Shannon Kaiser: “The Self-Love Experiment” | Talks at Google

Shannon Kaiser: “The Self-Love Experiment” | Talks at Google

[MUSIC PLAYING] SHANNON KAISER: Hello! How’s it going? It’s Friday! And we’re all here together. I promise this hour– I’m going to call it a Power
Hour– it’ll be a little less than an hour because I know
you’re honest your lunch break, and you guys are like in
the middle of the workday. But I am here to jazz you
up and really inspire you because I’ve been on my
own personal journey, which turned into a book called
“The Self-Love Experiment.” So as we get started, I
want to ask you a question. And just think about
this for a moment. And I will ask you to share
with the person next to you. So that’s kind of fun, right? Get cozy. Think about someone who
really inspires you. It could be a mentor, a boss,
a teacher, a best friend. Maybe it’s someone
you don’t know, a public figure, an author. Just kidding. Most of you probably
don’t know me. So, ha ha. But no. Think about someone
who inspires you. And what are the qualities
of an empowered person? OK? So just take a quick moment
and workshop with each other. So you can say who it is
and why they inspire you. OK. So we’ll come back to the group. Does anyone want to share? All I want to hear is
just maybe qualities of the inspiring person. Just shout them out. Self-empowered. Just qualities of
that empowered person. Determined. Empowering other people. Yes. Confidence. Passionate. Yes. These are great words. Anyone else? Qualities of the
empowered person. Happy, driven, all of these. Honest. These are amazing. So these qualities are also
qualities of self-love. These qualities
are also qualities of an empowered person, someone
who is standing in their truth. And today, I’m
going to help you. Yes, I’ll be talking about my
experiment and my experience in writing my book,
but I’m here to help you stand in your truth. Because my ultimate goal is that
when people ask that question, you say, I empower me. I’m empowered and inspired
by me because I’ve worked really hard to get
to where I am in my life. And I’m super excited
where I’m going to go. So that’s where
we’re going today. And so when you
first hear the word self-love what are some of
the things you guys think of? We’re here today at a lunch
break to talk about self-love. Anybody kind of think
maybe it’s selfish? You don’t have to raise your
hand, but I hear that a lot. Narcissistic. A little bit selfish. A little bit uh, right? I used to think that. I used to think that
for many, many years. In fact, I was war with myself. For almost three
decades, I hated myself. I hated my body. I blamed my body for everything. I didn’t make the dance
team in high school. It was my body’s fault. A
man didn’t call me back. Whenever they
didn’t call me back, it was always me,
my body, to blame. And it didn’t matter what
size my body was because I used to be a triathlete. I would run half marathons
every other weekend. I would participate in
half Iron Man triathlons. So I looked really
healthy on the outside. I looked really fit. Looked like I had it together. I haven’t always been an author. I haven’t always been talking
to people and writing books. In fact, several years
ago, all through my 20s, I was in corporate. I was in advertising. Anybody have friends
in advertising? Especially here, right? And I was climbing the corporate
ladder, living in Chicago, and it looks like I
had it all together. I was dating a man who
wanted to marry me, and I was making a lot of money,
so much money I didn’t even know what to do with it. Yet I was in a lot of
debt, so much debt. Just wipe my sweat here. And I got to a point where I
said something’s got to give. Because on the outside, it
looked like I had everything, but on the inside,
I was crying myself to sleep every single night. I was suffering from
eating disorders, and my doctor diagnosed me
with clinical depression. So it was actually
a point in my life where we can’t look and
judge people and say by on the outside how they
look because everyone’s having their own internal experience. And so I got to a place
where I said, you know what? Something has to change. In my inner voice, I said,
depression, why are you here? What could you
possibly teach me? And my depression said,
follow your heart. You’re sad because you’re
not being true to yourself. So I got up the courage
to follow my heart, which meant leaving advertising,
leaving Chicago, and moving back to Portland,
Oregon, where I grew up and finding my passion
for writing, and speaking, and leading retreats. And through this process,
I started to write books. And I found the most joyous
activity in the world. I found my life passion
through writing. And when I was promoting
my first book– called “Find Your Happy,” which
talks about how to be happy– I was going on tour,
and I was getting ready to go on the morning
television show in Seattle. And the night before I
was in the hotel room, and I was looking in the
mirror, and I was crying. Because here I was,
going to go on TV, and I was going
to talk to people about how to be
happy because I had been much happier than I was. I had worked through
the addictions, I had to overcome
the depression, here I was living
my dream job, but I couldn’t say one good thing
about myself I hated myself. I said, how happy can you be
if you don’t love yourself? And that’s where the
Self-Love Experiment was born. So this was several years
ago, but through the process, I started to do research. And– excuse me– what I
discovered is that 90% of women hate their bodies. Ladies, 90% of us. And I discover
that 95% of people absolutely want to change
something about themselves. So just take a look at the room. Almost all of us, we have
something we dislike. And it gets worse. 6 out of 10 people
actually opt out of important activities because
of a flaw or insecurity. So this is actually
controlling our life, OK? So an insecurity blocks
us from showing up. And that’s when I realized
the self-love experiment has to happen to save my
life because I was not living my life. I was letting my
insecurities hold me back, and I was preventing myself
from living my potential. And that’s what I
offer to you today to think about what is
that problem, the flaw, the insecurity, that you
feel has been stopping you from moving forward. Just take a moment. I call it the Almost
Paradise Syndrome. It’s the “when I lose the
weight, I’ll be happier,” “when I get the promotion,”
“when I moved to the city I really want to be in,” “when
I get that X, Y, Z,” then maybe my life can start. But guess what? Most of the time when we
get that we realize we’re still not happy. I lost all the weight. I still wasn’t happy. I got that dream job. Something was missing. And so at the core
of every single thing we want in our life is
empowerment, self-love. So we chase it, and we look
for it outside of ourselves, but really it’s inside,
inside of ourselves. So today, I have a process
I’m going to take you through. But I first want to
talk a little bit about what the Self-Love
Experiment actually is and how I got to learning
how to love myself fully. Because truly I stand
up here in front of you, loving myself, every
fiber of my body, even though I sweat in front
of people all the time. It doesn’t matter. I’m sitting on the
couch, and I sweat. And so it really becomes
about showing up as you are, no matter where you are, and
letting yourself be seen. Let yourself be who you are. So what is the
Self-Love Experiment? It had three goals. Number one, I wanted
to lighten up. How many of us want
to lighten up, right? Spiritually, emotionally,
physically, mentally, I was taking life so serious. I would go out to dinner
or lunch with friends, and I couldn’t be present
because I was so focused on how the next bite I took would
put me over my calorie limit. My best friend called me, and
said, I’m getting married. I want you to be in the wedding. And my first thought– this is before the
Self-Love Experiment– was not, I’m so excited for you. Yes, I can’t wait to
be in the wedding. It was, holy crap, do I have
enough time to lose the weight? And I wasn’t
overweight at all then. So we have these
things about ourselves, and really the war that’s
happening is inside our head. The inner critic is
driving us, and that’s why this book is
out, and that’s why I did the Self-Love Experiment
So just as I take you through the process, think about
where your insecurities have been blocking you, what flaw
do you wake up in the morning and focus on, because this
process will reverse it. This process will let you be
who you are in a world that tries to tell you to change. Because the world’s
going to keep saying, be smarter, richer,
prettier, thinner. Go chase whatever. But the real magic of
the Self-Love Experiment, and also being alive,
is to say, guess what? I’m not going to subscribe to
that anymore because that’s where our anxiety comes from. That’s where the depression
and the addictions come from. I was able to heal my depression
and my eating disorders and find my life
purpose and passion by discovering self-love. So the second part
and the second goal of my self-love experiment
was to say only nice things about myself. Can I look in the mirror
and say kind things? Yes, it’s possible. What do you say to yourself
when you look in the mirror? Let’s turn it into
a kind conversation. And then the third goal was to
see myself the way my dog does. Any dog lovers? Animal lovers? Cats? Do you ever notice
how they see you, and you’re the most
amazing thing in the world? I wanted to be the coolest,
most beautiful, awesome person in the world. Because they don’t judge you. They love you no matter what. That’s really the ultimate
expression of the Self-Love Experiment, and those goals are
realized through the process. So you have to– and I had to–
realize that I have to treat it like an experiment. So like a scientist you go into
it, you have some type of goal, but really it’s the process. Each experiment that you
do, each thing you try, is going to move you one
step closer to possibly what it is you want. So instead of putting the
expectation on each thing you do, you say, guess what? I learned from this. Now I’m going to
try something else. So the experiment
is actually what I think we should try
to do for our life. What if we looked at our
life as an experiment and we took off the expectations
and we stopped saying I have to do this to get here? I should do this. So much pressure we
put on ourselves. So the experiment
is super important, and I encourage you
guys to look at how you can take your weekend,
go into the weekend, and say, I’m going to make
this an experiment. What am I going
to do that’s going to be more fun, more playful? And I’ll be in the process. So about three months into
my self-love experiment, I started to say,
OK, this is working. I’m feeling good about
myself but not all the time. It was kind of fleeting. So I was at my mom’s house,
and you guys know the coloring books where you can color? They were really
popular a few years ago. They might still be popular. And mine had a mantra on
it that said everything happens for a reason. And it had butterflies
and flowers, and I didn’t know that that was
a universal sign right there. But I was coloring,
and I was talking. And my mom and I, one
of my best friends, talking about our
dreams and goals. About three months into
my self-love experiment, and she started to bring up a
conversation about some friends of ours that were
getting married, and it triggered
something in me. Didn’t even matter
who they were. I started to cry. A woman in her mid-thirties,
very successful in her career, looks again like she has
happiness, which I was happy. I’m going to talk
about that in a second, how to not chase the happiness. And I was crying. And she said, why
are you crying? What’s the matter? She put her pencil down. And I said, Mom,
do you think anyone can love me the way that I am? And that was right
there the core of my biggest limiting belief. I felt unlovable. What I was really asking, and
I didn’t know at that time, was, do you think I can love
myself the way that I am? And of course, she put her
pencil down right away, and she said, Shannon, don’t
ever say that about yourself. Of course a mother would
never want to hear that. And the next thing she said
was the most important thing that really kicked in
the Self-Love Experiment and changed my life forever. She said, Shannon, the
most important thing is that you’re happy. And if you’re not happy
at this body size, then maybe this isn’t
the size for you. Now she meant this with so
much love and compassion, and this is what we hear a lot. I grew up with this. But in that moment I rejected
that because I said, no, that’s not the answer
because for my whole life I’ve tried to change
myself to be happy, whether I was 40 pounds
underweight or 60, 70, pounds overweight. The problem is
not outside of me. So in her saying
that, I decided I’m going to stop asking
everyone else, and I’m going to go inward
and start to trust myself. And that was the most
revolutionary thing that I could do because I
was also saying, guess what? Society that says I
should be smaller, or I can’t be happy until
I have this amount of money in the bank, or I’m
with my soul mate. A woman who’s single
in her mid 30s? What’s wrong with her? All these things we
say to ourselves. But in that moment I
said, nope, the goal is for me to learn how
to love myself as I am. And that is what the
Self-Love Experiment is. Because we all have things we
want to change about ourselves, but learning how
to love yourself does not have to mean you
have to change yourself from a place of self-hate. It means you can take steps
to move forward and be more kind and compassionate with
yourself from a loving place. So that was really the key. And so it is not
outside of ourselves. The answer is really
on the inside. And so how did I
get to here today from crying on my
mom’s living room and crying in the bathroom? I did a self-love experiment,
and it was the most glorious thing I’ve ever done. As a writer, it
turned into a book. I didn’t know it was going to
be a book when I started it. But this book healed me
because I found self-love. I stand up here loving every
single fiber of my body and showing up as I am. And that is the
key for all of you, to show up through
your insecurities, to show up through
the things you think you need to change because
you are enough as you are. So I have a process,
three things that I’m going to share with you. And then we’ll kind of do a
Q&A, and that’s how we’ll go. So there’s actually–
the book is actually divided in different
layers because there’s layers to self-love. So I take people
through a process. The first layer is self-care. OK. When you guys hear
self-care a lot of times, in the wellness
industry especially, we hear drink green
juice, do your yoga, go to soul cycle, which
is really fun, by the way. I just did it. So we get so wrapped
up in having to be and do a cert– we stay
in this box, right? The wellness community, and
just taking care of yourself. I got to a point where I
realized I am sick of yoga. I don’t want any more 30-day
hot challenge yoga challenges. I’m done with it. I don’t want any
more kale salad. And I said, what does
self-care really mean? And I discovered it’s about joy. What brings you joy? And that is why, also,
when I said a lot of us are chasing happiness, we
never really get there. Because happiness is a feeling. It’s something
that will elude us whereas joy is an experience. It’s a process, but
it’s a way of living. So I truly believe that joy is
the best barometer for success, in any layer, in any level
of your life, whether it’s a relationship, whether it’s
a career, whether it’s trying to reach your goal of losing
weight, or going on your dream vacation. Joy. So how can you put more joy
into your life right now? So I started to do
that, and I realized I wanted more nature
walks with my dog. I wanted to join
a spinning studio instead of to do the yoga. And so I started
to fill myself up. I started to cook more. I started to do things that felt
good and made me feel alive. So ask yourself, what
makes you feel alive? That’s the most caring thing
you can do for yourself. If you love camping,
get out and go camping. If you love animals,
go adopt a pet. There’s things we can do to
bring more joy into our life right now. So that’s one part
of the process, but I’m going to share three
of the principles that really stand out that I think can
help you guys in your own life as well. And at the back of
the book, there’s 15 principles so I’m pulling
out the highlighted ones. So I think we have to
first ask ourselves, how do you know when
you’re lacking self-love? Because I didn’t know
that I didn’t love myself. I just knew that my experience
of life was difficult. A lot of times we don’t
walk around saying, I don’t love myself. It’s in our actions. It’s in our behavior. It’s in the way we’re
always trying for something more than what is. And so anybody wonder? Like throw out
why do you think– what would be an example of
when we don’t love ourselves? Rejection. Yeah. When we feel rejection. So good. One of the main ones is
when we compare ourselves to other people. And I bet if we get really
honest with ourselves, we’ve probably
compared ourselves to someone else within the
past three or four days, especially at work. And then also when we
compare ourselves to ourself. You may have had a different
version of you five years ago, a skinnier you, one who
was in a different job, or one who was in a
different relationship. You’re like, man, if
only I could go back. Or maybe not go back,
but what happened? Or we look to the
future part of us, and we’re like, gosh,
that person out there I’m not there yet. I’m not in the body I
want or the career I want or whatever it may be. So we compare ourselves
to other people, but we also keeping
ourselves to ourselves. And this is detrimental, but
it’s part of being human. You cannot get out of it. And so I get to share
a process with you to help you if you fall into
comparison because judgment and comparison
keeps us from love. Judging is a form of fear. It’s a form of lack
that I’m not enough and what that person has is
better, and they’re deserving, and I’m not. And we go into the cycle
where we spin out of control. Now the trick and the goal
with the Self-Love Experiment is to give you guys
tools, lots of tools, to help you feel
empowered in your life. And one of the tools is
to work through judgment. And I actually have
a three-part process that I’ll share
with you right now. Number one is to recognize
when you’re comparing yourself to other people, they are just
showing you what is possible. So for example,
I’m a book author. I have a book obviously
that just came out. But in September, there’s
amazing books coming out too from some of my
favorite authors, who have been writing
for much longer. Amazing people, and their books
are already like number one, and they haven’t even come out. So my mind is like, oh my gosh. I just wrote this
book, and these people have a book coming
out in a month. What’s happening? They’re doing better. And I fall into ugh. Now before my
self-love experiment, I would have carried that
energy all through my tour, I would have showed up and
gone to bed each night feeling not enough. But the Self-Love Experiment
gave me the process of saying, oh, yes. They’re showing me
what’s possible. Thank you. I can have that. Because if we don’t
compare ourselves– there’s so many things
going on in the world. We don’t compare
ourselves to everyone. The ones we compare
ourselves to are usually the ones that show us something
within us that we want, which means it’s already
within us to have. It’s just about
becoming who you need to be to get to receive that. And so to recognize, thank you. You’re showing me
what’s possible. I see this can be an option
for my life if I want it. And then number two
is to immediately go into appreciation,
appreciation for your own life. So I turn my attention
right away to, oh my gosh, I just,
I wrote a book. And I get to go travel
all over the country, and I get to just
celebrate self-love. How awesome! Also, celebrate the people
who are showing up for you. Appreciate the things that
are going well in your life. Because if we keep focusing
on what’s not going well, we stay stuck. We stay in lack. So I want you to take
a moment right now to just think about what
you are appreciative of and give thanks. Just for a moment. I won’t ask you to
share this time. So this practice of
appreciation is one of them best and fastest
ways to move forward. I helped to heal
my depression when I was in corporate, hating my
job, hating my life, by first– very first step–
turning to appreciation. So if we ever feel trapped
by life circumstances and victimized by the world,
then we can go to– what can I be appreciative of? What can I be thankful
for right now? And then from that place,
you can step forward. It’s a much more loving energy. So I did the same thing with
the things I hated about myself. How can I appreciate
my overweight belly? Or my chin? Or all of the things that we say
we don’t like about ourselves? And if you can’t get there,
then focus on the things you do appreciate
about yourself. You might love your
nose, or your hair, or the way you’re positive
and happy, or the way you’re trying to be positive and
show up for yourself one step at a time. So it’s about one step
at a time, which is the process and the experiment. And then the third, if you’re in
comparison, is to stand by you. And what I mean by this
is to give yourself what it is you really need and want. So in this experience
of comparing myself to other authors, I
recognized what I really wanted, which was appreciation. I had a book come out. I wanted recognition. I wanted love. So the magic is to
give that to yourself. Here I was right before
I started my book tour, seeing all these other
authors trending all over on the New York Times
list, all this stuff, and I said, wow, I haven’t
even given myself appreciation. I haven’t even shown myself
love because I’ve been so busy the past couple weeks. So give yourself what it is
you need, and all of a sudden, you will feel more empowered. What I needed was
recognition so I said, Shannon, you wrote a book. I hadn’t told
myself that at all. So what can you
recognize yourself for? What can you celebrate
yourself for? What can you lift
yourself up for? One step at a time
starts up here. And then the very next
day, my agent talked to me, and I looked at
the numbers, and I saw that my book, the
Self-Love Experiment, was trending on Amazon. Number one in self-esteem. And I say this only because
I believe this process works. When you show up for
yourself and get out of what’s going on out
there and return to inside, you’re an empowered
person moving forward. You have the power to
control the outcome by being in the space of love
and compassion for yourself. And so the second one–
actually, there’s a principle I’ll share with you for this. It’s number one, the
principle number one, is to accept where you are. It’s just a point in your
journey and everything about– everything about it
offers possibility for growth and expansion. So when it looks like
comparing yourself to others, recognize where you are, accept
it, and then from that place, you can move forward,
in that place you’ll feel more charged up. So what can you accept
in your life right now? There’s that famous
Chinese proverb. Accept what you can’t change. Change what you can’t accept. It really does start
with acceptance. OK. So the second one I’ll
share with you today. This is the barrier
that blocks us and when we know we’re
out of self-love. It’s when we feel
hopeless, or we feel like self-love is
selfish, or we feel like, how dare I care about myself. So here’s the thing. There’s so much going on
in the world right now– disasters, political uproar. There’s a lot of
fear, terrorists. It’s crazy out there. And we can easily fall into
feeling depressed and feeling hopeless. And I did this about two months
before my book was coming out. There was so much. I was watching
the news everyday, which I suggest you don’t do. It was crazy. I know we’re in New
York, but like, ah! It was crazy. And I said, who am I to
go talk about self-love? I have a book about
loving yourself. How dare anyone focus
on them when there’s the world that needs saving? And I caught myself
right away because I said something that
actually helped me in my own self-love experiment
is that suddenly it made sense. To stop hating myself is
to raise the vibration on the planet. To stop being
negative to myself is to actually do my part to
uplift the entire world. Because that’s one
less person hurting, that’s one less person in pain,
and that’s one less person stuck in negativity. So we owe it to ourselves
to show up for ourselves because from that place we
can do so much more good. We can give more
time, more energy, more love to those who need it. And that was a
revolutionary change for me, and it turned into a principle
in the Self-Love Experiment, which is when you heal yourself,
you help to heal the world. You can make the most profound
difference in the world by focusing on yourself
first, to forgive yourself, to honor yourself,
and love yourself. From that place, you make
really empowered choices. Guess what? Hurt people hurt people. People who are in pain
affect other people. When I was depressed, I
wanted to help people. I started my life
coaching practice. And it’s hard to show
up fully when you’re stuck in your stuck-ness. You just can’t. We do it because
we have big hearts. All of us in here
have huge hearts. You wouldn’t be in a
Self-Love Experiment lunch if you didn’t have a big heart. And so we show up and
we say, you know what? I want to be even
more empowered, and we do that by first
being kind and compassionate to ourselves. So I want to invite you
guys to ask yourself, where have you been
blowing yourself off? Where have you been saying
this deserves more attention? I’m not going to show up for me. This is more important. I will skip that thing that
is really important to me. My dreams don’t matter. I’ll just wait. Just ask yourself and maybe
go into the weekend thinking about how can I show
up for myself more, how can I be more
present in my life, and put more love into
the equation right now. So I get to move into the
third reason a lot of us actually do not feel self-love
without even realizing it. Anyone want to guess? No guesses. I’ll just share. Self-doubt and fear, right? When we’re in self-doubt– and what this looks
like is we believe our insecurities are real. We believe the problems about
us are actually the problem. So Tony Robbins. Do you guys know Tony
Robbins, America’s life coach? Huge motivational speaker,
that’s what he calls himself. He says problems
need energy to grow. If you do not give your problems
energy, then guess what? They won’t manifest bigger and
take up so much time and space in our life. What problem are
you focusing on? Now there’s a difference
between a problem that you look for
the solution, right? In your work, especially
with what you guys do here, there’s a part of showing
up but going immediately to the solution
is the key instead of festering in the problem
and letting it overcome you. So the problems that we have in
our life, the insecurities we have, the fears we have,
often look like self-doubt. I don’t feel good enough. I don’t feel worthy enough. For me, I didn’t feel lovable. And so ask yourself, what
self-doubt in your life is blocking you
from moving forward? So self-doubt– here’s
the thing about it. It shows up in every
layer of our life. So I am up here, and I
truly do love myself, and I’m excited about
the possibilities. But self-doubt, a couple
of weeks ago before I left for my tour,
came roaring in. A lot of what was
going on in the world. And I sat there for a moment. I said, what’s going on? This is like
crippling self-doubt. And for a couple
minutes, I sat there. Before my self-love
experiment, I would have let it
control my outcome. I may have even
canceled some events. I may have just like
hidden in my bed and covered up or eaten
lots of ice cream. All these things we do–
overwork, overspend, overeat, eat over-exercise– we
“over” the situation. I invite you guys to
feel what comes up. So I sat there
with my self-doubt. And I’m going to invite
you guys to do this, too. Put your hand on your heart
if you want, the right hand. Any time you feel self-doubt
just return to yourself in the moment. Put your hand here,
and you say, hello. Hello, you. And you can say, what
are you here to show me? The same way that I
asked my depression what are you here to show me. And my self-doubt came through,
and it said, are you sure? Are you sure you don’t
want to stay small? Because self-doubt
wants us to stay small. Fear and our
negative voice wants us to retreat back to what is
comfortable and what we know. It’s predictable. It’s manageable. It’s something we know. Whereas any time you’re growing,
any time you’re dreaming, and any time you’re
stepping into the next level of your life, your
self-doubt will get louder. And I said– in that moment
with my hand on my heart– quickly, it said, are you
sure you want to stay small? And my heart roared through
and said, are you kidding? You were born for this. Every single one of
you was born for this, to work through that self-doubt,
to step forward, and be empowered and choose you. Your life is your masterpiece. We hear this, right? We hear this. But I want you to
really feel this. Any time you fall into fear,
insecurity, lack of self-worth, where I’m not good
enough, where, gosh, that person has what I
want, return to right here. Put your hand on your heart. Say, I love me, or I’m doing
the best I can each day. And that is enough. One step at a time,
we can get there. And so what I offer to you
guys with this principle, the Self-Love Experiment
principle number three, is we get what we focus on. So are you focusing on how
it’s not going to work? How everything you’ve tried
before is not moving forward? Then that’s going to keep
creating what we want. Are you focusing on the problem? It’s growing. Take your attention
off of it and focus on what you truly want– love, empowerment,
acceptance– and you’ll start to see the results in
your life much more clear. So I’m going to
offer to you guys, as we close out the little
speech here, my wish for you is that next time someone
asks you who empowers you, you immediately
say, you know what? I’m empowered by me. And I’m not shy from that,
and I’m not unapologetic because you guys are amazing. You work really hard, and
you show up every day, and you’re doing
the best you can. So start telling yourself that. Start to really feel that. Because that’s how we can move
and help and change the world. I believe that. So I welcome you and
invite you to dive into the Self-Love Experiment. That’s it. [APPLAUSE] Yeah! Ha, ha, ha, ha. I like it. She’s like ah! SPEAKER 1: That with
fantastic, Shannon. Thank you so much
for being here. What a great speech. What a great book, by the way. If you guys haven’t read
it, do yourself a favor. You talk a lot about
the inner critic, and I think that we can all
relate, especially being here. We’re very much, sometimes,
under a lot of pressure, and there’s a lot of production,
I think, that needs to happen. And you also talk a little
bit about how inner critic, especially for you, led
to a lot of self-sabotage and so on and so forth. How do you think that
we, just in general as a culture, or even
yourself, just sort of experience self-sabotage? And how does that come
through in our lives? SHANNON KAISER: I think– yeah. So self-sabotage
happens in so many ways. It happens by us shying away
from what we really want. Like I’ve mentioned
a couple of times, I’m just a sweaty person. I could not– I could have
chosen not to be a public speaker, but I am so passionate
about my message that I let that– it is what it is. So you get to a point
where you accept what is . And when we shy
away from what it is we really want
because of a part of us that we feel isn’t
good enough, it’s really us not honoring
or living our potential. And so it also looks like
overspending, like I said, overeating, “over” anything
because a lot of times we’re afraid to feel
what’s really there. So I would ask
also– sometimes when we wake up in the
morning, what do you say to yourself about yourself? If you don’t do as good in
the meeting or if you don’t– you go home, and you
didn’t get everything on your list done, how are
you talking to yourself? I think it does come back to
being a friend to yourself, first and foremost, and that’s
how we can step forward. SPEAKER 1: Excellent. SHANNON KAISER: Yeah. SPEAKER 1: You state– and I’m going to read
a quote from the book– “learning how to love me has
been the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do,
not because loving yourself is particularly
hard, but because I had to unlearn all the
things I was conditioned to believe about self-love.” I think it goes back to
what you were saying earlier about narcissism or sort
of that label sometimes when you think that self-love
is sort of a little bit self-righteous. How are those gr– how those beliefs
sort of ingrained? And how does that
reflect on what self-love or self-care means for us? SHANNON KAISER: Right. I think that’s key. It’s like so many of us are kind
of like chasing the– let me see the– this one, right? Yeah. So we’re chasing this
feeling, and that’s really what I was talking
about in the book. Learning how to
love myself was hard because if your parents
didn’t love yourself, they did the best they could. If society and the
media is always telling us to change
ourselves, everyone’s just doing what they know how to do. But I had to
unlearn all of that. From a very young
age, we’re taught we have to look a certain
way, be a certain way, talk a certain way, in
our family or in society. And so self-love is often about
being who you are as you are. And that is the most– self-love is freedom. What we’re chasing, what
we really want, is freedom. In that happiness, in
that paradise, in that job that more money, in that
soul mate relationship, what we really want is to
be seen for who we are. So for me personally, I was– so much of my life I was trying
to be seen, I was like looking, I was like comparing
myself– see me, see me– but I wasn’t seeing myself. And so I think we
have to really allow ourselves to be
honest about who we are and celebrate who we are. SPEAKER 1: Excellent Do
you regret your earlier life of drug addiction or
eating disorders or depression? That’s kind of a heavy question. SHANNON KAISER: That’s
a good question. It’s a heavy question, but– SPEAKER 1: It’s not a
good question for a work environment, but you
know, it’s Friday. [LAUGHTER] SHANNON KAISER: I don’t regret
any phase of my life at all. In fact, I’m so thankful for it. While I was in it,
it was very hard and very depressing
and dark, but I think we all have
phases in our life that are hard,
depressing, and dark. And when we can be
aware while we’re in it, say that this is part of
maybe something bigger. Because looking
back I wouldn’t be able to write a
book about self-love if I didn’t hate myself. I wouldn’t be able
to do what I love if I didn’t experience those. So I think it’s
really about allowing yourself to go through
each phase of life Yeah. SPEAKER 1: Does anybody
want to ask any questions from the audience? SHANNON KAISER: Q and A time. About anything in the world. SPEAKER 1: Anything. What are your plans
for the weekend? SHANNON KAISER: How
are you doing joy? AUDIENCE: Hi, my
name is [INAUDIBLE].. Thank you so much for sharing
your self-love experience. So the question is, you said,
accept yourself as you are. But to improve in anything
you do or as a person, you need to constantly analyze
yourself or [INAUDIBLE] your own critique. How do you improve? So how do you balance
both the things? SHANNON KAISER: That’s
such a great question. I’m so glad you
asked that because I think what we have to
ask ourselves is, where is our point of attraction? So from before, I was trying to
reach that number on the scale or we’re trying to
improve ourselves from a place of
self-hate, or desperation, or I’m not good enough. But once I found
self-love, and when you’re in an
empowered place, that means you can make the changes
from an empowered place. It doesn’t mean we just settle. It doesn’t mean we just
say, oh, forget it. I’m healthier and
happier than I’ve ever been today making the
best choices for me, even though society may say
an overweight person isn’t that way. So for you, and anyone
who’s trying to improve, it’s about saying, I’m going to
do this because I love myself, and I care about myself, and
I’m going to honor myself. And then watch. Your results come a lot faster. AUDIENCE: So in essence,
what you’re saying is anything that you do
should be inner driven and not externally driven. Somebody else shouldn’t
be telling you. SHANNON KAISER: Absolutely. Yeah. And I get that we have bosses
that need stuff from us. So you guys all walk out. You’re like, Shannon says
that we don’t have to– [LAUGHTER] Don’t do that. No, but I believe that
the internal– the reason we feel this anxiety
and this pain and, we go home feeling
like something’s missing, is because we’re still
looking out there. Once we turn inward– and
there’s a process I take people through in the book
to really align– then yes, that’s
exactly what I’m saying. AUDIENCE: OK. Thank you. SHANNON KAISER: Yeah,
thank you for the question. I feel like we should
clap because of that. [APPLAUSE] Just for standing up. That takes courage. Any other questions? AUDIENCE: Hello, thank you. You did great. SHANNON KAISER: Thank you. AUDIENCE: So my
question is, as a child, what did you see around
you that made you start to lack that confidence? Like what were the
reinforcements in your life, if it’s not too personal? Because I think sometimes
we pick up things children. I know you talked a
little bit about rejection from the basketball team. But like at home was your
family not encouraging you? Your siblings, your
aunts, your uncles? And I ask that because
I know that that’s been an experience
for me where it’s like I didn’t get that
love reinforcement at home. And then I found out later– well, the last few
years it dawned on me like, yeah, my mom
didn’t have it. Her parents weren’t around. My aunt didn’t have it. Her parents aren’t around. You know, so was that
something you saw? SHANNON KAISER: I think
it’s a beautiful question. Absolutely. And actually in the
Yeah, if you want. I talk about it,
too, because there’s a principle in the book. In order to find
self-love, we have to be who we needed to
be when we were younger. Because for all of us– I’m going to answer
this in a layered way– if we get really clear
and honest with ourselves, from age like maybe
seven to nine, usually something
happens, something happens in every person’s
life, where we are ourself, we do what we feel is
natural, but the world tells us that’s wrong. So for me, I really
love ice cream. I loved it as a kid. It was fun, and it was part
of how I related to my dad because he loved sweet stuff. But my mom would say, no,
don’t eat the ice cream. Like, really bad. And so I saw the way
she looked at me, I saw the way she treated me
when I did what felt natural– like I’m just
talking about food, but there’s other
situations in our life– an I shied away. So it turned into an eating
disorder at a very young age where I’d have to hide
something that felt natural. Now if she would have
said, OK, maybe you can have a couple
bites, or something, then maybe it wouldn’t’ve
turned into me feeling bad about doing what I want. So instead of
blaming our parents– they do the best they could– we, as adults, still feel
like there’s a piece of us. Now there could– maybe
it wasn’t eating for you, but maybe you wanted
to be a dancer, and your parents wanted
you to be an athlete. Or maybe you wanted
to be an artist. All these things that
we shy away from. So the point is as an
adult give yourself what you needed as a
child that was missing. And there’s a process I
take you through in the book as well, which is
really healing. Because I realized I had a
great childhood very loving, but I was bullied because I
was the new kid all the time, and I would eat, and
overweight child. So wherever you were, go
back to your childhood. Go back to that point where
you first realized, oh my gosh, I was just being me,
and the world said– I got made fun of for being me. And then give yourself, as an
adult, that love, that respect, and attention. And then forgive your
parents because they do the best they can, and
they don’t even know better. And we can do better for us. Thank you. Good question. Did that answer it? AUDIENCE: Yeah. [APPLAUSE] SHANNON KAISER: Any
the other questions? SPEAKER 1: Can you
give a bad answer? [LAUGHTER] SHANNON KAISER: I can try. SPEAKER 1: I just have
one more question. You talk a lot about
the tools, and I love that you actually just
added more tools to what you already talked about. What are your favorite
tools when it comes to self-love or self-care? SHANNON KAISER: Yeah. That’s beautiful. So I like the hand on the heart,
which I shared with you guys. But actually, one of the
beautiful things about the book is I am really big
believer on asking yourself questions and then giving your
time yourself time to answer. So I’ve put all the questions
I asked in the book in the back in like a format so you
could do a joy journal or free write on it. But one of my favorite favorites
is letters to yourself. So letters to your future self. When I was stuck in
depression, I had no idea that there was such thing
as a happy life, someone who enjoyed their career. And I was like,
dear future Shannon, what message do you have for me? And so I encourage you guys to–
the one who has it figured out, the one who’s not suffering. And then there’s also a
letter to your past self. So now I write a
letter to the one who was depressed
and stuck, and like, oh, it’s going to work out. Just stay with it. Don’t give up. Or the most challenging one
is letter to the part of you that is struggling. So I said, dear overweight
body, why are you here? What do you have to teach me? And it’s said, you are here to
love yourself no matter what. I’m here to show you that
how you look– self-love is not how you look. It’s about how you live. So we can get profound answers
when we just allow ourselves the space and time to go inward. Yeah. Thank you. SPEAKER 1: Do you ever mail
the letters to yourself? SHANNON KAISER: I should,
but I haven’t yet. That would be really fun. I have crazy journals
piled up all over. SPEAKER 1: I did something
similar a few years ago when I was a yoga teacher, and
I had the whole class write letters to their future selves. And they gave them to me, and
I held onto them for two years. And then I ended up
sending them the letters. So it’s fantastic. SHANNON KAISER: That’s special. You should all go home
today, write a letter, and then mail it to yourself. Or give it to us. SPEAKER 1: Or give it to
someone you that you trust and then have them mail
it to you at a later time. SHANNON KAISER: It’s really fun. SPEAKER 1: It’s
actually fantastic. SHANNON KAISER: And it’s
about celebrating you, and saying, you know what? Start saying you’re
doing a good job. I appreciate you. We did good today. We need to be our
own cheerleaders. SPEAKER 1: Love it. Any last questions
from the audience? SHANNON KAISER: Yes, come on up. Hi. AUDIENCE: I guess my
question is regarding your if you touch on the book
at all on external love and when that, I guess,
came back into your life, or where you feel like
that balance comes. SHANNON KAISER: Yeah. Actually, that’s beautiful. So a lot of the
work that I do is about learning how to be
your own hero a lot of the– are you talking about
like maybe romantic love? AUDIENCE: Yeah. SHANNON KAISER: So for– yes. So there is a part in there, and
there’s– it’s actually layered throughout. I don’t have one
specific tool, but I will say that it’s conducive on
when you truly love yourself, you can bring the love into
your life that is really long lasting and who
loves themselves, too. So I also think that
every relationship we’re in, at every
stage of our life, is an opportunity and
a teacher and a lesson. So every relationship
leading up to the soul mate has become a profound
kind of helping me become more of who I need to be. And I think for
all of us as well. But it is very much– you come to relationships
from a place of not needing them to fill
you up whereas you are full and saying, I accept
myself and love myself, and you are adding
to my life, and we are in this glorious
adventure together, which is a beautiful
place to be. Yeah. I have a lot of
articles, too, on that. I write for Huffington
Post and Mind Body Green. So just type in
relationship Shannon Kaiser. It might come up. Ha, ha, ha. SPEAKER 1: Excellent. SHANNON KAISER: Yeah SPEAKER 1: All right. Can we to get a big round of
applause for Shannon, please? [APPLAUSE] SHANNON KAISER: Thank you. Thank you.


  1. There has to be something better than self. The Spirit gives life. The flesh profits nothing and you are nothing without truth. Happiness is the result of having a clear conscience.

  2. Short rant alert. β€œAn honest bookstore would post the following sign above its 'self-help' section: 'For true self-help, please visit our philosophy, literature, history and science sections, find yourself a good book, read it, and think about it. We are put on this planet only once, and to limit ourselves to the familiar is a crime against our minds.” ― Roger Ebert

    Self help industry is like losing weight and get fit industry. Lot of juvenile sounding self affirmations, big promises for quick results and shortcuts. But most of just comes down to bestselling authors doing Oprah tours because they lost 50lb's. And Talk at Google, otherwise known as book promotional tours. Not impressed.

    With all do respect, the word "empowerment" is anything but empowering. It is another buzz word that is best left avoided because if anything it shows you are not empowered, you are have become some sort of hillside grazer of culture. A sheep, a cow or what is biologically classified as a ruminant. The word became popular and now its soooo overused by every "self help expert" or feminist out there, to described just about anyone who had the sheer audacity to make a decision in life about anything. It has lost its intended meaning.

    Keep it simple. Think critically about yourself and for yourself, read, research, investigate, teach, try it yourself and as always; adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is uniquely your own. With time you will find your own place in this strange world we live in. And when you figure out who you are exactly …do it with integrity and surround yourself with people who will help you grow and not limit your own growth. Focus on making NEW mistakes and you will be fine. Its simple. The complex version of this requires reading bunch of really hard to read philosophy and psychology books. But who has time to "empower" themselves, right?

  3. love this. one suggestion;the truth also is that men who judge women by their weight need to know that they have it SO MUCH EASIER IN THE WEIGHT GAIN AREA. they need to know this,we need to tell them over and over every time this subject comes up. heck i wont even go to a male doctor because they are so ignorant of a womens bodys experience. so since i dont think i will ever be an author can all of you who are self acceptance authors pound home this fact.

  4. I have known fat women to be so loving, genuine and humble. They are gems. I am always attracted to chubby women. Unlike voluptuous and shapely women, they are not arrogant or snooty about anything.

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