As a New York Times’ best-selling author and hit motivational speaker, who better to catch up with than Gabrielle Bernstein to uncover where her motivation comes from, and why now is the time to make a change?
Hi Gabby! When did your own search for happiness begin?
At the age of 15, I experienced my first bout of depression. My search for happiness began when I asked my mother to teach me to meditate, so that I could help myself get out of the depression – and it worked!
What did you learn about yourself on that journey?
I always say that I’ve been on a journey of unlearning fear, and remembering who I truly am. In the process of unlearning, I have become more happy and free.
You talk about the importance of overcoming fear. How did you get past it?
Fear is a pervasive condition that drives most of our decisions and behaviours. We have unique reasons for being fearful, based on experiences from our past, so we react in our own ways. Fear is a projection on to the future, a regret from the past, and the inability to be present in the moment. Through devoted spiritual practices, and commitment to personal growth, one can undo the belief systems of fear, and become new. This all begins with the willingness to see things differently.
Why do you believe it’s important to acknowledge that peace and happiness can come and go?
We can never expect to be happy all the time. I teach people to focus on their ‘comeback rate’. Rather than having high expectations of perpetual happiness, we must instead use spiritual and personal growth practices to ‘comeback’ fast. Release the need to feel happy all of the time, and then focus on your ‘comeback rate’ instead.
Why do you think there is such a huge appetite for self-improvement at the moment?
Now more than ever, people are looking for hope and faith. Given the circumstances of this time, we have two choices. We can numb out and stay stuck in negative coping patterns, or we can wake up and heal. Many people have heard the call to heal and grow, in order to survive and thrive. The world has hit a collective bottom, and the way out is to turn inward for healing and strength.
What is it that drives you to want to help others?
I have lived in the pursuit of my own freedom and happiness. Knowing the relief of what it feels like to recover from trauma, addiction, fear, and suffering, is the greatest gift I’ve received. It is my responsibility to share that gift with the world. I want to help people crack open their own spiritual relationship so that they, too, can embrace a new baseline for happiness.
Fear is a projection on to the future, a regret from the past, and the inability to be present in the moment
How do you feel when you see people who follow your advice thriving?
I’m so proud of them! The feeling is pride!
We never stop learning. What’s something you’ve learned recently?
I’m deep in research mode. I’m writing a book on trauma recovery, therefore I’m researching neuroscience, countless therapeutic practices, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
What would you like readers to take from your ‘Spiritual Junkie’ card deck?
I want people to accept that they have the power to change their experiences by changing their inner belief systems.
‘Spirit Junkie: A 52-Card Deck’ by Gabrielle Bernstein (Hay House Publishers, £17.99)