[My Painful but Blessed Anniversary] Who Will You have to Lose to Get This? (And will you–even then?)

20 years ago, I lost an important friend. I remember that day so clearly. She came to the door unannounced and let me know that she could no longer watch me be so fearful or so dependent on others’ opinions. She explained that she didn’t want to be part of me blaming my husband or my boss. She could no longer let me lean on her while I put my own needs last, driving myself into multiple chronic illnesses and a major life crash.

I felt so much shame that I told very few people about it. It happened not long after my husband and I had separated, shortly on the heels of the crash of my health and my career… three major life losses within nine months, and our friendship was the fourth.  My whole life was spinning out of control….

Right now, MAY 2021, is the 20 year anniversary of my major life crash–something I didn’t notice until after I decided to publish this! So I want to celebrate by going deeply into a full-length article about what happened, what caused it, and what has changed since then. I found a way out of my suffering and I love sharing it, since what I learned has helped so many. I’ve put it all here in the email (and in my blog), along with a call to action. You can also click to listen to the audio, if you prefer!

More Blame, Shame, and Victimhood than She Could Handle

You may have had a similar devastating wake-up call from someone near and dear to you along the way… someone who couldn’t handle a part of you that was suffering and clueless. Someone who didn’t want to be part of your dysfunction.

This friend had been my main local confidant. She had tried valiantly to support me through the years of my life when my marriage was gradually falling apart. A counselor herself, she also watched me go through major issues with infertility, adoption, physical pain, and the stress of my highly visible career as managing editor for a university and the author of a controversial book that received international attention.

I remember feeling devastated, and also really scared and hurt by her message. But I also knew at my core that she was right–since those were the very things I was always working on and just didn’t know how to shift. Her confrontation may have been one of the best things that ever happened to me.

Yet while her words were a wake-up call, and while I was VERY serious in my efforts to recover from these painful states, it was still many years before I found a consistent, reliable way to transform those deeply self-destructive patterns… the way I teach folks now so they don’t have to stay stuck for so long.

While I now see both as a gift, losing my husband and then my friend, at the time, I did NOT resolve the issues underlying my co-dependence. Finding the Symmetry in whatever upsets me finally DID, since it provides a path to healing old relationship patterns for good.

If I had known then what I know now… about how to shift my own emotional state–and how to use whatever is upsetting me as a path out of blame, shame, regret, need, and victimhood–I don’t believe I would have lost that friendship, or my marriage. Because I was turning myself into a pretzel and draining myself around others’ needs at home and at work, I needed to lean heavily on other safe harbors for support.

The Shift of a Lifetime

I have no regrets about either one now, since loss of my husband and this friendship were symptoms of my need for a major course correction that would eventually take place, and that I would eventually share with many.

Losing both eventually moved me into a kind of inner advocacy and forgiveness–that I now call Self-Solidarity™–that I could never have discovered if I had stayed so entangled.

The path my life has taken since then, that allows me to live in such a grateful, energetic, connected state, and to give back the kind of help and clarity I so desperately needed, makes it all worthwhile and getting to share it is amazing.

Stop Managing Your Insides from the Outside

If you’re like I was, you’ll eventually find that life doesn’t work if you try to manage your “insides” from other people’s “outsides” and you’re

  • totally focused on how best to please or placate others;
  • trying to prevent their anger, while also being secretly or openly angry with them for not knowing how to meet all your needs;
  • often anxious and fearful that you are not enough and others will ultimately see it or leave (even while staying married but “leaving” emotionally); and
  • trying to shift your own emotional state by getting others or your situation to change.

And because I was turning myself into a pretzel–draining myself around others’ needs at home and at work–I needed to lean heavily on this friend and other safe harbors for support.

Like my clients who have seen so much change–like I did–once they got this, it is difficult to create a lasting, stable, thriving relationship that way. WIthout understanding THE SYMMETRY PRINCIPLE (I didn’t till nine years after my life crash), you may be lacking the tools to efficiently grow within the context of your relationship conflicts and life’s normal challenges.

In fact, your issues are likely to escalate.

What happens? You lose yourself, as I did.

How many friends and grown children and other relationships do you need to lose before you realize there is nothing more important than getting YOU back?

It’s possible to get YOU back, and that will take you exactly where you need to go in your relationships to others and to the events life brings as well.

But HOW?

The first step to healing relationships from the inside out boils down to revealing and reversing the “one thought” that is separating you from others, and most importantly from yourself.

I now KNOW how important it is to understand HOW to identify the ONE THOUGHT behind all your emotional pain, and how to transform it into radical, unconditional safety, connection, and thriving.

  • After all your inner work, the reliable shifts in your emotional state are not likely until you know how to instantly harness the healing “Symmetry” in whatever is upsetting you.
  • Finally, you can you let life’s challenges evolve you—for the rest of your life—in a way that is fun and brings the personal freedom and warm connection that creates relationships that really work.
  • While the Symmetry Principle acts as a foundation of sorts, I also know that it is the piece that will save you A LIFETIME of frustration and confusion and lack in the future.

The Missing PEACE

All my years of inner work didn’t save me, until I discovered this very important missing “peace” that most of us were never taught. That changed everything for me, and has for my clients too, since I love “paying it forward.

Knowing this simple “HOW” will lead to

  • more clarity and self-reliance,
  • easier conversations leading to win-win outcomes,
  • quick self-evolution out of upset or stuckness, and
  • a life that is better aligned with who you are, what you want, and how you want to make a difference in the world.

Do you feel it’s time to stop draining your energy and diverting your most precious gifts?

If you’re ready to stop turning yourself into a pretzel trying to get others to take care of the parts of you that no one else can, I can help you end the blame and shame cycle, by using the very things that trigger you!

I know now what I didn’t know before: That we can all turn self sabotage into deep self-love and connection to others, and to the life that shows up. I know you’re in it for the long haul and you’ve put in too much work to not continue getting even better from here.

Get YOU Back

Up until this point, you may be thinking “Meh, Shawn, I already know this stuff” — but we’re going to switch it up. You’ve done your inner work and spiritual practices, sure, but let’s examine “The NO-MATTER-WHAT Way.”

Let’s talk about not forcing positivity or steamrolling over what hurts, so you can learn how to USE any triggering situation as a portal to peace and forgiveness,

You’ll never again ask “Okay, so how many times do I have to run into the same impossible patterns in my relationships before I get the freedom and peace and warm connection I believe is possible?

There is a simple science to removing the hidden stumbling blocks to accessing a life that truly fits for you–the same stumbling blocks that left me blind-sided by my friend’s confrontation.

You can nurture, integrate, and allow all the best parts of yourself to thrive, without apology, capitalizing on how difficult and how awesome your life experiences have been — instantly unraveling stress with a 100% reliable way to see any situation through new eyes.

I teach all this & more in my RADICAL RELATIONSHIP RELIEF Workshop! This two-hour online workshop includes:


Let’s reinvent the ol’ “I need…” exercise, shall we? We’ll look at things from a new angle. What is the total transformation for which you and your spouse, kids, co-workers will thank you? How can you get disentangled from others’ behaviors and choices? How do YOU want to FEEL and KNOW that you can get there no matter what is happening? What level of safety and comfort do you want want to experience with yourself and others to experience with you?


… and the ONE structure that takes the wind out of their sails…. Let me fill you in on a little secret within our community: the most successful relationships and happy people have been created when clients have distilled their issues into this ONE simple structure, then use it to drill down into their “holdout places” and ascend lightly through different levels of Self-Transformation. Having a clear framework saves you time and keeps you from reinventing the wheel every time your mind says that you, life, or someone else needs to be different than it is.


Now that you know the impossible conditions you place on others relate to the impossible conditions you place on yourself, you can get very clear about your unique, yet predictable, path out of regret, guilt, and self-criticism. I’ll introduce a simple three-step framework that takes you all the way to finding your own innocence and perfection, moving into fearless faith, and designing your inner landscape so that each challenge becomes a rung on the ladder of a life that really works.

4. LEARNING ABOUT A SIMPLE NO-MATTER-WHAT WAY OF LIVING & LOVING… Your Own Science of UN*Conditional Connection & Thriving

You’ll look at your overall life and relationship goals and finally see how you can realize them in any moment, so that you are already there each step of the way.

We will look at the simple exercises we’ve done, put it all together, and show you a cohesive and actionable plan — so you know where you’re going and how to get there.

Just picture that for a second…

No more confusion about how to handle stressful situations.

No more chasing outcomes that depend on others changing.

And no more second guessing how others’ fears, anger, and resistance will truncate your dreams, goals, and plans for taking care of yourself.

Instead, you have a simple-to-follow process that helps you respond to different tiers of emotional reactivity, build self-confidence and an unshakable kind of inner advocacy I call Self-Solidarity, and shift your level of relationship peace and connection from random to predictable.

And, the process WORKS.

The final result? An optimal way of managing those situations that used to leave you anxious, resentful, or clueless. A vision for how to be the gentle, powerful leader of your own inner life. HOW? By letting life’s spot-on challenges shepherd you home to yourself, through an easily implementable structure for helping yourself to happiness and REAL-izing your dream for YOU.

Want in on my upcoming workshop? Just Click here.