July 22, 2015

Are You Being Authentic In Your Relationship?

by guest contributor Larry James

"Authenticity occurs when the head and the heart meet at the lips; when what we think and what we feel is congruent with what we say and do." - Dr. Carl Hammerschlag, Speaker, Author, Healer

Dr. Hammerschlag's quote about sums it up, right? Are you talking the talk and not walking the walk? Are you experiencing the same problems in your relationship that you had last year? Are you living your relationship as an example you would want others to emulate? Are you living in sync with your own values and principles? When you're not authentic, who are you?

Being authentic is the key to truly happy, healthy relationships. It is not possible to be happy without being true to yourself.

Unfortunately many people live their entire lives never discovering their authentic self. It is not only a matter of focusing on yourself, but also involves deliberation about how your commitments make a contribution to the good of the relationship.

Being authentic is being genuine. Being genuine is being true to the commitments you have made to each other. It means standing up for what is real. None of the fake persona we often see. The temptation to be fake, phony, or misleading is centered on the desire to feel smart, important, or better than someone else. That is your ego speaking. Shed those pretences. Not being authentic demands a lot of misguided energy. Being authentic is easy. It's being fake that is difficult.

I'm certain that you know you can fool some of the people some of the time (even yourself), but not all of the people all of the time. Authenticity reduces phoniness to nothing.

It seems to me that being authentic begins with being true to yourself. It's knowing that deep within, you know beyond a doubt that who you are is the real you. When you live an authentic life, you are living a life that resonates with your inner being, free from relationships that limit possibilities. Living authentically means to be happy with who you are, as you are. Living with authenticity is a journey that will lead you to your incredible self.

Carol Adrienne, Ph.D., says, "The voice of the authentic self seems to be the same as the intuitive voice, that quiet, but persistent voice that whispers new ideas to us in the middle of the night, on vacation, or after meditating. Intuition speaks in short; clear messages that are qualitatively different from the repetitive mind chatter that makes us feel anxious. Intuition tells us where the authentic choice is - for us."

The truth is, most people are intuitive and can feel when something is not right. They know when you are not being honest with them or yourself.

Shakespeare gave us this ethical principle: "This above all - to thine own self be true." It's practicing greatness - even when no one else is watching. We must learn to live in a way that expresses our real desires, principles and demonstrates our character. When our behavior doesn't match our values, we are not living authentically.

It's not trying to be someone you think your partner wants you to be. It's not doing what you do to just get by. It's doing whatever it takes to have your partner feel assured that you are who you say you are and are consistently doing what's right.

Demonstrating authenticity in your relationship is a prerequisite to having a healthy relationship. It certainly helps if you have a specific intention to be that way.

The great thing about authenticity is that it releases you from the requirement to be perfect. No one is perfect. Just be your own good self.

Authenticity is only one piece of the relationship puzzle. And it is an important piece. Strive to be honest in the sense of allowing your behavior and conversation to be a true and spontaneous expression of your inner feelings.

Being authentic is to be able to live with your guard down; to be vulnerable; to be able to be yourself, not someone that someone else thinks you should be.

Being authentic requires a balance between being forthright and gaining the interpersonal skillfulness that allows you to be more sensitive and caring to your partner. It means that what you say, what you mean, what you intend, and what you do, are all in alignment and You are worthy of trust and belief. Authenticity means that you are living with integrity, and aspiring to all the wonderful joys life has to offer and doing it with a peaceful heart.

Only when you have evolved into clarity and authenticity by resolving the conflicts, confusion, and self-doubt within, will you be accepted, respected and listened to by your partner. There is great power in being an example of authenticity to your partner.

Being authentic can be defined as unquestionable congruent living - the moment-to-moment alignment of your sincere thoughts, values, emotions and actions. - Anisa Aven

Perhaps your relationship would be much better if you spend less time trying to convince yourself that you are being authentic and more time demonstrating authenticity to your partner. The truth of who you are must be lived not just believed. Once these truths are discovered, you must bring them to life by living them through conscious action. It is through action not thought that you become authentic. Intention to be authentic is great however your actions always speak louder than your words.

The truth is you cannot not be authentic. Even a counterfeit one hundred dollar bill is a genuine counterfeit bill - it is what it is, a very real counterfeit one hundred dollar bill. You have your own personality. Be that. Be authentic. You are what you are doing.

Copyright © 2015 - Larry James. Reprinted with permission. - This article is adapted from Larry's books, "How to Really Love the One You're With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship," "LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing" and "Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers." Author Larry James presents seminars nationally for singles and couples. Subscribe to Larry's FREE monthly "LoveNotes for Lovers" eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. Send e-mail to Larry James - www.CelebrateLove.com

"Tiger and Lion" photo courtesy of Albumarium, under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license.

June 23, 2015

Marriage and Other Leaps of Faith

by Guest Contributor Jeanie Greensfelder

To Toast Or Not To Toast

I'm making toast.
Do you want some?
he asks.

I look up and say, Hmm…
I had a late lunch. I'm not sure…

My husband shakes his head.
He throws his hands up—
It's not a declaration of war,
it's just a piece of toast.

He stalks off.

He returns and says, I'm sorry.
I forgot how your brain works.
I ask a question and you answer:
Well…it's March, but it's Friday.
Is it raining? Let me think…

I look up and say,

Yes, I'd love a piece of toast.

Thoughts on Thoughts

One cold day, drying myself after a shower,
I notice my husband's towel hung over a heating vent.
If anything ever happens to him, I think,
I'll get the warm towel bar.

When I tell him my thought, he laughs and says,
I haven't pictured your demise since yesterday
when you ate the last chocolate.

"To Toast or Not to Toast" and "Thoughts on Thoughts" from Marriage and Other Leaps of Faith © 2015 Jeanie Greensfelder. Reprinted with permission.

Jeanie Greensfelder is the author of Marriage and Other Leaps of Faith. A psychologist and poet, she lives with her husband of 41 years in San Luis Obispo, California


June 19, 2015

Essay Contest: True Stories About Marriage

I have received this announcement from Creative Nonfiction.

For an upcoming issue, Creative Nonfiction is seeking new essays about marriage.

Whether you've celebrated your 50th anniversary or 5th marriage; eloped to Vegas or fought for (or against) marriage equality in DC; just filed your divorce papers or proposed to your high school sweetheart, we’re looking for well-crafted essays that truthfully portray what married life is all about.

Send us your true stories of arranged marriages or shotgun weddings; walking down the aisle or running from the altar; mail-order brides or stay-at-home dads. We’re looking for a variety of perspectives ‑ from fiancés to florists; ministers to marriage counselors; divorce attorneys to wedding planners.

Essays must be vivid and dramatic; they should combine a strong and compelling narrative with an informative or reflective element and reach beyond a strictly personal experience for some universal or deeper meaning. We're looking for well-written prose, rich with detail and a distinctive voice; all essays must tell true stories and be factually accurate.

You can find complete guidelines at our website here.


June 6, 2015

Dreaming of a Better World

In a more perfect world...
  • A day would have 26 hours instead of 24, and I’d finally get enough sleep.
  • The clothes dryer would automatically fold the laundry.
  • We could change our hair from straight to curly (or vice-versa) just by using the right shampoo.
  • That same shampoo could be used to remove those old, embarrassing tattoos.
  • We’d be able to use a technique like the Vulcan Mind Meld to truly understand our loved ones’ feelings.
  • Everyone would choose compassion rather than contempt as their first response to people who are different from them.
  • We would form all our opinions based on facts instead of prejudices.
  • Honesty, loyalty, and generosity would be the character traits leading to success. Greed and ruthlessness would lead to failure.
  • Ice cream would be a health food.


May 18, 2015

A Life Well Lived?

Imagine yourself in the distant future. You are 102 years old, reviewing your memories of a long life. What thoughts are going through your mind?

a)I wish I'd spent more time watching my favorite TV shows.
b)I'm so glad I turned off the TV and got involved in life.
c)Why did I spend so much time sitting on the couch staring at a screen? There were so many other things I could have done.
a)I should have fought even harder to get everyone to do things my way.
b)I'm glad I was able to relax and let others do things in ways that worked best for them.
c)I realize that I made myself and everyone around me miserable with my petty insistence on unimportant details.
a)I always pointed out every mistake in great detail. That was the best way to get my spouse to be a better person.
b)I offered encouragement by emphasizing my spouse's strengths and successes. I tried to keep criticism to a minimum.
c)My constant complaints and put-downs alienated my spouse and family. I wish I had been more positive.
a)I didn't waste time thanking my loved ones for their services. After, all, they just did what they were supposed to do.
b)I appreciated everything my loved ones did for me, and it meant a lot to them when I told them how I felt.
c)I wish I had told them how grateful I was for all the big and little things they did.
a)Thank goodness, my demanding job gave me a great excuse to avoid most of my kids' activities.
b)Fortunately, I took the time to participate in my kids' lives and watch them grow up.
c)I missed so much. Childhood is over in an instant, and I wasn't there to share it.
a)I got tremendous satisfaction from turning away from my spouse and minimizing our sex life.
b)The sexual connection with my spouse brought great joy and pleasure to both of us.
c)How I wish we had made love more.
a)I was wise to keep my thoughts and feelings to myself. Letting people get too close is risky.
b)There is no greater joy than the intimacy my love and I experienced when we shared our deepest selves.
c)I missed so much by not allowing myself to be vulnerable and open with the one I loved.
a)It was smart to manage my life so that I always catered to other people's expectations.
b)It's a good thing I didn't care much about what others thought. Going my own way and making my own choices made my life fulfilling.
c)What a fool I was to worry about how others might judge me. I suppressed my true nature and never accomplished what I really wanted.
Will your future self be grateful to you for the way you are living your life today?

It's not too late to change the choices you make.