Sarah Edmondson has been through several life-changing experiences and has even recently written a book, Scarred: The True Story of How I Escaped NXIVM, the Cult That Bound My Life. We are so happy Sarah made time out of her busy schedule to speak with us on self-love, personal growth, and more.
Question: You have said that “sometimes the search to be better overrides everything else,” can you expand a bit on this and what you have learned about this?
Sarah: I think one of the downsides in the world of “self-development” is that there is this motivation to improve, to “be our best selves.” That can be so great, but when it starts to override other values in one’s journey, the drive can be problematic. For me, “growth” started to override my career, and then my connection to my family. There is a fine line between ambition and goal setting and then not being ok with yourself until you have achieved your goals. If I think I can’t be ok, or that I am not enough until I have reached my potential, I miss out on the journey from here to there. I am not present in THIS MOMENT. I might even miss the most beautiful moments because I am goal setting, or off in the future planning my ideal life. I have learned to strive while staying more in the present, and to grow more mindfully, enjoying the more simple elements of life, while being good to myself in the process.
Question: What kind of advice could you give to someone who suspects they might be in a cult-like group?
Sarah: First, don’t ask ANYONE in the group. They will gaslight you and make you feel crazy for asking and you will be on their radar as a trouble maker. Start doing your own research, see if you can find any website started by former members of the group. Look to see if there have been any allegations against the group.
Read “Combatting Cult Mind Control” by Stephen Hassan and educate yourself. If you are in a cult, ALL of the dynamics and strategies are listed in the book. There are basic components that all destructive groups have and if you check the boxes, I think it’s time to make a quick exit!
Question: You are a Mom to 2 boys, one of whom is still a young baby, how do you manage all your responsibilities?
Sarah: I am pretty organized. I plan my time using iCal and use “Omnifocus” to map out my next steps and tasks. I have a very part time assistant to help me with some admin aspects of life. We are also very lucky to have some help from my parents who live nearby. My husband is very active in the boys lives and has recently taken the brunt of the night time with our baby so I am finally getting sleep which makes everything so much more manageable!
Question: What have you learned about self-love and self-trust in your journey?
Sarah: Back to question one, I am slowly learning to love and trust myself again. Back in the group, the drive to be better was on top of “not good enough.” Now I am learning to be ok with where I am at, to understand that nothing is broken. I am learning to trust my gut feelings and honour them instead of telling myself to “push through discomfort” - which was one of the main tactics used to get us to do what they wanted. I think that concept is fine for say, pushing to run a marathon, but it is not good when you have a red flag about something and ignore it. Going through my time in and getting out of a cult has helped me see my actual character and true strength. I have learned to trust in that and that has helped me to be more loving with myself.
Question: What are some of your favourite Amaterasu makeup?
Sarah: I LOVE the Ultra Volume Mascara and the Liquid Brow Liner in Cocoa.
Question: What does empowering beauty mean to you?
Sarah: The first thing I think of is self-acceptance. Owning your power and truly not giving a f*ck. I have seen traditionally beautiful women who don’t know themselves yet and that lack of self-confidence makes them pale in comparison to a woman who might not look like a model, but rocks her life with authenticity, strength and grace. Self-empowerment is truly beautiful!
Thank you so much to Sarah for taking the time to answer our questions for the Amaterasu Beauty blog. Self-acceptance is truly beautiful characteristic we can all use to empower ourselves.
Self empowerment also starts with feeling good from inside-out, which is why at Amaterasu we believe in creating clean makeup that does not contain any phthalates and parabens, as well as producing eye makeup that won't budge, smudge, or flake.
Learn more about our eyeliners and check out more of our best selling beauty enhancing products from Amaterasu like our 24 hour Liquid Eyeliner, non-smudge eye pencils and eyebrow liners, vegan eyeliner, liquid brow liner, and geisha makeup.
Photos by Liz Rosa