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Author Robert Mack: How To Learn To Finally Love Yourself

Nothing can be left so society. It is up to individuals like you and I to make the changes within ourselves — to “be the change we want to see in others.” Then, through our living, shining example we will inspire — and teach — others how to do they same. The best any of us can do is be self-loving […]

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Nothing can be left so society. It is up to individuals like you and I to make the changes within ourselves — to “be the change we want to see in others.” Then, through our living, shining example we will inspire — and teach — others how to do they same. The best any of us can do is be self-loving and happy, and then provide resources and support when other people express an active and explicit interest in help.

If we start providing answers to people before they have questions, our answers will fall on deaf ears. It is not our job, nor our pleasure or privilege, to impose our beliefs on others. That, in and of itself, is not loving.

Always remember, “The only thing freely given and never taken is unsolicited advice.”


As a part of my series about “Learning To Finally Love Yourself” I had the pleasure to interview Robert Mack.

Robert is an ivy-league-educated Celebrity Happiness Coach (Vanessa Williams, Oprah), Positive Psychology Expert (UPenn), Published Author (Happiness from the Inside Out), and TV Host, Personality, and Producer (OWN Network, E! Network, Focus Studios).

Robert’s work has been endorsed by Oprah, Vanessa Williams, and many others.

In addition to hosting and producing “Good Morning LaLa Land” — a daily, live-streaming morning show focused on positivity and empowering women — Robert is a featured on-camera expert & consulting producer for “Mind Your Own Business” on OWN and a Celebrity Love Coach for “Famously Single” on E!


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 was an extremely unhappy child and an even unhappier young adult. Eventually I became so depressed that I seriously contemplated — and researched how to commit — suicide. I still have the suicide test marks on my wrist to this day.

After climbing out of my depression, I matriculated into — and graduated from — a program at the University of Pennsylvania. It was a Master’s in Applied Positive Psychology program. Positive Psychology is the study and science of what makes life worth living.

I opened my own private practice, wrote a book — “Happiness from the Inside Out” — and began appearing on (and developing) TV shows.

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’ve just completed four more books on the topic: Success from the Inside Out, Joy from the Inside Out, Bliss from the Inside Out, and Love from the Inside Out.

I also produce and host a live-streaming morning show, Good Morning LaLa Land, that aims to inform, educate, inspire, enlighten and entertain people to live happier, healthier and wealthier lives from the inside, out.

I hope to inspire — and teach -people how to love themselves properly so that they can easily, effortlessly, enjoyably, and authentically love others, too!

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 lived a life of unfathomable, gut-wrenching self-loathing and self-hate that eventually led to suicidal ideation for decades. When I finally decided how I would kill myself, I went and retrieved a steak knife from the kitchen. In the very moment that I dug that knife into my wrist, I experienced an indescribable, inexplicable peace, love, and joy that I’d never known or experienced before.

As a result of that experience, I decided to postpone suicide for one hour. Ha! I postponed it for one hour while I investigated and explored what happened to me that day. That hour eventually slipped into a day, that day eventually slipped into a year, and that year has now slipped into over two decades.

Eventually, inch by inch, with lots of hard work, and in lots of fits and starts… I found my way back to living a life of unfathomable, spirit-soaring self-acceptance, self-compassion, and self-love.

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?

The real root of the problem is an overthinking, overanalyzing mind that can’t sit still and be quiet. Ha! We’ve been heading in this direction since the development of the prefrontal cortex in our brains.

That being said, faster, better technology has only magnified the problem. Although that phenomenal technology has lead to longer, healthier lives, it also bombards us (or makes it even easier for us to bombard ourselves) with images and conversations that proliferate an impossibly perfect ideal of beauty. This ideal feeds an increasingly materialistic, narcissistic culture that has an insatiable appetite for looking young. As a result, we unwittingly (or wittingly) reward and incentivizes youth and beauty-obsession. This all leads to increasing comparison and competition at all levels, particularly at the physical level, because the physical is most visible, salient, and obvious.

Moreover, the proliferation of choice, while improving objective conditions and circumstances of life (quality of life), has only led to folks to making better objective decisions (on paper) but worse subjective ones (in terms of happiness and subjective well-being). In other words, people

are doing better on the outside, but feeling worse for it on the inside.

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?

Loving yourself is critical, because the relationship you have with yourself sets the tone for all other relationships you have in the world. The relationship you have with yourself sets the precedent and tone for the relationships you have with everybody and everything else in your life.

Moreover, particularly with respect to relationships, you can’t receive love or give love if you don’t love yourself. Psychologically, we prefer, seek out, and can only receive information and feedback that confirms our self-concept. If our self-concept is negative, we can only accept, receive, or understand negative feedback; if our self-concept is positive, the opposite is true.

Furthermore, if you don’t love yourself, you have nothing to give anybody else. If you are poor, you have no wealth or richness to share with another; if you don’t love yourself, you don’t have any love to share with another.

Finally, we know — based on decades of research — that happy people get married earlier, stay married longer, and are happier in all their relationships, whether they are married or not. What’s more, happy people are rated/judged as more attractive than unhappy people.

Since it’s impossible to be happy if you don’t love yourself, loving yourself is paramount to attracting a loving, happy partner and staying with that loving, happy partner.

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

People stay in mediocre relationships for lots of reasons and most all of those reasons are fear-based and revolve around a lack of self-love. The more you love yourself, the more you enjoy your own company and even aloneness, the less you are willing to settle for an unhappy, unsatisfying relationship. It really is that simple.

If you are in a mediocre relationship, work on loving yourself. Keep a journal of self-appreciation. Meditate. Spend time with people who uplift you, inspire you, and see the best in your. Drown yourself in positive, enlightening material of all kinds. Identify the people, places, and things that easily and effortlessly make you feel good. Spend more time with those people, places, and things.

Then, as your self-love grows, your confidence, clarity, and assertiveness will, too.

Most importantly, spend more time being alone. Learn to sit in the discomfort, get comfortable with your own thoughts and feelings, observe them with non-judgmental awareness, and then watch them dissolve themselves. The more you learn to quiet your mind, the more you’ll being to enjoy your own company. Once that happens, you simply will not be willing to settle for

anything or anybody that doesn’t enhance your happiness.

When we talk about self-love and understanding we 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 love this question, and we want to be very mindful about our approaches to self-improvement.

Ultimately, my practice is full of folks who are committed to both loving themselves and changing/improving themselves, but they make very little progress towards self-love (or happiness) until they prioritize self-acceptance over self-improvement. I cannot emphasize this enough. Ha!

For most people, the desire for self-improvement always outruns and outpaces the desire for self-acceptance. Always striving, never arriving.

At the end of the day, no amount of self-improvement will ever make up for a lack of self-acceptance.

Instead, we must prioritize self-acceptance (happiness), which is nonjudgmental awareness or unconditional self-regard. Then, transformation follows easily and effortlessly in its wake. Awareness itself is transformative. Understanding itself, when it happens at the deepest, most visceral, experiential or heart level, is changes, transforms, and improves people.

Contrary to popular opinion, seeing something objectively — from a place of dispassionate awareness — automatically leads to right action. However, most people’s effort to change or improve themselves or their life situation is filled with and fueled by judgment, condemnation, and guilt. These qualities — especially, the guilt — actually feeds the very thoughts or behaviors they are seeking to change or extinguish. As the saying goes, “guilt seeks punishment.”

This means that a person may change the expression of one trait/quality, habit/pattern of behavior, lifestyle choice, or partner/group of friends, but the problem has not been cut out at the root. Consequently, that person finds him or herself with an identical or very similar problem or partner over and over again. It’s an ugly, tedious game of “Wack-A-Mole!”

That being said, the most important question a person can ask themselves is this: “Would I rather be happy or have this (whatever “this” is)?” “Would I rather have peace or have him or her (whomever “him” or “her” is)?

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)?

“When you learn to love your aloneness, your loneliness disappears and all that’s left is love.” -Love from the Inside Out

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 relationship you have with yourself sets the tone for the relationships you have with everybody else in the world.

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

It’s completely the individual’s responsibility — pleasure and privilege — to accept themselves. The individual should not look to society at all for help accepting themselves. Society’s are nothing more than collections of individuals. If you wait for all of the 7 billion people on the planet to change or accept you, you will wait forever. You will never accept or lover yourself, and you will never be happy.

Nothing can be left so society. It is up to individuals like you and I to make the changes within ourselves — to “be the change we want to see in others.” Then, through our living, shining example we will inspire — and teach — others how to do they same. The best any of us can do is be self-loving and happy, and then provide resources and support when other people express an active and explicit interest in help.

If we start providing answers to people before they have questions, our answers will fall on deaf ears. It is not our job, nor our pleasure or privilege, to impose our beliefs on others. That, in and of itself, is not loving.

Always remember, “The only thing freely given and never taken is unsolicited advice.”

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?

I do the following to maintain my connection and love for myself.

1. Read — I read one book that supports my self-love and happiness every day.

2. Exercise — I lift weights and do cardio at 5am every morning, no matter what. That has the equivalent psychological and emotional benefit of taking an anti-depressant.

3. Listen to positive, inspiring material — I do this all day, every day — in the bathroom, the car, waiting in line.

4. Meditate — I mediate first thing in the morning before I even open my eyes and last thing at night before I fall asleep.

5. Micro-meditate — I practice presence as often as I can possibly remember and no matter what else I’m doing. These are really micro-meditations.

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?

This list is way too long to outline here, but my favorite books include any and all books by Abraham-Hicks, Thich Nhat Hanh, Eckhart Tolle, Ernest Holmes, Emmet Fox, Yogananda, Marianne Williamson, Joel Goldsmith, Stephen Mitchell, Byron Katie, and others.

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…

Happiness Camp.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that you use to guide yourself by?

“You already are the Self, which is only Love — simply abide there.”

Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life and how our readers might learn to live by it in theirs?

Practice.

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

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