Shannon Kaiser is back! This time, she’s hitting the shelves with a totally new book called The Self Love Experiment to further ignite her mission of increasing self-love around the world. Shannon has been an incredible influence for people everywhere, including myself, as she represents a beautiful combination of both the feminine and the masculine.
Shannon Kaiser has been labeled a modern thought leader on the rise by CafeTruth and top 25 Most Influential Wellness Experts by MindBodyGreen. She is an inspirational author, speaker, travel writer, and life coach who left her successful career in advertising several years ago to follow her heart and be a writer. Her unique and adventurous twist to self-help inspires people to take risks and embrace the unknown so they can live openly and courageously from their heart.
Her website PlayWithTheWorld.com was named top 100 self-help blogs and top 75 Personal Growth websites on the Internet by the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. Her sought after ideas have been featured in media outlets across the world such as Good Morning America, Good Day New York, Inside Edition, HuffPost Live, and she is an online columnist for Huffington Post, MindBodyGreen, Yahoo Voices, Healing Lifestyles & Spas, Examiner, News.com.AU, Tiny Buddha, and The Daily Love.
Let’s get this interview started!
1. For an in-depth understanding of Shannon’s past, please listen to Episode 29 of the podcast. In the meantime, Shannon, can you give us a brief overview of what you currently do and a miniature overview of your past?
I am a book author and international life coach, mentor, and speaker. I help people believe and trust in themselves so they can live their ideal life. And the founder of the award- winning personal development website PlayWithTheWorld.com, a portal to your ideal life, where I share weekly videos, blogs, and tons of inspirational content to help readers live their highest potential. I came into my purpose and dream career through a rock bottom. Several years ago, I was suffering in a corporate job, addicted to drugs, suffering silently from eating disorders and clinical depression. I hit rock bottom and turned my pain into purpose.
2. In what one way have you grown the most since that interview we did in 2014?
The biggest transformation has been my relationship with myself. Before I was teaching people how to be happy and sharing tips from my first book, Find Your Happy, but how happy can we really be if we don’t love ourselves? I used to worry so much about other people and what they thought about me—would they like me and accept me for who I am?—but I realized that’s because I didn’t like or accept myself. So I set out to do my own self-love experiment to really become my own best friend. And that experiment turned into my new book. Today, I don’t worry so much about others’ opinions of me because I know myself and love who I am.
3. You’ve written a few other books besides The Self- Love Experiment, all of which I LOVE! What is a key difference between those books and this one?
The Self-Love Experiment is the most open and vulnerable I’ve ever been. It’s a memoir infused self-help book where I peel back the layers of my life and share openly about the greatest struggles I’ve had with food, accepting my body, and learning how to love myself. We all have flaws or something we would like to fix, and this book serves as a compassionate guide for us to stop hating ourselves and instead become our own friends.
Adventures for Your Soul is a great guide for removing self-sabotaging habits and dropping from our head into our heart. I identified the top 21 ways we self-sabotage and provide a clear plan to move forward in the face of fear.
Find Your Happy Daily Mantras is 365 days of inspiration and joy. It is a daily mediation guide and will be revised and released to a larger market early next year, 2018, by Beyond Words, along with a mantra card deck.
Find Your Happy is for anyone in transition. If you feel stuck and want more clarity and guidance, this book is more of a workbook style to help you discover your purpose.
4. You talk about how you struggled and battled with your inner critic, constantly feeling unlovable and unworthy, for more than three decades, by not just strongly disliking yourself but actively self-sabotaging. What are common ways we self-sabotage our happiness and our health?
I would overdo everything: overeat, overwork, over exercise, overanalyze. Obsessing and worrying were my go-to forms of living. My life changed when I asked myself, “What could I do with all my time and energy if I weren’t worrying or obsessing about the things I disliked about myself?” I realized my life was happening and I was missing it. So I made a conscious choice to stop listening to my inner critic and instead focus on the things I liked about myself. Eventually, this self-kindness removed the self-sabotage from my life because I was making choices from a place of love instead of fear.
5. I work with quite a few women who feel intimidated by the entire “self-love” process when they’re currently in a place that they don’t even like themselves. How do you advise people to start this process without getting too overwhelmed or feeling defeated from the start?
I felt overwhelmed and like self-love was a pipe dream, too. It wasn’t until I did my own self-love experiment that I learned that one step at a time, one kind thought at a time, one loving action at a time can make the changes we want. In my book, I share the process to make finding self-love less overwhelming and more attainable. The first step is self-care. We can look at our habits and start to make more intentional habits by aligning with joy. Self-care isn’t about feeling guilty for skipping a workout or trying to get your green juice every day. If we do those things under pressure, then we aren’t really caring for ourselves in a compassionate way. Instead, be kind to yourself and care for yourself from a place of love.
6. You state, “Learning how to love me has been the most difficult thing I have ever had to do. Not because loving yourself is particularly hard, but because I had to unlearn all of the things I was conditioned to believe about self-love.” What are those ingrained beliefs you and others have about what self-love or self-care means?
Before my self-love experiment, I felt like I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, popular enough, making a big enough difference, doing enough, etc., The underlining core belief was that I felt unlovable and that no one would like me if I showed the real me. I always felt like an outsider looking in. I realized we all do this in some way, separate ourselves from love and the truth because our fears and insecurities are so strong. I had to condition myself to see that it is okay to celebrate me and say nice things about myself. It isn’t egotistical or selfish but indeed a mandatory entry point for true fulfillment. Self-love is the catalyst to everything we truly desire. Once I let go of the belief that I don’t fit in, I recognized that I don’t need to fit in, I can be me and let the world and other people fit if they wish. It’s freeing to be you in world that’s constantly trying to tell you otherwise.
7. Your book mentions how weight loss for you was synchronized with your self-love journey. Weight loss can be a very sensitive and touchy topic when so many people are on an endless quest to achieve the perfect weight. How was your weight loss experienced through self-love, and how was it different from losing weight for losing weight’s sake?
I used to think that after I lost weight, then I could be happy, then I would love myself, but after gaining almost 100 pounds, I realized that weight loss and keeping it off is not a physical issue but a mental one. I didn’t love myself, so no matter what size I was, even when I lost all the weight (which I did, then gained back over and over again), I never felt good enough. It wasn’t until I took my attention 100 percent off of my weight and the scale that I found real self-love. Today, weight loss isn’t a focus because I am happy and comfortable in my own skin, even though I am still overweight. That’s what we really want, after all, to feel good in our bodies. It’s never really about the weight but the imbalance in our mind. We think it is the weight we want off, but when we don’t love ourselves or believe we are worthy, no amount of weight loss or gain will remedy that.
When we start to treat ourselves as a friend, then we care for ourselves in more compassionate ways and weight loss if that is one’s goal can be easier. Self-love is about releasing the struggle.
8. Do you regret your earlier life of drug addition, eating disorders, and depression?
My rock bottom—the depression, eating disorders, and drug addiction—was one of the most pivotal moments of my life, and I don’t regret it at all. Without that dark period, I wouldn’t be who I am today. Because of my troubled times, I now have clarity, an understanding, and more wisdom. Everything we go through is part of a bigger plan. I truly see now that the journey is the reward and every piece of it is connected to our shared growth. I needed to go through those situations in order to grow and be who I am today.
9. What are some of your favorite tools that help with the healing, self-love process?
One of the most powerful tools I used was writing letters to my future self, the version of me who had it figured out, who was healthy, secure, and in love with herself and life. Writing a letter to ourselves can help put things in perspective and help us trust ourselves more. Another great tool are the mantras. Using powerful, positive sayings or motivational mantras can help recondition our fearful thoughts to more loving ones. For instance, “The only thing I need to change is the thought that I need to change” or “When I love myself it’s easier to see imbalances in my life.”
10. Can you explain what your “Me Matters” tool entails? How can we create a “Me Matters” list to help us make change stick?
The Me Matters list is an amazing tool I use to align with my joy daily. Joy is the foundation for lasting self-love. When we are joyful and connected to our true self, we feel better and make better choices. Ask yourself, “When do I feel like my best self? What am I doing? Who am I with?” and create a list around those qualities. So, for example, I love nature walks or hikes with my dog, Tucker. So on my Me Matters list I have Go into nature daily and take time to cuddle with my dog. I move my body daily with exercises to feel joyful and good. Creating a list of things that make you happy and making an intention to do them daily will help you feel more self-acceptance and joy.
11. What’s the biggest gift self-love has given you?
Freedom! Freedom to be who I am instead of worrying about who I should be or trying to fit into a box of what others and society says is best. Freedom from worry and self-criticism and blame, so I can focus on my dreams and goals and live a life I feel connected to. Self-love = freedom.
12. Quick-fire round:
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I love my current lifestyle of living different places and writing from all corners of the globe. Ideally, every one to three months I like to move to another city and/or country. That is my ideal place to live right now, not one place, but many.
What did you have for breakfast?
Most days, today included, I make a homemade omelet. It includes peppers, mushrooms, cheese, spinach, and chicken sausage. With hot sauce, of course.
What’s a MUST-READ book (besides yours of course!)?
What three people would you invite to your perfect dinner party?
There was a time when I would have easily said people like Oprah or even my favorite author or painter, but I think it might be more fun to invite my younger self and future self to the party. In the spirit of becoming your own best friend and being your own guru, it would be a unique experience to connect on an even deeper level. I’d invite my younger self, the one who was suffering from depression, eating disorders, and corporate burnout to the party to show her that life will turn out amazing when she shows up for herself and trust herself more. And I’d invite my future self, maybe me in 30 years, so we could all swap stories, motivate each other, and be there for one another.
What’s your morning routine?
I wake up and list a few things I am grateful for, whatever first comes to my mind. I usually lay in bed for a few moments after thinking about all the things I look forward to that day, and then I have a mini cuddle session with my dog, Tucker. I go for a nature walk with him and then either go to a coffee shop to work or work from my home office if it is a coaching day.
Ready to get the Self Love Experiment? Check it out here >> http://amzn.to/2uAT5oh
Thank you Shannon!
If you decide you too want to get The Self Love Experiment, share your love with Shannon’s book on IG and tag @shannonkaiserwrites // use hashtag #TheSelfLoveExperiment. I know you’ll love it!