About GCEGroup

I have recently written a book that has changed my life and the course of my life's work. It is about a growth and transformation period from my life. Change occurs when we change the way we think about ourselves.

Going the distance

Photo by Quinn Nietfeld on Unsplash

“There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally.” 

Don Miguel Ruiz

Calling these last few weeks unprecedented is nearly an understatement. Even as this insidious virus began to multiply with voracious speed, not many could have imagined the devastating impact it would have on the global economy, as well as the drastic influences imposed upon social norms and standards. Inexplicably, it too shows no favoritism nor prejudice on whom it bestows its occasionally dreadful fate.

Perhaps the most confounding aspect of this Coronavirus is how it has impacted our sense of stability. While many of us have lived through difficult or unpredictable situations, we’ve typically experienced something this mystifying in history books or on the big screen. There are numerous uncertainties which only heighten fears, intensify anxieties, and leave us all hoping and praying for a positive outcome. As much as we can hardly wait for it to end, there’s a good chance life will be different from the way we formally knew it.

The advice for best defeating this menace is social isolation. The World Health Organization, is recommending a one-meter distance while many countries are advising twice that amount. For those who may start to display the slightest symptoms, staying at home and self-isolation are more urgently stressed. Municipalities across the globe are fiercely advocating and even demanding people remain in their residences. For the indefinite future, these are social practices most people have never considered and as a result, are playing havoc on their emotional wellbeing.

Undoubtedly, social distancing is the best way to avoid catching or spreading the virus. Since it was previously not something which we considered as part of typical interaction, we must now remain vigilant and be cognizant of doing our part. This shift in behavior, however, can have a negative emotional impact, especially for those not able to hug a loved one and not knowing when they will ever have another opportunity.

Those who’ve tested positive or are merely showing symptoms are self-isolating providing they do not require medical attention. This type of separation has an even stronger proclivity for creating bleaker anxiety and mental uncertainty. Nearly everyone will experience some angst or mental distress during this period; however, when daily activity begins to take on some resemblance of its former self, we don’t want the effects from these emotional struggles to suffer lasting consequences.

These are difficult times. It would be extremely callous of me to suggest that whatever you do is of your own making and that you should have the mental fortitude to forge through these arduous times. The challenges we face today only months ago were nearly unfathomable. Many are undergoing feelings at far greater levels, and which also are tremendously foreign to what they believed they could ever have felt.

What can help you maintain your emotional health is to be aware of a few points. To begin, know that everyone is facing similar uncertainties. When you feel anxious or even fearful, it’s not uncommon and you aren’t experiencing something that you shouldn’t be feeling in times like these. As much as you don’t want to be having them, they are very normal to be undergoing currently. You are not doing anything wrong nor displaying some particular weakness.

Take a deep breath and remind yourself that it’s okay to be feeling this way. Additionally, take the time to forgive yourself if you said or acted in ways which demonstrated abnormal behaviors. All too often, we believe that having these kinds of emotions is wrong and then become ashamed of ourselves for not being stronger. Rationalizing this way only compounds the humiliation and embarrassment, often spiraling us further downward emotionally.

Social distancing can generate a similar psychological struggle. Again, this was not of your doing, and in those moments when you feel discouraged or helpless, remind yourself that it’s okay if you feel confused, irritable, or other distressing moods. These reactions are part of being human and it only makes it worse if we punish ourselves for experiencing them.

What you’ll want to avoid is having those feelings prod you to act out and cause actions which will affect you or others in detrimental ways. Being aware of your feelings and forgiving yourself for having them is a great way to lower your anxiety and propensity to act in ways that you never believed you could. I highly recommend making a habit of frequently forgiving yourself during these difficult times. When you learn to forgive yourself it engenders a spirit of greater patience and acceptance. It sets an examples for others to replicate and inspires family and friends to work through this monumental struggle.

We are now beginning to realize our connection to each other. Even during times of social distancing and isolation, having more patience and understanding for others will restore our hope and faith in the world to come. We may not be certain how it will end or what changes will occur, but we can all do our best to help one another strive to keep our emotional health, and appreciate life in different, more tolerant, and loving ways.

It is true that our circumstances are a product of what we make it. Sometimes, however, we need encouragement or advice to help steer us in a positive and constructive direction. And there is nothing wrong with reaching out for a little help.

My thanks to Quinn Nietfeld on Unsplash for the beautiful picture and I look forward to your comments.

Happy 200th

The tree that changed everything. Taken January 2, 2013

Change happens when we change the way we think about ourselves.

It’s hard to believe this is my 200th article posted on LinkedIn. Shortly after beginning nearly 4 years ago, Sunday at 8 am Pacific Standard Time became the chosen time to post. Sunday mornings are always filled with anticipation and some anxiety wondering how my thoughts will be received. Yes, even after all the encouragement and positive comments, the nerves still make their appearance prior to hitting that “publish” button.

Although the purpose of these articles has been to help guide others along their journeys of emotional healing and personal development, I’ve been blessed by meeting dozens if not hundreds of fantastic people across the globe. I’ve interacted with mental health experts, professional writers and editors, entrepreneurs, and simply kind, good people.

2 months ago, when I began considering this article’s content, I would have never dreamed the world would be in the condition it is today. However, these trying times ought to be a reminder that it’s more important than ever to be more dedicated at showing our best self – holding on to our integrity, conveying kindness, and doing what we can to help others. I’ve been inspired by many of the coaches and therapists I’ve met here and it’s now time I stand with them to empower others to be their best versions of themselves.

Today, I’m proud to introduce my website: www.shamedoctor.com. (Please excuse some of the glitches still remaining) My aim is to help people heal from the devastating effects of shame, as well as other emotional abuses, and focus on personal development skills.

There are two subjects which continually weave throughout my writings and those are: (A) Personal Development and (B) Emotional Healing. Personal development can be summarized as getting a better understanding of who we are, our purpose in life, and what makes us feel magical. However, it’s difficult to begin this journey without first dealing with our emotional wounds and initiating the healing process.

The one emotional construct which fosters and magnifies our psychological trauma to extreme levels is shame. It is also one of the greatest misunderstood and under emphasized issues; and for or many, one of the most troubling and evasive hurdles they will ever face.

Shame, which I briefly define as the self-destructive beliefs and opinions we’ve falsely come to believe about who we were and are, is notorious for disguising itself and causing us to believe that somehow, we are not enough. It begins at an early age and for many, continues through much of their lives; constantly conditioning them with feelings of hopelessness and despair.

On the other end of the spectrum, shame also has the capacity to generate exaggerated beliefs of self-importance. Feelings of superiority are a pretense meant to mask the underlying true feelings of shame and hoping others won’t perceive it in us. Shame is the one emotion which causes an array of feelings from total unworthiness to complete arrogance.

My first book is centered around shame and how it frequently clenches us so tightly we don’t realize the damage we bring upon ourselves. It creates an environment where horrific things happening to us start to seem “normal” and if anything good happens to us, we probably didn’t deserve it.

When feelings of being hurt or damaged become our “normal” existence, then being hurt or damaged is no longer perceived as a problem and we wrongly believe nothing needs to be fixed or changed. This is precisely why it is the most difficult issue many people will face throughout their lives.

Although shame is the root cause for many of our emotional stains and abuses, simply pointing that out does not initiate emotional healing. Shamedoctor.com is there to help you begin that journey and start healing from the emotional anguish shame has caused. Unlike our physical bodies which can heal from minor cuts and bruises, the process of emotional healing is not necessarily innate and having a knowledgeable guide is extremely beneficial.

My journey began with the help of an amazing therapist and thankfully, my efforts included learning how best to help others discover these answers within themselves. Now it’s time for me to reach out worldwide and let others know there is hope. We don’t need to remain a prisoner of our past abuses. Even for those who believe there is no hope and the only remedy is doom, my purpose is to help them “change the way they think about themselves.”

There are many ways you or someone you know can benefit from my website and begin the healing journey. Soon, my books will also be available in virtual formats and I’ll have private and discreet group sessions which have distinct benefits as well.

We are living in trying times. All of us have recently experienced more anxiety or unease than we might recall. However, most of us are certain it will get better, only we’re not quite sure when that will be. To help overcome these concerns, I’ll be scheduling group meetings at no charge to help us get through these unprecedented times.

The above picture is one I took over 7 years ago. This tree was an important catalyst in my transformation. While spending the day in the mountains outside of Las Vegas, I was diligently searching deep within my soul for my answers. Why did shame have such a tight grip around me? What was it that wasn’t allowing me to move forward?

When I saw this tree, it made me pause. It was not beautiful. It truly looked withered, frail, and sad while the others around it were tall and green. Yet it continued to grow proudly. It knew no shame even in the midst of the others. That tree inspired a poem which was written 3 weeks prior to “My Independence Day” session. I’ve never finished a poem as quickly and it continues to move me every time I read it (posted at the end of this article).

I’ll be promoting others who are dedicating their lives to helping others heal, become unstuck, and to be the best version of themselves. I also want to thank you, all my readers, for your comments. In many ways, you’ve helped the Shame Doctor hone his skills and become more effective with emotional healing and personal development.

If there is one thing the world needs now more than ever, it’s emotional healing and to continually get a greater understanding of who we are. I am blessed and honored to be a part of that team – guiding others on their journeys. I look forward to the years to come.

The Tree

I took a long glance at this lonely tree 

And when I looked closer, what did I see? 

Its bark had withered, its branches the same 

Yet still it grew tall because it knew no shame 

What did it do to be shameful about? 

It caused no harm nor created any doubt 

Its purpose in life was clearly to be 

Simply one thing; a beautiful tree 

It stood there proudly on the cold mountain top 

Without ever wondering if it was going to stop 

For how long it was there I had no way to know 

Nor how many more years it would continue to grow 

As long as it had purpose in its solitary life to be 

And I felt at that moment, the same as the tree 

There’s no reason at all to continue with shame 

I wasn’t born in this world with doubt or blame 

Somewhere in my journey, I learned how to add 

Shame, unworthiness, and all that I was bad 

After these long years of blame and self-doubt 

Now is the time to realize I can truly live without 

All of these notions that I’m not worthy enough 

They hinder my journey and make my road tough 

So the time is now to look at myself plainly 

And realize I’m worthy to live life more sanely 

Get out from the past, move forward right now 

And put away all blame with this sacred vow 

I choose from this day, when I do have a choice 

To take a firm step and speak with stern voice 

And not let others or circumstanced provide 

The answers to life which for me I now decide 

When shame or self-doubt rears its ugly head 

I will dismiss it quite firmly as though it were dead 

For now, I feel worthy of great things to come 

I will gladly accept wherever they are from 

What life has to give me and what’s still in store 

I value myself fully and am open for much more 

And for the last time I fondly look upon that tree 

Having great anticipation of what life has for me 

With a tear in my eye and a big smile on my face 

I will live my life fully, touched by the tree’s grace 

A note of hope

Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

“These are the times that try men’s [sic] souls.”

-Thomas Paine

Since we visited last, the world has gone through some dramatic changes. Perhaps you may have foreseen the tempest coming or maybe hoped it was being blown out of proportion by a few looking to make some easy money. Whatever your views are, it’s impossible to say that covid-19 hasn’t made an impact on your life, for which only time will tell the full scope and measure.

In times such as these, many of us are incredibly vulnerable to getting caught up in the gloomy conversations all around. Our frustrations heighten when the truth leads only to more alarming or ambiguous answers. How can something completely unseen by the naked eye have the ability to hold the entire world hostage?

In the case of a viral outbreak, that’s a question best posed to the scientists who’ve dedicated their lives researching the issues. However, what most of us want is to simply stop feeling confused, and return to the calm assuredness we used to feel about our future.

During such times of complete upheaval, the way we overcome anxiety of any kind is by truly understanding our own value and sense of self-worth. Stability and security come from a deep sense of knowing ourselves and our purpose. Knowing who we are and where we stand, at any given moment is what ultimately lends us this sense of comfort, and provides the self-empowerment needed for a brighter outlook even during the most tumultuous times.

In the next few months we will all be most susceptible to feelings of emotional distress. But that’s even more reason to recapture those feelings of stability and security, and regain a deeper sense of our purpose in life.

Taking strength in your personal integrity is how best to weather this storm and come out a stronger individual.

Sometimes we all require help, but unfortunately, some of us will sit mute; thinking no one wants to hear our problems. We wrongly feel a deep sense of shame when telling others about our troubles or deficiencies. But if there is one thing I want you to take from this article is that what is currently happening should NEVER bring shame upon anyone!

Instead, I want you to know that when we share our deepest, even most disparaging thoughts, the opposite tends to happen. Talking to someone produces positive emotions and they have great therapeutic value for humans. Why else would we want to talk with therapists, counselors, and life coaches? So, it’s important to remember there is help and you are not alone.

Additionally, at times of great despair, don’t discount your positive impact. You can help yourself by recalling and writing down a recent event which made a valuable impression. Think about people at work or in your community with whom you enjoy spending time. If financial woes have you concerned, don’t hesitate to reach out to local organizations or food banks whose primary function is to help. You did not create this situation and there is no shame by needing or asking for help. Their sole purpose is to assist others in need.

All of us can do our part by practicing proper hygiene and using practical steps to avoid catching or spreading this insidious virus. Keep updated on what is going on in your local communities and continue to be proactive to help minimize the impact this virus will make.

One of the most important aspects of building a sense of self-worth is to maintain personal integrity. Remembering who you are will help you to remain calm and not act rashly against someone or become opportunistic in the face of others’ demise. We must work together and not deepen the divide which is spawned by the presence of fear and unrealistic demands.

This current predicament is unprecedented and one we hope will never occur again. It demonstrates how even in a modern society, the world will always be a delicate and fragile place. No amount of money or power can shield anyone from something so undetectably small as this tiny spore. But it can become a valuable reminder to us all that life is a cherished gift and we should always reach for our opportunities to thrive.

I’m going to offer personalized sessions for those who need support during the coronavirus outbreak. If you would like help or to become part of a group session, please contact me for more details.

My thanks to Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash for the beautiful picture and I look forward to your comments.

The impasse

Photo by Nicole Garcia

“Healing is an ongoing process. Some days are more difficult than others but understanding that self-love is a crucial component will keep you on your healing path.” – Nicole Garcia

In last week’s article we explored reasons why some well-intended people find themselves trapped in difficult, one-sided relationships. To think that many enter into relationships only to have their sincerity and love twisted, belittled, and used against them for completely selfish means is appalling. These stories are heartbreaking. But hearing the brave accounts of those who were able to overcome them are exceedingly heartwarming.

Love is complex and multifaceted; and since self-love is part of the healing process, it’s an issue I deal with in a slightly different manner for every single client. What has been helpful in my own practice is to discover the various ways in which people become entrapped by a sincere and visceral need to show and express love.

Having experienced my own version of love’s impasse allows me to be empathetic and understanding with my clients. It’s often a relief to them when they’ve heard I’ve undergone a similar experience. Thankfully, I was not a victim of an overbearing or completely selfish partner; mine centered more on never seeing the importance of self-love and how that truly strengthens relationships rather than damages them. My thinking was only to please; and often found myself second guessing what the “right” thing to do was in order to seemingly express my love.

The remedy is never as straightforward as “just start loving yourself.” If it were that easy, this column wouldn’t exist. The intricacies and peculiarities of each situation are continually shifting, making it more difficult to understand how and why they become ensnared and almost hypnotized into what they believe is true love’s expression.

What frequently occurs in these kinds of love-twisted relationships is the compassionate person, imprisoned by a narcissistic partner, cannot even begin to reason how any person would use someone’s own love against them. The slightest thought that anyone could remotely consider doing that is nauseating and repulsive. Conversely, those with inflated egos can’t imagine how any person would consider sacrificing so much for another person.

Herein lies the problem. Transformation occurs when a person understands something needs to be changed.

The caring ones, rightfully so, don’t want to change their already kind and loving spirit. And the self-consumed don’t want anything to strip them of their power and control. Ironically, the caring person does see the need for the other person to change and wants it to happen so desperately they’ll hang on to the slightest thread of hope, which their self-centered partner has learned to strategically and periodically tease them with throughout the relationship.

The first step is to help them realize what changes need to occur. They don’t need to be less loving and caring while at the same time becoming more self-centered. They don’t need to score more points in the relationship to prove their worth. Those traits should be lauded. The realization is that they deserve to be reciprocated with the same kind of love which they give.

The most difficult personalities, who always require the biggest changes, also have the least ability to recognize what changes need to occur because their primary focus is on themselves. They’ve developed a need and in a sense, have become addicted to continually being right. And when you are always right, how will you ever consider the notion that you may be wrong?

The “giver” frequently identifies what changes need to be made. Their struggle happens with learning to love themselves. The self-righteous, on the other hand, rarely see any need to change and when they do, it typically occurs after their world falls apart and they are left with nothing but desolation and destruction. Even then some still have difficulty understanding everything around them wasn’t provided for their comfort, pleasure, and luxury.

Each person in this relationship needs a healing journey to begin. The dilemma on this road is understanding this is typically a long process. Many desire these changes to manifest quickly. Why can’t we simply decide, “I’m going to love myself beginning this moment” and our lives pivot forever on that moment? Again, if there were a predictable answer, there would be no purpose in writing these articles.

For many, the way we learn to perceive and practice love has taken years to develop. Our actions become more of a ritual or a “default reaction.” Several decades of erroneous behavior isn’t undone by one confident decree. It takes work and determination to undo this kind of flawed thinking. While some might be fortunate to make such a miraculous turnaround, most face a challenging and exasperating journey. Please know that the rewards for this effort far outweigh the difficulties experienced during the process.

Another obstacle is when one questions the progress made because of some mistake or backsliding. Depending on the gravity of the emotional wounds, it can be extremely difficult to see any progress whatsoever. Discouragement is often the biggest denier; especially for those at the beginning of their journeys.

The best medicine for this situation is to remind them of the positive changes they’ve already made. Point out those successes and always leave with encouraging words. There were several times early in my journey when I questioned or even downplayed my transformations. What helped me most was realizing these negative thoughts were precisely how my own shame (and what I refer to in my book as the shame filter) wanted me to reason. If I continued in that vein, I would once again succumb to what I believe is the biggest yet least discussed issue that most will face throughout their lifetimes.

If you or someone you know is stuck in a similar difficulty, let them know there’s hope. Share this article or reach out to me directly. No one should ever have to be at an impasse with their own love.

My thanks to Nicole Garcia for both the beautiful picture and enlightening quote. She is a rising star and one who is an incredible example. I look forward to your comments.

The love dilemma

Photo by Nicole Garcia

“What can be more futile than wanting to change someone else”?

One of the most difficult issues I’ve faced while working with clients is failing relationships. It’s common knowledge that 40 to 50% off all marriages in the US end in divorce, and subsequent ones terminate at an even higher rate. Another and far more alarming statistic reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) is that 30% of all women have suffered some form of domestic violence in their lifetime.

What is it that makes maintaining healthy relationships one of the most arduous tasks for most humans? The challenge mainly comes because there is another individual involved. Working through our own struggles is demanding enough; but when two people need to make changes for one purpose, it complicates the efforts on many and various levels.

As I’ve stated on several occasions, we truly only have the power to change ourselves, and relationships, by definition, always include other people. The bottom line is that a good way to reach success is for each person individually to reflect on the changes and transformations they can make and only hope the other is as willing to do the same.

One of the worst relationship traps frequently happens to those who are the most caring, kind, and genuinely compassionate people. They constantly show consideration for others and have no hesitation with volunteering in other community-building activities. Their nature compels them to help people and it’s nearly unfathomable for them to consider taking advantage of other people. They look for the best in others and want to nurture that from anyone they meet.

It would stand to reason that this kind of person would be the perfect partner in any relationship. And for the most part, they are. I do, however, want to add a word of caution for these wonderful human beings. Because they are so giving they can also become prey to manipulative people.

Those who look for other’s potential are also ready to help, and when they see something that’s not right in others’ characters, their sincerity wants those individuals to see the error in their thinking. If they happened to be in an intimate relationship with someone like this, they’ll go to great lengths to facilitate and expedite that change; often trying to love that person into amending their ways.

Sometimes these loving people fall victim to devious, calculating, and narcissistic people. It happens because their love is so genuine and it’s nearly impossible trying to imagine anyone not feeling the same. Manipulation is a word which has no place in love’s vocabulary for them and they want badly to believe their partners deem exactly the same.

Unfortunately, the egomaniacal have learned how to play the game all too well. The caring person will default to kind actions. The self-aggrandizer puts on whatever façade is required to provide a glimmer of hope. It’s sad that in a moment of perceived kindness it’s nothing more than a wretched attempt of control. Relationships exist solely for the purpose and promotion of their egos.

There are countless variations to this story. Sometimes they come on quickly and others may take years to come to light. It’s always heartbreaking to see kind and good people become stuck in these situations. What makes it more despondent is their own natural inclination to be kind further entraps them in these swamps of misguided love.

The manipulator has instincts which hone and refine their soul-destructing schemes. They innately know the optimal way to keep that person around is to confuse them and crush their self-esteem. Situations, which to any other onlooker would squarely place the blame on the controller, are contrived and machinated to deceive the caring one into believing they are at fault. The only time any wrongdoing is admitted is to bait the other person into thinking they want to or will change. Any belief in hope – no matter how small – will keep that tiny fire of hope alive.

My heart goes out to these amazing people. It is a terrible thing to be manipulated because of your own love, kindness, and good intentions. Fortunately, there is hope. This kind of relationship is not impossible to escape. But it’s one whose grasp is not easily broken.

The first step is to remember, “the only person we can truly change is ourselves.” This, again, is difficult for the person in this situation because the positive aspects of their own personality don’t need to change. They love unconditionally. Well, except for themselves.

People who exude this type of love for others may feel it’s not important or essential to show it to themselves. As long as they can help and love others, this will suffice for any love they may feel they require. Their selfish partners periodically “throw them a bone” to keep them harnessed on their false leash of love.

When I work with my clients, one of the techniques I use is to tell them a story about someone in similar circumstances which plays on their empathy toward that person. Hopefully, they’ll realize the person they are hearing about is the victim they’ll see in the mirror. Next, I’ll engage in a series of questions intended to help them make the logical conclusion that it’s time to show themselves and express self-love.

When you see a friend in a similar situation and want to voice your objections about their relationship, it never helps to be angry or argue with them. What you can do is show them love and plead with them to get help. Believe it or not, this kind of help is rarely possible from a friend and should be dealt with professionally. Perhaps, you can pass this article along to them. Real change will happen when they can change the way they think about themselves.

My thanks to my friend Nicole Garcia for the beautiful picture. It’s Red Rock Canyon; just a short drive outside of Las Vegas. I look forward to your comments.

Something to learn

“If only there were one answer, one solution, and all could benefit from its wisdom.”

My previous article evaluated the advantages of always remaining vigilant about life’s lessons. It’s a personal goal of mine to experience at least one on a daily basis. While I never pressure or force myself to make them happen, I do remain observant and watchful. Most days they are subtle, but the momentous ones are memorable and life changing.

Ultimately, it has developed into a habit. There is no written record of sorts; however, undoubtedly I’ve written about many in the past. There’s no reward, nor a reprimand if it doesn’t happen. It’s woven into the fabric of my daily life. Since my purpose in life is to help others on their journeys of emotional healing, I equate these life-lessons to exercises which are necessary to keep me in tiptop shape.

It has been said that for many life coaches and mental health counselors, they’ve had their own transformative experiences which compelled them to follow this path. That is definitely true in my case. I recall three days after one of my biggest life lessons – the one which I refer to as “My Independence Day” – I recall thinking, “I wish everyone could have this exact same experience.” Little did I realize at the time it would become my direction, objective, and profession.

Fortunately, writing has been a joy and a passion for most of my life. During the first 2-1/2 years of therapy journaling was nearly a daily mission. 6 months after my Independence Day, I began to blog; and a year later, the ideas for my first book were outlined. Constantly being encouraged and inspired by my therapist, the outline migrated from my head to a Word document. On January 1st, 2015, one of my first-ever New Year’s resolutions was to complete the book by year’s end. The following Christmas Day, that goal was completed, and in August of 2016, the first printed copies arrived.

The book was certainly a labor of love because most days began around 3 or 4 am. My day job kept me busy and during the week, it was the best time to sort out my thoughts. Fortunately, I enjoyed writing at that time. There is something compelling about that hour. The darkness and calmness offered a tranquility which only enhanced the experience.

One of the ways which helped me succeed was my therapist allowing me to email him daily what I had written. Truly, I do not know if he read all of them but I didn’t want to let him down. Somedays were spent rewriting what was written the previous day and others were fruitful, only stopping when it was time to get ready for work.

This past week, my second book was published. Thankfully, the man who encouraged me to write the first one is now a coauthor on this one. He graciously writes in the Foreword about it being a “privilege” but I can assure you my gratitude exceeded description the moment he first agreed.

When I decided to shift my life’s purpose in this direction, my excitement was only outweighed by my zeal. Even now, looking back at that exhilaration, the words to describe it continue to elude me. I would talk to anyone about my story and there were several occasions I met someone during my day job and ended up speaking to them about my transformation.

But the lesson I was going to learn amongst all this passion and enthusiasm would soon come to fruition.

My own awakening came when I understood how shame influenced and controlled my life in many devastating and unseen ways. Consequently, this is my primary focus when helping others. Because it was incredibly apparent in my own life, I presumed it was the same for everyone else. Even meeting new connections online, there was no hesitation to talk about shame and how it may have impacted their lives.

Needless to say, some did not appreciate my blanket speculations and were happy to disconnect from me entirely. At first, I felt bad for them but soon realized it was both audacious and rude on my part.

As someone who’s dedicated to helping others, this was disappointing. However, it did teach me a very important lesson. No matter how passionate I am, no matter how many I may captivate with written or spoken words, no matter how many I may help, I cannot help everyone.

No doubt countless others have had transformative experiences and like me, wished the same for others. Mine does not take precedence over theirs. It will always remain unforgettable, but in order for it to be beneficial, it must be applied wisely.

This lesson will never slow my passion and intentions. I will always be ready to speak with anyone on the subjects of shame and emotional healing. What it has done is given me discretion; and oddly, a different kind of compassion that in my zeal, I was not able to offer.

What’s important is that people wanting help are given the needed assistance. What’s important is that others achieve the emotional stability and mindset to live a fulfilled life. As much as I’d love to be the one to provide it, it’s not imperative that I be the only one to whom they turn.

As I’ve stated in dozens of my articles, everyone’s journey is unique. My experiences may not relate to the kind of support and comfort they require. And besides, I’ve had the privilege of meeting dozens of other coaches and therapists, and being open to their ideas and methods have offered insights on how I can become more effective.

In the past, I’ve wondered why there wasn’t one direction, one resolution to find life’s hidden answers to living a happier and more effective life. Now I understand why there is not. Otherwise, I will not have had opportunities for even more growth than I believed was ever possible.

My thanks to Cassie Matias on Unsplash for the beautiful photo and I look forward to your comments.

Lesson number 1

Photo by Devin Lyster on Unsplash

“I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.”

Winston Churchill

From the moment our eyes open from a night of sleep, it doesn’t take long to find some situation ready to teach us a lesson. Whether it be a trivial change or monumental shift, life at times, unfolds as a string of one learning moment after another.

This isn’t necessarily an indication you’re in any sort of trouble, but rather more of the way one perceives life. If the focus is on what can be done to improve on one’s circumstances then whatever misstep occurred will be identified as a lesson.

An expression receiving lots of attention nowadays is: “there are no mistakes in life only lessons” and while this is a very positive outlook, I don’t always subscribe to the notion that there are no mistakes. They happen all the time.

Each morning, I use a French press to brew my coffee. After the water has boiled, only enough to cover the grounds is added to the glass container. After a minute or two, the grounds swell to their maximum potential and the rest of the water is added. However, there have been plenty of times when I’ve neglected to add the water until the total time has nearly elapsed. This is a mistake. Nothing which if not remedied will cause great havoc, and my typical reaction is to laugh when this occurs. I could set two timers but it’s truly not that important. The day will continue as planned.

When it comes to the important lessons, a much different approach is considered. On a daily basis, my goal is to experience some situation which sheds light on an aspect of personal growth. Sometimes it is insignificant and other occasions, life changers. Interestingly, the little realizations can be as difficult to acknowledge as the huge awakenings.

In order to become greater at anything we do, being cognizant of these learning experiences is something we must be determined to be aware of.

At times, these situations continue for a long period. Perhaps we may have erroneously believed it was conquered, only to discover the real meaning was never fully understood – causing us to repeat the mistake. In these kinds of circumstances, it typically denotes there was some aspect we didn’t entirely understand, or never truly believed we needed to grasp. This is precisely why it’s imperative to do our best to identify and completely scrutinize everything about the situation.

The lessons we cannot see are the ones most difficult to overcome.

How does one overcome something which is not or cannot be seen? One beneficial way is to have a friend, confidant, or partner who cares about you and will point these things out for your own edification. Rightfully so, it also builds and strengthens that relationship.

If there is one expression which at times is misunderstood, it’s that others’ opinions don’t matter. In general, people’s attitudes about you shouldn’t have too great a bearing on how you view yourself. However, viewpoints of friends, close acquaintances, and partners ought to have some influence in your life. Caring companions make a huge difference in our personal growth and in creating stronger relationships.

Having reliable people around us who are willing to point out these faults, errors, or mistakes is beneficial in learning lessons. Depending on the kind of issue, it can be extremely difficult to tell a friend or partner about a problem and if not for their intervention, it may never come to light and be fully addressed.

Acknowledging our own faults or shortcomings is one of the most difficult challenges for many. Perhaps many of us have a friend, co-worker or someone we know who has an obvious flaw which that person (or persons) is not able to see. It could be an obnoxious habit or frequently repeated mannerism which makes you cringe each time it happens. Although it is blatantly obvious, it remains completely unseen to that individual. Now ask yourself, “has anyone ever thought that about me”?

The most difficult part of learning any lesson is admitting there is a problem. Particularly those matters which point out flaws in our personalities or ways of thinking. Looking into the proverbial mirror and acknowledging there is something wrong is daunting. It takes courage. Nevertheless, it’s the first step toward change.

Listening to those you trust or even those with more knowledge, experience, or wisdom is another way of becoming aware a change is in order. It’s impossible to be an expert at everything. People who are at the top in their areas of expertise also have counselors, advisors, or other specialists helping them to improve. It’s not a wise investment to have people around you only to tell you what a remarkably perfect job you’ve been doing. Anyone requiring that kind of a validation most likely is highly deficient in self-esteem.

Although there are lessons we can enjoy, everything doesn’t need to be a learning experience. Sometimes it’s best to simply relax or take our minds off any stress and take in the world around us. Life is worth slowing down and discovering the beauty this world has to offer. From the grandeur of the oceans to the splendor of the mountains, or even simply having our faithful pet at our side, these are wonderful and healing moments in and of themselves. This could be the number one lesson that I myself may need to relearn.

My thanks to Devin Lyster on Unsplash for the beautiful photo and I look forward to your comments.