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Kim Basler: “I always needed things to be perfect”

I want to be a part of the change that allows women to celebrate their own incredible bodies and be encouraged to explore a life that will fulfill them on their terms without needing to prove themselves to others. Being able to encourage women to journey within, to listen to their soul whispers, and to […]

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I want to be a part of the change that allows women to celebrate their own incredible bodies and be encouraged to explore a life that will fulfill them on their terms without needing to prove themselves to others. Being able to encourage women to journey within, to listen to their soul whispers, and to trust in themselves, would create such a beautiful impact in our world. Imagine more women being willing to take chances, fail along the way and learn more about themselves — this is what I want to see happen in our world and what I want to continue to be a part of!


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

Kim Basler, residing in Ontario, Canada is a Food Freedom & Mindset Coach, Speaker, and Author in a collaborative book “Owning Your Choices: Stories of Courage From 8 Inspirational Women Around The World.” Kim is on a mission and has helped 1000s of women globally, feel empowered, learn to love and accept who they see in the mirror, and break free from diet culture. Now thriving after a 30 year-long battle with disordered eating, body image, and self-worth issues while having a career in the fitness industry, Kim wants you to know that healing is possible and that unconditional self-love is your birthright. For more information, please visit her website www.kimbasler.com


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.

The rewarding work I have been called to do in this world came about from my personal story and the incredible lessons I have learned along the way. Ten years ago, I would never have seen myself doing what I do now …life is pretty amazing when you think about it!

I grew up in a home where my mother, like most women in the 1970s, was dieting. On top of that, I noticed that women all around me spoke about weight loss and changing their bodies a lot, including media outlets everywhere I looked.

I began my “dieting career” at the age of twelve. Counting calories and thinking about how much exercise I needed to do to burn off the food consumed my thoughts. My daily weigh-ins turned into an obsession with controlling my body.

For 30 years I tried everything to achieve and maintain a body type that I thought would be beautiful in society’s eyes. My eating disorder got me very thin, but then my body dysmorphia continued to keep me stuck in the cycle of body hatred. I was not healthy or happy.

Joining a gym at the age of fourteen and becoming a fitness instructor at sixteen introduced me to a whole new level a body obsession.

Years passed and even though I was accomplishing incredible things in my life and had a successful career in the fitness industry, I still didn’t feel happy with who I was. I found fault in what I “wasn’t” and constantly tried to overachieve to seek approval from others. Eventually, this lifestyle started to detrimentally impact my physical body, happiness, relationships, and my overall mental well-being.

I left my career without any plan in place, and began a deep dive into my healing. I knew that my appearance was not going to make me happy nor were all the awards and titles I was collecting. It was an inside job and it was going to require a new set of coordinates and my soul compass would lead me to it.

I spent an entire year healing and enrolled at an Institute where I learned all about eating psychology strategies and mind-body nutrition principles. It was life-changing to also learn about Intuitive Eating and the Health At Every Size movement. I knew that I needed to help women just like me find peace with food and body and find self-acceptance and shine their inner light into the world again.

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 recently been offering up more group spaces for me to coach and support others as well as sharing my personal story and my approach in schools and to other professionals in the fitness industry. This is allowing people to not feel so alone, create opportunities to bond, and as well broaden perspectives to how we measure well-being

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?

When I abruptly had to leave my career and walk away from the person I knew myself to be, life got so much harder before it got better. I hid from people and my family for a long time, drowning in shame and feelings of failure. But what I needed was time alone with me. No distractions, nothing to hide in, and no more achievements for me to chase to prove my worth.

During that time, I “unpacked” a lot. But it was necessary to look at the beliefs I had embodied for so many years that were impacting my ability to love who I was. I knew that it was time for me to go deeper, my soul whispers had been telling me that for years and I was ready to listen and do the necessary work that was required. One day I made a promise to myself, that in order for me to live a more authentic life, I had to stop wearing the “masks” and stop seeking other’s approval. What I needed moving forward was a commitment to myself that no matter what, unconditionally I knew I was enough.

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?

Social media is available to us 24/7. We are inundated with before/after pictures of weight loss stories and body transformations and marketing that tell us that who we are is not enough. Use this product, follow this meal plan, whiten this, colour that…constant images that are not even real but instead photoshopped to prey on our insecurities. The pressures to get your pre-baby body back or to stop yourself from aging are leaving people feeling hopeless in their bodies and disembodying at alarming rates.

When we are unhappy with our appearance, the relationships we have with others both personally and professionally are impacted. We are unable to be present with others and have meaningful conversations. Our thoughts of comparison rob our minds of creativity and spontaneity too. As well, our negative body image impacts our children which perpetuates this ongoing cycle and can result in more disordered eating, which is proven to increase the onset of an eating disorder.

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?

The longest relationship we will ever be in is the one we have with ourselves. We are bound to make mistakes, disappoint people, be hurt by others, and be surrounded by marketing that preys on our insecurities. The only person that can take care of you is YOU! No one is coming to rescue you. You must make a promise to yourself to heal past hurts, forgive yourself (and others) and know that you will always stand by yourself. Treat yourself like a best friend! Listen to what you need and deliver on it and learn to prioritize self-care — this includes learning to say No! You will be a better person for it, I promise!

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

I feel that it’s all that they believe they deserve or can get. Possibly the relationships they witnessed growing up didn’t model what a true relationship can look like. They didn’t see conflict resolution or acts of love and kindness. The individual may have been subjected to hurtful words and acts of betrayal that carved away at their self-worth. As well, religious beliefs or financial situations can also result in people feeling “stuck”. It is important to remember that we teach people how to treat us. Pointing blame at others never changes anything. The necessary work starts with 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?

Why am I feeling so triggered or hurt by this person’s actions?

How can I treat myself with kindness at this moment?

Where is this emotion coming from? Where do I feel it in my body?

What’s my role here? What can I do here to lead with love?

What do I need to do to create the changes that I desire in my life?

What would the best version of myself do?

We always have a choice. Quite often it requires us to set our egos aside and have a good honest conversation with the person we see in the mirror each day.

We are all moving through life with belief systems that are often rigid and not flexible. And quite often we might not even know why we feel so deeply committed to them.

If you need to control every situation and get the last word in, try asking yourself, “Why do I need to feel in control? Does this sense of control make me feel safe in some way? Why is this important to me?”

I always needed things to be perfect. I had a hard time delegating to others and I felt that I needed to be the one to do everything. I realized through my ongoing healing journey that I was afraid of failure and desperately sought approval from others due to my lack of self-worth. When you love yourself and are committed to this “shadow work”, you heal both yourself and the relationships you are in. It is a beautiful thing to witness.

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’s essential. The answers that we so desperately need to improve the relationship we have with ourself are found when we are alone. However, many of us have suppressed so much over the years, it can feel scary or uncomfortable at first. But there is no timeline. We can shine a light into our souls, into the place that needs it, and do so in our own way. It’s in the stillness and quiet that our soul whispers can be heard and felt. In time, you will realize it is the best gift you can give yourself, and awaken within you what you have dimmed for possibly your entire life.

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?

When you learn to practice self-compassion and kindness with yourself, it naturally extends to those around you. You realize that everyone is doing the best that they can with where they are in their life right now. You engage less in conversations that are harmful and instead choose to walk away rather than inflict hurt onto others. This approach to relationships allows them to take their natural course, some last a lifetime while others are only for a season or moment. As well, relationships that are important to you, you speak your truth in them. You share your feelings and vulnerability, so that you can bring your best self to them. When you love and respect who you are, you are not afraid for people to truly know what is important to you.

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

We need to have more patience and compassion for others and be committed to our personal healing journey. The world needs to be more open to accept others and their differences. We might not always choose to agree but we can choose to lead with love instead of hate. As well, we all deserve the space to share our ideas and opinions without judgment. Through this, we can begin to explore ourselves on a deeper level and better understand who we are. Adding curriculum such as meditation, journaling, and other activities for self-discovery to the education system will support our children for their future.

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?

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?

Books

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You Are Supposed To Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown

Light is the New Black by Rebecca Campbell

The Secret and The Greatest Secret by Rhonda Byrne

The Gift Of Our Compulsions: A Revolutionary Approach to Self-Acceptance and Healing by Mary O’Malley

The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein

Podcasts

Unlocking Us with Brene Brown

Super Soul with Oprah

The Ed Mylett Show

Own Your Choices Own Your Life with Marsha Vanwynsberghe

All of these resources, and as well time in nature, have allowed me to learn and grow. I now can ask myself powerful questions and take ownership for the changes I want to create in my life.

I have found that reading and listening to podcasts, daily, keeps me committed to my growth and allows me to stay positive no matter what life throws at me.

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 would like to add my unique voice to the ongoing movement of female empowerment.

Currently, there are so many incredible people shining a light on areas of body positivity, breaking free from diet culture, finding your voice, and living a more authentic life. These movements all hold a special place in my heart. However, I am noticing that influencer’s personal beliefs are often very strongly leading to one side or the other. People are feeling confused and lost and wondering if the thoughts they are feeling are wrong.

“If I am supposed to love my body, is it wrong for me if I want to change it or make it healthier?”

“I don’t have a purpose. I’m told I am supposed to have one to be happier. Maybe the life I am currently living isn’t enough. Should I be reaching for more?”

I want to be a part of the change that allows women to celebrate their own incredible bodies and be encouraged to explore a life that will fulfill them on their terms without needing to prove themselves to others. Being able to encourage women to journey within, to listen to their soul whispers, and to trust in themselves, would create such a beautiful impact in our world. Imagine more women being willing to take chances, fail along the way and learn more about themselves — this is what I want to see happen in our world and what I want to continue to be a part of!

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?

“Just keeping coming home to yourself. You are the one you have been waiting for.” ~ Byron Katie

From an early age, I lost the connection to myself. I looked to others to tell me what to do. I was afraid of taking chances for fear of failure and other’s opinions of me. I chased and pursued things outside of me that I thought would make me happy and prove my worth. When I reached a point in my early 40s and this approach was leaving me burnt out, unhappy, and lost, turning inward changed everything! All the answers we need are already in us. Create this time with yourself and come home to your body, you will find what you are looking for and so much more.

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