Welcome to another Freedom Friday Interview! To read more about Freedom Friday Interviews, please click here.
This week we’re welcoming Hayley Blake to share her story of freedom. I connected with Hayley a couple of years ago through social media and am very excited to have her on my blog to share her story today!
1. I am so happy to have you on as a Freedom Friday guest! Give us a little background about yourself before we dive into the juiciness of freedom and how it applies to you and your life!
I am so happy you asked me to be a guest for this inspiring series! A little background on me…I am 25 years old and live in California near San Francisco. I currently am a life coach on the side of my full-time job at a nonprofit, and I specialize in helping women heal their relationship to food and their bodies. I struggled with disordered eating, horrible body image, and low self esteem for almost a decade of my life (all of high school and college), and post-college knew I needed to make a change. I was so sick of feeling physically unhealthy and obsessing about what I was eating just to look a certain way. I knew it wasn’t the answer to happiness, even though the media is constantly telling us thinness is the key to “the best life”. It wasn’t for me, and I help other women get out of that trap as well.
2. What does “freedom” mean to you?
“Freedom” to me means loving yourself enough to let go of all of the “rules” we are constantly fed and starting to trust your inner guidance. For so long, I lived by what other people told me I should or shouldn’t do. I counted calories, obsessed over the number on the scale, kept my opinions to myself, stayed in unfulfilling relationships, the list goes on. Freedom is saying “NO” to the things that aren’t serving you and embracing what it is that you truly want and desire.
3. Share about the time in your life when you lacked freedom. What was your struggle?
I shared about this a little already, but for a lot of my life, I felt anything but free. I think it boiled down to not loving myself. I didn’t feel comfortable in my skin and I was constantly trying to change who I was. That manifested as trying to change my body, because that’s what I thought would be easiest to control. All it led to was feeling like I was a hamster on a wheel, living a life not made for me. It was exhausting. I needed to learn to accept who I was rather than constantly trying to change my body in search of that love I was craving.
4. What was your turning point? When did you realize that you needed to embrace freedom?
I decided after college that I couldn’t and wouldn’t participate in my own self-destruction anymore. I knew I was the only one who could turn it around, so what was I waiting for? I began to implement small changes in my life each day and they all added up until I eventually was no longer struggling anymore. I am not perfect and never will be, but I no longer feel chained to a diet, way of exercising, or anything else. I feel free to do what makes me feel good, and also to let what that looks like change throughout my life!
5. How do you allow freedom into your life on a daily basis?
Freedom is how I would describe every area of my life now, and for that I am grateful. Every day, I eat what my body and soul want, I exercise in ways that feel good (or I rest if that’s what I am needing), I cut myself slack when I mess up, and I do things I love. I give myself the freedom to be myself and to be vulnerable with others. My relationships are more authentic now, with others and with myself. I feel free in my life when I just let go of expectations of how it “should” be and roll with it.
6. I believe our journey towards freedom never truly ends, it just continues to progress to more and more freedom. How have you challenged yourself recently to embrace more freedom into your life?
I feel like for the past 3-4 years, my main journey has been one towards total freedom. Today, I still challenge myself to live more freely, it just looks different than in did a few years ago when it was a big deal to go out for ice cream! Recently, I have been traveling a lot. For a long time, traveling caused anxiety and it was hard for me to push out of my comfort zone. I am now doing it on a regular basis, and I still have to challenge any anxious thoughts that arise. It’s been a great growth opportunity for me. Returning from a vacation with memories that I never would’ve been able to create if I hadn’t pushed myself to go…that’s freedom for me now.
7. What is one golden nugget of wisdom you can provide to those who are currently struggling with embracing freedom today?
I think something that could be helpful would be to take a social media break. I wish I had done this years ago when I was at the beginning of my “freedom journey”. Disconnect for a while from social media (as much as you can) and really be in your own life. It frees you up from the constant comparison game that goes on on social media and allows you to turn inward more. You have all the answers you need, you just have to quiet the outside noise for a while to begin to hear it.
8. And before we say good bye, how can we stay connect with you over social media?
After you take this social media break 😉 you can connect with me on Instagram @hayleylblake and find my coaching information at hayleyblake.com. I also blog regularly over there at hayleyblake.com/blog.