maven46 meets: Persia Lawson

Get to know our new resident love and life columnist

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Words by Nicole Thomsen
May 23rd, 2017

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She describes herself as a former serial cheater and obsessive love addict but after a series of messy relationships both with the men in her life and with herself, and “a lot of therapy”, Persia Lawson set up the positive lifestyle movement known as Addictive Daughter with her friend Joey Bradford. With the aim to help those who, like her, struggled with love and relationships- and may be experiencing ‘a quarter-life crisis’, Persia is now an author (her book, The Inner Fix is available now), a public speaker, and “one of the UK’s most successful” love coaches. As maven46’s new love and life columnist, we spoke with Persia about the minefield that millennials face, the trappings of Tinder, and feeling sex-shamed…

On the negative and positive effects that social media has on our lives…

I’m still on the fence myself with this one! I think it’s wonderful that we can connect with people all over the world and spread positive messages far and wide. However, personally, I really miss the time pre-social media, when we went to gigs and watched the musicians properly, instead of through the lens of our phones, or when we went to dinner and spent the whole meal talking to our friends instead of Instagramming our food, or when we read books on the bus/tube, instead of just endlessly scrolling through newsfeeds. I know that I, for one, still spend too much time comparing all aspects of myself – looks, career success, number of follows etc. – to people I’ve never even met! I have got better at it, though; for me, it really helps to have some flexible boundaries around social media use. For example, I put my phone on flight mode when I go to bed and don’t turn it off until after I’ve meditated and done a bit of yoga the next morning – so that the first hour of my day is all mine and I’m not blasted with news and comparison-itus before I’ve blasted myself with some good vibes – and caffeine!

On the one thing she would change about the millennial zeitgeist…

I believe that millennials have grown up in a ‘McDonald’s culture’ – the advances in technology, whilst brilliant in many ways, have meant that we’re used to getting what we want – and getting it fast (at least, from a consumerist perspective). However, this means that we are significantly less patient – it’s been widely reported in the media that our attention spans have decreased from 12 seconds in 2000 to around 8 seconds today, largely due to the rise in online consumerism and our use of social media. In order to have real, soulful connections – both romantic and platonic – patience and learning how to compromise are absolutely essential. Gen Y has not really been encouraged to do either of these things, meaning it will be increasingly difficult for us to ‘stick it out’ when relationships inevitably present us with challenges.

On dating apps like Tinder and Bumble…

This is going to sound controversial, but I think people who want a relationship should try getting off dating apps for a bit and remember how they once used to go out and meet people IRL! I think the rise in our use of dating apps and ‘swipe culture’ has made many of us alarmingly less adept at initiating conversations with people face to face, in many respects. Also, we’re able to conceal who we ‘really’ are more easily over dating apps (presenting only the ‘highlights reel’ version of ourselves). As we’re growing more addicted to communicating in this virtual world, we’re becoming significantly less present in the real one – meaning, we may be missing the real, soulful romantic connections that could be happening if we were available for them. I genuinely believe that if people spent as much time working on themselves, getting out there and exploring the world (i.e. having fun!) they’d be surprised at how quickly old school romance would show up in their lives. That’s what happened to me – after a two-month fling with someone I met online, I took myself offline and committed to a summer of fun and romance – with myself. I took myself out on dates to museums, galleries, the theatre etc, went on long candlelit dinners and holidays with girlfriends – I really had the most amazing summer. Then, at the end of it, I turned my head whilst watching a band play at Wilderness festival in Oxfordshire, locked eyes with a beautiful man and nearly two years on I’m now living with him and happier than ever. Throw yourself into life and fun experiences and romance will inevitably follow sooner or later.

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On the stigma surrounding therapy…

I do think the wellness movement over here has helped shift the stigma dramatically but it certainly does still exist. People are always so shocked when I tell them openly (and very cheerfully, might I add!) that I go to therapy and Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous. In our book, The Inner Fix my friend Joey and I talk about how, along with our peers, we did not grow up in an environment that encouraged us to express our pain in healthy ways. Britain, in particular, has a long-standing reputation for maintaining a ‘stiff upper-lip’ in trying times – a reserved, stoical attitude when it comes to dealing with difficult emotions. Couple this with the added social media pressures that insist on perfection and success above all else and it’s not all that surprising that many of us are still frantically devoting all our time and energy towards making our external lives look as good as we want them to feel.

On dealing with feelings of anxiety, stress and depression…

When I was at my lowest point six and a half years ago, my dad said something to me that completely changed the direction of my life. He said, “if you focus on the insides, the outsides will take care of themselves,” – and that’s what I’ve lived by ever since. I’ve prioritised my inner reality through a combination of therapy, life-coaching, meditation, yoga, journaling, Twelve Step meetings, healthy eating and exercise – I could go on! There are so many resources out there (if you don’t know where to start, I offer a free meditation on my website persialawson.com). The important thing is just to take one little step in the right direction. If someone’s recommended you a self-help book, for instance, buy it and read it. The next step will become clear. Once you start, the path will unfold naturally and I guarantee that the small positive investment you make in yourself will give you a massive return. I can’t even begin to describe how much better my life is today from where it was six years ago. Because of taking that advice my dad gave me seriously, I now live a life beyond my wildest dreams. It’s not perfect – I still struggle at times, but I have tools to help me move through the hard times so much faster. If I’d carried on the way I was going, I truly don’t know where I’d be today – but needless to say, it wouldn’t be good!

On being a love/life coach…

A love or life coach is someone who supports you along the above journey – and the way that every coach does that is different. I offer a half an hour complimentary love or life-coaching session over Skype to see what you’re struggling with and help get you clear on what your goals are. If I think we’re a good fit, I’ll then create a bespoke pdf. proposal of how we could work together, based on my most appropriate life or love- coaching program for you and your goals. My programs are mostly 3 months long (with the option to continue on a rolling monthly basis afterwards to keep you making progress). My signature coaching program ‘Attract (+ Keep) Your Soulmate’ has been specifically designed to empower you in making whatever vision you hold for your love life a reality, as I have done myself. Throughout the coaching, we get to the bottom of what’s been keeping you stuck in unhelpful and destructive patterns, and what we can do to change that – fast (I believe life’s too short to spend two years doing this stuff before you see results!). The process comprises a combination of healing work, therapeutic practices, as well as more direct, goal-orientated exercises to ignite lasting transformation. In short, I help you help yourself create a better life than you ever imagined possible. I’m deeply passionate about watching people turn their lives around, and my clients and I always have a lot of fun in the process (along with a fair few tears!)

On her definition of a feminist…

Simple: one who loves men but doesn’t think that the fact they have a penis means they are superior to women, they’re just different – different, but the same… Hope this makes sense – it does to me!

On sex-shaming and the double standard that women have to face… 

Oh boy, I’ve very much been there myself. My advice is, forget what anyone else has to say and just ask yourself: Am I doing this because I genuinely want to and feel liberated? Or, am I doing it to get love and validation? I know I was very much the latter, but I have many friends who are the former – to which I say, “BRILLIANT. GO FOR IT!” (Just make sure you’re careful – which I rarely was and it eventually caught up with me rather disastrously…) The only thing that matters is that you do what feels good to you, not what looks good to other people. This has been one of the most important lessons in my life – and applies to absolutely everything.

On changing aspects of her past…

Probably just one thing – that I’d been a little kinder along the way – to myself, as well as others. But then, I wouldn’t have had such juicy stories to write about in The Inner Fix. 😉

On her hopes for the future… 

Over the last month, I’ve experienced a real shift within myself; I’m finally starting to truly understand what it means to fully surrender to life and live in the moment – to appreciate everything I have today and know that it’s enough – that I’m enough, exactly as I am. This has made it much easier to be kind to myself when things don’t (seem to) go my way. Also, when I stop pushing and start chilling out and allowing, amazing things start to just flow towards me. I hope everyone in my life – relatives, friends, clients – gets to experience this as it makes life soooo much more enjoyable. Oh, and world peace – obviously I hope for that, too.

Stay tuned for Persia’s monthly Love and Life column starting this Thursday 25th May!

To find out more or book a session with Persia, visit persialawson.com.

You can also find Persia on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

For free chapters and resources of The Inner Fix, head to theinnerfix.com.