Releasing the Voice Within

As we grow up, we learn to be cautious about what we say out loud. Will we offend someone? Will we hurt someone’s feelings? Will we open ourselves up to ridicule? We tread on a fine line between “telling our truth” and protecting ourselves and others by not saying everything that comes to mind. How do we discern what needs to be said and what we should keep to ourselves?


I fault on the side of withholding information about what I am thinking and feeling. As a result, I have misled others unnecessarily perhaps. If we don’t reveal what we want and then later resent that we didn’t get what we wanted, no one is to blame but ourselves. A resentment that smolders in our hearts may ultimately destroy the love we have for another person, and it will be too late to easily regain it.


Unlearning something so embedded in our daily behavior is a tall order. Opening ourselves up to the risk of rejection is uncomfortable, but we must find the courage to do so. There are some guidelines we can follow to make things easier.


  • Don’t expect the other person to know about us, our feelings, and our needs.
  • Don’t assume we know what the other person thinks or feels. They have their own inner voice that affects their interpretation of what we might say.
  • As we convert thought and imagination into sound, releasing it from our minds into the outside world, think of it as an act of creation. This will carry energy and intention with it, which will help the other person to understand us and make it more likely that our wishes will come true.


When there is truth in your being, God is always with you. When God is with you, there is no question of failure. Live your truth and not a life that others want you to live.

Apoorve Dubey


Your comments are very welcome. Please share below.

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Aged to Perfection

I am not old … she said …

I am rare.

I am the standing ovation at the end of the play.

I am the retrospective

Of my life as art.

I am the hours

Connected like dots

Into good sense.

I am the fullness

Of existing.

You think I am waiting to die …

But I am waiting to be found.

I am a treasure.

I am a map.

And these wrinkles are Imprints of my journey.

Ask me anything.

Samantha Reynolds


Like a fine wine . . .

As an “older” person, I can identify with the opportunities and challenges of aging.  And I’ve been doing it all my life. You’d think I’d have it under control, right? 

Aging comes with blessings and with curses. As Wendy Lustbader says in her book, Life Gets Better: The Unexpected Pleasures of Getting Older:

Rather than experiencing a decline from youth, aging people were happier, more courageous, and more interested in being true to their inner selves than were young people.

But there is a duality to contend with. 

Life gets better and better in all ways . . . except for the body . . .

How do we maximize all the ways that life can get better as we age, and yet also meet the very real stresses of aging with as much grace and control as we can?

The Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) has developed a Conscious Aging Program, dealing with this dilemma. In 1997, they began to research what happens to people during transformations and found that there are indeed common elements, which they describe in their book, “Living Deeply: The Art and Science of Transformation in Everyday Life”. They found that during transformation, there is a profound shift in perception, often resulting in an increased sense of purpose, meaning and pro-social behavior.

In November 2016, I was certified as a Facilitator for the Conscious Aging 8-session workshop series, which I will be presenting at a local senior center over the next couple of months. I am sure I will learn even more about aging — its challenges and its rewards — from the workshop participants. Everyone’s journey will be have been different, but I expect to find that there are commonalities, just as IONS did through their research. I will publish an update to this blog at a later date with my real-life experiences as the facilitator of the series.

IONS identified opportunities for meaning and life getting better, while also revealing the stresses of aging. 


  • Freedom from productivity demands
  • Legacy leaving
  • Mentor children and adults
  • Heal old wounds and betrayals
  • Harvest our strengths, love and wisdom
  • Protect what has heart and meaning
  • Making sense of our lives through a life review process


  • Solo aging
  • Death of loved ones
  • Major life changes
  • Loss of mental or physical abilities
  • Loss of relevance, former roles and/or activities
  • Isolation and loneliness

Desired outcomes from the workshop series include:

  1. Explore unexamined, self-limiting beliefs
  2. Develop self-compassion
  3. Discover and reflect on what has given heart and meaning to our lives
  4. Enhance connection and reduce isolation from others
  5. Reduce fear and increase acceptance in the presence of death and dying

I am really looking forward to delivering this series to the senior center. If you are affiliated with senior centers or retirement homes in the Portland, Oregon metro area, I would love to speak with you about holding the series at those places.

In the meantime, your comments or questions are enthusiastically received!

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Share Your Gift With the World!

Every gift lying dormant in your soul has the potential to fill a void in someone else’s life.

~ Madisyn Taylor, The DailyOM 

Life is a journey that provides us with opportunities to learn, grow and share with others. So, why aren’t you sharing your gifts — be that knowledge or know-how — with others? If you are like me, you have been telling yourself that what you have to offer isn’t important enough, or good enough, or worthy enough to share. But how do you know that?

Recently, I shared an experience with my Toastmasters group that happened over 40 years ago. That experience is as vivid today as it was at the time. While I often write about my experiences in a journal, I did not write about this one, and yet the details are etched into my brain. That was an experience that is important to share. The gift I received from having that experience might be just what someone else needs to hear right now. 

I am in the process of writing a book — From Quandary to Clarity: The Guide You Need to Live an Authentic Life. As part of the preparation for writing, I thought about what I wish I had learned when I was much younger that would have prepared me better for what lay ahead. I brainstormed some questions and answers and am using that to inform me about what to share in the book.

Is it possible that you have gifts — ones that you were born with and ones that you acquired along the way — that someone else might find beneficial?  I believe you do. Whether you share those gifts through creative expression, or helping someone else, or in providing the opportunity for someone to become more aware, the value is immeasurable. Let your light shine! The world needs you.

Please leave your comments or questions below.

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Dealing with turbulent times

” . . . we can never know what will happen to us next. We can try to control the uncontrollable by looking for security and predictability, always hoping to be comfortable and safe. But the truth is that we can never avoid uncertainty. This not-knowing is part of the adventure. It’s also what makes us afraid.”

Pema Chödron, “Comfortable with Uncertainty”

The Tree of Life is a common symbol in many of the world’s religions, and it is present in spiritual teachings throughout Asia, North America and Australia. The tree often serves as a symbolic center of the universe, either the source of life on earth or a way of transferring divine knowledge to humans. We understand that there is a life cycle by watching the tree change through the seasons. In the Fall, the leaves change color and drop from the tree, symbolizing the end of that part of the cycle. In the Spring, new leaves appear on the tree, beginning a new cycle. In between is the Winter. It is during this phase of the cycle that nothing seems to be happening. It is a sort of limbo state and we may feel uncertain about the future. Will the tree “come back to life” in the Spring, or is it dead and gone?

As with the tree of life, we as humans go through cycles — both individually and as a community. We understand that change is inevitable. It’s the one constant, right? Knowing that intellectually is not very helpful when we are going through the throes of a major change, such as the one we seem to be experiencing now, both in our country and around the world. These periods of transition when we cannot know what will happen next, require of us a heightened level of resilience. We must have faith that all will somehow work itself out. No easy task.

A transition is the phase between an ending and a new beginning, and it can feel turbulent or chaotic. The more we can become resilient, the more easily and sanely we can move toward an uncertain future. Often we are asked to take risks that are uncomfortable. Yet we know we must do our best to move in the direction of what we believe is good without any proof of the result. We must act in the face of fear.

Think about a time in your past when there was a major transition. Perhaps it is linked in time with something anticipated, like a graduation, a marriage, the birth of a baby. Sometimes it occurs on its own. When I think back to a time when I felt lost and afraid, it was the Summer and Fall after I graduated from high school. Too many things changed at one time for me to absorb the impact easily. To begin with, I had just broken up with my boyfriend of 2½ years (his idea, not mine). Secondly, I got a job working in a restaurant and made friends with the cook on my shift, who later was arrested for embezzlement (loss of innocence). Third, my parents took long, separate vacations and put my older sister and her husband in charge of the three younger siblings. She was only 2½ years older than I. There was no way I was willing to have her tell me what to do! Fourth, I would start college in the Fall in New Mexico (out of state), and had no idea what to expect. I would be away from home for an extended time for the first time in my life, living in a dorm with people I didn’t know, finding my way on a large campus and learning a whole new way of being. 

When have you felt plunged into a major change (willingly or unwillingly)? How were you able to cope? 

During that Summer I tried to stay busy by working at two different jobs (one part-time and one full-time). I started dating again, but didn’t pick boys who were very respectful of me. Once I got to the University of New Mexico in the Fall, I immediately started marking off days on the calendar leading up to Thanksgiving, looking forward to going home and possibly reconciling with my long-time boyfriend from high school. Sometimes I wandered alone on campus sobbing uncontrollably, because I was so homesick. I was scared, felt insecure and had low self-esteem.  

After the Holidays, when I returned to college at the end of January, I began to see that things weren’t as bad as I had thought. I met new people, started dating and focused on my studies. The time went by more quickly and the world seemed less intimidating. I had finally reached that “new beginning”, that marked the end of the transition period.

We learn from our past experiences, but every change is different. Because the turbulence of our current times is so widespread, we can easily feel helpless and afraid. What can we do? How can we cope? How can we strengthen our resilience?

Resilience is the act of staying healthy and whole, so that we can bounce back from chaos and turbulence. Here are 4 ways that we can build our resilience.

  1. Stay connected to reality – Wwhile it’s difficult to face what’s happening, we can’t just go to bed and pull the covers over our head for very long. We must acknowledge what’s going on.
  2. Find meaning in the change that is happening – We can identify stories that we are telling ourselves and question their validity. We can use spiritual reflection to answer the big questions that come up, disengaging from the egoic part of our mind that strives to keep us stuck in the past.
  3. Create something new by using something that’s already at hand – We can take a look at what strengths we already have, and take steps from where we are and what we CAN do in the present moment.
  4. Connect to other people in solidarity – Difficult times are not the times to isolate ourselves. We need to connect with other people within the communities we already belong to, and seek out new communities of like-minded people.

There are spiritual practices that can help us be more resilient. Here are a few for consideration:

  • meditation
  • prayer
  • time in nature
  • practice the arts
  • gratitude
  • social justice work

There is a meditation that I have prepared – “The Peace Process” – which helps to decrease the intensity of feelings. Here is a link to it:

The Peace Process Meditation


Please share here any thoughts or ideas you might have. Tell us about a time when you had to find within youself the strength to deal with difficult change. What worked for you?

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The Ripple Effect

The choices you make have far-reaching consequences. Each of us carries within us the capacity to change the world in small ways for better or worse. 

 From the article, “The Ripple Effect – From Heartbeat to Eternity” (link below)

Article on the Ripple Effect

Many of us don’t know or understand how much power we have. We can literally change the world with one action, one gesture — even one thought. If you believe, as I do, that everything is connected, you may understand this phenomenon. The scientific explanation for it begins with classical physics.

Recent research using quantum physics is able to link the atoms with a core source of energy. “Everything is energy” is a common phrase these days. Don’t believe it? Here’s what scientists have been able to do:

Starting with an atom (the basic building block) they can break it down into smaller and smaller pieces: protons, neutrons, and electrons. These particles can be broken down even further into leptins and quarks. What they’ve found is that if they go down far enough, there is no matter at all. The only element at the bottom level is energy.

Another factor that is at play is vibration or frequency. You see, every atom vibrates at its own distinct frequency. When two atomic waves meet, they either meet in synch, creating a constructive or harmonious effect, or they meet out of synch, creating a destructive effect in which they annul each other. Is your mind exploding yet? This stuff is truly amazing!

To paraphrase Dr. Bruce Lipton, a former professor of medicine at Harvard University, if you drop two equal pebbles at exactly the same time into water, from the same height, they will both produce the same wave ripples (i.e. their waves will be in harmony with each other), and when their ripples meet, the combined effect will be an amplification of the wavelength. In other words, the merged waves become more powerful. But if you drop the pebbles from different heights or a millisecond apart, then when the resultant waves meet, they will not be in harmony and will cancel each other out. The waves become weaker. Try this experiment out for yourself!

Hmmmm . . . everything is connected and everything is energy. How does that work?  

Our bodies are made up of cells that are, in turn, made up of atoms; therefore, we are all created of atomic energy waves. It is impossible to separate those waves  When the vibration of one atom meets the vibration of another atom, they are either in synch or they are not in synch. We sense from each other either harmony (“good vibes”) or discord (“bad vibes”). Because our atoms are constantly encountering atoms from other sources, our waves are always meeting and getting entangled in each other.

What all of this means is that it is important to be aware of whether you are in an environment where you are getting entangled in destructive energy waves or constructive energy waves. The cells that make up our bodies know instinctively what is nourishing and what is toxic, but society doesn’t teach us to trust our feelings, so we often ignore the warning signs of a destructive interaction. We are not trained to use our ability to sense energy. 

When science dug deep it found that only energy is, and when spirituality delved deep it found that only spirit or  atman or soul is. And soul is energy. The time is just around the corner when a synthesis of science and religion will be achieved, and the distance that separates them will simply disappear. 

Anando, “The New Science: We Are Made of Energy, not Matter”

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Freedom of Choice

Nurture your personal power by honoring your dreams and desires. Make concrete plans to manifest them in the world. Start by making a list of things you want, and let yourself think big.    ~ Paraphrase of Madisyn Taylor in her post, “Personal Freedom” 

If you live in one of the countries in the world that has a democratic form of government, count yourself lucky! You have more personal power and can enjoy more personal freedom than people elsewhere. Are you taking full advantage of that?

And if you have people in your life that love you and give you the gift of allowing you to be YOU, you are even luckier!  Are you taking full advantage of that?

According to Psychology Today, “Personal power is based on strength, confidence, and competence that individuals gradually acquire in the course of their development. It is self-assertion, and a natural, healthy striving for love, satisfaction and meaning in one’s interpersonal world.”

Personal power is NOT power over others. It is realizing the power that is inherently ours — our free will, so to speak. Are you living from a place of personal power? 

  • Are my opinions just as valid as everyone else’s?
  • Do I believe that my happiness depends on what other’s think of me?
  • Have my choices been made from a place of truth or a place of fear?
  • When I am alone, do I feel as comfortable as I would with others surrounding me?
  • Do I attempt to take responsibility for someone else’s happiness?
  • Do I withhold my truth in order to not upset someone else?
  • Have I had relationships that have ended, because I feel resentment for not having my needs met, even though I haven’t clearly stated what my needs are?

Seeking personal power and realizing that I have freedom of choice has been a process for me. I have struggled with the questions above. Most of my life, I have felt inferior to others and have not always come from a place of truth. At the point when I separated from my husband in 2009, I went into a “dark night of my soul”. Nothing was more important to me than finding out who the heck I was and what the heck I wanted from my life, anyway. I was 60 at the time. I am 68 now and am the happiest I have ever been. I no longer depend on others for my happiness and I no longer feel responsible for anyone else’s happiness. I have found my personal power through learning to love myself for who I am.  

It’s not that I don’t care about other people. I care deeply about many people and humanity in general. But I take responsibility for my own happiness and support others in doing the same thing. There’s a freedom in that.



Image result for empower quotes

Are you living your truth?  Are you feeling your personal power? How free do you feel to make your own choices?

Speaking from experience, don’t waste another minute of your life living it for someone else and not for yourself. Recognize and embrace the unique beauty that is YOU!


Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who are alive.                                                                                                                                                                          ~Howard Thurman


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Set Your Sails

“To reach a port we must sail, sometimes with the wind, and sometimes against it. But we must not drift or lie at anchor.”

— Oliver Wendell Holmes

Many people make plans for their vacation but rarely do people make a plan for their life, as ridiculous as that may sound.  Life happens whether we are paying attention or not! We get distracted, we get overwhelmed, we are sometimes deceived. And then we find ourselves in a situation that doesn’t make sense. “How did I get here?” is a common refrain.

According to the authors of a new book, Living Forward, if we had a Life Plan, we wouldn’t drift too far off the path we defined without noticing that something is off. They warn that drifting through life without a plan can result in some very costly consequences, including:

  • confusion,
  • unnecessary expense,
  • lost opportunity,
  • pain and
  • regrets

I know from my own experiences that this premise is true. I have experienced all of those consequences at some time in my life – multiple times even. The worst case was realizing that I had married a man who was an alcoholic and an abuser. My children were traumatized, as was I. How did I get here?

The good news is that it’s never too late to get back on track. You can’t change the past, but all of us have the power to change the future. We allow ourselves off the hook by claiming that we just don’t have time to do life planning, but I believe that we don’t have time to NOT plan our lives.

In the book mentioned above, Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want, authored by Michael Hyatt & Daniel Harkavy, readers are led through the steps to create a Life Plan. The document when completed is a “living” document that is reviewed often and regularly, and is likely to change over time.

They ask that we answer three very powerful questions:

  1. How do I want to be remembered?
  2. What matters most?
  3. How can I get from here to where I want to be?

As we become clearer about the answers to those questions, we start realizing some awesome benefits:

  • we clarify our priorities,
  • we start maintaining balance in our lives,
  • we filter our opportunities,
  • we face reality,
  • we envision the future and
  • we avoid regrets

So, I invite you to create your plan, and a good start would be purchasing this book and putting it into action.

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Making Room for What is Coming

 Okay … so you have your dream, your vision of a life you would love. Why is it so difficult to manifest that dream? Six things need to change before you are ready to fully live that new life:

  1. Shift Your Perception
  2. Increase Your Sense of Deserving
  3. Face Your Fears
  4. Feed Your Faith
  5. Increase Your Awareness of Abundance
  6. Liberate Yourself Through Forgiveness

You will each have your own work to do in these areas that will be similar to, but not actually the same as, someone else’s. There’s no way I can discuss all six of these needed changes in one fail swoop, so let’s take the first one – Shift Your Perception- for this article.


Our thought patterns and behaviors may not always be in harmony with the life we want to live because of the following:

  • We focus on lack and limitation, yet yearn for abundance
  • We hold thoughts of resentment when we desire to have more love
  • We conduct ourselves in mental, emotional, and physical ways that are out of harmony with the vision we want to pursue

There are defining moments in everyone’s life. You may think of them as “chapters”. One of the chapters in my life occurred when I was 27 years old. I had been teaching in a high school in Colorado for the previous 4 years. One of my colleagues – a woman named Donna – and I became best friends. Neither of us was content with our teaching careers, largely because of the administration’s resistance to change. So, we packed up what we could haul in our two cars, putting the rest of our stuff in storage, and headed down the highway! We had no jobs to go to, but we were young and adventurous.

Our destination was Oregon. Now 40 years later, I still live in Oregon. I love it here, my children and grandchild live here and, though I love Colorado and visit there once or twice a year, I love being able to live near the ocean. That is still one of my top reasons for staying here, along with many more. 


Me in Oregon taking photos of my favorite place – Pacific Ocean


Me as a teacher (on the right) with my friend, Donna, directing a school play practice. 


Changing my location at 28 was definitely a turning point for me in many ways. I changed jobs and careers. Later, I got married and had children. I put down roots. I owned my own business starting in 1994. I would call the chapter when I was 27, “The Adventurer”. Now, looking back at that defining moment, I realize how momentous that change was. If I had stayed in Colorado and possibly continued my career in education, how would my life have been different?

Until the recent past, I did focus more on what I didn’t have, felt resentment towards people who “got in my way”, and sometimes conducted myself in ways that I regret. If I had hung onto those perceptions, I would be very unhappy at this point in my life.. But I have shifted my perception. I now think about the “bad” things that happened since that move to Oregon in a different light. They allowed me to grow and evolve into who I am today. 

What’s a “chapter title” in your life that you would like to give new meaning? If you care to share, please comment below and let us know how the meaning has changed from when it happened. 


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Finding Your Purpose

 Purpose gives our life meaning. When you discover your purpose, you can live your life with intention and make choices that serve your objective for why you are here on the planet. Finding your purpose is not always easy. You must embrace life wholeheartedly, explore many different pathways, and allow yourself to grow.

Madison Taylor

Are you trying to find your purpose?  Think you are running out of time?  Believe me, it’s never too late to transform your life.  

We each have to search for our purpose. It would be nice if it were instinctual. Most animals have strong instincts to know what to do for their survival, which is, in essence, their purpose. Human beings, on the other hand, have been given discerning minds that must go through the process of discovery and manifestation. Our base instincts aren’t good enough to even survive on this planet.

It wasn’t until 2012 that I began an earnest quest to identify my purpose. At that point, I was already 63 years old!  It took another few years of discovery to finally decide that my purpose is to help people through coaching. In September 2015, I was certified as a Transformational Life Coach by the Life Mastery Institute and began the work I was meant to do in the world.

Prior to that, I had lived a life that happened to me, rather than through me. How do I know that I found my purpose? I feel energized and passionate about my work. When I wake up in the morning, I look forward to my day. Weekends aren’t about recovering from  the week; rather they are about celebrating the week and looking forward to the week coming up. 

If we don’t determine where we are going in our life, we will end up someplace else, wondering what happened!

I invite you to consider making the time and effort needed to define and design a life you would love. Then comes the hard part. You must transform yourself into the person who is already living that life, despite your fears and the resistance to change that we all experience. Don’t forget that help is available!

We have a mechanism that tries to keep us stuck – our ego. Befriend your ego, but be firm with it. Thanks, but no thanks!

Please comment below.  I would love to hear from you!

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Image Telling Your Truth

Trusting myself has always been a struggle. I can’t remember a time growing up when I actually trusted myself more than I trusted those around me. I somehow thought that others knew more than I did. That I was somehow flawed. Telling my truth and living my truth was scary! It was so scary that I didn’t really even know what “my truth” was most of the time.

Like most kids, I needed to feel safe and secure growing up, but I really didn’t. I know now that being safe and secure is being able to say my truth, without feeling threatened.

~ Excerpt from my new book, “Quandary to Clarity”, Pamela Brown Wilkinson

Telling your truth can be pretty scary. As you can see above, I have not always been very good at it. In fact, I still struggle with this every day. What I have learned though, as an adult, is that telling my truth is not only a good idea, it is paramount. The consequences of not telling my truth range far and wide, from losing a friend to losing respect for myself. 

We have all heard that in order to be loved and to love someone else, we must first love ourselves. And we know that honesty is necessary to cultivate a good, long-lasting relationship. In addition, trust and respect figure into the equation. Without honesty there can be no trust. Without trust, there can be no honesty, nor can there be respect. It is a triumvirate – each piece equally important and each part dependent upon the others. 

There is an important distinction to make between “telling our truth” and “giving our opinion”. Many people believe that their opinions are the truth. But, unfortunately, our opinions often arise from making a judgment about something outside of us.  For example, let’s imagine that I think Sally is rude. That is my opinion. It is NOT the truth. In the words of Mike Robbins:

When we let go of being “right” about our opinions and take responsibility for our experience, we can speak our truth from a much deeper and more authentic place. Speaking this deeper truth will not only liberate us, but has the potential to make a difference for others while bringing us closer together.

Mike Robbins goes on to give us three ways we can begin telling our truth more often:

  • Stop managing other people’s feelings. I know this one well, as I can be the king of trying to manage other people’s feelings. It’s arrogant, manipulative and somewhat ridiculous to think we have the power to manage other people’s emotions. We also use it as a cop-out to not really speak our truth. We can be aware and mindful of other people and how they might feel (so we don’t end up being mean and hurtful on purpose), but when we let go of taking care of others in a condescending way, it frees us and them up to be grown-ups and have adult conversations, which sometimes can get a little sticky or tense when we’re speaking our truth.
  • Be real, not right. This is huge when it comes to speaking our truth. When we focus on winning or being right, we no longer can access the deepest places within our heart, which is where our real truth comes from. When we let go of our attachment to the outcome of a conversation, what the other person thinks and our erroneous obsession with always having to be right, we give ourselves the opportunity to get real. Being vulnerable and transparent are the key elements of speaking our truth, not dominating the conversation and the person (or people) we’re talking to.
  • Practice. Like anything and everything else in life, the best way for us to get better, deepen our capacity and grow is to practice. In this case, as we’re talking about speaking our truth, it’s not about role-playing per se (although if that helps give you the courage to have a difficult conversation, go for it). It is about speaking up and stepping into your life with your truth. Will you mess it up? Of course! Will you say the wrong things sometimes? Yes. Will people get upset, offended or defensive at times? Absolutely. This is not about being perfect, it is about being yourself and speaking authentically.

Read more:

Most all relationship problems comes down to a lack of one of three key foundation values: honesty, trust, and respect… and a willingness to end a relationship when it’s clear that one of these is missing. They are critical not just for romantic relationships, but all relationships… from teacher/student, parent/child, between friends, to between colleagues. All.

~ From “Honesty, trust, & respect: the foundation values of all relationships”; Quixotic Kiwi

The only reason I can come up with to justify not telling the truth is if doing so would put you at risk. If your wife or husband is abusive, for instance, you may be justified in keeping the truth to yourself. Ultimately, though, it would be best to remove yourself from any situation in which you don’t feel safe enough to tell your truth.

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