What Love Looks Like

What love looks like

I nurture, encourage, and
delight myself in healthy ways.

My first big realization on the road to recovery was that my utter and complete burnout was clear evidence that I had not been loving myself. I was not nurturing, encouraging, or delighting myself in healthy ways physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. I was disrespecting my body, mind, feelings, and values. Working myself nearly to death with no regard for illness or despair. If I had treated another being that way, human or feline, I would have been jailed long ago.

When I became serious about uncovering the roots of my imbalance and trying to set it right, I concluded that there are two fundamental types of core energy: love and fear. When I examined the primary energy underneath any thought, feeling, word, or deed, I found love, fear, or some combination of the two.

Love is constructive and moves you forward.
Fear is destructive and holds you back.
Love is the author of truth and reality.
Fear is the author of lies and illusion.

At first, I didn’t always recognize them as love or fear because they didn’t always show up in my life with those specific labels. I found the terms to be nebulous, tricky, and easy to misunderstand. With awareness, persistence, and unflinching honesty, over time I was able to recognize love and fear masquerading under lots of other masks.

In trying to get a more concrete grasp on what healthy self-love might look like, I realized I understood its opposite, fear, much better because I had fueled myself with it for so long. With mindfulness and curiosity, I recognized that the many faces of fear could be synthesized into a four-part pattern that captured the most common guises in which fear showed up in my relationship with myself—contempt, judging, shame, and lack. I then employed one of my favorite writing technologies, the Microsoft Word thesaurus function, to find their opposites—respect, curiosity, compassion, and gratitude. The chart below is my summary of the many faces of love and fear.

The Many Faces of Love and Fear

With the help of the insight and clarity provided by those particular attributes of love, the light dawned, and I began to make real progress. Focusing on these four constructs helped me more easily answer the eternal question in every situation:

Is this what unconditional
self-love looks like, and if not,
what would bring me closer
to that intention?

While taking good care of myself physically produced many healthy changes, when I shifted from taking good care of myself to falling in love with myself, everything else in my life finally fell into place. I lost weight physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I got off the hamster wheel, found my calling, and created a joyous, fulfilling life. Falling in love with myself was just like falling in love with someone else. I paid attention and treated myself as if I mattered, as if I were my own beloved child.

I am my own beloved childOne of the most powerful changes was being relentless about noticing and transforming any negative head talk into more loving, supportive messages. In chapter 6 of my book, Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!, concerning your personal board of directors, I dive deeply into the roots, role, and transformation of this type of self-sabotaging gremlin head chatter. For now, just know that fear is incredibly toxic; it doesn’t take much to poison the well of your life. Little things like the verbs I use—have to, should, need to, can’t, and the like—are indicators that fear is fueling my thoughts and beliefs about a given situation or relationship. Nothing is too small to matter; every little bit of fear you transform into love gives you a substantial energetic boost. It doesn’t take much fear to bring you down. Letting go of even a little will raise you up.

Months after I began writing and teaching about the love-fear energetic dichotomy, I started encountering it all over the place. The message is shared by many of the world’s great spiritual teachers. Though surely I must have encountered this lesson before, I had either misunderstood its application or experienced a common barrier. Head knowledge hadn’t been enough to make a difference. I needed to learn it for myself from painful personal experience. I needed to take life’s longest journey: the eighteen inches from my head to my heart.

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

“I’ve read many self help books and this is one of the best. What makes it stand out is the fact that it has a very personal touch. Deborah Jane Wells shares her own personal journey of transformation and the experiences of some of her coaching clients to inspire all of us who’ve felt overwhelmed and burdened by life’s challenges. Her courage, insight, and wisdom are simply inspiring. She not only motivates the reader with these stories but also shares the tools she’s learned along the way that we can all use to allow for positive change in our lives. This book is Deborah’s gift to all of us and is empowering to anyone willing to take an honest look at their thoughts and limiting beliefs and in the process become more aware of the power we all have from within to have the life we really want.” Hollie Kikel


“I highly recommend this book to anyone who really wants more out of life. This book is changing my life 1 page at a time, 1 baby step at a time. I just can’t even begin to tell you how thrilled I am that the Lord placed this book and its wonderful author Life Coach Deborah Jane Wells in my life. The life lessons are so practical and easy to relate to. I was looking for one little nugget of insight to share here but this is so chock full of simple and valuable morsels I could not isolate just one snippet. Let me just say after years and years of delving into my Bible and dozens upon dozens of self-help books, tapes and CDs and even motivational conventions, I now realize I was missing a very key element … Loving Me. This is a super great book to ponder over and over and over again. Truly a must read for everyone!” Linda Guntharp


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What clients say about
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“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

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About djwlifecoach

I am retired from 40+ years of helping individuals and teams build lives and organizations they love. One of the great joys of my retirement from professional practice is having greater bandwidth to donate my professional and creative talents to support and promote animal and social welfare charities. 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 led to finding my purpose guiding others on their journeys. As a board-certified coach, author, consultant, radio host, Reiki Master and EFT/tapping practitioner, I share hope, possibilities and empowerment with the world. 111419 DJW Sid CH Pet Corner Photo ShootI help clients achieve rapid, extraordinary, sustainable results by connecting who they are with what they do, a connection often lost through stress and the sheer busy-ness of daily life. Courageous self-awareness and unconditional self-love lead to honest choices based on priorities that nurture you and those around you on a journey to wholeness. Decades in coaching, consulting, change management, organization development, human resources and mixed media artistic expression honed my business sense, professionalism, creativity, intuition, leadership and communication skills. The result? Practical tools that help you become more insightful, creative, committed, productive and fulfilled. Even the most dedicated and hard-working individuals can shift from frustration to a sense of futility when their values, passion, work, and lives become disconnected. One of the problems with not taking care of our health is that the effects of ignoring it are often slow to show up. We continue to juggle family responsibilities, work and finances until we lose ourselves, waking up one day 50 pounds heavier in body and soul—no good to ourselves or anyone else. I love working with people who are ready to take life-changing action to make their dreams a reality. At each moment, you have inside you all the wisdom you seek to choose your life and your way of showing up. Limiting thoughts, beliefs and feelings can block you from moving forward. An absence of love and concern for yourself can result in negative head talk that holds you back with discouraging messages about who you are and what you can do. By listening and caring deeply, I guide you in connecting with your own inner wisdom. We identify the way you’d like to live. We determine what’s blocking you and release you from the hold those blocks have over you—unleashing the positive energy that will fuel you forward. Together we develop a plan to move you closer to your heart’s desire. My books, blog, radio show and signature coaching programs help individuals and organizations harness the transformative energy of love to turn unexplored possibilities into fulfilling realities and step into their greatness. What’s love got to do with it? Everything! My book, Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life! (Hay House/ Balboa Press 2013) shares my story and the stories of 10 of my clients along with my signature Discovery Framework. For fun, I love reading, sewing, knitting, yin yoga, afternoon tea, opera and movies. I live in Williamsburg, Virginia with my spouse, Wilson Abney, and the cat who runs our life, Maisy Jane.
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