pacifier. Similarly no matter how hard the person tries to forget, the memory won’t leave. It seems to be permanently etched into their brain.

 

Even when someone is not consciously recalling the memory, that instance of memory can consume some of the person’s energy like a dripping faucet leaks water. Although one instance of memory may not be a significant drain on a person, if there are lots of memories connected to the person, the person may experience a significant drain. In some cases, one single instance can be enough to be a continual drain on a person.

 

Staying Connected

 

Energetically speaking, people may hold onto events, places, and people. Think of the old time switch boards where there was a person making a voice connection by plugging a line into a socket. This created a physical connection that allowed a person on one end to speak to the person on the other end. Energy works in a very similar manner. In the switchboard era, you could hang up and come back an hour later and begin talking if the switchboard operator had left the connection in place.

 

The same is true if the universe has not severed the energetic connection. When that connection remains, the other person, company, or event continues to be connected to the person.  This is true even if they are no longer a part of that person’s life. Unfortunately, trauma is often the cord that binds the two together. The more trauma someone has experienced, the more likely there will be a strong energetic connection they will have to the place, event, or person.

 

What stays connected to someone may seem completely random and insignificant to other people. In fact, others that witnessed an event that someone found traumatic may not even be able to recall the event. To the traumatized person, however, the reason they can recall these events, places, and people so vividly is because of the trauma they experienced.

 

No Longer Needed

 

These events, places, and people created an energetic connection. When these connections no longer serve the person in a positive manner, the person needs to decide if they are ready to release the connection. This doesn’t mean that they will forget the people or events. However, it does mean that these people and events of the past will no longer have influence over their lives.

 

The connection can be released in a variety of ways. Some people opt for counseling while others do journaling, meditation, or energy work. The act of releasing heals old wounds and allows you to thrive.

 

Once released, the person may feel more energized. They may physically feel like a weight is lifted from them. New opportunities may also arise once they are no longer being held back by these connections.

 

What are you waiting for? Release! It is the key to healing.

 

Acting from the heart

 

 

It is so easy to get wrapped up in the daily grind. Get up. Go to work. Come home. Go to bed. In this mode, we are simply doing; not living.

 

We get in this mode because life is hectic. It is easy to do what our parents, culture, and influential people have taught us to do without really thinking. We even convince ourselves that we are making our own decisions and truly living. All the while, our actions indicate we have been programmed and are running on autopilot.

 

Simply Existing

 

When in this mode, we simply exist. Our actions have little power and it is often all we can do to care for our family and ourselves. Even though we love our family and friends, we may have trouble putting our energy into our relationship with them. The same is true when trying to help others. Often we are doing only what we believe we are supposed to do.

 

Acting From The Heart

 

In contrast, when we get out of the rut and allow ourselves to act from our heart, our energy is boundless. We begin to truly consider what is important and to base our decisions on our own beliefs instead of someone else’s. Our actions become authentic rather than automatic. In turn, our relationships blossom and become more authentic.

 

When we spend time with people, it is because we truly want to spent time with them. Likewise, when we help someone or invest our time or money in a cause, it is because we truly feel strongly about helping that organization. Simply helping because we believe that we are supposed to help people or organizations of that nature will not be as rewarding.

 

When we act from our heart, we are far more satisfied with our life than if we took the very same actions while on autopilot. Being heart-centered opens us up to both joy and healing. It allows us to grow as a person and provides a pathway to healing. Any traumas of the past – emotional, mental, physical, or spiritual – are more likely to heal when we act from out heart.

 

What Is Driving Your Actions?

 

So, ask yourself, “Are you are truly acting from your heart or are you on autopilot?” Consider your actions at all times including when you are doing good and caring for others. If you find that you are on autopilot more often than not, consider a change. Take some time to consider who you really are. Then ask yourself, “What is most important to me?” Once you’ve identified your priorities, act from the heart to honor those things that are most important. You just might find that you love yourself for doing it.

 

Don't Be Pushed Around

 

Have you ever found yourself doing things that you really didn’t want to do just because someone else wouldn’t stop insisting? I am not talking about the time you went to a chick flick with your wife or significant other because she wanted to go. Likewise, I am not talking about the time she agreed to put together a bunch of snacks so you could chill with your friends and watch the game. Those activities are a part of compromising and maintaining a good relationship.

 

Wearing You Down

 

What I am talking about are things that you do because someone simply wears you down. It can be as simple as someone offering you ice cream. You say, “No.” The person replies, “Are you sure you don’t want some?” and you again decline. After declining several times, people will often finally accept the ice cream just to get the other person to stop asking.

 

There are multiple problems with giving in to quiet the person. First, you end up eating ice cream that you don’t want. Second, you lose personal power and the connection to your own desires. Third, the other person learns that all they have to do is keep insisting and you will do what they want. Therefore, this becomes a pattern and they will do it again and again.

 

It Escalates

 

Once a person successfully uses this technique with you, it almost always escalates to bigger sacrifices on your part. A work example is when someone very kindly asks you to take on a piece of their work although your workload is as heavy or heavier than theirs. They may try to soften it with “just this time” or give you a story as to why they need you to step up.

 

You have to carefully consider the request. If it is someone who gives it their all and this is truly an exception, by all means step up and help if you can. However, if you suspect the person is trying to get out of work and may even take credit for the work even if you do it, say “No” and be firm about it.

 

Be Consistent And Don’t Give In

 

If you give in – even if you make them ask 100 times, the end result is you gave in. No has to mean “No” and stay “No.” If “No” turns into a “Yes” somewhere along the way, then the person thinks that every “No” in the future can likely be changed into a “Yes.” They may go as far as to assume that your “No” really is a “Yes” and may not even make the effort to get you to say “Yes.”

 

Once you start doing things for someone like this, watch out because soon you will be doing more and more of their work. It is also unlikely that they will give you any credit for the effort. In the meantime, your work or your personal time will take a hit leaving you dissatisfied.

 

Your Life

 

The next time someone is trying to wear you down, remember that you are answering for yourself; not for what they want. If you connect to your desires and honor what you truly want, in an authentic way, you are doing the best thing you can for yourself.

 

It is your decision and no one else has a right to decide for you. If you allow someone to change your “No” to a “Yes,” you essentially allow that person to define who you are.

 

So, gather your courage, connect to what you truly believe is best for you, and stand firm in your response. It is your life – not theirs!

 

 

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

 

 

Have you ever had a parent or other authority figure who said to you, “Do as I say, not as I do?” How did you react to the statement? Did it sound odd to you? Did you follow their words or did you follow their actions?

 

Statements directing a person to follow someone’s words instead of their actions are very confusing to them, especially if they are children. By nature children learn by mimicking other people’s behavior. This tendency to mimic the actions of others carries over into adulthood. As a result, when someone’s words contradict their behavior, it creates subconscious confusion for the people around them. Since their words contradict human nature, their words often don’t have the desired effect.

 

An Example

 

Let’s take an example. Perhaps a single parent goes out and parties on the weekend. The parent smokes, drinks, and stays out all night. This same parent has strict rules on dating and tell their teenage child that they should not be sexually active, drink, or smoke. When questioned by the child as to why it’s okay for the parent but not for them, the parent replies, “Do as I say, not as I do.” This phrase is a standard response that the child has heard over and over.

 

The Parent

 

First, let’s go into the parent’s head. The parent doesn’t want their child to do the things that they do, but they are not willing to give them up. The parent may even have been told that their behavior is not appropriate by family, friends, or a cultural belief. Yet, they continue the behavior believing that telling their children not to follow their example makes it acceptable.

 

The parent is attempting to connect their child with a different behavior than they are demonstrating. Meanwhile, they are denying the connection between their behavior and the behavior their child is likely to demonstrate.

 

The Child

 

Now, let’s go into that teenager’s head. Consciously or subconsciously, the child notices that the parent drinks, smokes, and sleeps around. They also know that the parent denies or downplays their actions by stating the preferred behavior. This may appear somewhat like a lie to the child. Their brain works to sort out this information since it is contrary to their nature.

 

The resulting behavior of the teenager depends a lot on the child’s nature. Some children will listen to what the parent tells them to do and follow those instructions out of a sense of duty to the parent. However, others will connect the parent’s behavior and words to conclude that it is okay to smoke, drink, and sleep around as long as you tell others that is not the way to behave. This means that the child may fall into the same pattern with younger siblings or may behave this way with their own children. Meanwhile a teenager with another temperament may simply see the parent as lying about their actions and conclude that they don’t have to listen to the parent at all. Instead, they do anything they want whenever they want.

 

Bottom Line

 

The bottom line is that you set an example for others with your actions. Therefore, your words might as well match your actions. If your words match your actions, you will minimally be seen as authentic even if your actions are not always ideal.