Danielle LaPorte is an experienced spiritual teacher to say the least. She’s the founder of Heart Centered Leadership Program – which features a leadership curriculum used by hundreds of facilitators and HR directors around the world – and is widely known for her popular book, the Desire Map. Not to mention, Danielle is one of few experts in her industry to be a member of Oprah’s lauded SuperSoul 100, a group who, in Oprah Winfrey’s words, “is uniquely connecting the world together with a spiritual energy that matters”.
In this episode, we’re tackling her most recent work and exploring a mega topic: the power of love to heal, let go, accept ourselves and others. Let’s dive in.
The word love could be defined in innumerable ways. So we started with the most obvious – what is love?
“Well, I don’t think love is a feeling or an emotion” Danielle says. “Emotions come and go. You can be happy, you can be sad, you can be angry, you can be grateful 900 times a day. It’s fleeting.” She points to a powerful Buddhist analogy to reason her opinion – ‘you are the sky, the emotions are the clouds’. Everything else comes and goes. Love, which is a foundational principle of life itself, extends far beyond any and all emotions.
Danielle goes on to explain the importance of sustaining love as an ongoing philosophy rather than a high priority battle. “A purposeful life is not about positivity all the time and crushing it. That is such a setup for emotional rollercoasters and adrenal fatigue”.
Something many creative professionals can likely relate with is the idea of “crushing it”. The hustle and grind mentality is so deeply ingrained in society that we often forget to check in with our personal well-being. In the pursuit of “crushing it”, we often sacrifice our own mental and emotional health.
Danielle’s perspective on love offers a refreshingly sustainable way of thinking about one of the most important aspects of our lives. Love is not something that comes and goes; it is something that we must actively choose to cultivate every day. It is a principle that guides our actions, thoughts, and words.
When we choose to love, we are choosing to live a life of purpose. We are choosing to be present in each moment, regardless of what emotions may come and go. We are choosing to be kind, patient, and compassionate – not just to others, but to ourselves as well.
That’s not to say it’s always easy, though. Danielle herself can cite several times in which she’s had her own personal challenges – one even being the last time she spoke to me back in 2018.
“On that particular day that I was in your studio. That was one of the hardest days in my life. It was one of many that got strung together. I was in, you know, a real, bonafide, I don’t use the term whimsically, dark night of the soul”.
Despite her challenges, Danielle still gave me an awesome interview that day. Thousands of people were inspired by her words notwithstanding the fact that she was privately dealing with her own personal struggles. “I did the right thing. I committed.” She recalls. “It was a moment of strength. And then of course, you know, I took the train home and just kind of fell apart”.
A real-world example of the notion that ‘crushing it’ is not always sustainable – she couldn’t keep a brave face indefinitely the way things were going in her life. It takes a toll on our mental and emotional health when we try to put up a front all the time.
It was during these difficult times that Danielle had to remind herself to choose love. To actively seek out moments of connection and joy, even when it felt like the weight of the world was bearing down on her shoulders.
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“There were so many times in that really brutal passage where, you know, even though the crying and anxiety and panic attacks and things were really crumbling, I really still felt so much love for the people, and I felt close to life and to God.”
And it is in these moments – the ones in which we choose love, even when it’s hard – that we experience true happiness. Not the fleeting kind that comes from a momentary burst of emotion, but the deep and lasting kind that comes from a life lived with purpose.
Burning Down the Ego
The ego is always causing us to ask ourselves unnecessary questions.
“Am I worthy?”
“Do I deserve love?”
“If my son came to me and said, ‘Am I worthy of your love?’ I would just laugh and be like, ‘What? That’s a silly question.'” Danielle says.
We know that the inherent answer is yes. We are all worthy of love, just because we exist. But the ego tricks us into believing that we have to do something to ‘earn’ love – that our worthiness is somehow conditional.
“We create all these masks – ‘I’m going to do this to earn divine favor’ or ‘I’m gonna get the purse, the gig, the job, just the right shot so that people can see that I am worthy'”.
The ego is constantly striving for validation from the outside world, but Danielle reminds us that the only validation we need comes from our connections with each other.True happiness comes from a place of love, not from a place of ego. Click To Tweet
True happiness comes from a place of love, not from a place of ego.
This is what Danielle means when she talks about ‘burning down the ego’. It’s the process of breaking through these conditioned beliefs about ourselves – the ones that cause us to doubt our own worthiness and deservingness.
It’s about recognizing that we are not our thoughts, emotions, or circumstances. We are so much more than that. And once we’ve burned down the ego, we’re free to experience life in a whole new way. We’re free to choose love, regardless of what’s going on around us.
Energy Follows Thought
How do you perceive yourself? Do you see yourself as someone who is worthy of love and happiness, or do you doubt your own worthiness?
The way we perceive ourselves has a direct impact on the way we experience life. If we believe we are unworthy of love, we will unconsciously block ourselves off from receiving it. But if we believe we are deserving of love, we will open ourselves up to receiving it – and we will find that love is all around us.
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The best way to regulate this? Danielle suggests meditation.
“This is all about connecting with the bigger power that’s gonna see you through all of this. That’s gonna show you how capable, how loved… how resourced you are. You can’t see any of that stuff, you can’t access any of that stuff, you can’t embody any of that stuff unless you have practices in your life around stillness, contemplation, meditation, moving your body, eating clean.”
And she’s right – meditation has been a tried and true method of regulating one’s inner thoughts and philosophy for millennia. It allows us to connect with our higher selves, and it helps to clear the mental clutter that can cloud our perception.
But despite its effectiveness, meditation can be a difficult habit to maintain. We live in a world that is constantly moving, and it can be hard to find the time to just sit and be still.
Danielle offers some advice for those who find it difficult to meditate:
“I think meditations, meditation practices are like relationships and commitment… if it’s not working for you, keep looking until you find a practice that really centers and excites you”.
In other words, don’t be discouraged if you find it difficult to meditate at first. Just keep trying different methods until you find one that works for you.
Danielle LaPorte is living proof that the choice to love is always available to us – even in the darkest of times. No matter what challenges we may face in life, we always have the power to choose how we respond.
We can either let our ego get the best of us, or we can choose to see the beauty and goodness that’s all around us.
It’s up to us. And Danielle is here to remind us that the choice to love is always ours to make.