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Reconnect with Your Authentic Self Instead of Denying Your Feelings

“I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.” ~Lao Tzu

I recently took seven weeks off of work and rented a place in Laguna Beach.

The trip was meant to be a relaxing vacation and possibly a change of residence; it turned out to be a wakeup call.

I started the trip out by going on my first date since 2010. The pollen count was high, and my sinuses were none too happy. I’m still not sure if it was being on a date or the medication that triggered so much anxiety; maybe it was a combination of both.

Later that evening, as I replayed the day in my mind, old insecurities came to the surface. That feeling of not being good enough engulfed my being.

I just smiled, shook my head, and thought to myself “Really? Does this still ring true for you?”

The answer was no. But it still came up, so I had to explore it further. So I spent the next two and a half weeks in a battle with the Southern California Pollen Count and my inner self-worth issues.

Most of my life had been controlled by an underlying sense of anxiety.

In my teen years and throughout most of my twenties I numbed it with drugs and alcohol. In 2005, after I celebrated my first year of sobriety, I started to really explore this feeling. I signed up for hundreds of newsletters, spent many hours in the Dana Point Library, and purchased over 100 books that year alone.

I read, listened, and put into practice anything that came across my path.

The movie “The Secret” spoke to part of me, and books from Deepak Chopra, Ester and Jerry Hicks, and countless others made me temporarily feel as if it were going to be okay.

I wanted so badly to just be happy; to be able to really look into the mirror and like what I saw.

By April 2009, I thought I had it all figured out. My goal-setting exercises were bringing my desires to fruition, my body was as healthy as it has ever been, and my love life was what I had always dreamed it would be.

A few months later it all fell apart. I found myself again back to square one. It didn’t make sense and all I wanted was to know was: What part of this equation was missing?

My mission to figure it out was renewed, and the way my life has unfolded since has been a long, strange trip indeed.

Looking back at my self-education is partially humorous and equally frustrating.

I now find it humorous that I worked so hard to “fix” something that wasn’t actually broken.

I find it a bit frustrating to have consumed so much information that perpetuated this seemingly endless cycle of self-help stupidity.

Two very popular self-help ideals come to my mind.

1. “You just have to be positive.”

This may be worst thing you can say to someone who is depressed and sees no way out of it.

You read books on “how to attract everything you ever want in life.” You understand that positive thinking leads to positive results. Just when you start making progress, something happens and you feel frustrated or angry.

You find yourself upset at yourself for being upset. You think, “Why can’t I just be happy? What’s wrong with me?” The depression deepens.

Listen, you don’t have to be positive all the time.

It’s okay if you get upset, or don’t feel happy every waking moment.

Before you can cultivate a positive mindset you must first honor where you are and the journey that brought you here. Our general outlook on life is a mixture of genetics and experience. Some reactions are very deeply engrained, and will take a concentrated effort over time to change.

You’re not broken if you can’t see the silver lining, which is why this next bit of wisdom needs another look.

2. “Just fake it until you make it.”

It’s a catchy saying, but horrible advice.

The feelings you have present in your life are very valid. The act of faking it is an act of denial, which can have some really negative effects on your psyche.

You can’t fake your way out of sadness and depression.

You can put on a happy face, and to some degree it will change your mood. But, during those times when you take away distractions and you have to sit alone with yourself, the act of faking it will make you feel like you’re crawling out of your own skin.

I didn’t realize that faking it perpetuated anxiety.

Being really comfortable with myself didn’t actually happen until I began to just sit still on a regular basis.

At first it was overwhelming; anxiety turned to frustration, to anger and rage, and finally to shame. I felt cracked wide open, exposed and raw.

The feeling really sucked and it lasted for almost six months.

But I sat with it. I owned it, and in that space of raw vulnerability I stopped faking it. For the first time in my life it felt okay to be me.

There is a real power in authenticity.

It is an act of love to honor where you are right now.

From my experience with sitting in my own stuff came my life as a writer. My first book followed and my newsletter audience grew.

Yet, with all that I’ve studied and think I know I still found myself experiencing that old worn out feeling of “you’re just not ever going to be enough.”

So, how did I find myself in Laguna Beach overwhelmed and feeling less than worthy of love and affection?

Well, that was actually pretty easy for me to discover. You see, I’m an avid note taker and list maker. It only took a few hours to sort through my 2012 notes to see that I had only half been walking my talk.

My practice of meditation had taken a backseat to my “trying to achieve things.”

My practice of mindfulness had eroded; evening meals were consumed along with DVDs and Facebook noise-feeds.

Three months of sunsets went unseen.

My reverence for the present moment had once again been lost while my mind searched for fulfillment in the future; the result of which was the rise of my existential anxiety.

A Simple Plan to Reconnect with Your Authentic Self

  • Still your body and mind. Commit to just five minutes of meditation and build your practice from there.
  • Maintain focused attention on your breathing and honor the task at hand.
  • Witness your reactions to get to the core reasons behind your emotional response.
  • Take time each evening to write down little moments of gratitude, love, and awe that happened throughout your day.
  • Remind yourself that you have nowhere else to be other than where you are right now.

From my experience thus far the first part of the plan is the most powerful; science backs up that claim. That’s why I am building my daily sitting meditation.

My dream is to see more authenticity in this world.

My belief is that this will lead to more compassion, which in turn will lead to more change.

How about you? Want to change the world too?

Then please join me by spending just a little bit of time doing absolutely nothing, every day for the rest of your life.

Who’s in!? Tell me you’re with me!

Photo by sierragoddess

Avatar of Tim McAuley

About Tim McAuley

Tim McAuley’s debut book It’s All About Me! Illustrates that we each have the power to live a lifealigned with harmony, happiness, and love; he freely shares his book, a 6 week video tutorial and weekly tips, to learn to ride the metaphoric waves of life at soulsurferschool.com.

Announcement: Wish you could change your past? Learn to let go and create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!
  • Gin

    I really loved this post. So heart felt, thank you! It reminded me not to forget about my dream as well :). To the author, my soul is profoundly grateful.

  • friend forever

    Tim :)

    Am already with you, man!!! Awesome post and all the tips you gave are really doable and effective. I am putting the first one in practice and yes, I can say that meditation does sure change you and brings many benefits. It’s actually more fun to do meditation than to read about it and I enjoy it greatly.

    I won’t say that I am all well and good now but am slowly realizing and learning day-by-day that where I am is good enough and there is no place else I’d rather be :) It’s wonderful! I am actually making choices that support my well being and that too naturally. My faith is growing and am learning and experiencing new ways of being and seeing things.
    Thank u for your beautiful post on authenticity. Being authentic is very close to my heart as I struggled with feelings of worthlessness and not-being-good-enough.

    It’s a beautiful journey and I am glad you’re along with me for the ride ;)

    Sunshine and love,

    Have a wonderful day ahead! :D

  • Marie

    Thanks for sharing Tim! It’s inspiring to hear your journey and see how your understanding has evolved. Reading this has reinforced my own process and it’s amazing how sitting still can be at times the easiest thing to do…the hardest… and the most profound :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.vollink Tim Vollink

    I have fallen into the same trap, reading everything I could to fix something that wasnt broken. I started on the journey only to end up where I started, but I have gained this understanding along the way. Life is a paradox

  • Phil Bennett

    “Looking back at my self-education is partially humorous and equally frustrating.

    I now find it humorous that I worked so hard to “fix” something that wasn’t actually broken.

    I find it a bit frustrating to have consumed so much information that
    perpetuated this seemingly endless cycle of self-help stupidity.”

    I’m currently stuck in this cycle myself and am trying to step outside of it and realize that I, too, am as I should be already.

  • Thinkgrowlive.com

    Your post really resonated with me Tim. I am a therapist and after reading self help/ development blogs I have become a bit dismayed at some of the advice being offered. Each person is an individual and what works for one may never work for another.personal
    I do think that once you have opened the door to enlightenment then you can never close it again.
    My advice would be keep searching for whatever floats your boat ‘inspirational wise’ and then follow that course. Great starting point of course is your advice to find time each day just to do nothing. Perfect!

  • lv2terp

    I’m with you! Thank you for this beautiful post, and reminder that allowing all feelings, and experiencing all aspects of life is healthy and necessary! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/JeremyBr0wn Jeremy Brown

    With you. Been there a few times myself.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lori.hopkinsziech Lori Hopkins-Ziech

    I’m WITH YOU!! :) <3

  • http://twitter.com/funfreeMe1 funfreeMe

    Thanks so much for your words. I’ve been in that black hole place, and taken baby steps out!
    Blessings,
    Dana
    funfreeMe.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/carrierawks Carrie Lewis

    I love this post, and it’s just what I needed to read. Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Doreen-M-Vitullo-Matheny/1430015903 Doreen M Vitullo-Matheny

    I’m in…I have known these things to be true and very life changing and unfortunately I too have let many of those practices go to the wayside allowing lifes distractions to lead me down a path of stress and anxiety never feeling like “enough” and loosing my inner peace. Acceptance of self may be the most difficult discipline to aquire and I am not there yet but that is my desire!

  • Darla Hueske

    Great article, Tim. Oh, the misery of popular self help mantras. You picked two of the most misunderstood. I like how you navigated a way through them, to understand that we embrace emotions, embrace our Selves….then let go.
    We live in a culture of instant gratification. So many of us expect results immediately when we embark on a meditation, yoga, or spiritual practice. We keep the emotional roller coaster well oiled as we struggle with expectations. When things don’t work out the way we think they should, we crumble into a big dump of depression. We give up. It doesn’t need to be that way. It is a normal course to wax and wan and find oneself back to where one started. No big deal, unless you let it be.
    Your simple plan is the most effective: daily practice. Fully breathe and know that you are always connected. You are never alone. We are One, in together. All of us, without discrimination. It takes an instant.
    And by the way, thank you for using my pic to illustrate your article. I took this self portrait during a time when I was struggling with my personal sadhana (daily practice) and reconnecting. I was distracted with life around me. I decided to go to the beach before sunrise and tune in. I took the shot after I finished sadhana, just after sunrise. I hung it on the wall to remind me how wonderful I felt that morning.
    Exhale and inhale…an instant.

  • Shelly Miller

    Hi Tim,

    I like the 5 steps to reconnect to your authentic self. I have been practicing all of the steps but the last one, “Remind yourself that you have nowhere else to be other than where you are right now” I will be incorporating this today!

    Being positive and faking it until I make it have worked for me, however the key to using these two as tools is knowing when to use them. As you stated, if you try to use either of these tools when you are depressed it could make you more depressed.
    Thanks for your post!

  • Leanne_Regalla

    Great, great stuff Tim! Keep it coming! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.s.mcauley Tim Mcauley

    very nice thanks for the suggestion!

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.s.mcauley Tim Mcauley

    to the reader my soul is now fulfilled. Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.s.mcauley Tim Mcauley

    Hey Tim! I talked to you on Facebook today!! Loved that quote you posted.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.s.mcauley Tim Mcauley

    Thank you very much my friend.

    Thanks to Thich Nhat Hanh, since 2011, my mantra has been “I have arrived. I am Home.” It’s helped me a great deal with the whole “I should be somewhere else” feeling that creeps up on me from time to time.

    I’m glad to be with you as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.s.mcauley Tim Mcauley

    I will indeed Leanne!

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.s.mcauley Tim Mcauley

    Right on Shelly!

    That positivity thing works sometimes, but when people find out about my book the stuff I do online they think I’m “Mr Positive” and expect me to never have negative reactions. I tried for a while to live up to that standard, but it made me feel worse. Authenticity was all I had left.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.s.mcauley Tim Mcauley

    LOVE this comment! Thank you. I can’t take credit for the usage of the picture. that would be all Lori right there.

    But, I’m really stoked to meet you. I loved that picture. The way your hands are up in the air is one of my “go to” gestures. Just about every time I finish an awesome meal….errrr desert, my hands go up!

    Very nice to meet you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.s.mcauley Tim Mcauley

    It takes time. I had the hardest time accepting myself. Matter of fact, if I don’t practice either mindfulness or meditate on a regular basis, I slip very easily back into self-loathing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.s.mcauley Tim Mcauley

    WOOO HOOOO!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.s.mcauley Tim Mcauley

    YES! Lori you just earned an extra long hug next time I see you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.s.mcauley Tim Mcauley

    awesome!

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.s.mcauley Tim Mcauley

    It’s my pleasure!

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.s.mcauley Tim Mcauley

    Doing nothing comes naturally to me. I’ve always been pretty good at it. ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.s.mcauley Tim Mcauley

    I so want to impersonate Yoda right now…. ;)

    Breathe through it Phil. We all get stuck in that mind-loop and live in the land of should far too often.

    Let me know if I can help you get unstuck.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.s.mcauley Tim Mcauley

    It always cracks me up when I realize I’ve neglected the daily practice. And it’s equally amusing how much I resist doing. I think it’s partially because every adult in my first 10 years used to make sitting still a form of punishment.

    Now I resist just out of instinct or something…..I’m such a little kid….hehehe…

  • friend forever

    Mathilda,

    That’s a wonderful reminder, you know Although, I don’t practice that thought to the degree that would be beneficial for me, whenever I do it, it helps me a great deal and amazingly, after a few moments, I do start to feel better about things :)

    Thank u for writing about it here and reminding me to incorporate it more in my thinking.

    Can u explain, though, what u mean about ‘physical imbalance’?

    Love and wishes,
    Have a wonderful day ahead! :)

  • friend forever

    to both the reader and the author, my soul is now smiling after reading this :)

  • friend forever

    Darla,

    Thank u so much for posting such inspiring words. The part about instant gratification really hit me. Being slow and steady is natural to me but when I saw the world racing ahead, I increased my own pace and ran with them. That, I now see, was the loss of a part of my own authentic self. I’ve never been the one to believe in instant gratification and my choices and actions reflect that. But because I think I should believe that, I land myself in trouble.

    Thank u for this important reminder. I can see various facets of my own truth when I dwell upon this.

    Best wishes to u! :)

  • mroge

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THIS! I reposted this on my blog http://www.bipolarlessons.com
    Thank you so much for sharing!

  • willow

    This is really the best self-help advice I have read in ages…thank you! I had just come the same conclusion today when I saw this pop up in my inbox. Having spent over a year clinically depressed with seemingly one false start after another and huge problems piling up in my life as a result, I finally realised the missing link was not being true to myself, always pretending and forcing myself to be and do things that really were not in my best interests at that time. I’m really happy to read this today, it has reminded me to just stop and breath.

  • willow

    Thank you Darla for posting this added wisdom.

    The rush to be there already is something that I struggle with a lot at times. That competitive habit can be deeply engrained if you are brought up with the notion that you must succeed and be the best at everything. Seeing life from the perspective of this moment being perfect as it is brings such peace…your words remind me to renew my practice with no big expectations.

  • Darla Hueske

    Tim, I’m really stoked to meet you too. i so happy to discover the Tiny Buddha blog. The mudra that I am holding in this pic is ego buster for pranayama Breath of Fire. It’s a good one!

  • K

    I woke up this morning with intense feelings if anxiety and the record I’ve lived with all my life began to play again. “You’re not enough”, it says. I couldn’t help but weep. I come to this site occasionally, but somehow knew there would be some support here. I was right. Thank you for reminding me to sit still and feel what I feel. For reminding me I am right where I am supposed to be. I beat myself up for not being perfect, whatever that means. And often times that is what lends to my depression. Sitting still and being ok with myself is the best way for me to not be perfect, but be the perfectly imperfect me. I am a singer/songwriter. And this is especially hard to accept when you live in a world of Beyonces and Rihannas. After a performance, its easy for me to think of eveything i did wrong. But I am brave enough to put in the time to be authentically me. And that can never be wrong.

    Thank you.

  • Darla Hueske

    Thank you so much Willow. I deeply appreciate your comment. I think we all struggle with wanting “to be”… It has taken me many years and many hours of meditation to understand my perfection syndrome. I have learned to catch my mind when it gets looped into a competitive or perfection cycle. When I do, I laugh. It’s funny how our habits have a way of sneaking up on us. Keep up, even when you don’t even feel like it, and the reward will embrace you.

  • Darla Hueske

    friendforever (I like that name) . Thank you for your reply to my comment. I can completely relate. As I journey a path of genuine simplicity, I sometimes get swept into the rush of those around me. I remind myself that if I am not breathing and connecting to my Self, then I will vibe to the erratic vibrations around me. When I do forget and find myself rushing into the deep void, I will literally stop, take a breath, and thank my Self for allowing me to feel that feeling. Best wishes to you, my friend.

  • http://twitter.com/coblyn Christine Livingston

    What a beautiful post, Tim. Great timing for me. After years of being convinced I’d “cracked it” I just had an experience that took me back to my old personal challenges and boy has that hurt!

    I like your advice of not listening to the “you just have to be positive” stuff. I’m a real believer that the more you stay with upsetting feelings, the sooner you’ll move beyond them. Your post reminds me to do that with real self-compassion. After all, the worst thing is not just to feel bad, but to judge yourself as well!

  • Phil Bennett

    Thanks Tim. I’m mourning the loss of a relationship about 7 months out now and I got so caught up in the “use this to better yourself so they regret their decision.” I’m not sure where my true self begins anymore or what I even want. Feel as if I’ve lost all vision and am grasping at anything that seems to promise a way out.

  • http://optimalternative.com/ Mark B Hoover

    Hiya Tim,

    A lot of what you’ve written resonates highly with me. One, in particular, is giving in to letting it all hang out. I can’t always think positively either. I would back out of mindfulness and get bummed out because all my positivity got me was an even greater realization of the negativity still in my life. It is like setting myself up for a fall. The higher the expectations the greater the disappointment. I’d been in the center or on the periphery of personal growth and self-improvement work for ages, maintained a shelf [shelves] of books on the subject, and engaged online with others in pursuit of the same self-imposed excellence. Where did it get me? As you pointed out, more anxiety. The biggest thing I learned through much of this is that those of us who take this path are the ones who are hardest on ourselves.

    What I got [and have] is a toolbox full of tools that are ready for use, some used, some not. If I take this path in stride, I remember what instruments I have if and when a situation arises that requires more than I may have previously applied. “Oh, yeah, I can do THIS instead of doing THAT.” Then I place the tool back in my box. After a while, the tools begin to arrange themselves so that they nestle more comfortably. They become more readily and automatically available. It’s like anything in life, that which we use most often becomes a habit. Our goal is to create good habits, so we use the tools we have to build that structure. Negative tools are the ones that get tossed in the box haphazardly, so the more we use what does us good, the more noticeable the errant baddies become and, eventually, they get tossed in the recycle or refuse bin.

    This doesn’t happen overnight. Where the stress comes from is that it doesn’t happen in the context or time that we feel it should. Our egos tend to push from behind and say we aren’t looking good if we don’t get our collective stuff together within certain time limits. If we don’t “succeed” or “grow” or “get better” within peer parameters or our personal expectations by a certain time or age, the self-deprecation sets in and what we may have learned to this point gets denigrated. Set back. Not a good way to treat your tools. Or yourself.

    Another temptation is to take literally the message in “Fake it until you make it.” I don’t believe Dyer meant to theatrically put on a mask and display a false [or inauthentic]face. I believe his message, and that of others in this vein, is to encourage us to be our better selves, to act and react as our “higher self” would act. To respond in the way that we aspire to once we have reached our new plateau. If I’m cut off in traffic or served the wrong drink or get bad news in my inbox, perhaps the old me is going to want to flip off, toss the martini or fire off a nasty-gram. All that serves to do is perpetuate old, bad habits. Using the broken and worn tools. If I pause for a moment and exercise my higher thinking (between fight or flight), I am going to act more appropriately and respond in the manner more befitting to my “higher self”. It’s not faking it, it’s performing differently. It’s not the same old tired rerun, it’s a new release. Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” It’s a way of honoring your vulnerability by using a new tool to build a new bridge across despair. If, as Gandhi said, you wish to “Be the change that you wish to see in the world” then, indeed, you’re not going to bail yourself out of the muck by standing in the bucket.

    It’s not an act, it’s a deed. A task. It’s taking the good tools we have such prodigious access to and breaking them in, wearing them down until they are as comfortable as the old [bad] ones we tossed. It’s growing in integrity and authenticity as we learn and build from one failure to the next. It’s a way to, as you say, “honor where you are right now” and grow in our own time, our own space.

    Thanks for your sharing. It’s always a trip

    ~ Mark

  • friend forever

    Pausing for a moment and taking that deep breath that u need to is really important. I think the crux of all this is to just be yourself and everything will be fine. This sentence had really simple applications in my middle school years, but during my teen ones……… I could definitely use more of it! Now, I guess, you really have to dig deep to know your true Self ‘cuz you become so wrapped up in the world and pretenses that you lose touch with it.

    However, I do believe in making efforts to get to know that real me ‘cuz I really know- I wouldn’t wanna be anybody else! :D

    Thank u for your comment :)
    N BTW yo have a nice name too- Darla- it’s really unique! ;)

  • Phil Bennett

    I really appreciate your view on this Mark. I turned 29 today and I’ve had a habit of being so hard on myself and trying to force myself to grow because that’s what everyone tells you you need to do after a loved one leaves you. All it has done has given me more anxiety on top of the mourning the loss.

    Now I’m so worked up over the results or lack there of, and the energy I put in to obtaining tools that I’m burnt out. But the good news is like you said, I now possess these tools whether I recognize them now or not. They are there to be used when the job arises that requires them.

    Thanks again!

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.s.mcauley Tim Mcauley

    You’re going to get a lot out of sitting and doing nothing. Creativity comes through a lot easier, and you’ll learn to hold your space as a performer. It’s a win-win situation.

    I have friends who lived in LA that are huge in South Africa, and couldn’t get on the radio here in the States. They have one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard; yet Nickleback hit the charts running. I get it. I feel your pain (K).

    After your next performance please take out a sheet of paper and write down all of the things you did right! And think of the faces of every single person in that audience and offer gratitude for the shared experience.

    If you practice “nothing” a little each day you’ll be able to sit in it just before your performance. Bow your head in reverence to the music before you take the stage. And say to yourself “I am going to give the best performance of my life tonight. I am going to give these people eargasms!”

    Best of luck to you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.s.mcauley Tim Mcauley

    Depression is tricky Willow. One of the top researchers in the country teaches Psychology at Stanford and he says that we should look at depression the same way we do Diabetes. Just like with Diabetes certain activities and foods will help alleviate the symptoms, but only if they are practiced.

    Brain Chemistry, hormones, and genetics determine most of our experience we determine the rest by the manner in which we direct our minds, thoughts and actions.

    Seek balance in all that you do Willow.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.s.mcauley Tim Mcauley

    Christine, those “old Personal challenges” are deeply held and ingrained in our limbic system. When a memory is triggered it comes to consciousness; certain “behaviors” work the same.

    That’s the part that “Self-help” gurus seemed to glance past and that’s the part that trips me up the most.

    I get so judgemental of my own reactions. I think to myself “You’re not supposed to feel like that…” BOOM! There I am shoulding all over myself again.

    In 2005 it was really bad. I couldn’t list 3 things I liked about myself or my life. Over the course of this past year, the thing that triggers me most often is work. I still tend bar a few nights a week, and when it gets busy I get a little snappy. It may only be a few moments here and there, but if I’m not mindful I can spend a whole day being upset at the fact I got upset. SMH…..

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.s.mcauley Tim Mcauley

    Wow. Very nice Mark.

    I know what the “fake it till…” and the “act as if…” philosophy is trying to point me to, but the first step for me was to really just sit in the here and now of my feelings. To allow them. To feel them.

    I think that’s one of my biggest challenges. I have always been quick to tears, and growing up in Appalachia that was not permitted. I was told to “man-up” “you’re not allowed to feel that way” and a bunch of other nonsense.

    So, before I was able to get my brain to wrap around those concepts I had to first be comfortable to honor my own feelings (even when my feelings were over-reactive and childish).

  • http://optimalternative.com/ Mark B Hoover

    Thanks, Tim.

    I share the “Appalachian” origin with you, to a degree. Central PA is/was no emotive Utopia. Except among some of the womenfolk, the word “love” was never uttered in my family ( I counted back four generations through correspondence). Tearful countenances were unbecoming, ascribed to girls and sissies. After a youth of restraint, how can we accept any action that reeks of vulnerability in the face of criticism?

    Answer: We can. And we do. Just as there is more than one book in a library there is a plethora of expressions of self. Once we learn to fully adopt the adage of “What you think of me is none of my business” we can move forward at full speed.

    Those who would keep us down, subdued or silent are the ones who aspire not to improve their own lot. In small, backwater communities this form of envy can even morph into bullying. That, in turn, is condoned by parents (to a degree) because of the life they have NOT known. I was always hellbent on a life of learning. My mom encouraged that. My dad, of limited education, accused her of trying to raise me as a “snob”. His was an ingrained assessment. And, yes, I got bullied.

    In the great degree of work I have done with men, I find this, the “man-up” tripe, to be most injurious to a youth. I believe it may be culturally unique. In Native American lore a warrior who does not weep is not to be trusted.

  • http://optimalternative.com/ Mark B Hoover

    You’re quite welcome, Phil.

    Determine for yourself just what *growth* means to you. Not to others. Bamboo does not share the same concept of growth as does an oak tree. Yet each is strong [and weak] in its own regard. To expect yourself to grow and maintain according to others’ measurements puts your sense of self in their hands. Next thing is you’ll have to give them a call in the morning to see how you are feeling.

    Find ways to move forward one step at a time. Do one positive thing and keep doing it. With that, drop one negative thing and don’t do it again. You’ll be two-stepping forward in no time. Keep looking for new tools to move you ahead, not merely *cope*. Coping only helps you mainatin at a current level. Doing things outside of that that move you forward. Try another tool.

    Loved ones come. Loved ones go. That doesn’t eliminate portals. There was an opening there before and there is one after. Maybe more now that you’ve explored. And learned.

    Paulo Coelho says, “Close some doors today. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because they lead you nowhere.” It’s just like ending one chapter and moving on to the next one. Close the door, but leave the room open.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.s.mcauley Tim Mcauley

    Phil. I’ve been there buddy. I was so attached to a relationship in my early 20s that when it ended I was lost, hurt and angry at the world. I felt just like you, and then after a while she stopped being my motivation and I just kept growing as a man.

    A few years ago she and I spent time together. I couldn’t believe what a different perspective I held. I remember I kept thinking “Really, this was who I pined over for 2 years? Wow….really??”

    You just have get up and be where you are today my friend. The only way out is through it.

    If you’re really in pain, you may want to look up counselors that handle this type of stuff.

    If you’re not into that, then think of a few activities that used to make you feel good. Over the years I learned to surf, ran a marathon, paddled with a canoe club, wrote a book, and a number of other things as well. Each of these activities in-of-themselves were fun, but the long term boost in my self-esteem was the real payoff.

    Breathe your way through it brother. Oh….and you may want to find a yoga class.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.s.mcauley Tim Mcauley

    just awesome!

  • Chris

    I’m amazed how similar other people’s problems and journeys are since I decided (well, forced) to finally face my issues, mostly of worthlessness, to find that happiness I’ve been missing inside. I’ve been meditating but my practice has been pretty lax lately as well as my yoga practice and any exercise. As depression sets in my inspiration and motivation leave also. Unfortunately I have a physical sickness which adds to my fatigue and depression so overcoming that take an enormous amount of effort. But I’ve learned to just be sick or down, that I don’t have to ‘fix’ what I’m feeling. The sickness is going on 8 years and two dozen doctors haven’t figured it out yet. That doesn’t seem to be fixable any time soon so I sit with it. I accept it. If I don’t feel like going out I stay home and don’t feel worthless and jealous of other people’s lives who are healthy. This helps. Side benefits include drinking less and spending less money. I make healthier meals at home and read more.

    It’s a balancing act for sure and i’m not done but it’s a good first step to finally find some happiness and peace in my life for the first time.

    Thanks for your article. It helps so much to know there are others out there that have gone through the same things and have come out the other side. It gives me hope which sometimes is lacking.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.s.mcauley Tim Mcauley

    Thanks for joining the conversation Chris.

    I literally grew up on Hope Street! It’s the name of my company…so anytime I can share a story that provides hope, makes many struggles in my life worth more than before.

    May your health be restored soon.

  • http://www.facebook.com/max.weingast Max Weingast

    Tim, this article described everything that I feel at this moment and how I feel on a weekly basis. I’m not as emotionally detached as I was a few months ago but I still feel like I haven’t made progress and I’m still questioning my self-worth. I’m going to try and meditate daily, maybe it will clear my mind and get rid of the anxieties and self-fulfilling prophecies. I find that exercising 4-5 times a week helps a lot also, as you get a rush of confidence after a good workout.

  • http://twitter.com/sandraaa_xo Sandra NB

    Thank you for writing this. I really appreciate it and I’m going to have to put some of it into practice.

  • Anthony Nungaray

    Phil, getting over a relationship is one of the hardest things we can go through, especially if we blame ourselves, but most importantly if we suffer from some type of anxiety or depressive disorder. I suggest Dr. Daniel Amen’s book on these conditions to better understand them, especially if you feel stuck or hopeless. It may be a clinical condition unrelated to the breakup! This is NOT a self-help book. I know you will feel better once you figure out what is causing your current condition. Hope this helps, and let me know if there’s any way I can help.

  • Anthony Nungaray

    Tim – great article brother. Just what I needed today. Tony

  • http://twitter.com/MauiDogRemedies Maui Dog

    Mahalo Tim. I’ve been getting your newsletters for over a year now and the idea of authenticity runs true. It’s not an easy road, but in the long run I truly believe it brings true inner peace.

    Recently I had a situation where I had to stand up and say something, stop letting a person in my small community run over me, even though I knew the peer group was going to be told another story, given a view that really painted me in a bad light. I did it anyway, knowing that people can either choose to know there are definitely two sides to any story or choose to judge unfairly. I’m still in the midst of some standoffish behavior. But standing up and taking care of my needs was authentic and I know that not giving away what I have and what I need was the right choice. And yes, I take time to sit quietly with that every day. :)

  • http://twitter.com/UteLark Ute Lark

    Thank you for this great post, I shall try to start with the 5 minutes per day, and then go from there if I can keep up. Such sound advice and I so need it at the moment, perfect timing! Love your stuff!

  • CJDaniel

    Laguna Beach, love that place, just need to appreciate it more often. You see Tim, you came at the right time. At a time of transition for me, and it was the perfect motivation to get my life, in a new place. Since you left, I have lost 20 pounds, am going to the gym, playing tennis, hiking, playing racquetball and swimming. Thanks Tim, you are a wise individual, I have always loved you like a brother, but I think we even got closer while you were here. I am on board with the meditation and the journaling. Can’t wait til you come back, your boards are waiting… I thought that I couldn’t replicate the total feeling of calm and peace I felt the day we spent at Crystal Cove, but through your writings, and podcasts I am achieving my inner peace.
    Love you man, -CJD-

  • http://www.vishnusvirtues.com/ Vishnu

    Tim, excellent article and reflections. All great point especially the daily meditation and focused attention to honor the task at hand. These types of mindfulness practices, I’ve found to be the most helpful in connecting to my authentic self. These are the practices that will allow us to evaluate our thoughts, emotions and feelings. Allow us to observe them.

    I’ve found self-reflection and introspection to be helpful in connecting with my authentic self. But it took the practices you mentioned above – meditation & focus, along with prayer, to know my authentic self better.

    The other way to get to know yourself is probably the most unpleasant one which we all go through at some point if we don’t figure it out any other way. Through a tragedy, major dissapointment or life shake-up. We don’t need any of that before connecting to our authentic self. Some of the tips you offer can help us do that starting today.

  • Phil Bennett

    Hi Anthony, thanks for your response. Which Amen books would you recommend to help me move forward? Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.s.mcauley Tim Mcauley

    I am happy to be of service! Thanks for taking the time to comment Anthony.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.s.mcauley Tim Mcauley

    Max, check to make sure you’re getting the proper nutrients in your body.

    A few things trigger a sense of anxiety in us; dehydration, lack of magnesium, etc.

    Good balanced nutrition with working out 4-5 times a week will absolutely give you a good basis for happy feelings and confidence. If you’re feeling that you “need” to make progress chunk down your big goals into smaller ones and celebrate those milestones.

    I hope you find yourself and shake off the lack of self-worth.

    As you breathe and bring yourself into the present, remind yourself that you have nowhere else to be, nothing to prove. You are here, now and you deserve to live.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.s.mcauley Tim Mcauley

    It’s my pleasure to have written it Sandra.

    I hope whatever it is you put into practice allows for more joy in your life.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.s.mcauley Tim Mcauley

    Mahalo!!!

    I’m sure that island life mirrors small town life anywhere; so I have to tip my hat to you for taking care of you.

    We’re social primates, and many people are more tribal than others. Where you live, it’s difficult for people to break free from that. You my friend are an inspiration!

    thanks for taking the time to comment here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.s.mcauley Tim Mcauley

    Thanks Ute.

    It’s not really about the time, it’s more about connecting with that space; that sense of being here now.

    If it helps, to use your 5 minutes to watch the sunset, then do that! But, it’ll change your life to shift the energy from “need to get it all done” to “I am here, now and I matter.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.s.mcauley Tim Mcauley

    CJD!

    My friend; we need to have a chat! 20 pounds! that’s awesome.

    I miss Laguna! Thank you for allowing me to rent your guest home. I can’t wait to come back.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.s.mcauley Tim Mcauley

    Thanks Vishnu.

    Tragedy has been a molding force in my life indeed; without it I wouldn’t have found this practice.

  • ninja

    Oh Tim!… YES YES YES..THANKYOU! I really feel the same :)

  • Ronja

    with you!

  • Qukis

    Yes, I’m with you.

  • http://isitallaboutme.com/ Tim McAuley-Soul Surfer

    I’m stoked you enjoyed it!

  • http://isitallaboutme.com/ Tim McAuley-Soul Surfer

    wooo hooo!

  • http://isitallaboutme.com/ Tim McAuley-Soul Surfer

    awesome!

  • Ann Tate McIntyre

    In! Thanks Tim!

  • http://isitallaboutme.com/ Tim McAuley-Soul Surfer

    wooo hooo!

  • chris60

    This is great advice. Most of us need relief when life feels overwhelming or chaotic, and the majority of people can feel unsure about themselves despite trying to mask the fact that they are struggling to cope when in a crisis. Meditation is a wonderful tool to help us to feel centred. Sometimes we need to find a mix between action and calm as meditation can become an addictive way of avoiding uncomfortable feelings that may be trapped under the surface and need to be released. As for desiring to exist in a perpetually happy bubble; sometimes we may have to accept the reality that life is a mix of joy and suffering, pain and pleasure. Without being willing to dive into painful pockets we may deny ourselves the full experience of our feelings that lead us to a place of peaceful acceptance once an emotional crisis has passed. Authenticity means welcoming in all feelings and learning that we will survive once the debris has cleared. To numb ourselves to pain is to also strip us of the capacity for deep joy and compassion once the pain has lifted. Too many people want happy positive feelings, but run away when more difficult “negative” feelings arise. This leads to a shallow understanding or experience of life. Fear, rage, agony and hatred are real feelings that provide an understanding of their counterparts: courage, calm, comfort and love. One cannot exist without the other. Meditation reminds us that we are responsible for how we react and feel in challenging times. Finding a still pocket inside allows us to remain more calm and balanced.

  • Mary

    Thank you Tim, I just needed to hear those words. I am in my journey right now and last evening I had a breathwork session and I reconnected to my inner self for the first time. I remembered who I was before entering my mother’s womb. It was a very .. I can’t find words to describe it” experience. It felt like I am back together and all makes sense now. I was a gentle, kind, loving, happy spirit. I lost all of that when I entered my mom’s womb because I was not desired by her. This experience is changing my vision of the world and of myself. The journey is not an easy path to take but it is so rewarding to finally coming back home.

  • http://getsupstoked.com Tim McAuley-SIC Ambassador

    wow…

    That was beautiful! Thanks so much for this comment!

  • http://getsupstoked.com Tim McAuley-SIC Ambassador

    I hope you’re still connected to your authentic sense of self today.

    I hope you feel loved, connected and appreciated.

    Thanks for opening up in this comment!

  • Kristy Jarrett

    Great article Tim. Simple stuff, not always easy,but always worth it.