Saturday, January 30, 2016

Putting Yourself First May Be the Best – and Most Unselfish – Thing You Can Do

I often wonder who decided that I was to be a giver instead of a receiver in this life. Well, now I know. I myself made that decision, and I was all of 10 years of age at the time. As young as I was, it seems I had come to a decisive point in my life. I realized I was a conscious, thinking human being, and was searching for something that would lift me up and beyond my current circumstances to a more desired life. At first, I tried finding what I was looking for by visiting some of the churches near our house, but found that their messages of “hell-fire and brimstone” were not what my heart and soul sought. I realized fully that the situation in my birth family figured in my quest also, as I was the seventh of 10 children and was born a highly-sensitive introvert. I yearned for the individual attention, guidance, and love my life was missing, and which was an impossibility in such a large family.  
 The decision I made in an innocent Mother Teresa-moment was to choose the path of love and to always give priority to the needs of others (primarily my family members) instead of selfishly focusing on myself. Then I would receive back what I so sorely desired. Being a voracious reader, including books on family issues, I thought I knew how to help fulfill my needs and benefit others. For a time I focused extra attention and caring on my parents and siblings, but it made no difference in the lack of attention or acceptance I felt.

 So I extended my attention beyond the family and discovered that the responses to my selfless-do-gooder actions were beginning to make a difference in my life. It started when Miss Rule, the elementary school librarian, took me under her tutelage and I became her number-one assistant, which was a boost to my self-esteem. Something obviously shifted in the “little me,” for each teacher throughout eighth grade, responded to me in ways that were a balm to my heart and I wanted more of the wonderful feel-good feelings. Those positive feelings were so strong that I remained on the path I had chosen, unaware – or not caring – that I often ignored any preferences or needs of my own to help others.

As a grownup, once I began to focus on the lesson of self-love, which is invaluable to a balanced and happy life, it was clear that some childhood conclusions – like mine – can be the source of poor life decisions, less than healthy relationships, and an unfulfilled life. I realized that my immature decision to put others first no matter what the situation was – needed to be reexamined by a mature adult. And I was the only one who could do it.

What I discovered – became fully conscious of – was that this childhood decision was the source of active conflict in my adult life for at least a decade. It started with the publishing of my books and realizing that in addition to being a highly-sensitive introvert, I had become a spiritual contemplative. This meant that I had no interest in pursuing fame or fortune. I just wanted to follow my chosen path and to fulfill my life purpose – which is to continue growing through life instead of just going through it – and sharing the insights I gained to help others create better lives. I’m in the process of learning to balance self-love with loving and releasing others to their own destinies, and with my background this is a tall order and will take time.

The more I realized that I had been controlled by that subconscious order to always help others, the more I recognized that while some of the “motherly” things I had done through the years may have been truly love-based and healthy, some were not. Sometimes the others involved could have resolved their own challenges and learned vital life lessons, and sometimes my involvement could have been simply an unnecessary interference and probably caused emotional stress for all concerned. Now I’m beginning to experience a feeling of peace and wholeness when my actions come only from love and are positive for all concerned, and a feeling of emptiness and sadness when I realized they are ego-based and come largely from a long-term habit.

I’ve known for a long time that everything in life happens for a reason, and we’re here on Earth to learn the lessons that present themselves. For example I learned a long time ago, after having three children of my own, that there’s no way I could have fulfilled all the individual needs and desires of the 10 children my parents had. Who could? I’m sure that as parents, beyond providing a child’s basic need for shelter, food and love, it is part of the curriculum in Earth school to choose to use what challenges/opportunities life delivers us to fuel our unique life journey. The more challenging our circumstances have been, the greater the gift in overcoming the past.

 I also realize fully that everything that happened in my childhood, including the directive to choose the path of love, is what fueled me to continue on the spiritual path. That decision eventually led me to finding my life purpose, and now the opportunity to open more fully to it. I also recognize how vital self-love is in creating the lives we desire and deserve. And for those insights I bless everything that ever happened in my life for they have brought me more joy and happiness than I ever dreamed possible. Thank you, God. I have no complaints.

 Now that old directive has been replaced by a new one – to be a loving, benevolent “bystander” for those I care about. I will be there when they truly need me, and ask me, and I will remain free to focus on my own soul-growth. This requires conscious commitment, discipline and awareness every single day. It also means I continue working on loving myself so that my level of self-love is at a high level. This keeps me healthy and happy, and any decisions I make are based on selfless-love that benefits all concerned.

Helping others is a blessed life goal, but I’ve learned how important it is to put our own oxygen mask on first, because if our needs are not met, we have little or no ability to help others.
Whenever I fail, or when I doubt, or when I’m down – I remain kind and loving to myself. 

 10 Easy Ways to Build Self-Love, Self-Compassion and a Happy Life


Write down what your “self talk” says about you. If it’s critical, change it to loving words.

Write out a list of your best qualities, life gifts, abilities and look at it often.

 Look in the mirror each day, lock eyes and say I love you – continue until you can feel comfortable and filled with self-love.

 Forgive yourself, others, release the past, and live in the moment.

 Set boundaries and say no to anyone or anything that does not align with your core values, your heart and soul desires, and your highest and best good.

 Meet challenges by going within and asking your inner guidance to tell you the lesson you are to learn. Don’t give up. You already know the answer.

 Meditate. Go within to experience the bliss and deep inner peace within us. Conscious awareness is inherent in this process. You will soon recognize and release old patterns and behaviors and transform your life experience. (See Meditation Made Easy in my Spiritual Warrior book.)

 Say each day with passion: I Am God’s Magnificent Vessel of Greatness!

 Repeat often during challenging times: There is an opportunity in this to learn a lesson. Thanks. Everything happens for my good (eventually) and I’m going to be gentle, kind and loving to myself every day.

Copyright © 2014 by Fern Stewart Welch – (reprinted by request)

The author’s books: “Becoming a Spiritual Warrior of the Heart (April 2013); “Tea with Elisabeth,” recipient of the 2010 Silver Award for Non-fiction; “You Can Live a Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World,” (Nov. 2008), and “The Heart Knows the Way – How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within,” (Feb. 2006), are available at, other online booksellers, as well as bookstore chains such as Barnes &I Noble.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Just When It Seems Your Life Is As Good As It Gets … You Might Learn Your Biggest Lesson of All

   "Without change something sleeps within us. And seldom
Awakens.  The sleeper must awaken.”  ~Frank Herbert

It was three days from the deadline for posting my monthly essay online when I realized I had to delete yet another unsatisfactory version. (I was stymied, dead in the water – and it was a shock.)

This was definitely not writer’s block.  After nine years and more than 200 essays, this was the first time I had come to a full stop.  Certainly I’d experienced ups and down and static times before, but I had never once thought of the possibility of going fully into reverse – and staying there – which is what I feared was happening to me.  I had gone abruptly from living in a spiritual state of trust, security, peace, joy – and being able to share that with readers – to floundering unproductively in doubt, fear, insecurity, loneliness and vulnerability.

Yes, I had finally reached a place of happiness, security and spiritual comfort in my life, and I wanted to stop striving and at 82 years of age just to stay there forever.  But I had also become complacent and conveniently lost sight of the fact that life is change, and that praying daily to
live in the status quo and have it keep getting better was in opposition to how life really works. 

I had hoped to live the rest of my life from the spiritual aspect I had spent years attaining.  Now, though, I seemed to have taken a giant step backward.  I was so surprised and so rattled by the accompanying negative emotions that I didn’t know how, when or why it happened and whether or not it was going to be a permanent situation.  I couldn’t even imagine at that point that I might be able to master my own emotional and mental aspects enough to gain insights and move back on track.  I feared my journey was over.

Before this backsliding episode, the writing and sharing of these essays about growing through life’s lessons instead of just going through them had taken on a life of its own, and I had trusted it completely.  This time it seemed that no matter how deep I dug in searching for the lesson I was meant to understand, bring forth and share with others, I simply couldn’t hit pay dirt.  I finally felt guided to post archived essays for the months of gestation that unprecedented and challenging new lessons would require.

As soon as I made that decision, I breathed a big sigh of relief, as I felt a welcome release of stress. After several weeks of staying away from the computer and working in my patio garden to prepare the plants for winter, I began to sense that the almost 360◦ metamorphosis from positive to negative energy was lessening its hold on me.  It seemed nearly miraculous, but then I remembered that our ancestors often took ailing patients into the forest to aid their healing.

Apparently a respite spent partnering with Nature was allowing me to stop focusing on all the negative aspects of my situation.  I had stepped back and away from the stress and disappointment of backsliding and this allowed me to begin functioning again at a more desirable level.  I realized that my time in nature brought back my perspective and this allowed me to continue objectively seeking answers.

As I continued my daily soul-searching, I prayed that my “job” (life purpose) was the same as it was before: to grow through life instead of just going through it, and sharing the insights gained with others.

It also wasn’t lost on me that experiencing once more what it was like to be living life from a lower energy vibration, and with all the negative emotions, was absolutely undesirable.  I had never liked living like that, and I still didn’t.  Even thinking about it caused a slight twinge of fearful energy to begin rising up in me.  Thankfully, I immediately felt a stronger, positive surge of energy course through my body.  I knew then that I held the answer within me and I could and would eventually reach a level of conscious awareness that to me, comparatively speaking, was like heaven on Earth.

I started to wonder how I could do that, and quickly remembered that being committed to fulfilling my highest potential in life had brought me to the former plateau.  I sensed that if I remained on that path, it would enable me to get back on course.   So, I did the only thing I knew to do.  I went straight back to the basics, and was daily working on shoring up the connection with my inner self by using positive affirmative prayers, and also claiming to increase the level of trust and faith I have in God-Good-Truth-Love, and Me.  It felt right and good.  I also went back to doing some necessary inner work and released some negative and invalid beliefs, thoughts, life patterns and idealized and false self images.

I realized that when I hit a bump in the road, the key is not to allow the poor Little Me aspect of my ego to run wild by bringing up all of my negative and self-effacing thoughts and fears.  As soon as I was relieved of built-up stress, I experienced a positive, steady energy at the core of my being—again.  Hallelujah!

It was obvious to me that this was the toughest lesson I’d ever experienced.  And I’d done it to myself, of course, by losing perspective and then tying myself up in knots over it.  I’m not ashamed to admit this now.  I’m human, and know that many of us allow negative and false thoughts to remain in our subconscious and they become strong directives in our lives.  Our souls present us with ample opportunities to face, feel, heal and release such negative directives.  The choice is ours.  (It’s simple, but isn’t always easy.)

What I finally learned was not to steadfastly try to hang onto the status quo when we reach a desired energy level and our life seems like it’s the best it can ever be.  That’s not the way life works.  We’re here to grow into a higher conscious awareness, and the opportunities are countless, and endless, and present themselves every day of our lives – unless we put up a mental Stop Sign like I did – that denies change and resists new experiences.
If I’m ever faced with another highly emotional lesson like this one, here’s my plan:  Before another self-blame snit-fit of stress and flailing emotions can take control, I’m going to remain calm and go within immediately and call forth the highest and best me I can be.  Then with the strongest thoughts, desire and energy I can muster, I will claim faith and trust in God-Good-Love-Truth … and Me. 

I also know now that as I choose to live this lesson, everything necessary to enable me to move forward on the next step of my spiritual journey is awaiting me.  And, my friends, from this experience, I believe that this is the way life on Earth is meant to work.                                                                   
___________________________________________                                                                           Copyright © 2016 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s books: “Becoming a Spiritual Warrior of the Heart, (2013); “Tea with Elisabeth,” recipient of the 2010 Silver Award for Non-fiction;  “You Can Live A Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World,” (2008); and “The Heart Knows the Way – How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within,” (2006), are available at, other online booksellers, as well as bookstore chains such as Barnes & Noble.