What is the Biggest Thing You've Learned Along the Way?

With Sarah Antilope

Introduce yourself! Who are you?
Hey love! I’m Sarah, a late 90’s baby who loves autumn, Harry Potter and the colour purple. I’m currently in my last year of university, studying Family & Community Social Services and hope to start my own coaching business one day. I’m obsessed with empowering females to find their worth and live a life full of self-love. My dreams include having a family, travelling the world and inspiring others to be the best possible versions of themselves! I’m a positivity blogger and love all things love. I truly believe that by coming together and spreading the positivity, we can make this world a happier place.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
I’d have to say that the best advice I’ve ever gotten was from one of my university professors that just really understands life. He told us, “You’re not in control of what happens to you, but you are in control of how you react to it”. This is such a real thing that I believe everyone needs to recognize. When unfortunate events happen to us, we need to know that although it happened and it may be sad or frustrating or unlucky, we have the power to control how we respond to it. We are fully in control of our own emotions, thoughts and feelings and that’s what I think most people don’t realize. I really believe it’s important that we acknowledge that we simply can’t plan life. I’ve always struggled with this idea because I’m a perfectionist and tend to be a bit of a control freak. But I’m working towards going with the flow and letting life play out as it’s meant to. So next time something doesn’t go as planned, forget about stressing over it and think about how you can make the situation better.

What would you say to 16 year old you?
“You’re going to be okay.”
16 was actually the hardest year for me. It was the middle of high school and everything was changing. At the time it seemed like nothing could go right. In terms of how I felt about myself, I was super negative. I was extremely self-conscious and had almost no confidence in myself. I experienced a lot of self-doubt and self-hate. Ever since I was little, I was always really insecure about my physical appearance and as I got older and my skin and body started changing, the insecurity just grew. I’ve always been a perfectionist and was convinced, like a lot of women, that if I didn’t look or act a certain way, I wasn’t worthy. So, I started wearing makeup to hide my imperfections and that’s where the idea of “I need to be perfect” became unbelievably real for me. Although a big part of my insecurity was physical, a lot had to do with who I was a person. That being who I was as a sibling, a daughter, a friend, a student and a dancer. I didn’t think I was good enough in any of the roles I played so I became my biggest enemy and my worst critic. I was constantly putting myself down and started withdrawing from some of the most important relationships in my life, which really took a toll on me. As a result, I started self-harming to cope with the negative things going on around me. I had dug a deep hole in which I didn’t think I would get out of. I experienced many personal struggles, especially at that time during my life, but I can confidently say that I have grown and learned from my experiences. And honestly, without all of the challenges I faced, I don’t think I would be the same person I am today. I’m grateful for my obstacles.

What is your greatest fear?
I have many fears, mainly superficial ones like spiders and dolls, but my greatest fear is losing a loved one. I’ve experienced loss a lot of times before but I am terrified of losing someone that I’m extremely close with, like my parents, my siblings, my boyfriend or my best friends. I honestly don’t know what I do without them. A few years back, I came very close to losing my mom when she was diagnosed with cancer. The day of her diagnosis I couldn’t stop thinking about what my life would be like without her – on my birthdays, on my wedding day, during the birth of my kids. I was SO scared. Fortunately, she was a warrior and won the fight against the big C. That was when I realized just how important it is to show appreciation and love for people because life is short and you never know what the next day is going to bring.

What message do you think every woman should hear?
You are worthy, important, loved, strong, beautiful, talented. You are
enough.

What do you love most about yourself?
I feel like when women are asked this question, it is extremely easy to pick out all the things we don’t like about ourselves, or turn to a friend and ask what they love about us. This is a totally normal thing and I’m pretty sure we’ve all done it because we’ve been insecure, unsure or too humble to say anything good about ourselves. But the whole point is for us to really get in touch with who we are and find the things that we love and are proud of. I have to admit, thinking about an answer for this one was a little difficult. It started off challenging because I wanted to find something I loved about myself that had meaning. Before I knew it, I had a list of things that I loved about myself; the hard part then was choosing the best one. I guess some people would think of that as overconfident, but girls, we are allowed to feel like that!! Too many times girls feel bad about themselves because they’re not living up to society’s expectations. But now is the time to find that confidence and be proud of who you are. Self-love is a real and powerful thing and when you find it, you’ll feel like a whole new person. Personally, I’m just so proud of myself for how far I’ve come because five years ago, I definitely didn’t think I’d be in the place I am now. I’d have to say the thing I love most about myself is that I’ve been able to take my negative experiences and turn them into good things. I’ve become more of an open person because I want to share what I’ve been through and help others with their own experiences. I love that I can be honest about who I am, the experiences I’ve had – both negative and positive, and that I can use what I’ve been through and the lessons I’ve learned to help the people around me.

What is the biggest thing you’ve learned along the way?
This is actually a difficult question because I’ve learned so much in life and on my journey to loving myself that it’s hard to pick just one, but I would definitely go with, “by staying positive and believing in yourself, you can do anything you set your heart and mind to.” I know right, extremely cheesy, but that’s the person I am. I like to believe that life can be bright and happy and full of love. Back when I was a teenager, I struggled a lot with positivity. I only saw the negative side of things and didn’t have any faith in myself. I constantly compared myself to everyone and never thought I was good enough. Looking back, I don’t even recognize that girl. But that’s what life is all about – growing, changing and constantly learning new things to help you over the next hump. I’ve learned that by staying true to who you are and undeniably believing in your abilities, you can literally do anything. I was an extremely shy child and I still am in some situations, so I never once imagined my life as it is now. I never thought of myself as a social media influencer who has her own blog and gets to share her message with so many people around the world, but I took a chance and made that leap. It’s a scary thing to put all your faith in yourself because yes, you will have people telling you that you can’t do it, yes, you might doubt yourself as well, and yes you will fail – probably more than once, but that is the whole purpose of life. We need to make mistakes to learn how to do better the next time. Without mistakes, we would all be perfect and personally, I think that would be a very boring world. So I’m telling you, believe in yourself because it is SO worth it!

What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward?
I always try to look on the bright side in every situation. I find that waking up with a grateful heart and a happy mind is the key to a great day and eventually, a great life. I surround myself with affirmations so I’m constantly reminded of the positives. And at the end of the day before I go to bed, I say my prayers. I thank God for giving me another day on earth and I ask for health, happiness and safety for myself and all the people in my life that I love and care about

What is something on your bucket list?
To see the Northern Lights!! When I was 7 and first saw them in the movie The Polar Express, I became absolutely obsessed!

What are your biggest passions?
Aside from my standard answers of writing and dancing, I love creating relationships with people and being able to see them at every moment, strong or vulnerable. Helping and supporting others definitely has to be one of my greatest loves, aside from romance movies!

More About Sarah

Sarah Antilope is a Canadian girl who loves fashion, cheesy jokes and spending time with the people that she loves. She is currently in her last year of university and has a passion for inspiring as many people as she can. Prior to university, Sarah was a competitive dancer and still has a love for the art today. She is the face behind smilingwithsarah, an instagram account and blog that focuses on positivity, mental health, relationships, self-esteem, faith and self-care.

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