Thinking differently starts with the experience of momentary stillness. This stillness whispers to me. It says, “You are a beautiful person. Keep it up.” It says, “You are deeply and profoundly loved—pass it on.” It reminds me, “You are infinite perfection. Let others know that they are, too. Everything you want and need is already on its way. Tell everyone you meet.” I don’t experience this stillness when I doubt myself, feel ashamed of myself, or go against what I know my highest self wants. In fact, when I choose such self-sabotaging thoughts, the stillness I have seems to go away.

I have asked this stillness in the past, “Why, when I am in a dark place and struggling, do you leave me?” The answer is always the same: “You asked me to leave.” This I know is true. As Deepak Chopra says, “To make the right choices in life, you have to get in touch with your soul. To do this, you need to experience solitude, which most people are afraid of, because in the silence you hear the truth and know the solutions.”

We always have the choice between loving ourselves and feeling ashamed. When we choose to do things that cause us shame, or choose to feel ashamed because others tell us to, the Divine presence in each of us takes a backseat. It sends the wrong message to the universe. If I choose to get really drunk and embarrass myself, for instance, then I’m asking the universe to give me more experiences of shame and embarrassment.

When I feel insecure or ashamed or jealous, I don’t know how to offer others acceptance and love. It isn’t that I don’t want to, but when bitterness takes over it’s really hard, almost impossible, to find the love inside to offer to others. It’s as if it isn’t even there for me to give away. When I feel happy, on the other hand, the universe provides me with love and acceptance for those around me. I find I want everyone to know that they are loved and accepted as they are.

Eventually, it comes down to loving ourselves enough to get rid of whatever we don’t feel good about in life. Remembering that I am worthy of change and deserve something better helps propel me forward whenever I’m struggling to let go of something that isn’t good for me, be it a relationship or some aspect of my behavior. When I begin to contemplate myself as worthy of something more, I find the desire to change so strong that nothing can stop me.

I used to be really jealous when someone would tell me they were living in New York City and working at their dream job. I wanted to be doing something similar, but I had no idea what my dream job even was. Then one day it clicked for me. I was thinking about my career from a space of envy and frustration, so I wasn’t viewing others’ success from a space of love and joy. When I shifted my mind-set, things started to shift for me as well. I was able to let go of my envy when I realized that the people I envied had taken a leap of faith to move to NYC in the first place. They had taken on the risk of failure. When I realized that it was my own fear of failure that held me back, I no longer felt envious of my friends for going after their dreams—I felt like I wanted to join them! I wanted to be as brave as they had been.

I began to daydream all day long about the success I wanted— the life I wanted to be living. Before I went to bed, I would imagine how it would feel if everything worked out just as I dreamed it would, and I’d drift off to sleep with that feeling in my body. As a result, I truly felt excited for other people when they told me they were working toward their dreams or following their passion. I was excited for them because I truly believed it was going to happen for me soon, too—and then it did! Similarly, I had been afraid of writing and sharing my innermost self with people. But then one day, I just started to write, and I wasn’t afraid anymore.

There is something Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, said that I absolutely love and agree with: “I think very early on in life we all learn what we’re good at and what we’re not good at, and we stay where it’s safe.” We stay doing what we know we’re good at because the risk of failing is scary.

Once I was able to get past the fear of not measuring up, or the fear of failing, I was able to contemplate having things show up in my life that before seemed impossible.

Pushing myself to try things that were scary has made me a more compassionate and understanding person. Now if I meet someone who exhibits qualities I admire, I’m not envious; instead, I want to learn from them. I’ve come back to a place of love, by quieting my ego and listening to my soul.

When we love ourselves, love is what we have to give away. @serenadyer (Click to Tweet!)

When we are insecure or frustrated with ourselves, insecurity and frustration are what we have to give. We cannot give away what we don’t have, after all. I meet people all the time who are so insecure or upset or frustrated with themselves and their lives that they cannot be happy for anyone else. Or they pretend to be happy for others, but inside are condemning, jealous, or bitter. Secretly they may be judging that the person doesn’t deserve their good fortune, or hoping it won’t last forever. People who are living from this place are not bad or evil; they’re simply lacking love for themselves. They do not know how to create the lives they want for themselves, and all they have to offer are the feelings of lack they’re experiencing inside.

Many people have said to me, “Of course it’s easy for you to follow your passion—you have wealthy parents who would never let you end up on the street.” Their thinking often goes like this: I have bills to pay and mouths to feed. I can’t just quit my job to pursue my dreams. When I hear this, I always think, No one is telling you to quit your job! There are many ways to start following your dreams, even while paying the bills. After all, my dad wrote his first book, Your Erroneous Zones, while he was still a professor. He wrote it while on vacation! He was following his passion and focusing on what he ultimately wanted to do, which was to write. When you have a passion, the drive comes naturally, and you align with the abundant nature of the universe.

*Excerpt from Don’t Die with Your Music Still In You.

Serena Dyer is a south Florida native who loves travel, adventure and trying new things. Passionate about human rights, Serena recently completed her Master’s degree at the University of Miami, focusing on human trafficking. Serena is traveling the globe and blogging about it while also maintaining her hobbies of cooking, reading, working to combat human trafficking, and being with her 7 brothers and sisters! Serena has co-authored a book about growing up with spiritual parents with her father, Dr. Wayne Dyer, called “Don’t Die With Your Music Still In You” which will be released June of 2014. Serena lives in south Florida with her fiance. You can follow Serena on Twitter.