Will the Real You Please Stand Up!


My friend, Robyn–dancing with passion!

There’s more to being healthy than eating the right foods, right? Even exercise cannot save you if the more important matters are out of balance. What matters? One of the things I appreciate about my school, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, is that we explore different aspects of life that impact our well-being, & how to support clients in creating & reaching goals in all sorts of areas.

Authenticity is a foundational concept in this process. However, finding our authentic selves may not be as simple as it sounds. Our culture resonates with exhortations for “pursuing your passion,” and to “do what you love.” Especially among young people, there is pressure to find your purpose, be motivated & inspired, & stride confidently ahead.


Wake up and smell those roses

Maybe you are a person who has always known what you were meant to do & be…or maybe not. Many of us, in our teens & 20’s at least, are just trying to “do life.” Sometimes, we get off to a rocky start, & most of us eventually settle into some sort of routine that seems more or less automatic. Then, one day, we realize that there just might be “something more.” The timetable may vary, but I’ve heard this story over & over.


My son, Joel, & his ice cream man…Joel has always marched to his very own drummer (in the best way!)

The trouble is, once we get to the point of really feeling a strong pull toward making a change, there are things standing in our way– circumstances we created for ourselves when we were younger & short-sighted, illnesses, difficult relationships, debts, & the like. Add to that the possibility that you may not have ever truly taken time to figure out what, exactly, is most important to you.

These are exactly the kinds of things I support clients with in my health coaching program– what do you want, what is standing in your way, & how can you make progress toward reaching your goals? I’d like to share with you a simple tool I’ve been using for years.

It’s called my “absolute yes list.” (It is not an original idea– I heard about it & began using it & I’m sorry to say I don’t remember where I got the idea.) The list can only ever have 3 items. It’s the 3 things in my life that are my priorities, to which I can always say “yes.” If it’s not on my list, I give myself permission to say “no!”

This is my list: 1) God 2) Human relationships (family, friends, anyone I believe God has put in my life for His reasons, which goes back to #1) 3) Art


“Exult” — a painting by Mollie Walker Freeman (this would be in the “art” category.)

I’m telling you my list so you can see that the items are pretty broad. But over the years, I’ve learned to be pretty ruthless with things that try to push their way into my life. If I can’t see how an activity, person, job, or whatever fits on my list, it’s a “no.”

Having my “absolute yes list” helps me know who I really am, what is really important to me. It helps me throw off whatever is not me. Knowing & being my authentic self is good for me, & great for my health. What helps you to know & be your authentic self?

1 Comment

  1. THAT was a freaking amazing post. (Even though it gave me the slightly creepy feeling that you’ve been reading my mail.) The Absolute Yes List is a great idea, and the photos were all stellar!

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