Gratitude: Have an attitude of gratitude and find reasons to be thankful in every moment. I like to read and write my gratitude statements as a part of my “billionaire morning routine” I found on YouTube. Having gratitude attracts more things for you to be grateful for.
As a part of my series about “How To Learn To Finally Love Yourself” I had the pleasure to interview Sahmahrah Guillaume.
Sahmahrah “Marah G” Guillaume has recently released her first of many books to come entitled “You Bring Me Joy.” As a creatively inclined woman, she enjoys expressing herself through poetry, spoken word and movement as a form of therapy and to SPEAK LIFE and uplift others. She created the Speak Self-love movement because she understands the value of unapologetically loving yourself and taking responsibility of your own joy.
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 recently started working with a new mentor who encouraged me to finish what I started. I had already had the book in my notes as an idea for years. Returning from my most recent contract as a Dancer Who Sings on Cruiselines I had the time to live the dream of sharing my stories as an author.
During quarantine I started transferring my poems and old blog posts from my phone to my notebook to my laptop. My mentor helped me to understand the necessity of my book in these times. Everything started aligning and I took a book writing course from someone that popped up on my Instagram feed, and joined a storytellers club. Everything fell into my lap!
Now I am a published author of an e-book soon to be paperback. I would admit that I was running from myself for a long time, and seeking validation and love from a string of failed relationships. One relationship in particular woke me up, and put me on the path of seriously giving myself the love I sought from others. I was fed up with myself for not fully believing in and unleashing my own power.
I wanted to spread love and speak life into others and I needed to first give myself permission to heal and love me unapologetically. I started focusing my content on self-love after seeing how helpful Social media was for me and my growth. I gained the confidence to put myself out their. That’s what sparked this new career path and Speak Self-love movement. I call it a double edged floral arrangement of love. In my effort to help others be their best selves, I helped myself.
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 am currently working on the paperback version to the e-edition of “You Bring Me Joy.” In an effort to send positive energy in the form of poetic verse. I share my personal anecdotes, as well as those shared with me in hopes to inspire self-love, reflection and support healing throughout and beyond the 2020 pandemic upheaval.
After journeying through my racing mind, memories and creative experiences, I leave reader’s with the message that they aren’t alone in their pain and don’t need to be alone in their healing either. The Speak Self-love movement was created to help people have that sense of support. This book allows them to carry my wisdom with them everywhere they go as their mobile mindset coach!
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 had just finished my first cruise contract as a Dancer Who Sings, yet I still felt something was missing. This was my first job after quitting the Executive Assistant position I held on Wall street. While in both jobs I had bosses tell me that I didn’t praise myself or show certainty in my ability, despite having all the skills and then some. I didn’t believe that I deserved the great things I achieved at times. I felt like an imposter in my own life, and I tried to hide from myself.
Looking for something externally I got very close to the people in my local church, because I wanted to feel closer to God. I had stopped attending church when my mother passed a few years prior and had various people throughout my life try to talk me into attending church more regularly. Every time I felt a tug on my heart, but not enough for me to consider the idea. For many years I wouldn’t even pray, because I didn’t think I had anything worthy of listening to. I picked at myself and over-analyzed myself down to not liking my own voice, so I spoke less.
On the surface I didn’t understand why I lacked love or connection to self, but when we self-reflect there’s always a deeper reason or connection. I went to LA the year after my first cruise contract to see what it had to offer me. I was taking acting and stunt classes and truly enjoying my industry life.
I’m truly thankful to Sherry, my lovely friend who encouraged me to explore LA and bank on myself. In my short time there I was socially flourishing and I even became a hand model! It was a great experience in so many ways, yet my lack of care for myself reflected in the relationships I chose. I didn’t speak highly of myself when I wasn’t “on” for work. I neglecting myself and my self-confidence wavered.
I remember being on set once and a makeup artist told me that it’s my responsibility to determine how I want to look and feel despite my headshot. I wasn’t really caring for my hair and showed up on set thinking they would just do all the beautifying, but they needed me to give them something to work with. She knew I wasn’t truly seeing myself. When I look back that was a reoccurring message that I needed to consistently see me and walk into every room confidently.
I ended my time in LA failing to move into a place and having a very bad ex-boyfriend verbally harassing and mentally abusing me. It was a wake up call! He and anyone else can only hurt me if I give them access and permission. They learn from the way I treat myself, and the boundaries or lack of boundaries I set. No one was going to save me and I took another cruise contract and had plenty of time to read and start asking myself questions. I took that time to give myself a makeover, new wardrobe and to figure myself out more. I joined women’s groups online and followed different social media pages like @Lovingmeafterwe and began to set standards and boundaries in relationships.
I had to seriously ask myself, Why would you accept this type of treatment for any reason? Why are you punishing yourself with these dead-end relationships? I realized I didn’t care about myself the way I should or else I wouldn’t have continued to endure such a toxic experience and allow it to bring out such a bad side of me.
Social media and YouTube became my tools to learn how to do things right, after I had been doing them so wrong! My personal love for myself lacked even though I could excel in work and academics, and as I explored life I realized that my low self-esteem was harming my dreams. When you’re on-stage, on-camera and auditioning people need to feel your confidence. You may be able to turn it on and off in other industries, but here it all comes out. If you don’t shine your light it will burnout inside of you.
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?
From the day we are born we get bombarded with messages that usually reject the way we look, speak and dress. Instead of receiving the message that you’re born enough and lovable with or without a certain body shape, skin color or set of material possessions. We encounter media, laws and social teachings that psychologically embed the message that “you are not good enough or lovable as you are!”
My entire life I’ve never seen my hair how it grows naturally, because I was given perms and hot comb straightening from as young as I could remember. All through life I had my family tell me that straight hair was nicer and more acceptable.
As a young girl I also remember wanting to bleach my skin and be white with blonde hair and blue eyes; like the women on tv who got treated well. I am a beautiful brown skin Haitian-American woman. You can see how that is a huge problem for me or anyone to want to be a completely different person.
Today, the Crown Act is being used to eliminate laws in certain states that have prohibited women of color to wear their hair in its natural unstraightened or fro like state. Before the age of 5 we develop most of our image perception and opinions from our family and socialization. So, when most of us are given this ideal that not even the celebrities that represent the ideal live up to, we will have a larger population of low self-esteem and poor confidence.
I think it may be done for sales since a self-assured person isn’t as easy to sell things to. The effect is people hating themselves and in return hating others. This perpetuates the isms we are working to eradicate. The racism, sexism, and colorism. Along with the phobias, discrimination and outright hate. The consequence is a violent cycle of injustices and disharmonic living.
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?
Our own happiness comes from us choosing to be happy. When you love yourself you naturally attract people that want to join in on the enjoyableness of loving you. We are naturally more attracted to confident, and happy people. Instead of idolizing someone else’s love we must realize we should be our own source of unconditional love. People usually love conditionally and we shouldn’t love ourselves on the conditions of society. When you love you it opens you up to being a better and more understanding person.
In terms of your loved ones and even strangers, prioritizing loving and caring for you first means you aren’t drained from people pleasing or the stabs of seeking validation. Loving yourself unapologetically and setting healthy boundaries in relationships allows you to be unshakable, because your strength comes from within not from others. When anyone stops loving you or giving you attention you won’t crumble and your world won’t end, because you will always have your own love. Self-love is truly the best love and it’s something you should never give up on. You can’t get rid of yourself so you might as well love yourself!
Why do you think people stay in mediocre relationships? What advice would you give to our readers regarding this?
People stay in mediocre relationships due to their own fears… fears of “being alone FOREVER” or fear of dating again or answering to nosy relatives or being seen as “defective” for not having a relationship or ring or family to validate their existence. They may not know who they are or understand that they matter as an individual. In the words of Marisa Peer “You are enough, you have always been enough , and you will always be enough!”
The relationship we have with ourselves sets the tone for other relationships. As much as we can blame others for mistreating us, we must take responsibility for ourselves. We need to ask ourselves why we choose to stay connected to people despite them disrespecting us. We must acknowledge our part in all of these relationships.
It’s also very crucial to effectively listen and communicate our needs, while understanding theirs as well. If your partner says they do not want a child or to be married then don’t stay for comfort, listen to them and allow everyone to get what they need in a new relationship. Sometimes we are unhappy and just like the company.
You should love your own company and peace more than the company of a mediocre connection. Relationships are WE not just ME and when ME is happy the WE will prosper. People do as you do and follow your lead not your words. We do not need to remain victims we can instead by victorious!
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?
Who are you? (Do not include titles, labels or your name)
How do you think you deserve to be treated?
What’s your relationship like with your body and image?
Do you love yourself the way you want to ideally be loved?
What makes you angry? Why? Who taught you this was the correct response for these behaviors?
How did your parents express anger?
How often do you check-in and self-reflect?
What’s something from your childhood that you still feel sensitive about? These are your emotional triggers.
When was the last time you cried?
How often do you communicate your needs and boundaries to others?
Do you just accept defeat or are you keeping that internal drive alive?
I started asking myself these questions in 2016, when I started to see myself and what I wanted out of life, instead of living the ideal my family had for me. I still ask and answer these questions. Quitting my job on Wall Street was the first time I started focusing on what I wanted from life and why. The trip to LA in 2018 was my true self-love call to action, and my current mentor really made me focus on answering more truthfully.
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)?
If you don’t like your own company, why should someone else? If you can’t spend time with yourself you will likely continue to neglect your needs and be unable to hear what your intuition is leading you to do. This leaves us deeply unhappy, even if on the surface your life seems perfect. You will be doing yourself and the world a disservice when you don’t tap into self and improve the frequency you’re sending out.
Imagine everyone loving themselves and going within and energizing the Earth with the frequency of love. We would all walk into rooms feeling the love that everyone is emitting. Think of how productive you are after you’ve had a break or that coffee. That few seconds to yourself makes you better to be around. Anything that’s unfamiliar will be scary. Do it for a few seconds, minutes or hours and it will be your new normal just like quarantining.
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?
Once you’ve achieved a certain level of self-love you have more time to be present with others. You will be unhurried because you value your own time and have already prioritized yourself first by being intentional. It’s like the concept of paying you first, but instead of money you’re using love!
At this level you will inspire others to be their best self-loving selves and you will care to see if the same things you’ve healed through are the same things that plague them. Your compassion will truly grow. You no longer are jaded or grumpy from letting life and others walk all over you and as a result feeling resentment.
Just think that if you’ve held onto that incident from when you were 2 years old, then what might your loved ones be going through? Self-love, healing and self-actualization are like gifts you want to share with everyone once you’ve experienced them.
If you’re wondering what “the certain level” is it’s simply you wherever you are giving yourself the love you deserve. After 21 days of self-love affirmations and meditating with me on YouTube (Marah G) you’ll be sure to see a difference and be in a space to pour into others.
In your experience, what should a) individuals and b) society, do to help people better understand themselves and accept themselves?
Gandhi was spot on when he said that people should, “be the change they wish to see in the world.” It would behoove (my new favorite word) us to stop screaming it and start showing others the benefits of self-love by unapologetically loving ourselves. WE are society, so when each individual practices unapologetic self-love we will promote a more self-accepting society.
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. Gratitude: Have an attitude of gratitude and find reasons to be thankful in every moment. I like to read and write my gratitude statements as a part of my “billionaire morning routine” I found on YouTube. Having gratitude attracts more things for you to be grateful for!
2. Affirmations: these are the statements of truth that highlight the positive things you are and want to materialize. Speaking kindly to ourselves and of ourselves invites others to do the same. Ex: I AM a phenomenal best selling author and I radiate confidence and wealth in all that I do. I no longer playfully speak down on myself or accept negative labels from others. Confidence seems rare in our fragile world and it’s not always welcomed. Who are you to not be your best most fabulous self? Nelson Mandela once spoke about rejecting the idea of playing small as a part of our individual contribution to society. Everyone doesn’t need to know what you’re saying to yourself. Instead they will feel it with your new self-love glow!
3. Meditation: I quiet my mind every chance I get especially when I create meditations for my YouTube channel or I am having difficulty making a decision. I think it’s the best form or free therapy anyone can ask for!
4. Check in with myself: I have an alarm set to remind me to check-in and do some active movement and ask myself how do I feel? Did I eat and drink today? Why do I feel what I’m feeling? I make sure I’m doing well mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally.
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 find healing and an awakened feeling of power when I read the following:
- My own book: You Bring Me Joy
- Think and Grow Rich
- Queen Afua: Sacred Woman
- Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul
These resources have been great for me to be around like minded people virtually or even just from watching YouTube!
- Quigong with Steven Washington
- Accelerate the Great Podcast and the Stepinto Greatness Journal from Nehemiah Davis have kept me focused. Parts of my book were written in this journal.
- Ms. Sophia & Asha Christina on YouTube they are not only virtual, but personal friends for dating advice and tapping into my feminine energy
- Evan Carmichael & Lewis Hayes for my success thinking
- Being a part of different women’s groups that align with my dreams/hobbies
- Having a great mentor/wise counsel that supported me. They keep me lifted and focusing on the light, not the darkness.
- Old Maya Angelou Interviews on YouTube because she’s the wise elder in my heart.
- All things Bob Proctor because it’s necessary self-psychology and paradigm shifting!
Instagram: (virtual source of therapy)
@talk2spirit She does amazing weekly Friday Q&A’s, mostly specific to my demographic and our culture, based on what she’s asked. She shows many sides to therapy and explains that it’s okay not to be okay.
@marisapeer I have enjoyed being hypnotized from her free resources. Her content for therapy, rewiring the brain and healing is amazing.
@mindvalley/@wearegaia The resources for healing and connection to coaches and therapeutic activities.
@chopra The right on time word posts!
@oprah Her entire life journey is inspiring!
@nikki_gspot Her boldness in explaining intimacy and educating on relationships and self pleasure. She let’s me know that it’s okay to be sensual and that rejecting the sexual part of yourself isn’t truly self-love either.
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…
As a great influencer, I would continue to spread my current Speak Self-love movement inspiring people to unapologetically love themselves and heal through movement, literature and holistic health. A healthy mind and a full heart is a healthy you and a happy life! Let’s keep healing and spreading the joy of self-love! Look in the mirror everyday and tell the face looking back “You Bring Me Joy!”
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 current favorite life lesson quote is from my book, I think it’s great to have mentors and it’s even greater to be our own voice of reason. We should trust our own advice and listen to how we guide ourselves. You are always with yourself. I’ve had times I desperately wanted advice and no one was answering my phone calls. It forced me to speak to and reason with myself. We should always be able to and allowing ourselves to do that without our hand being forced. The quote is as follows:
“Toxic things can only thrive in toxic places, and I am done being the host of an unhealthy mind. Let’s shift our minds from lack to luxury, and allow our thoughts to live in a sumptuous home of abundance!”
From another person it hands down goes to Erma
“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me’.
Her quote usually gives me chills or brings me to tears, because for me it’s just that powerful!
Thank you so much for your time and for your inspiring insights!
My pleasure! Thank you for having me!