“Working through pain is necessary to feel true happiness, ignoring it will always come back to bite you.” with Sarah Nicole Payne and Sasza Lohrey

“Working through pain is necessary to feel true happiness, ignoring it will always come back to bite you.” with Sarah Nicole Payne and Sasza Lohrey


I had an opportunity to be interviewed by Authority Magazine, sharing my thoughts on connection, self-love, and beauty. Feeling confident and beautiful in our own skin begins with building a strong self-image. The full interview can be viewed here.


Thank you so much for joining us! Let’s Get Intimate! I’d love to begin by asking you to give us the backstory as to what brought you to this specific career path.

To be honest, I kind of fell into esthetics — I didn’t even know what a facial was before going to beauty school. I was 24, waiting tables, and at a loss as to what to do next with my life. Esthetics felt right! When I was waitressing, I enjoyed meeting people from all walks of life. Looking back, I think I was drawn to connecting with others, making people feel good. The spa treatment room is a beautifully intimate setting for that to take place.


Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you hope that they might help people along their path to self-understanding or a better sense of wellbeing in their relationships?

I’m really excited about what we’re creating at Sarah Nicole Skincare! Our purpose is to help others find their skin confidence when experiencing issues like acne, fine lines, and sensitivity, whatever it is that’s impacting their self-image. I think our emotional wellbeing is often overlooked in the pursuit of feeling confident and beautiful in our skin, and skincare can be a powerful tool in learning to embrace yourself in compassion and self-love. We’re helping our community create a strong self-relationship — that’s where it starts, you know? From there you can build healthier relationships with everyone in your life.


Do you have a personal story that you can share with our readers about your struggles or successes along your journey of self-understanding and self-love? Was there ever a tipping point that triggered a change regarding your feelings of self-acceptance?

My path in learning to love myself, understanding how I tick and how it impacts both myself and those around me, was a long journey and one I still work at. The difference is now that I’m aware, I can stop negative habits more quickly. I’ve had to really work at becoming self-aware and practice what I preach in showing self-compassion. It wasn’t easy but anything worth having never is. Working through pain is necessary to feel true happiness, ignoring it will always come back to bite you. One thing is for sure, had I not done the hard self-work, there’s absolutely no way I could successfully share my ideas with the world. I wouldn’t have the strength or tenacity.


According to a recent study cited in Cosmopolitan, in the US, only about 28 percent of men and 26 percent of women are “very satisfied with their appearance.” Could you talk about what some of the causes might be, as well as the consequences?

Unfortunately, social media and our communities can really negatively impact our mindset, and many times it stems from shame, fear, and worrying about what others think. I’ve struggled with this myself. I moved past it by realizing when someone lashes out, it’s based on their insecurities, not mine. I had to recognize when I felt social anxiety or worried what others were thinking, it was because I wasn’t confident in myself and had low self-esteem. When left unchecked, these feelings can lead us to do things to please others instead of doing what truly makes us happy. Really think about it, why do you want a treatment, like say, Botox? Because your social circle made a snarky comment or someone looked at you funny, or because you would truly feel more confident with your forehead smoothed out? If you go with door number one, Botox will never fill that void until you’re honest with yourself about your motives.


As cheesy as it might sound to truly understand and “love yourself,” can you share with our readers a few reasons why it’s so important?

From relationships to building a business, if you can’t give yourself respect or show yourself compassion, you’re asking for a life of struggle, anxiety, and feeling less than. I know people probably feel like this is a trendy topic and possibly a lot of fluff, but it’s truly paramount in feeling happy within yourself and the relationships around you. You can’t have one without the other, it doesn’t work that way.


Why do you think people stay in mediocre relationships? What advice would you give to our readers regarding this?

Fear of the unknown, fear of being ourselves, fear of what it’s like to be ourselves without someone else. I get it, it’s scary, I’ve stayed in relationships when I shouldn’t have for those very reasons. But what if letting go of a relationship meant more happiness, freedom to be your true self? Never let another person hold you back from being who you truly are, no matter the nature of the relationship. You’re worth more than that.


When I talk about self-love and understanding I don’t necessarily mean blindly loving and accepting ourselves the way we are. Many times self-understanding requires us to reflect and ask ourselves the tough questions, to realize perhaps where we need to make changes in ourselves to be better not only for ourselves but our relationships. What are some of those tough questions that will cut through the safe space of comfort we like to maintain, that our readers might want to ask themselves? Can you share an example of a time that you had to reflect and realize how you needed to make changes?

So, so true. Not all personality traits are good, it can be dangerous to say “this is how I am”. I’ve said it plenty of times in the past and it almost always ends up being incredibly false, just an old story I was telling. You have to be honest with yourself. Feeling uncomfortable within yourself is good, it shows you where you need to adapt and grow. Think… How am I affecting the people I want closest to me? What if I’m pushing people away when I want them near? What if XYZ is holding me back from enjoying life to the fullest? If those hardened habits prevent connection, they aren’t serving you, they aren’t your true identity. Sometimes we hold onto old defense mechanisms that kept us safe when we were younger, well past their expiration date.


So many don’t really know how to be alone, or are afraid of it. How important is it for us to have, and practice, that capacity to truly be with ourselves and be alone (literally or metaphorically)?

I think that’s why turning our beauty routines into a ritual can become so therapeutic, it’s a perfect opportunity to check in with ourselves. See how we’re doing, be alone with our thoughts. Like are you really okay with what your best friend said to you? Did you handle that work situation in a healthy way? We need time to process things alone sometimes, just as much as we need to commune with others. A long soak in the tub with candles, blocking out time for a morning face mask, experimenting with a new makeup look… If you’re nervous about the idea of being alone, it’s a fantastic baby step toward a weekend getaway with yourself.


How does achieving a certain level of self-understanding and self-love then affect your ability to connect with and deepen your relationships with others?

It’s funny, I was drawn to a career based on connection while I struggled with connecting myself. I experienced debilitating anxiety way too frequently and all I wanted was to feel connected to others. Up until a few years ago, I couldn’t even say I loved myself because of painful life experiences, I had lost it. Every day I wrote down things I liked about myself until I could finally say “I love myself.” After that, a wall came down, I was finally able to chip away at what held me back from connecting with friends, family, clients. Self-love is undeniably necessary if you’re craving deeper relationships.


In your experience, what should a) individuals and b) society, do to help people better understand themselves and accept themselves?

Show compassion and practice empathy. Allow yourself to think what it might be like walking in someone else’s shoes. Understand there’s more than meets the eye at surface level. Those two things are so simple and can go a long way toward acceptance.


What are some strategies that you implement to maintain your connection with and love for yourself, that our readers might learn from? Could you please give a story or example for each?

I’ve created habits that allow me to check in with myself, like meditation and journaling. I take notice of physical changes in how I feel, how my body is responding, so I can keep stubborn habits in check. For example, if I feel my wall going up or my body feels charged, I know I’m heading down a defensive path that’s going to blow up in my face if I don’t correct it. By no means do I always prevent an explosion, but over time those instances happen less and less. The root of my defensive behavior is insecurity and feeling insignificant, and that’s definitely not coming from a place of self-love.


What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources for self-psychology, intimacy, or relationships? What do you love about each one and how does it resonate with you?

Brene Brown, particularly I Thought It Was Just Me. Her books were key in helping me get to the bottom of issues I had with shame and anxiety. Right now, The Unspoken Podcast is my favorite source for uplifting, inspiring conversations. Everyone is incredibly vulnerable, sharing painful moments in their life, and it really brings things into perspective and guides you in realizing we are not alone. Our paths are different but at the end of the day, we all experience pain and we all want to feel good.


You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? Maybe we’ll inspire our readers to start it…

Be kind to yourself, realize you’re more than your perceived flaws, whether they’re physical or internal. Even if it seems small, that step is going to begin breaking down untrue perceptions you have of yourself. Everyone starts somewhere, and that’s all you have to do — make a choice to start. Everything you desire and want to achieve is within you, even if it’s hard to believe right now.


Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that you use to guide yourself by? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life and how our readers might learn to live by it in theirs?

My boyfriend, who’s also my business partner, has instilled “evolve or repeat” into me, and not easily. I used to fight the concept so hard but now the idea of repeating what makes me miserable scares me, so I choose to evolve. Life can be really tough but we make a choice in how we handle the hard stuff. You’re allowed to fall apart and cry into a pint of ice cream but after the initial shock, how are you going to move forward? Evolve, make changes so it doesn’t happen again, or keep repeating and live unhappily?


Thank you so much for your time and for your inspiring insights!


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About Sarah Nicole

Sarah is a Denver based expert esthetician, known for returning abused sensitive skin back to a glowing state without harsh products while boosting her client's skin confidence and self-worth. Sarah has been featured in Allure, New Beauty, Greatist, NBC News, and D Magazine among others. You can follow her on Instagram @sarahnpayne.

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