When you Want to become More

I once thought it would be impossible to become who I wanted to be. I wanted to be honest and have a true heart. I wanted to have a great character and great compassion. I wanted to do the right things, even if it meant sacrifice on my part. But I didn't believe that was possible. I thought I was a terrible person and I owned that narrative. Living that kind of life was for other people better than me.

Forget what you Think you Know about Fear

The four years before I launched my business, I created a plan that would get it all rolling within three months.  I also had a plan that would take me through the following nine months and generate enough income that would sustain my business.  I even had investors lined up to help with that initial launch.  I would dream about what it would be like to do the things I loved the most while having the freedom to create my own schedule and generate an income that could support me and my family.  I created this plan within a matter of one month.  I then spent the next four years coming up with any excuse to NOT launch that plan.  I was terrified.

Please! Not another Article on Change in the New Year!

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.  For years you’ve known that there are some specific changes that you’ve wanted to make.  You told yourself repeatedly that you were definitely going to take action once the new year rolled around.  For good reason.  There is something undeniably powerful about new starts.  That’s why every morning

They call it Work for a Reason

There are some days when I don’t want to do jack squat. And even on those days, jack squat seems like a stretch. I don’t always have to 'do' something. I run my own company now. No one is going to fire me if I stay in bed longer than I planned. If I don’t get the research done that I wanted to, or prep for a session that I have that day with a client, no one will know but me. But I can’t fool myself anymore. My work will suffer for it and my ability to make a difference in the world diminishes if I don’t show up consistently. Do the work.

Do you Know what You Want?

My clients usually come to me when they know that they are ready to change their lives, but don’t know where to start.  When people find out I'm a life coach, they often tell me their own life situation and ask for suggestions. I usually ask a few questions to try to understand their situation better before offering insights and suggestions. It almost always comes down to one simple solution: helping them uncover what they truly want. I'm amazed how often people aren’t aware of what they truly want. Life has a way of happening to us instead of us happening to life. See if this is a familiar story.

The Comfort of an Old Story

So there’s this thing that happens when we experience something painful, like a tragedy, a broken heart or disappointment. We’re only human, so it’s natural to experience the pain. It’s healthy to allow ourselves to experience the fullness of that pain so that we aren’t hiding from it or stuffing it down. But sometimes we get in a rut and we tell the same story over and over and over again. There is a certain amount of significance we can get from telling a particular story, even if it isn’t an empowering one.

Q&A: Motivation

Q:  Brad, I just wanted to say that I loved your post today, 'a boy and a girl.' I think it's really relevant for my own struggles and anxieties. But something I've always struggled with when it comes to valuing myself and being okay with myself, is how do I do that when there is still so much room for improvement? Where's the line between complacency and that freedom with loving yourself for who you are? I’m asked some variation of this question more than any other. The question goes something like this, "But if I love and accept myself just as I am, what would motivate me to change and continue to better myself?" The answer is within the question itself: nothing will motivate us to change more than the love we have for ourselves. If we love ourselves we want the best for ourselves. We will begin to make decisions that are healthy for us because we believe we deserve to live a higher quality of life. We care more about our long-term well being than instant gratification. We don't become arrogant because we know that leads to all kinds of problems and isn’t a loving attitude towards our selves or others.  Also, our desire to help others increases because we know that there is some type of peace that only comes from giving of ourselves to others. When we have  abundance from God within ourselves and we care for ourselves, we actually have more to offer others.

Conversely, if we don't love ourselves, we won't be able to love others all that well. Take Jesus' famous words in Matthew 25... "love your neighbor as yourself." If you don't love yourself well, then to love your neighbor as you love yourself will result in poor and unhealthy gestures.  We see this all the time in unhealthy codependent relationships.

Or, this example: how many people do you know that are just kind of mean; they don't treat people well and they consistently are selfish?  If you look closely you'll see that deep down, they despise themselves. If you look often enough at these types of people, it becomes obvious who does and doesn't care for themselves all that much.

The father that beats his wife and children, that guy totally hates himself but often feels powerless over his compulsion to take it out on others, or worse, isn't even aware that he despises himself.

Or, the people who really hate gay people, the ones who spew vitriol publicly against them. It’s funny how sometimes we find out that they were having closet homosexual encounters all along. They hated something about themselves and publicly took it out on others.

But if you love yourself, I mean truly accept yourself just where you are, you feel compelled to grow.

Finally, I believe we are called to become more like the Divine... to love like the Divine loves. The next logical conclusion then is that we should also love ourselves the way God loves us. That's a love that accepts us no matter how many times we return to ______________. (whatever self destructive behavior we feel powerless to rid ourselves of).

The Divine loves us right where we are... and that often moves us so deeply that we want to respond with love and healthy choices.

In short, love for our selves rarely leaves room for complacency.  Love for your self has more motivational power than shame, guilt, or despising your self.  That’s why white-knuckling addiction isn’t sustainable.  You have to love yourself past the point of thinking you deserve a miserable life.

Is What You Believe About Yourself True?

Everyone has a recurring thought… or two… or thousands.  Similar thoughts bind together after being laid one on top of the other over the years to form a strong belief system.  The incredible thing about belief systems is that they serve as a map to interpret the world around us, including our place in the world, and have the incredible power to shape our decisions in life.  The power of a strongly held belief has exponential implications for the life of an individual and a community. Take Vera for example.  She is in her late twenties and has come to believe that… “I’m just not that smart.”  Why does she believe this?  Why does she choose to see herself this way?  If you asked her she would tell you that it’s mere fact.  She never excelled in academics and was always in the middle to lower end of her class in terms of performance.  She would tell you that there are certain books she just shouldn’t waste her time reading because there are some concepts that are ‘beyond’ her scope.  With this belief entrenched in Vera’s mind, emotions and body, she limits her potential career opportunities, relationship dynamics, and possibility for growth in almost every area of her life.  Exponential implications.

But if you press the question ‘why do you believe this’, there are all sorts of alternative possibilities to the opinion that she holds to so firmly.

Is it possible that Vera had an incredibly negative experience with an educator at an early age and always associated emotionally negative feelings with school, in turn tainting her desire to study or learn in that environment?  Is it possible that one or both of her parents sent her the message that ‘no one in our family is all that smart and that’s just fine with us because no one likes a know-it-all.’  Could it be that different people learn and grow intellectually in various ways and the particular methods in which Vera is challenged intellectually were never afforded her along her educational path?  Is it possible that the structure of western education is so focused on conformity to specific methods of education that often those who don’t conform as well to these methods are improperly labeled or mistakenly diagnosed with a disability?  How many times would a young, impressionable mind have to be told this by an authority figure before they owned it as truth?

There are so many variations of these restricting views of ourselves that we tend to accept as fact, when in all likelihood, they are just opinions formed over time.  Thoughts that we bought into enough times that they grew into a belief system, which we now whole-heartedly subscribe to.

I’m no good at math.

I can’t write to save my life.

I just can’t stop myself from eating.

I am not very coordinated.

My brother is the creative one.

I’m incapable of getting organized.

I can’t follow through on things.

I don’t have what it takes.

I’m not a good communicator.

I’m terrible at relationships and always will be.

Today I just want to call to your attention that there may be some beliefs you hold as truth about yourself and they are limiting you.  Further, these beliefs aren’t based on reality, but are based on the collection of some data you’ve incorrectly extrapolated from some recurring experiences in your past.  I would like you to list 3 beliefs you’ve held onto for almost as long as you can remember that you know limit you.  And ask this question about each of of the beliefs you’ve listed… “Is it possible that it isn’t true?”

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____________________________________________________________________________ "Human beings have the awesome ability to take any experience of their lives and create a meaning that disempowers them or one that can literally save their lives."

"What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true capability. It is more likely a function of our beliefs about who we are." - Anthony Robbins

"Truth lives, in fact, for the most part on a credit system. Our thoughts and beliefs pass, so long as nothing challenges them, just as bank-notes pass so long as nobody refuses them." - William James

“Never limit your view of life by any past experience” - Ernest Holmes

How's That Working for You?

The five words that changed my life.  Ironically, I was the one who uttered them to myself.  That’s right, I talk to myself.  So do you.  My story is a familiar one.  I didn’t have the first clue about valuing myself or loving myself and for the longest time, I had no idea that was a problem.  I had a great childhood.  I still have the most incredible parents when it comes to feeling loved and cared for.  In very concrete ways they expressed their love for me since before I can remember.  I’ve always just known their love.  I grew up in an incredible community and was involved with some wonderful people through my entire childhood and into college.  I share that so you can be aware that even people with the healthiest of upbringings have major struggles with insecurities and negative thought patterns.  I used to think that I was the only one.  Now I know I’m like every other person on the planet. Several years ago, when I hired a mentor, I knew that there were things in life that I wasn’t able to figure out and I knew I needed help.  Insecurities and limiting beliefs, attached to things like fear of loneliness, finances, my own sense of worth, and intelligence, had been haunting me since I was an adolescent.  But I didn’t know how to deal with them.  So I found a mentor I trusted and that I knew had turned things around in his own life.  His name is Mastin Kipp.  I had taken a couple courses from Mastin online and I had quickly begun to build a rapport with him.  We had similar stories, which helped with my trust.

When I first starting working with Mastin, he began describing exercises intended to help with learning to love myself.  At first I thought they were absurd.  Mirror work.  Self-affirmation sentences.  Telling myself that I loved myself whenever I felt a sense of shame for making a mistake.  One morning while I was alone and practicing these exercises, I said out loud, with a heavy dose of jaded arrogance, “this is  TOTAL HOGWASH!”  (ok maybe I used a stronger description).  What I said to myself next surprised me.

“How’s that working for you?”  I was stunned.  I couldn’t remember the last time I was content.  Thinking the way I had been thinking for so many years had led me to this point.  How was that working for me?  Not well at all.  I realized that I needed to make some major changes, but I didn’t know what.  So, even though it went against everything within me, I decided to give these exercises a chance.  Slowly, after practicing these exercises, I began to notice a difference in my overall thought patterns and demeanor.  I had once prided myself on being an over-analytical perfectionist and cynic.  But along the way, I stopped identifying with those characteristics.  I didn’t know how it worked scientifically, but I saw the evidence.  As my friend Mike told me, “you don’t have to know how an engine and transmission work in order to drive your car.”  Mike's one of the most intelligent people I know and so I asked him to explain it to me.  He's great at breaking down complex matter into laymen's terminology.  So he did.

The most ancient part of the human brain is the limbic system. Our feelings of fear, anger, and aggression originate there. The limbic system is fast and ruthless, and we’ve used it for survival for as long as we’ve been around. Thanks to its speed and efficiency, the limbic system can make judgments and decisions much faster than the newer hardware in our heads. Our brains are like a muscle–what we use most gets strongest. Negative, critical, fearful or aggressive thinking tends to strengthen the response of our limbic system in our daily living.

More recent structures in human brains like the neocortex and the anterior cingulate cortex are the parts of our brains that produce love, compassion, and empathy.  If you focus on those types of thoughts, you will enhance the neural circuits in the prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex and it encourages your brain to support that way of thinking.  Intentional focus toward these kinds of thoughts has been clearly demonstrated to have helpful physiological and psychological benefits.  You can actually begin to find your identity in those thoughts and feelings.

Why do I tell you all of this?  Simple.  Maybe you’re like me.  Maybe my story resonates with you on some level.  Maybe you’re tired of being cynical, judgmental, critical of yourself, and influenced in major ways by your insecurities.  Maybe you know you need to value yourself and love yourself more but you just don't know how. Maybe when you hear me always talking about loving yourself, accepting yourself, and sharing practical ways to begin to do this, you are skeptical.  Maybe you also think that doing any kind of ‘positive’ mental and emotional exercise is too ‘Stuart Smalley-ish’ for you.  Maybe you think that is too 'touchy feely' could never work.  Maybe you’re thinking, ‘I’ll just stick with what I know.’

Well let me ask you, with the most sincere and humble of intentions, how’s that working for you?


"For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: 'If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?' And whenever the answer has been 'No' for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something." - Steve Jobs
"When we are no longer able to change a situation" - we are challenged to change ourselves." - Viktor E. Frankl
"It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad." - C.S. Lewis
I'd like to thank Mike McHargue for his brilliant ability to take complicated matters and make it possible for every person to understand them.  You can read more about The Intersection of Science and Spirit here at

I Could Never Do That

I have a friend who writes, directs, and occasionally acts in his own movies.  He comes up with the concepts and the storylines, writes out the script, and then proceeds to bring it to life.  He talks Award-winning actors Into being in his films.  He secures the locations to film these movies, the funding, and then he gets them distributed. These films win awards and he is now highly sought after to direct major film projects. I often used to tell myself that I could never do that and was totally amazed by his ability to succeed at what he wanted to do. I wished that I was born like he was, because he obviously had something that I didn't. I have a friend who writes beautiful music and Tours with possibly the most famous American rock band ever. He is a phenomenal musician and is excellent at what he does.  He is highly sought after to perform as a solo act now.  I used to tell myself that I could never do that. I used to wish that I was born with whatever it was that he had that enabled him to accomplish so much in the area of life that he loved, music.

I have a friend who is writing a book at the urging of some famous authors. Every time he speaks people gather around him to hear his insight. Strangers from all over the world write to him and ask him for his thoughts and let him know how much he has impacted their lives with his blog. I used to think that I could never do that. I used to wish that I was born with whatever it was that he had so that I could impact the world like he does

And then I discovered the difference between my three friends and myself. They don't wish for anything. They pursue that which they love and are constantly aligning their passion with their work. Nothing is impossible when we choose to no longer limit ourselves with our limiting belief systems and align our passions with our work.

How does my friend succeed in the film industry?  He wants to and believes that he can.  I came across a quote awhile back that when I read it, awoke something within me.  It sounded preposterous to me when I first read it and I balked at the audacity that someone had to put that out in the world.  And yet I wrote it down immediately, knowing that something within that quote resonated with something within my soul.  I’ve searched and searched but cannot find the originator of this quote.

“You have within you, right now, everything you could ever need or want to be a great success in every area of your life.  You have within you, right now, deep reserves of potential and ability that, properly harnessed and channeled, will enable you to accomplish extraordinary things with your life.  The only real limits on what you can be, have, or do are self-imposed.  They do not exist outside of you.  Once you make a clear, unequivocal decision to cast off all your mental limitations and throw yourself whole-heartedly into the accomplishment of a great goal, your ultimate success is virtually guaranteed… as long as you don’t stop.”

What is the monologue in your head these days?  What is it that you have convinced yourself you cannot do?  Do you know how to change that track in your head?  Are you willing to dare to be more?

Take a moment to list 3 self-imposed limits that you have placed on yourself.  Now challenge them with the audacity to believe they are lies.  Now pick one of them and make a decision to let this next thought sit with you for the day… “I can _________________.”  You fill in the blank.  Do it now.

If you are still having difficulty with this idea, contact me.  I'm glad to help.  Seriously.


“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” - Jesus Christ

"To grow, you must be willing to let your present and your future be totally unlike your past.  Your history is not your destiny." - Alan Cohen

One Day Self-Love Challenge

Yes, I do believe that one of the single most effective and powerful things we can do to participate in the Divine’s transformation of our own lives is to learn to love ourselves more.  Time and time again, as I work with people, when we get to the core of the problem, be it limiting belief, addiction, etc., it is a lack of self-love.  The thing that’s behind the thing that’s behind the thing is that they have placed a very low value on their life and don’t believe they deserve to be happy.    It is the most messed up thing of all and most people are barely aware of it. I genuinely think people want to be happy.  Yet deep down in places they haven’t explored often, they don’t believe they deserve to be happy or are worth it.  It’s the most devious trick in humanity.  Somewhere in our life we were told that we aren’t worth it.  We either were treated that way by those who were supposed to love and protect us when we were young and vulnerable, or because of decisions we made in the past, mistakes, we buy into the lie that we don’t have value and we aren’t worth being loved.  And yet we can spend our whole lives trying to prove that we are worth being loved and go to incredible lengths to try to show everyone that we are of value.

But you don’t have to prove anything.  Let me say it again.  You have nothing to prove.  The fact that God created you is enough.  That oxygen flows in and out of your lungs, bringing life to your blood cells, is enough.  What if instead of constantly trying to prove ourselves to ourselves and everyone around us, we just acknowledged that because we are alive and loved by the Divine, that we are enough.

Tomorrow is the one day self-love challenge.  Now if you just read that sentence and rolled your eyes a little, I understand.  I used to respond in the same manner.  And then I realized that being a control freak and a perfectionist, and being harder on myself than anyone else hadn’t really gotten me the things in life I want… peace, happiness, self-control, etc.  Has the way you’ve been living your life taken you to the heights of your dreams?  So why not take one day and commit to loving yourself?  Why not take one day to be completely and utterly gracious with yourself?  Why not take one day and instead of criticizing yourself for making a mistake, simply affirm that you love yourself anyways, just the way you are?  Here are a few places to start...

1.  Make the commitment to love yourself for 1 day:  Make the commitment and choose love for yourself.  Do it now.  If love is the greatest gift we have to give, what could be possibly wrong with loving yourself for one day in all your thoughts and actions?  Go ahead and literally write it out right now or type it in an email to yourself or send it as a text to yourself.  "Tomorrow I will commit my entire day to practicing self love."

2.  Affirm yourself verbally throughout the day:  Think of the most loving thing you could say to yourself, and repeat regularly throughout the day.  Get up and repeat it OUT LOUD to yourself first thing.  Write it on a post it note and stick it on your bathroom mirror before you go to bed tonight.  If you are having trouble coming up with something loving to say to yourself, try starting here.

3.  Forgive yourself immediately after any intentional or unintentional mistake:  So you just screwed up and maybe no one else knows it, but you do.  Immediately forgive yourself.  If it helps, you can allow yourself to feel your remorse and then say... "I totally and completely forgive myself for ____________________ and I release myself of all my anger and all my disappointment."  Try it.  Forgiveness is incredibly powerful and it is the one of the most freeing things to experience.  In fact, maybe you want to start your day by forgiving yourself for everything you've done that you have yet to forgive yourself for.

4.  Give yourself a gift:  Choose one thing to do for yourself that you know brings you life and you know cares for your soul and heart.  Maybe you love going for a run but haven't had time lately.  Maybe there is a good book you just haven't allowed yourself to read lately because you haven't had time.  Read it.  Maybe there is a friend that always brings you life that you haven't spent time with or talk to lately.  Ask them to hang out or simply call them and just talk.

Taking the one day self-love challenge is a gift that you can give to yourself with no strings attached.  It's only one day.  How bad could it possibly be?  A better question and motivation is, how incredible might it be?  What if you discover some things about yourself?  Wouldn't it be worth it?

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me via the website and I will be glad to get back to you before you wake up tomorrow.  What do you say?  ARE YOU WORTH IT?


“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.”  - C.G. Jung

"Loving yourself…does not mean being self-absorbed or narcissistic, or disregarding others. Rather it means welcoming yourself as the most honored guest in your own heart, a guest worthy of respect, a lovable companion. "- Margo Anand

"Well-ordered self-love is right and natural." - Thomas Aquinas

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Own Your Change

I speak in public all the time.  It’s the nature of almost every job I’ve had as an adult.  I’ve spoken all around the world to all sizes and types of groups.  It really does come naturally to me and its one of the few things that I know I do well.  I’ve spoken at sales conventions, camps, churches, masques, music festivals, art festivals, retreats, conventions, etc.  I absolutely love it.  I am not an accomplished artist, lyricist, musician, athlete, or sales person.  But put me in front of a crowd with a purpose and a vision to share, and I will go to town. One of the things that I’ve realized about myself because of this is that my views and thoughts are constantly being formed.  If I spoke on a topic tomorrow, that I know I spoke about 2 years ago, those two speeches might be completely different.  In fact, I may even contradict tomorrow, something I said 2 years ago.  That’s because I grow and change.  We all grow and change.  It isn’t just me.  That’s the nature of being human.  If we are constantly learning, reading and experiencing, then what we believed and lived yesterday won’t necessarily be the same as tomorrow’s beliefs and experiences.

Some core matters and beliefs may stay the same.  And some core matters and beliefs very well may be transformed.  You can see this growth and transformation in almost every author, songwriter, actor, businessperson, artist, etc.  Even in the scriptures you can look at the apostle Paul’s early writings and see how his thoughts and beliefs have changed and expanded compared to his later writings.

This kind of change can really freak people out.  They begin to wonder if the life they lived yesterday is somehow less valuable because they lived by a different standard or a different set of values and beliefs than they do now.  They may have enormous inner turmoil because they no longer have the same paradigms that they learned growing up.  This can also lead to a crisis in which they believe that there is something wrong with them because they have changed over the years.  This kind of subtle inner struggle can wreak havoc on someone’s life in subversive ways.

But if you simply acknowledge that we all change and we all grow, and that change and growth is a good thing, then there is peace to be had.  You can begin to affirm and ‘own’ your growth and transformation.  It may feel like your in new waters and that can be extremely frightening.  That’s because as we grow, we are always taking risks.  When you learn something new, occasionally you can feel like it changes everything.  And when you’re comfortable with the way things were, it is scary to face the world with new eyes.  But with new eyes comes fresh perspective.

So let yourself be you.  Welcome the change and welcome the growth.  Stop the inner turmoil that comes with thinking that you always have to stay the same and always believe the same things.  It’s just not how growth and health works.

What are some things that have changed for you?  What beliefs did you once hold so dearly that now you realize you need to release and let go so that you can live into what you truly believe?


And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”                    ― Anais Nin

"Ever since I was a child I have had this instinctive urge for expansion and growth.  To me, the function and duty of a quality human being is the sincere and honest development of one's potential."  ― Bruce Lee

“Often, it’s not about becoming a new person, but becoming the person you were meant to be, and already are, but don’t know how to be.”  ― Heath L Buckmaster 

What to do with Change

There was a time in my life that I was so wrapped up in doing what was ‘required’ of me that I was rarely present with people. When I say ‘required’ I mean those things that I knew I needed to do or those ways that I knew I needed to be (or act) so that people around me would be happy with me or satisfied. My nose was pressed so far up against that routine and I was so concerned with satisfying the people in my life that I wasn’t free to actually give the gift of myself to people. It was a paradox really. On a deep level I wanted to add value to people’s lives. But instead of doing that, I would focus on making sure people weren’t unhappy or dissatisfied with me. Either at work, at home, or in the community. It just became my default mode of operation. It was selfish actually. And the result was that when I was always doing just enough for people to not be dissatisfied, I was rarely actually adding value to the lives of those I cared about most.

A large part of it had to do with my fear of change. It used to feel like so much work to me to have to change what I was already comfortable with. I like routine. Routine is consistent. Routine helps me avoid the unknown. The biggest problem I had with change is that it meant that I would have to make hard and difficult decisions and actually give more of myself as opposed to keeping everything ‘status quo’.

Here’s the brick wall we all run into though. Change is inevitable. People change. Organizations change. Governments change. People change their minds, their preferences, their wants, their needs, their perspectives, their ___________. You can try to resist change, but you’ll be left behind. Even more tragic, you will not be adding value to this world.

This world needs you. We need your heart. We need your mind. We need you to be present and to bring yourself to the table. When someone close to you is dealing with a death, illness, loneliness, depression, or anything of the sort, they don’t need your routine. They need you. The essence of you.

They need you to sit with them. They need you to listen. They need to look in someones eyes and feel connected to humanity and even the Divine. If we are so fearful of change and anything out of the routine, not only will we not be able to give the gift of ourselves, we won’t even realize that the walking wounded are all around us.

Adding value to the world by being present means that we give up feeling threatened by change. It means we operate on a whole different level of honesty. It means having difficult conversations with people when we disagree with them or when they’ve let us down. What if doing the right thing wasn’t threatened by the concern of what people thought about us? What if we were empowered to tell people things they don’t want to hear when they need to hear it because we are more concerned about being present with them than what they think of us.  It means not trying to get people to like us, but connecting with them and giving them ourselves. It means dropping the games. No spin. No misdirection or misleading. It means we stop trying to paint ourselves in a better light. It means being less about impressing or mitigating and more about connecting. It means being vulnerable even if we get shot down or lose our job, reputation, or pride.

How much better would the world be if we gave of ourselves regardless of the outcome? What kind of world we have to experience for ourselves if we made the choice to be more present and embrace the change?

The First Step towards Change and Growth

There are ways in which we think about ourselves that often we aren’t aware of. Take self-acceptance for example. There is nothing more powerful than the ability to love yourself. And the first step to loving yourself is accepting yourself, just the way you are… right now. Not 1 year from now, or 3 years from now. Not when you have a different job, the great promotion, the right life partner, the right children, the right house, car, etc. But accepting yourself right now, just the way you are. Here is how most of us operate. There are things about our lives that we aren’t satisfied with. Maybe it is something as simple as not being satisfied with our job. So we don’t accept that part of our life until we end up having the kind of job we like or the kind of income we desire. We tell ourselves that once that happens we can accept ourselves and really begin loving ourselves. What we often don’t realize is that isn’t how self-acceptance and self-love work. It doesn’t just begin to happen when we reach certain ‘goals’. No. Self-acceptance and self-love begin when we make the choice to accept ourselves. And this is a choice we must make day after day for the rest of our lives.

Now the job scenario was an easy one. Lets dig a little deeper. Maybe there is something about yourself that you just can’t stand. Maybe it’s the way you can never keep to a diet or an exercise routine. Maybe it’s something as simple as the inability to quit smoking. Or maybe you don’t like how judgemental you are or you don’t like how easily you give yourself away physically because you’re just desperate for love and connection.

There are several issues that arise when we aren’t accepting of ourselves. The first is we often take on a sense of shame and ownership in a very negative way. We believe that because we’ve made a mistake or messed up again, we deserve the shame and many of the negative emotions that we feel towards ourselves. Secondly, we tell ourselves that this behavior is unacceptable, and so, we are unacceptable. This is such a huge block to growth in our lives.

It is nearly impossible to make changes in our lives when we are being motivated from a place of disapproval, unacceptance, and self-dislike. Nothing drains us more of motivation and energy than to dislike ourselves. Nothing blocks our hearts off from the love of the Divine more than our own self-hatred and self-loathing. And this is the nasty dirty little secret of life. We want to change because we recognize that we want to live better lives, but secretly, in ways we often aren’t aware of, we hate ourselves for making the mistakes we make on a regular basis. And self-hatred is completely counter-productive to growth and change.

But what if we radically accepted ourselves right now. Without hesitation. What if we CHOSE to accept ourselves with all of our warts and blemishes. What if we accepted ourselves right now, even though we are addicted to ____________________ or can’t help ourselves when it comes to _______________________.

When we accept ourselves just the way we are, by simply making the choice to, we relax our hearts and open them to be filled with new life. Our hands, that were once clinging to self-hatred and disapproval are now free to reach for and hold onto hope, change, and growth. You will find it almost impossible to make change based on self-hatred and disapproval. So make the choice to accept yourself just the way you are and begin to experience the motivation and energy to change because you care for yourself and want the best for yourself. It’s the difference between night and day within your own heart.

If you believe in a Higher Power you might start by asking For help in this area. If you don't believe in a Higher Power you might start by taking five minutes to sit with the decision to accept yourself.


Even though I can’t stand that I always ______________________________, I choose to totally, deeply, and completely love and accept myself, just the way I am. In loving and accepting myself I am choosing a better way of life.