► Letting your feelings be…
...and relating honestly to the other are aspects of a deeper issue—namely, how we choose to live our lives. This is both the most important and the most neglected question we face in life. It’s the most neglected question because most of us are focused on achieving goals, not on how we live. It’s the most important question because it influences all that we do in life.
► We can live our lives in three ways: inauthentically, authentically, and inauthentically and authentically
Most of us live in the third way—sometimes we live inauthentically and sometimes we live authentically. The Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard called living in this way double-mindedness. Double-mindedness is okay, except that it does not lead to growth. We only grow to the extent that we commit to live authentically.
► Living authentically means being yourself
It is only by being yourself—not sometimes and in some places, but always and in all places—that a person truly grows. Living authentically points the way to achieving emotional health and ultimate happiness.
► Relationships have two dimensions
These dimensions are the ethical and the emotional. A relationship can only succeed emotionally if it succeeds ethically. Ethical relationships are between one person and another person. This person-to-person relationship means relating to every person as having equal worth and respecting the differences of the other.
► Relationships are voluntary
Romantic relationships are between free persons. No one is required to love the other or to be loved. Relationships based on demands and control, rather than on choice, fail more often than not.
► Relationships fulfill the need for intimacy
Relationships are most fulfilling when intimacy is achieved. Intimacy is closeness to the other. It can only be achieved, however, if you can love the other the way he or she really is and if you are loved the way you really are in return.
► Honesty is the doorway to intimacy
When you lie, there are two of you: the one you pretend to be, and the one you really are. When you present a false self to the other, the false self becomes a wall behind which you hide your real self. But to achieve intimacy, you must “unhide yourself" by means of communication. When we relate honestly, we unite our psyche and our spirit and we live harmoniously with ourselves and others.
► Feelings are not actions
The human being acts and reacts. Feelings belong to the reactive side of yourself. As reactions, feelings are not actions. You do not do your emotional reactions. Reactions just happen to you. Because reactions are not actions, you are not to blame for your feelings; therefore you are innocent. The first step in achieving emotional health is to realize your innocence.
► Feelings require inner space
Because feelings are not actions, you are not good or bad for the way you feel. All your feelings are okay. The room you create for all your feelings is called inner space. The second step toward emotional health is achieving inner space—that is, letting yourself feel whatever you are feeling without restriction.
► Feelings by their nature seek expression
Expressing your feelings verbally is called communication. The ability to communicate with the other is a necessary ingredient of healthy relationships. When you communicate, you reveal your true self to the other. This is the pathway toward genuine intimacy.
Growth requires change. Change means doing something different, and this process leads to uncertainty. To grow, we must embrace the following challenges:
Uncertainty produces fear, but fear is not a stop sign. To grow, you have to face your fears.
Repression is a type of refusal. It is the refusal to feel what you are really feeling. By means of repression, you divide yourself from your real self, which results in the loss of your true identity. Growing requires the recovery of the lost real self.
Pride is a type of shame. By means of the ego, you derive your identity from the other’s view of you. Because you desire the other to view you positively, you hide what you believe to be the negative side of yourself. Growing requires that you “unhide yourself” and establish a sense of who you are in your own eyes.
THE POWER OF LIVING AUTHENTICALLY
Life Development Center