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Laura Rinnankoski: How To Learn To Finally Love Yourself

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Write a list of things that you like or love about yourself. It can be from 10–100 things. It doesn’t matter how many things are in the list, the most important thing is to do the exercise because it is like writing a love letter to yourself.
 

As a part of our series about “How To Learn To Finally Love Yourself” I had the pleasure to interview Laura Rinnankoski.
 

Laura Rinnankoski is an International Life & Relationship Coach, an NLP Practitioner, a Motivational Speaker, and an Author. She coaches in English, Spanish, Finnish and Italian. She has a very international background as she was born in Finland, grew up in Venezuela, studied in international American schools, went to Boston University, then lived and worked in Miami and presently resides in Dublin, Ireland. Her multi-cultural background enriches her ability to effectively connect and support people from different countries. She has the work ethic of a Finnish person, the fun-loving personality of a Venezuelan, the determination of an American and the good luck and humor of the Irish.

​Thank you so much for joining us! I’d love to begin by asking you to give us the backstory as to what brought you to this specific career path.

I decided to become a life coach because it combines three things that have always been important to me…helping people, communicating in different languages and spirituality. I decided to focus on relationship coaching because we all have different kinds of relationships with our families, friends and partners. The most important relationship that you will ever have is the one with yourself, so I help clients improve the relationship with themselves which then improves all other relationships as well.
 

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 well-being in their relationships?
 

An exciting project that I’m working on now is being a part of a multi-author book called Quiet & Badass: Visionary Women Embracing Their Uniqueness To Create Epic Impact. This book is a collaboration of 18 women who have come together to tell their stories to help and inspire people. I look forward to becoming a published author and to help and inspire people around the world.

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 was in a relationship with a man who was definitely a soulmate, but I believe that we have several soulmates. We share a strong soul connection with soulmates and feel like we have known them before. Soulmates come in to teach us big lessons. We teach each other big lessons. Sometimes they stay in our lives, but other times they don’t. I struggled a lot when the relationship ended because I truly felt like we were meant to be together forever! We even had the same birthday which is 3.3 and we were together 3 years, 3 months and 3 days! All the signs pointed to a long union; but it wasn’t meant to be. I struggled for a long time and didn’t want to accept that it was over. The hardest thing that I did, which was also a big act of self-love, is finally releasing him with love. I accepted that our time together in this life had ended, and I thanked him and I released him with love. It was like letting go of a mountain which I had carried for a long time! After letting go, I felt so much lighter and I filled myself with self-love and self-acceptance. I also felt stronger than ever! I realized and felt that the greatest love of all is truly inside of ourselves. It’s the self-love that we give ourselves and the more we love ourselves, the more we can love others as well. Recovering from breakups, self-love and self-acceptance is something that I coach my clients on extensively.

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 would say that some of the causes are unrealistic images which are shown in magazines and social media. There is so much pressure to look perfect these days. So many people use all kinds of filters to make themselves look better in their pictures, so the images that you see are altered and not natural. I think that it’s really important that people accept themselves with their good sides and not so good sides.

To some, the concept of learning to truly understand and “love yourself,” may seem like a cheesy or trite concept. But it is not. Can you share with our readers a few reasons why learning to love yourself it’s truly so important?

You need to love and accept yourself, in order for someone else to love and accept you as well. Loving and accepting yourself doesn’t mean that you think that you are better than others, but it does mean that you accept all sides of you. You are the only one that can give yourself self-love and self-acceptance. No one else can give it to you. You can only share something that you already have, so love and accept yourself first, and then you will be able to share with others.

Why do you think people stay in mediocre relationships? What advice would you give to our readers regarding this?

I think that people stay in mediocre relationships because they are afraid of being alone and they think that they can’t get a better person. My advice would be to always be true to yourself. Follow what is right for you. If you stay with the wrong person out of fear, you will regret it later on. A relationship can be measured by the ratio of pain and gain. If there is more gain, people will stay and if there is more pain, people will leave. Don’t make decisions which you will regret later.

When I talk about self-love and understanding I don’t necessarily mean blindly loving and accepting ourselves the way we are. Many times self-understanding requires us to reflect and ask ourselves the tough questions, to realize perhaps where we need to make changes in ourselves to be better not only for ourselves but our relationships. What are some of those tough questions that will cut through the safe space of comfort we like to maintain, that our readers might want to ask themselves? Can you share an example of a time when you had to reflect and realize how you needed to make changes?

Some tough questions that you can ask your partner are: (this works best if both people answer these questions taking turns) You can answer and then discuss your answers.
 

  • What is one thing that you would change about me and why?

  • What is your favorite thing about me and why?

  • What inspires you and why?

  • Do you feel like we are learning and evolving together?

  • Do I inspire you?

  • What is something that I can do differently for you?

  • Do you value spending time with me?

  • Why or why not?
     

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)?

It is very important to learn to be alone because if you don’t enjoy your own company, how do you expect someone else to enjoy your company?

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?

The better relationship you have with yourself, the better all the relationships in your life will be because they are like a mirror image of how you feel about yourself.

In your experience, what should a) individuals and b) society, do to help people better understand themselves and accept themselves?

I think that self-development, self-love and self-acceptance should be taught in schools and I think that parents should teach their children these things…instill these values in them at a young age so that it becomes second nature to them.

Here is the main question of our discussion. 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?

Here is the main question of our discussion. What are 5 strategies that you implement to maintain your connection with and love for yourself, that our readers might learn from? Could you please give a story or example for each?

1: Write a list of things that you like or love about yourself. It can be from 10–100 things. It doesn’t matter how many things are in the list, the most important thing is to do the exercise because it is like writing a love letter to yourself.
 

Example — I do this exercise with all of my coaching clients. At the beginning they resist it, but then they embrace it and love it.
 

2: Have a gratitude journal or write a daily gratitude list of at least 5 things that you’re grateful for. The more you focus on gratitude, the more abundance you will create in your life. You can change your life by having an attitude of gratitude.
 

Example — All of my clients do this exercise and love it. They have seen how the energy starts changing in their lives and everything improves around them.

3: Monitor your self-talk. Is it mostly positive, or is it mostly negative? If it’s mostly positive, great…keep it up! If it’s mostly negative, find a way to turn it around. Humor is a great way to turn things around.
 

Example — I ask all of my clients to do this exercise and many times they are shocked to see how negative they have been. With awareness, they are able to turn things around.
 

4: Write down your stories. What story are you telling about yourself, life, love, relationships, men, women, etc. ? If you don’t like a story, you can always change it. You can’t change an event, but you can change the story that you are telling yourself.
 

Example — This is an exercise that brings lots of awareness and insight to clients. It can be challenging, but very rewarding at the same time.
 

5: Create a vision board. It’s important to have a vision, dreams and goals. When you create a vision board, you are making a collage of images of your ideal life. You need to believe that everything is possible for you and you need to feel worthy of receiving it but you don’t need to know how it will happen. When you are aligned on all levels, your thoughts, your beliefs and your actions, then the Universe will bring in people, events and circumstances that will help you manifest your dreams and goals.
 

Example — One of my clients manifested everything on her vision board in one year. She moved to a new city, got a new job, bought a new apartment and got a new boyfriend. The more aligned and focused you are, the faster things can manifest and change your life.

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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?

My favorite books are inspired by the hero’s journey and the heroine’s journey. Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, Charlotte Kasl’s If the Buddha Dated, Deepak Chopra’s A Path to Love. I like the podcasts of Jay Shetty and Matthew Hussey. Anthony Robbins and Jack Canfield have also greatly inspired me. I met Jack Canfield back in 2008 and I told him about my dream of having coaching clients all over the world and now 14 years later, my dream and vision has come true!

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…

I would inspire the movement of kindness, gratitude and dancing. If everyone was kind to one another, felt immense gratitude and danced to feel joy. What a different world it would be!

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?

This too shall pass.

 

Thank you so much for your time and for your inspiring insights!