Category Archives: living the authentic life

Live Inside Out

What others think of you is not important.  Whether they are messages of praise or of disfavor, such words do not define you. It’s crucial to remain independent of the opinions of other people.

Seeking the favor of others is degrading.  Once you seek favor, you fight to remain in favor.  And once you fall into disfavor, you’re broken.  This is what happens when we chase the external, those illusions (perceptions) crafted by others of what should or should not be.

When we make others’ assessments–whether good or bad–more important than our own, we enslave ourselves to their ideals, not ours.  What does this mean for you? It means that someone else’s opinion is directing your life.  When you find yourself in disfavor, you push harder to prove others wrong, hoping to change their minds, not realizing that you’re still being directed by forces outside of yourself.  It’s a vicious cycle of slavery.

Your worldly self IS NOT your true identity. We each have a basic nature that is uniquely ours.  When we trust that basic nature (our Inner Guidance System, Intuition, Higher Self, God/Goddess, etc.), we remain true to ourselves.  Will this be without challenges?  Of course not.  But when we remain centered in who we are, we can face those challenges head-on with confidence.

Trust your Inner Nature.  Honor it with an independent mind.  Respect your vision for yourself. Work at living one day at a time in harmony with your own nature, and the struggle to engage life as if it depended on external approval will loosen the shackles.

Seven Benefits of Going Inward

For those of us on the spiritual path, personal growth is a must. We may not like it at times, but as fire purifies gold, we emerge as stronger and better people. Personal growth becomes a priority because it allows us to bloom into our authentic selves. The more authentically we live our lives, the happier we will be with ourselves, with our relationships, and with our surroundings.

Socrates said the unexamined life is not worth living. When we take the time to examine ourselves ontologically, we realize we are part of something much larger than ourselves. If we are to find meaning in our lives, we must examine who we are in relationship to this larger existence. Life is what we make of it; we are active participants in the creation of our lives.

If we are to experience change in our outward lives, we need to examine our inward lives. Going inward is not a selfish act; it is a sacred act, no matter what your spiritual inclination or belief system is. Whether you practice a spirituality that is atheistic, agnostic, religious, secular, or theological, going inward opens doors to the expansion of our overall consciousness and awareness about our place and purpose in the world.

Here are seven benefits of going inward.

1.  Self-awareness and self-knowledge. As we examine our inner world, we come to know our thoughts and feelings, needs and wants, hopes and fears, strengths and limitations, and gifts and talents. We come to know our personality; we develop an identity unique to us.

2.  Inner strength and resilience. Life will throw some challenging and difficult times at us. How we handle them will determine the outcomes. Going inward helps us to tap into our innate wisdom. Here we find the guidance to help us respond creatively to difficult and challenging situations, turning crisis or tragedy into an opportunity to bring about change.

3.  Love and relationships. As cliche as it sounds, love is the energy that makes the world go ’round. Without it, nothing grows, and relationships can not survive. Love allows us to value ourselves and one another. It allows us to grasp another’s personal world as if it were our own. It teaches compassion and motivates us to display goodwill toward others.

4.  Sensitivity and responsiveness. As we come to understand ourselves, we grow in our understanding of other’s needs and wants. We realize the importance of keeping our word. Our lives become filled with gratitude and appreciation. Music, art, and literature move us to deep emotion, reflection, and/or action, as does poverty, innocent suffering, and injustice.

5.  Ideals and aspirations. As we get in touch with ourselves, our dreams, goals and visions make themselves known. Our creativity unleashes itself as we pursue those dreams. We come to know the depth of our beliefs and values, and use them as a compass for our future.

6.  Seeking and striving. As we discover our connection to a bigger reality, we seek to be the best we can be. We seek meaning in our experiences and allow that meaning to influence our lives.

7.  Reflection on your experiences. Reflecting on our experiences, choices, attitudes, values, and beliefs gives us perspective and provides a platform for moving forward in our lives. It allows us to make adjustments when needed and gives us the confidence to improve ourselves.

Traveling the spiritual path calls for authentic living. Living authentically requires going inward on a daily basis, be it through prayer, meditation, contemplation, journaling, or any other method that helps us find our center. The more we know ourselves, the more authentic our lives will be.

Thoughts? Please feel free to share below.

I’m taking part in the Write Tribe Festival of Words 1st – 7th September 2013.  

Breaking Bad – Living The Authentic Life

Albert Einstein said, “Well, I have considered myself to be very fortunate in that I have been able to do mostly only that which my inner self told me to do… I am also aware that I do receive much criticism from the outside world for what I do and some people actually get angry at me. But this does not really touch me because I feel that these people do not live in the same world as do I.”

Amen, Uncle Al!

When we begin to live the authentic life, some seemingly unpleasant things start to happen around us.

First, there’s shock. She’s doing WHAT! I can’t believe this!

Then the whispers start. Hey, did you hear about her? What does she think she’s doing? Who does she think she is? Has she lost her mind?

For those who are not yet self-actualized, such comments are taken personally, spawning the need to defend oneself to those who are unwilling to change their minds about us.

Then, people with whom you’ve long associated yourself begin to caution and challenge you. You’re making a big mistake! This is not like you! How can you do this! And worse yet, How can you do this to ME!

They challenge you because they don’t understand why you would decide to make changes (and many times, changes that don’t include them), after all this time.

They try to get you to second guess yourself. You’ll never change. 

They hurl doubt and fear your way. You’ll be sorry when this doesn’t work out for you.

They also throw bolts of anger at you because you are “breaking bad” — you no longer fit their definition of who you are supposed to be in their minds. You’ve broken away like it’s a horrible thing.

The self-actualized person, the one who lives his or her life authentically, no matter what anyone says, isn’t “touched” (as Uncle Al said) or fazed by such antics.

Instead, the person who breaks bad in the eyes of others is actually breaking through to his or her authentic self. It means to break past barriers that once held you back. It means to break down old ways of thinking that once made you feel trapped. It means to break new ground within yourself.

Breaking bad is radical. It’s going to shake up others’ beliefs about you. They will see you in a much different light, and it won’t always be favorable.

Breaking bad is revolutionary. It’s going to stir others’ emotions about you. They will feel uneasy around and unsure about you because you dare to defy and to break long-held expectations. Some will rise up against you to try to put you back in a place where they feel you belong, and others will rise up for and with you to help you move forward toward personal success.

Breaking bad is real. It’s going to expose the true you to others who won’t know how to handle the new you because you refuse to be defined by others for their convenient purposes.

And you will be empowered because there is nothing anyone can do to stop you from being you.

Regardless of the whispers, the accusations, the insults, the ridicule, and the taunts, the authentic person who breaks bad refuses to live a mundane life of mediocrity. S/He becomes a take-charge person, seizing every moment of life for meaning and purpose.

Confident. Daring. Inspirited. Bad-Ass. That’s what it takes to live the authentic life.

What has it taken for you to break bad into the authentic life? And what have you experienced from others as you were breaking through?