Michelle Peña is a women’s Self-Love Coach. Through her company, LivTru, she assists women to build and sustain a deep, meaningful relationship with themselves so they can go on to attract deep, meaningful and quality relationships with others. Michelle’s goal is simple: for women to feel beautiful in their own skin and step out of DOing and step into BEing.

This July, Michelle is hosting a weekend retreat in July, Awaken the Beauty Within, which aims to coach women through change and connect to the life they crave.

We caught up with Michelle this week.

SDTC: When people ask you what you do, what’s your short answer?

MP: I’m a relationship builder and beauty disrupter.

When and why did you become a Self-Love Coach? 

I become a Self-Love Coach because of my own personal experience. About six years, I went through a very emotional time in my life that pushed me to challenge and redefine the type of relationship I was having with myself. I realized all the messaging I received throughout my life of what it means to be woman, a good partner, being a success at work or to be considered beautiful had subconsciously skewed how I felt and viewed myself.

Ultimately, it negatively impacted every aspect of my life. I left a career in social work and psychology where I worked with hundreds of women and girls helping them cope with stress, heal emotional pain, gain clarity, let go of fear, develop a healthy self-image and find greater peace.

I knew I had to focus on me to effectively continue the work I was doing. I went through a time feeling very lonely, not because I didn’t have support around me but because I didn’t understand what I was going through or how to make my way through. I choose to learn to love myself on my own terms and stop giving my power away to everyone else but myself. I now want to provide that clarity and perspective to other women who are struggling in their relationships. I teach women to build and sustain a deep, meaningful relationship with themselves so they can go on to attract deep, meaningful and fulfilling relationships with others.  

In your opinion, what’s the biggest struggle for women when it comes to self-love?

Simply allowing ourselves to love who we are right now in this moment. Not feeling the need to “fix” ourselves or change who we are to be accepted or loved or to feel worthy and valuable. Basically, loving what is when it comes to our bodies and ourselves as a whole.

Why is it so important that we improve our ability to self-love? If we get better at it, how will it benefit our lives?

It’s important because the types of relationships we have and the choices we make in life are a direct reflection of how we feel about ourselves.

I describe it as the domino effect. How you experience your life is based on what is going on inside you. How are you treating yourself on a daily basis, how are you speaking to yourself, what is your “go-to” train of thought about yourself when things aren’t going well or when things are going great? Are you being hard on yourself or cutting yourself a break?

The dominant relationship you are having with yourself will influence your self-esteem, confidence, and self-concept. This then impacts the choices you make in life such as going for that promotion, moving to your dream city, the relationships you choose, how you spend your time, who you spend your time with etc. 

It all stems back to our beliefs about ourselves. It impacts our quality of life, happiness and fulfillment.

What does healthy self-love look like?

One word: Compassion.

I like to use the analogy of a child learning to ride a bike. That child will fall a few times before getting the rhythm of pedalling. When that child falls, does a loving parent yell at that child? Belittle that child? Or judge/criticize that child for not knowing how to ride a bike? No. That loving parent will help that child up, tell him/her it’s okay, reassure that child by saying things like, “You are doing the best you can,” “You will get it,” “Keep trying,” and “You got this.”

We need to treat ourselves with the same level of understanding and compassion as we would a child learning something new. This is what healthy self-love look like…no matter how many mistakes or wrong turns you feel you have made, you are willing to use those as learning opportunities, not as reasons to judge, criticize, or blame yourself.

You acknowledge that you are doing the best you can with whatever life throws at you. You are there for yourself with acceptance, understanding, and forgiveness. As a result, true growth happens.

Who attends the retreat? 

Women who are ready to love themselves fiercely and reclaim what beauty means to them. It’s a retreat to unveil the wisdom and beauty already inherent within each woman, to take time to reconnect, recharge, make meaningful connections and discover new personal insights.

What can guests expect? 

Spending a weekend in a space full of beauty and sisterhood to discover and connect to our own feminine power and beauty, with breakthrough workshops, daily meditations, journaling, delicious catered meals and time in nature. It’s a retreat to feel beautiful in your own skin, to make peace with your inner goddess, to step out of DOing and step into BEing, to connect with your inner voice and deepen your relationship.

After this weekend, each woman will have claimed her beauty and voice in redefining what it means to be a woman and come back to the world, strong, radiant, and empowered. 

What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned since embarking on this professional journey?

Trusting myself and staying true to who I am is essential. Embarking on this new professional journey has not been easy. I’ve learned how strong I am, how determined I am, and most importantly I learned this journey is not all about me – it’s much bigger.

What are you working on these days?

Opening up more spots for my 1:1 coaching program Relationship Redefined and offering more self-love workshops to expand throughout the GTA and beyond.

Awaken the Beauty Within takes place July 1416 in Oro-Medonite, Ontario. Limited space is available to ensure personal attention is given. To register, contact Michelle at info@livtru.ca.