Aimee Teesdale: “Another essential strategy is to practice forgiveness”

Peace, love and joy is supposed to be our natural default state, and so maintaining it is more about removing whatever is causing us to not feel that way. So if I notice there’s something disturbing my peace, my first strategy is usually to journal about it. It’s very helpful for me to express my […]

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Peace, love and joy is supposed to be our natural default state, and so maintaining it is more about removing whatever is causing us to not feel that way. So if I notice there’s something disturbing my peace, my first strategy is usually to journal about it. It’s very helpful for me to express my thoughts onto paper and make sense of them, and quite often I am able to find the non-useful belief I’m holding onto and create new perspectives around it.

As a part of my series about “How To Learn To Finally Love Yourself” I had the pleasure to interview Aimee Teesdale.

Aimee Teesdale is an international success coach, speaker, author, digital nomad and ‘Champion for Love’. Using her transformational 5D Method™ she enables purpose-driven business owners to get out of their own way of success, fast. Her ability to create transformational results with her clients is due to her personal experience overcoming 20 years’ worth of fear and limiting beliefs, and discovering what the secret to success really is: less fear, more love.

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 consider myself fortunate enough to have truly found my soul’s purpose. As a teenager, I was really interested in personal development and how I could become a better version of myself, so I went to study Psychology at university when I was 18. After graduating, I moved to London and did what was expected of me: I got a HR job in a corporate office working 9 to 5. But soon after starting, I had a nagging feeling telling me: ‘There’s got to be more to life than this!’ so I went to work on cruise ships travelling all over the Bahamas & Caribbean instead. I wanted to break free from the stereotypical career path as well as grow in confidence, because although I knew I wanted to be self-employed, I didn’t feel ready at the time. After a couple of years I returned to the UK and started my journey as an entrepreneur. Since I’d already done a lot of my own personal development work, shifted my mindset on many things and began creating the life of my dreams, I knew that this was what I could naturally help others with.

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?

My main project is my podcast, Next Level Success. It’s different to most other podcasts in that I don’t interview guests, I coach them. I invite entrepreneurs and business owners to have a session with me and I record it and publish it for others to listen to. One of the things I really want to achieve through the podcast is by helping people to understand what really holds them back in their lives — because it’s rarely what they think it is. A lot of people get stuck trying to do things differently, take different actions, or force things to happen in their lives, without realising that their real issue is the way they see themselves and how much they (don’t) love themselves. In nearly every session published, you will hear my guest share what they are struggling with and me exposing why — some form of deeply buried unloving and limiting belief. I then help the person to let go of this belief and the difference it makes is very often heard and felt immediately. I’m hoping that by listening to the sessions, people will be able to understand how they are holding themselves back and how — through the power of self-forgiveness — they can create a greater sense of wellbeing and success in all areas of their lives.

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 remember that self-love was something that used to be completely absent in my life, and I didn’t even know that that was a problem! I just knew that life was hard all the time. But one day during a 10-day silent meditation retreat, I heard a thought inside my mind that I’d never heard before, which was, ‘I love who I am.’ In the hours, days and weeks after that involuntary thought I experienced a deep sense of peace; I also started to earn more money than I’d ever earned before, too! But at that point I hadn’t made the connection between the two, so I didn’t really make any conscious effort to maintain this state of peace and it wore off as the ups and downs of life started to take its toll on me again. Once again my business started to struggle and I couldn’t understand why. When the penny finally dropped and I saw the connection between my internal state of being and my external success, I made the commitment to return that state of self-love and inner peace that I’d felt after the retreat. Little did I know at the time, though, just how much I really didn’t love myself! All of that got revealed to me during summer 2020 when I began to go through what’s known as a ‘dark night of the soul’ — I was being confronted with all the deeply buried, unloving beliefs I held about myself that I didn’t even know existed, such as ‘I’m not loved or lovable’, ‘I’m not good enough’ and so on. It felt like my whole life was crumbling to pieces, and in some ways it was. The old version of me was dying so that a new one could take its place. I emerged from that dark night as someone who was able to finally love and accept herself for who she was, and know that she had been loved all along. My life radically changed for the better after this point and this is why I am now so focused on simply helping others to love themselves too.

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?

For me personally, my dissatisfaction with my appearance stemmed from childhood experiences. At that age we are so sensitive to the opinions of others and have a strong concern for whether or not we fit in, so when other kids in the class point things out about how you look (as they did to me) it can affect you and stay with you for a long time. Then of course there’s social media: nowadays we have in the palm of our hands an unlimited number of photos of people looking their best and headlines telling us we need the latest beauty treatment — so it’s almost inevitable that we are going to feel inadequate somehow. The consequence is that people then end up on an endless pursuit towards what they perceive as physical perfection which does not exist. In my case I spent many years obsessing over my diet and being addicted to exercise that it consumed all of my mental energy thinking about how to get lean. The truth was, I didn’t need a personal trainer or a diet plan, I just needed to love and accept myself as I was. When I did that, the extra kilograms that I wanted to lose fell off without me even trying. Accepting yourself for the way you look or for your body size doesn’t mean that you give up trying to lose weight or take care of your appearance, it just makes it a lot easier. Besides, there’s really nothing more attractive than self-acceptance.

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?

Oh it’s not cheesy at all — and actually the idea that ‘it is cheesy’ is one of things I want to dispel. I truly believe that the secret to success — both for individuals AND humanity — is that we all love ourselves more. Loving ourselves increases our compassion for others, and the world really needs that more than anything right now. On an individual level, self-love helps us to become emotionally stable and resilient because we are less likely to take inevitable setbacks and failures personally. Physically we become healthier because we reduce the stress and anxiety that stems from self-judgement and fear, and as a result we are less likely to indulge in emotional eating or unhealthy habits — after all, we take care of the things we love and less care of the things we don’t, and the same goes for our bodies! I also believe that by loving yourself you are removing the barriers to a greater source of intelligence that’s wanting to move through you. For example, people get blocked from following their true passions, expressing their art or creativity, and being of valuable service to others because they either don’t believe in themselves enough or are afraid of what others’ may think of them, all of which is a lack of self-love. I’ve had many clients burst with creativity as though a floodgate had opened as soon as they let go of an unloving belief that they were holding onto!

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

Fear. Always. Fear of what will happen if they leave. Fear of what others might think of them. Fear of how they will cope without their partner. Fear of not finding another partner. Fear is always the culprit, and fear is again, a lack of self-love. If there’s anyone reading this who is in that situation, I would advise them first of all to be compassionate to themselves, and simply acknowledge that they are afraid without adding fuel to the fire and beating themselves up about that. The biggest hindrance to overcoming fear is resistance or denial of it. Try doing some journaling around what exactly the fear is and question its validity. Healing your own fears and unloving beliefs may improve the relationship and lift it out of mediocrity, especially if the two of you can work through it together. However, if staying in the relationship is negatively impacting other areas of your life, then it’s worth remembering that what you’re not changing, you are choosing, and you are always free to make another choice.

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?

There’s one particular question I ask my clients over and over again to really cut to the chase with their issue, and that is, ‘What am I making this mean about me?’ The answer to this will immediately expose what a person is believing about themselves and how they are judging themselves. It can be asked whenever someone is feeling upset because of something that has already happened, or worried about what might. For example, if you’re feeling hurt because a partner ended their relationship with you, you could ask ‘What am I making this mean about me?’, or if you’re single and worried you will never find a partner, ask ‘What would that mean about me?’ During my dark night of the soul I was dating someone who didn’t want a committed relationship and would sometimes change his plans to see me at the last minute. I found this deeply triggering and upsetting. I asked myself what I was making it mean about me and that’s when I realised that I believed I was unloved and unlovable. The next question I then had to ask was why I felt that way about myself, the answer to which always stems from childhood (not present day circumstances). I realised that I had interpreted certain things that I experienced as a child mean those things about me, when really that wasn’t the case at all. By seeing that, I was able to feel loved and lovable and recognise that the other person’s behaviour and lack of desire for a relationship was due to his own personal reasons and nothing to do with my worth. I’ve since encountered similar situations and not felt upset by it at all!

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)?

The relationship you have with yourself sets the foundation for your relationship with everything and everyone else. If you don’t enjoy being with yourself, you may find yourself spending time with people you don’t really like or that are a bad influence on you, which could make the situation worse. You also won’t know if you are spending time with someone because you actually want to and because you enjoy it, or whether you are just afraid to be alone, which is not a healthy basis for any relationship and will likely lead to resentment. When you know you can be alone and enjoy your own company, it takes the pressure off trying to find a partner which ultimately makes you more attractive, not to mention just better for you in it’s own sake!

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?

One of my idols that I really respect for the extent to which he is able to love himself and others — a coach called Steve Hardison — gave the perfect answer for this that has always stuck with me. When he was asked, ‘How is it that you are able to love people so much?’ he replied, ‘Because I love myself that much.’ By understanding and knowing ourselves, and by forgiving and loving ourselves, we experience greater compassion and understanding towards others — because we can see what they are struggling with and understand their reasons for their behaviour. My ability to coach people increased dramatically after I understood and let go of my own limiting beliefs and fears, up until then it was hard for me to see them in others because I hadn’t seen them in myself. As I mentioned before, this is why I believe that self-love is so vital in our world these days. For example, many of my clients create a deeper connection with their parents once I help them to love themselves, because they realise that their parents’ behaviour was really due to their own perceived lack of worth and value due to their own childhood experiences.

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

I think changes at a societal level must come from changes at an individual level — the more people take responsibility for themselves and their own lives, the more that will show up in society. And it’s this aspect of ‘taking responsibility’ that is most crucial. As individuals we need to stop blaming outside forces (other people, the economy, the government, our parents etc.) for how we feel and how our lives turn out. By being willing to take responsibility it’s then possible to make changes, and that might include working with a coach or therapist, practicing mediation, taking some time out to reflect on life and figure out if they are really living authentically. I also believe that personal development and self-realisation ought to be on the school curriculum from an early age, as well as a priority for employers with their employees. Afterall, it’s in everyone’s best interests to have a happy, motivated and confident team. Many people say that personal coaching is a luxury expenditure when really, there is nothing more important and fundamental than working on how we feel and judge ourselves.

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?

Peace, love and joy is supposed to be our natural default state, and so maintaining it is more about removing whatever is causing us to not feel that way. So if I notice there’s something disturbing my peace, my first strategy is usually to journal about it. It’s very helpful for me to express my thoughts onto paper and make sense of them, and quite often I am able to find the non-useful belief I’m holding onto and create new perspectives around it.

Another essential strategy is to practice forgiveness. To forgive means to let go, so when we forgive ourselves we are letting go of a belief, or in other words, choosing not to believe it anymore. For example, when I realised I had beliefs such as ‘I’m not lovable’, I chose to forgive myself for believing that by seeing that it was never true in the first place — it was just an inaccurate assumption that I’d made at a time when I was too young to understand any differently.

When I’ve let go of an unloving belief, I will then declare a new one instead. Creating declarations this way is far more powerful than trying to use positive affirmations because it involves removing the contrary belief first before trying to believe something new. Many people feel worse when they say affirmations because they are subconsciously reminding themselves that they don’t really believe that which they are affirming. Nearly every morning I will start my day off by declaring my declarations about who I am and really feeling the truth of them, and my day always goes better as a result.

Doing things you enjoy and being with people you love to spend time with is powerful, too. For me, sometimes just listening to my favourite song and having a dance around my living room will put me right back where I need to be, as will speaking with or meeting up with a close friend. Expressing love to another person is also another great way to feel it — telling someone what you love about them will help you to reconnect to the same thing within you.

Finally, you might like to keep a photo of yourself as a young child somewhere on display. It can serve as a reminder of a time before the world got its hands on you and conditioned you into thinking you were anything less than perfect.

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?

Feel The Fear & Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers was one of the first life-changing books I read. One of the most useful things it taught me was to divide my life into different areas and decide what I wanted each area to be like, as opposed to making my whole life about my relationship like I was doing at the time. It really set me on a path to creating a well-balanced life that I love.

The Way Of Mastery is a text similar to A Course In Miracles which is a world renowned non-religious bible that has changed many lives. The Way Of Mastery taught me so much about love, fear and who we really are and, I believe, is what kick started my own journey of inner transformation. Although I already knew very well that we are the creators of our own realities, this book opened my eyes to there being a greater source of intelligence that was beyond me. It taught me that love wasn’t just an emotion felt in the body, but life itself.

Mindvalley is an online education platform on a mission to raise human consciousness and I love their offerings. They have so many personal development courses available to study, and what I love about them is that they all tie in with the themes of self-forgiveness, self-love and self-realisation, and at affordable prices.

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…

Yes, my movement is ‘less fear, more love’. I always finish my podcast episodes saying this because it’s all the world needs!

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?

‘Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it’ — Rumi.

For 20 years I chased success in multiple areas of my life thinking it would bring me the confidence, security and belonging I had felt missing since I was a child. Yet I never seemed to get there no matter how much I achieved. I was ‘seeking’ love, as Rumi puts it. Thanks to The Way Of Mastery and the coaches I’ve worked with along the way who’ve helped me break down my barriers, I discovered that the love I was seeking was there all along.

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

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