Find Your Authenticity and Discover Happiness

You have to be real with yourself, before you can be real with anyone else.

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This is a perfect place to begin today. This blog has been a struggle to maintain for a few weeks now. I have started a new job and have some worries about the direction of my professional world. All to say, these things have really taken my focus from my writing. Writing is a joy and something that takes up a lot of my pastime. But lately I have reorganized my professional and personal lives that have brought about a question of priorities. Unfortunately my family has taken a back seat while I pursued my doctoral degree and now I am reinvested in what makes them happy.

Now that I look at the big picture I am pleased with my choices. Though it has taken a toll on me as I worried about my absence affecting others. No matter if I have one or one thousand followers I was concerned about all of your opinions of me. Then I saw this quote and it sparked a real internal energy, one that has been lacking as I tried to figure out a new direction in life. Rather than worrying about letting others down I must refocus on what this all means in my life. I am no good to anyone else if I am not complete. By no means does this insinuate that I care less about my followers or others that seek out my positivity it just reinforces that I am human and I have to focus on my path.

Authenticity has been an attribute that I hold close to me and is one of my best qualitities. Yet I have noticed that lately my regrouping has left me somewhat out of sorts.   Today I take back my authenticity. By doing so has helped free me from the worries and is the aid that I have internally sought. The focus of my message today is to not force some of the tough decisions on the horizon, allow them to manifest in a nature and fully exposed way. When decisions are boiling in the background don’t force them, trust me when it is time they will emerge. I know this because I had no intention of writing this morning. Even though week after week I have looked for quotes and hoped something would come to me, but to this point I came up empty. But today I found a message and the words flowed. So there you have it, when a decision needs to be made allow it the time deserved and it will happen.

In the end, don’t forget to be yourself. I hope to continue the postings as they come. So if you would like to be included in my internal discussion then please subscribe I would enjoy you being on this journey. Always be yourself and thereby beautiful.

52 Weeks of Positive Change – Week 5: Letting Go

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When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be – Lao Tzu

Letting go in life is often the most difficult part of change.  The avoidance of letting go is also what keeps you from becoming who you are meant to be.  So as we move through this year of positive thinking there will be moments of pain and struggle. Similar to trying anything new.  For example, when starting the gym or an exercise routine for the first time, you may feel ready and excited to start and probably work out that initial day with copious enthusiasm.  But come that next morning you wonder if this new routine is worth it since you feel like you have been run over by a truck. Well keep sight of that pain as change can take on a similar form, though mostly emotional.  Mind you that months down the road after starting this new routine you have accomplished things that were previously unimaginable or felt as if they were out of your league.  Change is very similar, you have the potential of becoming a person that was once thought to be impossible.

This quote really magnified the need to trust ones internal self.  Besides all that you believe about yourself  is often minimized and/or skewed.  It is difficult to incorporate the positive parts of life and thereby we frequently live by this distorted sense of self, which falls below our potential.  But letting go of all the past failures, tragedies, losses and inflictions one is able to open their internal eyes to what the world has been saving for you all along.  We miss our own blessings and happiness when our eyes become fixated on past grief.

I can tell you that letting go of bad thoughts about yourself will truly open doors in your mind and your life.  Becoming free is a process and one that silences internal fear.  Fear robs us of our greatness and keeps our potential hushed.  Take control of your life by letting go and accepting that it is hard to makes changes and that it is normal to experience fear but none-the-less challenge yourself to improve.

A quick exercise:

This quick exercise can help to push you toward a positive path and the right track.  Often to internalize reality we must see it first.  Like the old saying, ‘I will believe it when I see it.’  Well here you go.  If you are one of those people then I encourage you to take part.  Take out a blank piece of paper, any will do, and tear it up into small pieces like 1” by 2” – just enough to scribble on.  Now write down the negative parts of yourself that you want to change on individual pieces of paper.  Include fears that you have about changing those negative patterns on other pieces of paper.  This part of the exercise works best when you are as open and honest with yourself as possible.  Tackling fear includes acknowledging its presence.  Now write down on individual pieces of paper what attributes will replace the negative ones.  Once you have recorded the focal points you wish to challenge, toss the negative attributes and fears in the garbage.  That is where they belong.  This symbolizes that you no longer need those aspects and that you will keep the positive, more adaptable parts.  Place the negative parts of yourself somewhere you can see them often as a reminder.

It may look like this –

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I am a disappointment I am not responsible for others thoughts about me I will make someone unhappy

 

By learning the most about your fears one is able to be free from your perceptions about yourself and others.  It is impossible to be responsible for others thoughts but in some facets we believe that we have control.  By living a negative and fearful life you become consumed by a vicious circle of false thoughts and perceptions.  But being free is a choice and one that takes work and maintenance.  I also stand by the perception that nothing is perfect but continue trying to improve where things are “good enough.”  I wish you all good luck throwing out the negative and fearful thoughts and stop by sometime and let me know how this process is going.

52 Weeks of Positive Change – Week 4: Shine Like A Diamond

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As one settles on the determination to change, acceptance must be a focal point.  Meaningful change and lifelong happiness is dependent on being comfortable in one’s skin, so to speak.  Recognizing that all situations in one’s life was intentional in some capacity.  Whether, to open opportunities, learn a lesson or teach others a lesson; I believe all things happen for a reason.  Yes, I am even referring to the negative aspects of life.  That may have a few of you scratching your head wondering why would a negative experience be good for me?  Well, simply put, that tragedy may have set you down to think about your own life or you may have been caught in the crossfire of teaching someone else a valuable lesson.  Despite the negative connotations of the lesson one has the ability to extract what was gained, even if it appears to be buried really deep.

That for us is our flaw that must come to be accepted.   Confucius really spoke to me  in his quote by exposing the concept of  flaws.  If you remove that flaw you may suddenly change from a diamond into a pebble.  For instance, remember a traumatic time in your life.  That may be the death of a loved one, personal abuse, an accident, a break-up, or some other event that forever will impact your life.  Now imagine that this situation never occurred.  Well, it doesn’t end there, you also have to imagine that the pain diminished, the provoked thoughts after the event diminished and the lesson of that event diminished.  Therefore, in some capacity the void of that life event also changes you, it must since it did not occur.

Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without – Confucius

Using myself as an example, what comes to the forefront of my mind is losing my sister-in-law when she was 26-years-old, just 6 years ago.  I miss her dearly, her death anniversary is on February 1st.  She meant a lot to me and to my children and most importantly her brother, my husband.  But through her death I learned the precious gift of life that I am given.  One where I am watching my children grow, something she didn’t get, her son had just turned 6 when she passed.  I learned that youth is not always on your side and someone that appears healthy can be gone tomorrow.  I found that it is more important to love then to resent.  I also found that it doesn’t matter what is going on in one’s life if you truly care for them then they are an extension of you.  I only have memories of her and what she was to me and I know that she feels the same for me.  If I took back her death then I would also lose what I have learned from her death.  When she died my husband and I were just getting close to God, which she had also found.  Through our belief he made us strong and enduring.  He was the reason we did not parish. So through her death we learned the power of God and love lasts forever, which is irreplaceable.

Sorry if you are wiping your eyes now but she was on my heart and where I really learned to accept myself and my flaws.  If I see a diamond in myself then it doesn’t matter if others can only see a pebble.  That is a failure in their vision not in your efforts.  Flaws lie in us all, others more apparent than others but none-the-less we are not free from imperfection.  Our flaws are our beauty, they make us who we are and different in our own sense.  Individuality.  Embrace the diamond you are and shine proudly so your flaws can distinguish you from the rest.

52 Weeks of Positive Change – Week 3: You Are Not Your Past, Release It.

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Moving on and creating a new self involves release. Often fear prevents change and that same fear takes from the ability to be truly happy. However, when faced with a choice and decision to improve the person you would like to be and more importantly who you are, it takes some early difficult assessments and evaluations.

Events that occur in life appear to create the person in the mirror.   And yes in some respects that is spot on. Those early teachings, whether positive or negative, influence our every behavior, thought and action. The negative parts of ourselves instill fear and the need for emotional protection. The positive ones help to nurture us as we grow. Yet, we are not bound by those early experiences despite feeling as if it were so at times.

But for some there are fewer positive experiences or the negative were really traumatic, which overly developed the fear response. So our thoughts, behaviors, and actions can often become a trap. Especially when encountering a person that has a different persona and demeanor from the person(s) that inflicted the trauma. We have an inability to see their differences and attempt to fit them into the situational molds we have frequently encountered.

The best way I feel that I can explain the message of the week is to imagine an overly fertilized, under watered plant. No our behavior didn’t kill it but it sure was close. Able to recognize the terror it went through as demonstrated by the wilted yellow almost hanging by a thread leaves. The stem has changed from a vibrant alive green to a yellowish splotchy mess. Immediately the plant is moved to the closest window for some much needed sunlight. The soil is checked for the right consistency of moisture. Maybe even a quick Google search to make sure this time the right combination of water and fertilizer is used, or maybe no fertilizer is warranted with this type of plant. All the appropriate steps are taken as we watch the plant for weeks. Slowly we notice that the leaves are beginning to perk up and say hello as they always have, the stalk is beginning to take shape and look as if it can now support the rest of the plant. The green color is again healthy and a stunning bright green with no splotches. As we make headway through this series, imagine we are that plant.

Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls our lives – Unknown

Fear is and will always be a double-edged sword. It is a familiar defense mechanism for most, yet it is hardly challenged. This week one must truly challenge the limits. What has fear stolen in your life? How have you been protected and simultaneously guided by fear. What would it feel like to be vulnerable and not attend to the fear?

Questioning the self is at the heart of change. Before changing behavior one must evaluate what that behavior has prevented you from and what would it mean to let it go. The authentic change will emerge from questioning in this manner. Change is less like “I dislike ______ about me and want to be ______” and more like “I dislike _____ about me and I will release the fear connected to being vulnerable in the respect of that behavior, thought, or action.” If you take the stance of the latter then the true self will emerge. You notice I did not replace one behavior for another. I took away the negative behavior and the self will automatically replace it with the realistic self.

Starting with a clear mind which was focused on last week one can begin with a clean slate. That clean slate mentality is the bases for the authentic self to emerge. Essentially it is the part of us without fear. The clean slate listens to our internal talk before fear has the ability to smother it. Whenever faced with a change situation it is vital to use similar steps as it will allow the self to emerge that you have repressed for the fear of being hurt, vulnerable, disliked or ay other negative emotion.

Remember that preparing yourself for change is just as important as the change itself. Think of this as the largest marathon you have run in life, or if you are me the only marathon. You will not be very successful if you decide that day you will run this marathon. But if you prepare for months with the right clothing, heart conditioning and stretching you are more likely to have success. Success is also measured by the self and not in comparison to others.

Choosing to flourish and release the fear of the past can be a freeing moment. Though releasing the comfort blankie will be scary by nature and fighting the fear will hold its own challenges. Keep trying and keep focus. Imagine your own damaged plant and what you hope it will grow into with the appropriate nurture and attention.

52 Weeks of Positive Change – Week 2: Silence

Take a deep breath and experience silence

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Knowing how to change your life is just as important as the change itself.  Deciding to change is a very intricate piece of the puzzle, though, the journey ahead is also a challenge.  Many don’t change for the fear of the unknown and the fear of failure.  But for those that are courageous enough to embrace change, one must be willing to look inside themselves to uncover the answers.

Following fleeting thoughts of the mind has only taken you to a path of dead ends and disappointment.  Change will emerge on its own given stillness, time and patience.  Sort of like new birth.  A timeline is given to a pregnant mother and a due date rendered.  Yet that child is born without care or concern of that due date and at a time that is only convenient for the child.  Goals and change can be viewed in the same context as childbirth.  We can envision goals and decide to make personal changes, though our imagination leads us astray to insist on a particular outcome or timeline and in the end the universe has it all laid out in the way it was intended.

Quiet the mind and the soul will speak – Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati

So in the beginning of creating the “new self” it is vital to take a step back and quiet the mind.  It is time to regroup and not be concerned about the future, goals or a timeline.  It is time to be still and allow the soul to freely communicate.  It is time to allow the true you to come to the surface.  The distraction of the world tends to muffle our internal positive voice.  I speak a lot about internal voices, most of the time focusing on the critical self.  But here we are referring to a voice some of us fail to acknowledge, the positive internal voice.  It seems natural to stifle the voice of reason and the voice of power and determination when faced with the demands of the world.  Though quietness will help to rejuvenate this malnourished part of ourselves.

Learning a new skill such as meditation, yoga or mindfulness can lead you toward a quieter mind and bring you closer to your positive internal voice.  Keeping a quiet mind will be purposeful through the journey.  Only with a quiet mind will the canvas be clear to paint the masterpiece.  This masterpiece will represent the new you.  It will be perfectly flawed just as anything that is humanly nurtured.

Far too often life becomes difficult and it seems to be an uphill battle, but less often one comes to the realization that maybe the journey they are on is not their own and the reason for the difficulty.  The doubts related to the path traveled will diminish when one feels secure, realistic, and joyful.  That does not mean you are free from challenges, defeats, pain and disappointment, it means that you know without a doubt you are on the right path.

As we take this journey through 52 weeks this will be a section to return to and refresh.  Especially when hitting a crossroad or road block.  It is never a wrong time to refresh.  Getting perspective reinforces one of two things; I am on the right path or I am on the wrong path.

Stay tuned for more to come. Subscribe to receive updates or you can visit my website here.

Happy New Year

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Nothing happens until the pain of remaining the same outweighs the pain of change – Arthur Burt

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What a way to end 2014 and prepare to start 2015 – but with a blast. I have some internal changes set before me that will be a work in progress this year to come. But as for my postings and web presence I set out to be better and increasingly consistent with new information. In 2015 I will bring 52 weeks of positivity with each posting made on Mondays. I will also begin posting the connection that physical health and mental health have and how there are double benefits. I plan to gain viewers and build my brand, which is a well guided concept offered by my friend and colleague Iris Draak.

So focusing on the quote above, change is constant and change is uncomfortable. Though often, change is inevitable to progress. There are many sayings that aid in a mindset of change. I will purposely avoid those for now but stay tuned as some may appear in my 52 weeks of positivity.

Pain is at the center of all change and a vital aspect that is unavoidable. Our inner strength is only awakened when we feel discomfort and slip into a sort of survival mode. That survival mode is meant to last until the proposed danger is gone and then fall back into a normal routine. This is how the human mind is equipped we seek comfort and routine. Though becoming stagnant in survival mode distracts the mind from what really is important. And truthfully being in a rut of any sort is distracting from goals. Stagnation and routine is at the center of why people dislike change. Therefore, to progress to someone new, one must fight against human nature and the comfort of routine, which essentially is painful. Though by defining the nature of the pain hopefully alleviates some of the fear toward the pain.

Earlier in another article I wrote I discussed the life of a caterpillar and metamorphosis. I am not sure about you but I would much rather live most of my days as a butterfly than a fuzzy or slinky worm like creature. But the question remains, does the caterpillar know its fate that it will one day become beautiful and soar high above without limitations or is it fixated on the comfort of the present being close the ground. As humans, we also have a great metamorphic ability if we focus on who we would like to become rather than remaining comfortable with our current situation and wormlike appearance. As in the butterfly, do not concern yourself with the impossible.   Unless I saw it with my own eyes I would not believe that a butterfly emerged from a caterpillar. So defy the odds and soar high without limitations.

Welcome change in the New Year and resist the temptation to turn away from the pain. Discomfort is your marker that something great is on the other side just waiting for you and your hard word. Decide where the pain of stagnation lies and what areas you wish to begin changing. This is not like the traditional New Year’s resolution that is thrown from the closest window mid January. I am speaking about long-term change that takes time to accomplish and before results are recognized. The 52 weeks of positivity will guide you through that process and how to live the life you really want. Stay tuned for the first installment coming Jan 5,2015. Sign up to be included in my mailing list if you wish to stay connected. Make this year the best so far and a symbol of the greatness to come.

Thank you everyone that was a supporter in 2014 your friendships and comments are genuine.  I hope that you return next year and bring your friends.

Motivational Monday’s

You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength― Marcus Aurelius

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Through the power of one’s mind all things are accomplishable. However, do not get your goals crossed up in the power of the world. Obstacles will be present and goals will get off track. Yet keeping the mind focused on what can be achieved and where you hope to go in life will certainly help to stay focused.
 
Believing that you can accomplish your goal is essential.   The self-fulfilling prophecy is evidence that our minds are very powerful. Believing something is so will help to make it come true. As a rule, first and foremost, believe in the goal that you set. Once that happens, your strength will be unstoppable and the action needed to accomplish the goal will come out of nowhere.
 
So the first step to any goal after it is declared includes believing in you. That is the strength that powers the mind.