A few weeks ago I was chatting with a friend of mine that lives in Paris via email. We were discussing blogs. I asked her to keep me posted on things that she thinks are cool on the internet. The next day I got an email saying “I really like this blog” The blog she was referring to was Sui Solitaire‘s cynosure blog. When I checked it out, I was in shock. The tag line on her blog was, “empower & love yourself, personal growth, body image, & love” (Minus “body image” it sounded like my current goal.) I thought, “hey, that sounds like me!” Then I dug deeper & I noticed that she also talked about revolution (but spells it rvxn) & uses it as her blog URL & as her Twitter name: @rvxn. I couldn’t believe how much we had in common. I immediately decided to reach out to her. I emailed her & she quickly replied. She was exactly as she portrays herself on her blog, super open & super loving. I told her that I wanted to interview her & feature her on my blog – she agreed!
So here it is, the interview!
I asked Sui Solitaire to answer 9 questions about love, fear & freedom. I’m grateful that she shares her candid answers with us on Sunday Is For Lovers.
If someone said to you, “I want to start loving myself, but I don’t know how” what would you tell them?
Be patient with yourself.
Take yourself out on a date. Go exactly where you want to go, eat exactly what you want to eat.
Take care of your health. Listen to your body. Honor your hungers– eat what lifts you up when you are hungry, rest when you are tired. Give yourself the rest & relaxation you need– that you deserve.
Forgive yourself, and then realize you never have to forgive yourself again because there’s nothing to forgive– you are perfect just the way you are.
Love your body. Nourish it with love, light, & movement. Move your body in a way that is comfortable to you. Eat in a way that makes you feel good.
Make peace with your past, and live in the present. Learn how to be mindful. Practice mindfulness. Start meditating, if it calls to you.
Take at least 5 minutes out of every day to just do nothing.
Prioritize time for yourself to do what you love. Don’t make exceptions. You are worth it.
Treat yourself like your favorite person on the planet. Give yourself little gifts. Write a love letter to yourself.
Repeat affirmations like “I love myself. I am beautiful, empowered, and amazing. I am worthy & deserving of the very best.” Repeat them every day, repeat them whenever you can remember. Repeat them until you believe them.
Let go of the need to be perfect. You already are.
(Also, check out my post on learning to love yourself. There’s a huge long list of ways to start loving yourself there!)
Some say that fear is the opposite of love. Do you think that people fear themselves? So it’s not so much self-hate as it is self-fear?
I do believe that we fear ourselves in the sense that we fear that we could be living a happier, healthier, better life, but we don’t know how. So we act in self-destructive ways because we don’t know how to change, we don’t know how we could possibly love ourselves or give ourselves what we deserve.
We’re taught to fear the possibility of not being good enough by everyone else’s standards, even though those standards are imposed by all the people who don’t matter– companies who want us to buy something or look a certain way so we feel like we’re good enough, people who aren’t worth our time.
Self-hatred stems from knowing that in reality, we’re powerful, we’re strong, we’re amazing individuals… but so many messages have inundated us from the moment we were thrust out into the world that we fear being the powerful selves that we really are, because it would mean that those messages are wrong. But those messages are what everyone believe in, and it’s scary to defy them, to defy what we’ve been taught.
A lot of people suffer from fear & self-doubt. Can you describe the difference between the fearful feelings of taking on something new, versus not doing something new because it doesn’t feel right? How do you tell the difference between nervous butterflies in your stomach from fear & a gut feeling that something isn’t right for you?
You need to trust yourself, trust your intuition. It takes time but start listening to those subtle feelings guiding you, rather than doing what you think you’re “supposed” to be doing. Sometimes fear is actually a sign of what you truly need to do.
I would say that most fear is exactly what I described above– fear of the possibilities of the life you really deserve. For instance, fear of starting a new business. What could possibly hurt you? You could go bankrupt. But does that actually hurt you as a person? It doesn’t have the power to. It doesn’t have the power to rob you of your health or happiness, unless you choose to let it. On the other hand, you could succeed beyond your wildest dreams. You could live your life doing exactly what you love. And even in the bankrupt situation, you can always start over (after overcoming fear of repeating past mistakes) and do even better next time.
Pretty much 99% of the fear we experience now is not related to actual life-threatening situations– a bloodthirsty lion chasing us, a gun pointed at our face. 99% of the fear we experience is mind dust that holds us back from our true selves. This kind of fear is fear we’ve been taught as we grew up, unfortunately– and we have to unlearn that fear. After all, we were never scared of failure as a toddler trying to walk, right? We just tried to hobble and we didn’t care about looking silly– and even if we did look silly, it wouldn’t matter because we were surrounded by people who loved us no matter if we walked perfectly that first time or not.
Gut feelings don’t feel the same as fear… not at all. We can usually trust that gut feeling, because it comes from some place deeper, from the wisdom that we hold inside of us that we might not even be aware of.
Fear, on the other hand, can actually be a blessing, a guide– a cynosure, if you will, to the opportunities that we need to take. Oftentimes what scares us the most is what would benefit us the most (quitting a job that doesn’t fulfill us, asking the love of our lives to spend a lifetime together, going back to college, trying something for the first time). Failure doesn’t exist, only lessons.
I personally rarely turn down the opportunity (or fear) of doing something new (and it never gives me a questionable gut feeling). Something so simple as going paddle-boarding for the first time with some friends, I can try to avoid with all my might, but then I do it and I don’t regret it. I’ve never regretted doing something I was afraid of.
“The biggest mistake you can make is doing nothing because you’re scared to make a mistake.”
(Chances are, by doing nothing, you’ll end up making even more mistakes. Funny how that happens.)
Almost all fear is fear of life. Of squeezing all the delicious juice possible from life and drinking it. We’ve been taught too much to fear. Let’s break out and revolt.
What do you think are the biggest fears you’ve overcome? How has your life changed after overcoming those fears?
Oh, I’ve had so, so many fears in my life I don’t know if I can list them all… the whole list would be overwhelming!
My biggest, baddest fears, though? Let me think…
Not being good enough.
And feeling emotions.
Once upon a time, I was scared of life. I was scared of myself.
Not being good enough. A common fear. My biggest fear, because I had spent my life trying to be good enough, smart enough, pretty enough for my parents, for the world, for society.
I overcame my fear when I realized that I was subjecting myself to external standards. Through learning to love myself, I realized that there is no such thing as “good enough”– that we are all perfect when we are authentically ourselves, and don’t squash our own awesomeness. The problem comes when we try to conform to someone else’s expectations, someone else’s standards. The problem arises when we’re told to believe that how we look defines who we are as a person. But none of that really matters to living a happy life. Truly.
Ever since I overcame that fear, I’ve been empowered and feeling strong and amazing and awesome. Why? Because I am me, and I don’t have to try to be anything or anyone else for anyone.
My other huge fear was feeling emotions… a result of getting my heart torn apart one November when I was 14. I started numbing myself with food, and I came out at age 18 realizing that I had spent years not remembering how to cry anymore because I was so determined not to feel sad. The problem was that with suppressing sadness came suppressing happiness, as well. As I recovered from my eating disorder, I slowly started learning how to feel again, how to cry again… and how to laugh again, too. Then eventually, I learned to disable the limiting beliefs that led me to feeling worse than I needed to in certain situations.
Through learning to cry again, learning to let myself to feel heartbroken again, I’ve learned to be happy beyond the wildest dreams of my teenage self.
How would you define freedom?
Freedom is a state of being. If you’re alive, you have freedom over the thoughts you choose, the actions you take. Even if you were held hostage, you have the freedom to believe that things will get better, that you will find a way out somehow– and those thoughts will carry you much further than lamenting your situation.
The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n.
For many people it seems like money is the solution to their desire for freedom, if they had the money they could do all that they dream, what do you think the solution is?
Realizing that freedom exists nowhere but within you. Like it or not, you are never limited by your circumstances… unless you believe you are. We ALWAYS have the freedom to choose our thoughts. The choice to believe in ourselves, to believe that we can shape our lives how we will. To believe that our lives are getting better all the time. It’s the difference between someone who’s stuck in a difficult situation and complains about it, and someone else in the same situation who believes s/he can find a solution to get out of it.
It’s easier said than done… but it’s also easier than you think.
Money doesn’t buy freedom. Nothing can buy freedom. Money is just a symbol of value. Speaking of which, if you exercise your freedom of thoughts to believe you can make more money, you will, because your belief will allow you to find more ways to make money, and take those opportunities as they come.
Freedom is letting go. Letting go of negative thoughts, letting go of external standards, letting go of the past.
You are completely free to live the life you want to. You DO have the power. Believe it, & live it.
[All photos are of Sui Solitaire, & I believe they are self-portraits! For more inspirational work from Sui, please visit her blog cynosure, follow her on Twitter, & connect with her on Facebook. You can also subscribe to the cynosure newsletter to get exclusive updates & be the first to get Nourish Yourself, a free guide to mindful, loving eating coming next week!]