The Path to Authenticity - episodes XII & XIV

Psychology Today Publisher John Thomas

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John Thomas is the Executive Vice-President and Publisher of Psychology Today, the flagship of Sussex Publishers. Founded in 1967, Psychology Today is America’s number one media source in its field. Psychology Today magazine has a readership of 3.85 million and there are over 50 million visits per month on PsychologyToday.com. Prior to joining Sussex, 10 years ago, Thomas worked for a variety of media titles including Rolling Stone, Town & Country, Harper’s Bazaar, Victoria, Esquire, and Elle. He created and launched the highly-acclaimed Men’s Perspective magazine in 1994 and went on to co-found Route 224 Media Group, an advertising and branding agency specializing in prestige retail and luxury lifestyle brands.

To hear episode XIV of The Path to Authenticity, coming July 15, click here.

The Meaning of Self-Actualization

Self-Actualization is defined as the achievement of one's full potential through creativity, independence, spontaneity, and a grasp of the real world. It’s a key element in The Path to Authenticity and is often associated with the psychologist Abraham Maslow. If you’re interested in learning more about the topic of self-actualization, by clicking here, you’ll find a Psychology Today article written by Ann Olson, Psy.D.

Stopping to Celebrate

photo by Jen Conway

photo by Jen Conway

I’ve had a great week. Aside from releasing my podcast, I reconnected with a friend of 20 years. The day before that, I began to develop a new and powerful alliance with an incredible person. I saw some gifted musicians play live last night among some of the people I love most in this world. Over the past few days, people in my life have shown me the kind of support that only comes from love and loyalty.

People close to me know the past six months or so have been intensely challenging for me. It’s because, around this time last year, I decided I was finished waiting for a “better time” to do what I really want to with my life. I felt fear, bud I had no doubt. This decision amounted to a significant leap of faith that required courage and sacrifice.

My calculable schedule became unpredictable. I’ve had to hustle in ways I haven’t needed to in many years. And perhaps most significant of all, it took staring down an emotional vampire or two and dousing them with holy water. As a result of all this, I’m happier and more at peace because I am more me.

But, this would not be true if I hadn’t embarked on this path with the consistent love and support of perhaps the most gifted therapist I’ve ever met. Her name is Donna Marks, and she just published her second book.

I’ve finally been able to begin shattering the illusion of scarcity which, for me, comes from being the youngest of eight children to parents raised in the frightening atmosphere of the Great Depression. And, the loud and disparaging voices borne from the betrayal of emotional abuse at the hands of the older brother who I only wanted to admire and love - they are finally fading into silence.

I knew I needed to stop and celebrate today, after a dose of abundance presented itself this morning. So, I decided to post this image.

I’ve never much liked the way I look in photographs. That, too, is beginning to change. But, I see many more joyful photos like this in my future.

The Toxicity of Our Public Discourse

Because I believe we find ourselves in a pivotal moment in history, I have recently followed politics a little more closely than usual. That’s how I found myself logging on to Twitter, where, for many years, I’ve had an account I never use. 

The atmosphere of polarity in our politics, with all its judgment and shame from both sides, troubles me deeply. The impersonal nature of one’s online presence has made the internet, and specifically social media platforms like Twitter, “safe” outlets for our anger. As much as I try to avoid it, almost daily I’ll find myself scanning the responses to a post - often one concerning a topic that is peppered with only a slight bit of controversy - to find comment after comment that smacks of hatred. 

My first inclination is to retreat from this ugly public battle. But, the bigger part of me has been asking how I can influence this situation positively. I have an idea or two that I may share another time.  

For now, I want to share another writer’s position on this topic. Take the time to read this column by Kirsten Powers, of The Washington Post. This isn’t the first time I found, reading one of her pieces, a remarkably clear expression of my own sentiment.

Uhh Yeah Dude, Thanks for the Call

Not long after I began publishing to this site, I started developing a podcast.  I’ll say more about that soon, on the podcast page.  But, this post is about expressing gratitude.

I wouldn’t call myself an avid listener of podcasts. There aren’t that many I listen to. But, there are a few that I have listened to loyally for a number of years. One of them is an LA-based weekly show called Uhh Yeah Dude. It’s tagline is America through the eyes of two American-Americans. As its title and description imply, it’s a funny show. It’s also popular.

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The guys who co-host the show, Jonathan Larroquette and Seth Romatelli, have produces nearly 700 episodes since 2006. They have great chemistry and their own brand of social commentary. Rather than trying to describe their show in more detail, I want to encourage you to listen.

The two operate a voicemail line where listeners can call in if they so choose. Last week, I ran into a technical question about my new show and decided to reach out to them. I had no expectation of getting a call from either of them. They must have tens of thousands of listeners or more. But, I figured it was worth a shot.

Last night, as I was dozing off, my phone rang and Seth’s name lit up the caller ID. We had a brief but enjoyable conversation. He answered my question as best he could. He was cool and supportive and I got all the personality you hear from Seth on the show.

It meant a lot to me that this guy would take the time to show his support. So, thank you Seth. You’re a solid dude.

Passage 125

Many people blindly follow the beliefs of their parents without ever truly thinking for themselves. The full expression of such passivity occurs when someone succumbs to the pressure of those around him, biting his tongue and yielding to someone else’s vision for his life. There are those who equate avoiding responsibility with personal freedom, when, in truth, it leaves us in a state of dependence. The emotional toll this takes is enormous. It stands to reason that if we think like a child and act like a child we will also feel like a child.