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

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.

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’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 self care vibes,

Shereen x

Photo by Anthony DELANOIX on Unsplash