…Knowing and honoring my personal boundaries. When I’ve put someone else’s needs or wants before my own when I could feel that it was not the right decision instead of speaking up for myself and knowing my own boundaries, not only does it make me resent the other person, it also makes me lose trust in myself and my ability to protect and love myself. So knowing our own boundaries, trusting our intuition and instincts and not invalidating that by yielding to someone else is a great recipe for feeling safe, protected, in control and confident.
As a part of my series about “Connecting With Yourself To Live With Better Relationships” I had the pleasure to interview Rachel London. Rachel is the founder & CEO of Total Package Club, a dating and relationship consulting firm redefining modern dating culture. With degrees in public relations and sociology, she spent years helping notable public figures and corporations create and articulate their brand voice and identity to effectively communicate with their target market and gain higher, more meaningful, visibility. As someone who believes the greatest gift on the planet is to love and be loved, she transitioned into utilizing her talents to help men and women realign with themselves in order to believe in, attract and keep love.
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 dated every type of man, from broke to billionaire, entrepreneurs to professional athletes, celebrities to royalty, men from various cultural, religious & political backgrounds. What I found truly fascinating was that similar patterns emerge in dating behavior regardless of what someone does, how they were raised, how much money they make or where they’re from.
Regardless of background, the conversations I was having with a majority of men and women were pessimistic. People were jaded and burned out, so I began inviting them to redirect their energy and rather than complaining about and accepting modern dating culture, to instead shift the narrative by holding themselves and others to higher standards. Through simple shifts & a willingness to step into the truth of who we are and what we want, so much can change for the better. I wanted to help people elevate their awareness around what’s possible in relationship with ourselves & in partnership rather than feeling victim to a perceived and sometimes perpetuated dating climate.
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’m currently working on a book called, “F*ck Everything You Think You Know About Dating,” as well as various one on one and digital coaching programs to help men and women better understand and relate with each other. I’ve been doing market research with hundreds of men and women to boil down the truths of what’s really going on and it’s my goal to serve clients by sharing this in a way that enables them to indeed find more self-understanding and fulfillment in their relationships.
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?
Often times we hit a low before redirecting our energy and attention or making necessary changes in order to quickly learn what we don’t want. As long as we don’t get stuck in that low or let it define us, these times of our lives are incredibly powerful and can catapult us expediently in the direction of our dreams. That said, I have definitely experienced low points in my life that forced me to go inward.
Several years ago I was living in Miami after moving there for a record deal and I felt very alone working with people who I knew didn’t care about me, finding myself in quite abusive professional situations. I walked away from working with people who were very influential but toxic and while I was proud of myself for leaving those situations, I then found myself alone in an unfamiliar city, unsure of what the future had in store. A friend from Los Angeles connected me with a love coach, as I was single and thought partnership was the answer, but she actually turned out to be a self love coach who guided me through a six month program to uncover and rewrite limiting beliefs I was holding onto that no longer served my highest good. This was the first time I really began understanding subconscious patterns adopted in early childhood and how they impact us into adulthood. This was also the turning point for me in knowing how important taking care of myself first and foremost, diving into personal development and continued spiritual study really was. I’ve been consumed with self improvement and personal growth since and it’s an area I really enjoy guiding my clients through.
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?
I know that even I spend way too much time thinking about ways I can improve my physical appearance, whether it’s losing five pounds, wishing my hair were longer, that my skin were slightly firmer, or that I had a more elegant wardrobe, but I catch myself because I know it is a waste of valuable time, energy, thought and emotion. It’s important to remember that we are bombarded with the idea that we are not good enough as we are in this very moment and many industries survive (and thrive) on people being dissatisfied with how they look, which is nothing new. The most beautiful quality about a person is their energy, their confidence and how comfortable they are in their skin because you just feel good around them. I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with wanting to be your best self, as long as it’s not coming from a place of comparing ourselves to a standard set by others.
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?
You get to live with yourself all day, everyday for the rest of your life. So you can be your own worst critic or your biggest fan. Being aware of and in control of our thoughts and feelings breeds happiness because we stop feeling as though life is happening to us. Respecting and loving ourselves first also sets the bar high for others, which means we begin attracting better friendships, relationships, work partnerships, etc. We love ourselves enough to require that the people we allow into our lives respect our boundaries and treat us well, which also leads to a happier life experience.
Why do you think people stay in mediocre relationships? What advice would you give to our readers regarding this?
I think the driving factor is fear. We fear the unknown and we fear we may not be able to do better or that we deserve better. If you feel called to something more, which only you can know for yourself, there’s likely a good reason. That said, I also think people often throw in the towel on relationships and partners because they’re unwilling to look at themselves, take deeper responsibility for their actions and are afraid to engage in uncomfortable communication. It’s easy to point the finger at someone else for their shortcomings, but relationships are incredible growth tools, our partners being a mirror for us so we can see where we have room to learn and evolve.
I believe a healthy balance in relationships is the 80/20 rule. If you are happy 80% of the time and you and your partner have to work through things 20% of the time, that is a healthy balance. If you’re arguing and unhappy, walking on eggshells a majority of the time, something’s gotta give.
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?
I love this question and think journaling/ free writing is a great exercise to get clear about what’s going on in our minds that we may not realize.
Here are some prompts:
- Do I feel happy?
- What makes me feel happy?
- Where am I not taking responsibility for parts of my life?
- Where am I using sex, food, social media, tv, etc. to numb out and ignore what’s really going on?
- What changes do I want to see in myself that I’m not prioritizing?
- What is holding me back from prioritizing myself?
- What do I really love about myself?
- What makes me feel valuable?
In my own dating life, I was being courted by a man I was completely smitten with. He was doing and saying all the right things and our attraction and chemistry was incredible. I allowed myself to get carried away in the fantasy of everything and projected my hopes onto this person I barely knew. When he started showing me who he really was, I ignored the warning signs because I had over-invested emotionally too soon. The more he pulled back, the more I tried to hold on. This situation taught me a few very valuable lessons and I have since implemented and am able to teach healthier boundaries.
- Take time getting to know someone as things unfold organically. Be hopeful and excited but let them show you who they are while being mindful of how much your enthusiasm is really about them and how much is your own projection.
- Actions speak louder than words. Don’t make excuses for people. Believe them when they show you who they are.
- Know and uphold your own boundaries and insist others do too.
- Emotional vulnerability is a beautiful gift to give someone, so be mindful and share it with those who deserve it.
- Typically one person will be the masculine, pursuant energy and the other will be the feminine, more passive energy. This doesn’t mean men always take on the masculine role, but be clear what role you want to play in relationship. For me, I am happiest in my flowy feminine, which means I light up when a masculine man pursues me and takes on that energetic role. If this is out of alignment, don’t ignore 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)?
I think we are here to love and be in partnership. To relate in various forms of relationship. So there’s nothing wrong with desiring that. However, if you haven’t learned to enjoy your own company or done some soul searching on your own, it’s unlikely you’ll attract a partner who embodies that solid foundation you’re seeking to make you safe within yourself. Being at peace with ourselves and being able to be with ourselves grants others the gift of experiencing that too.
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?
We have the ability to engage in enhanced communication, which makes vulnerability possible and with that comes deeper intimacy and a deeper experience of love and acceptance. The more we can give that to ourselves, the more we can receive it from others and give it to others. It’s cyclical.
In your experience, what should a) individuals and b) society, do to help people better understand themselves and accept themselves?
I think for individuals and society the answer is the same. Change begins with awareness and desire. I believe it is our individual responsibility to seek out people, groups, practitioners, etc. who can help us in the areas where we feel we need help. From a societal point of view, I think a radical wave of compassion for others is necessary, and once we can accept ourselves, others will not be as triggering.
You can use this as a measuring tool. Be mindful of how much you are able to grant others their own sense of beingness with compassion and that will tell you a lot about how you feel about yourself.
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?
- Listening to my inner monologue, how I speak to myself and shifting it when necessary. Example: If I make a mistake, my inner monologue could go right for, “that was careless, why did you do that? You know better.” If I’m paying close enough attention, I can stop myself and redirect the thought to something more constructive like, “it’s ok, there’s something still here to learn. Let’s look at what’s being triggered that’s causing me to have this response right now.” One is emotionally crippling and one is constructive.
- Free writing. Example: We can see what’s really going on without the distraction of dashing thoughts bouncing around our minds by making the time, even a mere few minutes, to check in with ourselves with a prompt as simple as “how am I feeling right now?” “What do I want right now?” “What isn’t working?” “What do I want to see change and how can I do that?” Making the time to put pen to paper to communicate with yourself and allowing whatever wants to flow through to be expressed is a powerful practice.
- Making a plan of action. Example: When we don’t have a plan, we feel unsupported and lost. Making a plan, even if it needs to change along the way, sets us up for success and resilience. Enthusiasm ensues as we can see a reality being created for us, by us.
- Knowing and honoring my personal boundaries. Example: When I’ve put someone else’s needs or wants before my own when I could feel that it was not the right decision instead of speaking up for myself and knowing my own boundaries, not only does it make me resent the other person, it also makes me lose trust in myself and my ability to protect and love myself. So knowing our own boundaries, trusting our intuition and instincts and not invalidating that by yielding to someone else is a great recipe for feeling safe, protected, in control and confident.
- Practicing kindness towards self. Example: When making a plan of action, practicing work around boundaries, or any of the other tools given here, should we be derailed, being kind enough to ourselves to let it be ok so that instead of standing still, we can continue moving forward in a healthy, positive direction.
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?
For self-psychology: The Surrender Experiment by Michael Singer helps us reframe our perspective of what’s possible and what the “right” path looks like for us.
For relationships and intimacy: The Five Love Languages helps us better understand how we give and receive love. Having this awareness enables us to seek out partners who are compatible and give us the vernacular to communicate our wants and needs. Also, the book Attached dives into the science of adult attachment styles, which demystifies and releases charge around some of our behavior patterns.
As a bonus, I enjoy listening to The Expanded Podcast as a means to get a peek into others’ lives, see what they’ve overcome and what they’ve been able to accomplish despite the odds.
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’ve hinted at it in this interview already, but truly if we start holding ourselves and each other to higher standards from a place of loving and valuing ourselves, not only would dating culture change radically, we would change as individuals and as a society.
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?
“Do not take criticism from someone you wouldn’t ask for advice.”
It’s a lot easier said than done not to care what others think or let their criticism get to us when we live in a world that rewards social influence and adoration, so remembering this quote and living by it is hugely effective in protecting our sense of self worth and ability to focus on what’s important.
Thank you so much for your time and for your inspiring insights!