Go outside for a daily walk in nature. Did you know that being outside, feeling the sun on your skin and fresh air in your lungs helps your body feel better?
As a part of my series about “How To Learn To Finally Love Yourself” I had the pleasure to interview, Natalia Love Angelou. Natalia Love Angelou is known as “the Love Amplifier” because she amplifies love in all areas of life. She is a Holistic Healer, Certified Hypnotherapist, Inspirational Speaker and Metaphysical Minister. She helps women transform their mindsets, so they can live their dream lives with more confidence, clarity, and magic. She’s the founder of Sacred Breakthroughs, an established award-winning business since 2008 providing Holistic Services and Coaching to her clients. For more information, check out her website: www.natalialoveangelou.com
Thank you so much for joining us Natalia! I’d love to begin by asking you to give us the backstory as to what brought you to this specific career path.
Hi Kristin, thank you for having me here! My career path, as so many things are, is rooted in my childhood. My house was full of limiting beliefs, negativity, and physical abuse which led to very low self-esteem and self-doubt. But through it all I always somehow knew there was more to life. I was tired of being scared in my own home, tired of hating my body and tired of being surrounded by fear and negativity on all sides which started my personal development journey quite young. I knew that I didn’t want to repeat the cycle my mom had. I knew I was not going to put up with physical abuse. I knew I was meant for change. Realizing I had to heal myself before I could heal others, I began with studying reiki and hypnosis. Reiki stands for Universal energy — energy that helps one relax, heals any imbalances and attracts more peace into one’s life. Reiki gave me emotional stability, but I still had a lot of inner critics to deal with, so I started studying Hypnosis in 2004. With hypnosis I was able to go into a state of trance and reprogram the programmed beliefs that were limiting me and make positive suggestions for positive change. Ultimately, I was on a journey to tame my inner critics and build a foundation of confidence. Once I started feeling good in my own skin, I knew I was ready to support others in their transformational journeys too!
Now, thanks to my early experience, I’m able to follow my passion for helping others and devote my life to empowering women to step into their greatness.
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?
Yes, I have several projects on the go to empower and support women that I’m excited about! One of which is my online mentorship platform called the Goddess Academy. The Goddess Academy is a sacred space for support, empowerment and connections for women to feel seen, heard and inspired by being part of an inner circle of support. During the pandemic it has been amazing being able to witness and facilitate women connecting at a deeper level. I have women from all parts of the world — India, UK, Canada, South America and the USA — who are searching for a sense of community and the kind of strength, confidence and self-esteem that comes from being part of an inclusive community.
A second project that I’m particularly proud of is Yoni Boss, which is a movement to help women to have healthy boundaries and choose what they want, when they want it, by reclaiming their worth and building their self-esteem. Yoni in Sanskrit means vagina, and I want to help women let go of the shame of feeling good in their skin, in their yoni’s and in their lives. Our bodies are sacred temples and the Yoni Boss movement is all about reminding women to be Queens who sit full of confidence on their thrones.
Another project that I’ve started recently is my collection of courses, giving people a way to have access to my teachings during the pandemic and work on their self-development at their own pace. The courses cover a range of topics from Manifestation and Confidence to Chakra’s and Yoni Boss. Each course gives full access to a video library full of real-life experiences, teachings, activities and tools that will help people transform from the inside out.
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 remember when I was 17 years old, 5’0 and 155lbs, my mother took me to a modelling agency in my hometown of Toronto. I was so nervous and self-conscious — I didn’t want to go, but my mother thought it would be a great way for me to see how beautiful I really am. Unfortunately, the opposite happened, and I felt worse — more ashamed of my body and looks than ever before. It started off with me being brought into a room with bright lights, mirrors and a lady who was examining me from top to bottom with nothing but criticisms. “Oh my, your hair has to go — too curly, too puffy, it covers your face. Your butt is too big, you must lose 12 inches around your hips. Go on a diet, I will make an appointment for your hair cut, it will look fab straightened, feathered and short, above your chin!”
I felt like I was just being picked apart by a vulture, “My hair is my favorite part of my body, how dare she say this to me?!” I thought. This is when I started extreme dieting — you name it, I did it! I was so obsessed with the scale and would just drink all my meals until I reached 145lbs. My tipping point was when I realized that I didn’t fully love myself, and I was looking for outside approval to feel good. I told my mother I am not doing this, I do not want to be a model, that I am here on earth for another reason.
After I came to this realization, I started working on my personal development and did mirror work. I would look in the mirror and tell myself one good thing about what I saw. It was small at first like, “your curls are beautiful, your lips are nice, your eyes are mystical”. Slowly I started believing it and began saying harder things to myself like, “you do not need permission to shine, your body is perfect just the way it is, you deserve acceptance.”
Now, over 2 decades and 4 kids later, I am actually 100lbs heavier than my 17-year-old self, and I love myself more than I ever have. It is so rewarding to live life for you, and not for others. I had to give myself permission to be different and shine my light without hiding. I started accepting compliments instead of rejecting them, I started walking with my head up. We are our worst critics and need to realize that our uniqueness is what makes us beautiful. Start slow, every day be kind to yourself, give yourself more compassion, look at yourself through a lens of love. We are more than our bodies — we are the light that is in this body. You are here for a reason, and once you have the passion to find your purpose, and live in alignment with that purpose, you will see that it has nothing to do with your body, and everything to do with your heart.
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?
It truly is heartbreaking to hear this, although not surprising. We are taught at an early age that we are not enough — from our peers, family, media, we are literally surrounded by messaging that we don’t measure up. Girls are taught to be quiet, look pretty and serve men. Boys are taught to provide, suppress feelings, and compete. Our society has this old program embedded deep into the collective. Subconsciously we pick up this programming from our parents, and then are growing up in a world where we can find instant edits, instant filters and instant gratification. We can look at any social media platform and see the perfect sculpted abs, the perfect body, the perfect couple, the perfect life. With this kind of comparison, it’s hard for anyone to feel as if they measure up.
Unsurprisingly, this heavily edited version of perfection has long reaching consequences that can be seen in the rise of eating disorder, body dysmorphia, mental health issues and suicide among our young. More and more people are hating themselves, leading them to accept less than they deserve, settling for mediocrity or worse because that’s what they feel they are worth.
On the upside, it’s also led to the rise of more body positive movements where we can find role models like plus-size model Ashley Graham, sharing pictures of her new motherly figure. More importantly, it’s helping to normalize the ‘all bodies are beautiful movement’, which emphasizes that all shapes, colours and sizes are beautiful. It’s not gone far enough, fast enough, but it’s a hopeful sign that people are recognizing the need for change and acting on it.
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?
Sure, when we start loving ourselves, the need for external approval begins to lessen. We stop looking to others to affirm our worth and instead begin to know, feel, and be happy with who we truly are. Self-love focuses on being kind to yourself, refueling your well-being and creating harmony in your life. When you fill up your self-love tank, you can give more love to others. It’s important to remember that we can’t pour love from an empty cup, so the better you feel, the better people in your life will feel.
When more and more people start loving themselves, they will not settle for less and will be able to put up healthy boundaries because they know they are worthy of respect, trust, and healthy relationships.
Why do you think people stay in mediocre relationships? What advice would you give to our readers regarding this?
I think people stay in unhealthy relationships because they don’t feel worthy of anything better. Deep down, they believe this is as good as it can get for them. They may have witnessed unhealthy relationships growing up and think it’s the norm to settle for less. I know firsthand how unhealthy relationships look and it is a vicious cycle of unhappiness. One partner thinking they can change the other, and letting this false narrative keep them in a position where they are settling. Another powerful reason people stay in mediocre relationships is fear. Fear of never finding someone better. Fear of being alone. Fear of not being enough.
My best advice would be to work on self-acceptance and personal development. You can’t get what you deserve in a partner until you believe you deserve it. Talk to yourself like you would your best friend, with nothing but good intentions, love and compassion. Tell yourself things like, “I am strong, independent and shouldn’t settle for mediocrity,” “I can attract a healthy partner in my life,” “I deserve every good thing life has to offer”. Once you build up your confidence and know you’re worthy of greatness, you will be able to take the leap of faith and create a new life. Fall in love with you because that is the most important relationship of your life.
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?
Yes, this is a great question! It’s so important to do this type of inner work — I call it shadow work. Shadow work is when we dig deep into our subconscious minds and see what unhealthy patterns or old limiting beliefs lay within that need to be addressed. When you can shine a light on your shadow you can start shifting and having a better future. For example, if someone feels they are not good enough because that was an old program growing up, they will never feel happy with what they create in their life, because the program of not being good enough stops them from truly receiving love.
Some questions that I like to ask myself and my clients are:
- What are you denying yourself? What is living inside your heart that needs to be expressed but you are not addressing it? Is it that you are carrying fear of failure, so you stay in this unhealthy job or relationship because you are denying the freedom to try something new?
- How can I let go and heal this limiting belief? When you start seeing your old programs and you ask yourself how you can work on it, you give yourself an opportunity for inner growth. Maybe it is working through it with a professional counsellor, coach or healer.
- What is alive in me right now or how do I feel? When you start asking yourself this you are giving yourself an opportunity to go within.
I like practicing the RAIN method, which is a mindfulness tool to help you deal with emotions that may arise. RAIN is an acronym that stands for Recognize, Allow, Investigate and Non-Identification. One of my personal examples is when I feel angry at myself for hiding my truth. The first step is Recognizing the anger, “Ok I feel angry right now.” The second step is allowing it to be there, “Anger I know you are here; you belong here right now.” Then Investigate the anger, “Where is this anger truly coming from? What does this anger look like?” Once I investigate, I can start non-identifying with it. Bringing myself into a state of neutrality, for example, “I am feeling angry, but I am not anger. Anger is just an emotion. Emotions come and go.” Bringing yourself into a space of compassion and love for yourself will help in this process. Asking yourself, “What do I need to do to release this anger?” will help you take away the power of the emotion and bring back more harmony in your life. It is so important to bring awareness within, reminding yourself that this too shall pass.
I created an acronym for the word SHINE, because after a RAIN storm, the sun comes out again, and it SHINES. Here is my acronym:
Spaciousness — create sacred space in your life to explore healing and transformations. Space helps you process emotions.
Honesty — Be authentic, show up as you are unapologetically. Do not dim your light, shine bright.
Inspiration — Make sure you fill your life with daily inspirations, whether it be art, music, a good book, a friendly conversation. Stay open to the energy of inspiration.
Nourishing — take time for self-love, massage, tea dates, journaling, mediating. Nourish your love tank.
Existence — Look at life consciously, we are more than our minds and bodies. Remember your existence is the light within, your soul, your energy. You exist for a reason, your life matters! When you apply SHINE in your life, you give yourself the space to fully step into your authenticity and show up as your best self. Every day is a new day so remember to be gentle with yourself and take time for growth.
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 is so important to take time every day for inner reflection and alone time — we have to be able to enjoy our own company. Fall in love with yourself, treat yourself with the love you would treat your grandmother, say words of encouragement to yourself. When you are alone you can still your mind and do a daily check in. How are you feeling? What do you desire to change in your life? How can you start loving yourself more now? I love my alone time — every morning and every night I do a daily check in. I realized if I do not have my alone time, I feel overwhelmed with everything happening. I need time to be still, to quiet my mind and to go within.
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 truly accept yourself with love, compassion and understanding, you will pour that love and compassion to others around you. You can start connecting with others heart to heart, instead of mind to mind. Heart to heart is where love and compassion lives — it is having the empathy to relate and connect with others. Mind to mind is the competition mindset, the “what is in it for me” mentality. When you can see life is here for you, love is here for you, compassion is here for you, happiness is here for you, and there is enough for everyone, you can build healthier relationships with others.
In your experience, what should a) individuals and b) society, do to help people better understand themselves and accept themselves?
Individuals need to let go of guilt, shame and negativity and embrace compassion, kindness and self-love. Now is the only time that truly matters, so forgive yourself and accept yourself fully. I like to say, “We cannot move forwards looking back.” Be proactive in self-acceptance and self-love because when you are compassionate and kind towards yourself, you spread it in the society. Societies are made of individuals, so it all starts with you.
I pray for a society that is friendlier, kinder and accepts all people. A society that promotes self-love, self-acceptance and kindness is essential for change. A society where people can make their own choices and be free to marry who they want without fear of judgment. I perform same-sex ceremonies and hear far too often from the couples how hard it was for them to find a Minister who will do this — it’s simply heartbreaking. Love is love, after all.
I pray for a society where your looks don’t dictate how you are treated in society and people accept you as you are. Where you do not need to be a certain race or look a certain way to be treated with love. I know our society has come a long way, but we still have so much to change. I am a mother of biracial children, and it hurts to see that if they were in the wrong place, at the wrong time, they could be judged, persecuted or even killed just because of their skin color. Change starts one person at a time and the more we can spread this positive message, the better.
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 think it is so important to maintain a connection and love for yourself. Here are 5 strategies that help me:
1 . Start making a list of things you love and appreciate about yourself at least once a week. It can include anything you like. I call it “Lovely Love Notes.” Making this list is good practice for developing the habit of focusing on the good things in life and the positive things about ourselves. Making a weekly list will help us move from judgment about ourselves to appreciation of our uniqueness. Some examples of my Lovely Love Notes include:
♦ I take time for myself and listen to my heart.
♦ I speak my truth and express myself every day.
♦ I always see the lessons and blessings in life.
♦ I love my curly hair and my curvaceous, womanly body.
♦ I love being a mother and learning from my children.
♦ I love having the wisdom I have, and I practice what I teach.
♦ I am authentic.
♦ I am a divine sparkle of light.
♦ I love my family and feel very blessed.
♦ I know that everything always unfolds for my highest good.
2 . Practice Meditation. In my book “I am Goddess: A Journey of Awakening” I talk about self-love and embracing peace. There are many things we can do to embrace peace within. Meditation is a powerful tool for finding and embracing peace. Meditation will help us still our minds and help create balance in our bodies, minds, and spirits. Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “Meditation gives you an opportunity to come to know your invisible self. It allows you to empty yourself of the endless hyperactivity of your mind and attain calmness. It teaches you to be peaceful, to remove stress, to receive answers where confusion previously reigned.”
I have found this to be true. I know if I do not meditate regularly, I will not feel like my optimal self.
Starting each day with a simple meditation will set the tone for your day and can be as simple as taking mindful breaths to the count of 5 and exhaling to the count of 5. Personally, I love Insight Timer, and have a few recordings on there. Finding peace before you embark on your day will help you stay centered and keep you from getting drawn into the drama and chaos you may encounter along the way.
Taking 10–15 minutes each morning to find peace can be the key difference between having a good or bad day. A particular family shopping trip provides the perfect example of this.
One evening, a few years back, I took my 4 children grocery shopping. It was near closing time, so other shoppers were hurrying through the aisles. My then two-year-old had missed his nap that day, so he was tired and cranky. The other 3 children were bored and began entertaining themselves by playing around my shopping cart, slowly getting louder and rowdier. As we waited in the long check-out line, it felt as though everyone was looking at us.
As we left the store, my two-year-old shot out like a bullet, right to the edge of the curb, stopping just short of the parking lot and began to have a meltdown. Because I was centered and at peace, I was able to respond instead of react. I said “Awe, looks like you need a big hug,” and surrounded him with love. The bustling shoppers didn’t miss the scene as they hurried to their cars. They watched as my son stomped and cried, and they watched my gentle response. A man smiled at me, as if he were thinking, “I need to remember to do that the next time my son does that!”
Starting my day with meditation and consciously choosing to stay at peace throughout the day helped me during our shopping trip. I was embracing peace and didn’t react to the stress surrounding me, to my son’s tantrum, or to other people’s judgment.
3 . Following your dreams helps gain a connection with yourself. You’re worthy of following your dreams.
You’re powerful and can create the reality of your dreams. It’s what’s in your heart and mind that becomes manifested into existence. As a hypnotherapist, I know how important it is to talk to yourself in a positive manner. What are you thinking? What story are you replaying? Are you speaking kindness to yourself?
I made an acronym for the word DREAM:
Desires — What is it that you truly desire? Every day take time to follow your dreams and do something that will lead you in a positive direction towards your goal and dreams.
Remember you’re worthy of love. — You’re worth celebrating — every breath is a miracle. You exist because there is something greater than you that needed to have you here now.
Energy — what energizes you? When you move your body to your favorite tunes you will increase your energy. Take time every day to recharge your self-love tank by building your energy levels up.
Affirmations — I love affirmations. These are positive statements we tell ourselves over and over. Here is a sneak peak of some of my affirmations: “I am an outstanding success.” “I am worthy of greatness.” “I am a magnet to prosperity, miracles and abundance.” “I choose ME.”
Make it happen — Take time every day to take actionable steps towards your goals/dreams. Taking action gives you confidence in yourself because you are showing up for you. You are not making excuses, you are believing that you are possible.
4 . Go outside for a daily walk in nature. Did you know that being outside, feeling the sun on your skin and fresh air in your lungs helps your body feel better? You will gain more clarity and have the opportunity to ground and exercise too. Anytime I feel overwhelmed, I go outside and take a 30-minute walk in the woods. Right away I can notice a shift in my state of being. Grounding is when you take time to charge your energy field with the earth. The earth has energy and vibrates at a high frequency that can heal you. So, if you are ever overwhelmed or need to recharge, go outside!
5 . Take time to Nurture your Divine Feminine side. Your Divine Feminine is more of being still, listening to your body, and doing things that make your body, mind and soul feel good. Some examples of that can include receiving a massage, taking a nice long bath, writing in your journal, taking time to read a good book, trusting yourself and receiving some form of healing like reiki.
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 reading, some of my favorite books are:
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert — I love how authentic she is, and her example of inspiration being a separate entity that comes to you because you are seeking ideas. What resonated was, every time you get an idea, you know it’s an answered prayer, so take the time to follow the idea, because it came to you for a reason. And if you do not feel like you are ready for the idea, then tell the inspiration that. Say “I am not ready for you, please find someone else.” Her book helped me take action on all my ideas, because it helped me trust that it was all happening for a reason.
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz — I read this 20 years ago and it is still one of my favourite. The 4 agreements are: 1) Always do your best, 2) Do not make assumptions, 3) Be impeccable with your words, and 4) Don’t take things personally. This helped me so much in my life — I used to be a people pleaser and wanted everyone to like me. Reading this book helped me realize that what other people do has nothing to do with me. I do not need them to like me, nor do I need to take it personally if they don’t.
Dare To Lead by Brene Brown — I resonated with her authenticity on hard topics such as shame, vulnerabilities and authenticity. She taught me a lot on letting go, trusting the process and asking for help. I also love how she teaches us to set boundaries — it is so important to set healthy boundaries. I had to know I am worthy of saying yes when I want to and no when I want to.
My number one podcast is: Cathy Heller — Don’t keep your day job. I listen to this every day! She really inspires me to follow my dreams, listen to my heart and do the things that I want to in life. Be creative, be free to express yourself and do not settle for less. You don’t need to wait for things to be perfect — aim to do it messy, because that way you will take action. If you wait for things to be perfect, you will never have the courage to do that thing you really want to do.
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…
This is a great question, I actually started a movement last year called Yoni Boss. Yoni Boss refers to someone who is in charge of her body — she has the confidence, power and inner wisdom to trust herself. How often have you felt shame enjoying sex or masturbation because you were told that “it’s dirty”? Allowed people in sexually because you were afraid to say no? Almost thirty years after the sexual revolution, women are still plagued by a society that has failed to recognize their sexuality as a powerful force in their lives.
As women, we are often taught to be prudish about our sexuality and power. It’s time to let go of this negative programming — being a Yoni Boss allows you to take charge of yourself and your divine feminine energy, reclaiming parts of yourself that have been taken away, diminished and/or forgotten. I would like to see more movements like this — ones that encourage body positivity, self-acceptance and female empowerment. We need to push back against the label’s society puts on us in all forms. We need to embrace who we are, not who society tells us to be. Equality across all aspects of life is possible, but only if we keep believing in ourselves and pushing for change.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that you use to guide yourself by?
Absolutely, my favorite quote is from Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life and how our readers might learn to live by it in theirs?
This quote is the reason I made it my mission to help people feel good. Take time every day to give a compliment to someone else — when you give positive energy out it helps you feel good. Go and compliment a stranger, do something nice for someone in need, call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while — remember people will remember how you made them feel. So everyday ask yourself, “Did I make someone feel good today?”.
Maya Angelou was a huge inspiration in my life. I discovered her when I was 16 years old — a scared, insecure, and shy child who didn’t love herself. Maya helped mold me into the person I am today — I wanted to be that phenomenal woman she spoke about in her writing. It took me a while, but with dedication and devotion to my personal development; I rewrote my story. My love and respect for her is the reason I legally changed my name to Natalia Love Angelou. She has truly been a mentor in life — even though we didn’t meet physically, her spirit walks with me.
Thank you so much for your time and for your inspiring insights!