Trigger warning: this article addresses self-harm and suicide.

Two-girls-sitting-at-a-lake

“She did it.”

“She did what, mom? Who did what?”

“Your sister.” “She committed suicide.”

It is the phone call no one wants to receive, especially when your family is impacted or at stake. New York Times best-selling author and critically-acclaimed life and law of attraction coach Christy Whitman collapsed when her mom uttered these words to her many years ago. As she put it, she dropped everything: her phone. Her body. And crumbled to the ground. Though the news was debilitating and excruciating, for Whitman, it served as a turning point. And a challenge: to encourage others to live their lives with joy, hopefully preventing others from taking their own lives.

Whitman described her childhood as ‘crazy-making.’ Her parents were much like the Joneses, where appearances mattered but dealing with the difficulties within the home were deprioritized. Her mother concealed much of her anger, while her dad had a hot temper, and together, they spent much of her early years at battle.

During this time, her mom would find her younger sister crying, but when she asked her what was wrong, she could never pinpoint it. As she grew older, her sister’s sense of self and attitude continued to suffer, especially when she was overweight, wore braces and glasses, and her depression deepened. “We just ignored it. We acted like everything was fine,” Whitman added.

But it wasn’t — her sister packed a car and moved to California. And for a while, she had hours of long, deep conversations with Whitman, discussing everything from her triggers with her parents to what she was working through in therapy. “She was very honest and very real, and it was obvious she was in real pain,” Whitman continued.

But, seemingly, out of the blue, she stopped returning calls. She wouldn’t come home for Easter. Or Christmas. In an effort to reel her back in, Whitman wrote her a thoughtful card to express how much she meant to her and how grateful she was for their sisterly relationship. She called her and express much of the same, not realizing how much Whitman cared for her.

That was the last conversation they would ever have.

Looking back, Whitman is happy she took the time to scribble some words on that Hallmark card, knowing her sister felt loved before she left the earth. “She put me on the path of self-discovery and healing,” Whitman explained. “…Learning how to find happiness and live my life in a space of joy, is still a motivation for me today.”

You can learn more about Whitman’s journey in this exclusive video, and consider these effective, actionable tips on implementing manifestation into your daily practice ASAP:

“What would I love?”

As children, we daydream — about the future, about what we hope to be when we grow up, about love. But as we age, those rose-colored visions seem far-fetched or unrealistic, and we often lose our imagination. Or rather, the courage to fantasize after so many aspects haven’t gone according to plan. Whitman says by asking one simple question, we can start to transform the areas of our lives that we don’t like: ‘What would I love?’ By defining what the change is, you can start to work your way toward the happier place you’ve been too nervous to believe can happen.

“You don’t have to be a victim of your circumstances.”

No matter how many times you’ve been rejected, discounted, made to feel inferior or as if you weren’t good enough, understanding you don’t have to be a victim can be life-altering. Much like growing up in a household ripe with negativity, carving a new lifestyle for yourself takes work, but it isn’t impossible. “When you find yourself in a situation you don’t prefer, know there are lots of other options and other choices. We get to decide — we are the only ones who give ourselves permission –to what we want to experience,” Whitman says. “…We all have the capacity inside of us to focus on what we would love and how we want to feel. You can have everything you want in your life — you just have to focus in that direction.”

If you’re feeling inspired to pursue a new goal or learn more about how Christy Whitman turned such a tragic point of her life into her life’s purpose, be sure to check out her Quantum Success Learning Academy, where she offers more actionable ways to improve your life — from manifesting your dream life to your ideal body.