3 Steps to Thrive In Isolation

As we settle down in to this lockdown period, I think it’s an important time to reflect and revaluate where we are in life. To press pause and think about what really matters to our happiness, and how we can create a lifestyle revolving around that.

In the absence of distraction and noise, and busyness. This is the perfect time to find out what we value and plan how we can cultivate a life of value when we emerge from this lockdown period.

That said, settling into the lockdown can be challenging at first, so here are my three steps to help you get through these changing times.

1.Build Structure Into Your Day

In times like these, it’s important to create structure in your life because it will being you routine and certainly. Uncertainly is what breeds panic so if you can start to make your day more predictable then you will start to create certainly in your situation. With that, you’ll start to feel more in control and thus more empowered – which is exactly what you need in times of uncertainty like this.

To do this, can you wake up at the same time, and eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at set times throughout the day? This will help you break up the day into chunks, then you can fill the spaces in between with work (if you can work from home) or activities.

I live with my flat mate and her two year old, so our structure looks a bit like this –

7 – Wake up, tea

7.30 Meditation

8 – Fitness

9.30 – Breakfast

10 – work/audio book (for the toddler)

12.30 – lunch

14 – Work/Play on the roof terrace

17 – Bath (for the toddler)

18 – Dinner

20 – Bed time (for the toddler)/Wind down – reading/watching a movie/chatting

We don’t always stick to this in a fixed manner, but we do use it as a guideline to help us manage the day. The aim of the structure is to create a plan in a space where there is no plan but we still have flexibility within it.

2. Create a Rhythm For Your Day

By creating a rhythm in your day, you’re priming your brain to build up and wind down depending on what stage of the day you’re in. The rhythm is what you create by putting certain activities into the structure of your day, and this is how you can set yourself up to win for each activity.

Using this technique will help you create a sense of mental stability so you can face any internal challenges that might come to the surface in your isolation period – you know, the times when you feel panicky because ‘oh my god we’re locked inside the house and there’s a virus out to get us!!!’ Or the times when you feel deflated and demotivated because you can’t do what you want so what is the point in doing anything.

These feelings are natural, so let them come up but do help yourself by putting the systems in place to help you throughout the day.

I start my day with a meditation and a hot lemon tea because this helps me wake up and get ready for my fitness class. The fitness class starts with slow mobility stretches and then builds up into a cardio workout – this builds up my energy for the rest of the day.

In the middle of the day I come out of my work rhythm to sit for lunch and connect with my house mate and her son – this gives my brain a break.

Then at the end of the day, I come out of my work space again and we have dinner together and then we wind down by doing activities that are calming. I usually finish the day with a mediation or listening to music because it generally calms my brain down, and I sleep better.

You might have a different rhythm but whatever it is, be consistent with it. This will serve you so much in the long run.

3.Utilise Your Physical Space

There’s no point getting caught up with what we can’t control – the ‘what if’s’, the ‘what they’re doing’, the ‘we should have’. Instead focus on what you can control, such as utilising your physical space.

A way you can do this is to create different zones for different activities, and then you can make sure that each zone has the appropriate set up for that activitiy

This is another brain priming technique to help you work the best in a zone, however it also can help you change your mood if you do it wisely.

For example you could have a quite/wind down zone which you only use for reading, meditating and sleeping. You could have a work zone which you only use for working and brainstorming in.

By using these techniques you’re giving yourself the best chance of thriving through the isolation period. You might even find yourself becoming motivated to do the things you’ve been putting off for years, or even to try new things that you hadn’t thought of before. If anything, I hope these steps help you centre yourself and inspire you to use this reset in the best way possible.

If you want the EQ tools to master your emotions and life an empowered life then, JOIN MY FOCUS GROUP FOR THE EMPOWER YOURSELF PROGRAM. The program is free and all I ask of you is to give me feedback and a testimonial. The group starts on Monday 30th March so you’ll have to act quick! Email me at shereen@shereensoliman.com to find out more.

Also, sign up to my newsletter for monthly insider tips – my subscribers get access to free tutorials and are the first to know about exclusive offers on my Empower Yourself Program.

Check out my YouTube channel for videos on all things Emotionally Intelligent. Please subscribe if you like my content, and I’ll keep on providing great insights for you!

Sending calming, positive and healthy vibes,

Shereen x

3 Steps To Cultivate Calmness In The Chaos

As I write this, the Coronavirus is sweeping across the world. I’m in Mallorca, which is in lockdown, much like most of Europe. There’s panic, erratic behaviour, a lot of fear inducing facebook chat and silence as the whole island grinds to a halt.

The virus, like many fear inducing situations, shows us how easy it is to get caught up in our emotions. That many of us aren’t aware when we sway over into fear, and very few of us can bring ourselves back to calm and logic when these emotions are high.

What I want for you to take from this blog today is the message of how useful it is to your wellbeing to become aware of how you feel and to practice bringing yourself out of those undesirable emotions and back to a place of calmness, clarity and clear thinking.

This is empowerment.  

And Now is the perfect time to practice (I mean, how else are you spending your days if like me, you’re in isolation).

  1. Check Your Sources Of Information

Whether you are in a country participating in lockdown or not, it’s undeniable that the panic hype is real. Much of this is driven by uncertainty, hearsay and less than educated opinions of friend or foe on social media. Right now, there is no time better than this to start questioning your sources of information.

What credibility does the person bringing you this ‘news’ have to tell this story?

Are they bringing you the story with added dramatic voice tones, exaggerated circumstances and scary future scenarios? If so, can you ignore all that and find the truth in the message?

Can you get this same message via two more independent sources of information? If not, can you take it with a pinch of salt?

Start questioning the manic sharing of scare mongering information openly, so others can realise that they’re not questioning their sources either. Many of us don’t question information before we pass it on, and this is a part of the problem when it comes to spreading mad panic across societies. Be the first. Start questioning.

2. Slow Down and Take a Breather

Are you finding yourself feeling panicked and running away into the world of ‘what ifs’? If so, slow down, take a time out, get a cup of hot something (tea is my thing) and breathe. It’s easy to run away with a chain of thought which is purely speculative and fuelled by fear. However, whether or not there is truth in what you fear, allowing yourself to dwell in that fear doesn’t help you. In fact, it’s actually counterproductive to your overall wellbeing and will most likely leave you feeling like you don’t have any power to change your circumstances – all of which isn’t true at all.

Ask yourself these questions – when you’ve felt really fearful about something happening,

               Has it ever actually happened the way you feared that it would?

               Did you deal with the situation and continue to live your life? (I mean, you’re here reading this blog right?

               Did feeling the fear and sinking in to it, and thinking of all the possible situations, things that could be said, done etc, actually prepare you in any way in the moment that the thing happened? – Probably not is what I’m suspecting here.

What I’m trying to demonstrate is that this speculative fear and the panic that ensues is pointless. Even if your what if turns out to be right, often the way we act in the moment is completely different to how we thought we would, so the only thing that we’re left with is the ego acknowledgement of ‘I knew this would happen’. Are the bragging rights of saying that sentence worth the fear you feel and how much energy, space and time it occupies in your life?

3. Is This Bringing You Joy Right Now?

Personally, I’d like to spend my life enjoying it rather than feeling fearful of ‘what if’ speculations so I try to inventories my thoughts, feelings and actions as much as I can by asking myself one simple question.

Is this bringing me joy right now?

If the answer is no, then I make the moves to get out of that thought pattern, conversation, or situation. Pronto.

An example of when I ask myself this is when I’m lost in the thought pattern of a speculative argument. I might be thinking like this because I’m worried about how someone will react when I set a new boundary. I’m literally trying to run through all the situations of what could be said so I can try and prepare myself for how I’ll react. Yes, as I just pointed out – it’s pointless to do this… but I’m human too so I still can find myself lost here.

The thing is that when I ask myself if this thought pattern is bringing me joy, I suddenly become aware of how I feel – that my body is tense, and my face might have an angry expression on it, that I feel angry and upset and vulnerable inside. Knowing that I don’t want to dwell on those feelings motivates me to let go of the thought pattern and instead choose to think of something that brings me happiness instead. Usually things that I am grateful for in the moment or day dreaming about all the amazing possibilities that can happen in life.

If you’re wondering what I am feeling in this time of lockdown and quarantine, it’s this…

I’m grateful that I’m in Mallorca, my home base, with my friend and her son. Grateful that we have running water, access to heating, and the internet as well as lots of books.

I’m happy that we have food in the fridge, some great cookery books and a fully stocked kitchen of appliances so that we can spend time making beautiful meals.

I’m excited about the ways that we can use the time and the space that we have available to us right now. That I can create some more content for my blog and YouTube. That I can finish the audio books that I left behind earlier this year. That we can do workouts in the lounge. That we can play with the toys we have (with or without my friends toddler). That I can practice meditating every day. That we can do odd jobs around the house that often get left.

There are so many ways to flip our perspective on a situation, and by doing so we can find the peace in the panic. So I invite you to find your place of calmness within this, and trust me, your mental health will be grateful for it.

If you want the EQ tools to master your emotions and life an empowered life then, sign up to my newsletter for monthly insider tips on how to do this. My subscribers get access to free tutorials and are the first to know about exclusive offers on my Empower Yourself Program.

Also check out my YouTube channel for videos on all things Emotionally Intelligent? Please subscribe if you like my content, and I’ll keep on providing great insights for you!

Sending calming, positive and healthy vibes,

Shereen x

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

3 Steps to Finding The Right Therapist

I posted this post quite a while back and I find it SO relevant today. Now that therapy and sorting your stuff out has become a ‘thing’ (at least it definitely shouldn’t be shameful!), I think it’s ever more important to approach these professionals with discernment. That’s what you’re going to get from this blog post.

Firstly, a few things you should know…

Like with any profession, there are people who do it well and there are people who don’t do it so well. The thing is that when you’re in the role of client you’re putting your mental health and wellbeing in the hands of someone else, so it’s very important that you’ve vetted this person to make sure that they’re up to the job.

What I’ve found with many therapists, counsellors and even psychologists is that they lack the self-awareness and humility to admit that their ego can pop up during a session and project on the client. Here’s the thing – we’re all human. We all have egos. We can all project, have blind spots and ‘act out’. The problem is, that if the person who is holding the space of your mental health is not aware of themselves enough to know when they’re in their own ego, then you as the client can be in a very vulnerable and sometimes dangerous position.

That’s why it’s very important for you as the client to be discerning when you pick your therapist. By going through these steps, you’ll be equipped to do just that.

  1. Does the therapist have appropriate qualifications?

Firstly it’s important to be clear on the therapy you want and to make sure that the therapist is qualified to provide this. The first question I ask before I even meet up with a therapist is what kind of qualifications they have and what school they studied at. A therapist who is confident in their ability will happily provide their course and school details and answer any other questions you have. If you ask this question and the therapist starts to get defensive then to me this is a red flag I would question whether or not this is a person you want to have a treatment with. Seriously, if they are so insecure that they feel the need to get defensive with you then that’s already showing you that they might not have the skills. Also, by them getting defensive is a clear sign that they aren’t self-aware and cannot emotionally regulate – red red reeeeed flag!

  1. Meet up with them first

A very good piece of advice I got from Dr. Jenn (one of my best friends who’s a very good psychologist) when I ended up in a bit of state because I was seeing a counsellor that unfortunately wasn’t right for me, was to meet up with the therapist before paying for a session to see if you ‘click’. I’ve come to realise that this is something very important especially with any kind of psychological treatment (CBT, NLP, talk therapy etc) because if you don’t feel comfortable and safe in the presence of the therapist then this will limit your ability to heal. Why? Because you won’t open up and then you can’t process your stuff because it’s still locked away. What I mean by safe and comfortable is that you feel physically and mentally safe but also on an emotional level, which means that you shouldn’t feel judged by the therapist. Instead you should feel like you can say anything that comes to mind, that you can cry and that you can feel free to explore these areas of your emotional spectrum.

Since receiving this information I now meet up with anyone before having a therapy to see what my gut reaction says about them. If you don’t have a good gut feeling then it doesn’t necessarily mean that the person is bad, it’s just your instinct saying ‘not this one’, keep going until you find someone who is right for you.

  1. Can they provide what you need?

It’s important to be clear with the therapist about what your expectations are of the treatment and to ask them whether or not they can provide what you need. A credible therapist will be clear about what they can and cannot offer and steer you in the right direction to get what you need. It’s better to communicate this before the treatment so that both parties are clear on the expectations. For this, you’ll need to have a think about what you want from the treatment? How many sessions can you pay for? How deep do you want to go? Do you need to be able to take a break from the sessions at some point?

I think this step is even more important when it comes to people who are selling packages. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes clients need that container of ‘6 sessions’ etc, but some don’t – I certainly know that I don’t work this way anymore, so make sure you decide on a framework that suits you in your life right now, that you can change later if you want to.

Also be careful of people who promise the world because only you can heal yourself, it’s just the therapist’s job to provide space for that kind of unfolding. Hopefully if you follow these three steps you’ll get the right person for you.

Have you checked out my YouTube channel for videos on all things Emotionally Intelligent? Please subscribe if you like my content, and I’ll keep on providing great insights for you!

If you want the EQ tools to master your emotions and life an empowered life then, sign up to my newsletter for monthly insider tips on how to do this. My subscribers get access to free tutorials and are the first to know about exclusive offers on my Empower Yourself Program.

Sending self care vibes,

Shereen x

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

No More Censorship

There’s something I’ve battled with over the last few years, as I’ve worked my way through the healing journey. Something that’s leaves me feeling conflicted in a ‘did I do the right thing’ kind of paralysis. You know, the whole ‘does this sit with the values of who I am, of what I preach’ – and we all know that I’m a preacher!

Basically, it’s when it comes to speaking out about how I feel, when I feel hurt by the actions of another. I guess this is because I know that by expressing how I feel it means that it’ll leave the other person feeling upset too, which of course means that I’m then the one causing the upset – moral dilemma 101!

Personally I believe that we all have the potential to be the victim or the villain – I especially, can be reactive, judgement and hurtful at times. I know that I can also be the one who feels pain when someone is nasty, aggressive or hurtful towards me. I think we’re all somewhere along this spectrum and that we can sway along it in varying degrees, in fact I think that’s completely natural and normal to do so.

What I don’t agree with though, is people causing hurt towards another because they’re unaware that they’re doing it or because they’re not taking personal responsibility to heal their own pain.

Because this is how trauma is passed on – unconsciously.

We’re all human and most of us have negative behavioural patterns, ways that we’ve been taught to respond to certain pains in our life, certain traumas. Most of us picked up these patterns throughout our developmental stages of life and for the most part, they remain unchallenged.

The problem is when these patterns are destructive to our relationships, and we’re not even aware that we’re doing it.

Patterns such as dismissing or belittling a partner’s feelings, teasing a sibling or shouting at a colleague. What bothers me most is the censorship around this – how many of us don’t speak up when we feel hurt, so because of the unawareness it continues.

Lately I’ve committing to stopping this censorship within myself, and I invite you to do the same.

If you’re looking at where to start with this, I strongly recommend reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, by Mark Manson.

Be the one who speaks up when you experience hurtful behaviour.

Tell that person who you love – I love you but I feel upset and I no longer wanted to be treated like this.

I know what I’m asking isn’t easy but without this we’re not going to change this behaviour and we’re not going to eradicate hurtful behaviour.

To win a copy of my latest book- Scattered sign up here now. All entrants receive the first chapter of the book absolutely free anyway, and the draw for the free book will be on the 6th of March 2020.

I’m on a mission to create a greater sense wellbeing for ourselves and the planet that we live on. To teach others how to connect authentically with themselves, so they can connect authentically with others. It starts with learning self-awareness, maintaining a strong value system that serves us, and having the emotional intelligence to move through a whole spectrum of emotions so we can connect without attachment.

If you want the EQ tools to master your emotions and life an empowered life then, sign up to my newsletter for monthly insider tips on how to do this. My subscribers get access to free tutorials and are the first to know about exclusive offers on my Empower Yourself Program. If you’ll like to find out more about the workshops, training and tailored coaching packages I offer, head over to www.shereensoliman.com. 

With courage, Shereen x

The Reasons Why I Didn’t Die

It’s been so long now since the night I got attacked that I forgot sometimes how shocking it is for people to hear it for the first time. I guess I’ve done so much therapy and processing in the last few years that to me it’s just become a thing that happened. Life. A little blimp in the tapestry of my journey.

One of the things that I see often (other than the gasp at the horrificness of what is being told) is the surprise in people’s eyes that I actually came out alive and unharmed, well un-raped is I think what they mean. To be honest, I don’t know, nor have I heard of anyone who was in a one-on-one attack like that who managed to get out alive and unscathed. So I want to shed some light on to why I think my situation ended the way it did, and why I’m still here to tell the story.

  1. I am, and was extremely aware when I got attacked

Self-awareness is something I’ve always practiced naturally. Who am I? What do I stand for? Am I doing the right thing by me? Those are questions I’ve always asked myself, I think because my Dad installed such a strong sense of values within me. This kind of questioning obviously lit my interest in human behaviour and how I work as a person. I guess I’ve always seen myself as a kind of science experiment as I challenge myself throughout life – changing careers, changing countries, challenging and changing my beliefs. Practising this curiositymeant that I had already built up a strong sense of self-awareness and awareness of others so of course I was aware that night I got attacked. Being aware of him and his potential motives meant that I had already prepared myself subconsciously for something to happen. That’s the only reason that my survival response wasn’t ‘freeze’ like so many unfortunate women before me.

  1. I will fight to the death for what I believe in

Having the awareness to be prepared for a fight, I was then met with the worst case scenario – I had to fight. I did try to run which was my instant response, but obviously the guy grabbed me and he was a lot bigger and stronger than me so my next instinct was to fight. The memory here is lost, and I can only piece together what happened through my injuries and visiting the scene the next day. What I do know is that I was pinned down but managed to somehow get him off me. That I was able to break free and run away.

Again, I think this is because I had built up something internally that I’d been working on for years – that I stand up for what I believe in. This internal strength has sometimes proved annoying to others in my life, especially when it comes to hierarchy because I question any lack of integrity that I see. I do this because I believe that we should be questioning each other’s motives to make sure that we are acting out of self and not out of ego. This strength within me manifested as a fight that night, and there was no way in hell that I was going to go out without a fight, if not just for me then for every person who has suffered the sexual injustice to the hand of a another.

  1. Luck, faith and something higher than myself

I’ve always believed in something higher than myself, but I have always been strongly opposed to religion – can you blame me when it’s become so corrupt in the world? I mean, I stand for integrity yet I struggle to see it in religion these days.

I’ve always taken note of those synchronicities in life when it feels like someone else if pulling the strings and I’ve always prayed thanks for the gifts I’ve received – love, friendship, compassion and joy. I do this on a personal level, and I feel a non-judgemental type of spirituality that doesn’t subscribe to one ‘God’ or one deity. I just believe that there is something bigger out there at play, and I pay respects to it as and when it feels right. I (jokingly) call it Shereenism but I think that this is what true religion is – something private that stems from integrity and values, something that feels right and connected, and is individual for each of us.

The night I got attacked there were a few weird things that happened that strengthened my faith in some kind of guidance system. And you can take this or leave it, but this is my truth and all outside opinions are void of it.

When the man had walked past me, I heard a voice that said ‘Turn Around’, which I did. Had I not then the turn of events would have happened drastically different.

I felt as though I had assistance when I came to protecting myself. There is no way that a small figure like me could have fought off such a huge man, call it adrenalin but I physically felt like I was being aided.

When it came to someone finally offering refuge and opening their front door towards me for somewhere to run, it was a universal symbol of safety – the silhouette of a woman holding a new born baby. I’ll never forgot this image which has been seared into my brain. Apart from the fact that it seems so weird when I look back, I can’t begin to imagine what the woman herself must have been thinking. What compelled her to open the door when she heard my screams, because no one else in that neighbourhood even dared.

I’m not saying that by adopting these methods that you’ll become infallible to life or death scenarios that might get thrown at you. What I am saying though is that when you truly know yourself inside and out, and you stand strong for what you believe in that you live life a certain way. You live life consciously, and with courage, and that courage brings you freedom.

The irony in all of this is that these traumatic experiences took me back down to base level where I questioned myself completely. Through my journey of recovery I had to build myself up again, one block at a time. I had to carve out my new value system consciously so I could get back to this level of courage and internal freedom. This journey in itself is what has put me back on the right path – one that helps people and inspires people to find their own sense of internal freedom too.

The truth is that in learning why I didn’t die, it taught me how we should live.

I’m on a mission to create a greater sense wellbeing for ourselves and the planet that we live on. To teach others how to connect authentically with themselves, so they can connect authentically with others. It starts with learning self-awareness, maintaining a strong value system that serves us, and having the emotional intelligence to move through a whole spectrum of emotions so we can connect without attachment.

If you want FREE EQ tools to master your emotions and live an empowered life then, sign up to my newsletter for monthly insider tips on how to do this. My subscribers get access to free tutorials, book previews and are the first to know about exlusive offers on my Empower Yourself Program. If you’ll like to find out more about the workshops, training and tailored coaching packages I offer, head over to www.shereensoliman.com. 

With love, life and freedom, Shereen x

Photo by my dear friend James Duncan, of me, sitting by a tree.

What Really Matters, When It Comes to The Crunch.

I recently posted about what it’s like to have a relationship after having PTSD, and I think I covered quite a lot of things that everyone goes through when it comes to relationships, ptsd or not. Mainly I spoke about the fear that surrounds my decisions, the worry of whether or not this is the ‘right’ person to be with. Should I commit further or bail out now while there is still time?

The funny thing is that, prior to posting the blog article I found myself talking to a friend about her relationship. One which is entwined with her work, and her identity. A couple so close that they’re almost one. They’re at the point where there are lots of changes happening and the fear was cropping up big time.

She told me of her worries for the future. That she would find superficial things to focus in on and use it as was evidence to start an argument with her partner. Using one small insignificant thing to question the whole relationship.

I couldn’t help but think of the irony of this whole situation as I told her about the blog post I’d written but not yet posted, and that I was experiencing exactly the same thoughts too. We discussed these fears and we picked them apart – one of the things I’m known for throughout my friends, allowing the space to express these fears, unravel them and come back to earth with two feet on the ground. I’ve done it so often for myself over the past few years that I’m happy to share this art form with others, such a weird, unique yet valuable skill.

The thing is that when it comes to big vulnerable life choices like ‘who should I spend my life with?’ we have to ask ourselves what really matters when it comes to it?

Does it really matter that our significant other does stuff that sometimes annoys us, or is it more important that they show love and care towards us when we’re vulnerable?

Does it really matter that we don’t agree with the style of clothing that they choose to wear, or is it more important that they show values like respect towards themselves and others?

Does it really matter that they might be quite a ‘bit older’ or in a ‘different social class’, or even from a different country, or is it more important that they honour diversity and equality in people.

Quite often our ego will give us excuses to push someone away because deep down we’re scared of being vulnerable.

But underneath all this noise of the ego, are the real things that we need to look out for.

The values that someone demonstrates in their actions over time.

The actions that show the values they’re made of.

Like when our significant other forgives us when we’ve been out of line, and shows us compassion when we express the pain underneath our actions.

Like when they take care of us when we’re ill or when they’re present for us when we’re upset, showing that love, care and presence.

Like when they listen to what we have to say, whether it pleases them or not because it’s the truth and they appreciate the honesty.

It’s the values that we see over time that show us who that person really is at their core, and it’s the values that really matter when it comes to choosing who we should spend our time with.

So if you too have fears coming up like so many of us do, ask yourself if those things are the things that really matter? Or if they’re superficial excuses that your ego is bringing up through fear of vulnerability, commitment or the future?

Strong values are always worth the fighting through the fears.

I’m on a mission to create a greater sense wellbeing for ourselves and the planet that we live on. To teach others how to connect authentically with themselves, so they can connect authentically with others. It starts with learning self-awareness, maintaining a strong value system that serves us, and having the emotional intelligence to move through a whole spectrum of emotions so we can connect without attachment.

If you want the EQ tools to master your emotions and life an empowered life thensign up to my newsletter for monthly insider tips on how to do this. My subscribers get access to free tutorials and are the first to know about exlusive offers on my Empower Yourself Program. If you’ll like to find out more about the workshops, training and tailored coaching packages I offer, head over to www.shereensoliman.com. 

Sending you integrity and strength, Shereen x

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Calling out the BS on Coaching

Last year I tried a few new things.

I put myself out there when it came to launching my emotional intelligence program and I paid for some different coaching programs to help me build this element of myself along the way.

What I realised is that while I adore the world of personal and professional development, it is just like any other industry. It’s got the good, the bad and the ugly, and I’m going to call it out by sharing an experience with you.

I’m not doing this to cast any kind of bad light on the industry, if anything I want you to create more discernment in yourself. So that even if you do buy a program or pay for a coach that you can see that they are only human too and at the end of the day it’s up to you to lead your personal and professional development and pay for what you want to. Rather than getting roped into paying for a service that you don’t want/isn’t right for you for the benefit of lining another persons pockets.

The experience I had was on a coaching program where I was pushed to do a variety of things that pushed me out of my comfort zone – doing lots of online videos, putting myself ‘out there’ and opening up my social media profiles. At the time I resisted this because, if like me, you’ve opened up your profile before, you’ll know that a load of random people start intruding in your life. It’s exposing and unpleasant.

However, I trusted this process and went ahead.

What happened was that an abundance of men started posting sleazy comments on my wall and sending me inappropriate and rude messages – I actually received a dick pic sketch, now that’s a first. I’d love to say that I didn’t let this get to me, but it did.

I felt dirty and I felt cheap.

There I was expressing my thoughts and talking about the emotional intelligence tools that had helped me and being openly vulnerable about myself and my experiences, and here were all these unconscious leachy men scouring the internet for a cheap hit, and I was it.

I mean, I get it. We’re at a state of world evolution where men have ruled until now and somehow a lot of guys think these kind of tactics are successful when it comes to getting laid or even getting a wife. (Note to men – self check on this, has it ever actually worked? Think about that.)

Anyho, this wasn’t actually my issue. In fact I expected this as I’ve opened my profile before and the exact same thing happened. What I didn’t expect was the reaction of my coach. A person who I had opened up to, allowed to hold my space while I grow and become vulnerable with.

This continued to happen and I was asked to continue to pursue and ‘trust the process’ even though every part of my instinct told me that it wasn’t right for me. And of ALL the things that I’ve learnt and that I teach it’s to listen to your instinct, but here I was ignoring mine because I thought that this coach clearly knew more than me.

After a while the coach approached me and asked me about the whole situation, and of course I got upset. I felt exposed, I’d been doing daily videos, receiving daily dick pics in my inbox and I felt like it was my fault.

This is the moment when I was pitched an expensive therapy session by the coach, that was suggested because it seemed like I needed it, rather that it being the methods of coaching that weren’t suiting me.

When I said I’d think about it because I wanted to talk to my boyfriend first I was told there wasn’t many slots available and that I should make the decision on my own.

The thing is that I very almost handed over my credit card details, because I was coming from a place of ‘I’m broken and I need to be fixed’ and ‘Obviously my subconscious is littered with more trauma that I’m not even aware of’. When the reality is that this whole thing was a perfectly scripted pitch that even the most aware of people get caught into – it’s the NLP push-pull technique of selling. I recognised this when I reflected on it because I know quite a lot about NLP, having had a father who was a practioner because he used it to help the grieving family members of his cancer patients (not to sell his own product, which is what I’m clearly against here). I also recognised it a second time when we were taught the very same technique in the ‘how to sell to clients session’ in the coaching program the following week.

I won’t go into all of it but there is a specific script and what it’s aimed to do is push and pull a client from one end of their emotional spectrum to the other, to the point where they’re a little disorientated. Then there’s a focus on creating urgency within the client after you’ve already pushed them into the undesired feeling of what their life will be like if ‘nothing ever changes’. Then it’s time to pitch your product or service which is clearly the only solution to this problem, and you ask them to hand over their credit card details.

Simples.

Manipulative.

And something I strongly disagree with when used by coaches or therapists.

The worst of it is that us coachees on this program were being told that we are here to serve these clients so it’s imperative that we ‘guide’ (what they actually meant was manipulate) the client through the purchasing journey. To me this is even worse because as trainee coaches we were being told that to do this was okay and justified because we’re ‘helping’ our client in the long run  – completely sidelining the fact that by pushing a sale we’re actually disempowering them because we’ve taken away their conscious choice.

Now if you are learning how to sell products and services, and this method feels authentic to you, great, continue doing it.

However, if you are learning this technique to sell a service that involves some kind of relationship element, like coaching or counselling I’d ask you to question your values on this.

Are we empowering our client if we use our greater awareness to ‘guide’ them into that relationship?

Is it empowering as a client to be pushed and pulled into a state of vulnerability so we make a decision that we might not have made otherwise?

Personally, I don’t agree with this method and I disengaged with my whole coaching program after that. I don’t believe that this kind of manipulation is okay and I don’t want to be part of it. That might mean that I never get my coaching business off the ground but I’ll take that chance to keep my values intact.

I told my coach what I thought directly. Clearly we disagreed and she assured me that she was acting in the best of intentions, and I believe that she was. She’s a kind hearted person who is genuinely trying to help people, and she does a great job of it too. But she was probably taught that this method is the way to build a business and never questioned it whereas I do.

This way of teaching coaches to start these relationships with vulnerable clients upsets me. It’s inauthentic, it’s disempowering and it’s creating flocks and flocks of sheep following the heard without questioning, the same way religion did and the same way new age spirituality does.

Whereas I want people to become empowered by becoming more descerning.

I want people to join my program if they believe it’s right one for them and it’s the right time for them.

I want them to call me out if they think I’m acting out of my ego – so I can become more aware and better as a coach, and they can start to trust their own instinct more.

I want us to be on a level playing field where I can hold space for them while they learn, because I don’t believe that anyone in life should be held on a pedestal.

Most of all I want us all to get to a state of empowerment where we are unmoved by these tricks of subtle manipulation.

I’m on a mission to create a greater sense wellbeing for ourselves and the planet that we live on. To teach others how to connect authentically with themselves, so they can connect authentically with others. It starts with learning self-awareness, maintaining a strong value system that serves us, and having the emotional intelligence to move through a whole spectrum of emotions so we can connect without attachment.

If you want the EQ tools to master your emotions and life an empowered life then, sign up to my newsletter for monthly insider tips on how to do this. My subscribers get access to free tutorials and are the first to know about exlusive offers on my Empower Yourself Program. If you’ll like to find out more about the workshops, training and tailored coaching packages I offer, head over to www.shereensoliman.com. 

With Absolutely No Bull Sh*t, Shereen x

Photo by Joshua Ness on Unsplash

A Relationship with PTSD

2020 marks the 5 year anniversary since I went through my life threatening ordeal when a man tried to rape and kill me. Last year was a huge turning point for me because it was the first time since this event that I’ve managed to get into a healthy, loving and progressive relationship.

It was a milestone.

There have been many milestones in the last few years as I rebuilt my life, but this one has been (by far) the most cherished. Getting here hasn’t been easy, and even now, within the relationship there are some incredibly challenging parts. However, it is 100% worth it and I want to share my insights for anyone who is trying to pick their way through the ptsd minefield of trying to have a romantic relationship.

The biggest challenge I continue to face is that the fear within me presents itself in so many different ways, and sometimes I don’t recognise it. That’s nothing new. In fact, a main part of this journey has been about consistently opening up to others about what is going on in my brain – often extremely erratic fear induced stories that I was telling myself. Stories with no logical sense when compared to the reality, but in my ptsd brain I was convinced that it was ultimate truth and would definitely happen.

This fear crops up in so many ways and if my man hadn’t been very persistent when we were dating then we probably wouldn’t be together now, simply because I kept pushing him away.

I kept telling myself stories about him that weren’t true. I’d find excuses to be annoyed with him so that I could validate undesirable traits within him, traits which often weren’t there.  For example, if he was late I’d tell myself that it was because he was lazy, couldn’t keep time management and because of that, he wasn’t someone I should be with. I would focus on the superficial things and magnify them and make conclusions about his whole character because of them. When the reality was that I hadn’t yet found out who he was to even make those conclusions in the first place.

The thing was that regardless of all the negative self-chat in my head, deep down it felt good to be with him and throughout my whole healing journey it was following what felt good that lead me to heal so fast. That’s why I knew that I had to follow it this time too. When I made that commitment, I realised that all that was left was fear – a fear that brought me to tears because I was so scared of opening up and being vulnerable again. Time and time again I’d have to release those tears, put my big girl pants on and keep putting myself out there, date after date. It was hard, but I’m very glad I did.

Another huge challenge that I face is how easy it is to fall into old patterns of blaming, shaming and judgement. These strategies are ego defence mechanisms that crop up because of fear and stop someone from getting close to us or our heart. What I’ve found is that it’s very seductive to fall into these old patterns and that the attraction of ‘being right’ is a strong force of pull. That even when I am at my most mindful, this fear can still engulf me and cause me to act in a way which is destructive to the safe emotional space my partner and I have worked so hard to build. A space that takes such a long to create, and can be eroded in seconds with harsh words or careless actions.

While it’s hard to catch this in the moment – whether you suffer from ptsd or not – it is imperative to acknowledge this behaviour and take responsibility for our own actions. It’s important to say sorry meaningfully and understand that it may take time and trust until full forgiveness is given. This is humbling and incurs a feeling of guilt, but it’s necessary to build up that foundation of trust again.

As well as that it’s necessary to understand why that behaviour cropped up in the first place, so we can start to break it down and become aware of how we can choose differently next time. All of this requires hard conversations, honest self-reflection and the commitment to becoming a better person every time we fall back into old patterns. Again, it’s humbling work but the rewards are worth it.

Another challenge on this part of the ptsd recovery journey is believing in the value of self, in yourself.

This is a lesson that I had to learn time and time again. I knew I’d finally learnt it when this man entered my life, because it was the first time in years that I’d romantically engaged with a person who actually valued me for who I was. Prior to this I was finding myself attracted to men who treated me in ways which devalued my sense of self-worth. Men who were aggressive towards me, men who belittled me, men who shamed me, dismissed my talents and left me feeling ashamed of being the ‘intense’, ‘questioning’, ‘demanding’ person that I am. The reason why I kept finding myself in these relationships was because I needed to fully heal within myself and get to a place where I felt complete acceptance and love for who I am. I knew that once I’d healed to that point, that I would naturally attract a person who mirrored that. As the old saying goes, you can’t love another until you love yourself. Another take on this is that when you value yourself highly you simple don’t entertain the option of getting involved with someone who doesn’t appreciate that value equally. Quite frankly once I got there, anyone who didn’t value me simply didn’t get a look in, let alone an opportunity to date me.

The romantic-relationship-with-ptsd journey is an interesting one. I’m sure it’s different for everyone but I hope my insights provide some guidance for anyone who’s struggling.

As with all this healing, know that you’ll get through it and stay curious to the lessons it presents. Life is after all a series of lessons along a journey, the trick is to enjoy the fun along the way.

I’m on a mission to create a greater sense wellbeing for ourselves and the planet that we live on. To teach others how to connect authentically with themselves, so they can connect authentically with others. It starts with learning self-awareness, maintaining a strong value system that serves us, and having the emotional intelligence to move through a whole spectrum of emotions so we can connect without attachment.

If you want the EQ tools to master your emotions and life an empowered life then, sign up to my newsletter for monthly insider tips on how to do this. My subscribers get access to free tutorials and are the first to know about exlusive offers on my Empower Yourself Program. If you’ll like to find out more about the workshops, training and tailored coaching packages I offer, head over to www.shereensoliman.com. 

Picture by me, of me and my man holidaying in Thailand.

Don’t Sucum to Analysis Paralysis

I often wonder about life.

Why we’re here. What it’s all about. What the point is… etc.

For the most part, I think it’s good to think deeply and enquire into these questions. If anything, going through the crazy trauma times I went through, thinking about these kind of questions gave me some kind of inner peace. As though there was a meaning to everything I went through, a purpose that I could attach it to. Something that meant that the pain was valid and useful.

What I’ve come to realise is that while there may have been some meaning to all of this, the self-questioning involved to enquire at this level isn’t always that helpful. In fact, it can actually paralyse me from moving forward and doing something because I’m caught in the analysis of what is ‘best’ thing to do.

I see this paralysis a lot. In fact, it’s something that comes up often with people who go through my empowerment program – do I want this, or do I want that? Is this the right way to fill out this exercise? What if I do it that way and I’ve done it wrong?

The thing is that it doesn’t really matter if it’s the ‘right’ way or the ‘wrong’ way, because life will always take us the way we’re meant to go, as long as we commit to making movement. The important thing is that we take action and choose something. To stop considering and make a move. To get out of our heads and into the real world by taking some form of action.

I think this case of analysis paralysis is something that affects many of us in my generation – the Millennials and younger. We’re the age of technology, information and choice. Too much choice.  The travesty in this is that life continues to go by while we’re stuck questioning a trivial decision.

What I have to remind myself of constantly is that I’m here to live. I’m here to make mistakes, embarrass myself, fall down, get hurt and accidentally hurt people too as I explore and experience life. There’s no right or wrong way to do it so we may as well accept it for the messy crazy process that it is.

On that note, take a break from the analysis and remind yourself that you have a 100% success rate of getting through life so far.

I think that deserves a cheers.

I’m on a mission to create a greater sense wellbeing for ourselves and the planet that we live on. To teach others how to connect authentically with themselves, so they can connect authentically with others. It starts with learning self-awareness, maintaining a strong value system that serves us, and having the emotional intelligence to move through a whole spectrum of emotions so we can connect without attachment.

If you want the EQ tools to master your emotions and life an empowered life thensign up to my newsletter for monthly insider tips on how to do this. My subscribers get access to free tutorials and are the first to know about exlusive offers on my Empower Yourself Program. If you’ll like to find out more about the workshops, training and tailored coaching packages I offer, head over to www.shereensoliman.com. 

With Compassion, Shereen x

Photo by Brendan Church on Unsplash

Never Give Up

When I look back at my trauma recovery journey, my goal was always to get back to an adventurous, fearless and nomadic lifestyle with a clear and calm mindset. There was no plan B, or second best option because I knew that if I couldn’t get back to being ‘me’ (or a better version of ‘me’) then quite frankly I didn’t want to live at all. I’m not being dramatic when I write this, because there was a very real point throughout this journey when I went down that dark road and considered ending my life all together. I never wrote about it back then and I don’t talk about much now (apart from the public speech I did about it earlier this year to 150 people… which wasn’t daunting at all!!)

I got to that point of hopelessness when I wasn’t sure if I could overcome what had happened and I didn’t see the point of living my life through the cage of fear and not getting to achieve my dreams. In my eyes, the thought of existing through fear rather than living fearlessly wasn’t a life worth living to me. That’s when leaving the planet all together seemed like a viable option. Luckily, I have the kind of psychologically educated support network who steered me away from these thoughts and believed in me even when I lost belief in myself. I owe my life to these people and for that I’m forever grateful.

So with plan B not being an option, I focused on challenging myself to overcome every single trigger and every single fear to secure my goal of living fearlessly no matter what.

That means I’ve overcome panic attacks.

That I’m back to travelling solo, and talking to random people (inc men) in hostels again like they’re new friends, because they are.

That I’ve got the energy to work long hours that the yachting industry demands, while making sure that I put in the right boundaries and self care routines to take care of myself during the season.

That I am living nomadically, adventurously and with the full freedom to be curious about the world like I used to be.

That I have finally managed to be in a healthy romantic relationship with a man who is emotionally intelligent, kind and has the same goals and values as me.

That I am finally working as a life coach, public speaking and spreading my motivational message, because this is what I was put on this planet to do!

However, there are still many more steps for me to take until I reach my goal because although these accomplishments have got me back to living a ‘normal’ life, a ‘normal life’ is not one that I ever lived and it’s not one that I aspire to live moving forward either. I want to live an extraordinary life.

I want to travel to new places, try new activities and feel the freedom to put myself in new situations on a daily basis – rather than have the fear occasionally stop me in my tracks and pull me back from a new experience.

I want to be so open and vulnerable in my relationship that my partner and I feel connected like a team no matter what is thrown at us – rather than pushing away and closing off because the simple fact that he’s a man triggers the living daylights out of me

I want to have my solid sense of self-assuredness back constantly. That feeling that I used to have, that knowing that I can create anything I dream up, that the world is an abundance of limitless possibility that is open for my exploration and pleasure.

I want to experience all my dreams and goals as real life experiences so that I can look back with no regrets when I finally leave this planet. That I can look back at a legacy that I’ve create and know that I used my energy to contribute to a greater good that the planet needs.

This is why I’m not giving up. This is WHY I continue to challenge myself and reflect, and grow!

Even when a setback plummets me back to ground zero and I’m upset and exhausted and disorientated from the triggers and the thoughts. And when I’m not sure what thoughts in my head are reflective of the actual reality or the ptsd version that my brain likes to create. Or when I’m in so much heartache and pain and guilt at my own ptsdy reactive behaviour that I feel ashamed to face the people who witnessed it.

Because to give up would mean to create an easy life, that’s comfortable and ‘normal’, and for me, that’s not a life worth living.

I’m on a mission to create a greater sense wellbeing for ourselves and the planet that we live on. To teach others how to connect authentically with themselves, so they can connect authentically with others. It starts with learning self-awareness, maintaining a strong value system that serves us, and having the emotional intelligence to move through a whole spectrum of emotions so we can connect without attachment.

If you want the EQ tools to master your emotions and life an empowered life thensign up to my newsletter for monthly insider tips on how to do this. My subscribers get access to free tutorials and are the first to know about exlusive offers on my Empower Yourself Program. If you’ll like to find out more about the workshops, training and tailored coaching packages I offer, head over to www.shereensoliman.com. 

Photo by x ) on Unsplash