When We Are Afraid

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I used to regularly be a liar. With my friends, in business and generally I was a ‘boy scout’ and told the truth. But in love relationships my words at times contained less than the full truth; sometimes very little of the truth.

Now living an authentic life I look back to see it was my insecurities at the root of my lying. I did it to be perceived as more than I actually was. And worse, there were times I was liar to cover my tracks of even greater dishonesty: being unfaithful. Deep down there was a compulsion to fill a hole within using the affection of someone new, however impossible it actually was. And oh, the stress, worry and anxiety of an affair! Doing wrong when one knows it’s wrong, then living with it is a sort of slow strangulation.

Lying requires a lot of effort. When you tell the truth, you simply remember what happens. When you lie you have to consider what you’re trying to hide, figure out a believable version of the opposite, give a convincing performance to sell that lie, and then remember it for the rest of eternity so you never get caught. Furthermore, it builds and builds every time you lie.

Lies, just like many other things, cause stress and anxiety. If you need proof, consider the polygraph machine (what’s come to be known as the “lie detector”). They don’t actually detect lies, specifically, but rather the signs of stress that accompany telling them. While stress isn’t a definitive indicator of lying, it’s often a good clue.

You probably know that stress harms your brain and body in several horrible ways. Since lying contributes to your stress level… you need to consider the impact of your secrets. The harm isn’t self-evident, but it readily exists in the numerous health issues you encounter in your daily life. By Adam Dachis http://lifehacker.com/5968613/what-lying-actually-does-to-your-brain-and-body-every-day

Secrets are poison. Any relationship seasoned even with small ones will suffer a little short-term and a lot eventually. Emotional intimacy can be based only on truth and honesty. To do otherwise is self-foolery, delusional and a touch of self-induced madness. My heart smiles and my mind beams with pride that I learned better to grasp and practice honesty today. I am grateful for the heartache that taught me how to be a ‘good guy’ who tells the truth and is worthy of someone’s complete love. Mistakes are great teachers if one pays attention to the lessons.

We tell lies when we are afraid…
afraid of what we don’t know,
afraid of what others will think,
afraid of what will be found out about us.
But every time we tell a lie,
the thing that we fear grows stronger.
Tad Williams

Make as Many Mistakes as You Can


Graduating is not something I have forgotten or better stated, I remember well how I felt at graduation. The title of my feelings could have been “Now What?”. Having spent years growing up and getting an education I was then standing on the threshold of a life I had yet to experience. Hopes and dreams were plenty, but what road to take toward them was fuzzy at best.

And so it is today, my third day into retirement from a long successful professional life. I am lucky and able to do this younger than most and am grateful for the opportunity. However, it feels like I am just past graduation again asking “Now What?”. There’s the same sense of things as when younger: lots I plan and imagine doing but uncertain where to begin.

In a book called “Hold Fast Your Dreams” Carrie Boyko and Kimberly Colen published twenty commencement speeches. Thumbing through it this morning I was touched by an address by Ken Burns at Georgetown University in 2006. Here’s a few highlights that stuck me as pertinent to my most recent “graduation”:

As you pursue your goals in life, that is to say your future, pursue your past. Let it be your guide. Insist on having a past and then you will have a future.

Replace cynicism with its old-fashioned antidote, skepticism.

Don’t confuse success with excellence.

Insist on heroes. And be one.

Read. The book is still the greatest manmade machine of all — not the car, not the TV, not the computer.

Write: write letters. Keep journals. Besides your children, there is no surer way of achieving immortality.

Do not lose your enthusiasm. In its Greek etymology, the word enthusiasm means, “God in us”.

Here at late morning I am off into my day with new inspiration borrowed from the past words of a man I know only through his documentaries and speeches. I am grateful the cosmos choose today for me to pull the book off my shelf that contained Ken Burns 2006 speech. Over and over and over… what I need arrives. All I have to do is believe and let things come to me in their own time. As long as I keep an open heart and mind they always seem to…

When we were five, they asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up.
Our answers were thing like astronaut, president, or in my case… princess.
When we were ten, they asked again and we answered –
rock star, cowboy, or in my case, gold medalist.
But now that we’ve grown up, they want a serious answer.
Well, how ’bout this: who the hell knows?!
This isn’t the time to make hard and fast decisions,
its time to make mistakes.
Take the wrong train and get stuck somewhere chill. Fall in love – a lot.
Major in philosophy ’cause there’s no way to make a career out of that.
Change your mind. Then change it again, because nothing is permanent.
So make as many mistakes as you can. That way, someday,
when they ask again what we want to be… we won’t have to guess.
We’ll know.
Stephenie Meyer




Doubt is the opposite of faith, but sometimes doubt can be a pathway to faith.


Weakness is the opposite of strength, but sometimes weakness can be the pathway to strength.


Addiction is the opposite of sobriety, but sometimes addiction can be the pathway to sobriety.


Infidelity is the opposite of fidelity, but sometimes infidelity can be a pathway to fidelity.


Failure is the opposite of success, but sometimes failure can be the pathway to success.

“Enough” by David W. Jones

It pleases me to know the kind of person I have become: most definitely imperfect; but imperfectly whole and happy. It feels extraordinary to now say “I love me!” and feel the authenticity of the words.

Gratitude abounds for a balance I feel within me the majority of the time. In being thankful for what is, I must have gratitude for what brought me here: heartaches, miracles, problems, blessings, difficulties, good fortunes, setbacks and lots of love. All that and more shaped me even though I frequently resisted with great tenaciousness.

Thankfully life is stronger than my will and when it overtook me, real happiness began. How wonderful it is to lose to the goodness of life and the power of love.

A loving heart
is the beginning
of all knowledge.
Thomas Carlyle

Photograph by Nick Owen

Do You Trust You?

Lack of self-trust can be the precursor of distrusting others. In an increasingly complex world, our ability to judge real or not real, scam or opportunity, credible or not credible, trust or no trust, is a twenty-first century necessity.  And it begins with self-trust.  Do you trust you?

Can you trust your motives, intentions, impulses, and judgment? Do you lie to yourself? Do you break promises you make to yourself? Can you count on you to deliver what you say you will? Are you in an authentic relationship with yourself? Do you trust your own judgment and the risks you take when giving trust?

Researchers have found that sharing physical traits with others creates a “perceived attitudinal similarity.” We expect people who are like us (e.g. gender, race, hair color, etc.) to be like us. So, if you break your word, you think that others will, too. If you over-promise and under-deliver, that’s what you’ll expect from others. But if you’re trustworthy, you tend to assume others are, too.

Yet, while we may see each other as alike, we’re very different. That’s why building trusting relationships at work requires self-trust.

Self-trust involves trusting your own intentions, motives and integrity. Self-trust includes reliance on self and confidence in self-actions. But it goes deeper. Self-trust is “the ability to trust oneself to trust wisely and authentically,” according to authors Robert Solomon and Fernando Flores. Self-trust is grounded in self-awareness, well-intentioned and consistent behavior, and commitments honored and fulfilled. You’re unlikely to be viewed by others as trustworthy, if you don’t view yourself that way. And you’re unlikely to view yourself that way, if you’re not that way.

Self-trust is a skill that fuels accountability. Self-trust grows when there is alignment between what you say and what you do, often referred to as behavioral integrity. Behavioral integrity is how you demonstrate your trustworthiness to yourself and to others. How’s yours? No alignment – no credibility. No credibility – no self-trust. No self-trust – no accountability. Self-trust is the basic tenet of accountability. When we hold ourselves accountable for our actions, decisions, choices, words, and behaviors we build self-trust. Building self-trust requires a mirror. It means there’s an self-initiated, account-giving relationship between who you say you are and who you are.

Self-trust is core to the most important relationship – the one with self. A practice of authentic self-trust offers a way to explore your possibilities, gifts, and passions. Self-trust grows the inner path. It aids the discovery of your life’s potential. As author Jack R. Gibb put it, “Trust creates the flow and gentles the mind-body-spirit. When I trust myself I am able to enter fully into the process of discovering and creating who I am. When I trust my own inner process I am able to become what I am meant to become. From an article in Psychology Today by Nan S. Russell http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/trust-the-new-workplace-currency/201201/lack-self-trust-precursor-distrusting-others

I am grateful to be able to say “yes, I trust myself”.  It took a long time but with pride I know it’s true.

Love all, trust a few.