It’s Okay to be Human

It’s okay to have everything, but still want more.

It’s okay to spend years learning how to walk a spiritual path, but still display non-spiritual emotions when something knocks you off your path.

It’s okay to be enlightened, but still express strong opinions.

It’s okay to be calm, but still show anger.

It’s okay to be happy, but still feel sorrow.

It’s okay show courage, but still admit to being afraid.

It’s okay to love, but still feel hate.

Why?

It’s part of being human.

It’s what we signed up for.

This experience is what we wanted.

So, embrace the totality of who you are, even if you think you don’t know who you are yet… or even if you’re redefining what it means to be you.

It’s okay… because you’re here. Completely, fully here. Right now.

All of you.

Embrace your experience and love it.

Because it’s okay to be human.


About the Author

Appio Hunter, a.k.a. The Emotion Emancipator, is a personal development coach, energy worker, author, and inspirational speaker. He holds certifications as a Happiness Champion and Infinite Possibilities Trainer.

Appio is a self-described crusader for joy. His work blends multiple disciplines to show everyone how they can embrace their personal power and experience clarity, emotional freedom, balance, inner peace, and joy every day. He is also co-host of the weekly podcast Real Men Feel along with his good friend and fellow coach Andy Grant. You can learn more about Appio at AppioHunter.com.

Lessons from the Past Year

Last week Andy Grant and I closed out the 2016 season of Real Men Feel by talking about year-end rituals and New Year traditions. I admit that I don’t have many traditions I follow, but the ones I do I tend to follow for a time until they no longer serve me. That’s because I have a complicated relationship with the word “tradition.”

I think traditions can be both good and bad, keeping mind that I use those labels loosely. For example, I’ve experienced some wonderful family traditions that are fun and that never grow old; such as giving (and getting) new pajamas on Christmas. On the other hand, I’ve witnessed and experienced cultural traditions that hold back an entire society; traditions like discounting the contributions of individuals because of their gender or other differentiators.

By contrast, I’m rather fond of rituals. Rituals are deeply personal, and unlike traditions, which tend to become inflexible over time, rituals evolve and grow with the person. I have a year-end ritual I started a number of years ago that I continue to this day. I borrowed it from someone else, but it is now very much an echo of me and where I am in my life. The ritual I speak of is one of reflection.

If I don’t engage in the ritual by the end of the year, I make sure I do it within the first few days of the new year. This is the one time every 12 months when I take a serious look at where I’ve been so I can celebrate where I am now. As I celebrate, I think about the running themes of the year and then I write down the lessons I learned. Sometimes I share those lessons (like I’m about to do), but sometimes I keep those lessons to myself.

One of the biggest surprises from my reflections was I felt overwhelmed and disconnected for much of 2016. The reasons were unimportant, but I did learn some valuable lessons, which I went on to document. Those lessons allowed me to reconnect to the totality of who I am, and now I’m using them to live the most joyful life I can right now. Here’s what I learned and what I did:

I slowed down. The biggest lesson I learned was that I was doing (or trying to do) too much. This was especially true around late summer and early fall when I went through several major life changes, including starting a new job and moving into a new apartment. I speak often of the need to allow ourselves time to be playful and have fun, but I got so caught up in what I was doing I neglected to follow my own advice. The result was a slide into a depression the likes of which I hadn’t experienced in years. When I realized what I was doing to myself, I temporarily said NO to everything so I could slow down. I then took a step back, looked at what I was doing, and proceeded to say YES to the three things that were most important to me right now. The funny thing is that I continue to say YES to every opportunity that interests me, but I’ve learned to say, “Yes, but not yet.” I’m now committed to moving onto the next project only after another project is done.

I gave myself permission to be responsibly playful. Saying “no” now so I could say “yes” later gave me the space I needed to be responsibly playful. I define “responsibly playful” as making sure I set aside a little bit of time every day to do something that has nothing to do with my other “responsibilities.” My something can be anything from watching a show I recorded on my DVR to reading a chapter from a favorite book or building a new Lego® toy.

I stopped trying to multitask. This ties directly into me slowing down. By taking on only three active projects, and by only focusing on one project at a time, I’ve discovered that I get more done. There is an increasing body of evidence that shows our brains simply aren’t wired to handle multiple tasks simultaneously, so why fight nature? Instead, I’ve accepted that it’s easier to work WITH my brain than against it… and if you want to read a great article on the pitfalls of multitasking, go here.

I’m honoring my needs and doing what’s important to me. I’ve spent a lifetime ignoring my own needs and sacrificing things that were important to me just to make other people happy… and you know what? They still wanted more. Even though I instinctively knew that I was violating the First Principle of Joy, I felt like I couldn’t help myself. The happiness of those around me was more important than my own joy. It was only after I understood that I was approaching the subject of joy backwards that I started to take responsibility for my own happiness. In the process, I discovered the freedom to do my greatest good and the people around me wound up being happier too.

I remind myself that negative reactions are about the other person and not about me. This is an extension of #4. Have you ever dealt with a customer who, no matter what you do to make them happy, refuses be satisfied? Or perhaps you’ve dealt with a family member or a friend who has done the same thing. If you have, it helps to understand that they have their own issues they’re going through. I found that it’s easier to deal with unhappy people when I accept that I can’t think for them, nor can I live their lives for them. That’s something they have to do on their own. Once I accept that simple fact, it’s easier to remind myself that their reactions are a reflection of their thoughts and whatever it is they’re going through.

This list is by no means a complete one, but it does reflect the most important lessons from the past year. I share it with the intent of making 2017 an even better year than the last one. I also want to hold myself accountable for my continued growth and evolution. If the things I learned happen to help others, then great. But if they don’t, then that’s fine too. I’m gonna keep doing what I’m doing no matter what.


About the Author

Appio Hunter, a.k.a. The Emotion Emancipator, is a personal development coach, energy worker, author, and inspirational speaker. He holds certifications as a Happiness Champion and Infinite Possibilities Trainer.

Appio is a self-described crusader for joy. His work blends multiple disciplines to show everyone how they can embrace their personal power and experience clarity, emotional freedom, balance, inner peace, and joy every day. He is also co-host of the weekly podcast Real Men Feel along with his good friend and fellow coach Andy Grant. You can learn more about Appio at AppioHunter.com.

Perfection in Imperfection

I used to be a perfectionist. I’m talking OCD-type perfectionist. I’ve heard people say that perfectionism is a guy thing, but I’m inclined to believe that it’s a human “thing.” I haven’t bothered to see if there are any studies that suggest which gender is more inclined toward perfectionism, but a very un-scientific, random sampling of people I know suggests that there may be some anecdotal truth to what I’ve heard.

Having said that, I’m happy to report I’ve mostly overcome my obsession with being perfect. I no longer throw myself into a manic frenzy or deep depression when something doesn’t turn out the way I wanted it to. That doesn’t mean I’ve gotten rid of all of my quirks or peculiar ways of doing things. If anything, I’ve probably gotten more eccentric as I’ve aged. The difference is that I just don’t worry about perfection anymore.

I’ve found great joy in being able to step back after completing a project and asking myself, “What did I enjoy most about this experience? The result, or the journey?” I can honestly say that my answer is almost always, “The journey.” Oh, sure, I still revel in giving something my best effort and getting the best result I can, but if it’s not perfect, then that’s okay too.

My shift came when I accepted a very simple principle: By allowing myself to be imperfect, I am perfectly aligned with my inner joy. I know this sounds strange, but I found perfection in my imperfections. By letting go of my need for “perfect” results, I removed the barrier that had kept me from enjoying myself and what I was doing. I realized that the need for perfection didn’t just affect the result I wanted, but everything I did to get the result. If the slightest thing went wrong… oh, boy. I’d be in a bad mood, or worse – depressed for days.

Of course, I did my best not to let my bad mood or depression show, but I nevertheless was unable to enjoy myself or my life. I was caught up in a cycle of blaming circumstances, people, or anything else outside of me for my misery. The only thing I didn’t do was look at myself and ask the hard question, “How am I contributing to this mess?” I spent most of my time finding excuses for why things didn’t turn out the way I wanted. My need for perfection was turning my life into a perfect nightmare.

So what changed? What caused me to embrace my human imperfections when those imperfections used to cause so much distress? As crazy as it may seem, I just started going with the flow. I know, I know, that sounds like new age bullshit, but what’s exactly what happened. I had heard the expression, “Just go with the flow” most of my life, and to be frank, most of the time I rolled my eyes and shook my head when I heard it. But when I reached the point where I was tired of getting nothing but upset and depressed, I thought, “Why not go with the flow? Trying to change things outside of my control is exhausting.”

So, I started accepting my mistakes and the unexpected disruptions to my plans. I literally started saying, “You know what, that’s okay,” even if I was really upset. By telling myself that everything was okay (including the upset I felt), I gave myself permission to feel AND move on. I stopped feeling stuck and weighed down by a perceived failure, and I started feeling better about myself and my attempts at doing something I wanted to do. In fact, the simple statement of, “that’s okay” helped me to start looking at imperfect results differently. I stopped seeing an imperfect result as failed final attempt, but rather as a starting point for a creative process that I could enjoy for a long time as I made changes and adjustments.

I also experienced another important shift. Distractions stopped being ways of procrastinating something I didn’t want to do and they instead became ways of centering me in my natural feelings of joy as I found more playful ways of creating what I wanted. Those who know me well (especially those who like to remind me of my nickname “Shiny Squirrel”) know that Shiny Squirrel Syndrome (or Attention Deficit Disorder in medical terms) is a very real part of my daily life. However, once I embraced the distractions and started treating them as willing, even enthusiastic, creative partners for getting me what I wanted, the burden of perfectionism fell away.

I started noticing that shiny objects and squirrels (the metaphorical type) were a natural part of going with the flow. I may have a goal and I may even be able to see my destination, but I’ve learned to accept that every time I turn away from it, it’s not me being an aimless, visionless bum with no ambition. It’s me staying centered in what makes me happiest and following the course of least resistance. The path I take to my destination doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is getting there. And once I make it to where I want to go, I’ll choose the next thing I want to do and start another adventure.

Oh, I’ll admit that I still experience times of harsh self-criticism and judgment, but overall I’ve come to accept that I am perfectly imperfect. The expression of my joy is centered not only in what I create, but also in the creative process, the adjustments, and the changes that come when I accept the imperfect results and I have fun turning something that isn’t quite right into something that is just right.

In conclusion, I’d just like to say that my thoughts are dedicated to every man who finds perfection in his imperfections and to those who continue to struggle with perfectionism. Whether you find hope in my words or you completely disagree doesn’t matter. I simply know what has worked for me and what has worked for countless others who have found themselves in similar positions.

Embrace your imperfections, and when you do, you will find perfect alignment with your inner joy.


About the Author

Appio Hunter, a.k.a. The Emotion Emancipator, is a personal development coach, energy worker, author, and inspirational speaker. He holds certifications as a Happiness Champion and Infinite Possibilities Trainer.

Appio is a self-described crusader for joy. His work blends multiple disciplines to show everyone how they can embrace their personal power and experience clarity, emotional freedom, balance, inner peace, and joy every day. He is also co-host of the weekly podcast Real Men Feel along with his good friend and fellow coach Andy Grant. You can learn more about Appio at AppioHunter.com.

Am I Worthy?

In last week’s episode of Real Men Feel, one of the subjects that came up was that of worthiness. Do men question their worthiness as much as women do? Andy and I both admitted that yes, we do.

This question of “Am I Worthy?” has been a favorite in Western societies for over two thousand years, however variations of it have been asked throughout the world and throughout the ages, depending on the prevailing beliefs of the time. The answer to that question is as direct as it is simple:

Yes.

Of course, you’ve heard that answer many, many times. You’ve heard it so often in fact, that you have a hard time believing it. One thing humans love to do is to add complication where none is required. This is especially true of one-word answers. The irony is that when you look for a complicated answer to the question of worthiness (especially an answer that involves conditions), you’re feeding into the very stories that keep you from believing the simple yes that has been, and always will be your answer.

It doesn’t matter what part of your life you doubt, the “yes” of worthiness applies to everything. You’re worthy of love. You’re worthy of wealth. You’re worthy of joy. You’re worthy of whatever you question. There are no conditions to meet, there is no penance you must pay. By adding conditions or stipulations to the question of worthiness, you blind yourself to the truth of what is.

It isn’t necessary to elaborate further or to try to convince you that you’re worthy to receive whatever you want. You will believe what you want to believe. If you choose to believe that you must check off a list of conditions before you can be worthy of something, then you are free to check off that list. Know however, that if you believe that you must meet a set of conditions to be worthy of something, you’ll never meet those conditions. Conditions are not the product of Source, but rather an expression of the whims of humanity. They are as shifting and volatile as the wind.

Remember the First Principle of Joy: You are not responsible for anyone else’s happiness but your own.

When you understand that Principle, you will understand that conditions placed on you or that you place on others serve no purpose. They merely confuse you and keep you from seeing the truth of your personal power and joy.

And if you need evidence of your worthiness, then look in the mirror. The fact that you are here, you are alive, and that you’re even asking that question is all the evidence you need.

Be well, and know the answer will always be yes.


About the Author

Appio Hunter, a.k.a. The Emotion Emancipator, is a personal development coach, energy worker, author, and inspirational speaker. He holds certifications as a Happiness Champion and Infinite Possibilities Trainer.

Appio is a self-described crusader for joy. His work blends multiple disciplines to show everyone how they can embrace their personal power and experience clarity, emotional freedom, balance, inner peace, and joy every day. He is also co-host of the weekly podcast Real Men Feel along with his good friend and fellow coach Andy Grant. You can learn more about Appio at AppioHunter.com.

Just Be You

This post was originally published on my personal blog, and then after rereading it I thought it would be perfect for here. As men, it is our responsibility to be our genuine, authentic selves by shedding all of the baggage and expectations placed on us by society, culture, family, etc. Enjoy the read!


I’ve been subconsciously aware of a certain pattern with my writing for a long time now, but I’ve only recently started paying deliberate attention to it. The pattern is that I only write when I/m in an “over-the-top” good mood. Truth be told, “Good Mood” is where I usually am, but when I’m in a really good mood I/m a lot more creative, which means that I/m also more likely to write.

When I started examining my writing pattern I noticed a pattern within the pattern. The times I didn’t write were the times when I subtly entertained a belief that I had nothing to say. I thought that the only time I could write a Reflection was when I had something profound to share. Then, when I looked back at some of my more popular posts, I saw that they were the ones where I was the most vulnerable. I didn’t see my thoughts or insights as being all that profound, but they somehow resonated with many, many people.

Appio Being Happy 01That’s when I started to see that when I’m Appio, not Appio The Emotion Emancipator, not Appio the coach, not Appio the public speaker, just plain ol’ Appio, I share more authentically and I write more prolifically. I’m happiest when I’m baring my soul, being human, and inviting people into my experiences. Those wish to join me will, and those who aren’t ready won’t. All I know is that everyone who crosses my path does so at the right time, and in a way that positively impacts both of us.

Ever since I stopped hiding and worrying about what others thought of me or the path I felt inspired to take, my life has blossomed in ways I never imagined. My relationships with immediate and extended family are stronger than before, and amazing people have supported me in ways that have left me humbled and awestruck. I’m more blessed than I’ve ever been. Best of all, I continue to step further into my personal joy.

My thought this week is consequently very simple: Just be you. When you allow the genuine, authentic you to step forward and simply BE, you find the very acceptance, understanding and joy you’ve been looking for. You’ll discover that they’ve been with you all along. The only thing keeping you from experiencing the full expression of your personal joy is your acceptance of yourself. Once you let go of the illusions that feed your fears and the judgment that others have thrown upon you, you can claim what has always been yours. Love. Acceptance. Understanding. And above all, Joy.

Will there be people who reject the authentic you? Perhaps. But if they do, know that their rejection is more about them than it is about you. Their rejection is their way of saying that in their minds, they can only be happy as long as you behave the way they want you to behave. They’re telling you that they see you as being responsible for their happiness. Their message is that they feel powerless and helpless and that it is somehow your responsibility to make things right.

Let me be clear. You are not responsible for anyone’s happiness except your own. As you take responsibility for yourself you may end up sharing your joy with a few or with millions, but if all you do is experience your personal expression of joy, then that is enough. Your personal expression of joy is enough because if each of us expresses our joy in our own unique way, without worrying about what others think, we will collectively create the very world we want to live in.

If, as you choose to be you, the people you love the most walk out of your life, it is important to know two things: First, as difficult as the experience may appear to be, they are clearing your path and giving you the freedom to express and experience your personal joy. Second, the shock of separation is only temporary. Your life will quickly be filled with those who genuinely support you and your vision for yourself.

It is okay to experience the fear of rejection, and as you feel that fear, do your best to release it. Turn your attention instead to what you want to experience. When that happens, the universe itself will become your willing, enthusiastic collaborator and help you create everything you want. I absolutely guarantee it.

That’s all I have to say for now. Be well, my friends, and be you. You are, always will be, supported.


About the Author

Appio Hunter, a.k.a. The Emotion Emancipator, is a personal development coach, energy worker, author, and inspirational speaker. He holds certifications as a Happiness Champion and Infinite Possibilities Trainer.

Appio is a self-described crusader for joy. His work blends multiple disciplines to show everyone how they can embrace their personal power and experience clarity, emotional freedom, balance, inner peace, and joy every day. He is also co-host of the weekly podcast Real Men Feel along with his good friend and fellow coach Andy Grant. You can learn more about Appio at AppioHunter.com.