Our comfort zone is such a dangerous place because it is just that, comfortable. When we begin to settle, we begin to stagnate and just like water, when it stagnates, it becomes toxic.
As a part of my series about “How To Learn To Finally Loving Yourself” I had the pleasure to interview Hannah Apperley, Tarot Card Reader, Intuitive Lifestyle Coach, and Hypnotherapist. (www.hannahapperley.com)
Embracing self-love has allowed Hannah to connect with herself in ways she never knew were possible and she now is aligned with a higher purpose and is living her life, her way!
Hannah believed happiness was a direct consequence of her dress size and was on a mission to fit society’s expectations of what it meant to look like a woman’. Along that journey, Hannah became aware of her mental health and simmering under the surface was an ego-driven, people pleaser, seeking constant external validation and praise. It took a while for her to accept and face her struggles and a part of that journey was resigning from her life-long career as Banquet Events Manager within the Luxury Hotel Chain, Four Seasons.
Retraining as a Coach and Hypnotherapist was the first conscious step Hannah took in creating the life she wanted. 18 months later, Hannah is now coaching people using Tarot, Birth Charts, Hypnotherapy and more, to uncover their limitations, connect to their souls, cultivate confidence and become a victor over their life.
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 moved to London in December of 2016 from the Hampshire countryside to start my career in Luxury Hospitality and if I’m being honest with you, I hated London. It was so fast-paced, I felt like everyone had somewhere to be and an agenda, except for me. I found it incredibly lonely and I started to think that something was wrong with me. I began over-eating, drinking more, and just trying to fill my life with short-term bursts of happiness.
In September of 2017, I got fed up and joined a gym and invested in myself and got a personal trainer. This was the start of my self love journey. Although at the time my intentions were purely physical, as I thought being happy meant being ‘skinny’ with a big butt, nothing could have ever prepared me for the mental, physical and emotional transformation that followed.
Once I started to lose weight and saw that my happiness didn’t increase, I realised that being skinny was not going to fulfill me in the ways I was seeking, so with the help of my PT-turned-Life Coach, I started delving into the depths of my psyche and utilizing heavyweights as a reference for my limiting beliefs to overcome self-doubt.
Upon discovering there was more to life than being skinny and having a management title, and that happiness and fulfillment comes from the inside, I knew I wanted to share it with others so they too could see what was possible. I felt almost like I’d be cheating people if I kept this ‘secret’ to myself and not share it with the world!
That’s what led me to retrain as a Life Coach and Hypnotherapist. I want to empower others to live their best lives and show them that everything they are looking for is within themselves. Along my journey, I also felt called to delve into the world of Tarot and Astrology, and I love using these tools with my clients.
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?
At the moment I am working as a Tarot Reader and Lifestyle Coach, and I am currently working with a business coach to launch something in the near future! My mission is to help others uncover and work through their fears, doubts, limiting beliefs and generational patterns. I aim to help others uncover who they were always meant to be, through a variety of practices. I believe too many people are living their lives based on the expectations of other people and I guide my clients to the best version of themselves, to empower them to live the most fulfilling life possible. It’s just a little too early to share exactly what my new project is.
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?
I feel like self-acceptance is a life-long journey. For me, it’s about looking for signs to follow that lead you towards your destined life path by listening to your intuition. When I was younger, I used to be very ego-driven in how I lived my life and I didn’t even know what being ego-driven meant at the time. I spent so much of my life searching outside of myself to seek fulfillment. The breaking point was realising how ego-driven I was and how much of a thrill I got by asserting my ‘control’. Around 6 months after I embarked on this journey of self-love, I had a level of self-awareness whereby I would view myself as a fly on the wall in my interactions. I was mistaking the butterflies of guilt as a thrill and this was a wake-up call, which ultimately caused even more guilt and shame. I first had to accept who I was and my actions and then make a conscious decision to become a better person, rather than the bitter person I felt I was.
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?
Growing up, I felt a lot of pressure to meet societal expectations of what it meant to be a woman. I grew up with acne all over my chest, back and face. I had bright red stretch marks all over the top and back of my legs, arms and chest and I felt very ashamed of my body. Magazines, TV programs and social media taught me to seek external validation and I would do almost anything for someone to tell me I was good enough. This led me down a route of negative self-talk and ultimately depression. For others, it can manifest in the form of anxiety, isolation, or even in the form of diseases and/or skin conditions. Tears are proof of how our emotions and mental states become physical and I strongly feel we should pay more attention to that because the consequences of neglecting them can be incredibly devastating.
As cheesy as it might sound to truly understand and “love yourself,” can you share with our readers a few reasons why it’s so important?
You may have heard the expression; ‘You cannot pour from an empty cup’. We can give and give and give our love to others, but there will come a point where we will eventually burn out and need to rest in order to recharge. If we want to be able to love our friends and family as much as we say we do, then we must cultivate love for ourselves first in order to truly be able to express how we feel about everyone else. I often say that we must fill up our own cup and let it overflow in order to then spread that love into the lives of everyone else around us. This approach creates an abundance of love flowing and touching the lives of everyone in your world. The word ‘selfish’ has some incredibly damaging connotations, however, you have to be selfish along this journey. Find your own definition of the word. For me, selfishness and self-love are branches from the same tree.
Why do you think people stay in mediocre relationships? What advice would you give to our readers regarding this?
Our comfort zone is such a dangerous place because it is just that, comfortable. When we begin to settle, we begin to stagnate and just like water, when it stagnates, it becomes toxic. We are human beings and we are meant to be in a constant state of evolution, we are just built that way. If you find yourself in a relationship where you feel a bit stuck and things are just a little too comfortable and mediocre, then it’s time to sit down and have a chat.
If your partner is wanting to grow and explore and make big changes with you, that’s great, and all that was needed was some communication. However, if your partner doesn’t want you to change and is deterring you from taking a leap of faith, then you need to decide for yourself if that is the level of support you are willing to accept. If the answer is no, then trust that you will find a love with much greater meaning and depth in the future. Chances are, if you are not 100% happy or fulfilled in your relationship, neither is the other person. Don’t be afraid to start anew. Just look back over your life and see how the best things have happened from taking that scary leap of faith. Yes, it’s uncomfortable, but always so worth it.
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?
The world and our experiences offer us our best reflection. Two people can experience the exact same situation at the exact same time and give it two different meanings. Neither interpretation is wrong, it’s simply down to the individual and the experiences that have shaped them.
When we judge people, what we are really doing is judging ourselves in the same situation. Aim the remarks back to yourself and you may be surprised how much you uncover about yourself in that simple exercise. Take a second before judging next time, it’s quite probable your soul is trying to tell you something about yourself! You can ask yourself the following,
How often do I find myself judging other people, what are my judgements usually about?
How often do I pick fault at what is happening around me?
Am I always complaining about things that are completely out of my control? If so, what are they and why does it upset me?
What do I have in common with the people I loathe the most?
What positive traits do I notice in everyone around me that I can also find within myself?
I had quite a rude awakening and asked myself some very intrusive questions when I realised I was unfulfilled. It then took a long time for me to accept the honest answers and even longer to take action to make the changes that were staring me in the face. Don’t worry too much about the future steps, however, everything will happen when it is supposed to and one day you will look back and see how much has changed. It starts with self-awareness and you’ve already begun doing the work if you’re here. Keep going, you’re doing amazing!
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)?
If we can find peace within ourselves then we’ll never truly feel alone. I believe it’s very important to have a period of time to be with yourself daily. To sit and think about your day, how you’re feeling, the quality of your thoughts, and generally how fulfilled you are with your current reality. The better relationship we have with ourselves, the better relationship we have with others.
I used to be petrified to be alone with my own thoughts because I was my own worst enemy, but how can we expect other people to like us if we don’t like ourselves? I also should probably add; I didn’t know I didn’t like myself, I didn’t know I was judgemental of myself because I didn’t have the awareness at the time. I just thought it was boring to be by myself as I needed a lot of external stimulation.
Spending time alone helps us to cultivate our relationship with the one person we cannot escape from.
There is no point in resisting it because we have to live with ourselves for our whole life. If you’re starting off in this area then I’d ask you; how can you make the best out of being by yourself? What do you like to do? What can you do by yourself that makes you happy?
Spending time alone may feel foreign to begin with, like everything you do for the first time. I started cultivating my relationship with myself through journaling and I judged myself a lot at the beginning. My internal dialogue sounded something like this, “Wow, this is so dumb!”, “Why are you doing this Hannah?”, “You are so stupid for doing this!”. So if this is where you currently are, then yes, you can do it!
During the lockdown, I have felt more content than ever before. I used to struggle to have one day off work by myself, let alone weeks. Journaling offers you the opportunity to see the quality of your thoughts and decide if you like them or not! As you can see, mine were very self-sabotaging, and honestly, if I can rewrite my thoughts then everyone can!
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?
The more accepting you become of yourself, the more accepting of others you will become. The more compassion you can cultivate for your own life, the more you will be able to find compassion for every person you meet. You become aware that people are a product of their experiences. Every single person we meet and encounter already has a different perception of who we are. Maybe the bus driver catches us on a bad day and thinks we are rude, but our neighbour’s think we are lovely. We all have many different faces to our personality.
You will be perceived in ways that don’t necessarily reflect who you are in your totality, but does that mean you’re that one version? No. Having a high level of self-awareness allows you to see everyone with a greater level of empathy and compassion resulting in you becoming a more accepting person. This then allows you to cultivate deeper partnerships based on authentic interactions.
In your experience, what should a) individuals and b) society, do to help people better understand themselves and accept themselves?
On an individual level, I would like us to feel empowered to question everything. Question things to understand fact from fiction and then empower people to find their own truth. I would also like to see us encouraged to cultivate a creative hobby or pursue a creative career. I believe there’s a stigma around creative career paths amongst society which I want to work on rewriting. I feel like we are not encouraged to choose a career based on our creative expression therefore it is not as celebrated as climbing a corporate ladder. In my understanding it is alot harder for creatives to establish themselves and I feel this is due to the societal and generational expectations we are taught growing up. It takes a lot of courage to create and showcase your natural talents. I want to see that celebrated more.
On a societal level, I believe we need to normalise mental health and coaching, counselling and therapy. Everyone has pain and problems, but the people who are engaging in coaching are the ones who are deciding to no longer let it rule their life. It’s a very empowering position to be in, but for some reason there is a lot of negativity around it. I believe this is because when we start to learn to think for ourselves, it is harder for society to condition us to live by certain expectations and rules.
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?
Move your body in a way that feels good — Find a form of movement that works for you. For me, it was resistance training and dance. These were ways for me to connect with my body, push past my mental barriers and feel sexy. The movement offered me a physical representation of my growth!
Journal your thoughts — I am someone who likes to keep everything bottled up and inside my own mind. It takes a lot for me to have difficult conversations or voice my qualms. It’s something I am consciously working through today. However, journaling offers me an outlet, a release. It allows me to form my thoughts as physical on paper and it gives me the chance to make sense of them by reading them from a different perspective. Journaling is a safe and secure environment to empty my head and make space for new thoughts to come in! As I said earlier on, I judged myself so much to begin with, but it really did change my life.
Find a creative hobby — We are all creative and have a creative expression within us. I love writing and poetry. Tapping into journaling brought me back to my poetry writing and, more recently I have started sharing my work on my Instagram and Facebook. You might like photography, painting, drawing, graphics, gardening, sewing, cooking, dancing, singing etc; you name it! There is no wrong answer to finding a creative expression that fits you.
Spend time in nature — Get out in nature as much as you can. Nature gave me the acceptance that I have an individual purpose and it puts my life into perspective. Everything in nature is perfect, including us!
Conduct a life audit — It’s a hard one but it’s so important to have people in your life who support you, even if they don’t truly understand the journey that you’re on. When you start working on yourself, people may start to leave your life. You may have heard; ‘your vibe attracts your tribe’, so it’s completely normal that as you start becoming more positive and accepting, the people that are not, will ‘vibe away’!
Just remember, the choice is theirs to support you following your dreams, and if they don’t, do you want them in your life? This life audit also filters into the media we are consuming. This can be through the programs you watch, the people you follow on social media and what you spend your time reading. It’s important to ensure they are positive influences on your life.
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 just finished reading; You are the One by Kute Blackson and it blew me away. It was recommended to me by my coach and it takes you on the most beautiful journey of self-discovery and the power of trust and surrender.
Any Wayne Dyer book will expand your mind! My favourite is Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life. He is a profound spiritual teacher and opens your awareness to new ways of thinking, being and doing. I recommend any of his work.
The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield is also an amazing, beautiful, and thought-provoking book that my mum gifted me along my self-love journey. It offers a new perspective to life.
My top Instagram accounts that promote positivity, self-improvement, and self-love are,
@megan_rose_lane, @matt_cama, @thecompletioncoach, @iam.martasalcedo, @risingwoman.
Finally, a couple of great podcasts I listen to are The I’m Possible Podcast by Natalie Levy which is all about rewriting your thoughts to pursue your dreams. I also recently started listening to Authentic Sex with Julie Allen. She has a really cool approach to taboo topics regarding intimacy and sex. Also Is my Aura on straight? by Aycee Brown for all things Human Design and Astrology.
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…
Look at the world as one huge mirror; every interaction is an opportunity to become a better person.
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?
“A journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step” — Lao Tzu
I got this as a tattoo when I was 18 and It has always been that reminder in the back of my mind that taking one small step and making one small change can change my whole life. It has been my guiding light many times. Since being on my self-love journey over the last 2 or so years, I have often stumbled across this quote, and it’s always been that little nudge that I’m on the right path and should keep going.