Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book? When did it come out? Where can we get it?
The book is titled: Loving Me First: the journey to discover your inner self…..
Loving Me First is a gender neutral, unisex book that examines various components of relationship experiences from a global perspective. It discusses variables that impede the cultivation of deeper intimacy, offers a collective summary of cross-cultural relationship experiences, and encapsulates life lessons learned. Finally, it includes eight insights for transformational growth and emotional healing.
Prior to writing this book, I lived outside of the United States for approximately two years living and working in close proximity to men and women representing more than twenty-five different countries. Collectively, we engaged in countless conversations about relationships and life experiences. Communication, sexual intimacy, and emotional pain were recurring topics identified as either beneficial or detrimental in many relationships. These same three variables are prominent topics of discussion expressed by men and women residing in the United States. I was inspired to write my book as a result of observing domestic and international relationship commonalities.
I enjoy writing, sharing my thoughts uninterrupted. When I returned to the U.S., I immediately realized that I wanted to write or share some of the life lessons learned.
Do you have any favorite authors?
Shawn Achor and Anthony Robbins.
Do you write in a specific place? Time of day?
I write Monday to Friday from 11:00PM until midnight; the room must be quiet.
Great! Are there any words you'd like to impart to fellow writers? Any advice?
When you publish your book you will officially hold the title “Published Author”. If your book sales do not reflect your hard work or meet your immediate expectations, do not become discouraged. Regardless of the outcome, you will have accomplished a success that many people only dream of; don’t give up.
Thank you, Dr. White. That's great advice!
Readers, here is the blurb for Loving Me First.
I was sitting in a bunker in Iraq on the day that I was inspired to write this book. We had just come under attack and danger was looming. I am a Psychotherapist by profession. A gentleman sitting next to me whispered “I should have made up with my wife last night; I want her to know how I feel.” I looked at him and said, “What do you want me to tell her, because I’m getting out of here alive? My goal was to instill hope. Next, I said to him “Now, I need you to move to the other end of the bunker.” We all laughed. At that moment I started jokingly asking other men and women in the bunker, if there was anything they needed me to tell their family members? That was the starting dialog for Loving Me First. These conversations extended beyond the bunkers.
Collectively, we engaged in countless conversations about relationships and life experiences during my two year tour in Iraq. Greater than twenty-five countries were represented during our conversations. Communication, sexual intimacy, and emotional pain were recurring topics identified as either beneficial or detrimental in many relationships, similar to variables expressed by adults in the United States.
Loving Me First is a gender neutral, unisex book that examines various components of relationship experiences from a global perspective. It discusses a collective summary of cross-cultural relationship experiences, and encapsulates life lessons learned. I was motivated to write this book to ensure that the words and experiences of these and other amazing people were remembered, encapsulated, and discussed from and international perspective.
Life is a journey; your route may parallel the evolution of a pearl and you may have endured some irritants. Many people triumph over adversity; however, pain that is not transformed its transmitted internally or externally. Loving Me First includes eight insights for transformational growth and emotional healing. It empowers the reader to move forward in life with hope and happiness. May you live with purpose as you prepare to give and receive unconditional love into your life.
And here is an excerpt.
PART III: From the Heart (Healing and Happiness)
If the pain of your story is not transformed it is transmitted.
Transformational Growth: Choose Your Path
Pain that is not transformed is transferred outwardly or inwardly. There are several paths that you can travel on your journey to healing. I will discuss tools and insights to aid you during your transformational process. Every concept will not conform to your personal beliefs or value system; therefore you should determine which tool will lead you to your destination of healing and happiness.
In the world of research it is believed that if a variable is not scientifically quantitative or if it can not be duplicated, it does not exist. If this is accurate, feelings and emotions, which are not quantitative, are implied not to exist. However, if you have ever been hurt, had your heart broken, your trust breached, or have been disappointed by someone you loved or trusted, you probably reject the concept of quantifiable measurements. Nonetheless, you may be able to personally attest that pain and hurt prominently permeates in your heart; it is immeasurable.
Life is truly an amazing gift that should be lived to the fullest! However, sometimes you might experience painful, unpleasant, situations and believe that life is unfair. If you are asking yourself “why me?” My response is, why not you? No one is exempt from pain or disappointment, especially if you are willing to open your heart to others. The one life that you have can be plentiful, if you take responsibility for it and live it well.
Transformation includes changing the manner in which you process your beliefs and behavior resulting from your experiences. Your past can not be altered; however, your mind has the power to heal your heart by finding positive meaning in your experiences. Change will never happen unless you decide to make it happen. You have a choice. You do not have to live with pain or shame.
Today presents a unique opportunity
for you to find your strength, to be whole,
… the choice is yours, this life is yours.
How Do I start the Healing Process?
Eight Insights to Transformational Growth!
Lao-Tzu stated “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. This means you can not begin a journey until you take one initial step in the direction of your destination. If you want to make significant changes in your life, do not be intimidated, begin the process of change now. You only need to take one step to start a new life. There are many ways to being the transformation process. Your path may include therapy, art, rituals, drama, memorialization, justice or finding meaning in the experience.
Many years ago, I attended a seminar that discussed transformational growth. I have adopted some of the general ideas discussed, expanded on the overall concepts and developed a model applicable to healing and happiness (Wynn, W. 2008).
Transformation is a process that can lead you to healing and guide you to wholeness. Transformation starts in your mind by examining the core of who you are; it requires a new perspective of how you see your life. Transformational growth implies that you will change, work through your hurt, release the past and grow from your experiences. You have the ability to change the external variables in your life, however, you can not transform holistically unless you change your mind, the habitual patterns in which you think. Your transformation will include taking the necessary steps to discover peace by acknowledging your pain, changing the manner in which you process old information, and finding positive meaning in the experience. When you transform, you will release the stronghold that pain and loss has over your life.
You have the power to transform, but do you have the desire?
1. Pain and Loss are Universal!
It is important to understand that loss is universal, every human will experience tragedies in their lifetime; this includes you and it is inescapable. Throughout your life, you have been subjected to both positive and negative experiences; these experiences formed your perspective and who you are today. You have endured great trials and tribulations and still managed to flourish. You are resilient.
The World Peace Organization (2014) defines personal resilience as the ability to function the same or greater than before a crisis, tragedy, or trauma, while working through the emotions and effects of stress and painful events. The individual survives, copes and thrives in times of adversity. Afterwards they accept that something negative happened but they make a personal decision to make the best of the situation.
Resilience is more than the absence of pathology, it is your ability to adapt, withstand and recover from stress, catastrophe or adversity without experiencing negative psychological effects. It is a strength, your aptitude to survive, “bounce forward,” push through, grow and get stronger. Bad things happen, but we continue to try, live, and look for the good in our experiences.
To love life means to desire a full life. You can not get through life without experiencing hurt and often by the person you love the most. When a relationship terminates or someone you trust or love deeply rejects, betrays, leaves you or dies, your heart may be broken. You may express anger because something transpired that you believe was unfair. Your loss may be related to abandonment, addiction, abuse, illness, medical diagnosis, friendships, and the lost innocence of a child, personal freedom, lifestyle changes, unemployment, foreclosure, bankruptcy, financial issues, or the loss of a valued item or event. Hurt and pain can lead to bitterness and depression. What makes your loss or pain unique from anyone else’s is that it is yours; it affects you personally. Life should not be about finding a way to keep from getting wounded but capitalizing on every opportunity to keep it from being wasted.
Pain can keep you psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually imprisoned if you do not learn to channel it effectively or release it completely.
To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.
-Lewis B. Smedes
6. Self-forgiveness !
Forgiveness Frees the Forgiver: Free Yourself!
This insight is written specifically for the purpose of supporting you to forgive yourself. Yes, this is all about you. Self-forgiveness is a journey, a process, and one of the hardest qualities to practice in daily living. It is much harder to forgive yourself than it is to forgive someone else. Regardless of who requires compassion; forgiveness requires hard work. Forgiving yourself is a necessary step in the direction of moving away from your pain.
When your memory is inundated with experiences that result in blame or shame, this fermenting negativity infusing deep inside of you can affect a pervasive sense of unhappiness. Humans are the only species that judge and punish themselves repeatedly for the same mistake. Your mistakes are reinforced by parents, partners, relatives, and society. Humans will not let you forget what you have done wrong. Gloom will always loom if you allow it to.
One of the greatest joys associated with forgiveness is that it allows you to live peacefully in the present, while moving into your future with a renewed sense of purpose. Forgiveness allows you to focus on change and build on positive experiences. Your regrets serve no purpose, they do not benefit your life in any positive way. Please do not confuse this statement with repentance.
Your character is shaped by your life experiences, to include your exposures, events that have happened to you and things you have imposed on yourself or others. If you conquer yourself, you can conquer the world. Take a moment and imagine how your quality of life can be vastly enriched if you released your past and completely freed yourself.
Forgiving yourself includes identifying the specific issue that you feel bad about, not about the person you are. Isolating your pain by name, (betrayal, rape, abuse, abandonment, terminations, illness, job loss, etc.) allows you to focus on the specific emotion associated with the pain you are working to release. Equally important, you can name the pain for burial when you permanently release it forever; let it go.
When you are not successful at self-forgiveness, you remain imprisoned inside yourself with unresolved loss, pain and guilt, and these emotions can ultimately impact your mental health. Collectively, these feelings increase stress and can be manifested physiologically and psychologically. All stress is not bad; however, chronic stress is unhealthy. By reducing your stress you also decrease your level of anger.
Forgiving yourself can be difficult, especially in situations where you were at fault; however, it is necessary to personally acknowledge your actions or inactions. When you are able to explore your situation objectively and accept responsibility for your actions, you can begin the process of self-forgiving.
Follow Your Wound…..
We all leave childhood with wounds.
in time we may transform our liabilities
into gifts. The faults that pockmark
the psyche may become the source
of a man or a woman’s beauty. The
injuries we have suffered invite us to
assume the most human of all
vocations- to heal ourselves and others.
If you were violated by a friend or family member and you disclose this information publically, you must be prepared for many negative outcomes to include denial by the offender, other family members, and the loss of many relationships. These losses may be necessary for your healing. Although the thought of confronting your offender may sound liberating, this decision can also be dangerous. In doing so, you may be empowering the offender to rationalize, justify, or deny their behavior. Confrontations such as this can result in further emotional distress. A decision of this magnitude should never be acted upon without first consulting a mental health professional.
Please stop punishing yourself for your past decisions. Self-forgiveness is not about forgetting what happened, ruminating, or continuing to regret your decisions. If you do not move forward, sorrow and grief will take over and dominate your life. Even if life feels strange at the moment, it will get better because you are a survivor. Learning from your mistakes and moving forward will make you a wiser and healthier person. Ask yourself, how can your wound lead to growth? Can your experience energize you to change something in the world or guide you to make a positive contribution?
Resist Negative Thoughts:
Self-forgiveness is an ongoing process, so please do not constrain yourself to a timetable. Throughout the healing process it is common to fear an emotional relapse. You may feel that you are progressing, then unexpectedly you become emotional, experience a trigger, a reminder, and suddenly believe that your healing efforts are futile. Resist these automatic negative thoughts and remind yourself that you have not relapsed into your pre-forgiveness state of mind. When you are feeling discouraged, this is not the time to quit, you are on the brink of a break through. Do not give up; forgive yourself instead! Give yourself permission to move on with your life; you do not need forgiveness for being you.
Magical thinking can often times be irrational because it supports the belief that a person, event, or outcome is directly influenced by another person’s action or inactions. You may be hurting and carrying the weight of the world because your father was absent or not active in your life. Perhaps you believe that he does not love you because you failed to do something or maybe you disappointed him. It is magical thinking to believe that your life would have been picture-perfect, better, or vastly different if your father was present or active in your life. Acknowledge and forgive yourself for believing that you missed out on a potentially ideal relationship with him because of his absence. There is absolutely nothing that supports your belief to be true. Your belief may be a magical fantasy holding you back, causing you harm, and hindering you from living in reality or taking responsibility for your personal life choices.
If you could communicate with your father right now and share your thoughts, how would this change your life at this moment? If he apologizes, how would this change your past? Would an apology change or affect your future? Would you be interested in establishing a relationship with him as the father he is today or the make believe fantasy that you wished for or imagined in your mind throughout your life? Even if he is an abysmal father, it is natural to long for a relationship with him because of what you idealize in him as a “daddy.”
You may not want to have a relationship with your present-day reality father; instead you may prefer a relationship with the man you imagined he would have been in the past. It is important to accept who he is right now, versus who he was in your childhood, or your adult imagination mind. Separating the two personas can be difficult.
A reunion can be disappointing and set you up for failure or further rejection. Likewise, continued reminders to him about his failures or absence will not repair the relationship. It is further unwise and unfair to blame him for the outcome of your current life circumstances. Your life status today is independent of anyone except you; it is the result of your choices. You have the power to make both choices and positive changes in your life right now.
Nothing can change the fact that he was not present in your childhood; however, as an adult, you have the power to control the terms of any relationship you develop with him now, you have full control. If you choose to forgive him or anyone else for what they have done or failed to do, your human mind will probably not forget the past. It is more important to learn from their actions.
You have everything that you need to live the life of an accomplished, thriving adult. Forgiveness is for you, the forgiver. It gives you permission to move on with your life.
Dr. C.P. White is a psychotherapist and native Texan who has been writing articles for federal agencies, the military, and private sector organizations for greater than ten years. She began writing for the Department of State Medical Services Department four years ago and continues to provide writing services.
She has a Ph.D. in Human and Community Services; this has given her a broad base from which to write about many topics. Dr. White has lived and worked in the United States and internationally providing clinical individual, family, and group psycho-education classes.
Dr. White especially enjoys writing articles designed to meet the unique needs of U.S. Diplomats and civil servants throughout the world. Her writing skills may be confirmed by accessing the U.S. Department of State “State of Mind” monthly publications and the Tigris Times Newspaper.
Utilizing a positive psychology approach, she recently published a book titled, Loving Me First, a unisex, self-Help book that explores communication, intimacy, and emotional healing from a cross-cultural perspective.