Rainie Howard: “You can’t pour from an empty cup”

Both individuals and society should be open to the practice of self-care activities that promotes a healthy mind, body, and spirit. These activities include meditation, yoga, exercise, and journaling. As a part of my series about “How To Learn To Finally Love Yourself” I had the pleasure to interview Rainie Howard. Rainie is an award-winning […]

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Both individuals and society should be open to the practice of self-care activities that promotes a healthy mind, body, and spirit. These activities include meditation, yoga, exercise, and journaling.

As a part of my series about “How To Learn To Finally Love Yourself” I had the pleasure to interview Rainie Howard. Rainie is an award-winning author, designer, and relationship and lifestyle strategist best known for her wildly popular books Addicted To Pain and You Are Enough, available on Amazon.com and Realloveexist.com. This powerhouse entrepreneur with a master’s in business management and leadership has been featured on FOX, alongside her husband of 17 years offering guiding advice to couples finding it difficult to connect during the pandemic. Real Love Exist is a movement created by Rainie and her husband that supports healthy relationships, marriages, and families through transparent stories, digital courses, and inspirational products. Follow her on Instagram: @rainiehoward

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.

It may sound strange to some, but I’ve always had a strong connection to my intuition. That guidance led me to blogging and sharing my story nearly 8 years ago on social media @RainieHoward. That led to me connecting with women all over the world. This online community of listeners, followers and supporters were inspired by my video messages on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. Many of the women were healing from divorce, a toxic relationship and even seeking to build self-esteem. I began sharing the story of my 17-year marriage. This led to me publishing 7 bestselling relationship books and about founding www.RealLoveExist.com (a website and movement to enhance self-love and healthy relationships). Soon after, I started coaching women who had a deep desire to have a healthy relationship, but they felt stuck. I noticed that many of them were carrying emotional pain from past relationships and they were attracting the same toxic relationships. One day during a relationship coaching session after a client said she had been in 2 different relationships with the last 12 months and both men used her and cheated. The thought came to me and I said it out loud to her, “It’s like you’re addicted to pain.”

She agreed and said, “yes that’s exactly what it is.” I then begin studying the psychology term “toxic love addiction” and that led me to write the book. I was very afraid of releasing the book, I thought people would think I was crazy and even think it didn’t make sense. I was wrong, people loved it. Today, out of the 7 books it’s now one of my best-selling books to this day. Empowering women has led to the evolvement of our books, audiobooks, podcast, and webinars. I have also evolved in empowering women through fashion through my clothing line “Rainie Howard Collection,” The clothing collection at www.RainieHoward.com is designed to inspire women to dress with confidence. The Rainie Howard Collection celebrates women of all shapes and sizes.

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 writing a new book and we just launched season 2 of my podcast (and live social media show) “The Rainie Howard Show.” What I love about our new approach of the show is that we have a live audience on Facebook (over 150,000 fans) and our viewers can listen to the daily word message and participate in the “ask Rainie” segment and get immediate answers to their urgent questions. Our focus is to encourage and inspire them to prioritize their wellbeing to selfcare mind, body, and spirit.

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?

Yes, I have overcome many struggles in my life. My parents had a very toxic relationship and at a very young age I was exposed to domestic violence. Those experiences influenced me to become a people pleaser. After being bullied in 7th grade I began having low self-esteem. My environment taught me to seek the approval of others and deny myself. Those things had an impact on my relationships. I was so focused on pleasing others that as a wife and mother I began to lose myself. For years I struggled with low self-esteem and insecurity. I thought I could pray my problems away until things became overwhelming. The years of stress and trauma led to weight gain, anxiety attacks, panic attacks and insomnia. I was prescribed anti-depressants and diagnose as having severe anxiety. That season led me to selflove. I began investing in myself, I hired a personal trainer lost over 30 pounds, I started meditating and working on personal development daily. I committed to a morning selfcare routine that I have enjoyed for several years. My life changed tremendously when I began to make myself my #1 priority.

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?

There are 2 reasons, the number one reason most people aren’t satisfied with their appearance is because of the so-called “acceptable” images seen in mainstream media. The other reason is because we naturally want to be better. We all have a natural desire to evolve and even a physically fit bodybuilder can find a reason to not be completely satisfied with their appearance. Unfortunately, this mindset can lead people comparing themselves to others. It’s important to give yourself breaks from social media especially if you find yourself comparing your appearance to another person. Take time to enjoy and appreciate yourself.

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?

People often put their value in the love they share with others. They proudly celebrate the love in their romantic relationships as well as love for friends and family. However, the relationship you have with yourself will impact every relationship. You teach others how to love you by the way you love yourself. Selflove is the foundation to having healthy relationships.

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

People settle in mediocre relationships because they fear the unknown consequences of moving on. Make the decision to no longer settle for anything mediocre in your life. Instead of focusing on the relationship start focusing on improving you (mentally, physically, and spiritually). As you evolve and improve one or two things will happen. Your relationship will improve because your partner will be inspired to evolve too or the relationship will end and you are more fulfilled as the new person you’ve become and if you desire to, you may attract a new partner who is more compatible to the new 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?

Some of the tough questions to ask yourself when you are seeking self-understanding:

What can I learn from this situation?

What would I do differently if this was to happen again?

What are the benefits that impacted me in a positive way?

After going through a stressful financial season in my life I discovered many of my decisions were based on fear. After asking myself those tough questions I learned how to apply self-love in my finances. Financial self-love is all about honoring yourself and following the intuitive financial wisdom to manage your money in a way that works effectively for you. I know the importance of paying myself first and how to maintain financial security. I realized how much of my past spending was focused on pleasing others. These tough questions allowed me to no longer feel like a helpless victim when it came to my finances. I am now financially empowered, and I have full control over my finances, and it feels amazing. That season of financial stress taught me so much about myself and made me stronger financially and an even more prosperous business owner. I’m grateful for it. It has allowed me to continue to evolve financially and scale my business.

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 with yourself is so important to your self-awareness. It helps you to become more connected to your intuition and enhances the trusting of your inner voice. It’s important to connect with your authenticity. However, that can be challenging when you’re always influenced from the over saturation of others. Other the years I’ve grown to cherish my “me-time.” It has led me to trust myself more and follow the guidance within me. It has also enhanced my self-image and strengthen my self-confidence.

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?

Having a lack in self-love can often cause one to be desperate for relationships. Being desperate for the love and attention of others may attract toxic emotionally unavailable relationships. When a person feels depleted in loving themselves, they soon find out that others can’t fulfill the emptiness they’re experiencing. However, when you are committed to self-understanding and self-love and you’re doing the inner work of self-care it enhances your relationship with others. You are no longer needy for the love of others because you are now fulfilled with loving yourself. You find it much easier to not take the things others do personally and you have more healthy boundaries with your relationships settling standards that protect you.

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

Both individuals and society should be open to the practice of self-care activities that promotes a healthy mind, body, and spirit. These activities include meditation, yoga, exercise, and journaling.

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?

The 5 things I do every day to maintain my self-love are meditate, reflect on everything I’m grateful for, visualize what I desire, exercise and read or listen to a self-help audiobook. Those things keep me mentality, emotionally, physically, and spiritually healthy. It’s the way I fill my cup each day. I often tell people, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” We often go out into the world giving ourselves to everyone and everything. We much make sure we are giving to ourselves first.

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?

My favorite book relationship book is “The Mastery of Love” by Miguel Ruiz. That book was very helpful to my husband and I. It taught us how to love deeper and not take things personally. I love “Ask and It Is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks.” That book taught me a lot about life and the law of attraction. I love to read so I read various self-help books. My favorite book on money is “A Happy Pocket Full of Money by David Cameron Gikandi.”

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…

Self-Love Movement would definitely bring lots of good to the world.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that you use to guide yourself by?

I life by this, “don’t make any moves until you have peace and feel aligned. We often leap too fast and too soon while feeling unsure. Instead of quickly taking action, keep feeding the desire through feeling good and aligning with peace and eventually things will line up. Feeling unsure is a sign it may not be the right time, or you may not be ready.”

Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life and how our readers might learn to live by it in theirs?

Society often teaching us to feel the fear and uncertainty but do it anyway or ignore the unsure pressure feelings. I’ve learned that advice is the same as telling people to ignore their intuition. What I’ve learned through the exercising of my intuition is that if you are feeling unsure about something don’t take action yet. Seek some peace, concerning the situation by thinking thoughts that feel better. For example; “I may not have the specific answer on what I should do concerning this situation but I have peace about following up with it tomorrow or revisiting this project next week or scheduling that phone call in two days.” This gives you more time to analyze what’s best for you. I’ve learned the importance of respecting my decision-making process and not allowing others to pressure me into anything I’m not ready for. Follow your peace, and you will find clarity.

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