Defining Moments & Turning Points

Defining moments & turning points

Defining moments & turning points

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to discuss defining moments and turning points in one’s life and how identifying and processing them can help you achieve emotional freedom.

First a quick update:

“How much money do you deserve”
There is a link between your emotions, your subconscious beliefs around money, and your success. Watch the video.

“The pros &cons of taking a sabbatical from marriage”
Read my insights with @MelissaSChapman at

Follow me on Twitter – You can now choose to follow me and receive a few words of wisdom on Twitter: @Behavior_Expert

Now, let’s talk about defining moments and turning points in one’s life and how identifying and processing them can help you achieve emotional freedom.

Let’s begin by clarifying what each term is.

A “Defining moment” refers to something that occurs (a positive or negative experience) which forces or drives you to redefine yourself or discover or uncover something about yourself (consciously or subconsciously.) The dictionary explains it as “a point at which the essential nature or character of a person, group, etc., is revealed or identified.”

A “Turning point” refers to a moment in your life when you decide to take a different course in life; changing your perspective on life, making a new choice or decision. The dictionary explains a turning point as “a point at which a decisive change takes place; critical point; crisis.”

By uncovering the defining moments and turning points in your life, you can gain not only insight into who you really are, why you do the things you do, but you can actually change those subconscious choices and conclusions you made which now no longer serve you or work against you; you can transform and dissolve those blocks in your life which prevent you from success and living life fully.

Let me briefly share my personal experience as a way to help you understand and process your defining moments and turning points.

I was 10 years of age when my maternal grandmother passed away. She lived with us and I was extremely close to her. She played the role of mother for me. Upon her death, I felt alone, abandoned and betrayed (common feelings for a child who loses a loved one.)

One day, my father was scolding me in the living room. I went crying to my mother in her bedroom. I was obviously seeking compassion from my mother.

Instead, she responded with “Don’t cry you are my tower of strength.”

Those few words were another turning point for me; another defining moment.

I felt more alone, abandoned, betrayed and unloved.

However, the subconscious conclusion I made (the turning point and new direction) was “I must be strong for the woman. To get love, be significant and get attention, I must serve and fulfill her needs and desires.”

Unknowingly, in that moment, my mother had reinforced my father’s message that now that my nana is dead, I am alone, I will not get my needs met, my feelings don’t count and there will be no care or compassion for my role from here onwards  is to serve.

Please note that these are the subconscious conclusions of a child and each one of us in that moment as a child might make a different conclusion based on temperament, character and perceptions.

How to uncover your defining moments and turning points

  1. List the most emotional experiences and events in your life
  2. List the top 5 memories you have of childhood. You might not presently consciously attach or associate any emotion with them, but, when you follow the process below, you will uncover their meaning, emotions and conclusions you made as a result of them.

When helping clients to set them free from the past, change their behavior or release emotions and dissolve old beliefs, the first step is to identify a core belief or emotion. The second step is to uncover the earliest memory or experience of that belief and emotion. The third step is to uncover and validate every single emotion that he/she experienced in that moment, along with all of the beliefs and conclusions associated with that experience. The fourth step is to gain new and full understanding about the event and the “Instigator” which helps the client to truly understand that it wasn’t the client’s fault, helps to change the old belief, and with additional steps leads to forgiveness of the Instigator.

It might not have been an emotional moment such as a scolding or punishment; for one of my clients, it was the moment when his uncle told him “Now that your dad’s gone, you are the man of the house.” He was seven and from that moment, he stopped being a child and began to play the role of adult; he took care of his mom and tried to fulfill her emotional needs. He grew up with lots of guilt for his mother, her wellbeing and her happiness. He struggled to form his own identity and marry a woman who would be equal with him and love him, rather than expecting him to take care of her all the time.

For another client, one of her turning points and defining moments was when her mother didn’t show up to school to pick her up. The girl waited for an hour and her mom never came. She concluded that no one loves her or cares for her and she must take care of herself. But it also created fear and anxiety for her as an adult any time she felt alone and she kept repeating incidents where she felt abandoned by the man she loved.

Here is a simple process to help you gain insight and understanding into your defining moments and turning points:

  1. List the event/occurrence with the process I suggested earlier
  2. Find a quiet place where you can be alone; have a journal
  3. Imagine the experience from a dissociated state i.e. watching the child
  4. Write out all of the emotions this child felt; don’t stop at 3 or 4 emotions – keep listing them – there will be many
  5. Write out the beliefs and conclusions this child formed
  6. Write out how those beliefs keep repeating themselves in your life, in your relationships. For example, I noticed that my belief “my feelings don’t count – only ‘hers’, she doesn’t care and won’t show me compassion” kept repeating in my relationships as I kept attracting and being attracted to women who would reflect that belief to me. One way or another, I would find a way to create or ‘prove’ that belief to be true.
  7. Reread what you have written and keep adding and elaborating on your notes.

Notice that I refer to “this child” or “that child” as a way to disassociate and gain clarity about the event, the emotions & beliefs without reliving the pain or trauma.

This is only part of the entire process of healing and achieving emotional freedom. It is, though, a powerful step you can do safely on your own. The next steps need professional guidance.

If you want to take the next steps, ask for assistance; consider a private session. Watch the video

Finally, also note that some of those turning points also probably helped sculpt and determine the job or career you are currently in.

What are your top 3 – 5 defining moments and turning points?

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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