Perfectionism must not be the goal as perfection is just an illusion. Individuality, health, and personal growth would instead serve as better goals.
As part of my interview series about “How To Learn To Final, Love Yourself”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Salvatore Damiata. He is a 26 years old confidence coach and web entrepreneur from Italy. Founder of the platform “AskVibe”, he helps ambitious men at developing their self-confidence and self-image through specific step-by-step programs designed by him that work on the 5 main areas of life, thus promoting a holistic approach to the problem. He spent the past 8 years of his life studying, experimenting, and conceptualising new approaches to self-development during his college studies and travels around Europe. His work is the fruit of those years of experience and contains the summit of the self-development material you can find nowadays.
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.
Almost a year ago I was working in sunny Barcelona as a Sales Representative for an international company selling bartending courses. After my one month trial period they told me not to continue anymore with them, and so I had to leave this fantastic city. It felt awful initially as I was having the time of my life there, but then I looked at the “failure” with different eyes, trying to see what its benefits would have been.
I was already working as a coach on the side, and so I thought of taking advantage of my dismissal from the company as a way to launch myself into entrepreneurship doing what I am passionate about: confidence, social skills, and the mind. I was scared at first to make this move because it was a jump into the void but, you know, sometimes in life, you have to jump before you’re ready. There is a quote I love from Joseph Campbell saying: “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek “
It later turned out to be one of the best choices I’ve ever made in life. Right after one month, I got my first big client and then the second, third, and fourth until I managed to support myself. So here I am now with my own business and on a mission to help everybody that needs to improve their social life, confidence, and mindset.
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 working on a platform called AskVibe, where I’m going to teach people how to improve their confidence with advanced mindset techniques so that they can build the life that they want. This platform is going to be life-changing for many people as I bridged the two fields of the mind, human psychology, and social dynamics teachings together and created something entirely new. That’s going to be the new frontier of personal development in the self-confidence area.
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 had problems accepting myself when I was in high school because my classmates were making fun of me every day for the first two years and sometimes they were even bullying me. That was one of the lowest moments of my life as I didn’t even think to deserve that treatment, but so it was, and unfortunately, I had to undergo it until one day when I couldn’t handle it anymore.
I decided to go to the gym as a reaction to the attacks I was receiving. This improved my self-confidence enough that I later managed to face all those people and stand up for myself, not letting them take advantage of me anymore.
Later I was accepted by my group but still inside me I had conflicting emotions. Why? Because I did all of this solely as a reaction to my previous situation. During that period I had failed to accept myself first, before changing myself. Instead, I decided to change who I was because I hated myself and so, never having confronted that feeling of self hate it later came back.
Only when I made some introspection, I had opened myself up to life. I did it through yoga and meditation, and little by little I decided that I was going to live my life according to my standards. What I said to myself was “If I would die tomorrow, would I be happy with who I am?” The answer was negative at the beginning, and that’s why I decided to uncover myself completely and approach the path of authenticity. It paid off a lot I have to say as I now have more energy, I am happier, more creative, and have developed better relationships in life.
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 opinion, the causes could be many. First of all our society, unfortunately, places certain appearances or looks better than others emphasizing standardized beauty rather than individualized beauty. What our society fails to understand is that an appearance is just an appearance and is an expression of the creation of a human being.
In my opinion, society must understand that there is not better or worse appearance. An appearance is a form, and just as hot water on a rounded glass is not better than cold water in a squared glass, certain appearances are not better than others but are just different. The root lies in what we think an appearance to be like. There is too much emphasis on conformity, and this is exacerbated by social media where there are ideals of aesthetics that are unreachable for the majority of people, and most often than not those ideas do not correspond to healthy ones from a biological point of view.
In nature all things are different, there are no two exact things in the universe so thinking to be wrong is wrong in itself. Different is the case where you want to change yourself to be healthier and more in harmony with nature or to become more beautiful by still being you. You have to improve your appearance but not change at the expense of your self esteem it in my opinion.
The second cause is that people are not usually thinking well enough of themselves. That’s a self-esteem issue that must be corrected by understanding that you are enough the way you are and that from there you can start to improve yourself if you really want.
The causes then are both external and internal, meaning that the self-dialogue that they have let those effects to happen. Those people are always looking for something more, and more and this will never stop as there’s no end in this game.
The consequences of this are a separation between the true self of the person and the person itself.
This can create many problems like low productivity, low sex drive, no happiness, no purpose in life and many more. Creativity and spiritual connection is also reduced because to really connect to your higher self you have to accept yourself first and finally low self-expression is another consequence of that.
Everything flows in nature, “Panta rhei” as the greek philosopher Heraclitus said. You can’t let things stay still in your life as everything needs to flow the blood that flows through your veins. If you fail to make that happen you die.
You should have a reasonable and achievable aspect if you want to be an influencer but it should also be feasible for others, and that should be your job. Your job as an influencer shouldn’t be unachievable.
Why do you think people stay in mediocre relationships? What advice would you give to our readers regarding this?
Many people stay in mediocre relationships because they are mediocre themselves. Like attracts like and you can’t stay long in a relationship that doesn’t reflect who you truly are. If you’re staying in a mediocre rented house, it’s because you probably have an average salary, if you’re eating mediocre food it’s probably because you have mediocre nutrition awareness. If you have mediocre results at your workplace, it’s because you’re working ordinarily.
Everything is a reflection of who you are. If you have mediocre relationships, it merely means you have a standard image of yourself. You have to improve your self-image before you want to develop your relationships themselves and you don’t do this with a social media photo filter.
People that stay in mediocre relationships have failed to think of themselves as being worthy of more. If you’re creating this schism in yourself, you will make it impossible for you to love yourself thoroughly and so it will be hard for you to have a full and healthy loving relationship.
If you think in terms of self-denial rather than self-acceptance than you’ll attract people in the resonance of self-denial rather than self-acceptance.
Another reason why people stay in mediocre relationships is the fear of not being able to not find another partner. The reason for that is simply a low awareness level of the dynamics of how human relationships are formed. If people understood that fear of not finding another partner is just an illusion then they would get out of their relationships much more quickly.
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?
Some questions you might ask yourself are:
-If I would be more accepting of myself, what would I do?
-If I would be more accepting of my thoughts, what would I do?
-If I would be more accepting of my feelings, what would you do?
-If I would be more accepting of my mistakes, what would I do?
-If I would be more accepting of my choices and action, what would I do?
I would then ask myself what are the things that are bothering me the most and then divide them into two categories:
1: In the first category I would put everything that’s not possible to change like height, body complexion, or skin color.
2: In the second one all the things I can change like weight, financial situation, relationships, and so on.
When I did this exercise, I accepted the items in the first list and used them to propel myself towards the most significant achievements by transmuting the energy of denial into ambition. The things in the second list instead were the objects of my focus and since they could be changed I worked on changing them.
I’m not that tall and I accepted my height to be the one I have reached and worked on my muscle mass instead of as that was something I could change. Then I solved the problem of self-denial of the other things I couldn’t change with a more significant purpose than those “flaws” of mine. I do not have the best nose in the world and that caused me some problems in my early years but when I’m on a purpose, I can’t make my life revolve around my nose but around my fulfilment and the fulfilment other people. That’s why as I’m writing this article I can’t think about my nose.
You must have a purpose that is bigger than you. That’s how you can get rid of the “problems” you believe to be big. Everything is relative and when you’ll be able to change the perspective you won’t see them as big as you thought they were.
So many don’t know how to be alone or are afraid of it. How important is it for us to have, and practice, that capacity to indeed be with ourselves and be alone (literally or metaphorically)?
You learn to stay alone by staying alone, that’s how I learned it at least. Can you learn swimming by watching people swimming? No. Can you learn to stay alone by reading books of monks that retired in the mountains? They can surely inspire you but never teach you this art. Sorry, you have to experience staying alone.
When you feel the feeling to escape, you have to tell yourself “let’s explore this” let’s see what happens if I stay 5 minutes alone today, then 10 minutes, and then 15 minutes. Conversely, when you get the feeling to come back to society, do it and start socializing again.
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 reach a deep enough level of self-love and understanding, it will be natural for you to spread the love as you can’t give love to somebody when you don’t have it.
Let’s make an example to make this clearer. You are in Africa, and you’re bringing some water to a very distant village that needs it. You are all by yourself with an empty jar that can contain 10 litres of water.
You go to a place to refill the jar, and you fill it with exactly 10 litres of water to maximize the quantity you can bring to the village. When you get there, you realise that people are happy to see that you brought the jar full of water.
Everybody starts to drink from it and the water goes down and down in the jar until approximately only 1 litre is left.
Other people come, very thirsty, but there’s only one litre of water left now. Immediately the inhabitants of the village understand that there’s not enough for everybody and the previous feeling of joy directly goes away. With your 10 litre jar, you have not been able to satisfy the demand of all the people in the village; you needed a bigger one to fulfil that demand.
Now think about your consciousness as a jar. The more expanded your awareness is and the more it can contain. If you carry every day an awareness that can only accept a finite amount of love, then all the love you’re going to give will be precisely in proportion to that limited quantity that you can conceive with your consciousness!
You can’t give more of what you have. You can’t donate €1 Million if all you have in your bank account is €100k. This means that the degree to which you accept and love yourself is the measure to which you can love and accept other people.
What value are you going to attribute to the life of others if you can’t attribute enough value to yourself?
When you don’t feel accepting, loving, and caring for you, it will be hard to attribute those qualities to other people as well.
Once you feel self-love, then you’ll be able to spread it to others as much as you want. This is what is going to make the change permanent and let you connect with everybody much more.
In your experience, what should a) individuals and b) society, do to help people better understand themselves and accept themselves?
Perfectionism must not be the goal as perfection is just an illusion. Individuality, health, and personal growth would instead serve as better goals. People should read more books about those kinds of subjects, attend more self-development programs, and surround themselves with people that are either on the same path or that have managed to accept themselves as they are. You can overcome this problem with understanding only, and you can have more understanding by studying or through very impactful experiences in your journey that are life-changing.
Now you can’t control those experiences as you never know if, or when they’re going to come, but you can get more understanding by studying, talking to as many people as you can and observe yourself more.
What are five 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?
Every morning I practice meditation where I connect with myself. The one I do includes self-love, gratitude, the forgiveness of me and others, and finally the visualization of my goals. Those 5 activities I do ensure a great start and most of the time conclusion of the day. If you do them for 90 days they will also rewire your brain and change your life completely as a consequence.
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?
Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz, The 6 Pillars of Self Esteem by Nathaniel Branden, The Code of the Extraordinary Mind by Vishen Lackiani, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, Unlimited Power by Anthony Robbins. They are all unique in their aspects, but they all have one thing in common, “your reality is a reflection of what you think it to be”.
You are a person of significant 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 encourage our readers to start it…
Drawing a full heart in somebody else’s body. A way to say, “Even if you don’t accept yourself now, I do accept myself and you as you are” Then the person who gets drawn must go to somebody else who believes to be in need of self-acceptance.
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?
“Always experiment” is my motto in life. You never know how something is going to be until you try it.
I always do the things that I feel like doing. If I have the urge to do something, it’s probably because there is a bigger reason for which I’m not yet aware. I believe intuition to be a great gift in life and that’s why it must be always used. As it happened to me you might discover the reason why you wanted to do something years after you did it. I experienced this many times but one thing has always been constant throughout each occasion: whenever I followed my gut, things went right at the end.
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