Getting the blues occasionally is common. I know first-hand how debilitating long-term discouragement can become if left unchecked, having suffered multiple episodes of depression in my lifetime.
During my 30 years as an organization transformation consultant, I served as a senior partner in four of the world’s largest, most prestigious global professional services firms. In 2005, I took a five-year sabbatical to find healing and peace because non-stop work had taken its toll. My recovery from burnout, including a sustained 80-pound weight loss and freedom from 10 years of debilitating depression, led to finding my purpose sharing hope, possibilities and empowerment with the world. Through healing and self-exploration, I discovered that loving yourself unconditionally is the key to transforming your personal life, your work and the world:
- Approaching life with love, respect, curiosity and compassion always reveals and advances the highest good, for all, in all, through all.
- Gratitude for Universal abundance anchors each moment in generous, effortless, gracious flow filled with faith, hope, prosperity, peace and joy.
What If You Are the Love of Your Life?
It all starts with embracing the amazing and liberating possibility that the love of your life just might be you. Many people tell me it feels selfish to think in those terms and that we are supposed to love and care for “our neighbor.” I remind them we are also supposed to “love our neighbor as ourselves.” Many of us would end up in court or prison if we treated our neighbors the way we treat ourselves.
I am reminded of the adage, “Charity begins at home.” If, according to Merriam-Webster’s 2011 dictionary, charity is “benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity” or at a minimum “lenient judgment of others,” then I suggest it has to begin at home; it has to begin with me. My ability to love others unconditionally is directly dependent on whether I love myself unconditionally. While, as a good actor, I can fake it by keeping all the judgmental voices inside my head, as with many things in life, there is a vast difference between faking it and the real thing.
So what does this kind of love look like? According to a well-known treatise on the subject found in 1 Corinthians 13:4–8 of the Bible (New International Version),
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
Imagine applying these to yourself. Being patient with and kind to yourself. Not being envious, believing you deserve the best of everything. Always honoring and trusting your personal truth. Respecting your abilities and the decisions you have made. Always nurturing and protecting yourself. Persevering with loyalty to yourself no matter what. Paying attention to and demonstrating compassion for whatever you are feeling. Recognizing and being grateful for your many gifts and talents. Pierre Tielhard de Chardin captured the importance of this way of living when he wrote, “Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, [we] will have discovered fire.”
This is the very heart of the personal transformation I’ve experienced in my own life and the lives of my clients. With the compassionate guidance of many spiritual elders, I am learning to harness the energy of love and approach myself, every being, encounter, and experience with love.
This way of living is a path, a journey, not a destination. It is not about self-improvement. It is about becoming aware and awakening my heart, moment by moment, day by day. This path to deep peace, lasting joy and meaningful relationships begins with a three-part commitment to myself:
- I matter.
- I fuel myself with optimal constructive energy.
- I am powerful.
It is interesting that those who learn to fall in love with themselves are actually less likely to behave selfishly. Their joy and peace are contagious. They show up in their families, friendships and workplaces with a spring in their step and a zest for living that carries them, and those around them, forward in new and exciting directions.
The bottom line? It’s not just okay to fall in love with yourself. It’s essential. When you fall in love with yourself, everything else finally falls into place. This transformation arises from a fundamental shift in your head and heart. Once love transforms your relationship with yourself, it can’t help but transform your personal life and work in ways that will exhilarate you. Your more constructive personal energy will automatically transform every being and situation you encounter. You will, by your very presence, quite literally transform the world.
The Components of Constructive Core Energy
Love, respect, curiosity, compassion and gratitude are not just five woo-woo, New Age words I pulled out of thin air because they sounded Zen and cool. They were revealed to me individually, real-time as I lived through the phases of my own dramatic and highly personal healing and transformation in the wake of burnout.
- Love: I nurture, encourage and delight myself in healthy ways.
- Respect: I honor my choices; I do the best I can with the love and light I have at the time.
- Curiosity: Instead of judging, I wonder why.
- Compassion: I acknowledge and value my feelings.
- Gratitude: I appreciate my life; everything is an opportunity.
The formula for making these principles a way of life is simple to explain. In every situation, love yourself enough to pay attention to every aspect of your life. Respect everything you are experiencing—what you are thinking, feeling, deciding, saying and doing. Determine whether the energy underneath is love or fear. If it’s love, you are probably on your authentic path. If it’s fear, demonstrate compassion for yourself. Foster gratitude by reminding yourself that everything is an opportunity. Then further neutralize the fear by bringing curiosity to bear. Explore every aspect of the situation, especially your internal landscape, and identify all of the opportunities available to you through this unique experience. As with any new skill, practice will help this way of being become a healthy new habit—your automatic response to every situation.
In summary, figure out what you want, understand whether it’s fueled by fear, transform any fear into love, set your intention, and then get ready to receive it, because it will happen.
To help yourself remain mindful of this healthier new habit, try incorporating relevant affirmations that anchor your desire for constructive core energy. Here are three of my personal favorites:
- God is God, I am God’s and love is the greatest power in the Universe.
- I consecrate my choices: thoughts, words and deeds. I never use them to injure or deceive myself or others.
- I fill my heart with love, compassion and gratitude. I align myself with the highest good. Blessed be all through me.
The Core Energy Scan
With this rudimentary understanding of the roles of love, respect, curiosity, compassion, and gratitude in fostering constructive core energy and manifesting a life of flow, you are better equipped to notice when any one of the big five would benefit from recalibration and what form that might take. When, despite your best efforts, you become discouraged because you’ve temporarily strayed from the path of loving yourself unconditionally, a real-time Core Energy Scan can help you identify which aspects of your thinking would benefit from recalibration and what form that might take.
Above you will find a snapshot of the worksheet used for the scan. In my book, Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!, I provide a variety of scans to help you recognize when you are out of alignment and get yourself back on track, including the Core Energy Scan. Click here to download a FREE full-size, color version of my Core Energy Scan, along with full-size, color versions of all of the other illustrations and scans included in my book.
The Core Energy Scan consists of a five-step process, with each step grounded in caring enough about yourself to do the following:
- Pay attention so that you notice quickly whenever fear creeps into your energetic mix.
- Invest your energy in assessing the root cause of the fear.
- Determine what baby steps will strengthen the presence of love in your reality.
- Hold yourself accountable for following through on your commitment to take action.
- Assess your results and continuously refine and expand your action plan to maximize the presence of love and minimize the presence of fear in the core energy with which you fuel your life.
Having gotten honest with myself, if the results of the scan indicate there is something significant to explore but I don’t yet feel able to go deeper, I demonstrate respect and compassion by not forcing myself. I relax into exactly where I am on my journey. Caring enough about myself to notice and explore my unhappiness plants the seed for emerging insights. Whenever I invest my energy in conducting the scan, I’ve already taken an additional step toward recognizing unresolved fear inside me and moving myself forward on my personal journey to wholeness.
You are worth the effort. With practice, you will turn unconditional self-love into a healthy new habit that will become a way of life. When love takes over your core energy, you will begin building the less stressful, more fulfilling life you dream of.
The only person controlling your life is you. Turn unexplored possibilities into fulfilling realities by harnessing the transformative power of love to step into your greatness. Choose your energy and change your life!
Mood Booster Bonus Tool
Here’s a bonus tool for turning your mood around when you feel down. It’s a proven best practice for boosting your sense of hope and fostering a spirit of optimism and gratitude. It’s much more effective than consuming a pint of ice cream in one sitting. What’s this powerful technique?
Lend a helping hand to someone else in need.
Nothing cures the blues like taking your eyes off yourself and reaching out to help another. I have a client who used volunteering to help heal herself from the severe depression that followed her husband’s many years of suffering and death from cancer. While she was working with me to learn how to demonstrate unconditional love, respect, curiosity, compassion and gratitude for herself and her painful journey in each moment, she also reached out with passion and commitment to help others in need in her local community.
When you serve others—and help lighten their loads—you make a difference. Knowing you’ve had a constructive impact in someone else’s life provides you a renewed sense of meaning and accomplishment.
Next time things aren’t going your way and you are starting to feel down, in addition to conducting a Core Energy Scan to strengthen your demonstration of unconditional love for yourself, try doing something kind for someone else as well. It may be as simple as paying a compliment to a stranger or holding the door for a parent with a small child. Not only will you make that person’s day, you just may make your day too.
Who do you know that could use a helping hand today? Whose burden can you help lighten right now?
Excerpt from “Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!” © Copyright 2013-2018 DJW Life Coach LLC. All rights reserved.
What readers say about
the impact of Deborah’s book
“Here is what I know about Deborah Jane Wells … she walks her talk. I was a witness to her process for writing this book and she followed her energy and her heart every step of the way. The principles and wisdom shared in her book, along with practical steps for truly creating meaningful change in your life, come from Deborah’s personal life experience and that of many of her clients. In life she is curious, courageous, loving, spiritual and always willing to delve deeper to understand herself better. And she offers this same support and guidance for all who cross her path. Deborah embodies a unique combination of an organized, well-developed left brain balanced by a strong connection to her creativity and inner capacities. As a result, ‘Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!’ offers a holistic approach to personal growth. This book is filled with engaging personal stories and a series of tools that you’ll use throughout your life.” Anne Barton, Founder, The E Life
“I was trained as a research scientist over a half-century ago. The agreed-upon methodology centered upon empirical evidence. Such evidence was continually subject to verification—or falsification—through repeated experimentation and re-interpretation. By virtue of this iterative process, narratives and subjective experiences were de-valued or dis-credited entirely. Only objective/dispassionate experiences and observations were worthy of serious scrutiny. All scientific publications, research proposals and presentations to professional meetings were expected to be grounded in objectivity. Story-telling was viewed, at best, as a harmless diversion from the search for truth.
Deborah Jane Wells, in her 2013 memoir ‘Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!,’ brings personal narrative—and love—back to their proper places in human understanding. Drawing upon her decades of experience as a writer, speaker and empowerment coach, she recognizes the important distinction between ‘stuff that’s true’ and ‘stuff that matters.’ To be sure these two realms are overlapping, not mutually exclusive. Yet their methodological focus is different. Personal narrative gives essential recognition to the ambiguity, paradoxes, contradictions, chaos and imperfections that constitute every living system. Life unfolds through tinkering and testing, not via ‘intelligent design.’ I recall the words of the biologist Lewis Thomas, who observed (in ‘The Medusa and the Snail,’ 1974), ‘The capacity to blunder slightly is the real marvel of DNA. Without this special attribute, we would still be anaerobic bacteria. And there would be no music.’
If you are comfortable with life’s ambiguities, contradictions, and contingencies and if you are able to welcome ‘the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’ as gifts for learning and maturing, then Deborah Jane Wells’ compelling memoir into ‘stuff that matters’ will invite your engagement. You may even be prompted to re-consider some of your favorite hobby-horses and learned limitations.” Rev. David A. Johnson, Interim Minister, Williamsburg Unitarian Universalists, Virginia
in print, ebook and—
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If someone offered you a precious gift for an hour of your time, would you be interested? That’s what I offer with a Complimentary Coaching Session. A comp session isn’t a brief demo or sample. It’s a full 45-minute coaching session focused on current real life challenges of your choosing plus 15 minutes to discuss your experience and any questions you may have about my approach to coaching.
There is no expectation or pressure to hire me as your ongoing coach. Providing meaningful, substantive comp sessions with no obligation is one of the ways I demonstrate gratitude and give back to the Universe a small portion of the abundance and opportunity it bestows on me daily.
The real value of a comp session? PRICELESS!
Those who have experienced comp sessions will tell you, when you come to your session open to the possibilities for transformation and fully committed to your own growth, big breakthroughs can happen!
What clients say about
the power of coaching with Deborah
“I knew Deborah before she became a Professional Life Coach. I’ve been amazed at how she has changed her life. When I decided it was time to begin making decisions about the next phase of my life, I knew immediately that Deborah was the person I wanted to work with. Her personal and professional experiences help her guide clients through coaching in a way that is individualized and delightfully eye-opening. Her warmth and sensitivity are immediately apparent, even over the phone. With gentle encouragement and permission, she will guide you through an examination of your life, including difficult experiences. She will help you gain insight from your past choices and then explore possibilities for moving forward in less encumbered ways. When you work with Deborah, your life will take on new meaning and your potential will be limitless!” Chris
“The work I did with Deborah continues to change my life. While I have learned many valuable lessons from her, the greatest was the deep insight that is available to me when I listen to and learn from my own inner wisdom. Her intuition, discernment and encouragement have taught me to trust my own intuition—creating new paths and possibilities for my life. One of Deborah’s great gifts is helping others respect and connect with their inner guidance and through that connection, to form a deeper, more meaningful bond with the collective wisdom and energy of all.” Ryan