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!”

 

 

So often people talk of change without really thinking about the effort they must make to create change. In many cases, the change they desire is simply wishful thinking. The person wants a job that pays more, a new relationship, to travel, or to spend more time with family. However, they simply want them without being willing to make an effort to bring those things into their lives.

 

In many cases, these goals are achievable. However, they will not magically happen without focus and effort.

 

Making Space

 

Generally, if you want to add or change something to your life, you have to have room for that person, activity, etc. It is very much like a shelf. If you have a shelf that is completely packed with items, you can’t add another item to the shelf without removing something. The same is true with life in general.

 

Making space can relate to making physical space, but it can also include making time, being emotionally open, and having a willingness to accept new ideas.

 

What Is Serving You

 

The first thing to do is to survey your life and determine which objects, activities, etc. are still serving you and which are not. For example, if you want a new relationship, you may want to survey your home for items related to an ex. It is also important to ensure that you have mental and emotional space for a new relationship. Ask yourself, “What am I holding onto that relates to my ex?” Follow it with the simple question, “Why am I holding onto it?”

 

Likewise, if you want to pursue a hobby, but don’t ever seem to have the time, look at where you are spending your time. Clearly, there are some things that have to be done, but many things are not required. Do you really need to be on the PTA? Can you get someone to assist with the family reunion? Do you really need to watch so much TV? All these questions help you identify what is important to you. If the ways you are spending your time are all more important to you than the hobby you desire, you need to realize that it is your choice to do those things instead of the hobby.

 

Removing Unneeded Connections

 

Once you have identified those things that need change in order for you to change, it is important to remove or alter the connection with those items. For instance, if you have a chair that your ex bought, you might simply decide to sell or donate the chair to remove the energy of your ex. However, you may love that chair and need it for seating. In this case, it may be more practical to do an energy clearing or to transform the chair in some way. Painting, reupholstering, or even moving the chair may help in changing the energy of the chair.

 

The most important thing, however, is to ensure that you view the chair differently. If you still think of your ex every time you sit in it, you have not yet removed the connection to your ex. It is important to release your ex and begin seeing the chair as simply your chair.

 

Likewise, you need to make room emotionally for a new person. If you are always thinking about how things were with your ex, there will be no room for anyone new. An excellent way to achieve the release of old emotions is to recognize what positive your gained from the relationship, whether the relationship was good or bad. Show gratitude for those positive things and then simply release the person. There are several ways this can be achieved and you may even have your own ritual that you would like to use to release old, unneeded emotions.

 

Building New Connections

 

Once you ensure that you have room in your life for that which you desire, it is important to start building connections toward your desired outcome. In the case of relationships, this can include taking action to go out and meet people, joining an on-line dating service, or making sure that you are in the best shape you can be. All these things start to build connections toward supporting a new relationship.

 

In the case of a new job, you might simply update your resume, start scanning the internet for job openings, and start talking to friends about your desire for a new job. These actions send messages out to the Universe allowing the Universe to assist in creating the ultimate connection that you desire.

 

If you are truly committed to change and you follow these steps, you may be surprised at what will change in your life!

 

If you need assistance making space in your life for change, contact us. We offer several services that assist with this process.

 

 

By now, probably half of the New Year’s resolutions made have been broken. The reason is simple. People make resolutions in the moment often without a lot of thought. However, they don’t truly commit to change.

 

Setting Intention

 

Failed New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be the next chapter in your story. By making a strong intention around a resolution, you can change it from something that has a very low chance of success into something that can transform your life.

 

Start by creating a strong intention statement. A good intention statement is simple, easy to remember, is strongly connected to you, contains your emotions, is in your words, and contains positive action words.

 

For example, a common resolution is to exercise more in the coming year. That is a nice statement, but is not very powerful and a high percentage of the time people will fail to meet the goal. However, transforming that statement into an intention, such as “Exercising daily invigorates me and gives me amazing energy,” tells a different story. First, it is specific. Exercising daily is very different than a resolution to exercise more than last year. Secondly, it contains action and emotional energy.

 

Connecting

 

As important as it is to make the intention strong and full of emotion, you will only succeed if the words, your goals, your actions, and your rewards are strongly connected with who you are. For instance, if your reward is that it will make someone else happy or it is because the doctor says that it is good for you, you will struggle to keep your resolution.

 

Resolutions and intentions only work if they are for you. Thus, the connection to your words, your goals, etc. are of upmost importance. Once you decide to make a change for yourself, it becomes much more doable. You can set rewards for reaching goals that relate to who you are and what you hope to achieve. If you love to read, you can reward yourself with a new e-book for reaching a goal. However, if you love to cook, you might reward yourself with a cooking class or by making a favorite recipe.

 

Expectations

 

The expectation for most resolutions is that they will fail. If you are like most people, even a statement of “It will be different this time,” will likely be accompanied, at least internally, by doubt. The reason is simple. The word resolution has become synonymous with temporary attempt to change that will end in failure. The dictionary might not define it that way, but that is how people think of resolutions.

 

Therefore, even if you are committed to a change, just the word resolution will get eye rolls from the people around you. The word intention sets a very different expectation in your mind and the minds of the people around you. Even the word “intend” or “intention” sounds stronger than “resolution.”

 

You can intend a wonderful life into existence. Amazing things can happen, you just need to be open to them and expect that they will occur!

 

past present future

 

Our past, present, and future are all strongly inter-connected. If not for the past, we would not be the people we are today or having the experiences of the moment. Likewise, without our experiences today, we would not have our future of tomorrow.

 

Accepting The Past

 

Although many people would like to change the past, it is far better to accept the past for what it is. Whether it was good or bad, it was an element that helped make you who you are. When we don’t accept the past, it continues to dominate the present. Thus, the past doesn’t simply contribute to our present, but it controls it.

 

Accepting that the past does not mean we have to approve of things that happened during that era. Neither does it mean that we ride on our laurels of the past.

 

It is best when we simply acknowledge that in the past we have been in good situations and bad situations. Likewise, we have done things we are proud of and things that we would have liked to have done differently. Still, all those things remain in the past.

 

100% Responsibility

 

Sometimes we have challenges moving past things that others have done in the past. It is important to understand that we can and should take responsibility for those things that we have done. However, it is unhealthy to take responsibility for what someone else has done to us or someone else.

 

If we perceive something was done to us, we can use that to make us stronger and to move forward. If we try to own the other person’s actions towards us, we are giving them an excuse and not allowing them to own up to their responsibility. It also gives power to their actions.

 

As humans, we want to “fix” every problem, person, and situation. The reality is that we cannot. We can only take responsibility for actions that we have taken, learn from our errors, and move forward committed to live a good life.

 

Living Today

 

We must realize that although we cannot change the past, we can take control of today. It is critical to realize that the actions we take today will shape our future and may affect the future of others, as well. This isn’t to say that every decision made each day has to be fully analyzed for impacts on the future.

It would be impossible and frankly unnecessary to analyze every decision. For example, deciding to do the dishes or wait until later isn’t likely to have a big impact on our future. However, some decisions have long-term impacts. For example, deciding to check text messages while driving could completely change multiple people’s lives. Thus, it is important to check in occasionally and ask “Am I on track to make a better tomorrow?”

 

The Future

 

This all leads us to the future, which will become the present and then the past. Living in the future is similar to living in the past. Although the past and present affect the future, focusing on the future and neglecting the present will lead us down a path of regret.  

 

We need to plan for the future and realize the impact of our actions on the future. However, if we live only for the future, we will fail to live at all. For example, if we always save every dime for tomorrow, we will never spend it as tomorrow never comes.

 

Therefore, we must understand that the past, present, and future are intertwined. Remember, although the past helps make you who you are, it does not define you. No matter your current circumstances, you have the choice to act today in a way that will create a brighter tomorrow!

 

Deciding to heal

 

 

By the time most people are adults they have likely encountered multiple physical, emotional, and mental struggles – a broken bone, a lost loved one, or stress over school. Most of what is experienced is temporary. Broken bones, for example, heal with time. Meanwhile, school assignments come and go, leaving a void to be filled. It is the emotional hurt that often presents the most challenges to healing.

 

Emotional trauma isn’t fleeting nor can one define how long an individual will require to heal from it. If a person doesn’t heal from grief, for example, they may suffer the rest of their lives over the loss of a parent, child, spouse, or sibling. The same is true of other types of emotional trauma, such as, a parent instilling guilt into their child in an effort to get the child to do what the parent desires.

 

Not only does emotional trauma not heal overnight, it can manifest as physical ailments. For example, some people suffer from stress headaches because they feel that they can never be good enough to meet other people’s expectations. Likewise, some people have pain in their neck and shoulders from figuratively carrying the weight of the world on their shoulder (i.e. feeling too much responsibility). Additionally, there have been some studies that correlate emotional trauma with the manifestation of illnesses, such as cancer, where the disease manifests a couple years after the person experiences trauma.

 

Making the Decision to Heal

 

There have been a number of cases where someone is diagnosed with a condition, sometimes life threatening, where the patient sets a strong intention to heal. These people may experience improvement in their health despite a dim prognosis and some may experience complete healing. Not everyone experiences miraculous healing; however, there are enough cases that show healing is possible if someone sets a true intent to heal.

 

Deciding to heal is more than a person making an implicit or explicit statement that they have decided to heal. There has to be true intent to heal that involves having the emotional desire and the belief that healing is possible coupled with taking physical actions to heal. This is true whether the condition is a physical, emotional, or mental ailment. Healing from emotional grief, for example, means that you physically return to doing some activity that you love.

 

Healing In Action

 

I personally know several people that have made an intention to heal, including myself. In my case, I had a stroke, but I simply believed I would heal. I didn’t consider any other options despite the opinions of the medical professionals. Someone else in my situation, might have just accepted the medical professionals’ opinions and given up or become depressed. However, I just ignored their prognosis and kept working to heal. Today, I am not 100% of what I was before the stroke, but I am doing far better than the doctors believed I would be.

 

In another case, an acquaintance was diagnosed with a tumor. After receiving her diagnosis, she decided to heal by using her gifts in energy healing. She was not able to completely remove the tumor. However, with her effort, the tumor shrank and moved away from critical organs, making it less risky to remove.

 

In another miraculous case, an acquaintance was nearly unable to leave her home because of multiple medical conditions. After she decided she couldn’t live that way, she started getting intuitive hints as to what to do to help her condition. She used nutrition and energy work to completely change her life. Her illness has been in remission for several years and her doctors are completely baffled.

 

Taking Shortcuts

 

In our desire to heal quickly, sometimes we attempt to take shortcuts. A person who experienced the loss of a loved one, for example, may continue their daily routines and deny the emotions they are feeling. On the surface, it may appear that the person moved quickly through the grieving process and has moved on with their life. On the inside, however, the person may be carrying around an emotional pressure cooker. A minor upset may trigger the person to explode with emotions that would seem excessive for the situation. In this case, the person did not truly heal, but simply ignored the healing process.

 

The same could be applied to physical rehab and mental health. I’m sure we all know someone who had a physical injury and returned to their activities too soon and ended up aggravating the injury. This is really what happened in the case of emotional trauma. The person returned to normal life too quickly and aggravated the trauma making it worse than it would have been had they worked through the grieving process.

 

Taking Action In Your Life

 

Survey yourself to see if there are any issues or past traumas – physical, emotional, or mental – that require healing. Recognizing there is an issue is the first step in beginning the process of true healing.

 

Now, imagine what your life would be like if you truly healed. Envision that issue completely gone from your life. If that is something that you would like to experience, you can set an intent to heal. Remember that you must have both the desire to heal and the belief that you can heal.

 

Once you are truly committed to healing, take actions for healing. Let your intuition and your heart guide you as you work toward a healthy you. With true intent and continual effort you will have the opportunity to experience a more fulfilling and joyful life.

 

Making A Difference: The little thing

 

 

You may be familiar with the book “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff . . . and it is all small stuff” by Richard Carlson. In that book, the author describes one hundred techniques (or thought processes) to get through your day with less anxiety and stress. These techniques vary broadly covering everything from choosing your battles to imagining your own funeral.

 

Focus On The Important

 

The ideas behind these techniques are to get you to focus on the important things instead of letting little things take over your life.

 

In his book he talks about smiling at strangers and performing random acts of kindness. Each of these things could be classified as “small stuff.” However, these aren’t things to sweat, but things to do to bring joy into someone else’s life and ultimately your own.

 

Small Things Make A Difference

 

It is these very small acts that can make a difference in the world. Consider, if every person on the planet replaced even one snippy remark, aggressive action, or unkind word with a positive loving action each day. It would totally change the world!

We can’t likely get everyone around the globe to participate, but we can lead by example. Smiling and showing interest in other people is one of my favorites. It doesn’t cost even one second to smile.

 

And, it takes very little time to inquire as to how someone is doing. It is important, however, that when you inquire you should actually care about the other person’s answer. Do not be like many cashiers at grocery and big box stores who inquire as to if you found everything, but who have no course of action if you did not. You need to be prepared to provide kind supporting words or assistance if necessary.

 

Other simple ideas are to hold a door for someone, carry something for them, help them with their child, or offer to let someone go ahead of you in line. None of these cost money and most of them cost very little time.

 

Other relatively low cost ways to make someone’s day include: making or buying someone a card, taking treats or a meal to a neighbor, buying a box of Girl Scout cookies, or paying for someone’s meal.

 

Doing Something Bigger

 

Occasionally, you will have an opportunity to do something a bit bigger directly for someone. This may be someone in trouble or someone that has fallen on hard times.

 

One example of an opportunity that came my way was a man and his school-age son who stopped at our house one day. They told us that they needed some additional money to pay for school supplies and other school expenses. They didn’t ask for a handout, but simply asked if there was any work they could do to earn some money. We were happy to oblige. We had some yard work that we could have done ourselves, but instead we gave them the opportunity to earn some cash. Even better, the son had the opportunity to learn about the value of work. It was a huge win for everyone!

 

You Can Always Make An Impact

 

You may not have an opportunity like that every day or you may not be able to assist someone in that way due to your own finances. However, there are always small ways to make a positive impact in other people’s lives. Try to do something positive every day – even if it is simply posting something positive on Facebook. You never know how one simple act might change someone’s life!

 

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!

 

 

The Art of Forgiveness

 

 

It is easy to gripe and complain about everything from work to family stresses to world politics. However, it is much more gratifying to seek out the good in everyone and everything along your path. It is easy to say, “But, so many things really are wrong with the world” or “Nobody gives good service” or “This person isn’t pulling their weight.” All of these things may be true, but seeing all the negative in the world serves no purpose.

 

Implications

 

This does not imply in any way that you do something reckless. You can’t  just assume the other person is a good person. You still need to be aware of your surroundings and follow your intuition about people and situations. However, it does directly imply that you should look for a speck of optimism in the most hopeless situations.  Likewise, your should find something positive to hold onto in everything – even bad experiences.

 

Experimenting

 

Try experimenting with looking for something good, positive, or optimistic. Start with simple easy situations. When a restaurant’s service is slow, don’t grumble and complain. Instead, realize that you are being given time to enjoy your companions. Alternately, if you are alone, you can spend the time relaxing. 

 

If you are in a rush and this happens, realize that you may be getting the message to slow down. You can also consider that perhaps you are learning that this restaurant is not a place to go for a quick meal, which may be useful information in the future.

 

Likewise, try giving a positive word or a smile to people that you encounter. Smiling and saying, “Hello” costs no more than scowling and ignoring people. That word or smile may make the other person’s day and it is guaranteed that acting in a negative way will do nothing to benefit anyone – especially you.

 

Additionally, notice small things (and big things) that people do – mowing the lawn, helping with a problem, cooking dinner, or taking out the trash. These are all positive things in the world. When you really look for the positive, the world changes into a much better place than it seems if you let all the negativity overwhelm you.

 

Transformation

 

As you find more and more positive things in the world, you may find yourself transforming from a critic to a cheerleader. You will find yourself expressing gratitude more often, you will be on the receiving end of more smiles, and will find more and more positive things in the world. Most of all, when you replace a negative thought, action, or word with a positive one, your energy level is raised and your heart is satisfied.