3 Powerful Tools For Self-Transformation

By becoming more self-aware we develop compassion for ourselves and others

Elisabeth Carlucci
5 min readJan 8, 2020

The most significant relationship in life is the relationship with oneself. Awareness about our emotions, desires and needs generates self-love and self-respect. When we dare to feel our pain and become intimate with our fears, we develop emotional maturity and compassion.

Relationships with others are an essential part of life.

Once we are in touch with ourselves, we can authentically relate to others. This requires speaking a language that connects us heart to heart, soul to soul. It is tragic to realize most of us have never developed communication skills based on love and affection.

The following tools are powerful helpers on the path to awareness and self-development. This path is a life-long project. At times it can be very difficult. When we are committed to choosing personal growth and truth over comfort and denial, it is essential to have some guidance and tools with which to work. From experience I know that oftentimes we can be lost in our process and emotions. Therefore I want to share these tools with you. They have influenced my path and are of great support in dealing with the chaos of the inner and outer world. I hope they can do the same for you.

1. Understanding Our Needs And Learning To Kindly Express Them To Others

Nonviolent communication or NVC is a system created by Marshall B. Rosenberg to develop relationships that are based on love and compassion. Many of the conflicts we experience arise from the inability to express ourselves adequately and peacefully. NVC encourages us to take responsibility for our thoughts and emotions and to stop giving away our power.

Oftentimes language implies an underlying condemnation, expectation, comparison and demand. Rosenberg recognized that our language is limited. According to him, our language is egoistically oriented and we have no idea how to use it properly.

We habitually blame circumstances and other people for our discontentment. Therefore we fail to connect heart to heart.

When we learn to identify our needs and feelings, we develop language skills based on compassion and authenticity rather than classification and judgment.

“What others do may be the stimulus of our feelings, but not the cause.”

Marshall B. Rosenberg in Nonviolent Communication

2. Learning To Stop And Feel Our Emotions

Our school system trains us in math, physics or biology. How to deal with our emotions, thoughts, tensions and fears remains unaddressed.

Usually we allow our emotions to control our behavior. We need to mature and take responsibility for our emotions. Only then, they can be useful tools to develop self-awareness and sensibility.

Christian Meyer is one of the few non-duality (Advaita Vedanta) teachers I have encountered, who gives clear instructions on how to wisely deal with our psychological and emotional realm. His “7 Steps To Awakening” is a powerful tool for anyone interested in self-improvement and self-discovery:

  1. Know your conscious and unconscious desires and goals.
  2. Allow yourself to feel your emotions.
  3. Observe your life and your behavior patterns.
  4. Understand the origin of your habits and patterns.
  5. Release your physical tensions and learn to breathe freely.
  6. Heal your relationship with the past.
  7. Face your fears, above all, the fear of death.

In the second step, Christian explains how to make positive use of our emotions and how to use them as a tool for evolution. He guides us to stop, do nothing and give ourselves to feeling the present emotion fully. Once we dare to feel the emotion in its completeness without mental or external distractions, we can “fall inwardly” until the emotion burns and transforms into peace and freedom. Christian calls this awakening.

“When awakening takes place one inwardly falls into a deep abyss and is suddenly located in a vast space without limits. This causes stillness in the mind and we can perceive limitless peace.”

Christian Meyer

3. Daring To Look At The Darkness Inside Of Us

All of our life we tend to avoid life situations we fear will bring us suffering. Running away from our pains and fears we try to create a comfortable and happy life. We keep ourselves busy with activities that we hope will make us feel fulfilled.

The truth is, the only pain we can experience is the pain that is already inside of us.

It is a paradox. By avoiding our inner darkness we are avoiding ourselves — the only source of happiness we can ever have.

There comes a time when we need to go down into our inner basement and look at the things that scare us. Looking at our anger, our hurt, our fears and frustrations is not easy. It requires a lot of courage and patience with oneself.

Going against our trained mechanisms and allowing ourselves to open up our hearts admits a painful experience is a powerful tool to develop compassion for oneself and others.

By embracing our life experiences unconditionally we can use them as our path and master. We can start to appreciate every second of our life, no matter how pleasant or unpleasant it may feel. When we allow ourselves to experience helplessness and vulnerability we let go of control and learn to surrender. In the process, we become tender.

Pema Chödrön, an American Buddhist nun, has been of great inspiration to me. Her book, “When Things Fall Apart”, has been like an intimate friend and guide in moments of difficulty. Her simple and easily applied teachings have helped me to become stronger within myself and to stand still amidst a heavy storm. They taught me how to endure although things are painful and difficult. Step by step I learned to embrace my inner darkness. Facing myself unconditionally has been a powerful tool for evolution and transformation.

“Our whole attitude towards pain can change. Instead of fending it off and hiding from it, we could open our hearts and allow ourselves to feel that pain, feel it as something that will soften and purify us and make us far more loving and kind.”

Pema Chödrön in When Things Fall Apart



Elisabeth Carlucci

“Life is about experiencing the silent joy of being moment by moment with what is.” www.elisabethcarlucci.com - Spirituality, Psychology, Philosophy