Self Compassion. If you haven’t gotten this already, you are literally just a human doing the best you can. Where are you still blaming or shaming yourself? Let’s replace that with compassion instead.
As a part of my series about “How To Learn To Finally Love Yourself” I had the pleasure to interview Kelly Kristin. Kelly is a globally known coach, author, and founder of The Worshipped Woman. She focuses on helping women recovering from toxic relationships that are ready to break the cycle, heal and experience the love and life they deserve. Kelly is an expert in subconscious transformation and facilitates deep healing through embodiment practices and an emphasis on nervous system regulation. She utilizes a number of unique modalities and her own personal knowledge of having been through toxic relationships herself to offer her clients a truly one-of-a-kind coaching experience.
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 became who I am and do the work I do today to help the person I once was. Everything that I teach and speak about I know because I have lived it as well as studied it. After I left a very toxic relationship I found myself sick, depressed and feeling like a stranger in my own body. I went to the doctor and was told I would have to be on six different medications for life and there was nothing I could do about it. Intuitively I knew that was not my truth, and there were deeper things at play than what the surface based western medicine approach was offering me.
I decided right there and then I was going to heal myself. I began learning everything I could about autoimmune disorders, the mind body connection, gut health and more. I took a year long holistic nutrition coaching program and initially thought I would stop there and become a health coach. But while some of my symptoms were gone and I was feeling better, I knew I had to go deeper to go to truly heal. I began studying the subconscious mind, I became a NLP practitioner, a clinical hypnotherapist and Psych-K facilitator. I focused a ton of time and energy in inner child healing, embodiment and nervous system regulation and when I finally understood what was happening in my mind, body and nervous system, I was able to release the trauma I had been through and heal. I went first and I can now lead my clients on their journey.
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?
I am always working on providing a ton of really good content between my Podcast, Youtube and Instagram, but what I am most excited about right now is my unique group coaching program for toxic relationship recovery called Heal, Rise, Thrive. I basically condensed 6 years of my own research, work and experience into an unbelievably effective coaching program for women that wish to heal from toxic relationships and experience the love they truly desire. The healing that is happening inside of the program is so exciting, and I look forward to continuing to grow the impact.
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?
So much of the work that I do is based on my personal experience. I was in a very toxic relationship for 6 years. When I finally got the courage to leave, I promised myself that I would never be in that position again. I did not realize at the time what a big promise that was. It was extremely confronting for me when I realized that I had to take responsibility for myself, my life, my choices and I was the only person that could change anything about my life. I had to accept that I had an incredibly low sense of self worth and I was not loving or kind to myself.
I tried for a long time to just move on and feel better without taking the hard look at myself that I needed to. I tried to heal through food, positive mindset work, I was doing affirmations and listening to spiritual teachers but I always felt like there was something missing and it wasn’t really working for me. I was constantly beating myself up for having stayed in the horrible and abusive relationship for as long as I did, and even though I was trying to stay positive, I was terrified that it might happen again.
The biggest shifts in my life started when I was really able to understand how the mind works and why I did the things that I did, once I understood myself and my actions I was able to accept myself as a human just doing the best that I can. From this place of acceptance of who I had been, I was able to have compassion and love for myself that I never did before, and that allowed me to move forward with myself in a whole new way. I realized that we can not heal what we refuse to acknowledge and feel and by being willing to do those things, it can really transform your whole life.
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?
It’s very easy to lose sight of what is real and what is not in the current world we live in. I believe the rise of social media and constantly being bombarded with images that are highly filtered or photoshopped is doing a lot of damage. There is of course the issue of comparing ourselves to others, but we can also so easily add on a filter and take a picture, get a bunch of likes and comments about how beautiful we are and then look in the mirror and not see that same beauty because it was manufactured. It is inauthentic and we feel that on the inside. We are creating a false beauty standard that is literally not real or attainable. I think the consequences can be devastating especially to the younger generation that is growing up never not having to have dealt with this.
Additionally, advertisements are shown to us in such a way that purposely makes us feel less than or not enough if we don’t have the thing in that ad or don’t look like the people promoting the product. These are oftentimes subtle messages that we get that we are just not good enough the way we are, they seep into our subconscious and we don’t even know the belief is there. This leads to constantly feeling like we need something outside of ourselves to be ok, we need validation from others and we try to prove our worth when in reality we are all born worthy, lovable and beautiful. It is an exhausting way to live to say the least.
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?
I do not think it is cheesy at all! Learning to love yourself is essential to work. When you love yourself, you like who you are, when you like who you are you have a different sort of energy and presence about you that is magnetic because you are able to be authentic. When you love yourself, you stop comparing yourself so much and can enjoy your life as you are. You literally begin vibrating at a higher frequency and can experience life in a whole new way that is filled with joy and peace. If this sounds cheesy, or “unrealistic” I would love to remind the readers that this is a reality anyone can have if they are willing to do the work.
Why do you think people stay in mediocre relationships? What advice would you give to our readers regarding this?
They are many different reasons people stay in mediocre relationships. Some major ones are the fear of being alone, lack of self-worth, and fear of the unknown. It is much easier to stay in a relationship that is ok (or even if it’s awful) because it feels familiar, and to our mind and bodies familiarity = safety. It is very hard to leave a relationship that your mind and nervous system believe to be safe. My advice would be to take an honest look at yourself, your relationship, and what it is that you truly desire. Create the vision for the most epic love that you could ever imagine, and have the courage to heal anything that comes up for why you can’t have 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?
This is huge! Self-understanding is really the beginning stages of self love. How can you love yourself on a deep level if you really don’t know who you are? When we do the work to understand ourselves it is really for the purpose of identifying our subconscious blueprints and patterns to be able to say, “wow I get it, my behavior makes sense”. From that point, you can accept yourself for who you have been and decide who you want to be and how you want to be moving forward. Putting that version of you into action is the act of self love.
To get to this place of self understanding, you must first become aware of yourself. You have to start observing yourself, your actions, your patterns from a place of curiosity. From observing yourself and your patterns you can then start questioning why. Why? Is the most important question to ask, and you have to keep asking it. Why do I act like that? Why do I accept mediocre relationships? Why do I say yes to things that I really want to say no too? The key is that you want to go into each question you have and continue to ask yourself why? It will lead you to some pretty interesting insights about yourself.
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)?
It is so important to be able to be. Many people that are alone physically still do not know how to be with themselves. This shows up in many different ways from overworking, overeating, and constantly scrolling. It removes us from our bodies and what it is real and present within. Most people don’t do this consciously, it is a defense mechanism to not have to feel what is underneath our patterns, our behaviors and really deal with our own stuff. This leads to living a very surface-based life, which is ok for some people, we are all here on our own journeys!
That being said, if you have the desire to go deeper, to have relationships that are more intimate and fulfilling, you must first have the capacity to truly meet and be with yourself.
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?
We can only really understand, accept and love others to the depth that we have done that with ourselves. When you do the deep work with yourself first, you can meet people on that same level. This is truly the key to having relationships that are intimate and authentic. We really all desire to be seen, heard and accepted for who we are, and the work starts with yourself. Our relationships are a reflection of the relationship that we have with ourselves.
In your experience, what should a) individuals and b) society, do to help people better understand themselves and accept themselves?
To understand yourself you have to first seek to. You have to be willing to observe yourself and get curious. What makes you, you? Are your thoughts your own? How much of what you say and do in your life is really based on your own want and desire vs. what you think you should do or who society has conditioned you to be? What are your biases?
Change starts on an individual level.
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?
Truly loving yourself remains elusive for so many people because there is some work that has to come before it. I am going to walk you through the steps I took to finally learn how to love myself and how I work through this with clients now.
- Self Understanding. It is really hard to get to a place of self-love if we are blaming ourselves or don’t understand why we do the things we do. Instead of berating yourself for being in that horrible relationship or feeling stuck, or whatever it is, seek first to understand. Our behaviors are a result of our subconscious identity, values and beliefs and these are largely formed in childhood before the age of 8. We form deep seeded beliefs by the experiences we have and what are child self decided that those experiences meant. So if you have never really done any inner work with yourself, you basically have a wounded child running your life. Let’s start with that and understand that it isn’t your fault, but it is your responsibility to heal and do the work to move forward in a new way.
- Self Acceptance. When you can understand that all of your behaviors make sense based on your childhood conditioning and how you view the world, you can accept yourself as a human that is doing the best you can with the circumstances that you have had in your life. You can also accept how you feel, your fears, your thoughts. Acceptance is always the answer. By accepting yourself as you are, you are now free to change.
- Self Forgiveness. When you have come to self-acceptance, and really get that you are a human just trying to make it through this crazy little thing we call life, and you understand why you are the way you are, you can forgive yourself for anything you think you need to. There are so many things you may have done before you knew better that you are not proud of, that is ok. Forgiving yourself for the past frees of its energy. Forgive yourself and move forward in a new way. It isn’t fair to yourself to learn things now and try to apply them to things you have done in the past.
- Self Compassion. If you haven’t gotten this already, you are literally just a human doing the best you can. Where are you still blaming or shaming yourself? Let’s replace that with compassion instead. When you make the commitment to become the best version of yourself, you are going to be met with resistance, old fears, falling back into old behaviors that you might not like, that is all ok. You might start thinking you are taking too much time, or that you should be able to move on, or whatever it is, these are the times when self-compassion is important. Those are the things that you should be loving yourself up over instead of blaming yourself or talking down to yourself. The grace that you so easily give to others you deserve too.
- Self Worship. This is my favorite step and one that I am still personally on the journey of embodying. To worship something means you express reverence and adoration towards it. So to me, self worship is seeing yourself in the eyes of the divine, adoring yourself, respecting yourself and honoring yourself. When I say I am working on this part, I think that it is really an extension of self love through action. If I was worshipping myself today what would I do? When making decisions I ask, is this a reflection of self worship? Does this honor and respect myself? It is a new way of life and the more we can worship ourselves, the more our outer reality will begin to reflect that. How you treat yourself is the standard for how everyone else treats you.
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 really love the work of Dr. Nicole LePera (@the.holistic.psychologist). I am in the middle of her first book, How to Do the Work, now and really appreciate the stand she has taken for a holistic approach to healing. As someone who personally saw and experienced how the field of psychology can be very limiting it is truly refreshing to read her perspectives on self-healing and relationships.
I am a huge fan of Marianne Williamson. Her book, A Return to Love, is a masterpiece in terms of love and acceptance. I love the way she can take complex spiritual concepts and make them so easy to understand and apply to your life. She is a light and reminds us all of our own light.
I have to talk about my own podcast, The Worshipped Woman. This is a place where I share so much information about relationships, self-love and self-understanding in a short format that packs a powerful punch.
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…
The movement I most wish to inspire is self-worship. The mission behind The Worshipped Woman is to have every woman know and embody their worth, love themselves deeply and become their own version of the worshipped woman. Can you imagine a world where all women love themselves so much that they actually worship themselves? Imagine the ripple effect that would have on our society if every woman could accept herself as being someone that deserved respect, honor and reverence. This is my dream.
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?
“Accept the situation or leave it, all else is madness”. This is a quote from the book, The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle.
I remember when I first heard him say that as I was listening to the audio book, and I instantly had to rewind it. I realized in that moment I was mad. I had been complaining about my life, my relationship, all of these circumstances and yet I was not willing to DO anything about it.
From that point on I decided I was not going to live my life like that anymore and I would take my power back, my hope is that it can do the same for your readers.
Thank you so much for your time and for your inspiring insights!