Two months before my twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, I lost the love of my life, Patrick, to fourth stage lung cancer. He was diagnosed on May 5th, 2003, and gone three weeks later on May 31st,. Facing depression for the first time in my life, not knowing which direction to take, what decisions to make, or how to survive my grief, I became brutally self-attacking and self-loathing. I never realized how much I needed Patrick’s support to validate my worth. What I learned was that it took losing him to realize how much I didn’t know how to love myself. I became highly aware that I had been the person who always saw the cup half-empty. Patrick was the one who always saw the cup half-full.
Living with myself was like making a pact with the devil. I spent night after night, and day after day, beating myself up for all the things that I hadn’t done right, things that I could have done better, mistakes that I couldn’t correct or apologies that I couldn’t give. Why didn’t I listen to him? I should have advised him differently. If only I didn’t get so angry that one time when…
As if losing Patrick wasn’t enough, I lost four more loved ones in less than a two-year period. It felt like my grieving was never going to end. I found my mother-in-law, Lanny, dead in her apartment after traveling to Las Vegas to spend a weekend with her. I witnessed my father, Jean-Guy, pass away, the day after New Year’s, just two months after his diagnosis with fourth stage lung cancer. I was at the bedside of my dear friend of twenty years, Shirley, who lost her three month battle to liver cancer and finally, my brother-in-law, P.J., fell to his death when he was skydiving and his parachute didn’t open. I had to attend all the funerals and memorials without Patrick by my side. I didn’t have him to console me or hug me or even share in my grief. I felt so alone.
During this period of intense grieving, I felt like I was out of my body. My strongest desire was to meet my loved ones on the other side. The misery that I felt was extreme. I couldn’t control my convulsive sobbing every morning, noon, and night. My life had become surreal. Everything that I had known as normal, felt like it was no longer within reach. As a result of the grief, the trauma, and the pain, I chose to drink myself into a comatose state every night. This behavior went on for about three years until finally one day I woke up and I made a decision. I decided that I didn’t want to be miserable anymore. I knew that something had to change. I realized that I had grown addicted to my pain and I was in a pattern of self-punishment and self-pity. Unconsciously, it was a way that I could still show my love for Patrick. If I was miserable, it meant that I was still in love with him. I decided that if I looked happy, people would think that I wasn’t in love anymore. This addiction to my pain was also holding me in a pattern of self-loathing. Making this realization helped me to see how I was destroying my own life. It helped me to decide that there was no other choice but to do something differently. I could no longer accept the excruciating pain that was trapping me in darkness. It was up to me to consciously make an effort to change. Opening up the living room curtains one morning, I declared out loud, “I don’t want to be miserable anymore!”
One of the most important questions to ask yourself is whether or not you are willing to change? If you expect different results to show up in your life, what can you do differently? It takes a strong desire to change and a willingness to commit to the change that you want to see in your life. It takes conscious effort to commit to new decisions and choices. If you are just interested in changing, you will do whatever feels convenient for you but if you are committed, you will do whatever it takes to get the results.
When I decided to let go of my attachment to being miserable, it was the beginning of my journey toward self-love. This was a journey that I never in my wildest dreams expected was necessary. From a place of total collapse, not knowing what was next, I surrendered to the unknown. Interestingly, the universe somehow caught my attention and started to guide me in ways that led me to a much deeper connection with my true self. I started to follow synchronicities in my life, signs, and magical moments that popped up unexpectedly. As a result, my heart opened and I started to understand how important it was to love oneself. I grew in my desire to share this message with others. I wanted to reach other people who also struggled with their inner critic and who listened to their negative voices causing them to experience self-loathing, self-betrayal, and self-doubt. I believe that the critical mind is our biggest challenge.
If you want to change your outer reality you must first change your inner reality. Your outer world is a direct reflection of your inner world. Most people think that their outer world is causing them to feel powerless. It’s the other way around. Your beliefs and your thoughts lead to your feelings. Your feelings lead to your actions and your actions create your outer reality. Essentially, what you put out, you get back. How committed are you to the change that you want to see? When you are committed to doing something differently and act upon your decisions, then you will see different results.
The most important thing to pay attention to is the feeling place. It’s the feeling place that has the most impact on the change you want to see in your life. What are your feelings telling you?
In my forthcoming book, “True Love True Self – journey to self-love”, I explain more about the feeling place and how to work with it. It’s really important to understand that we are all energy. We are all vibrational beings and our feelings are vibrations. We are all sensitive to feelings and we know a so-called ‘good vibe’ or ‘bad vibe’ when we walk into a room or building or situation. Our feelings are caused by our thoughts and beliefs. The truth is that most people are not aware of the thoughts or beliefs that are responsible for causing their feelings. Like it or not, we are always manifesting our attitudes and our beliefs, whether we’re aware of it or not.
When people want to buy a home, a new car, or go on a trip, it’s not the thing that they want. People want the feelings that they will experience when they have the thing they want. For example, they want to feel comfort or security in a new home. They want to feel protection or success in a new car. Or they want to feel adventurous and excited on their travels abroad.
If you have a strong desire for something, the important thing to identify is the feeling that you think it will bring you once you have it.
When I work with my clients one of the first processes that I like to share is the Clarity/Contrast process from Michael Losier’s book, “The Law of Attraction”. Most people know what they don’t want. This process helps you to clarify what you DO want. The universe responds to clarity with clarity, confusion with confusion. For example, if you know that you don’t want to be in an unhealthy relationship, this knowledge helps you to clarify what you DO want by guiding you to the opposite of what you don’t want. Essentially, you want to be in a healthy relationship.
Once you have identified what you DO want on the clarity list, make sure that you cross off what you don’t want on the contrast list, rip it up or shred it and throw it away. Take action to commit to what you do want in a BIG way.
I like to take this process a step further to help identify the feeling place. So the next step is to look at the clarity list and ask yourself: “Why do I want it?” It may sound something like, I want a healthy relationship because: I want someone who I can trust in my life; I want a great companion to share my life with and travel the world; or I want a healthy relationship because I want to be accepted for who I am.
Then the last question to ask is: “How do I want to feel?”
Here is where you get clear and specific about the feeling place. Such as, I want to feel joyful, secure, respected and loved in my healthy relationship.
When you can identify the feelings that you want to have, then it’s you’re responsibility to consciously find more of those feelings throughout your day. As a result, you will begin to attract more of the same feelings that are also known as ‘like’ vibrations. Commit to having more of those feelings in your daily life. Bring them into your activities, thoughts, and situations as best as you can. Keep your focus on what you DO want. What you want, wants you.
Meditation, visualization, and affirmations are also wonderful tools to help you access the feeling place, as well as vision boards and gratitude lists. The subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between what’s real and what’s imaginary. Start allowing your imagination to support your intentions to have more good feelings in your life.
One of the biggest fears I’ve developed over the past few years is focusing on what I don’t want. When I notice that I am focused on the lack of having what I want, I immediately stop myself and ask: “What do I want?”, “Why do I want it?”, and “How do I want to feel?”
So what are some ways that you can begin to feel secure in your life right now. Is it hugging a small child who hugs you back? What are some ways that you can feel joy? Is it dancing, walking, doing something creative with your hands? What are some ways that you can feel loved or show your love? Is it playing with your child, your pet, or calling a loved one? Or what do you love to do? Do you love to garden, paint, or sing? Can you receive a compliment and allow someone else to feel good giving it? Pull those feelings into your body and start to feel the ‘good vibes’ that are available to you. Or visualize and imagine that you are doing what you love. Feel the feelings. Choose to put a smile on your face and allow yourself to feel happy. Just try it and feel what happens. Affirm your truth with positive “I am….” statements and say them with conviction. Say them out loud, “I am worthy!”, “I am magnificent!”, I am amazing!” Activate the feelings inside of you and commit to being your own cheerleader. Be the change!
Start to pay attention, watch the synchronicities, listen to the signs, the events, the circumstances, and the people that start to help you to change your life. Grow the ‘good vibes’ within you and know that the ‘good vibes’ will attract more love, more joy, and more abundance into your life. Are you willing? Are you committed to loving you?
Photo credit: nebarnix
Barbara is a Spiritual Teacher, Quantum Laws Coach, Speaker and forthcoming author of “True Love True Self”.
She teaches workshops, tele-seminars, and coaches individuals how to embrace change as an opportunity for personal, professional, and spiritual growth. She shows people who feel stuck, lost, and confused how to move forward in their lives so that they can experience a more fulfilling life of joy, abundance, and true happiness.
After the loss of her husband two months before her 25th wedding anniversary, facing devastating loss and reinvention, Barbara was guided to study Spiritual Psychology at the University of Santa Monica and certified as a Quantum Laws Coach with the Quantum Success Coaching Academy. As a result, her life has truly transformed.
Thank you so much for this article! Your points on how I can move myself through thoughts, feeling and events helps me tremendously. I have suffered from major depression most of my life and I am using these techniques to move me to a higher place. I have always handled things better with action steps and there are so many here that I now have a full tool chest! Thank you again!
You are so welcome! Keep building your tool chest!
Knowing you back in High school, you were always capable of seeing ahead. I am sorry for your losses, but I can also see how you can use those experiences to help others.Myself, I am lucky and I haven’t had any bad trageties, yet. I am happy to know that I could always ask you for advise.
Thanks Eddie! It took a few years to get through the fog, but I’m definitely moving forward with
a strong mission to help others move through their pain and life’s challenges. You are very lucky to have your loved ones with you. Keep loving as best as you can! Barbara
We have to be willing and ready to change and I know how these things that happen in life cab really help us to do just that. It hard when you self loathe and feel you cannot cope with alot of things and depression can happen. This is eye opening and I love the fact that you are such a strong person and perservered and came out of that darkness. I do sometimes self loathe but need not to do that, I have so many great loved ones around me. I think fear holds us back. I look forward to sometime taking one of your courses.
Thank you Barbara,
Thank you Cathy. You are so right that fear holds us back. Negative self-talk doesn’t help. It’s important to grow conscious of your thoughts and how they make you feel. Your feelings will inform you about some limiting beliefs that are no longer serving you. When you become aware of them, that’s when you can choose to change them and affirm your truth. It takes awareness, practice, and deliberate effort to be the change you want to see in your life.
Barbara, thanks for sharing the details of the pain you went through, as well as your ways to overcome it, and your willingness to help others. I am particularly drawn to your emphasis on commitment to change. That is very powerful. Thank you.
Thank you for your comments. It is so important to understand that one’s commitment to change is key. As I stated in my article, if we are just interested, we will do whatever is convenient for us. Our subconscious mind doesn’t respond well to change. It wants to hold us in a pattern of ‘comfort’ and ‘familiarity’. The ego mind also doesn’t like change. It would rather be ‘right’ than ‘happy’. Once we become aware of our limiting old patterns and choose to change them, that’s when our commitment is put to the test.
I have been working with Barbara for over a year and the Contrast and Clarity list is just one of the tools that give me the confidence to tackle my everyday fears and insecurities. It is a constant process working on bettering yourself and not giving into the depression. I have lived with it for years and everyday not sulking or hating myself is a win. It is one of the most challenging processes of my life, but the end results are worth it. I don’t always win my days everyday, but I win more now than ever before and it is because of these processes that I can accomplish even an ounce more of joy and happiness. Sometimes, it may just be the fact that when my brain says “you are a loser” I can say “No I am not!” The important thing is to believe it, want it, and decide to work on it.
What an amazing article from an amazing person! Having known Barbara for a while now, it’s always an eye opener to see what types of shifts can happen when you change the paradigm of a negative event into something so positive. Everyone can learn many valuable lesson from Barbara’s story, experiences, and teachings.
Thank you Barbara for being someone who loves to share you wisdom in a gentle and caring way. Also, thanks for sharing this story from your life in which we all can learn valuable lessons from.
You are truly a blessing to this world and please keep sharing your gifts for the benefit of our world!!
You are a winner and keep telling yourself that you are! Congratulations on your successes, your awarenesses, and your decision to do it differently!
Thank you for your feedback, enthusiastic support, and acknowledgement. It brings me great satisfaction to share how I was able to transform my circumstances through the help and love of others. I now know how to do my life differently and I love showing others how to do the same. Thank you for being a big part of my circle of influence!
Thank you for sharing your story and congratulations on the book!!
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