Learning to “invest in myself” – Part Two

The first seven months adjusting to life in Seoul, S. Korea were among the hardest I’ve experienced to date. Intense loneliness and emotional pain from a romance which left craters in my self-esteem drove me to seek help. Initially, I wallowed in my near-depressive state, but a catalyst (revelations by a friend) helped me to see the situation for what it was. Suddenly, I resolved to become ‘normal’ again.

I realized that in thirty-six years, I had never take the time to focus on my self-development. You see, I’ve always been distracted by some project or another, and didn’t make the time to discover what makes me feel fulfilled and happy.

My years as a university student are some of the fondest I remember. I had no time or spare cash, but learning made me feel alive! I later discovered from Tony Robbins’ “Six Basic Human Needs” that growth is one of my personal, primary requirements to feel happy. But, I’m no longer a student. What else can I do to be on the right track to learning about my fulfillment and happiness?

In Part One (https://wordpress.com/post/travelandtash.wordpress.com/2611), I discuss the process of recognizing when I need motivation, and seeking out help. In Part Two, I will discuss steps I took to regain my self esteem. These include basic human needs, loving yourself, and the importance of friendships. I hope that by sharing what I’ve learned and how I applied it, you too can extract something useful to apply in your current situation.


Humans are complicated. According to Robbins, we have six basic needs. These are the need for,

  • Certainty
  • Uncertainty
  • Significance
  • Connection or love
  • Growth
  • Contribution (the need to give back to others)

Robbins (https://youtu.be/Cpc-t-Uwv1I) encourages his listeners to identify their top two needs. I thought my top two were significance and love, but upon further reflection, I realized that significance was no longer my major need. Growth and love currently are my top needs, while contribution, or the opportunity to teach others, has become increasingly important to me. This breakdown of six needs began helping me to access what is really important to me. To learn more about these terms and categories , I recommend that you watch the Robbins link above where he discusses these in greater depth.


Self love is a hard topic for me. I suspect it is hard for many other people too. Robbins presented the expectation of self love something like this, “When God said, ‘love your neighbour like yourself,’ it pre-supposes that you indeed love yourself.” So, we are in fact expected to love ourselves.  Oprah Winfrey (https://youtu.be/7a8ncSBU-Eg) explains that she works on herself, “fills her cup” or nourishes her soul which in turn enables her to help others.

We have the responsibility to look after ourselves emotionally. Giving myself love includes standing up for myself and recognizing me as someone who deserves self respect and the respect of others. To paraphrase, Robbins explained, I am my own best friend. If I don’t stand up for me, who will? These words affected me powerfully, and motivated me recently to call out someone who would have continued to think it was okay to treat me poorly if I did not address his behaviour. I felt so proud of myself after telling him that his behaviour was  not acceptable, and regained a piece of self-esteem right then and there.

Loving myself also means listening to and acting on the emotional messages that I receive, rather than suppressing or ignoring them. Robbins explains that feelings of anger, fear, hurt, and so on, are our minds giving us messages or “calls to action.” They mean, “I must change something!” Listen to the advice that your brain is trying to tell you. I learned this lesson after the fact, recognizing that all the signals were there but I repressed them. I now intend to be more aware of and trust my emotional messages in the future.

Robbins shows how you can love yourself by recognizing that you are capable of dealing with difficult situations. He suggests recalling a past experience where you had to deal with a similar emotion. On reflection, you will realize that you were able to successfully handle that emotion and situation. You will immediately regain control as well as your self-esteem. Taking Robbins’ advice, I recalled a similar situation (the break-up of a past relationship), and remembered that I could, in fact, survive it. Past experiences proved me capable and recognising my past strength empowered me to survive this disappointment.

Loving myself also requires controlling how I feel throughout the day. Robbins (https://youtu.be/n-zFTHqaRZ4) explains that focus, namely, the questions you chose to ask about a situation, affect our emotions. When I lose control of or suppress my emotions, I’m not showing love or respect to myself. Instead, I’m allowing my focus to interpret a situation negatively, developing pain as a result, and reacting using my usual reaction routines. I personally developed feelings of hurt which led to pains in my chest. My focus had begun to adversely affect my health.

Additionally, Robbins  stresses the importance of being aware of our physiology, or how we use our body, to change how we approach or react to a situation. These include using movement, dance, smiles and so on, to change and manage our mood. I highly recommend that you watch Robbins’ videos directly (https://youtu.be/n-zFTHqaRZ4) to understand better how focus and physiology affect our state of mind. Using his recommended techniques to change my physiology  was incredibly empowering, and catapulted me out of my near-depression stage. I particularly began using singing, dancing and yoga to lift my body and mind of out my emotional slump. Managing my physiology is one of the most important life lessons I’ve ever learned.


My parents had three children together. I was the oldest, and grew up in a social environment where I always had another sibling to play with. But, as an adult currently living alone, I’ve actually grown somewhat accustomed to enjoying my own company and just seeking out companionship when I need it. I’ve become self-reliant, and working as part of a team became challenging for me. A Linguistics program recently demanded that I work as part of a four-person team to research and write and present one paper, and this terrified me. As an adult, I’ve largely grown accustomed to being an independent player.

A few months ago, I came across a talk on YouTube where Robbins stressed being a team player, and suddenly, I realized, in part, why I had been feeling so isolated since moving to S. Korea. You see, I’ve been quite skillful at putting up an invisible wall that puts distance between me and anyone I’m not ready to befriend. It’s hard to explain. Perhaps it’s British ‘attitude’, whatever that might be. I’ve always liked to engage with others on my terms, and I don’t like others to be overly familiar toward me when I have not invited it.

But Robbins presented the idea of a team player as advantageous, one which will provide challenges that will help me grow, but perhaps more importantly, a base that will provide genuine support when I really need it. In response to learning about this, I decided to invest time in getting to know my current co-workers and adding them to my circle of closer friends, with the result that our relationships have been greatly enhanced. I’m slowing gravitating toward valuing new friendships and becoming a team player.

I have also sought out a handful of new friends outside of work and regularly invite them to hang out. I rarely get invites from them, but I continue to invite them out because I know that I need their friendship, even if they don’t need mine. I also occasionally meet new friends through Meetup groups. Through Meetups, I met people with similar interests, hikers, Spanish-language speakers, and people interested in culture and history.


Tai Lopez (https://youtu.be/7bB_fVDlvhc) mentions a 33% rule and breaks it down something like this. We need to spend 33% of our time with three categories of friends, people that we help, peers that are at the same level as us, and mentors who can direct us  to reach our goals. Please see the link above for details.

Additionally, we are the average of people that we spend most of our time with (https://youtu.be/GEHJN6aqenM). If our friends are consistently negative, or insecure, make excuses for why they haven’t achieved their goals, or don’t have high expectations of themselves, we too will measure ourselves by similar standards. We will rationalize our lack of drive or failures because we compare ourselves to our friends’ mediocre situations. Therefore, because our friends are very influential, who we chose to spend time with is especially critical.

I’ve been aware of these ideas for a while and regularly make a conscious effort to be around positive people who build me up. Also, I have found it fairly easy to find people to help and peers on the same level as me, however finding mentors requires that you have an idea of your goals before you seek someone who can guide you. I’m currently figuring out my goals, who my mentors are, and how to engage with them.

My favourite online lifestyle mentors include Tony Robbins, Clark  Kegley, Evan Carmichael, Hal Elron, Tai Lopez and Richard Branson. I suscribe to their YouTube channels and blogs, and have recently began leaving feedback on some message forums to engage with them and their readers. As a travel and lifestyle blogger, I have recently begun to read blogs by Nomadic Matt (http://www.nomadicmatt.com/), Don’t Forget to Move (http://dontforgettomove.com/), and watch Hey Nadine (https://youtu.be/rSvrcvPQ9jk?list=PLNCkTa4XO7OIg2w-kKPW2t6dVlfehuwdF) to find driven, travel blog mentors.

In Part Three, I’ll finish up the series by discussing how I use routine and habits to produce an extraordinarily productive day. I have recently changed my morning routine. I detail what I’m doing and how these habits are helping me to stay focused.

Thank you for reading! Please comment below. Share what are your top two basic humans needs, what is your routine to “love yourself” and what friendship lessons are important to you?

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Keep Learning!






7 thoughts on “Learning to “invest in myself” – Part Two”

  1. Thank you for yet another fantastic post in this series, Natasha! As I mentioned in part one of this series, it takes a great deal of courage to come to the realization that you need help and to seek it. Sometimes you don’t realize just how much help you have needed until you face your situation head-on.

    I loved how you state “if you don’t stand up for yourself, who will?” This is indeed true! I went through this phase when I was a teenager and found that it was incredibly helpful and visible to others, not only in appreciating the person I am, but being able to receive the treatment I deserved and required as a human being.

    I started to become very self-reliant at a young age, spending most of my time alone and for a large part of my years as the only child in the house. There is something special about learning how to entertain yourself and not require another person to do that for you. It forces you to listen to yourself and the more you do so, the more adept you become in knowing the language of your inner being. As a result, I find that I am much more confident in facing problems as an adult on my own.


    1. Thank you for your really thoughtful reply. I agree with you. Spending time alone forces you to understand yourself better. I think it is really healthy, and something we forget to do because we are so busy!


  2. Good writing! I had been so into this kind of stuff and tried them in reality so hard before. But I am not enthusiastic now….:( But Physiology is intereting. Btw Is Robbins popular?


    1. Thank you for your comment, Buyeon! Frustration and desperation led me to think about this stuff. I had no choice. I’m trying my best to use this motivation to understand myself better, and learn what to do to feel fulfilled.


    1. Hi Sophie, thank you so much for your encouragement. I tried to be as honest as possible. It has been hard to keep the writing focused because there are so many complicated factors, but I hope I conveyed the most important lessons I learned. *Hugs


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