Is My Freedom The Same As Your Freedom?

Bali is a place known for it’s magic and I knew the minute I stepped foot on Balinese soil that I’d instantly feel happy. I never doubted that I’d feel this way, in fact I was craving to come back here, and I knew I needed this holiday more than anything else in my life. The past three years have been emotional, testing and thoroughly insightful. Every single moment has been completely worth it, even if it meant tears, fears and embarrassing moments. All of it was worth it because it’s brought me back here – to a feeling of freedom. I think this feeling is different for everyone, because it comes down to knowing who you are and how you truly want to live your life. Then it takes courage to follow through with that desire despite what the outside world tells you.

Dr Jenn once said to me “Bravery is the root of happiness. It takes courage to reach into the World and put your mark on it”. I remember at the time thinking how profound it sounded to me, and it was during a time when it seemed like following through with what I wanted to do with my life seemed to go against any plan of ‘normality’ I’d ever known. As I get more comfortable with my own desires, I find myself not caring about what other people think and most importantly not being swayed by what other people want me to do.

To me, freedom is living in a way where I can change my situation if something doesn’t feel good, like leaving Mallorca for Bali in winter because I feel more nourished here during this season. It means building up my skill set so that I can flitter between freelance jobs because I enjoy and am capable of practising multiple professions at once. It means making new friends, and starting them with deeply connecting conversations so I know I can feel connected anywhere, anytime.

I’ve recently been fighting with my desire to feel freedom, as though it was wrong, or that I was running away from commitment. Back in Mallorca I was trying to push various areas of my life into commitment, as if to prove to myself that I could commit to something and break this whole freedom thing. I even booked a return flight… that I almost changed. What I’ve realised since getting to Bali is that travel and freedom is ultimately a part of who I am, it makes me feel alive and anyone who wants to play an important part in my life must accept that. It’s the reason why I’m building up a business where I can work from my laptop anywhere. It’s the reason why the majority of my friend are or have been very nomadic.

Since getting here I feel relaxed, open and positive. My body feels tension free and I don’t feel conflicted with decisions of ‘what should I do next’. I know that everything will just work out one way or another. I mean, in comparison to where I was at emotionally three years ago, I really have nothing to worry about. I also know that the new venture I’m starting is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing with my life – helping others.

I’m on a mission to create a greater sense wellbeing for ourselves and the planet that we live on. That’s why I’m starting an honest conversation about wellbeing – including values, emotional intelligence, self-care, personal development, and body and mind awareness.

If you feel stuck and you want the EQ tools to move forward again, contact me directly to see how I can help you. Find out more about workshops, training and tailored coaching packages at www.shereensoliman.com. 

Shereen x

Photo by Victor Rodriguez on Unsplash

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What Are You Focusing On For 2019?

I was asked recently from a friend who owns a marketing agency ‘What keeps you focused with your business?’ I ended up pondering on this question for a while, dissecting it in a few forms and seriously thinking deep about this – would you expect anything less from me??

Firstly I thought ‘focus’ and me in the same sentence? If anything, throughout my multiple business endeavours and careers, my work life has been anything but focused. In fact, I don’t think it’s a word many of my friends would typically associate with me.

However when I thought about this a little deeper, I realise that since overcoming PTSD I do have focus. It was actually something I crafted in the mist of trauma recovery to pull me out of such emotional turmoil. Back then my focus was to get back to my fearless, nomadic lifestyle. Recently I feel like I got that back – WIN – and proof that you can do anything you put your mind to.

One of the things that constantly beat me with a stick to stay focused and keep on moving was my tendency to think with foresight and compare it with what was happening in the present. I’ve been told that this can be a negative trait because ‘you’re not living in the present blah blah blah…’ but when living in the present means reliving trauma, well of course sometimes I didn’t want to live in it, I’m only human!

When I was able to project in the future that my current actions were not going to get me to where I wanted to be, it alerted me to change my focus. Sometimes this meant reassessing things in my life, questioning how I’d ended up so far away from my focus (usually fear and self-sabotage) and then I would make the relevant adjustments to get me back on track.

Having known what living such a fearless and adventurous nomadic lifestyle felt like, I focused on what those feelings felt like whenever I felt low.

I focused on the time that I arrived at the café in Indonesia, built by my future-to-be-boss and told him that he needed to hire me for his construction project. Back then, I had unchallengeable confidence in my ability.

I focused on the time I helped sail a boat across the Bay of Biscay in a force 9 with a crew of 3 men I’d never met before. Back then, I trusted that I was always safe and protected in life.

I focused on all the times that I went out dancing with travel buddies in Bangkok and Malaysia. When I danced on tables with yacht crew in Sardinia, singing our hearts out. When I laughed wholeheartedly across the streets of Monaco with my friend until my stomach ached so much I had to lie down!

Focusing in to these feelings made me realise that I could get back to them. All I needed to do was focus on unpicking the thought patterns that kept me living such a fear-driven restricted life. Obviously I had some short and sharp situations that drastically changed my life and created contrast. In a moment I went from living fearlessly to living fear driven. For most of us, I know that this isn’t the case. Some of us have picked up picked up negative thought patterns gradually throughout life and sometimes we aren’t even aware that we’re living in the restriction of them. However, the method for unpicking and releasing them is always the same and it’s empowering. If anything going through this process has taught me that we can all break free from these unconscious fears and live out our dreams. In fact, this is our birth right to do this, and the challenge of life is to figure out how.

With that, my question to you is – What are you focusing on this year?

For 2019 I’m focusing on inspiring you to be the best version of yourself, so you can move towards the life you’ve always dream of. To do the work necessary to break free from what unconsciously holds you back, so you can feel happier for longer and together we can create a more compassionate and connected society!

If you’re interested in how to do this then get in touch now to find out more about my emotional intelligence coaching and sign up to www.shereensoliman.com for free emotional intelligence tools, personal development book recommendations to get you started.

Sending motivating vibes,

Shereen x

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Christmas Eve. Three Insightful Years Later.

Today it’s three years since I first posted on this blog, and what an insightful three years it’s been.

At the time when I started writing this blog I didn’t have any ambition for what it might be. I didn’t know where I was going with it or where it might lead. All I knew, was that I’d been through some challenging life situations and that expressing them through writing somehow made me feel better. It was the start of releasing emotional expressions which had been bottled up for years because I didn’t have the knowledge of how to let these emotions out in a healthy way.

Three years on and I’ve learnt a lot.

I’m proud of the way I’ve addressed my trauma recovery, and I’m grateful to every single person who played their part to help me along the way. My aim three years back was to explore my inner world and see how I could grow from the situations I’d been presented with, even if it meant sinking down into an uncomfortable hole of darkness (which it often did). I knew deep down that all of it would be worth the journey and that by talking about it openly I’d help others along their struggles too.

As I write this, I’m back in Bali – one of the places I resonated to when I needed healing the most. This time, I’m back here on holiday enjoying the food, the sun and the massages. Before I left for Asia, a few things rolled into place and it was the moment that I looked back at the three years past and I realised none of this was in vein.

I was asked to run a workshop on how to overcome ‘negative’ emotions, I called it the ‘Unstuck Yourself‘ workshop. This workshop had such a positive response that I ran a second and a third and I’m now running a coaching program helping others learn the emotional intelligence toolkit to get themselves out of any emotional rut. My aim is to set up initiatives which help people identify, unpick and release pent up emotions and gain a full emotional intelligence toolkit along the way. Eventually I’m going to build a luxury spa and trauma recovery centre (out of natural and sustainable materials of course) where anyone can come to process their emotions and traumatic situations.

I know all this sounds quite grand, and I’ve only just started on this new journey, but if I’ve learnt anything over the past few years, it’s that I can achieve anything I put my mind to. Knowing that is what’s going to make these Christmas wishes come true.

I want to create a world of greater wellbeing for ourselves and the planet that we live on. That’s why I’m starting an honest conversation about wellbeing; encompassing self care, emotional intelligence, body and mind awareness, personal development, and authenticity. If you want to learn more about these subjects then then head over to www.shereensoliman.com to find out more about the packages I offer.

Merry Christmas!

Shereen x

Photo by erin walker on Unsplash

Choose Love

I’ve found myself repeating the following words lately “It depends on your perspective”, and sometimes they land of deaf ears. While I’ve made the intention to disengage with people who ask me for my opinion as an invitation to defend their own <personal challenge #1!> I’ve also tried to understand these words from another perspective too.

I’m a big believer that there’s a universal energy at play which we may not pick up on or understand but which may be working away under the scenes to bring certain situations towards us. Call it astrology, energy, God or positive thought, seriously pick the term that serves you or leave the concept altogether, your choice. For me though, this belief takes a huge weight off my shoulders and allows me to surrender to wherever the flow of life takes me, which of late is one of love. I don’t mean this in the sense of romantic love, well at least I’m not limiting it to that, what I mean is that I’m starting to experience a lot of situations around me that come from a place a love. Simultaneously, situations around me that rose from a place of fear are starting to fall by the way side, and I’m full of gratitude for getting here.

I know I’ve had glimpses of this over the past few years, but as the pivot has swayed between love and fear, my neutral point always rested slightly within the fear side. Now that I’m noticing more and more loving situations around me, I know it means that I’ve reached a place within myself which is more full of love too. To put it simply, my pivot is shifting from one end of the spectrum to the other.

I wonder if this has come from my earlier intention to be back where I used to be before all these events happened. Or maybe it’s that I’ve actively chosen to change my perspective? Rather than dwelling on difficulties in my life, I’ve been practising complete silliness with friends, stepped away from heavy chats, and I’m dancing, flirting and laughing again. In turn it’s as though I’m being rewarded with situations that mirror my intentions – new and old friends who are in head over heels in love, the most perfect work situations I could ever imagine with the nicest loving people, and the witnessing of kindness from one stranger to another on the street.

I wonder if this is what it means to change your perspective? And I don’t know if this is the reality of what happens or maybe I’m not noticing all the ‘bad’ stuff that happens now. I know that I don’t give it the same attention anymore at least. Or maybe my internal peace is drawing these situations into my perspective? I guess we can never say for sure, however when it comes to beliefs I live by this rule – if it serves you, believe it. If it doesn’t, drop it. The belief that choosing to see love is bringing it closer to me, is one belief that’s serving me just fine.

I want to create a world of greater wellbeing for ourselves and the planet that we live on. That’s why I’m starting an honest conversation about wellbeing; encompassing self care, emotional intelligence, body and mind awareness, personal development, and authenticity. If you want to learn more about these subjects then then head over to www.shereensoliman.com to find out more about the packages I offer.

Sending self care vibes,

Shereen x

Photo by Anthony DELANOIX on Unsplash

It’s Either F**k Yes! Or No

A few months ago something changed. I made an intention to be back where I was before my life started to unravel. Not to try and be where I was but to be there no matter what. For me that meant living a fearless carefree nomadic life adventure, challenging myself to grow and getting back to trusting in myself.

Since I made that intention, I’ve managed to get back here and it’s almost as if I never left. I’ve done some new things I’ve never done before – lecturing and teaching in different subjects, and I’ve got back to doing some things that I was doing before which I’ve been a little fearful of getting back into – I’m writing this from a yacht that I’m helping deliver across the Adriatic Sea, my first yacht delivery in two years.

While on the outside it looks like things are back to how they used to be, there have been some major shifts within me and that have caused some ripples in my outside world too. This is mainly because I’m now a lot more aware, and I’m listening carefully to my intuition to make sure that I’m living every moment with purpose and intention. It’s been an interesting three years of finding that voice of intuition and silencing everything around so I can listen to it. Quite often, with the PTSD I wasn’t sure if it was fear or intuition speaking, and would have to reflect, re-question, and pick apart thoughts to work that out. Once an internal battle, which is now a healthy discussion as I comfort and calm down the voice of fear to stride on forward.

These days, I’m making a point to honour this voice of intuition, even if it makes no logical sense – especially if it makes no logical sense. That means that I check in with my gut feeling and see if it’s ‘yes’ or ‘no’ (or anything other than yes really) to decide on if I go forward in a certain area. Because of this, I’ve turned down freelance jobs which offered me a much lower salary than I’ve asked for whereas before I might have taken them, having needed the money. I’ve stopped putting energy into situations, and people who I don’t feel good around whereas before I might have given allowances and continued in situations that felt bad to me. To put it frankly I’m honouring my true self with the set of strong values my Dad taught me, coupled with my Mums attitude of ‘don’t care what anyone else thinks’. I guess it’s a “Fuck yes, or no” kind of approach to life, and it seems to be working out nicely.

I’ve come to learn that for me, this way of authentic fearless living comes with constant change, life lessons and growth. I’ve also learnt that the best situations happen when I surrender and trust in myself. I know that my path isn’t a ‘conventional’ one, it means working simultaneously in five different professions for example – something I have difficult explaining let alone understanding how I manage to do it, yet it works and feels good to me. Most importantly, this path has rewarded me richly with freedom, friendship and a life full of adventures. Conventional or not, it’s fruitful, I love it, and it’s mine. With this f**k yes or no approach, it’s good to be back here.

I want to create a world of greater wellbeing for ourselves and the planet that we live on. That’s why I’m starting an honest conversation about wellbeing; encompassing self care, emotional intelligence, body and mind awareness, personal development, and authenticity. If you want to learn more about these subjects then then head over to www.shereensoliman.com to find out more about the packages I offer.

Sending self care vibes,

Shereen x

Photo by Pierre T. Lambert on Unsplash

The Power of Personal Responsibility

One of the things I’ve come to learn and appreciate this year is the power of personal responsibility. Admittedly, it can be a challenge to maintain this daily, especially when we seem to be in a society that profits off the lack of it, however once realised and practised it’s one of the most empowering things along the journey of trauma recovery or a personal development journey.

When I first started to become aware of this, it seemed like we’ve been taught from a young age to look externally for the responsibility of our personal life circumstances, especially when something difficult takes place. I certainly see the tendency to blame and shame in my own Western culture, which regardless of whether it’s right or wrong, called for or not, the fact is that it’s a complete waste of energy. Worse yet, by starting the ‘who’s fault is it anyway’ process, we literally give over our power to another person, a situation or anything other than ourselves. While I agree with reflecting on a situation and considering how it could be done better, I recognise that act of blaming outward is a pointless exchange of negative energy.

That said, practising this is much easier said (or written) than done and it can be a very difficult pill to swallow when we’re in the mist of a situation that negatively impacts us, such as in the aftermath of a heart break, a trauma or a death. In fact it’s actually a lot easier to blame outwards, and look for something outwards to hold responsible which is why I think a lot of us become susceptible to this kind of pattern.

The thing is that if we don’t reach a point where we can reflect objectively on the situation and hold our hands up to what was completely within our control then we’re powerless to the event and therefore can’t let it go and move on. I’m not saying that this is the only approach to letting go of a painful event, and I’m certainly not saying that it should be implemented immediately after the event takes place either – the acceptance phase also takes it’s time and it’s important to remember that! Also, not every situation is within our control and sometimes there are incredibly shitty things that happen to us which we’re not personally responsibility for at all, and no matter what, we wouldn’t have been able to change the outcome. There’s no way I could stop my father having a heart attack for instance. However when I look at the years prior to me getting attacked and the way I aimlessly went about my life, it’s crystal clear to me that I created the path I walked along to create the right environment for that situation to occur. Also, regardless of the events, I am responsible for how I reacted in the aftermath of those events and I’m responsible for whether or not I learn from the situations after. As soon as I realised this, I was able to start forgive myself for certain choices I’d made prior to all these traumas and was then able start processing all these events which have since led me down a path of empowerment and growth.

I didn’t have to take personal responsibility for my situation. I could have blamed my attacker, friends who didn’t stop me acting so recklessly, or anyone who came near me in the aftermath for not understanding what I’d been through, and believe me I did do all of this when my emotions were so raw. What I soon realised though is that for every time I deflected some blame on to someone or something else or pulled out the ‘you have no idea what I’ve been through’ card that I literally gave my power away and became helpless to a situation in my past, again. And you know what, this soon got boring for myself and those close around me, and I certainly don’t want to be that person.  So what I tend to do now when I feel my ego come up at an opportunity to blame someone else for a challenging situation that I’m facing is take a breath and let it go. Then, I reflect and look for the choices I made to get me in that situation, so I can take responsibility, forgive myself if necessary and recognise the power of my actions. By taking this approach it’s means that we’re always responsible for something, which in turn this means that we can then recognise our personal power in any given situation, no matter how painful it is. Now isn’t that empowering?

I want to create a world of greater wellbeing for ourselves and the planet that we live on. That’s why I’m starting an honest conversation about wellbeing; encompassing self care, emotional intelligence, body and mind awareness, personal development, and authenticity. If you want to learn more about these subjects then then head over to www.shereensoliman.com to find out more about the packages I offer.

Sending self care vibes,

Shereen x

Photo by Dương Trần Quốc on Unsplash

 

Find Your Fun

One of the things I often get lost in when it comes to this whole healing process; is the analysis of what I’ve been going through. Looking inside myself, at my actions, questioning what my behaviour is being driven by etc, basically everything which I write about on this blog.

This isn’t such a bad thing because it’s one of the main things that’s helped me process those challenging events at the speed that I did. It also got me moving in the direction of where I want to go with my life. So of course this process was necessary. However, one of the things that wasn’t so necessary, was me losing all my fun along the way. I realised this recently when my friend’s husband made a comment that I seemed a lot more serious these days than I used to be. And he’s right.

When I think back to the time that all these events kicked off – the first one being me falling in love – it was when I was working in the yachting industry, travelling, dancing, drinking and hanging around with one of my carefree yachting friends who would make me laugh so much that I constantly had a serious case of face ache. Back then, nothing scared me. I often put myself in positions where I’d have to work stuff out and I had this unstoppable self belief that no matter what, I’d be ok. No matter if I quit a job in the middle of the season because the captain didn’t treat me like a human being. Or if I managed to blag myself on to a sail boat delivery when I couldn’t even sail. Or trusting that I could arrive somewhere in the middle of the busiest season yet be certain that I’d find the most perfect place to rent that would be exactly what I wanted. I had this undeniable trust in the universe that everything would work out just fine, and with that trust I flowed with whatever came my way. I went out dancing when I wanted, I radiated out a fun energy that everyone wanted to be part of and I was having an immense amount of fun along the way. To put it simply, I was loving living life and I didn’t worry about anything.

Recently I lost that.

I think it’s because I’ve done a lot of work to find out what my purpose is, and with the whole trauma/self care/personal development theme I’m pretty certain of my vision of what I’m here to create with my life. However I also feel like it’s not quite the time to move forward along that path just yet. It’s as though there’s a few more experiences to collect along the way. A period of time to relax, have fun and get myself back to the carefree, fearless, confident adventure seeker that I was before all these episodes happened. For me that means getting back into the industry that I’d discovered which pays me to be on the water. The industry that gives me the freedom to work how I want –seasonally in short and intense periods. The industry where I feel challenged like I’ve never been challenged before – physically and mentally – to grow as a person in so many different ways. This industry is yachting, something that has nothing to do with self care, personal development or any of my academic qualifications, it is however, the industry which I thoroughly enjoy working in and over the last three years have avoided because of fear.

This doesn’t mean that I’m giving up my mission to explore, heal and spread the word about these insights. It means that I’m taking the time to put the fun and happiness back in my step so when the time comes to walk that path I can do it with confidence, fearlessness and true happiness.

I mean after all, aren’t we here on this planet to have fun, enjoy this life and feel good from within?

I want to create a world of greater wellbeing for ourselves and the planet that we live on. That’s why I’m starting an honest conversation about wellbeing; encompassing self care, emotional intelligence, body and mind awareness, personal development, and authenticity. If you want to learn more about these subjects then then head over to www.shereensoliman.com to find out more about the packages I offer.

Sending self care vibes,

Shereen x

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Why Not Be Your Own Hero?

A good friend once said to me “You’re alone in this world. You come in alone and you go out alone”. While I agree with that to some extent (because physically it’s true). I also think that the fabric of our happiness lies in the connections we make and how strong we make them. I think the point my friend was trying to make is that it’s our personal responsibility to live the life we want to live. Not our parent’s responsibility. Not our spouses. Not any leader of any kind. Only our personal responsibility.

Throughout my travels I’ve noticed that this sentiment seems to have got lost in the cult element of the wellbeing/healing circuit. It’s like what has happened with religion over recent years too. Not to mention capitalism and most hierarchical structures. There seems to be this blind faith in trusting anyone who speaks with insight and offers others guidance. This results in the insightful person floating up into ‘hero’ status as their followers exchange their own moral guidance for that of their hero. While I appreciate that people with insight have a valued voice, I believe (like Deepak Chopra in this video) that we all have the ability to tune into our own guidance system . I also think that heros should be challenged if something they say doesn’t sit right with us. It might not sit right with us because of our own fear which once aired we can identify and address. Or, it might be that what they’ve said doesn’t fit with our personal moral values for whatever reason, either way this questioning creates discourse which is valuable for all.

The problem with this type of questioning (and the reason I believe many avoid it) is that if we question our heros then suddenly we become accountable for the moral code of actions, and for some this responsibility can be a daunting prospect.

This recently came to light for me when I met with someone who had recently left an Osho community. This person was telling me about their childhood heros and how they all turned out to be ‘immoral’ – the Catholic Church, their parents, various sporting and also spiritual leaders – and how Osho was their new hero. Now, I respect Osho’s teachings (I’m currently reading Courage and highly recommend it), but there’s also a few things about his way of life that don’t sit right with me. Because of this, I choose to learn from what I admire and leave what I don’t – isn’t it great that we all have this thing called choice – awesome. Anyway, the question that I posed to this person who was reeling off their list of hero’s was… “Why not be your own hero?”

In return I got a silent, yet startled and suspicious look. So I continued. “Why not be the person you admire, so you can say to yourself every day ‘I’m proud of you’?” This concept left this person a little bamboozled. Probably because, this concept brings us to a question of personal values and how we live by them. Whereas, if we follow a hero then we can detach from our set of values as we blindly live by theirs. This detachment from our own value system is a problem because it means that we give over the power of our moral compass to someone else rather than stopping and checking in to our gut feelings.

Can you see how this could be a potential opportunity for abuse if this hero doesn’t keep their ego in check? And if no one questions them, and let’s say, they commit to and also encourage immoral behaviour they have a whole community of people detached from their own moral compass who validate this negative behaviour of their hero and then within themselves. It’s almost as if there’s a trade off here of ‘Well I’m in the Osho/Catholic/Management community so of course I wouldn’t do anything bad’, whereas the community club badge isn’t actually a representation of our values, our actions are.

The thing is, nobody’s perfect and when you’ve gone through something painful like a trauma it’s challenging to control those negative behaviours. There is however, always the opportunity to reflect, question your actions and rectify a situation. This is why emotional intelligence is so important when it comes to negative feelings as they are our signposts of what we need to work on to become better people. It’s also important for us to surround ourselves with people who question our negative behaviour so we can become aware of it and work no it.

I’m not saying that this is easy, because for some it’s not and we grow up in a society that has many hierarchical structures where we’re taught to give our power over. However, maybe we could at least start with being our own hero and living by a strong set of values that any hero would be proud of?

I want to create a world of greater wellbeing for ourselves and the planet that we live on. That’s why I’m starting an honest conversation about wellbeing; encompassing self care, emotional intelligence, body and mind awareness, personal development, and authenticity. If you want to learn more about these subjects then then head over to www.shereensoliman.com to find out more about the packages I offer.

Sending self care vibes,

Shereen x

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

Why Our Wellbeing Should Be Our Number 1 Priority

I think there’s a common misconception when it comes to self care. That to honour our self care means that we’re selfish, and of course no one wants to be deemed anything as evil as that. It’s as though there’s a certain quilt of shame that we must adopt if we dare to put the wellbeing of ourselves first, before others wishes, or god forbid we put it before progression or the opportunity to create more monetary wealth. However, the thing that happens when we do this, is that we burn out. There’s an exhaustion, a break down or a halt to a stop.

I’m certainly feeling that halt today.

Ironically I’m building my business around self care (shameless plug here), and I’m trying so hard to make things work. I’m web page building, pitching, organising, marketing, all whilst trying to earn money from other sources and then create free time to actually try and live my life. Then suddenly I’m frustrated and exhausted. It’s something that I should have seen coming because I’m aware of this conundrum which is so prolific in our society, and especially so in the industries of care and wellbeing. But I didn’t, and it was only when my life coach asked me “And what about Shereen?” that I almost laughed out loud at the irony of my situation. The problem with this conundrum in care and wellbeing industries is that when the people who are giving care aren’t in a well balanced and happy place, then to care for others requires energy that they don’t have. That’s when they’re at risk of compassion fatigue – when they don’t have the ability to give compassion to others anymore because they’ve been run into survival mode.

Lately, I’ve heard from psychologists, ex-care workers and health professionals who’ve all mentioned that they’re exhausted from over work and extreme emotional stress. Some left their jobs and were considering completely new professions, such as working in a café for one guy – something where the only thing he’d have to worry about is how to make the best coffee he can in that moment. This means that people are leaving the industries that support our most vulnerable people, because if they stayed, it means that they’d be suffering themselves. And these aren’t bad people, they’re compassionate, loving, selfless human beings who are being exhausted to the bone because the systems which they work in lack the boundaries to protect them from becoming emotionally expended.

This isn’t just a problem in the work force, it seems larger than that, an epidemic that spreads across Western culture in fact. It’s as though there’s a certain push to exhaust ourselves beyond all measures these days, especially amongst my generation and the ones following. A push to succeed and ‘be someone’ and I feel myself getting wrapped into it, even in the realm of self care. To be the person who speaks out about trauma recovery without medication, to be the natural and sustainable self care person, to be the writer, the voice, the frequent instagramer of beautiful, thoughtful photos as though I’m some kind of talented photographer when in reality I don’t have a clue. And somedays I’m just tired of it. To the point where I think maybe I’ll go and get a job back on a super yacht where I can earn money, spend time on the water and the only thing I need to worry about it whether the boat looks clean or not – simple times!

It’s when I have these thoughts that I stop and come back to my self care regime and what I need to do to replenish myself in that moment. Sometimes that’s going for walk in the mountains. Sometimes it’s doing something silly like wildly dancing across the room to David Bowie’s ‘China Girl’ to amuse my friend’s 10 month old baby. Sometimes it’s simply lying on my bed reading a book, feeling the warmth of the soft blanket beneath me, knowing that I have a place to rest for now, even if the future seems uncertain. Knowing that I have the freedom to write, walk and sleep when I want. Knowing that I can have the tools and time to stop and take myself out of the hamster wheel to apply my self care before I get burn out.  That’s when I remember that I always have this ability to apply self care, that we can all have it. The trick to is to make the intention to do it and dedicate the time to practice it. To create boundaries in our life and so that we make sure our wellbeing is our number 1 priority. To respect those self care routines as though our life depends on it, because the truth is that it does. Only then can we move forward from a clear and calm mindset, and help others without risking our own wellbeing.

I wonder if things would be different if we, and the organisations that we work for put our wellbeing first before anything else? If physical, mental and emotional wellbeing were valued as the metrics of success rather than figures and progress? One day, I’ll own a business that does.

I want to create a world of greater wellbeing for ourselves and the planet that we live on. That’s why I’m starting an honest conversation about wellbeing; encompassing self care, emotional intelligence, body and mind awareness, personal development, and authenticity. If you want to learn more about these subjects then then head over to www.shereensoliman.com to find out more about the packages I offer.

Sending self care vibes,

Shereen x

Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash

 

If You Wouldn’t Say It To Her Face, Don’t Type It

I get it, Sex sells. At least that’s what we’re told right? And if you want to go anywhere in life, you’d better make sure you’re damn sexy otherwise you won’t be getting far! At least, that’s the message we’re given as women, and from a very young age too.

I remember this attitude back when I used to work in the Construction industry. When the pretty girls would get sent to the important sales meetings if we weren’t hitting our customers KPI’s (Key performance indicators) so we could at least distract our male customers from the fact that our company was performing poorly. It always worked, but it got tiring after a while, having to work in a community of men who never saw me as an equal. Regardless of the projects that I completed or the targets that I met, my value within the company was mostly determined by how I looked. I was 23 at the time, young, bright eyed and apparently pleasing on the eye. So the sales men would invite me to meetings to soften customer deals and the women of power in my company disliked me and would make sure I knew it. It was quite an eye opener to go into my first graduate job in an industry that based all my competencies on my aesthetics and I was reminded of that kind of treatment recently when I saw a motivational post by an inspirational women on my Linked in news feed.

The post read like this:

“Do you know the power of appreciation? 85% of people are unhappy with their career. We all have goals and we are always trying to keep up with the Jones’. Goals are great to have but don’t let life pass you by without enjoying the journey you are on. Count your blessings not your problems. Don’t regret not appreciating what you had when you had it including the people in your life. We get so focused on where we are headed we forget where we’re at and what we have now. The purpose of life is to find your purpose and to value those who supported you on the way up. Life is not a race, pump the brakes and slow down.”

It’s such a great message and in my opinion perfectly placed as a post about the workplace, on a social media platform for the workplace. It could have been written by the likes of Tony Robbins, or Richard Branson but this one was written by Shannon Bunn. A marine veteran turned legal assistant, who is a young, intelligent and attractive. She posted this statement with a picture of herself in the front seat of a car (see pic) and the popularity of the post, and the comments that followed interested me. I’m glad to reveal that most of them were about the insightful and motivational statement she made, but some highlighted the attitude that the modern workplace still refuses to outgrow. One that values people by their appearance, not their work.

There were sleazy comments that made reference to how she looked:

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Comments from people saying that they would have ‘loved one night with her’:

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There were negative comments, mostly from women such as ‘Trite BS’

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One that pointed out that it was not the appropriate platform for ‘beauty selfies’ and one comment that actually calls out the post as ‘passive-aggressive sexualisation’. I found these statements interesting because almost every motivational post I see from Richard Branson has a picture of him attached but I never see any comments like this on his posts…

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It goes without saying that we live in a visual world and because of this aesthetics seem important, but are we missing the point when it comes to the workplace?

The fact is that the very popularity of the post and the comments below it show that we are still not appreciating people for who they are and what they do in the workplace. Instead some of us still objectify and then judge each other based on looks, especially when it comes to women. Isn’t it about time we started to see each other as human beings, and respect each other as such? I mean regardless of how Shannon looks and the endless judgements that could be made about her appearance it’s her words and what she stands for that should be remembered.

I could write about the state of our society, and how unaware we are of our emotions that are ruling our thoughts and behaviour, especially when it comes to making judgements about others etc etc… but I figured that these three pre-comment posting questions would be more helpful:

  1. Would you say that to their face?

It’s so easy in the realm of the ‘behind the screen’ society to forget that there is a human being on the other side of the screen, receiving the words so easily typed onto the keyboard. A real person, just like you. A person with feelings, fears, aspirations and insecurities. Have a think about the words you’re typing to another human being and ask yourself – if he or she was here, in front of you right now, would you say that to their face? Would you say it in the tone you mean it and face the consequences of your comments? I think most of the leery men and snipey women probably wouldn’t say some of the things that they typed if they were in a face to face conversation with Shannon.

  1. How would you feel if someone said that to your sister/brother/daughter/son/mother/father?

We often forget that these ‘beautiful’ women and ‘hot’ guys are people’s family members. They are real people, not objects for our desire or attack just because we can’t control our egos. Before you write, stop and imagine how you would feel if someone said what you are about to write to your sister, brother, daughter, son, mother or father. Does it arise a feeling of anger inside you? Are you outraged that someone would act in such a disrespectful way to one of your family members? If so, don’t write it. Remember that the person who you are firing your words at is a human begin too, just like your family, and just like you.

  1. Why do you feel the need to comment at all?

When it comes to commenting on a post, how many of us stop and question why we are commenting and what we hope to achieve out of it? We can start with asking ourselves if our comment is positive, negative or neutral. If it’s negative, think twice about spreading that negativity across a visual platform that thousands of people are going to see because, frankly, the world could do with less negativity in it.

Then, ask yourself this: ‘What is it about this post that rustles up negativity inside me?’

It’s times like this that we should remember that we are responsible for our own emotions and that we have a choice of how we react upon them. If something from the outside brings up a judgement of negativity within you, then there’s something inside you that you need to investigate.

Hopefully if we start asking ourselves these questions more often then we can start becoming more conscious, compassionate and respectful in the workplace, whether it’s in the online community or the office. Now doesn’t that sound like a more pleasant world to work in?

I want to create a world of greater wellbeing for ourselves and the planet that we live on. That’s why I’m starting an honest conversation about wellbeing; encompassing self care, emotional intelligence, body and mind awareness, personal development, and authenticity. If you want to learn more about these subjects then then head over to www.shereensoliman.com to find out more about the packages I offer.

Sending self care vibes,

Shereen x

Photo Credit: Shannon Bunn on Linked In.