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Michelle Hayes: How To Learn To Finally Love Yourself

Create a Routine. — Every day I wake up at 4am so that I can connect with God, having that communication is not about religion, but creating a connection to the source of all things we do.

As a part of our series about “How To Learn To Finally Love Yourself” I had the pleasure to interview Michelle Hayes.

Michelle Hayes is a Success and Mindset Coach who focuses on helping women regain self confidence so that they can achieve their life goals. Her goal is simple: To help women understand that they are indeed worthy of acceptance and love. Her mission is to help women who may have gone through divorce or a break up that must look within and realize they are not broken. She wants women to understand that they can change their world using the Power of the Mind and help them eliminate fears, worries and frustrations so they can move to a place where they achieve their goals, dreams in life; Be it Physical, Spiritual, Financial and Emotional.

Thank you so much for joining us! I’d love to begin by asking you to give us the backstory as to what brought you to this specific career path.

I must say that the concept of Self Love and loving oneself was very foreign to me for most of my 53 years on this earth. Growing up on a small island in the Caribbean and being 1 of 14 children, the word love in my family was not something I heard a lot so while now I understand the concept of self love at the time, I had a lot to learn.

During this learning process, I’ve made some errors when it comes to loving myself. I’ve allowed myself to be hurt by others but as I grew I realized that self love is not selfish, it’s in loving yourself is how you teach others how to love you.

Accepting who you are today, forgiving yourself for past mistakes and accepting that you cannot change the past is the first step, the second is truly taking those steps to change your thinking to create a better life for tomorrow.

I really want to get this point across that self love is a mental game and to finally learn to love yourself you need to get to know YOU!!

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you hope that they might help people along their path to self-understanding or a better sense of wellbeing in their relationships?

Well I’m excited to share that I just started my podcast entitled: HerRise where I help women who have gone through a breakup or divorce learn to love themselves again by talking to experts in their respective fields who share their stories of resilience and determination.

Do you have a personal story that you can share with our readers about your struggles or successes along your journey of self-understanding and self-love? Was there ever a tipping point that triggered a change regarding your feelings of self acceptance?

For me the idea that I can love myself has indeed been fraught with struggles. The notion of love and truly understanding what that really meant for a long while was a foreign concept to me. It was not until I was in my 30’s before I even heard my mother say I love you and, if I’m being perfectly honest, I don’t ever recall hearing my father even utter those words…….but knew they loved me dearly. My biggest struggle is that I thought that in order to love oneself that meant that you were selfish. That loving myself meant that what other people wanted did not matter, it was not until I realized that those were sabotaging thoughts that were keeping me in the “ people pleasing” mode of life.

The tipping point for me was during my first marriage. I remember this so clearly wanting to please him so much that I ignored major signals such as him actually telling other women ‘I was his roommate; I even remember waking up one night and heard him clearly state that “ his roommate was in the other room snoring” Now, for many women that would probably end the relationship, however at that point I had no love for myself. It was not until we moved to another country and while I was setting up our home, he was sending expensive gifts to women and engaged in other disrespectful behavior that I finally spoke up and decided that I would no longer stand for this. I decided that I am worthy of much more. It was the first time that I did not let the fear of losing someone, or having someone walk out of my life. True self love has less to do with getting nails done and massages etc, it is about loving yourself from within to speak up for yourself

According to a recent study cited in Cosmopolitan, in the US, only about 28 percent of men and 26 percent of women are “very satisfied with their appearance.” Could you talk about what some of the causes might be, as well as the consequences?

This is a really good question.

I recently attended a program with a heavy focus on what is termed ‘Our Saboteurs’, and one of those saboteurs is “ The Judge”. While we need that judge around sometime, I believe that it could be the biggest reason why we are “not satisfied” because we compare and judge ourselves against who we think we should be or what we think we should have done or doing.

When we arrive on this earth we came perfect, I see this daily as I work on my passion delivery babies, and immediately we are being judged, We cry and are asked “what’s wrong”, so right there we are programmed that something is wrong with us so, as we grow we are judging and comparing ourselves to everything that is external.

We are subconsciously programmed to be always searching on the outside for perfection and, while there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to wear nice clothing, drive a nice car and live in an amazing home, that has absolutely nothing to do with being satisfied. The consequences of which can have most of us are constantly reaching some unknown “ ideal”, not understanding we may never hit it and unless we get connected to the spirit. Satisfaction does not come from the external and when you have that connection we feel satisfied from the inside and that tendency has a positive effect on everything, even our appearance.

To some, the concept of learning to truly understand and “love yourself,” may seem like a cheesy or trite concept. But it is not. Can you share with our readers a few reasons why learning to love yourself it’s truly so important?.

As humans we crave connection with others and therefore to truly love yourself is, in my opinion, the most important thing one can do to have that deeper relationship with others. As we love ourselves we are, in essence, showing others how to love us. It allows us also live in the present moments and not the past to bleed into our present and contaminate the essence of who we are today and the future,

Why do you think people stay in mediocre relationships? What advice would you give to our readers regarding this?

I honestly believe that people in mediocre relationships think about leaving but stay for a few reasons.

  1. They have not been exposed to what a healthy, strong relationship looks like, so they believe this is how it should be;
  2. They think that they’ve already invested so much of their time that it’s just too late move on;
  3. They have fears of being alone and probably say “ If I leave, I will never find love” or “I am too old/fat/ugly (or whatever) to leave” or, if married, they believe that “ marriage is forever”.

There is a never ending list of excuses that keep them in relationships that they know they don’t want. The very idea strikes so much fear and anxiety they look at the mediocre relationship as a safer place to be .

My advice would be to love yourself enough to walk away. You are not ‘too anything’, you are perfect as you are and deserving love, happiness and respect.

When I talk about self-love and understanding I don’t necessarily mean blindly loving and accepting ourselves the way we are. Many times self-understanding requires us to reflect and ask ourselves the tough questions, to realize perhaps where we need to make changes in ourselves to be better not only for ourselves but our relationships. What are some of those tough questions that will cut through the safe space of comfort we like to maintain, that our readers might want to ask themselves? Can you share an example of a time that you had to reflect and realize how you needed to make changes?

I think that we have to start by asking ourselves a couple of serious questions:-

  1. What is it about me that contributed to the breakdown in the relationship?
  2. If I got a chance to start over, what would I say to myself now that I know more about myself?

I remember having to ask myself those questions and especially the first.

This is the question that made me start making changes, realizing that it takes both parties to have a meaningful relationship and since we are not all perfect, we both have been contributing in some way to the demise or the survival in the relationship.

So many don’t really know how to be alone, or are afraid of it. How important is it for us to have, and practice, that capacity to truly be with ourselves and be alone (literally or metaphorically)?

This is an interesting question.

When I was going through my breakup and especially when I had my ex served with divorce papers he very much told me that “I would be alone for the rest of my life”. I’ve never had a problem with being alone. I have lived alone, traveled alone and done many things alone; where we can sometimes get confused is that there is a difference between ‘being alone’ and ‘being lonely’.

One can be lonely in a crowded room. I often say I have felt most alone as a child even coming from a family with 13 other siblings. Being alone, especially in silence can be scary for many, because that is when we focus on ourselves and many of us do not wish to sit with our own thoughts, but being in the habit of enjoying your own company is crucial to growth. It gives us time to learn more about ourselves, and the more we get to know who we are, the more we really get to create and show love for ourselves.

How does achieving a certain level of self-understanding and self-love then affect your ability to connect with and deepen your relationships with others?

Understanding yourself more through practicing self love brings you to a point where you know yourself so well, that you can show your true self in your relationships. People know who they are dealing with. You show up as your authentic self. People know the boundaries that you allow. When you are at this level in relationships then it becomes deeper and more meaningful.

In your experience, what should a) individuals and b) society, do to help people better understand themselves and accept themselves?

In my experience the best way to better understand yourself is to study yourself. The only thing that truly holds us back and creates anxiety, fear, and worry is lack of knowledge. Gaining the knowledge of understanding yourself makes you accept who you are and therefore who the other person is.

As a society we need to accept people, as long as it is not affecting the rights of others. If we were to truly accept the person as they are, this can lead to less hate. We are all humans, we just look different on the outside, but on the inside we are basically the same.

Here is the main question of our discussion. What are 5 strategies that you implement to maintain your connection with and love for yourself, that our readers might learn from? Could you please give a story or example for each?

  1. Create a Routine. — Every day I wake up at 4am so that I can connect with God, having that communication is not about religion, but creating a connection to the source of all things we do.
  2. Be Grateful- I write out 10 things everyday I am grateful for. Gratefulness helps me to understand that I truly live a blessed life, and the things we take for granted. I also start each one with “ I am so happy and grateful today now that I live in an apartment with clean running water”. Practicing gratitude has been the biggest game changer for me to understand true love for the life I have all still while wanting to expand and have more.
  3. Meditation- Like prayer meditation is another great way to communicate with the Creator and to calm our minds, even if it’s for 5 minutes
  4. Practice forgiveness- this is one that gets missed a lot, but practicing forgiveness for yourself and others is a great way to connect with who you are, I don’t do this every day, but at least 3 times per week where I simply forgive someone or myself for something that was done, When we forgive ourselves it is easier to love.
  5. Write, or Re-write and review your Goals daily- At one point in my life my goals were just a wish list in my head but once I wrote them down they became real. I am writing this now, one of my goals is to inspire others in some small way to have a better life. Reviewing my goals daily helps me to take small steps toward them and then it’s amazing how you create a way to go after them and also you are attracted to people, places and things that bring the goals to a reality. I wrote a goal to create a podcast and I rewrote it and reviewed it daily and in less than 60 days I had my first episode up and going, I attracted an editor that is easy to work with and helped the project to come together.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources for self-psychology, intimacy, or relationships? What do you love about each one and how does it resonate with you?

I have so many favorite books that I absolutely love, first and foremost The Bible, The only book that gives us tools on all three and so much on loving yourself and others.

Change Your Paradigm, Change Your Life by Bob Proctor is another great read. In this book he goes in depth on how we can start living the life we truly want by starting with changing the habits and behaviors that are not giving us the results we desire

I also love Neville Goddard’s The Power of Awareness because not only is it easy to read, it also has so many positive ways for you to accept and love yourself. Starting with recognizing that we have the power within us to change our world plus, all the practical steps to help us become more fully aware of who we are called to be.

I listen to many podcasts. On the top list is Forty Thrive — Grown A## Woman’s Guide. She tackles the many issues that women over 40 talk and think about, giving practical steps of dealing with them,

I also love browsing the newsletter “ the Tiny Budda” this gives you so many great ways to deal with life and how one can find peace. Lots of inspiring stories.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? Maybe we’ll inspire our readers to start it…

Accepting who you are today, accepting that you cannot change the past but you could change your thinking to create a better life for tomorrow and self-love has to come from within. Self-love is a mental game and to finally learn to love yourself you need to get to know you from the core. You need to get to understand who you are. Connection with your Spirit, that’s where it starts. Give yourself this gift of getting to know you. Kiss yourself every day and say I love you,

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that you use to guide yourself by? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life and how our readers might learn to live by it in theirs?

‘If you want something different, you are going to have to do something different’ — Jack Canfield. I have heard this quote so many times. For me it’s understanding that we can make new changes and live a different life. What it says to me is that I am the only one that can change my life.

Even today when I look at my life, if something isn’t working, then I do something different until I get the results I want. iSo right now I would say look at your life with compassion for yourself, honor you and do things differently. Others may not like that version of you, but as far as I am aware we get only one life and we should live it the best of who we are.

Thank you so much for your time and for your inspiring insights!

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