“Be around nature to learn to love yourself” with Kristin Marquet & Olympic Silver Medalist, Jaime Komer

Be in Nature — It doesn’t matter if this is a walk in the woods, a stroll on the beach, visiting a local nature center, or simply tending to a house plant. Be around nature. It’s scientifically proven to uplift us. As a part of my series about “Connecting With Yourself To Live With Better […]

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Be in Nature — It doesn’t matter if this is a walk in the woods, a stroll on the beach, visiting a local nature center, or simply tending to a house plant. Be around nature. It’s scientifically proven to uplift us.

As a part of my series about “Connecting With Yourself To Live With Better Relationships” I had the pleasure to interview Jaime Komer. She is an Olympic Silver Medalist, 2-time World Champion, Certified Health Coach, and Founder of Happy Vibes. www.wearhappyvibes.com. She created Happy Vibes as a way to raise our collective energy and wellbeing. By wearing a Happy Vibes bracelet, you are increasing your positive thinking and elevating the positive energy around you. Jaime applied these empowering Happy Vibes practices while training for the Olympics in Water Polo, in her 11+ years in the health and fitness field, and now as a mother and entrepreneur. Her passion for wellbeing and zest for life is contagious, just like positivity energy.

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.

Thank you! My journey to discovering my purpose to raise the positive collective energy in our world began by learning how to raise my own positive energy.

I was a happy, curious and creative kid growing up. You’d find me outside playing, climbing trees, playing sports, making jewelry. As I ventured into adulthood, I still found joy in the simple things each day, yet I began feeling overwhelmed by a sense of expectations of who I am supposed to be, what I’m supposed to have or how I’m supposed to act. I didn’t acknowledge or release a lot of my own feelings, which I think manifested into my increasing injuries in water polo. 4 shoulder surgeries, 3 hip surgeries, concussions, adrenal fatigue, and then some. I tried to stay tough and as an elite athlete, being vulnerable and sharing my feelings was the last thing I wanted to do! I thought I would be considered weak if I shared my emotional and physical pain. Little did I know suppressing my emotions was the total opposite of loving myself!

Wracked with injuries and brain fog, I dove into the world of health and wellness. I wanted answers and to help others so I began teaching yoga, pilates, spin, and restorative practices. As I was learning more about my body and how to heal it, I became more intrigued and ready to explore what I put in my body; food, thoughts, energy. And wow! This is where I saw the biggest change in my health, energy, mood, and sense of purpose. As I was increasing my own positive thinking, I noticed people around me felt this positive energy, too. I was creating a cool ripple effect just by bringing joy into my life.

Realizing the power of our thoughts (and the gut health to support this intuitive connection) brought me to health coaching and combining my many passions to create Happy Vibes. And here we are today!

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 discovered that public speaking is a really fun way to raise the collective energy of a room. By addressing how we can navigate our own life journey and its challenges in a way that honors our authenticity, people leave with real tools that they actually use in their everyday life. These tools improve their sense of wellbeing and self-efficacy, which positively impacts their relationships. It’s a win-win!

I’m excited to continue speaking with communities, companies, and teams, sharing Happy Vibes!

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?

Self-love is an on-going journey. For me, my journey looks a lot like a trail through rolling hills, mountains, and deep ravines. Gratefully I’m living at “higher altitude” right now, which I admit has taken quite some time to get here! And there truly is joy in the journey. While I didn’t enjoy in the moment of traversing through the deep ravines of minimal self-love, it was part of my journey and I am who I am because of it.

I took a course for my Master’s Degree in Health and Wellness Coaching called “Becoming a Healing Presense” from the Maryland University of Integrative Health. It was my first class. The purpose of the class was to learn how to be a healing presence for yourself so you don’t bring any of your own emotional baggage into a coaching session with a client. This class changed my life. I would love this class to be a life course in high school, college, or workspace! My favorite topic was on self-compassion, what it is and how we can practice more of it. I needed to practice self-compassion when I realized how hard I was on myself! Simply acknowledging my lack of self-compassion helped me move towards a better relationship with myself. One step at a time, right?

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?

As a woman, how do I feel when I see an advertisement stating “Get beach body ready” with an image of a thin woman with large breasts and no wrinkles? I think to myself, am I supposed to look this way? Am I not supposed to show my cellulite? I wonder who creates these advertisements and why is it socially acceptable to insinuate that we need to look a certain way to enjoy something we love, like going to the beach?

Thankfully change is happening. For example, the Mayor of London banned such negative body-image ads in 2016 and Australia took similar action in 2018. We can help support the positive body image movement by mindfully choosing where and how we spend our money. Let’s invest in what lifts us up, not what brings us down. If you work out at a fitness studio or gym, choose a place where you feel accepted as you are and also supports your future goals. Choose to follow social media influencers and brands that leave you feeling uplifted and positive.

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?

When we practice self-love, we feel more joy in our lives because we’re being more authentic.

It can sound cheesy or even selfish to “love yourself” and I’m so grateful that we’re creating a shift in our culture from a portrayal of perfection towards self-acceptance. Self-love needs to come before everything and everyone else. If we don’t love ourselves, what are we teaching our kids? If we can’t accept ourselves for being “different” and “imperfect,” how can we accept others?

To be completely honest with you, it wasn’t until I began accepting myself for who I am, that I began to accept others for who they are. And this is still an ongoing practice. If we can practice, even for 30 seconds, non-judgment towards ourselves, imagine how this might change our ability to let go of what we “should” be like and create space to honor who we really are. What a freeing experience!

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

Let’s consider what does a mediocre relationship mean to you? What does it feel like? What role do you play in a mediocre relationship? As you explore these questions for yourself, consider what an ideal relationship looks like. What is different between the two? Where are you honoring your values and being true to yourself? And where are you not?

There is no judgment behind these questions and there are certainly no right answers. This is an opportunity for each of us to explore what is most important to us, the role we play in our life and if there’s any disconnection between our values and actions.

When we come up with our own decisions, we find a deeper source of motivation to move forward and make the changes we want. So spending time exploring these open-ended questions may offer some clarity in what feels right to you.

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 majority of my adult life, my self-confidence and self-acceptance were dependent on the response of those around me. Did you like my yoga class? Were you inspired by my speaking presentation? Do you like me? Are you judging me? I was also chasing a version of success that wasn’t my own. In other words, I worried more about what people thought of me versus my own happiness.

Once I began asking questions like, “What does success mean to me?” I began to create a lifestyle that actually brings me joy and a sense of fulfillment. Taking the time to explore these types of questions can be total game-changers as they expand our perspective. They did for me, that’s for sure.

So let’s get comfortable with the uncomfortable. The first two questions address our values. Give some time to reflect on your values first if needed. Values help us make our decisions and are what’s most important to us. Values are not based on how we “should” be or act.

1) Where, when, or with whom, are you living in line with your values?

2) Where, when, or with whom, are you not living in line with your values?

3) What are you tolerating?

4) What fills you joy?

5) What have you learned about yourself from answering these questions?

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’re not comfortable being truthful with ourselves or alone, maybe it’s worth exploring the reason behind this discomfort. What’s at the source of not wanting to focus inward? While human beings are social creatures, we are also independent. We need time to nourish ourselves, rest and restore our energy, otherwise, we can deplete 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?

One of my instructors used this analogy: If our pitcher is not full of water, how can we expect ourselves to fill up the glasses of those around us. We need to fill our own pitcher before we can fill up, support, love, empower anyone else. If we’re willing to love ourselves (every bit of us), think how much easier it will be to accept fully and love others for who they are!

As a mom, I really resonated with this analogy of filling our own pitcher to fill the glasses of those around us. It’s easy to get caught up in motherhood, wear myself down and start judging myself for it. Yet what truly benefits my son is when I practice self-kindness and self-acceptance.

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

1) Just like self-love, it starts with the self. Simply start by practicing self-love on a daily basis. And you will create a positive shift in your self, home, workspace, and community. You’ll see it. Trust me.

2) Let’s teach self-acceptance! How cool would it be if we incorporated self-compassion classes in our schools and workspaces?

3) I challenge the marketing community to shift its focus. We need to ask, does an advertisement support self-acceptance or hinder it? We can vote with our dollar. Purchase from companies that support and market self-acceptance.

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) Meditate — I sit down just about every other day and close my eyes for 3–25 minutes. I breathe, clear my head, and soften my body. This me-time does wonders for my stress levels, immune system, and ability to focus.

2) Journaling — Remember how I used to suppress my emotions? Journaling has been a very helpful outlet for me in acknowledging, clarifying, and releasing my thoughts.

3) Daily Joy — I do something that fills me with joy. I play with my son, stand outside in the sun, dance to The Greatest Showman, make jewelry, anything that connects me with nature or nurtures my creativity.

4) Be in Nature — It doesn’t matter if this is a walk in the woods, a stroll on the beach, visiting a local nature center, or simply tending to a house plant. Be around nature. It’s scientifically proven to uplift us.

5) Mindful Eating — Pausing before we eat can help us bring mindfulness to our actual levels of hunger and where the hunger is coming from (feeling anxious and stressed versus the body’s need for nutrients). I find it helps to pause and give thanks to where my food came from and all those who took part in bringing it to my plate. The soil, rain, farmers, etc.

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?

1) Dr. Kristin Neff is a pioneer of self-compassion research. She has free resources and exercises that really helped me learn how to bring self-compassion into my life. www.selfcompassion.org

2) Eat, Drink, and be Mindful by Susan Albers, Psy.D. This is a creative and interactive workbook on our eating habits, self-love, and relationship with food.

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…

I’m inspired to raise the collective positive energy of our planet. Now that’s a big movement, right? And it’s possible! It starts with positive thinking. Simple as that. When you think positive thoughts about yourself or someone else, you feel happier. It’s like practicing gratitude. When we think of what we’re grateful for, we feel happier.

How can positive thinking impact our communities, schools, politics, environmental issues? I’m on a mission to find out. Will you join me? #HappyVibesTribe

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?

“Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure.”

This quote reminds me to choose adventure and take responsibility for my thoughts, mindset, and outlook on life. It reminds me to view life (and myself) through a lens of curiosity instead of judgment. When we’re used to seeing a roadblock as an ordeal, we can ask, how can I look at this situation through a curious and creative lens? How can I turn this roadblock into an adventure? Even asking these questions can shift our negative self-talk to positive self-talk.

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