01/13/2014 04:33 pm ET Updated Mar 15, 2014

Finding Your Power: Part I -- Me First

The journey of finding your power, when taken in earnest, changes you from the inside out. It changes all that you say, do, think and feel about yourself, your relationships and life's circumstances. At first blush, the concept may sound a little foreign. But, once you commence the journey to discover your true essence, your power, you can never go back... and, you'll never want to.

Several years ago, a series of events in my life were triggered that led me on a journey to discover my own power. It began with a difficult pregnancy followed by a difficult birth and a son who suffered from multiple health challenges during his first few days, months and years of life. Then a knee surgery gone wrong and then, finally, separating from a company I had worked with for almost decade. In retrospect, I realize that it was a journey I did not even know I was on until almost a year or two into it. (Perhaps this sounds familiar? They always say, "hindsight is 20/20.") Most of us begin our journeys by looking at and into the "self" (note the lower case "s") and the experiences that made us who we think we are.

Most of us stumble upon a glimpse of our true power after experiencing some kind of life-changing event. Perhaps the loss of a job or loved one, a life-threatening disease or condition or simply unhappiness or depression about how we are living our lives and the inability to shake a deep knowing that there is more for us to see, do and share with the world than what we are currently experiencing. This then, is the launching point. It takes heart, courage, trust, patience and belief to not only begin the journey, but to stay the course.

So, what is your power, you may ask? It is a good question. One worth asking. But, it is also one that no one can answer for you. This is the kind of question that, based on your own personal journey, you should answer for yourself. However, in this three-part blog post, I can share are some guiding principles that have been helpful to me on my journey of self discovery and on the journeys of those with whom I work.

Learn To Love Yourself

It all begins and ends with love. Yes, that's right, love. As elementary as it sounds, it's that simple... or is it? By love, I don't mean the kind of "head‐over‐heals‐I‐can't‐breath‐without‐him/her" love. No, this love is quite different and something most wondrous to behold. It is the ultimate and unconditional love that we contain as an innate part of our being, a gift endowed at the time of our creation: Spirit's love. (The name is not what matters here. It could easily be God, Allah, Yahweh, Vishnu, Quetzalcoatl, Source or whichever name you feel most comfortable calling the source energy that created all things big and small.) This love resides within each of us waiting to be fully and truly awakened so that we can really know love of Self (note the upper case "S" here). We've all heard the saying, "You can't truly love anyone else unless and until you love yourself." (The same goes for forgiveness, by the way.) Well, it is this love that lays the foundation for discovering your power and for unleashing your full potential and abundance in all areas of your life.

Who's Top on Your List?

To help illustrate this point, I will share a brief story that helped me begin to understand the notion of Self love. Perhaps, at the end of it, you too will discover something about yourself. When I was in high school, I took a health class. At the beginning of one of our classes, our teacher told us to take out a pen and piece of paper. (We did so, but quite begrudgingly as you can imagine, because we thought a pop quiz was coming.) To our bewilderment, our teacher asked us to write down the top five people in our lives that we loved the most. He gave us a few minutes and when we were done, he asked two key questions that I'll never forget. First, he asked how many of us had written our own names on the list. And second, how many of us had written our names first on the list. No one -- absolutely no one -- in the class had written their own name on the list. The realization left a silence in the room as we all experienced our own "light bulb moments." It made me realize that we often speak about self love and self respect, but we equally as often forget to integrate it fully into who we are. I've never forgotten this simple, yet quietly monumental, exercise. It laid the initial seeds for the foundation of the rest of my life.

The Red Pill or the Blue Pill -- Which Do You Choose?

One of these initial seeds was the understanding that all relationships take time to flourish and to deepen. Especially the relationship with yourself. So be patient as you learn how to love yourself truly and fully. Despite the pace of this journey, it is well worth doing because it builds a necessarily strong and unshakable foundation to help you grow into the fullness of you. For some, feeling this Self love and by extension love for others, will seem easier and quicker than for others. Take heart though -- it is not a race. And, it is not a contest. Some of us have to begin first by drawing on this love to heal our wounds -- wounds that may range from abuse, addiction, abandonment, low self esteem, anger, jealousy, and more. Pick your poison. For that is truly what it can be to your body and your energy. But, and a very huge "but," this kind of poison has an antidote. As we love and heal ourselves, we can begin to look at the experiences that we've held as toxic or poisonous in our bodies differently. We can see them as having a greater lesson or purpose -- even the most painful ones -- thereby setting us free from their grip and the repeated dysfunctional thought and behavioral patterns that came along with them. We can appreciate the lessons that have brought us to where we are today and that will shape us into the person we choose to be tomorrow.