Live as if being you is the only choice you have

“I wish I’d have known you. I wish I’d have shown you all of the things I was on the inside.”          -Top of the World (Dixie Chicks) Have you ever been in a situation where you didn’t fully show up as yourself? This might have been at work, or in your romantic relationships, with your family and friends, or even around strangers. In some way, you felt like you needed to be someone you’re not. Maybe that meant hiding parts of your personality – things you thought people might not like or may not understand. Maybe it meant trying to fit in or gain someone’s approval – seeking to find that sign which says you are good enough and worthy of someone’s affection and appreciation. I can honestly say this used to be a fairly common behaviour for me in my personal relationships. I never intended to be inauthentic; it just always sort of happened. I became what I thought people needed me to be – whether that was my friends, coworkers or someone I was dating. (And of course it was always based on my perception – it may not even have been their reality.) I often felt like I was “too much this” or “not enough that”.  I would bite my tongue and not speak up about certain things because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings (somehow respecting my own never even crossed my mind). Or I would give more time and energy into a project than I wanted to. Or I would say yes when I meant no. All of these...

Take off your mask, and live from the heart

“You said it’s easy, but who’s to say that we’d be able to keep it this way, but it’s easier comin’ straight from the heart.” – Straight From the Heart (Bryan Adams)  Last week I had the privilege of seeing Bryan Adams live in concert. Finally! I have been a fan of his for over 30 years. That seems really hard to believe – especially when I say it out loud. I mean, how is that even possible?! But I digress. Straight From the Heart is definitely my favourite Bryan Adams song of all time, and it was beyond amazing to hear him sing it live! The entire night his singing felt like it was coming straight from his heart. Such a blessing. Since the concert I’ve been thinking about why I love this song so much. I mean it’s got a soothing sound for sure, but what else? It got me thinking about what it actually means to talk straight from the heart and to live straight from the heart, which is something that I absolutely love! I have so much respect and admiration for people who live life that way. To me, they are the people who are the real deal.  I don’t like fake because it just doesn’t feel good – and because I believe our whole purpose in life is to be who we really are. I believe that living with integrity and authenticity is what brings us a sense of fulfillment and ultimately joy. “When we turn around and come face to face with our destiny, we discover that words (spoken) are not enough. I...

Travel the world, and find the unexpected: you!

“Rover, wanderer, nomad, vagabond. Call me what you will. But I’ll take my time anywhere. I’m free to speak my mind anywhere. And I’ll never mind anywhere. Anywhere I may roam. Where I lay my head is home.” -Wherever I May Roam (Metallica) Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE to travel! I love everything about it! Well, almost everything… If I’m going to be honest, I don’t really enjoy the packing – except that I know it means I’m going somewhere! 😉 I love being in the airport, getting on the plane, ascending above the clouds, flying through the skies, arriving at my destination, heading out to explore, meeting new people, trying new foods – you get the idea. A few years ago I noticed an interesting pattern in my behaviour while on vacation, particularly when I traveled alone (like when I went to Costa Rica by myself on a ‘learn Spanish and do yoga for a week’ trip). I was more relaxed and at ease, less self-conscious, kinder, less judgemental, and more curious. I didn’t feel the need to schedule anything or know how things were going to turn out from day to day. I was able to just wing it and follow whatever my heart desired (i.e. what felt like fun). I was completely present in whatever was happening at the moment; it was pure bliss and freedom! For the first time in a long time, I felt completely alive! I’d get back home and people would comment how great I looked; I felt totally rejuvenated! “When people went on vacation, they shed their home skins, thought they could be a new person.” ~Aimee Friedman~ At first...

Integrity: making no apologies for who I was born to be!

“You took my light, you drained me down. But that was then, and this is now. Now look at me. This is the part of me that you’re never gonna ever take away from me, no. Throw your sticks and your stones. Throw your bombs and your blows. But you’re not gonna break my soul.”   -Part of Me (Katy Perry) I recently wrote a post on my facebook page about authenticity (the act of being genuine/your true self). A friend of mine messaged me today and said “You already are the most authentic person I know!” For me, that is a huge compliment! I strive to live as (and accept) the person I want to be – faults and all. It’s not always easy that’s for sure, but it’s very important to me. Why is being authentic such a big deal for me now? When I was younger, I often felt misunderstood. Here are a few examples: I remember getting in trouble when I was in Grade 1 because as the “bathroom monitor” I had told the others kids to ‘shut up’ instead of ‘be quiet’. The teacher yelled at me and spanked me. I didn’t really understand why I was in trouble; I thought I was just doing my “job”.  When I was in Grade 6, a girl in my class was surprised to find out that I lived in a “regular” house. For some reason she thought I was rich and lived in a mansion. She said she had always been kind of jealous of me – until she found out that I was just a “normal”...

How not being right can make you really happy

“So let’s leave it alone, ’cause we can’t see eye to eye. There ain’t no good guys, there ain’t no bad guys. There’s only you and me, and we just disagree.” -We Just Disagree (Dave Mason) Have you ever had a really awkward, uncomfortable conversation with someone – the kind where they confront you over something you said? Where you felt like they misinterpreted what you meant? Or where you felt like you needed to defend your character because your thoughts on a topic differed? Well, it’s happened to me twice within the last week or so. One was in person, and the other was via the internet. Both situations made me realize how much I have changed (in a good way). When I was younger, I was extremely argumentative. I loved to voice my opinion, I loved to have the last word, and I loved to be right. When someone said something which I knew was incorrect, I felt obligated to point out their mistake. I didn’t care if I made people look stupid or feel bad. I wanted to prove how smart I was – how much I knew about the world. For me, having knowledge made me feel good about myself – like I had something  to offer. “I realized that I could be right or I could be free.” ~Byron Katie~ In my early 30’s, I started piecing together why I did what I did. I came to know that my behaviour was caused by a lack of self-confidence. I had based my self-worth on whether other people thought I was smart. Because I didn’t...

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