episode 79 podcst cover for Changes Big and Small on how to get in touch with yourself and define your self-image with monica sherese

Listen to this episode with self-image coach and personal stylist Monica Sherese to get in touch with yourself and define your self-image. I love how Monica Sherese shows up in this interview. Her energy and her passion comes through, and there are so many questions that I had on my list that we didn’t even get to. Be sure to accept Monica’s invitation; it’s something that each of us can do every day.

A common theme in many episodes of the podcast, and especially the recent episodes, is for you to take time, get to know yourself, savor your experiences, find out what it is that you really want. Find ways to remove the external and outside influences that are putting up blockers or walls between you and the life that you can choose, the life that you can decide.

If you’re new to listening to Changes Big and Small, go back and listen to the previous episodes because there is an action that you can take, an invitation, in each episode that can help you build habits. These habits can be steps along your path to living the life that you want.

If you know of somebody else who will benefit from listening to this episode on self-image, please share it with them. Also, you can follow @changesbigandsmall and @monicasherese on Instagram. Come join the conversation, and tag us using #changesbigandsmall so that we can share your aligned ideas with other people in the community.


Although Monica Sherese lives in the DC metro area, she is a lifetime New Yorker. Monica is a Personal Stylist, Strategy Consultant, and Life Coach School Certified Coach. Combining 21+ years of experience,  she works with women aged 40 and up to transform the relationship they have with themselves such that they are fully empowered in every area of life, and have alignment between their inner self-image and outward self-expression. 

Monica combines her skills in strategic organizational consulting and wardrobe styling with neuroscience and enclothed cognition to offer a unique approach to life coaching that utilizes development of a future self identity to powerfully step into using style as a dynamic catalyst for personal transformation.

Be sure to connect with Monica and learn from her. She has a coaching website in development is monicasherese.com and her boutique can be found at monica.cabionline.com. To schedule a free coaching session with her, visit calendly.com/monicasherese. Also, follow her on Instagram at @monicasherese.

We recorded this episode on May 21, 2021.

So many times the answers are within the community. I’m just the guide on the side; I’m not the expert. I am there to help you, help guide you toward the right questions, not necessarily the right answers, because we all have the answers that we need within us.

Monica Sherese, Personal Stylist | Strategy Consultant | Coach

Your Challenge Invitation

There are lots of options of actions for you to do today and through the course of the week around self-acceptance and self-image.

Go back and listen to I am a miracle (which you can also find on the YouTube channel). Listen to it as many times as needed to get steeped in the wonderment of who it is that you are.

Music is an incredible state changer. Create your own love list, a playlist of love songs that you can plan and as you listen, imagine that these songs are being sung about you and to you. This is a wonderful way to transport the mind into a different place.  When you’re focused on love songs and you are feeling each love song being about you, each song is professing love for you, love to you. It’s like you can’t help but to get into a loving space. 

Take time with yourself. One way to do that is by making a ritual of putting on your body lotion. First of all, put lotion on your body for as many days as you can in the week. It is a very simple act of being able to get into a mindful moment. Treat yourself to the gift of moisturizing and nourishing your skin, which is the largest organ that we have. Take a few moments to savor the presence of yourself, to savor the folds and the creases on your body. As you do this ritual, express appreciation for different parts of your body. Over time, your ritual will become a habit and will elevate your sense of self.

Contact and follow Monica by visiting her website https://monicasherese.com/. She is also active on Instagram.

You can connect with Damianne on the Changes BIG and small website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube. You’re also invited to join the Changes BIG and small Facebook community.

Make a powerful choice. Know that you can always make a powerful choice.

Related Episodes

You can also listen to episode 81 of the podcast for more from Monica!

Timeline of the Chat

03:03 – What is Self-image?
06:08 – Self-Concept, Self-Image, and Self-Esteem
09:19 – How to determine what makes you happy
19:42 – Self-care as part of your relationship with yourself
25:34 – Self-image and self-acceptance as part of self-care
30:16 – Growing in Community
36:31 – Invitation/Challenge
39:27 – Learn to appreciate your body
44:31 – Advice about self-image 
48:28 – Fast Five

We all have the answers that we need within us.

Quick Links

It is so important to put focus and attention on the most important and valuable relationship that you’ll ever have in your life, and that is the one with yourself.

Transcript of the Episode

What is Self-Image?  [03:03]

Damianne President: [03:03] So what is self-image and why is it important?

Monica Sherese: [03:07] Self-image, the formal definition of it, is a mental portrait of yourself. So it’s the mental portrait that you have of yourself. And it contains characteristics that are physical in nature that other people can readily see when they look at you, like your hair color or your skin tone, or your general body size and things of that nature that are pretty much fixed unless you decide to alter them.

But they’re the general things that everyone has, and you have your views about those things. But a lot of it is the mental picture, like what is your interpretation of those things? What is it that you think about your hair color or your hair texture or your skin tone or your body shape? So it’s the actual characteristics themselves and your interpretations.

And it also extends to capabilities, which does bleed a little bit into self-esteem. Self-image is very closely tied to self-esteem because it is that more comprehensive mental portrait of what you believe about yourself, and it’s important because it essentially is the foundation of the results that we achieve in our lives, or the type of life experience that we’re having is very much coiled together with the views that we have ourselves.

So people who have a higher self-image tend to have less difficulty seeing through to outcomes they wish to have in their life. So even if they encounter obstacles, which are going to happen to everyone, they have a self-belief or are easily able to cultivate a self-belief that they can get through the distraction or get through the barrier in order to achieve what it is that they want, because they believe that they should have those things and they can create those results in their lives. Whereas people with a lower self-image have a lid on what they believe is possible for themselves, and that is related to any result.

So someone who has like a low body image may have a yearning to want to become more fit as an example, but don’t necessarily believe that they can actually achieve that goal. And so they then end up focusing a lot of disdain and negative feelings towards their bodies. 

Damianne President: [05:58] So I’m trying to make the connection between self-esteem and self-image. And it sounds like they’re not exactly the same, but they are correlated.

Self-Concept, Self-Image, and Self-Esteem [06:08]

Monica Sherese: [06:08] Yes. So there is a more holistic umbrella called a self-concept that includes your self-image, self-esteem, and your ideal self. So it’s kind of like the, you know, some people call it their future self or like this identity that we’re constantly trying to live into because as humans, we have this thing where we’re like striving to be in a different place. We’re trying to get somewhere. We’re trying to become somebody. And so there’s this ideal version of ourselves that is always kind of floating around in our mind. 

So self-esteem is the views about your capabilities, your ability to accomplish, your skills, your acumen, things of that nature. So if your self-image and the ideal version of yourself that you hold in your mind’s eye, If those two things are pretty far apart, like you have this ideal version of yourself, but where you are right now, it seems like a really far leap to make to that ideal style, your self-esteem tends to be lower. But if your self-image and the future version of yourself that you hold in your mind’s eye, if you see them as being relatively close together, like, you know, I can definitely achieve my goals, I can definitely live the kind of life that I see wanting to create for myself, you will tend to have a higher self-esteem because you believe that your capacity and capability to move yourself from your current self-image to a future self-image is definitely achievable and doable and that you’ll do it.

Damianne President: [08:00] That is illustrative for me because I’ve never thought about the relationship with the future self. It makes sense, but I’m going to sit with it also because it’s a new idea for me. 

Monica Sherese: [08:11] Yeah. And there are some psychologists who will add a fourth dimension to self-concept called a social self. And that is the belief that the way that you view yourself and you have also incorporated sort of the views that others have of you. And so that’s a social self, which is a little bit different than your self-image.

Damianne President: [08:38] I think mathematically so I’m drawing like a Venn diagram in my head, and see there’d be lots of overlaps and relationships between those different elements. 

Monica Sherese: [08:48] Absolutely. They’re not separate. They do have a lot of overlap, for sure.

 Damianne President: [08:54] If you’re listening and you’re under 40, there is a message here for you. I know sometimes we can get caught up in not learning from other people’s experiences. Sometimes we need to burn ourselves before we really understand that that stove is hot and we should not touch it. But if you can learn from our experiences, there is something here that’s worth listening to for you.

How to determine what makes you happy [09:19]

So in your work with self-image, you focus on women who are over 40. Why women over 40?

Monica Sherese: [09:27] I decided to coach in this particular area, and I think this is similar to many coaches. It’s based on your own life experience and the experiences that you’ve been able to try on. So me, I am 45. I’m going to be 46 at the end of this year. And I noticed when I turned 35, it definitely kicked in when I was 40, but I began to have lots of thoughts about the state of my life as compared to the state of what I thought my life would look like by that time in life.

And there is something I think that happens at age 40, where, like I had a reckoning. I was at an age where I could no longer make excuses for the results that I was seeing in my life. I wasn’t in my twenties anymore where I’m like young and fresh and like trying to navigate the world and learning. And then in your thirties, you’re sort of making career moves that are beginning to set yourself up for the later years of your life, and maybe making decisions about marriage and children and buying property or anything like that, like making some major life decisions in your thirties and begin working very hard at building your career.

And then a 40, I was like, I thought that by making certain decisions and following a certain path that was laid out for me by family pressure, societal pressure, expectations, that by the time that I was 40 or in my forties life was supposed to be grand. I was supposed to be living it up. I was supposed to be super happy, having checked the boxes of all of the accoutrements of success. And I got to a place where I was like, I have a great job and a career, I’ve gotten married, I have a wonderful home that I live in. I’ve purchased two homes by this point. I have the par of my dreams. Why is it that it still feels like there’s something missing for me?

I’m not exactly happy right now. I’m content, but I’m not exactly happy right now. I began to realize that I was following someone else’s path for my life. That a lot of the decisions that I was making were based on what I was expected to do and not necessarily what it is that I wanted to do. And so I was completely messed up in my head about that and feeling like I had made the wrong choices.

I kept going over scenarios in my past and really getting down on myself and then having this thought that at 40, I’ve lived 20 years of my adult life. Now it’s too late to make significant transition. I should’ve done this. I could’ve done that. I wish that I had done that. And I became a bit depressed about that. And so I decided that what I needed was to make a decision to get acquainted with who am I really, stripping away my parental beliefs that were passed down to me, beliefs from the church that were passed down to me, beliefs from society, from managers that I’ve had at different jobs and what they thought was best for me, stripping away all of those things. When you take it away, who am I? 

Who am I? And is that person aligned with the life that I’m living and the life that I’m living into? And I had determined that there was a mismatch there, and that was the source of a lot of the anger and the frustration that I was having. From the outside, looking in, I was living a pretty enviable life. And then I had this shame about feeling unsatisfied with that. And then who do you go to, to talk to about it? You’ll be seen as ungrateful; you’ll be seen as wanting too much; you’ll be seen as, you know, all kinds of negative things. And so I made a decision that I was going to recreate myself, to get in touch with what was important to me, what were my values? What was the stan that I was in the world? Like what is my mission in the world? What is the impact that I’m here to make, and then begin to align decisions that I’m making in my life? And I’m still in the process of doing that, aligning decisions in my life to who it is that I am.

And that is the work that is fundamental to what I do with women. It’s becoming familiar, doing that internal self-inquiry and discovery of who it is that you are, and they’re recognizing that, that internal self-portrait that you have of yourself is what is creating the experience that you have of life. And is it you and what you want and what is authentic to you that is leading your path in life, or is it a lot of beliefs and a lot of gunk, a lot of junk, a lot of distraction in other extraneous information that we’ve all internalized by being, you know, people in society?

 Are those thoughts yours? Are those beliefs yours, or are they someone else’s? It’s really getting to the bottom of that and cultivating the self-image that you want, that is going to help you live into the life that is your choice and your choosing and not based on someone else’s expectations.

Damianne President: [15:57] I know for myself, and it might be a bit reductive to call it my midlife crisis, but when I was 38, I went through a lot of the similar kinds of thought that you’re talking about, in terms of is this where I want to be, how much of the life that I’m in right now was intentional on my part and how much of it was me just kind of going along with the flow and drifting in the winds and whatever.

And I remember I had a Sufi friend in India and he said to me Damianne, sometimes you have to get off the bus where you’re just looking outside of the window and you have to decide I’m going to join everybody right now and enter the fray, even though it might not be so very comfortable. Years later, I still think of that, and I still reflect on it because I think that this is the work of a lifetime, to keep choosing again and again what is it that I want right now, what is it that I’m going to participate in right now? And we will live a life just fine. We will persist even if we don’t do that, but how much more can we have for ourselves if we do that work.

Monica Sherese: [17:09] So excellently put and you’re exactly right. And that’s why I was saying, like, it’s somewhere in that 35 to 40. And I do work with women who are under 40, but I do kind of target women who are over 40 because I think that they had a couple of years in that space of trying to figure it out, and something usually turns on at 40, like, okay, I have to do something about this now; I have to figure this out. But yeah, you’re exactly right. It’s making sure that the life that you’re living is the one of your choices. And I think that you, you mentioned something that is important to focus on and it’s around the idea of reflecting, pausing, and actually thinking about it, which I think is an important distinction to make, an important point to emphasize. 

I believe that we are living through an epidemic of distraction, and I think that it’s only become exacerbated in the last 12 to 15 months with what we’ve been dealing with during a pandemic. There’s so much entertainment. There are so many influences that are pulling for our attention that I think that there is a tendency to just drift through life at a point and to not even realize that you’re not living a life that’s aligned with what you think is important until even later in life. I’m in communities with women who are well into their fifties and into their sixties, having this same conversation. And women who are much younger, who are not even necessarily thinking about it because they’re, you know, most interested in the newest series on Netflix, or the newest show on TV, or the newest bit of entertainment news, or the latest reality show. And you know, many people I see are just going through the motions of life.

 They’ve got a job, they may have children and they’re in kind of a routine that is so firmly entrenched that it’s almost a rut. And so not even pausing to have those introspective points to check in with yourself, to see am I really satisfied with what’s going on, or am I just doing it because I’ve always just been doing.

Self-care as part of your relationship with yourself [19:42]

Damianne President: [19:42] Yes. In fact, just today, I was reflecting on the whole idea of tuning in versus tuning out. And I think for a lot of us, when we think about self-care, then people tend to tune out like I’m going to watch a series; I’m going to listen to music and fade out or whatever as the case may be. It’s a lot less the case where we’re thinking, let me go for a walk with myself and observe what’s happening around me; let me sit quietly and breathe; let me write what I’m thinking. There are so many different models that we could use for that kind of reflection or introspection or tuning in and getting to know ourselves. But there is a lot of competition right now for our attention. And I think some people don’t even consider that that is a very important form of self-care as well.

Monica Sherese: [20:36] Absolutely. I would mention to say it’s the most important form of self-care. I think it was Seneca, the Greek philosopher who said that an unexamined life isn’t worth living. And people who are biblically inclined, the Bible talks many times about let a man examine himself. And it is so important to put focus and attention on the most important and valuable relationship that you’ll ever have in your life, and that is the one with yourself. And I don’t know that many of us think of being with ourselves as being in a relationship, as something that is important to cultivate. There is this body that we’ve been born into and then there is a consciousness that’s within, and that is the source of the conversations that go on in our heads all the time.

There are thoughts, and sometimes we have competing goals. Sometimes there’s like whole dialogues that are going on in there. And sometimes it’s really interesting and fascinating to stop and write down, which I’m a fan of, what is it that you think about? What are the thoughts that run through your mind? 

It’s actually an exercise that I teach my clients to do. And it’s the thought download, whereas part of a morning routine, it’s usually best to do it in the morning because you’ve slept all night. As soon as you are into consciousness, the mind begins to go all the thoughts, the monkey mind all over the place. And so just, you know, sit down and one by one, write them out, just get the dump out of your mind so that you can see it on paper and don’t edit it. Don’t try to alter it in any way, but to really just look because you might be surprised by some things that are in there and it just helps to like relax the mind into, well, the inner voice, sometimes that in many cases really just wants to be heard.

Thoughts tend to be repetitive, repetitive, repetitive until they are acknowledged. And once like anything that’s acknowledged, you can let it pass. But as long as it’s resisted, like what resists persists, and the thoughts will be repetitive over and over and over again. But you’re exactly right, and I think that there are some that are concerned about being with themselves. And so whether it’s a conscious or subconscious activity, there’s a willful distraction. We call it buffering in Life Coach School, where you don’t want to be with yourself. 

If I’m with myself, I got to have some glasses of wine. I got to have a drink. I got to watch TV. I have to do anything to avoid being with myself and my thoughts because it can be a scary place for some people. And that’s one of the reasons why I believe that it’s important to invest in coaching because coaching provides a compassionate witness to walk the journey with you and to be able to go into those deep shadowy areas that you may want to avoid because you don’t know what’s really in there, what would happen if I began to uncover the Pandora’s box. And having someone alongside you to really guide you through that journey is so transformative and important in developing that relationship with self. 

Damianne President: [24:38] Yes. And as you were talking, the other thing that was coming up for me is the idea that buffering is also like putting up walls. And if we’re putting up walls around ourselves to ourselves, then that means we’re also putting up walls between ourselves and other people, whether or not we may acknowledge it. 

And so the whole season, this season is about self-acceptance. And I think the real reason why I chose that topic is because I began to realize, okay, this is something that I need to work on for myself as well. And as I had conversations with friends, I realized that this is such an issue for so many people. And so when I thought, okay, what are the different elements of self-acceptance, self-image came up for me too. I thought the way that I see myself, the way that I imagine myself, my self-image has a relationship with my self-acceptance.

Self-image and self-acceptance as part of self-care [25:34]

And so, what do I need to consider for myself? If you put on your coaching hat, what does one have to consider for themselves in terms of how to use self-image and self-acceptance to build a space, to be able to take care of themselves? 

Monica Sherese: [25:57] Absolutely. There are a few things that come to mind.

One of the initial things that I like to have anyone that I’m really talking to about self-image to consider is the absolute miracle of life that you are. Each one of us is literally a walking system of a multitude of miracles. When you think about the statistics, as far as the likelihood of being conceived, the likelihood of making it through a healthy pregnancy, the likelihood of being born healthy, or at this point in time, having overcome whatever from a specifically health perspective, to be upright and alive, able to breathe and see and hear, able to experience life. It really is an astounding mystery how it is that each one of us came to be and came to be seated here today, with the life experience that we’ve had, everything lining up in a particular way to create this individual entity that is Damianne of which there will, there has never been one like you ever in the history of the universe and there will never, ever, ever be another one like you at any other point in the history of the universe.

So when you can really fit with the miracle that it is that you are, and you allow yourself to just be caught in the fascination of it all, you’ll be astounded by yourself. And to think about the ways in which our brains fire synapses that are able to form thoughts together that give us the cognition for language, the number of times that our hearts have beat over the course of our lives and continue to beat consistently for years and years and years, the way that our blood circulates. I mean, you really don’t even have to go into biology, but just have a basic understanding of those different times types of systems and how they’re all working together is just amazing.

Like you are a walking amazement and those are very simple thoughts that you can begin to start with. Just go on a rampage with it, like all the ways in which I am a miracle right now. So much of it is still unexplained with all of the science that we have at our disposal.

And so for that alone, whatever it is that the intelligence is around us that saw fit to create this person that is you, I think forms an incredible basis for accepting that something in the universe felt that it was necessary for you to be here and for you to be here in this space and time.

Damianne President: [29:42] One of the implicit the beliefs that I’m hearing as you speak is that none of us is a mistake; each of us is here with purpose, with intention.

The other thing that I’m thinking is that as you’re talking, I’m smiling because this is such a positive way of looking at my life, at looking at an individual life that how could you not smile? And I know that one of the things that’s very important to you is the concept of community and how we can be in community with each other, for peer coaching, for stewardship.

Growing in Community [30:16]

Tell us about your perspective on how we can help each other in community, to kind of develop these thoughts that you just expressed so beautifully for each other and with each other.

Monica Sherese: [30:29] Yes. Thank you for, for raising that. When I communicate who it is that I am, a lot of people will ask, oh, you know, why don’t you introduce yourself? I try to be very mindful of staying away from I do this and I do that, and I have this position, and this is happening, and to focus on who am I, who am I in the world? And simply put, I am in the world a woman who is fiercely committed to every woman within the sphere of my influence knowing themselves as beautiful, confident, and capable.

And I think that it is so important to nurture authentic community amongst women particularly, not that I have anything against the guys. It’s that I recognize how fundamental women are to the harmony of society or the harmony of the greater universe. We are the nurturers; we are the caretakers; we are the ones who are able to kind of see from both sides of the brain.

There are those of us that are more analytical in nature, but then there’s this empathic intuitive nature that we have a more feeling sensibility in addition to a thinking sensibility. There are those who are in households, where they have the main influence over the rearing and growing up children; they have the ears and influence of husbands in the households.

 I believe in queen energy and cultivating that and affirming one another as women. And so that is why the concept of community is very important to me. And one that I am actually in the process of establishing where I want to build a community on Facebook that is different than the average Facebook group experience, where there’s just, you know, people in there and there is some postings that you can read, maybe some inspiration that you might glean and, you know, maybe there’s some active conversation between participants, but most people don’t ever get opportunities to really have connection with each other, and I distinguish that from conversation because I do believe that it’s possible to have lots of conversation with people and never really, truly connect with them, like on a heart level. 

And so I want it to be a real enriched community and not just a Facebook group where we are. It is someplace where you can go to be accepted, seen, and witnessed. That’s another one of my trifectas that I am strongly in favor of is having environments where women are able to be accepted no questions asked for whoever they are, for, however, they are, however they need to show up that day. There’s no need to curtail.; There’s no need to, um, to self-edit. It’s all welcome.

And one thing that a mentor of mine taught me, and I don’t remember the source of the quote, but he said that he learned from someone that trauma is what happens to a person in the absence of an empathetic witness, so when there is no place to go, when you are experiencing even something as just microaggressions at work, all the way to having significantly damaging experiences in your life.

Sometimes yes, you know, going to therapy to address those things if it’s really having an impact on your life is something that I absolutely advocate. And there’s something to be said when you can go into a community that’s going to hold that space for you, that is going to couch you in, you know, gentle love, and have you be able to just express your story and what has been your experience in an environment where people are able to receive it. 

Sometimes it’s not about coaching; sometimes it’s just about listening. So I just want to be able to create those kinds of experiences for women, where when you come in, you know that it’s different; you know that there is sisterhood here. There are opportunities to truly connect with one another. There are opportunities to have wisdom circles, which is one thing I want to create as well, where I teach women, what are the basics of peer coaching, and provide environments where we’re able to do that for one another, and I will facilitate it. But so many times the answers are within the community. I’m just the guide on the side; I’m not the expert. I am there to help you, help guide you toward the right questions, not necessarily the right answers because we all have the answers that we need within us. Sometimes we just need a guide or a coach to help prod us in the direction of our own knowing. And so that’s what I want community to be about. And that’s what I believe real community is, and authentic community is with women and the power that can come from that. 

Invitation/Challenge (with emphasis on self-image) [36:31]

Damianne President: [36:31] Now is a great opportunity to invite listeners to help magnify that influence that you would like to make. Do you have an invitation or a challenge for listeners of something that they could do even today that would help in terms of creating this kind of thought process, action process in the world?

Monica Sherese: [36:52] Absolutely. Definitely. Um, go back and listen to I am a miracle that essentially is the foundation of an exercise that I have my clients do is to really get steeped in the wonderment of who it is that you are. Also, something that’s simple to do, music is an incredible state changer. So I have, and I was challenged to do this by someone in my life and it’s worked very well, is to create your own love list. That’s a playlist of love songs that you imagine when you play that list, that these songs are being sung about you and to you. And it’s a wonderful way to like transport the mind into a different place by listening to music.  

When you’re focused on love songs and you are getting into the feeling space of this song is about me, this song is being sung that is professing love for me, love to me, it’s like you can’t help but to get into a loving space. 

Another thing that is simple to do is to take time with yourself. So we talked about self-care and different ways that that can be interpreted. And there is something that is more along the traditional idea of self-care that I have women especially focus on, and that is making a ritual, having a ritual about putting on your body lotion.

First of all, put lotion on your body for as many days as you can in the week if you’re not one to want to do it every day. I put on lotion every day. Some people just feel like they really don’t have time or whatever other barrier comes up. It is a very simple act of being able to get into a mindful place about you for a moment, to just treat yourself to the gift of moisturizing and nourishing your skin, which is the largest organ that we have, and to not just in a rush, you know, slap some lotion on it, but to just take a few moments to savor the presence of yourself, to savor the, you know, the folds and the creases on your body. 

Learn to appreciate your body [39:27]

Sometimes I look at, oh, I remember that scar; my cat scratched me. Become fascinated with yourself and use it as an opportunity to really nourish yourself that I deserve to have moisturized skin; I deserve to have my body be nourished in every way from outside to inside. And to just talk to your body like this arm is so pretty. Look at this arm. You know, these legs have carried me through so many experiences in life. I’m not necessarily the biggest fan of my calves, but I love my calves because my calves have carried me throughout all of my life.

And so to just in the moment, express appreciation for different parts of yourself, your hands, that write, your nails that still grow without a problem, like just getting down to the simplest level and appreciating yourself and making it a ritualistic habit. It’ll become normal for you and it can’t help but to elevate your sense of self.

Damianne President: [40:45] I think that’s so powerful because when we are intentional about noticing those little things, then we kind of train ourselves to notice more little things and those add up. 

Monica Sherese: [40:59] Yeah. The brain will seek out what you tell it to. So I always advocate questions, like, look at the, you know, where did that come from? And answer yourself. Oh, like, look at that hand there. That is just, you know, such a wonderful hand. Have conversations with yourself and find the evidence of your beauty. 

 Find the evidence of your beauty, find the evidence of your personal miracle. Find the evidence of every wonderful thing that you can say about yourself and acceptance, as you mentioned earlier Damianne, is about accepting all of it.

We don’t have to just accept the positive characteristics and the positive traits about ourselves. There are times that I know myself to be a little moody and I don’t have to hate that; I don’t have to dislike that. I can continually be seeking to always be a better person and still accept that sometimes I’m a little moody and that’s okay. 

I might get a little attitude about some things, but that’s okay. It’s all of like averaging of who I am. It’s all woven together to, again, it’s not a good or bad thing. It’s just, we are, I am me. I am uniquely who I am. The full spectrum of everything is who I am, and it’s wonderful. 

Damianne President: [42:36] I was just listening to a podcast today and there were so many things clicking for me as I was listening, because she was talking about how when she was a child growing up in a black family and I grew up in a Caribbean family and she was talking about how she would show them something that she was excited about and then they would be like, oh, okay. Like, yes, we see you as if, oh, you want attention and that’s a bad thing. And I was like, oh my goodness. All the examples she was giving describe my childhood, describe my middle years. And it was funny because I had never thought about it in that way, where we can sometimes try to make ourselves small because maybe an hour religious tradition or in our family, it was seen as being immodest, or it was seen as being boastful to show something that you were proud, of to show something to accomplished. And I was like, wow, there are all of those little things that stay with us that we may not even examine, but they have roots in our past. Tendrils from the past [43:45]

Monica Sherese: [43:45] They do. They do. It all came from somewhere. That’s like a tagline of mine. It all came from somewhere, and the art of self-inquiry is to do that sitting with yourself, and figure out what is it that you believe, what is it that you think and where did it come from, and does it serve me now? 

Does it serve me now to continue with this thought or to continue with this belief? Because if it doesn’t serve the life that you’re living into, you got to make some decisions about what do you want to do with that? Do you want to replace that with a different thought that is going to be more in the direction of where you’re going? It’s a choice.

Advice about self-image [44:31]

Damianne President: [44:31] I’m going to wind down with the fast five questions. But before I do that, you’re a self-image coach and we talked about self-image and many things people can do, but is there something that’s a myth about self-image or something that you particularly see women struggling with, that you want to take an opportunity to help us with?

Monica Sherese: [44:52] Your self-image is not fixed. I think that that is something that is often thought that the way that you think about yourself like it is what it is, and there is nothing that you can do about it. And that is not true. Our thoughts are living; our thoughts are dynamic. They’re always shifting, even if it’s in perceptible. If there’s something that you want to shift and change about your self-image, it is completely possible.

Do I advocate working with a coach to accelerate that process? Yes. And there’s a lot of work that you can do yourself, but it first comes with taking your own personal inventory of what are your own thoughts about yourself and being very honest about that, and really picking them apart, looking at them from different angles.

 Where have these thoughts shown up in your life? What results have they produced? How do you feel when you think these thoughts about yourself? Where did the beliefs that you have about you and what you’re supposed to do, what you’re not supposed to do, where did that come from? And like we just talked about, is it serving you now?

And you can always make a powerful choice. I don’t want to say a different choice because there are many times in life where we are choosing the same thing again and again, something that we want, and it may not necessarily be different. So make a powerful choice and know that you can always make a powerful choice.

Damianne President: [46:24] Yes. And I know that’s based on our previous conversation and I’ll be sharing elements of that as well, but I know that you believe that every woman, every person can change their self-image if they want to, can feel more comfortable in their skin, in their clothing, can feel good and comfortable there. 

 I’ll add all the links in the show notes, but if you want to also speak out, where can people find out how to work with you and about your shop and all of that? 

Monica Sherese: [46:54] Yes. So the easiest way to follow me and to reach out, you can DM me any time is to follow me on Instagram at Monica Sherese, and that’s M O N I C A S H E R E S E. That’s my first and middle name. So follow me there on Instagram. DM me if you have questions if you want to set up a conversation. I’m so happy to just answer questions that you might have, or have a conversation about a particular challenge that you might be working through. My goal is to help as many women as I can.

I also do have a website that’s in development and that’s monicasherese.com. And I do have a mobile boutique because I am a personal stylist as well. I am all about helping women to achieve the alignment between their inner self-image and their outward, so how you actually show up in the world?.

So I do use style as a tool and catalyst for transformation because I believe that when you see yourself differently, you can literally see yourself differently. That website is monica.cabionline.com. That is my online boutique.

Damianne President: [48:22] Thank you. All those links will be in the show notes, so you can find them there as well. 

Fast Five [48:28]

And let’s finish with our fast five. So those are questions with a one-sentence, maximum two sentences as your response. What is the habit that is important to you to do every day, besides putting on lotion? 

Monica Sherese: [48:44] I was gonna say my lotion.

I would say getting dressed, actually getting out of the bed, and getting dressed in an outfit that is not sweatpants or pajamas or some version of that. Definitely, there are ways in which you can have versions of that, that speak to the mood and energy you want to create.

Damianne President: [49:16] Do you have a phrase or a pep talk that you give to yourself and when does it come up?

Monica Sherese: [49:22] Girl, you are Royal. That is something that I tell myself when I am starting to get frustrated with my progress in any particular area. 

Damianne President: [49:34] I love it.

Where do you live and if you are happy to guests, what’s the first thing you show them, or the first place you take them to? 

Monica Sherese: [49:42] I’m in the DC Metro area so I live right outside of DC. And when guests come here, I like to take them down to the National Museum of African-American History. Everyone who comes to DC must get to the new museum on the National Mall. It is absolutely amazing. It is the best one in the Smithsonian system, hands down. 

Damianne President: [50:14] That’s definitely on my list. What is the thing that’s guaranteed to recharge you and increase your energy. 

Monica Sherese: [50:21] Music, soca, soca music, particularly.

Damianne President: [50:25] You have a Trinidadian background. Okay. 

Monica Sherese: [50:30] So soca is going to do it every time. 

Damianne President: [50:33] There are a couple of soca songs that I have saved for Zumba because I know they’re going to ramp up the energy all the way. 

And the last question is you are given the gift of time. What will you choose to do that’s fun or that will keep you grounded?

Monica Sherese: [50:50] Travel. I, literally to do the cruise around the world. I saw that in an air line magazine many years ago in my twenties, that there was a cruise that you could take that would go to every continent. And I think it had something like 40 or 50 ports of call. It was a months-long cruise, like three to six months that you were on this cruise. That is the bucket list item. I would love to do that. 

Damianne President: [51:23] You just spoke it, manifested this. 

Thank you so much, Monica, for chatting with me today. 

Monica Sherese: [51:31] I so appreciate you inviting me on. This has been so lovely and so wonderful, and it’s been such a joy getting to know you more. 

Damianne President: [51:41] Likewise. 

There has never been one like you ever in the history of the universe and there will never, ever, ever be another one like you at any other point in the history of the universe.


I am me. I am uniquely who I am. The full spectrum of everything is who I am, and it’s wonderful.

About the Author
I'm a curious problem solver.

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