Beyond the Pain to Authenticity

“You can’t just pray about the pain. You must eliminate the pain. Pain is pain, hurt is hurt, fear is fear, anger is anger, and it has no color.” Iyanla Vanzant

greyscale photo of naked man
Photo by Sam Burriss

Indigenous people have endured unspeakable cruelties. In fact, all people of diverse backgrounds in some way have dealt with resulting pain and injustices personally or as a collective. The pain of the living past is agony we carry in our DNA and emotional pain body that is keeping us from being authentic whether we acknowledge it or not. Identifying with the pain of the past is a victim identity. There is a process to dealing with pain but we can choose to experience victories as well.

Nothing justifies the oppression or excuses the atrocities of our past. However, When we take full responsibility for our own inner space right now with consciousness and seek truth, 1) energy begins to flow that was once blocked, 2) our DNA can be upgraded, 3) and we can learn how to observe the pain body rather than identifying with or unsuccessfully fighting it. The moment we realize the necessity of healing, and are committed to practicing the power of being fully present,  we break the attachment and bondage from the torment of our past. We become an alchemist. Our pain then becomes fuel for our consciousness so that consciousness eventually surpasses the pain. 

The pain of the past will never be more powerful than existing in the fullness of who we are meant to be today. We can be healed and remove the emotional pain that is cloaking our truest self. Whatever is exposed to the light of consciousness becomes light. 

Transformation is always within our reach. Pain is part of the human experience reminding us that we are alive and alerting us when something is wrong. However, carrying the weight of pain throughout our lives is an unnecessary burden. There are lessons the pain can teach us. It is our responsibility to figure that out so that we can release the pain once and for all. We can learn how to look back but with a different perspective. Freedom is our birthright. We can choose to claim what belongs to us  if we earnestly desire to be liberated and live authentically.(Inspired by Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment)

I have proudly studied African history for years.I have invested hours of time, heart, and resources in order to engage in indepth research.The reward has been phenomenally immeasurable. My studies have been significant in my process of becoming more authentic. Recently, I realized I had allowed my personal experiences and studies of African American history to affect me in a way that was displeasing to myself. My pride was actually clouded by my pain. The anger that once boiled at the atrocities my people experienced through racism white supremacy, colonization, and segregation had eventually quieted. However, the pain that accompanied the anger all along was still there.

Once triggered and shocked by the state of my undesirable condition, I looked inwardly to access the help that was waiting to be unlocked at the right time. Transformation has begun! I’m not “there” yet but at least I have left. I know the lessons I am to learn and the responsibility I have to walk in love and truth. I will never forget the love and fervent spirit of my ancestors, but I am finally ready to release the pain. I have no desire to carry the heavy burden any longer. I cannot carry it and get the momentum I need to move forward. I truly want to be free. Further, I understand that I do not have to personally suffer to demonstrate my connection to my ancestral history or appreciation for their rich legacy. 

 “Pain will lead you to promise”. T.D. Jakes

Copyright by Deana Gordon

Thank you for reading! Post a comment! Authentic thoughts are thoughts that are genuine and sincerely expressed. Authentic thoughts reverberate with other authentic individuals so they have an irresistible urge to ponder and respectfully respond from their own unique perspective.

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The Power of “I”

“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.” Jim Rohn

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Photo by Gabrielle Hnederson

The word I is much more than the ninth letter of the alphabet. The dictionary defines I as a pronoun and a word that a speaker uses to refer to himself or herself. It is a first-person singular pronoun. The dictionary further states that I is also used as the subject of a verb. When we have set a goal to be authentic our understanding of the resident power in the word I and how we use it becomes imperative. It is  neither selfish, self-righteous, nor an act of self-aggrandizement to navigate our way through the world with an I stamped on our chest. Just like the S which reminds us of a superheroes ability which extends finite human ability, the proper use of I enables the user to unlock inherent authentic power. This style of authentic power is useful as we aim to be true to ourselves, deal with conflict, and determine our place in the world.

I, is a pronoun and a word that a speaker uses to refer to himself or herself. There are times when we have to make decisions in life about what we want. And there are times that we need to be able to express how we truly feel. No one can honestly determine those things better than we can for ourselves. Seems simple enough, right? However, in the context of a tumultuous relationship, hectic life transition, or frenzied environments the simple becomes challenging. Wherever we find ourselves, but especially in times like these, we have to be willing to detach ourselves from the circumstances long enough to hear what our own heart is saying. Once we do this, we can refer to ourselves from an authentic position with statements that begin with I:  I feel, I think, or I am, are just a few examples. Then we are more capable of following through with subsequent actions which are authentic. Along my journey, I have discovered that when I use I statements, I am more authentically focused. In other words, I am more in touch with myself and I’m more connected to the meaning I need to derive from the experience in spite of being distracted by noisy distractions.

The dictionary states that I is also used as the subject of a verb. Which means that the I is connected to a verb whether it is a verb of action like, “I walked”, or a verb of being like, “I was”. This understanding is particularly useful in knowing how to authentically deal with conflict. Conflict is typically a result of mismatched expectations. No matter how many passive-aggressive attempts we make to avoid conflict, conflict is inevitable. Life is not about if conflict arises. Relationships in life are about when conflict arises. The conflict we experience does not have to be a sign of an imminent end or snowball effect for bigger problems. Patrick Lencioni, author of The Five Disfunctions of a Team says, “All great relationships that last over time require productive conflict in order to grow. This is true in marriage, parenthood, friendship, and business.” It’s a good idea to take responsibility for your part in the conflict whether overtly or covertly. All parties involved in the conflict are part of the issue. Assuming responsibility is not about placing fault or blame but it is about accepting full ownership of the matter at hand. We can do so more easily when we understand reaching a resolution is not about winning or losing but authentically opening up so that afterwards we can relish in the benefits of the conflict.

As an empath, I am learning how to better deal with conflict. I accept the inevitability of conflict but honestly speaking, I usually try to avoid it. Nonetheless, I am extremely selective about the “battles” I take part in. As I engage, I have found it to be more constructive to focus on recognizing my own actions and emotions. Then I can make “I” statements that are connected to a verb or the actions I displayed during the conflict without being consumed with confronting, correcting, or controlling the actions of others.

Too much emphasis is often placed on the often unidentified “they” and “everybody” in society. They are doing this and they are doing that. Who are they? Everybody has this and everybody knows that. Really? A deeper understanding of the power of I helps us to clearly determine our own place in the world. We have to know where we end and where the unidentified, they begin. I, draws a clear dividing line so that the choices we make are influenced by our own values, personality, and spirit, not the unidentified they and everybody. We have to give ourselves permission to be different—realizing that’s already the reality. I learned along my journey that what’s popular may not be right for me and what’s right for me may not always be popular. I proudly wear an I on my chest every day.

“The greatest act of courage is to be and to own all of who you are–without apology, without excuses, without masks to cover the truth of who you are.” Debbie Ford: Overcoming Fear and Igniting Self-Confidence”

Copyright by Deana Gordon

Thank you for reading! Post a comment! Authentic thoughts are thoughts that are genuine and sincerely expressed. Authentic thoughts reverberate with other authentic individuals so they have an irresistible urge to ponder and respectfully respond from their own unique perspective.

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THE FACES OF CHANGING AUTHENTICITY

Photo by Omid Arman

“You’ll never know who you are unless you shed who you pretend to be.”― Vironika Tugaleva

Authenticity is not a destination, it is a journey. Along our journey, as we endeavor to be authentic we will notice we are changing. We may not be the person we were six months ago–maybe even yesterday. That person felt differently about the matters of life.

For example, inevitable change happens in our mentality which redefines how we move about in the world. When we change socially, the places we once enjoyed may become annoying, boring, or uneventful. Physical changes to our bodies may include participating in activities that are more advanced or less challenging. While financial changes call for new budgets and expenses. Relationship changes may require us to relocate or make new plans for how we will spend the holidays with our family. Every aspect of our lives is subject to change. Change is the only thing that is constant. Change happens monthly, weekly, and daily in varying degrees and aspects of life. Although too much change too quickly could be problematic and require close attention, the point is clear. Change will definitely happen to us, in us, and around us.

Authenticity cannot be universally defined because it is unique for every individual. Learning to live from our heart space orders our steps in our own authentic lifestyle. Passion, purpose, and truth are significant components of authenticity. Together each component works to demonstrate authenticity in an individual’s life. Know that purpose and passion coexist. Our heart births our passion and passion fuels our purpose. Our passion and purpose are then guided by our personal truth. Because passion, purpose, and personal truth are specifically unique, authenticity will vary from person to person and so does how change manifest in our lives.

Wherever we find ourselves along our journey as we change it is the imperative that we are true to self. The most important relationship we will ever have is the relationship we have with ourselves. As we pay attention and show up in our lives we will discover we have an opportunity to learn something new. Take all the necessary time you need to sit with what you learn. Then include the new information in how you define yourself and relate to the world. This demonstrates an appreciation for your newly acquired understanding. Don’t forget to grant yourself the grace of time to manifest the change you want to see. Accomplishing this task will take an asserted effort but it will not be overwhelming if we humbly submit to the process.

So what if you haven’t discovered your purpose just yet. Perhaps life is pretty good and your days are filled with things you enjoy.and you are not experiencing a significant degree of change. Moreover, maybe you are known for speaking your mind and standing up for what’s right. Isn’t that authentic living? Sure. Remember, there is not one way to be authentic. Anytime a person is expressing themselves without feeling like they have to be a “certain way” they are being authentic.

Regardless of what your walk looks like as an authentic being the pay off is deeply satisfying and the rewards are endless. To begin, when we choose to be authentic we get out of our own way, create peace of mind, decrease distress, and improve the relationship we have with ourselves. Choosing to be authentic is always worthwhile.

Mother Theresa said it best. “Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable-be honest and vulnerable anyway.”

Copyright by Deana Gordon

Thank you for reading! Post a comment! Authentic thoughts are thoughts that are genuine and sincerely expressed. Authentic thoughts reverberate with other authentic individuals so they have an irresistible urge to ponder and respectfully respond from their own unique perspective.

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Changing Authentically

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Authenticity is not a destination it is a journey. Along our journey, as we endeavor to be authentic we will notice we are changing. We may not be the person we were six months ago–maybe even yesterday. That person felt differently about the matters of life.

For example, inevitable change happens in our mentality which redefines how we move about in the world. When we change socially, the places we once enjoyed may become annoying, boring or uneventful. Physical changes to our bodies may include participating in activities that are more advanced or less challenging. While financial changes call for new budgets and expenses. Relationship changes may require us to relocate or make new plans for how we will spend the holidays with our family. Every aspect of our lives is subject to change. Change is the only thing that is constant. Change happens monthly, weekly, and daily in varying degrees and aspects of life. Although too much change too quickly could be problematic and require close attention, the point is clear. Change will definitely happen to us, in us, and around us.

Authenticity cannot be universally defined because it is unique for every individual. Learning to live from our heart space orders our steps in our own authentic lifestyle. Passion, purpose, and truth are significant components of authenticity. Together each component works to demonstrates authenticity in an individual’s life. Know that purpose and passion coexist. Our heart births our passion and passion fuels our purpose. Our passion and purpose are then guided by our personal truth. Because passion, purpose, and personal truth are specifically unique to you, authenticity will vary from person to person. 

Where ever we find ourselves along our journey as we change it is the imperative that we are true to self. The most important relationship we will ever have is the relationship we have with ourselves. As we pay attention and show up in our lives we will discover we have an opportunity to learn something new. Take all the necessary time you need to sit with what you learn. Then include the new information in how you define yourself and relate to the world. This demonstrates an appreciation for your newly acquired understanding. Don’t forget to grant yourself the grace of time to manifest the change you want to see. Accomplishing this task will take an asserted effort but it will not be overwhelming if we humbly submit to the process.

So what if you haven’t discovered your purpose just yet. Perhaps life is pretty good and your days are filled with things you enjoy. Moreover, maybe you are known for speaking your mind and standing up for what’s right. Isn’t that authentic living? Sure. Remember, there is not one way to be authentic. Anytime a person is expressing themselves without feeling like they have to be a “certain way” they are being authentic.

Copyright by Deana Gordon

Thank you for reading! Post a comment! Authentic thoughts are thoughts that are genuine and sincerely expressed. Authentic thoughts reverberate with other authentic individuals so they have an irresistible urge to ponder and respectfully respond from their own unique perspective.

If you like the content follow us! Please tell others so they may be inspired to live authentically. Scroll to the bottom right.

The Trust of Potential

Photo by Liane Metzler

“…The more you believed in yourself, the more you could trust yourself. The more you trust yourself, the less you compare yourself to others.” Roy T. Bennett

Have you ever been uncertain about what to do and then looked around at everyone else to see what everybody else was doing? Assuming they were right, you followed suit with your own behavior. Thinking quietly to yourself, “I have an idea about what to do but no one else is doing that. Well, even if they are wrong, we will all be wrong together.”  Consequently, later you found out that although the majority ruled it was wrong! In your heart all along you knew what was right but you felt a little apprehensive about your choice because it was different from everyone elses.When you trust yourself and do what is right you can reach your fullest potential in life. 

Versions of that example play out in our lives everyday. Personal choices are often  influenced by what is popular at the moment! Peer pressure and fitting in is not just a teenage struggle.  The struggle for many continues well into adulthood. We are all challenged in that way at some point or another. Contrast in life helps us to know ourselves and define ourselves more accurately. Moreover, at times there is safety in observing and joining in with the group’s behavior.

Comparing ourselves to others equates their journey with our own. One journey is not better than the other but no journey is ever the same. It has been stated, it is not wise to compare ourselves to others we have no idea what their journey is all about. The valuable lesson I’ve learned along my journey is that the only person I should be better than is the person I was yesterday. I once worked in an environment that I considered highly prejudicial. No matter how hard I worked, my efforts were never acknowledged. As a highly qualified and seasoned educator, I knew the student data proved my pedagogy was on point. However, year after year the same scenario played itself out and other teachers seemed to get the recognition I thought I deserved. The experience forced me to look within. I learned to judge myself by myself. From then on I became my only competition. I set personal goals each school year, and like a thoroughbred with blinders on, sought to meet or exceed them. I  began to see how this meaning was applicable in other areas of my life. As I made authentic choices I unpacked the potential in my own life to propel myself forward. My efforts eventually earned me several positions in leadership. When we focus on being authentic and intentional everything unfolds as it should. What I once thought was a prejudicial environment ended up being a blessing. 

I came to the resolve of becoming my own competition by learning to trust my choices. Trust is a benefit of authenticity. It is never a good idea when we give away our power to choose for ourselves. A version of a proverb says what is good for the goose is not always good for the gander. 

When authenticity is our goal the choices that we make are in line with our own personal truth which may not be popular. Every person is on a unique journey so variety and diversity should be expected.The choices that we make should navigate our way on our own path. Following the crowd, keeping up with the Joneses, and competing with strangers is not only a waste of time but can veer us off in the wrong direction away from our authentic purpose. 

Courage and self-determination are developed one choice at a time. We disempower ourselves when we make choices that are not in our own best interest. Honoring ourselves with our decision making is a testament of self-love and self-respect and the best way to reach our full potential.

 “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about a choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” Brene Brown.

Copyright by Deana Gordon

Thank you for reading! Post a comment! Authentic thoughts are thoughts that are genuine and sincerely expressed. Authentic thoughts reverberate with other authentic individuals so they have an irresistible urge to ponder and respectfully respond from their own unique perspective.

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TO BE OR NOT TO BE AUTHENTIC?

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“If you think dealing with issues like worthiness and authenticity and vulnerability are not worthwhile because there are more pressing issues, like the bottom line or attendance or standardized test scores, you are sadly, sadly mistaken. It underpins everything.” Brene Brown

In some instances, authenticity does not elicit the responses that one may hope to receive. Consider Cynthia, a general manager in a health care organization. Her promotion into that role increased her direct reports 10-fold and expanded the range of the business she oversaw and she felt a little shaky about making such a big leap. A strong believer in transparent, collaborative leadership, she bared her soul to her new employees: “I want to do this job,” she said, “but it’s scary, and I need your help.” Her candor backfired; she lost credibility with people who wanted and needed a confident leader to take charge Ibarra, Herminia. (2015) The Authenticity Paradox. Harvard Business Review January-Februay.)

Clearly the aforementioned is an example of what could actually happen when a person takes the risk to be authentic. Another example in this article from leadership pictures a person who feels like he has to choose between being a failure or a fake. The demands of leadership can be complex and ever changing. Is it possible to be authentic in leadership by publicly acknowledging weaknesses or fears and still be respected and trusted by subordinates? Is it possible to be true to yourself self when company policies require uncomfortable follow through with protocol and procedures?

Ibarra’s research findings about the challenges to authentic leaders are as follows. First, advancements in the work place require people to move out their comfort zones. Secondly, people retreat to familiar behaviors in moments of uncertainty about job performance. Finally, and most importantly, personal challenges toward our sense of self teach us the most about effective leadership.

Authenticity poses problems for leaders. To begin, can one hang on to their true self when experience causes people to change and evolove in the work place? Next, a leader choosing to hold a rigid idea of self- concept could keep him or her from moving forward aborting opportunities to demonstrate expertise. Finally, is it possible to be politically correct, culturally relevant, and meet workplace expectations while holding fast to our authenticity? Cynthia realized later that “Being authentic does not mean that you can be held up to the light and people can see right through you.” The article concludes that she needed distance or what I like to call healthy boundaries to gain the confidence of her new employees and discover success in her new job. Cynthia determined how to be authentic for her own path. Further, Ibarra sites psychologist Mark Synder, who says that leaders who have the strong ability to self-monitor can develop their own personal style. Self-monitoring allows leaders to be flexible and pliable although covering their vulnerability with bluster, while managing their public image, and advancing quickly. When self-monitors express their true chameleon nature should they be labeled insincere or authentic?

I have been in leadership roles in some capacity most of my life. Thankfully, over the years I have definitely expereinced personal growth. While much of my authentic principles have remanied constant. Those principles have also expanded as I have matured. In many ways I have transformed from the person I was twenty years ago. However, as I lead, my goal was always to do so in the best way that I could as one who was true to myself. As the relationship with myself developed so did the natural way I chose to move authentically in the world.

The pressure from other leaders and subordinates to be perfect, relentless, and all-knowing was unbearable at times. However, like in the article, I found creative ways to self-monitor so I could learn to be comfortable in my humanness. I also consistently invited others to actively participate at varying levels with me in accommplishing the established mission. Both the mission and vision are always bigger than one person. Including them in this way, they could understand the labor and complexities of actualizing the vision and hopefully become more empathetic. Dealing with criticism and handling how we communicate our position on particular issues all filters through colored lenses significant to our own personal journey. Style which speaks more directly to identity and skill which is a reflection of training are two distinctly different components of leadership which can be both nuanced and developed. There is no cookie-cutter method to leadership and people tend to follow leaders according to reasons that resonates with them.

In retrospect, I clearly remember turning down opportunities for speaking engagements that would in some way cause me to compromise my authenticity. With no regret, I stepped down from a coveted position once that was requiring me to behave outside of my authentic character. Thou flattered I often have found myself humbly rejecting the notion that the way I presented as a speaker could be compared to some famed mainstream personality. I’m okay with just being me in a category of my own. The journey along my path has taught me that it does not matter what is at stake. There is never anything that trumps being true to myself. There are always risks in allowing for vulnerability in authenticity. However, how one chooses to demonstrate their authenticity should be done so with prudent wisdom.

Knowledge of self is the beginning of wisdom. As a leader I learned in order to make the best decisions, I was only responsible for using the present knowledge and understanding I possessed at the time. The life-long process of authenticity permits this grace. My perspective on certain insight and how it was acquired was personal. With that, I could then navigate my leadership from an authentic place.

“We have to dare to be ourselves however frightening or strange that self may prove to be” Mary Sarton.

Copyright by Deana Gordon

Thank you for reading! Post a comment! Authentic thoughts are thoughts that are genuine and sincerely expressed. Authentic thoughts reverberate with other authentic individuals so they have an irresistible urge to ponder and respectfully respond from their own unique perspective.

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CHECK IN

“Making appointments with yourself and scheduling other things around them is key to proactive self-management.” Michael Hyatt

So that we are intentional and not overwhelmed by the complexities surrounding areas of desired change, personal change must be managed. When becoming more authentic it is important to ensure our transformation becomes a priority. Personal change is managed by setting goals, being aware of our behavior, and monitoring our progress.

Goals have more meaning when we regularly revisit them. Goals remind us of what we have established as important and help us to focus when circumstances cloud the way. Further, awareness is essential in discovering whether or not we are acting in a way that is committed to both our plan and the process of our becoming. Be aware of your own behavior. Notice what aligns with your desired outcomes.

Checking in keeps us accountable and accepting of our responsibility to ourselves. In these times we can admit when we’ve missed the mark and determine what we need to learn from the experience. If we have behaved in a way that is pleasing, cheering yourself on is of great benefit. Creating incentives can be a fun part of our personal management plan. Meeting our goals whether simple or difficult are always times for personal rewards and celebrations that should not be ignored. Rewards and celebrations are motivators in the process and bring value to checking in. Although, lasting change is intrinsically motivated it is encouraged to add an accountability partner you can trust to give you honest feedback. A compassionate ear can lighten the load and joy increases when we have some to share our victories with.

Remember to set attainable goals, remain as aware as possible, and check in with yourself regularly to monitor your progress. Becoming more authentic is a journey of personal evolution. Show yourself mercy and unconditonal love along the way.

Knowing others is intelligence. Knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power. –Lao Tzu

Copyright by Deana Gordon

Thank you for reading! Post a comment! Authentic thoughts are thoughts that are genuine and sincerely expressed. Authentic thoughts reverberate with other authentic individuals so they have an irresistible urge to ponder and respectfully respond from their own unique perspective.

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BECOMING AUTHENTIC

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Great conflict not only has the potential to unleash the secrets in a man’s heart but they can also purge him so that who he really is becomes undeniably apparent. The man then has a choice to demonstrate this part of himself that has become revealed or mask it in an acceptable disguise. Being authentic is not always easy. The process of becoming authentic involves self-discovery that may challenge expectations and require behavioral responses that are more than uncomfortable.

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During periods of relative contentment, happiness and authenticity ought to track together. During times when change is needed or taking place, what feels authentic may be anxiety-provoking and associated with negative emotions, depending on how we approach it. In contrast, what is needed to be happy and confident in oneself may feel inauthentic, a betrayal even of oneself.

Brenner, Grant H.(2018). What is Really Happening When We Feel Authentic?(Psychology Today, December).

In times of crisis we are faced with more than a problem. We are faced with ourselves and an opportunity to become more authentic. Einstein stated that no problem can be solved on the same level of consciousness that created it. Going inward rather than reaching outward allows us to discover who we really are and hopefully rise to the occasion. Denial does not change anything and resistance only exacerbates the circumstances. However, when we choose to go with the flow regardless of how unfamiliar and disagreeable the territory may be, we can then stand in our own truth.

At times becoming authentic does not feel like freedom, sunshine, and rainbows. In fact, there are many painful moments along the path. We cannot always move as gracefully as we would like to in life. During these times we should find a safe place to release our emotions if the need arises. We have to allow ourselves the space and time to process our experience so that we can move forward with authentic insight. Howard Falco states in his book I Am,

“Creativity cannot flow from a chaotic and disharmonious state. Emotions when not restrained provide a cleansing and a rebalancing that allows us to be in the best possible frame of mind to accomplish what we desire.”

Copyright by Deana Gordon

Thank you for reading! Post a comment! Authentic thoughts are thoughts that are genuine and sincerely expressed. Authentic thoughts reverberate with other authentic individuals so they have an irresistible urge to ponder and respectfully respond from their own unique perspective.

If you like the content follow us! Please tell others so they too may be inspired to live authentically. Scroll to the bottom right.