Help Finding Love

As a coach, you might think I wouldn’t need a coach myself.  You’d be wrong.

I’m human and as a result I have; insecurities, challenges, issues, problems, dreams, and goals.  Just because I know about emotional intelligence, mindfulness, and purposeful living, doesn’t mean I’m immune to the self-limiting voices that patrol my mind.  Shoot – just read a couple of these blog posts and you’ll realize how much junk is in my head.

I used to think seeking help was a sign of weakness, but now I know the fallacy of that thought.  There isn’t a person on this planet who doesn’t need a hand.

If you’re one of the stubborn fools (yes, I’m calling you a stubborn fool), who doesn’t think you need help, here are a couple of people who you are apparently “more evolved than”:

Jesus Christ and Siddhartha Gautama

You might have heard of these dudes before.  One got help from Simon of Cyrene to carry a cross and the other received guidance from an Indian ascetic, telling him to follow a life of self-denial and discipline.  That self-denial and discipline helped Siddhartha to find his way to a Bodhi tree and become the Buddha.

Now I’m not comparing any of us to Jesus or the Buddha, but as far as we know, both of them were human and they needed support and guidance just like everyone else.

I say all this as a reminder.  A reminder to you and a reminder to myself.  Up until recently, I had been working on something alone, fearful to ask others for help.  While I was reading books and casually looking for answers, I refused to seek more professional assistance.

If I had to guess, I’d say that I refused to go for professional guidance because I was scared.  Scared to admit I couldn’t do something on my own and scared to succeed. 

The area of help I was looking for was self-love.  Namely, I knew I needed to love myself more, but I didn’t know how to do it.  It sounds silly to type, but this was a real problem – loving myself.  I mean, I’ve liked myself and my life for a really long time, but love?  Real, true, deep love?  Nope.

After getting over my fear and resistance to seeking help, I hired a coach who specializes in areas such as these.  In my first session with my new coach, I was asked a very simple question.

“How many times a day, do you say, “I love you” to yourself?”

To which I answered…

“Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, never?”

In reflection, throughout the course of any day, my mind chatter includes statements like the following, but never something along the lines of “I love you”:

“You idiot, that was stupid.”

“Don’t do that!”

“Wtf, Dan!?”

“You can’t do better than that!?”

“What a stupid thing to say.”

“Don’t be so dumb.”

“Come on Dan, suck it up!”

Nowhere in my self-talk are the words.  “I love you Dan.”

With a negative to positive self-talk ratio of several thousand to zero, it’s no wonder I’m struggling to love myself.

Shirzad Chamine, author of the fantastic book and training program, Positive Intelligence, calls these negative voices, our Saboteurs.  Not all Saboteurs are created equal and the negative voices inside your own head could consist of one or all of the following:

  • Judge
  • Stickler
  • Pleaser
  • Hyper-Vigilant
  • Restless
  • Controller
  • Avoider
  • Hyper-Achiever
  • Victim
  • Hyper-Rational

The common Saboteur we all have is the Judge.  In addition to the Judge, my Saboteurs primarily consist of the Avoider, Hyper-Achiever, and the Pleaser.  To take a brief assessment and uncover your own Saboteurs, feel free to do so by following this link.

With a new understanding that loving myself begins with the voice inside of my head, I’ve been making it a practice to take a break throughout the day, pause, and then look at a photo of myself from around 5th grade (think slightly chubby Dan in an over-sized little league uniform) and simply say, “I love you.”

The early results are this practice is helping to re-orient my self-talk, calm myself, and generally fill my body and awareness with love and kindness.  Overall, I’d say it’s working.

In addition to sending love to myself, I’ve also been working to catch my Saboteurs in the act of sabotage.  Yesterday for example, I found my Judge and Avoider ganging up on me, saying things like:

“You should have this work done by now.”  (Judge)

“Whatever, it’s not that big of a deal.”  (Avoider)

You have the worst work-ethic.”  (Judge)

“Who really cares, this task is bs.”  (Avoider)

Back and forth the two went, building up additional stress and turmoil inside of me.  After several minutes of this, and not getting anything accomplished other than a stomachache and rising self-hatred, I was able to see the two Saboteurs in action.  Catching them in the act I said to myself, “KNOCK IT OFF!”

This didn’t help at all.

Rather than being discerning, casually recognizing what the Saboteurs were doing, and calmly using love to disarm them, I used judgement to judge my Judge and Avoider.  This was like pouring lava onto the burning negative fire within me and made matters worse.  I had given my Saboteurs more power and now I was angry with myself on top of all the previous judgement and bickering.

After wallowing in hatred and anger for a while, I looked around my desk and saw 5th grade Dan smiling at me in his orange and black Tsintolas’ Blazing Braces uniform.

Seeing this, I gave a little chuckle, exhaled, said to myself “I love you,” and got back to work.

The “war to love me more” continues.  If you want to join me in this fight, no training is required.  Simply grab an old photo and start by saying, “I love you.”

Author Bio: Dan started Fired and Free in 2017, to provide his “truth” after being fired as CEO of the company he started and led. After a diverse 17-year career in management consulting and entrepreneurship, Dan now leads 3Sixty Leadership, where he provides coaching and consulting to business owners with 5 to 500 employees, helping them to work “on” their business not “in” their business.

6 thoughts on “Help Finding Love

  1. Jess Kwerel

    Loved your post! I also recommend the book “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It” The author has a really interesting story


  2. Sandra

    What can I say? Like you have read my mind… I’ve been thinking about this lately. A LOT! And the conclusion I came with was to give myself permission to not demand perfection from me. Your post gives me a different perspective. Thank you!


  3. Bryan

    Dan, and all of Your family, I love you. I am a stranger who has followed your blogging journey from the beginning. It was by a miss click I found your blog. I only follow you and a man’s journey very different from your’s. I live in Seattle and so does the writer of the other blog I read (a different world from where you are located). The other writer is a minimum wage person, so his insite comes from brunch with friends or conversations with strangers (budget insight) I have no social media accounts and little interest even in googling for info. (I call my elders and friends for info) I have enjoyed reading your blog for many reasons one being the similarities we share. I also read because of our great differences, I enjoy reading your writings, I enjoy you have maintained the income to hire the knowledgeable professionals you seak out and the payments for retreats you find in the areas you seak. I love you for sharing the parts of your knowledge you have been gaining understanding in and that you share what is appropriate in your world for the public to see. This is the first time I have ever responded to a blog, but on this topic I wanted to offer you some things I have been doing. Every morning for close to a year now, I wake, use the bathroom, make an espresso or coffee, then I sit on the floor in front of a large mirror and while looking into my eyes I great myself with ”good morning” I drink the entire first cup of coffee contemplating my day from the viewpoint of ”Good morning, I love you, how did you sleep, what are your plans for the day”. I am basically creating a space of love to greet myself, and begin the day knowing I am there for me no matter what”. Thank you again for sharing parts of your journey and I am happy to share something that has helped me in my self-discovery that took place and stayed a part of my life over the span of reading your writings. Cheers, I hope you give it a try, I found it uncomfortable at first greeting myself 1st off, and now I look forward to it 🙂


    1. Fired and Free

      I love you too Bryan and I am so grateful for your “miss click” and for your extremely kind and thoughtful words. As I write this, tears are welling up in my eyes – happy and grateful tears. As someone who has been along since the beginning, you can probably guess that putting myself out there does not come naturally to me. What keeps me “coming back” is a desire to make sense of the thoughts swirling around in my head and a genuine desire to help anyone else who may be going through something similar. Knowing people like you have gotten something out these writings, means so much to me.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment and for sharing your morning routine. What better person to share your first cup of coffee with, than yourself. I’ll give it a try.


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