“If you want to transform your own life, ditch the fear and feelings of unworthiness. Connect to your inner drive and determination. ”

-Rose Caiola

How do you find fulfillment when you feel like something is missing in your life, but you don’t have the first clue what to do to change it? Many of us are living with something missing that we let define our lives. We’ve become accustomed to feeling less than 100 percent fulfilled. It took me a long time to realize I don’t have to feel this way, and only I had the power to transform my life.

At 16 years old, I was sitting in a chair on my neighbor’s balcony, surrounded by my cousins and friends in a small Christian village in the Lebanese mountains. That day, I was lost somewhere between a nightmare and a bad reality. My senses were numb.

I went through the motions at my dad’s funeral services, wanting to dream up a different existence – one less painful, less scary. As the dark brown coffin carried my dad to nowhere, it took with it a piece of me. I spent much of my life looking for that piece that was somewhere too deep to be found, totally hidden from my view. As more crises kept coming at me – the loss of my country to war, the loss of my belongings to bankruptcy, the loss of my family’s leader – I didn’t have much left to hold onto.

In the midst of this uncertainty and instability, I longed to find my true self – the self that stays strong in the face of loss. After years of personal reflection and inner work, I discovered a simple process to transform my life that can be applied to any area in which we’re facing obstacles: loss, addiction, illness, aging or another life challenge.

This process, which follows the acronym D.A.N.C.E, helped me find peace, love and success by transforming my negative events into an inspiration. I learned to attract health, wealth and happiness in all areas of my life; my past became a grateful gift without which I would not have made this important discovery.

In order to make a personal transformation, you must:

Discover Your Emotions

Awaken to Your Beliefs

Name Your Patterns

Cancel Your Polarities

Embrace Your True Self

You can engage in these important actions with the following three steps:

1. Discover your emotions

Never To Have Felt An Emotion
On my journey, I discovered that painful experiences, which I call Markers, live not only in our memories but also in our emotions. These negative emotions, called Stickers,  are so engrained in our psyche that they hinder the possibility of creating new, positive experiences. We are left facing a wall of disbelief and disillusion.

My Sticker was buried so deep it was totally hidden from my view, but each time I encountered a loss in my life, no matter how small, my Sticker was triggered. This emotion shows up in our body physiologically through various organs and symptoms. Let’s call the part of our body that hosts this negative emotion the Vessel.
Our Marker event, the Sticker emotion and the Vessel make up what I call our Emotional Logo.

Once I discovered my Emotional Logo, I was able to transcend the negative feeling from my past and acknowledge it without giving any identity or authority to it. By doing this, my losses and their cause became a catalyst that helped me move forward in life instead of holding me back.

Like me, once you identify your Emotional Logo, you will be able to transcend it and use it as an empowering tool. You’ll be able to feel the emotion, name it, question it and become consciously aware of your subsequent actions in a rational way. With a little practice, you’ll soon be able to transform your unconscious actions and reactions into conscious responses. In other words, your past will no longer control your present or future.

2. Awaken to your beliefs and name your patterns

If you look closely, you can probably identify several patterns in your life – areas where no matter what you do you get the same result. For example, it might seem like you just can’t get ahead, or like a partner or co-worker always gives the same comments about your effort.

On my journey of self-discovery, I learned that many patterns of my behavior could be traced back to a core pattern that had roots throughout all of my past reactions. For example, in school I used to receive B’s instead of A’s on all of my tests, for the simple reason that I could never complete a test in time. I was so obsessed with things being perfect that I couldn’t move quickly enough.

Although this might seem like a common behavior on the surface, I was able to trace it back to a long-held belief that started on my neighbor’s balcony: “I can’t do it alone.” I call this my Verdict.

I masked this core, limiting belief by covering it up with perfectionism. I thought no one would discover my secret – my insecurity – but it turns out everyone else already saw it in my persistent behaviors. I was just hiding it from myself.

Recognizing my patterns of behavior – and naming them – put me in the driver’s seat, allowing me to control my behavior. I was able to transform my old core belief into a positive one that helped me achieve my life’s dreams.

If you can become aware of your Verdict, of the little voice in your head that says, “I can’t do it,” “I’m not lovable,” or “I’m not enough,” you will be able to neutralize it and release the emotional charge that keeps you from moving forward.

3. Cancel your polarities and embrace your true self

self compassion hugging knees
“Why me?” is a question we all ask ourselves at some point in our lives, but living life from that angle will stifle our potential for growth and self-expression. Despite my self-awareness, at times I fell into the trap of self-deceit. Despite my successful life, I would dip and not be able to quickly bounce back. Still, I wanted to become the master of my own circumstances.

I discovered that our experiences with emotions carry a negative or positive charge. Experiences with a positive charge help us live well, and those with a negative one throttle our self-expression. While we cannot convert our negative experiences into positive ones, we can cancel the negativity of those painful ones by attaining the deeply held judgment that we form about ourselves as a result of these events. Each belief has its opposite somewhere in the human mind. By challenging each negative belief and using its opposite to neutralize it, my limiting beliefs crumbled like a game of Jenga losing its most stable block.

Every time you feel fear or any other strong negative emotion, stop and ask yourself this question: where is it coming from? If it is associated with a past experience, you can simply acknowledge it; thank it for the valuable warning, and use it as a thrust to move forward. I discovered that by being thankful to the experience, I could extract its power.

From that balcony at my neighbor’s in the Lebanese mountains, I became a successful entrepreneur, a published author who travels the world and meets the most interesting people. From the disconnection I felt the day my dad died, I now feel a connection with everything and everyone. I hope my precious lessons can inspire you wherever you are on your journey of reinventing whatever parts of yourself you wish and creating a beautiful life.

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