Appreciating Yourself As You Are

I found out that a close friend of mine passed away on Thursday due to a massive stroke. I was shocked, grief-stricken, and immediately felt the loss of not being able to see my friend ever again. I had a lot of work to do on Thursday and Friday, so when a wave of grief subsided my energy turned to focus on my work. When I wasn't working however, my mind would drift back to the loss of my friend.

Saturday morning, I awoke thinking of my friend and imagining writing to her. I didn't do it. I attempted to get work done. Not to be. I was a puddle. All the feelings that I put away on Thursday and Friday so I could work bubbled up and enveloped me.

However, I had a lot to do, so the self-talk came that said, “Now put your feelings aside and get some work done.”

That wasn't to happen. Resolution and relief finally came when I accepted my state and allowed myself to be a puddle without any attempt at working—just accepting myself for where I was, without trying to change myself, just being with my grief. Then, the idea resurfaced that emerged when I awakened. I sat down and wrote a tribute to my friend and put it on my Facebook page. I felt immediate relief.

Here's what I wrote after I gave myself permission to appreciate where I was:

A Tribute to Jan: (written to her as if she can hear this)

Your life has been a gift to me and to many. You will be remembered for your big heart, ability to see people and support them to develop their potential, your love of life, unending exuberance, willingness to speak your truth, to love deeply, to laugh heartily, to see the humor in life and all things, to not take yourself too seriously, to believe in yourself, to trust yourself and support others to do likewise, your perceptiveness, intelligence, humor, vision, ability to make things happen, to be a great mother, friend, daughter and much much more.

My dear friend, I love you and already miss you. It was my honor and privilege to work with you doing The Human Element at NASA for so many years. That you trusted me and invited me to create the Follow On to The Human Element was and is something I will always cherish.

Our friendship grew over the years and even more after you retired. You were and will always be an inspiration for me to love, laugh, live life fully, and to turn lemons into lemonade—without complaints.

I celebrate you and your life. If there is a there there, I'll see you there.”

Judith Bell, M.S., Master LHEP™

Judith Bell, M.S., Master LHEP™

Judith is the founder and president of Rewire Leadership Institute®. A master facilitator, consultant, teacher, and coach, she has created and facilitated personal growth, team development and organizational change seminars, coached executives and teams, facilitated strategic planning and high visibility meetings, and supported culture change for over four decades. Judith works with a diverse range of companies from government agencies, non-profit, Fortune Global 500, to small and mid-sized family owned businesses including such organizations as NASA, Seaflow, Total Oil, Restoration Hardware, San Antonio Water System, and Culver Company.

Superb at supporting individuals, pairs, and teams in developing the skills necessary to realize their full potential, Judith helps executives, managers, and staff gain the ability to respond flexibly and rapidly to their changing environment. Through extensive experience and research, she utilizes a number of different approaches including the FIRO theory, systems theory, cybernetics, neuroscience, cognitive, positive, and success psychology.

As one of the world’s leading experts on the FIRO theory, she trains consultants internationally. A consultant’s consultant, Judith mentors facilitators, coaches, therapists and other professionals in the integration of the FIRO theory in their work. From 1981 until 2004, she worked closely with Dr. Will Schutz, the creator of FIRO theory. Independently, Judith developed FIRO Theory Profiling, which has been lauded as the first innovation in the FIRO theory instruments aside from Dr. Schutz’ own developments. She continues to develop courses that synthesize her studies and experience and are based in FIRO theory.

Starting in her teenage years, Judith has been a pioneer in her passion for authenticity, clear communication, and positive change. She is lauded for her ability to see others’ potential and help them realize it—be they individuals, pairs, teams, or organizations. Judith’s zest for life, appreciation for others, and generosity of spirit inspires those with whom she works.

An honor’s student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Judith’s desire and passion to learn about authenticity motivated her to move her studies to The Institute for Creative and Artistic Development (ICAD) in Oakland, California. As the youngest student in their teacher training program, she created and graduated with an undergraduate degree that focused on authenticity through California State University, Sonoma. Continuing on her quest to study authenticity and creativity, Judith began taking courses at California State University, Hayward where she also created and graduated with a unique Master’s degree that focused on communication, transformation, and the creative arts.

Interested in systems and change, Judith began experimenting with her innovative action-oriented approach to assess and intervene with families, groups, and organizations. Through this work, she became a much sought-after instructor, training masters and doctoral students in her seminal work. As chair of a psychology program focused on Creative Arts Therapies at Antioch University, San Francisco, she developed curriculum and continued to serve as guest faculty and lecturer at universities nationwide.

In addition to leading Rewire Leadership, Judith and her husband, Daniel Ellenberg, co-founded Relationships That Work®, where she serves as Vice President. She and Daniel co-authored Lovers for Life: Creating Lasting Passion, Trust, and True Partnership, which applies the principles of Rewire Leadership Institute® to romantic relationships. Recently, they co-authored a chapter in Mastering the Art of Success: Volume 8. With Matt White, Judith recently co-authored Leading with Courage.

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