As a part of my series about “Learning To Finally Loving Yourself” I had the pleasure to interview Katrina Pointer. She is a licensed psychotherapist, life/relationship coach, speaker and therapist consultant/supervisor with 10+ years in the field. Throughout her experience as a psychotherapist, she has developed a passion for counseling everyday people wanting to improve their quality of life. Katrina works to assist clients in building their self-esteem, discovering their personal strengths and improve qualities within themselves. She owns a boutique private practice named Love Therapy, in Atlanta, GA where she specializes in all thing’s relationships. She hopes to help couples and individuals discover the types of relationships they want to have with others and themselves by discovering their personal strengths and improving qualities from within. Katrina is a therapist entrepreneur that has not only built a practice from scratch but did it on her own terms that cater to her lifestyle. She believes that in order to improve the quality of love in your life you must first start with the love that you have for yourself which requires you to walk in your truth.
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 have always wanted to be a therapist. Growing up in the Bay Area, I witnessed the effects mental health and substance abuse had on my community and the lack of support and treatment that these people received. I particularly knew that I wanted to work with couples and adults because I felt that for change to happen people must choose to break the cycle. Mental health is a taboo topic in the African American community and seen as being “weak” or “crazy”. I choose this career path because I wanted to change that stigma and show people that therapy does work, and they do not have to be afraid to seek help.
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 am very excited about my new project which is a podcast named “Truth Walker”. This podcast is all about helping people discover and walk in their truth. It is my hope that people will also discover how to be happy and enjoy their lives by building a deeper love for themselves. I will discuss various topics that as a therapist, I have seen block people from developing a better self-understanding. I am determined to help people see how they are standing in their own way when it comes to happiness based on the decisions that they are making.
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 have always been an out of the box thinker and it took me a while to understand that it was okay to do the things that I wanted to do or think the way that I did. I do not believe that people, particularly women, should conform to social norms. We have a say so in our own happiness even if it does not fit the picture that has already been painted for us. The tipping point was when I had my daughter. As a parent, I wanted to be the best example of what a woman should be for her and that required me to develop self-understanding and ultimately 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?
In my work, I often find that people are not satisfied with their appearance due to comparing themselves to the images that they see. Unfortunately, with television and social media, you can look at people daily that do not look like you or have things that you do not. However, the consequence for this is that people then begin to believe that if they do not have these things that they are not okay. Another huge consequence is that if you are always comparing yourself to others then you risk never liking who you are.
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 first reason is that you must walk around in your skin. If you don’t love yourself, it is difficult to navigate through life feeling like you’re not good enough or you don’t belong. Also, I believe that living yourself and finding your happiness is the foundation for everything else in your life.
Why do you think people stay in mediocre relationships? What advice would you give to our readers regarding this?
Unfortunately, people not only become comfortable, but they settle for whatever is offered. When you don’t love yourself, you are always looking for someone to love and validate you. Therefore, even if a relationship is mediocre or not what you really want you will settle for it because it is better than being alone in your mind.
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 for 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 teach my clients about accountability. Often, we must take a step back and ask ourselves the tough question regarding the parts we played or the actions we showed in the situation. Ask yourself what you don’t like about yourself that needs to be changed and where that came from. This is something that I had to do in the past to be able to make the needed changes that would get me closer to self-love and understanding. Identifying where those things came from helped me make the needed changes by forcing me to address the situations that contributed to it.
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 alone is the best time to find yourself. It is the best time to do the necessary work on yourself that is needed to grow in all aspects of your life. People equate being alone or single with being lonely and that is not always the case.
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?
I often tell my clients that if they can get to a place where they are happy with themselves then it will spill over into everything else that they do. This includes the choices that they make and the type of people that they associate themselves with.
In your experience, what should a) individuals and b) society, do to help people better understand themselves and accept themselves?
Individuals should take the time and do the work to really understand who they are and who they want to be. Society can help by not placing unrealistic standards on people and painting it out to be the norm. If images in the media are what people look to and compare themselves to then those images should be realistic and reflect what the real world looks like.
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. I practice self-care: I set a goal to do something for myself on a continuous basis that allows me a moment to be alone and breathe.
2. I journal: I write down my feelings on a daily or weekly basis in order to release some of those emotions.
3. I take myself on dates: I make plans for myself, dress nicely for myself and treat myself to a night out.
4. I challenge myself: I challenge myself to replace negative thoughts with positive ones in order to not lose focus on self-understanding.
5. I say daily affirmations: I write down things that I like about myself and remind myself daily of them.
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?
I love the podcast “Therapy for Black Girls” because it involves a therapist discussing several topics that describe how it is to be a black girl in America.
I like the book “Feel the fear and do it Anyway” because it motivates people to identify the fears stopping them from moving forward while encouraging them to do it anyway.
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 inspire the movement of acceptance. Everyone accepting not only themselves but others for who and what they are with no judgment or bias.
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?
My favorite quote that I use as the bases for my practice is by Rumi– “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”. This is relevant to me because it shows that love is about finding it within yourself and developing self-understanding. People must do the work within themselves that is required in order to find the love that they truly desire. This is a reminder that everything starts from within and only then can be applied to other aspects of your life.