In this podcast episode, I'm chatting with the incredibly inspiring woman behind thegirlcode_byshani on Instagram, Shani Chantel.
Breaking the cycle of negative self-talk
Self-beliefs and how to overcome negative beliefs
Being brave and making an impact!
and more! We even discuss nipple tassels, so get your tea ready for a jam-packed chat with this absolute babe.
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How has your mindset and self-dialogue changed and evolved over time and since becoming a mum?
So much, I remember a time, I think Angel must've been about 15 months old. And I just remember we were getting ready to go out. I think when they're 15 months, it's still such a mission to get out of the house and your in this headspace of every time you get dressed, questioning yourself.
People said after having a baby not to worry and that I would bounce back but I haven't... like what is this? What am I bouncing back to? I haven't bounced back and I remember this particular time when we were about to head out and she was so young and I remember just having that moment with myself when I was getting dressed and I was so frantic. I must've changed about 15 times. No kidding.
And I just remember looking at myself and I was like, "I look so fat."
And as that came out of my mouth, I was looking at this little baby and Angel never really was these tiny, tiny infant, like she was a little baby, but she was sitting up early. She was doing stuff so early. I remember looking over at her that time and I was like, this is your opportunity to stop, like cut this shit because it's not just me that I'm talking to anymore.
There's going to be a ripple effect if I don't stop the negative self-talk here right now.
There are so many cultures and so many old fashioned ways and ways that I don't love of my family and their upbringing and that I really want to break those routines and those cultures and step out of that.
I had that moment where I was just like, if you don't cut the shit now you have this opportunity to practice before she does get that little bit older. This is your practice time. And I literally just started pushing out all of that negativity as soon as it happened, and backed it up with a compliment.
Changing the way you speak to yourself
Once you start to stop and change the way that you speak, you start to change the way that you think and you can just do so much better. And every time I said stuff like that, I also looked at myself, I would literally force myself to go and look in the mirror and be like, you can do better than that.
You know better than this.
It's looking at yourself and going, you literally just disappointed me. Don't do it again. And it's just the way that I did it.
Brooke: I think you explained it so beautifully that it was a process and I think so many women get scared because they feel like it's something that just needs to happen straight away and when it's not happening for them straight away and they can't see results they give up.
We need to realise that learning to love yourself and become confident in your skin is a process and you have to put in the work.
I have so many girls message me and say "I just hate myself, I'm fat, I have no personality, there's nothing to like about me." It sometimes feels impossible to try and convey to them that that's your mindset right now but you, and only you, can change that.
But if you can pick up those thoughts when they're happening and stop that negative self-dialogue, it's just little changes that you make every day. It doesn't have to be this overwhelming task. It's just little actions every day towards not thinking that you're fat and ugly and dumb because those things aren't true. They're just, you're own perceptions of yourself, they're NOT true.
Shani: Like imagine studying a degree. I feel like there is so much pressure on changing the mindset that we become obsessed with it.
You cannot live for 25 years and decide that tomorrow you are going to unlearn everything that you know about yourself.
How do we wake up these women and myself and yourself and how do we wake them up to go, this is going to be a process. Just like studying a bachelor, just like giving birth, just like curing cancer. It's going to be a process and it's going to take time and it's like, baby girl, if you don't realise that it's going to be a process, then you're going to fucking struggle your whole life.
You need to understand, it's going to take time and yeah. Yeah. Like these things that we think of ourselves. I always try and take myself inward and think, okay, where did this stem from? Okay. Maybe the person that taught me that when I was younger, why were they so right and my opinions are so wrong. It's like one person in a billion people. Why was that person's opinion so right when I was younger? And it's because we're sponges when we're younger and I hear people say that all the time, but until I had my child I didn't realise how much we absorb at that age.
Advice for women working on themselves
Shani: I never want to call myself an influencer like that's not but you need to know that every time you're on social media, sharing your life, sharing anything that you do, your clothes, your food, whatever, you are automatically influencing.
Everything that I literally talk about is from my personal experiences, never do I talk about what could be or should be. I'm only ever talking about what I have been through and how I can share so that we can all feel that little bit more comfortable because I'm not the only one going through this womanhood and I know that there are people out there going through it.
So that's what keeps me nurturing my audience and my women and my beautiful girl code community is because I know that I'm not the only one. I often look at my audience and I go and look at my insights and my statistics and say like, who are the people I'm actually talking to? And they are women. And there's this little bar graph of like the ages and mine's from 18 to 25, 26 and then I have these massive jump from like 40 to 50. It's so crazy. Because in that time, I feel like from 25 to 30 and I'm in this right now, I have learned so much about myself and how I can love myself and do better for myself.
How can I think cleaner and smarter? And by cleaner I mean, being kinder to myself. I get a lot of those messages, stacks of them and sometimes I don't even get a chance to open them, but I really do want to be there for everybody. And that's probably what kills me the most is I can't be there for everybody.
That's why it's so important for me to make sure and make sure that my message is getting across and I really am looking at how I can narrow what it is that I want to share and empower people about.
Imperfectly power is always my motto because I'm not trying to get things right for us women, I'm not trying to get them perfect, but what I am trying to get them to a place of being livable with how do we live with what we are and who we are? And how do we live right now? How do we stop thinking about when I have this or when I have that when my body looks like this? Because I've been there and that time is never coming. And if anything that time is gone for me because unless I meet a sugar daddy and he pays for all the surgeries, it's not happening.
I so badly want for every woman to feel like who they are is enough and that it's okay. We hear that repetitively on podcasts and in books and all kinds of things. But that's because the women that are trying to create this movement are just having such big message that is still so unheard because we are almost suffocated in this fabrication of what women are supposed to be.
People like myself and yourself that are in these, you could call it an industry of trying to make it a better place for women and their bodies and their minds and understanding. We get that it's happening.
But there's so many other women out there that still don't feel the movement. And until that movement is felt and there's a major ripple effect and we are seeing these curvy girls on big billboards and all the things. It is happening but it's happening too slow. And I feel like by the time we get there we are going to be so damaged and we are going to be then dating so many younger women that there's going to be no effect. So we need to make sure that when we are sharing and when these people do inbox us or we get these DMs, we need to be making sure our message is loud enough and clear enough on our platform, which for me it's Instagram.
If the message is there and they can find the answer for themselves in my content or whatever it might be. That's what I'm really trying to work on because there's no way I can get to all my DMs. There is no way.
Brooke: I've made all the efforts and I practice what I preach and unfollowing people that don't make me feel good and following amazing women like yourself. I feel surrounded by this love and I feel like the movement is like so impactful, but if you're not in it and if you're still stuck in that mindset that you and I were in, a couple of years ago, you're not feeling that impact. And I think you'll right in the sense that we have so much more room to create a world where woman can truly love their bodies.
How to build each other up
We can talk about calling other women's sisters and we can do all the things to be like Babe, what you're doing is a great job or we can say things, but if we are not going inwards, if we're not fixing the shit that we are saying to ourselves and the way that we are feeling, we are never ever going to be able to uplift anyone else.
We want our friends and our sisters and now girlfriends, whatever it is. We want them to lead to really do better, be better, feel better but if we're going to keep on doing this half-hearted, half-arsed, we really want you to do good but when you do, I sit in my bedroom or I sit on my phone and think like, Oh, fuck her for doing good. We feel that. I feel that fake love.
When someone tells me that's so amazing, babe. And then next week they're acting a little bit different towards me. I want this shit to come from your soul. I want you to fix whatever it is that is inside your stomach and your gut and your womb and your heart, whatever it is that is aching within you to feel like you cannot genuinely from the depths of your soul uplift another woman, fuck it off. There is so much work there.
Yeah, don't give a fake compliment if you really can't feel it within you.
I just feel like that's how this uplifting movement is going to work. When I look at you or any of my beautiful women that are in this movement and I think, go her. If you were to literally show up on this Zoom right now with nipple tassels on, if that's what you want, but I want you to want to be you.
Brooke: Good to know. Next time we're jumping on this Zoom call now I'm going to come on with my nipple tassels.
Shani: Yes! But I really want it to come from within and I feel like that's how we're going to really feel the movement is when it's real, it's really, really real.
People online are so much more aware these days and if you're being fake, if you're being ingenuine, it takes two seconds for someone who's really in tune with who they are to just pick up on that shit and call it out. And like you said, if you feel like you're getting fake compliments, it's almost worse than someone just saying nothing at all.
If you don't lift yourself up, people are going to ask "why would I take advice from you if you can't even help yourself", the message here is ALWAYS work on YOU first.
You can't help others if you can't help yourself first. When you fly on an airplane, the flight attendant tells you to put your oxygen mask on first for a reason!
Shani: I can sense it and I can feel it because I'm in this for not myself, nothing to do with myself. I want to heal myself so I can heal other people. I can start to spread that message because if I'm not showing that and I'm not doing this for me, I'm literally doing this for every other woman that's ever felt insecure, scared, sat in the bathrooms when they were younger crying.
For the women that really cannot stand themselves to a point where they have to change 10 or 15 times before they walked out the door. There were so many different types of women that are going through it. And I think that as long as we've healed ourselves and we can begin that journey, that's when we can start to spread the message and really make an impact. That the more that I share my vulnerabilities and put that stuff out there and the more that I lay there at night and think, shit, should I delete that or should I take that content down?
My grandmother asked me the other day, "Shani, I just got Instagram." She hasn't seen my mom for 20 years plus. And they're really trying to rekindle their relationship. And a lot of what my mom thinks about her body and the way she's felt about herself her whole life comes from this person.
So really found it hard to reconnect with this person that I see has damaged another young woman's mind at some point. And now that I'm a mum and I have the opportunity to sit and think about how I want to be, I'm not trying to be perfect, but I am trying to break the cycle of negativity. And she said to me, "Shani, why do you want to do what you're doing?" She's like, "nobody has to see all that" And I said, "but that's just it. Your old fashioned ways in the ways that people think about nobody has to see. That's exactly what we have to see to start understanding that this is real life and real bodies."
And when I say real, I don't want to eliminate the skinny girls or the plus size girls because I feel like when we constantly talk about, like real bodies, does that have to be curvy? Why is a skinny body not real or why is plus size so real on our platforms? When we talk about real and raw. And I just said, I'm doing this because these are the ways that women think and I want to break that cycle.
How to change for the better
If you really want to make that impact, you have to decide that you're going to be brave.
You're going to be brave enough to show up for not just yourself, but for everybody else that needs it.
Because when you learn how to heal and empower and change the cycles and the stories and all of those things, it is not up to you to want to share them. You have to share them because that's the only way we're going to get healthier and better. And I mean healthier within our minds.
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