I truly believe comparison is making us sick as a society. We have gotten away from being grateful for what we have and because of all the materialism, options, social media, etc., we always want more. Then due to this, we always feel like we are never enough. Online dating even creates ‘the grass is always greener’ syndrome. It’s not to say that the intention of the way things are advertised, material goods and social platforms are all out to get us and the intent is negative. Aspects of our ever-evolving world are great! The importance in controlling our exposure and awareness to our environment is the missing piece. If we allow it to run rampant in our lives, not recognizing and staying in touch with how it is making us feel, then we tend to allow these things to take over and show us how we should be, act, look and that acceptance and approval should be how we live our lives.
Asa part of my series about “Learning To Finally Love Yourself” I had the pleasure to interview Amanda Gabbert. Amanda is an Intuitive Health Coach and Energy Healer, allowing clients to embrace health spiritually, emotionally and physically. Amanda focuses on detoxification whether it be bodily toxins causing chronic conditions, or emotional stressors that are not serving our overall health and lifestyle. Her program ‘The Damn Detox’ encourages intuitive eating and movement, supplementation recommendations and self-care practices to offer all around lifestyle support. As a public speaker and writer, Amanda enjoys educating and empowering others to become co-creators in their life.
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.
As someone who was already beginning to see how she was giving to much of her life away in unfulfilling relationships and lifestyle habits, I began to try therapies, read personal development books and more, loving what I was learning and seeing how I could help others. I was always into eating healthy and exercising as well, so I had planned on making a career change with the intent of completing my Health Coaching certification. I eventually, however, went through what some cultures would call an ‘initiation’ as I experienced an intense level of toxicity that only energy healing could cure. This experience showed me many things, including how connecting with our spirit and joy to follow our own passions is supported by the universe. The level of healing I acquired in doing so and diving into my spiritual journey brought me back to my full health, better than any testing or supplement regimen. I quit my corporate job 9 months ago and started my own business knowing I was fully supported in doing so.
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 am big on education. Currently I am finishing up my book that outlines my life experiences and how I approach detox with my clients. As much as I love helping people one on one, there are so many things we can do to heal ourselves on all levels and I would love to see people take small steps to integrate into their everyday from my book. My hope is that we as a society can begin to support each other through individuality and taking time to connect with and love ourselves. This gives us so much power in understanding ourselves better with clarity so we can take action to improve our lives and apply our dreams. Our relationship with ourselves is also indicative of what we attract into our lives, in the form of both relationships and situations, so everything can change for the better.
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 do! I was a girl that loved to serve others but did not understand what the health boundaries were in doing so. I began to get myself in life-sucking relationships with both friends and romantic partners. I continuously got hurt over and over again, and with such a sensitive heart, this really hardened me as I began to ‘go through the motions’ of life rather than really enjoying it. The worst part is I kept saying ‘why is this happening to me?’ and blaming the external circumstances rather than taking responsibility for what I was allowing to conquer me. One particular relationship that ended a few years ago had me in the fetal position on the bathroom floor. I looked in the mirror and I didn’t even know who it was looking back at me anymore. I said, ‘this is the last time I let anyone make me feel this way’. Seeing the consistent characteristics of these relationships, I began to read books on psychology, personal development and participated in some cognitive behavioral therapy. As much as I was doing better and thought I had then found ‘the one’, I had come down with some extreme toxicity and was scared I wouldn’t wake up the next day. After he walked out of his own house on me since the attention now had to be on me and my healing, I realized the inner work was not over with. Many things had changed for the better in my life but obviously something in the relationship was reflective of my own healing. I went the Naturopathic route however connecting with my spirituality, energy healing and meditation saved my life. Now self-love, boundaries and inner work are no longer an option, that are a way of life for me. I no longer look for someone to love me for reassurance or acceptance, I love myself fully. By doing so, I have the best relationships I’ve ever had, and more support and love I could have ever imagined.
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 truly believe comparison is making us sick as a society. We have gotten away from being grateful for what we have and because of all the materialism, options, social media, etc., we always want more. Then due to this, we always feel like we are never enough. Online dating even creates ‘the grass is always greener’ syndrome. It’s not to say that the intention of the way things are advertised, material goods and social platforms are all out to get us and the intent is negative. Aspects of our ever-evolving world are great! The importance in controlling our exposure and awareness to our environment is the missing piece. If we allow it to run rampant in our lives, not recognizing and staying in touch with how it is making us feel, then we tend to allow these things to take over and show us how we should be, act, look and that acceptance and approval should be how we love our lives. This creates a very co-dependent nature and then shows up in our personal relationships, repeating and confirming the story of lack and self-hatred. Be grateful your body can move a certain way. Honor it if you are too tired to do the trendy workout. Indulge because it brings you joy and don’t shame yourself for the ice cream, but find the balance in healthy and respect the nurturance your body gives you. There’s too little of us appreciating ourselves and too many of us beating ourselves up. Find ways you can alter your external environment so you can participate in society without it running your life and effecting the possible positive outcomes.
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?
If you would have asked me about self-love and positivity 4 years ago, I would have told you how I was a realist and the cheerleader of life does not exist in me. So I totally get it. Many people think its BS. Since I was so sick and I had no option, I have since changed my perspective. We all have a journey and hopefully other folks have a lower threshold so they do not have to experience the same to bring them to loving themselves. The truth is though, if we don’t love and understand ourselves, how can we expect anyone else to do the same for us? Do you want to be happy with who you are? Do you want to attract situations that raise you up versus bring you down? Do you want to see your passions in life come to fruition? And to experience the love of a lifetime? How about feeling safe, happy and healthy in your own skin and still enjoying life in every aspect? These are all by-products of loving yourself. I challenge people to find out their ‘why’. What do you want most out of life and why do you want it? If we cannot explain this ourselves than we won’t have the fire to create it. And also, don’t knock it ’til you try it. A big thing for me was giving it a try, versus justifying my previous ‘realism’ which was actually just a cover up for negativity and heart full of pain. Get uncomfortable.
Why do you think people stay in mediocre relationships? What advice would you give to our readers regarding this?
I have been there. I think for many of us, we give up hope that there’s anything better. There is also a time in everyone’s life where we are made to feel undeserving of something good. We base everything in life off the experiences we had because they essentially shape our perception. ‘This relationship may not be great, but it’s way better than the past one’ was a common phrase I used myself. Why shouldn’t it be great? But there is a lot of power in knowing this. Take some time to analyze where you are at in your relationship. What do you like? Not like? What emotions do you feel around the person you are with, both good and bad? Now go back in time and think about what experiences also made you feel the same negative emotions. We have to review and heal the past, forgive others that may have been a part of creating our pain. If this does not happen, those feelings will continue to be recurrent because that hurt and trauma carries with us in our physical body. Take it from a girl who has done 17 liver flushe- the organs related to anger and resentment.
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 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 couldn’t agree more. And the tough questions can really suck. What I tell clients though is if you are ready to do the work, know that the energy you put into your healing now, will manifest into something amazing on the other side. You’ve got to dig in the dirt to plant the seed, but watch it grow. First and foremost, do you like who you are? Write all the things you currently love about yourself, and when it comes to the things you don’t like, ask yourself why and what you can do to change them. An exercise I love to do with others and in my own life, is write down the qualities you want in your relationships. Do you uphold these same characteristics? Sometimes it can be difficult to analyze ourselves, but when we shift the lens to others, we might be describing them, however this is reflective of what is important to us. You cannot attract someone who is loyal into your life if you have been known to be disloyal.
At one point in my healing process, I kept feeling like I was unaccepted by others due to the changes I was making as my spirituality was becoming increasingly important to me. There was one person in my life I had put in the role of as ‘the only person’ I could talk to these things about. It began to cause stress on our relationship, and I realized the box I was sticking him in, as well as how I was preventing myself from culminating spiritually oriented relationships by assuming this of him. I never even asked him if he was okay with this! I realized I was the only one not accepting the changes and shift in my life. The moment I did, and then followed up with an open and honest conversation with him verbally freeing us and apologizing, I had two spiritual gangsters show up in my life that I am friends with to this day. Recognizing how we are preventing our own happiness and self-acceptance can change us and our experiences for the better.
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 the first thing is understanding that how we define words is also based on perspective. If you believe being alone is ‘bad’ or ‘hard’, why? What moment in life created this perception? Why do we even use the word ‘alone’ to begin with? If spending time with ourselves to feel clearer on what we want and to better understand who we are is associated with a negative word or meaning, then of course we won’t want to do it! List out the benefits to this time as if it is an opportunity and always come back to that when you feel resistant to it. Community is powerful as well, so find your balance and what feels right for you. Don’t force yourself to be alone because you think it’s what’s right. We all have a different need in this regard, and for some people, a full day to themselves is beneficial, while others can feel the same peace in an hour. So don’t go back to the comparison model even in your healthiest intentions. Analyzing our fears around this and changing our outlook can help in continuing to build that relationship with ourselves and avoiding the use of our environment to make us feel whole or fulfill us.
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?
You can only be as vulnerable and dig as deep into your relationships with others as you can with yourself. The more you support yourself in this process and learn through firsthand experience how to connect with yourself, the more the reality of these activities will show up in conversation and therefore promote a sense of depth in your relationships. You also begin to realize the level of hurt, trauma, love-all the emotions- we go through as a collective that went unrealized before. I believe first having compassion and love for yourself allows you to see the connection we all have as human kind. We need more connection in this aspect, so consider you helping yourself a ripple effect for all of us. High vibrational emotions are magnetic and healing.
In your experience, what should a) individuals and b) society, do to help people better understand themselves and accept themselves?
As far as individuals, always ask why. Why are you doing what you are doing? Why is it important for you to be better? How can you do this and how is it culminating self-love? Take moments to yourself, meditate, do your gratitude practice and always incorporate things that make you feel joyful. The happier and more confident you are the better your quality of life will be. Take you passions in life to a place you can assist others in the same way. Serving our highest good will then serve the highest good of society. We often think we are too small on an individual level to create change and improvement across the world. Just because something isn’t laborious or on a huge visual scale, does not mean we can’t make a big imprint. Have an uplifting conversation with a friend who needs it or give a compliment to the cashier at the grocery store. The change you create in their life could spread to 100 people they come into contact with the remainder of the day-whether through conversation, actions or simply on an energetic level.
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 take time to connect with my joy EVERYDAY. I have a list of everything that makes me feel fulfilled and joyous, and each day I take whatever free time available to connect with these. Whether its going for a long walk in the sun, trying a new workout class, ice skating or doing something creative like sewing. I also wake up each morning grateful. Being proven to change the neural pathways in the brain, gratitude and listing at least 5 things out each morning really sets the tone for the day while supporting the nervous system. Followed by meditation, a warm cup of joe and a daily exercise routine or some form of movement, I feel rejuvenated and connected to who I am and how I want to approach the day. I also make sure to participate in things like massage, energy healing and acupuncture for physical health and maintenance.
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?
One of my favorite books and the first one to turn me on to personal development, creating the initial momentum on my own journey, was You’re a Badass by Jen Sincero. Finally, I felt like someone showed me that I didn’t have to lose my sense of self in creating a more positive attitude around life! Jen shows you how you can be genuine, funny and relatable while also manifesting your biggest dreams. The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer was also significant. He opened up a more abstract thought process for me. Too often we can make assumptions about self-love and personal development, but often I feel it’s because we box ourselves in and lose sight of creativity and possibilities. The Power of Vulnerability on Audible and any of Brene Brown’s books for that matter, were game changers as well. She made me realize that my perfectionism in the past came from shame and I recognized the level of guilt I was carrying with me as well. As much as being vulnerable can be scary in our society, she showed me it’s more than just being true to myself. It’s an impact I could make on others lives by sharing my story and gifts. The Living Experiment is a favorite podcast of mine. Pilar Gerasimo and Dallas Hartwig host, discussing different topics regarding diet, wellness and lifestyle choices. I love the male female interaction as well as the amazing experience they both bring to the table. They shed positive, thoughtful insight on many topics that effect our everyday lives. Last but not least, Gabrielle Bernstein. This girl is my sister from another mister. I read The Universe Has Your Back and she showed me everything I was experiencing on a spiritual level was real. To trust it and flow with it.
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…
Connecting people to their intuition and getting them to act on the feeling. Many times, more often than not, we believe we have to force our destiny. We think we have to try SO hard to be successful in whatever ways we define that as. Sure, we do have to take action to an extent, but we don’t have to work ourselves to death. When we resonate with the feeling of joy and take inspired action rather than just doing things we think we have to do- while following our passions- abundance flows. The universe will support us, and it can be that easy to receive it’s gifts with the right amount of trust. When we honor ourselves through these steps, we become happier and raise the vibration of those around us, encouraging the ripple effect.
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?
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” -Marianne Williamson
This quote resonated with me when I was at my lowest of lows, so much so that the last line is tattooed on my back. So I guess I will be voting for her presidency in 2020! Marianne has a beautiful message here and she too contributed to me finally recognizing the light in myself that was still there, giving me strength to turn things around. Our perspectives can control our lives if we allow it, or we can decide to change it. We are all connected, and we are all one in so many ways, that once we recognize this and see the light in the dark within ourselves, we can begin to see it in others. Therefore this allows others to liberate themselves in the same way by simply raising our own energetic dispositions.
Thank you so much for your time and for your inspiring insights!