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Living An Authentic Life

authentic livingThe greatest advice most of us have ever received is to simply be ourselves. But what does that actually mean? How do we be true to ourselves, and what does it mean to live that truth in today’s world? How do we live an authentic life?

Coming to Understand Authenticity

Authenticity is such a personal, subjective idea that it can be challenging to define. It is something that can actually only be lived, like love, trust, and other primary qualities of humans. But we can explore what some philosophers have said about authenticity to begin to understand it for ourselves.

Existential philosophers defined authenticity as the ability to live in alignment with one’s true self at all times. This connection to one’s self should remain even at times when it would be inconvenient, unpopular, or dangerous. It will probably trigger a sense of separation from the external world. Authenticity requires reconciling what we know to be true about ourselves with how we are conditioned to believe the world works.

Other philosophers defined authenticity by what it is not. They would refer to the many ways humans can be inauthentic as a way to understand authenticity by its opposite. Then authenticity becomes not pretending to be someone else or lying about our needs and desires.

The essence is to be true to yourself, no matter what. Do not hurt other people or the Earth. But do not pretend to be other than you are, hide, lie, or try to “fit in.”. Do not define yourself by what other people tell you is true or healthy. Discover and live your own truth. Continue Reading →

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Living a Meaningful Life with Chronic Illness

living with chronic illnessWe are all interested in self-improvement, better relationships, financial well-being and an outstanding career. These are significant areas of our lives and most people will put forth various efforts to improve their situation in each of these categories. This will include developing new skills, finding better ways to manage our mental and emotional self and working hard to improve our working and personal relationships. By itself, this is a lot of work and for the average person, it will constantly challenge us to change and pursue healthier options. If we are physically in good health and have no other major life issues, this work, while demanding, can actually be intriguing and stimulating as we build a new us.

However, what happens if we are confronted with a lifetime or long term chronic ailment? What difference does this make in our efforts of self-improvement? We could be living with a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, and asthma among others. These diseases are taxing as they impact our vitality, energy, mobility and frequently our mental and emotional sense of well being. This can lead to anger, frustration, fear and sadness that underlie our daily experiences. These psychological pathologies further impact our physical ailments and make a bad thing even worse. Continue Reading →

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Happy Quotes That Will Change Your State Of Mind

happy-quotesLife regularly offers us difficulties and challenges that we must navigate through. Happiness isn’t developed by trying to escape from life’s challenges but rather with a deep understanding that this too shall pass . Being happy and at peace comes from deep within and is not based on the external circumstances of life.

Sometimes we can get into a pattern of unhappiness. We are overtaken by a pattern of thoughts that cause us to feel bad. Sadly, without a way to interrupt that negative looping pattern we can lose days or even weeks of happy living. Even those born with a more positive personality type have times of unhappiness. No matter what our current level of happiness we can all benefit from an infusion of simple beautiful words in our daily lives. (15 of my favorites are below the fold)

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How To Forgive Dad

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” 

—Mahatma Gandhi 

forgive dad

I was estranged from my father all of my childhood and most of my adult life. We all experience rejection throughout our lives but being disavowed by your father can do a number on your psyche during your childhood and adolescent years.

I was his first born child and carried both his first and last name but he never visited me or called. He was a no show for all of my birthdays and to watch me play sports. He failed to attend my graduation from high school and college. He did not celebrate my wedding nor the birth of his grand daughter. He was a deadbeat dad that never sent a single child support payment.

When I was 35 years old I made the pilgrimage from Charlotte to Wilmington to face my dysfunctional past with a parent who couldn’t care less about me. I named my trip to see him “the forgiveness tour” but it was more complicated than just being about forgiveness. I hoped for a face to face conversation that would address my scarred internal world that left me feeling unwanted. I hoped for a confrontation with him that might silence my unabating question of, “Why am I an unwanted son?”

Forgiveness. It’s fragile, and it’s complicated. Continue Reading →

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Happy and Kind People

“There are two types of people. Those who come into a room and say, ‘Well, here I am,’ and those who come in and say, ‘Ah, there you are.’”  —Frederick Collins

I’m ashamed to say it but for many years I would come home from work and walk into my home with the “well, here I am” attitude. Of course I would have never said those words but, sadly, that was the vibe. Thankfully, I have changed, and I now work hard to show kindness and warmth in greeting others.

I just returned from a spectacular 9 day trip to the Piemonte region of Italy. The landscape, the wine, the food, the people, the lifestyle — everything was simply spellbinding. This was my first time to Italy and I fell in love with this beautiful country.

When you travel to a foreign country it does have its challenges. I didn’t speak the language. It was difficult to understand the road signs and how to pay for self-service petrol. Something as simple as ordering a meal was challenging too when you don’t know Italian.(more photos from Italy below the fold) Continue Reading →

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