Give employees more freedom and flexibility, especially regarding how to work, where to work, and how long to work for: This promotes individual and collective creativity, employee engagement, productivity, job satisfaction, overall wellbeing, staff retention, attracting the best talent, reduced losses and increased gains
As a part of my series about “How To Learn To Finally Love Yourself” I had the pleasure to interview Dawud Gurevitch.
Dawud Gurevitch is a life coach, personal trainer and author. He worked for fifteen years in healthcare, media and education before having his own life-changing moment that led him on a profound journey of self-discovery, life change and holistic healing. Inspired by his film degree, including the therapeutic value of film, he now uses his passions to a life coach.
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.
When I was thirty, I ended up in the lowest place of my life to date. My first marriage was on the rocks and I’d ended up becoming a busy fool in the wrong job. I was worried about money, became anxious, started comfort eating, and became underweight despite this. I started to have low self-esteem and self-confidence and developed an obsessive-compulsive disorder. I became depressed, I contemplated suicide, and I generally felt crushed by life, yet experienced a chronic lack of motivation to do anything about it. In short, I’d stopped loving myself.
And then, everything changed when I read Fiona Harrold’s book Be Your Own Life Coach: How to take control of your life and achieve your wildest dreams, which reminded me that I did indeed have the power to change my life for the better. Specifically, I changed my job to one that fulfilled me more and later changed it again to one that tripled my take-home pay. I also had some counseling, took medicine for anxiety, cut out artificially sweet foods from my diet, started eating more, cycling again and joined a gym. I consciously banished any suicidal thoughts from my head and after a long process of consultation and marital mediation, my wife at the time and I decided to get divorced-
In summary, I effectively healed myself and rediscovered a healthy sense of self-love by being my own life coach and now feel immeasurably healthier, wealthier and happier. This led me to train as a life coach so that I could support other people in loving themselves and being happier.
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, I have just recently launched my new website, a one-stop access point for life coaching, personal training, and practical psychology literature, including my new book, May the Source Be with You: A Filmic Guide to Change Your Life.
My life coaching, personal training, and my book can all help people along their path to self-understanding, a better sense of wellbeing in their relationships, and also address whatever other areas of their lives in which they wish to feel happier.
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?
I have referred to a lot of my personal struggles and successes in answer to the first question above; however, I will now share with you one of my greatest success stories.
Many years ago, I felt the need to travel halfway around the world from Britain to Australia. I set off not just on the physical journey, but also what turned out to be a profound mental and spiritual journey, too. Whilst I journeyed with people from all over the world, my mind and heart were fully open to the perspectives of these people from all walks of life as well as to the expansive universe and I started to believe in God. I also found that I strengthened my personal qualities such as courage, resilience, resourcefulness, self-understanding, self-love, and self-acceptance.
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?
People compare themselves to others and this is something you should try not to do. You need to be grateful for your appearance, warts and all. Constant comparing to others erodes self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-love.
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?
Generally, you should find that:
· you experience a much greater level of inner peace
· become more emotionally intelligent
· become clearer in communicating your intentions, needs, desires, and preferences to others
· your relationships with everyone in your professional and/or personal life improve
· your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual states improve
· you feel immeasurably happier
· and you are in a better place to support others in having a better understanding and loving themselves
Why do you think people stay in mediocre relationships? What advice would you give to our readers regarding this?
You get what you tolerate; for example, it was reading — and acting on — a self-help book that inspired and empowered me to separate from my now ex-wife, an act that instantly made me feel liberated, and one that told me that I was in the wrong marriage. I can honestly say that I am in a much better relationship now.
Back when my ex-wife and I were trying to make things work, we could have decided to remain together in the hope that things would get better (despite things having gotten worse year after year) for the sake of our infant daughter at the time, for fear of familial and even societal judgment, for fear of being alone, being lonely, of losing all that was good between us, and other well-intentioned reasons.
However, as one of the taglines for the film The Shawshank Redemption says, “Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.”
My practical advice for anyone in a mediocre relationship is simple: accept it, change it, or leave it.
If you choose to accept it, I think only time will tell whether that decision was wise or not.
If you choose to change it, the form of that change may simply involve you communicating your discontent with your relationship with your partner, even if it’s difficult or painful. If you’re not sure what to say, one exercise I recommend is to create a “Ten-year Relationship Plan” in which you both write down, and maybe draw, your vision for your relationship over the next ten years, and then you can compare plans and reflect on how you’re both living out your relationship in line with your respective visions, goals, dreams, hopes, aspirations, and so on. Physically creating your relationship plans will make your visions for your relationship more real and clear to both of you, and statistically you will both be more likely to realise them. Other examples of steps you can take to help change your relationship for the better include working on yourself and your life holistically and encouraging your significant other to do the same; doing as many fun activities together as reasonably possible whilst still having your own hobbies and interests; and, working with a marriage counselor or your local religious leader, if applicable.
Lastly, if you know in your heart of hearts that this person isn’t right for you, then you may consciously decide to leave the relationship. I would suggest that you first try one or more of the potential remedies outlined above before going this far; however, sometimes leaving the relationship is the healthiest option for you, especially if you have consciously tried to change the relationship but it either hasn’t changed, or not enough, for you to accept and stay in it.
Finally, for those who believe in God, I would encourage you to pray to Him to guide you in making your decision, in supporting you through whichever option(s) you choose, and to still your heart once you’ve chosen.
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?
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Is there time in my life to invest in my own development?
Does a gap exist between where I am right now and where I want to be?
Can I work on tasks that will assist me to develop and grow?
Am I willing to do whatever is necessary to reach my goals and aims?
Am I willing to change any limiting beliefs and behaviors?
Am I willing to attempt new ways of achieving my goals?
Have I got the commitment I need to succeed?
Have I got the support I need to make significant changes to my life?
Am I mentally ready for a different approach to my life?
Am I physically prepared for encounters that I may not have experienced before?
Note: If you answered “Yes” to seven or more of the above questions, you are ready, willing and able to commence with the process of life-changing or even simply being your own life coach.
The best personal example that I can give is the one I referred to earlier in answer to the first question about what brought me to this specific career path. Specifically, it was sitting down and reflecting on my life, both personal and professional, that I realized how deeply unhappy I was in both of them, and I knew that I had to make changes.
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?
Achieving greater self-understanding and self-love can affect your ability to connect with others and also deepen your relationships in profound ways, whether they are friends, family or even complete strangers.
A good and simple example of this is my changing experience of doing my weekly food shop at the supermarket. I changed from greeting each cashier with, “Hey. How are you?”, but not really meaning what I said, to, “Hey”, making eye contact, smiling sincerely, and then asking them, “How are you?”, out of genuine love and care for this person. When I started interacting with each cashier in this way, a few of them would respond in the usual surface-level way (e.g., “I’m fine, thank you”); however, more often than not, the cashier would look at me, judge whether I was being sincere or not, and, when they realised that I genuinely cared for their answer, would often amaze me with how much they would share about how their day was really going.
In your experience, what should a) individuals and b) society, do to help people better understand themselves and accept themselves?
At the individual level, I suggest establishing and then maintaining the practice of being at least as interested in the wellbeing of others as you are in your own wellbeing. In other words, be curious about others as well as about yourself, which doesn’t mean probing into other people’s business that doesn’t concern you, but simply loving and caring for people in open, honest, and appropriate way.
At the societal level, things will improve the more individuals improve themselves. That is, if all of us try a bit each day to be more conscientious than we were the day before, then we will see a real and positive change over time. Some practical changes we can make include:
inject more differentiation into education, especially regarding subject options, learning styles, and length of study before graduating and moving on — it promotes individual and collective creativity, student engagement, personal qualities, life and study skills, good behaviour, overall wellbeing, academic and professional success,
give employees more freedom and flexibility, especially regarding how to work, where to work and how long to work for: This promotes individual and collective creativity, employee engagement, productivity, job satisfaction, overall wellbeing, staff retention, attracting the best talent, reduced losses and increased gains, choose whole staff training that is character-building, not just team building, for example, a yearly weekend retreat where the trainers strike a balance between promoting an individual sense of self-understanding and self-acceptance and doing this as it relates to everyone as a group of interconnected, interdependent people. This encourages individuals to air and to work through past and present grievances with each other as well as lifting the overall team’s mood and motivation to re-address the gross positive/negative news imbalance. Positive news can not only be as interesting as negative news, I would argue that is actually more interesting as well as more important if we are serious about change. Imagine the positive impact of having many more real-life stories in our national, state and local media of people overcoming social plagues and problems.
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?
1. Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman. I’m not a Buddhist but I love how this book, as well as its film counterpart, Peaceful Warrior, provided me with so much good sense and also so many practical ways you can integrate your mind, your body and your soul. Before reading this book my mind and body were a mess and my soul felt crushed; therefore, the holistic ‘pill’ that this book offered me was definitely one I was ready to swallow and is one that has stayed with me.
2. The Journey of the Self: A Sufi Guide to Spirituality by Fadhlalla Haeri. I love this book not just because it is full of distilled wisdom, so distilled that you’ll probably need or want to read it at least a second time, but also because it reminds me that modern, western psychology isn’t all there is to the study of our minds and behaviour. There are enough differing theories contained within this book that I believe you, too, will find something that deeply resonates with you.
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?
“Character is destiny.”
The Greek Philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus, Turkey, famously uttered this short but profoundly wise saying around two and a half thousand years ago. Disputes about his exact meaning aside, I love this quote and really try to live by it because I believe in it; that is, I believe that if you are courageous and committed to working hard for change, to being the best that you can be, and to living the remainder of your life to its fullest possible potential, then you will live a good life.
Thank you so much for your time and for your inspiring insights!