Author Davina Kotulski talks about how tapping into your inner courage, joy, and truth will transform you into the person you were meant to be.
Davina Kotulski is a best-selling author, international life coach, clinical psychologist, and LGBTQ equal rights activist based in Los Angeles. Her newest book is It’s Never Too Late to Be Yourself: Follow Your Inner Compass and Take Back Your Life. Learn more at
S&H: What made you want to write this book?
Davina Kotulski: In my more than 20 years a therapist and life coach, I’ve worked with thousands of people from all backgrounds and the one thing that holds up across everyone is a desire to be authentic.
I witnessed this as an LGBTQ advocate when I saw how transformed people were when they connected with the power of their hearts and took back their lives for themselves.
We want to be ourselves and do what we love, but fear holds us back. I wanted to write a book that helped people tap into the courage of their heart and be who they came here to be. It guides readers through a process I call hearticulation. It helps them reconnect with their joy and inner truth, so they can then begin expressing that in their lives in a way that is transformative. It helps them take back their power and live a life that reflects their true essence, not their neighbor’s, not their family’s desires for them, not the people in commercials—their true essence. This book helps people connect with their heart and their bravery.
You talk in your book about something you call anti-bliss. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
Anti-bliss is that negative voice in your head that tells you that you can only be so happy before something shitty happens. It’s the sense that you can’t get too excited about life because you’ll make others uncomfortable. It’s like a toxic trifecta of guilt, shame and self-sacrifice that keeps you from lifting your head too high or feeling too much joy.
Rather than feeling creative and empowered, when we are in anti-bliss, we are in the energy of the victim or the servant. We believe ourselves to be controlled by outside forces, circumstances and other people. Anti-bliss keeps us from experiencing our lives as truly our own.
Why do you think so many people fall into anti-bliss?
There’s a lot of cultural pressure for people to fall into anti-bliss. Some religions are very shaming of people feeling happy and thriving. They might even label that one of the seven deadly sins: pride.
We feel comfortable comparing notes on how much we’re struggling. While it’s acceptable to discuss our struggles and challenges, it’s less so to share what’s going well and what you’re happy about in your life. Again, that might be seen as boasting or bragging and make others feel uncomfortable, rather than inspired. We’ve become so addicted to work and striving that anti-bliss talk is acceptable watercooler talk. We sometimes perceive someone speaking joyfully and positively from a place of gratitude as delusional or unrealistic.
Even if we’re given the opportunity to share the good news, we often don’t because we’ve been trained to talk a lot longer about what’s not working and what’s wrong. Again, I see that as something we’ve been indoctrinated to. Bad news sells. Problems motivate purchases. Our whole culture is shaped around anti-bliss.
In your book, you talk about the importance of following your intuition and not allowing your fear to guide you. How can you tell the difference between a useful intuition and an irrational fear?
Intuition is like a sudden knowing—we feel it. It’s usually very direct and specific. Intuition tells us to go after something, take a right, turn around, mention this. Fear is a feeling of apprehension about everything in general. Don’t do this. Something bad is going to happen. You’re not safe. Fear is pervasive worrying, whereas intuition is specific guidance.
Your book has some fantastic advice to help people start going after their dreams. What advice do you have for someone who isn’t sure what they want or who doesn’t know what their big life dream should be?
This is a great question. Some people know exactly what they want and are focused on moving towards that goal, such as building a business or raising a family. But we don’t have to have a big dream or know what it is. In fact, sometimes we might have a big dream and things change and we’re not sure what we want. That’s okay.
The focus here is on asking yourself questions like, ‘What’s important to me today? How do I want to live now? What do I want to experience in my life? How can I express even more of who I am or how I want to be in my life? What do I enjoy and how can I create more enjoyment and fulfillment on a daily basis?’
Getting greater clarity on the small, yet extremely important day-to-day preferences for our lives is also transformative. We want to stay connected to our hearts in the little ways, too.
We all need courage to face challenges in life—the big ones and the little ones. Here are some affirmations to help us find that courage.