Exercise — the past several months I have been on a journey to improve my physical health. I rarely schedule something else during my gym time and participate in classes that not only challenge me but are enjoyable as well.
Strengthen my spirit — my faith in God is essential to my life. I regularly attend church, pray, read my bible, and listen to inspirational messages so that I can be reminded of who God created me to be, and how valuable I am to Him.
Silence my phone at night — adequate sleep is essential to overall health. To guarantee that my rest is not interrupted by a message or call that I can address in the morning, I silence my phone every night before going to bed.
Surround myself with positive people— intentionally spending time with positive people helps to reinforce my values and makes life so much more fun.
Spend time alone — while I love spending time with family and friends, and helping others to achieve their goals, I cherish time alone to focus on me. Being alone helps me to be ready for what’s ahead and to be more fully present for the people in my life.
As a part of my series about “Connecting With Yourself To Live With Better Relationships” I had the pleasure to interview Sherry C. Wherry. Sherry is the CEO/Founder and Empowerment Strategist of Wherry Consultations, LLC. She empowers women and youth to be their best self by equipping them with tools for personal, professional, and emotional wellness success. She is the author of two books, “Walking Through the Pain” and “Overcome Pain in 21 Days”, and seeks to change the world by providing services that speak to one’s heart, mind, and soul.
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.
Asa child, I wanted to be a lawyer or doctor because I’ve always been interested in issues of justice and helping people to improve their health. In my business, I offer services that promote personal, spiritual, and professional development, as well as emotional wellness. My childhood dreams underscore my desire to be the voice that amplifies the voices of the unheard and to provide services that empower individuals to heal and pursue their dreams from a position of wholeness.
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 have an online course titled “Walking Through the Pain: Practical Steps to Emotional Wellness”. It provides registrants with twenty-one action steps to help them to achieve and maintain emotional wellness. Those steps include topics related to learning to love yourself in healthy ways; acknowledging your weaknesses from a position of empowerment instead of self-deprecation; being liberated by your truth, and learning the importance of alignment between intentions and behaviors of those that you have relationships with.
I have also released my second book, “Overcome Pain in 21 Days: A Daily Devotional of Biblical Principles to Heal, Live and Prosper.” This devotional is the faith-based version of my online course. It provides people of faith with spiritual tools to achieve the same outcomes as the course.
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?
In my twenties, I was involved in a romantic relationship that was very unhealthy. I had a broken understanding of what love for others and love of self really meant. At the time, I thought that true love was demonstrated in my willingness to sacrifice my own mental and emotional well-being in order to make him happy. After 4 ½ years, I finally walked away because I was tired of settling for potential and receiving nothing in return. I cried daily for months after our breakup and had to go through the hard process of getting back to the essence of who I was before the relationship. I had to be re-introduced to my needs, hopes, and dreams from a position of wholeness and self-worth. And while the process wasn’t easy, it was most definitely worth it. Going through the process has established a strong sense of self that enables me to live a happier and more fulfilled 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?
The study states that there is a correlation between life satisfaction and weight and appearance satisfaction. I think societal and cultural pressures of what is beautiful and acceptable have a huge part to play in this correlation. Two possible consequences of not being happy with your physical appearance is a lack of confidence and lower self-esteem.
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?
If you don’t learn to love yourself, your love for others will lack the depth and grace that comes from first loving yourself. And in order to love yourself, you must let go of perfection, redefine success, and embrace the fullness of who you are, flaws and all.
Attempting to be perfect is emotionally, mentally and physically exhausting. It also forces you into a position of perpetual dissatisfaction because you are seeking an unattainable goal. Instead, your goal should be to be your best. If your standard is based upon an attempt to be someone else or societal trends, your standard lacks stability because people and trends are ever-changing. Focusing on being your best pave the path that is most suitable for your happiness and growth.
You must redefine success as well and learn to appreciate and enjoy the process of becoming. Self-loathing is enabled by thinking that happiness and success are an event, or destination when in fact it should be a never-ending journey.
Lastly, embrace your mistakes, failures, and scars. The beauty of who you are lies not just in what you have done right, but also in what you have done wrong. Your mistakes have made you wiser. Your failures have strengthened you. Your scars have deepened your ability to have compassion for others. Learning to love yourself will require you to embrace yourself fully and will result in you experiencing the happiness that you desire.
Why do you think people stay in mediocre relationships? What advice would you give to our readers regarding this?
Sometimes people stay in mediocre relationships because they have mediocre goals and expectations regarding those relationships, and sometimes people have unrealistic expectations which set the stage for relationship dissatisfaction. Now to be clear, every person that you are in relationship with — romantic, platonic, or familial — does not have the capacity to provide the level of reciprocity that you desire. It’s important that you understand the emotional capacity of a person before you get in a relationship with them. And once you understand their capacity, use that info to create realistic expectations and to determine the level of mental, emotional, and physical intimacy that you will offer. Do not settle for subpar treatment out of desperation or fear of being alone.
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?
Let me preface my answer with a disclaimer: Before you ask yourself the hard questions, you need to determine if you should do so with the support of a licensed therapist who is qualified to handle the depth of your pain that is related to your answer(s). Asking the hard questions can sometimes take you to mental and emotional spaces that are not ideal to be in alone.
One question to ask yourself is how do you contribute to the issues that you have in your relationships. This question format makes it difficult for you to deny and deflect and puts you in a position to get to the root of your own internal issues. The answer to the question could be that you settle in relationships because of what was modeled to you as a child. Or maybe you unfairly expect people to make you happy because you have a limited understanding of how to experience happiness. In asking that question, you may discover that your current relationships are suffering because you haven’t been able to heal from things in your past. Now I want to make another disclaimer that this question does not apply to people who are experiencing abuse. Nothing ever justifies abuse.
I had to ask myself this same question regarding the relationship that I mentioned earlier. While I most certainly loved him, I had to face the truth that we were not completely compatible and that love wasn’t enough. I had to also face the fact that I had unresolved pain that exacerbated our incompatibility. That was a hard truth to accept because initially, my focus was only on what he did wrong. However, because of my unresolved pain, I stayed in an unhealthy relationship much longer than I should have. Asking myself this question and being honest in my answer resulted in me ending the relationship.
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)?
Being capable of being alone provides space for you to acknowledge your strengths and confront your weaknesses. While I certainly don’t advocate for intentional isolation that exacerbates emotional unrest, it is important that you spend time alone to reflect and ground yourself. If you spend every waking moment with the noise of other people, you are preventing yourself from hearing your own needs. Avoiding being alone literally or metaphorically could be a sign that you are running from unresolved issues related to how you feel about yourself, and/or those you are in relationships with. Spending time alone also gives you an opportunity to enjoy who you are, and who you are becoming without interruption.
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?
Once you know and love who you are, you become more aware of your self-worth. You are also less likely to be in relationships that don’t recognize your value. You also become more confident in setting boundaries and expectations that provide opportunities for more fruitful relationships. And it becomes easier to walk away from people who choose to not reciprocate what you give, and what you know you deserve.
In your experience, what should a) individuals and b) society, do to help people better understand themselves and accept themselves?
People should reject societal expectations that are counterproductive to them loving themselves. Society should stop promoting one-dimensional aspects of beauty, success, and who is deemed worthy of love. Diversity is needed in all forms of media, and stories need to be told by people who fall out of the current norms of what is portrayed.
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?
- Exercise — the past several months I have been on a journey to improve my physical health. I rarely schedule something else during my gym time and participate in classes that not only challenge me but are enjoyable as well.
- Strengthen my spirit — my faith in God is essential to my life. I regularly attend church, pray, read my bible, and listen to inspirational messages so that I can be reminded of who God created me to be, and how valuable I am to Him.
- Silence my phone at night — adequate sleep is essential to overall health. To guarantee that my rest is not interrupted by a message or call that I can address in the morning, I silence my phone every night before going to bed.
- Surround myself with positive people— intentionally spending time with positive people helps to reinforce my values and makes life so much more fun.
- Spend time alone — while I love spending time with family and friends, and helping others to achieve their goals, I cherish time alone to focus on me. Being alone helps me to be ready for what’s ahead and to be more fully present for the people in my 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?
- Tera Carissa Hodges is an International Empowerment Speaker, Media Maven and Business Woman. She hosts weekly empowerment calls where she not only discusses how to love and own your story but also how to interact with family and loved ones who are stuck in dysfunction. Her advice on navigating life and relationships resonates with me because she brings a fresh, no-holds-barred perspective, and she is a woman of faith who does not hide her belief in God.
- Marshawn & Jack Daniels are both powerhouses when it comes to business. Marshawn is a Reinvention Strategist who helps womanpreneurs to maximize, magnify and monetize their divine gifts, and Jack is a Psychotherapist and Master Storyteller who helps you to get out of your own way. Their business success and love story resonate with me because they are amazing examples of what a healthy marriage looks like, even after heartbreak in prior relationships. Marshawn and Jack are very supportive of each other and are not intimidated by the other’s success. While they both have their own businesses, they regularly collaborate to empower and equip other business owners for success.
- Heather & Cornelius Lindsey are both international speakers and work full-time in ministry. Their take on dating and marriage resonates with me because they are very transparent about the work that is required to have a healthy relationship. They don’t promote a fairytale image of love, and both have a great sense of humor.
- Red Table Talk by Jada Pinkett Smith became one of my favorite shows after only watching the first episode! I love how the show showcases the perspective of three different generations on each topic. I also appreciate the honesty and transparency about their own journey to self-love and the challenges and successes that they have had in various relationships.
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 really passionate about people getting the proper mental and emotional support that they need to be well. While there are several existing initiatives that stress the importance of mental health, my hope is that my own story will continue to be a part of the conversation that destroys the stigma with seeking professional help.
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?
One of my favorite quotes is:
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” — Lao Tzu
I love this quote because it is a great reminder that nothing is insignificant. Success is a culmination of smaller decisions and actions when no one is watching. This quote also reminds me that nothing happens by chance and that I need to put forth effort consistently in order to achieve my goals.
Thank you so much for your time and for your inspiring insights!