It is easy to send love to the people you like; it is transforming to send love to the people you do not like.
As a part of my series about “How To Learn To Finally Love Yourself” I had the pleasure to interview Diana Cole. Diana is a spirit translator, thought leader, and author. Passionate about spirit guides, she is committed to teaching people how to access it for themselves so they may find freedom from pain and limitation and live a life of abundance, fun, and inspiration. Diana offers her empowering tools for spiritual guidance in group settings, speaking engagements, live workshops, and through her vibrant Instagram and Facebook communities. She is the author of “Spirit Translator: Seven Truths for Creating Well-Being and Connecting With Spirit” (St. Martin’s Press, August 2020) and co-author of “Pillars of Success” (August 2020) with Jack Canfield. Diana’s first children’s book, “Alina the Positive Thought Warrior,” is due to be released at the end of 2020. Learn more at www.DianaCole.com.
Thank you so much for joining us! I’d love to begin by asking you to give us the backstory as to what brought you to this specific career path.
Hello and thank you for having me. Well, I have traveled a winding path to get here. I have had a few careers in my life, but when things got really tough for me, I fell back on what I learned as a child to help me heal.
I grew up the daughter of a leader in the 1960s and 1970s new age movement in the San Francisco Bay Area. I learned at a young age how to meditate, how to heal, and how to speak to the spirit. In growing up and trying to forge a path of my own, I forgot this early wisdom and tried to live a “normal” life. The result was that I experienced emotional pain that brought me to my life’s low point. It was only through reconnecting with spirit and strengthening my connection to invisible guidance that I was able to heal and ultimately manifest a new, beautiful life.
The answers that came to me when my questions seemed unanswerable and my pain seemed unbreakable were so good and so life-changing that I decided to write them down and put them in a book for others to read. I realized these answers were not just for me; they were for everyone, and they could help everyone.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you hope that they might help people along their path to self-understanding or a better sense of wellbeing in their relationships?
Yes! Thank you for asking. In addition to my first book, Spirit Translator, releasing on August 11th, I contributed to a book with Jack Canfield, Pillars of Success, which will be released August 13th, and I wrote a children’s book with my daughter, Alina The Positive Thought Warrior, which is due out by the end of the year.
My goal now is to help as many people as possible find a connection internally that brings peace and joy. My teaching is focused on positive thought, kindness, and cultivating conversations with your internal, invisible voice that is here to guide you.
My children’s book is a lesson on a positive thought for children, ages 6–8, because I realize in myself, that learning at a young age helped shape my experiences throughout my life, and ultimately brought me to healing.
Do you have a personal story that you can share with our readers about your struggles or successes along your journey of self-understanding and self-love? Was there ever a tipping point that triggered a change regarding your feelings of self acceptance?
Through my conversations with spirit, I was given guidance that helped pull me up from what felt like sinking. I learned that what other people say and what other people think is not about me; it’s about them and the conversations they are having with themselves. This truth made it easier for me to give myself a break. I was trying to make everyone happy and, as a result, no one was happy — not even me. Knowing I couldn’t control other people’s happiness helped me harness my own. Instead, I needed to quiet the noise around me and take responsibility for my own internal conversations.
I realize we can all be drawn to negative conversations and negative words quite easily, so learning to turn away and make a conscious effort not to engage in a negative way has been the key to my happiness.
According to a recent study cited in Cosmopolitan, in the US, only about 28 percent of men and 26 percent of women are “very satisfied with their appearance.” Could you talk about what some of the causes might be, as well as the consequences?
Well, I think that we are putting too much focus on outward appearance and not enough focus on inner connection and peace. It makes sense; we are good at recognizing what we can see in front of us, but not as good as recognizing what our eyes cannot see.
Unfortunately, I believe a lot of people are suffering needlessly because they don’t “appear” as they wish they did. We put so much emphasis on looking good, but ultimately that leads to unhappiness. We all age and we all go through life’s ups and downs, and it is hard to look good through it all.
I strongly believe that we, as a collective, need to put more focus on how we feel. That means paying closer attention to how we think. If we all start to tap into our intuitive nature, we might start seeing ourselves and other people differently. We may begin to see a lot more beauty around us.
As cheesy as it might sound to truly understand and “love yourself,” can you share with our readers a few reasons why it’s so important?
Self-love is the key to our happiness. I believe that our purpose here is to live through our learning experiences and find happiness, no matter what. I realize this is a tall order, but to be truly happy, you must embrace who you are. You must forgive yourself, love yourself, and care for yourself.
Think about what kind of a world we would live in if every person had a deep internal love for themselves. It would change the world. It could erase negativity, hate, shame, and ultimately unhappiness.
Why do you think people stay in mediocre relationships? What advice would you give to our readers regarding this?
I believe there are three reasons people stay in in mediocre relationships:
1) People are drawn to what is familiar, not good.
For example, if you felt you had mediocre relationships as a child, they may feel familiar and we tend to put that which feels familiar in the “good category” when we think these relationships through.
2) I think some people are not allowing themselves to truly feel.
Sometimes, we put other people’s feelings ahead of ours or we “grin and bear it” for the common good. We learn at a young age to push our feelings aside and to stop feeling. I know when I started to become truly honest with myself, I realized I was guilty of this.
3) We are conditioned to be happy with good enough and not rock the boat because it could be a lot worse.
Fear of worse keeps you in good enough. Additionally, sometimes good enough may be the best you have experienced, so you are not sure what to reach for. This is why it is so important to get honest about how you feel, and love yourself so much that you won’t expect less than what you truly desire.
When I talk about self-love and understanding I don’t necessarily mean blindly loving and accepting ourselves the way we are. Many times self-understanding requires us to reflect and ask ourselves the tough questions, to realize perhaps where we need to make changes in ourselves to be better not only for ourselves but our relationships. What are some of those tough questions that will cut through the safe space of comfort we like to maintain, that our readers might want to ask themselves? Can you share an example of a time that you had to reflect and realize how you needed to make changes?
This is a tough question because I believe the choices we make may need to change, but that fundamentally we should accept ourselves as we are.
We are all beautiful and perfect, but we have made choices out of fear or a lack of self-love that may have been bad. I realize that some people can do bad things; I’m not trying to avoid that, but I also think that we would make different choices if we all felt empowered internally and loved unconditionally.
I would ask your readers to sit down and on a sheet of paper make two vertical columns, then ask themselves when they felt unloved, scared, abandoned, or hurt. That list goes on the left side. In the right column, they should write down the choices they have made as a result. Then they should recognize that their bad choices, or the feelings they have carried as a result of their pain, were born from the negativity they have experienced, not because they are unworthy of love. And certainly not because they need to change in order to love themselves.
Reflecting in this way opens the door to self-acceptance and unconditional self-love.
So many don’t really know how to be alone, or are afraid of it. How important is it for us to have, and practice, that capacity to truly be with ourselves and be alone (literally or metaphorically)?
I think being alone is very important. We come here to this life experience feeling singular, and I get that it can be scary. The truth is, we are not singular; we are all connected. When you can be alone and tap into that invisible love and guidance that is here for us all, that ties us all together, you don’t feel so alone anymore. Further, it is in your alone state that you can find the most nourishment. We all need to feel safe, and it is the best way, I believe, to find safety.
The other benefit is that as you practice being alone and you connect with universal love and guidance, this is a place where inspiration and ideas are born. You can be your most creative in these moments. We are, after all, creators, and we create the life we live. Like an artist sketching a new scene, we create our lives with our thought processes.
How does achieving a certain level of self-understanding and self-love then affect your ability to connect with and deepen your relationships with others?
It is easy to send love to the people you like; it is transforming to send love to the people you do not like.
When you see yourself as a loving being who is loved and who emanates love, you start to forgive people who say or do things you don’t agree with. You start to see that everyone is right and everyone is wrong. You soften toward the people who choose differently than you do, and you see that everyone is worthy of love. Seeing the world this way increases your happiness level because the conversations you have in your head are positive and kind.
In your experience, what should a) individuals and b) society, do to help people better understand themselves and accept themselves?
This is a great question. I think that individuals should practice turning off the noise. Turn off the news, turn off the judgment and instead, spend more time strengthening their internal connection to themselves. I realize this sounds easier than it may be for many.
I think society should focus more on good news and stop the constant negative news cycles that draw us all in. I enjoy entertainment and even drama to some extent, but watching too much news, listening to music with negative wording, watching television shows based on judgment, and getting involved in social media bashing is soul-crushing. These distractions take us off course. We get caught up in the drama, the story, the message — and we forget what is truly important.
What is truly important is unconditional kindness toward yourself and others.
What are 5 strategies that you implement to maintain your connection with and love for yourself, that our readers might learn from? Could you please give a story or example for each?
My five strategies for connecting and internally loving myself, unconditionally, are as follows:
1. Get in touch with inner feelings
This was the first step I needed to take to heal myself. I needed to get honest about how I was feeling. I was living with good enough for too long and ignoring my feelings of hesitancy and even danger around certain situations, relationships, and events. When I allowed myself to say out loud what I really felt, I was able, to begin with, my roadmap from pain to happiness.
2. Pinpoint pain centers
When I connected my bad feelings to points of pain, meaning a painful event, interaction, or relationship, I was able to see how my bad feelings were my compass. I was turning off my internal guiding mechanism, and in turn, it caused some of my choices to lead to painful outcomes. Pinpointing my pain helped me get to the healing solution.
3. Strengthen thoughts
I thought about my pain and I strengthened my thoughts around it. I started to think differently about that which caused me pain. I started to take responsibility and forgive the people who hurt me, I forgave myself for interactions I did not like, and I thought about all of these experiences as gifts instead of failures. This didn’t happen overnight. It was a process, and this is one of the processes I now teach.
4. Become aware of self-talk
I literally talked myself better. In order to unwind the knots of pain I had created, I had to talk myself into the feelings I wanted to create. I had to heal the pain with kind and loving words.
5. Say thank you
Lastly, I thanked the universe for all I experienced both good and bad. I said thank you and I meant it. I cultivated gratitude in my heart by understanding that my winding road brought me to a beautiful place. The ride was bumpy, but the destination was beautiful.
Like you, I am arriving at new destinations all the time, each as rich and wonderful, and I always remember that while I am on my bumpy roads, I need to say thank you.
What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources for self-psychology, intimacy, or relationships? What do you love about each one and how does it resonate with you?
I regularly read and re-read books from teachers and healers of the past. I love re-reading Edgar Cayce’s readings because in some way it makes me feel aligned with my own gifts of channeling. I love re-reading Florence Scovel Shinn. Her very digestible and easy to understand teachings are so profound and important. When I am feeling out of alignment, I can pick up one her books and it gets me on track again. But truly, my most important resource is my conversations with spirit that I detail in Spirit Translator. It took a lot of courage for me to share my experiences with channeling spirit so I understand it could feel scary or even weird for some people, but when you embrace it, it can be truly life changing.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? Maybe we’ll inspire our readers to start it…
If I could, I would inspire a movement on kindness. One of the truths I outline in Spirit Translator, Truth 7 is this: kindness is your god power.
Let’s dive into this a bit. Imagine if, from the time you were born, you were treated with kindness — not just by the people who love you, but by everyone. Then imagine that you, in turn, were kind to all others, to animals, and most importantly, to yourself. I think our world would look a lot different; wouldn’t you agree?
The important thinkers and healers who came before us were teaching us kindness in their own voice. Additionally, kindness shows up with fundamental importance in religion. You are taught kindness in Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and the Native American Code of Ethics. The Dalai Lama said, “My religion is simple. My religion is kindness.”
We have lost our way, but it is never too late. In order to live in a kind world, we must first be kind to ourselves. If we can make that change in ourselves now, I believe we can help others make that change.
Ultimately kindness breeds happiness and well-being. This is the state I want for all of us.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that you use to guide yourself by?
Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life and how our readers might learn to live by it in theirs?
I love quotes, and I quote others in my books because I believe that what others say or have said can have a great influence on us now. My favorite quote comes with an amazing story. I was at a time in my life when I was feeling really low. I asked the universe for some guidance, and then I was given this miraculous experience.
I had ordered food from a local restaurant in my hometown and was waiting at the counter for my order. A woman was sitting with her young daughter at the counter, close to where I was standing, and she had a book next to her. I glanced at the book but couldn’t see the title.
As I waited, the woman said to me, “Excuse me, have you read Rules for a Knight by Ethan Hawke?”
I said, “No, I thought Ethan Hawke was an actor; I didn’t know he wrote books.”
And she replied, “You should order it today.”
So I did. And in this beautiful little book of fables he said something that made me cry because I felt like I finally understood something profound about myself and about us all.
The quote is: “Anything that gives light must endure burning.”
This, to me, is the best way to sum up that we use our painful experiences to teach and to heal others. I open chapter 2 in Spirit Translator with this quote, because it helped me understand my new purpose so profoundly.
Thank you so much for your time and for your inspiring insights!