Blog: Make Change Fun And Easy
Unveiling the Mind-Body Connection For Great Health. With Shahista Ebrahim & Samia Bano
Struggling to achieve the #greathealth you want?
Did you know the root cause of your #physicalhealth challenges can be mental-emotional?
Listen now to this interview with Shahista Ebrahim, #NLP #LifeCoach, as we take a deep dive into understanding the #MindBodyConnection, and exploring the power of using an #integrativehealth and #holistichealing approach to achieve great health with fun and ease.
Learn more about Shahista and how she can help you at:
To Book your Free HAPPINESS 101 EXPLORATION CALL with Samia, click: https://my.timetrade.com/book/JX9XJ
#physicalhealthismentalhealth #mindbodybalance #mindbodywellness #holistichealthcare #integrativemedicine #integrativehealing #integrativehealthcoach #nlpcoaching #EmotionalWellnessCoach #WellnessJourney #SelfImprovement #EmotionalWellbeing #TraumaHealing #MindsetMatters #Resilience #HealthAwareness #InnerStrength #SelfDiscovery #PositiveMindset #EmotionalIntelligence #LifeCoaching #SelfAwareness #PersonalGrowth #TraumaHealing #PositiveChange #SelfImprovementJourney #Resilience #HealingFromWithin #LifeTransformation
Here's the audio version of this episode:
Full Video Transcription
SAMIA: Hello, Salaam, Shalom, Namaste, Sat Sri Akal, Aloha, Holah, Ciao, Bonjour, Buna, Privet and Mabuhay! It's really, really good to be with you again. And I know you will be so happy you have joined us today because we have an awesome guest, and that is Shahista Ebrahim, who is an NLP Life Coach. Welcome, Shahista…
SHAHISTA: Thank you, thank you so much, Samia. It's such a pleasure to be here with you, all the way from South Africa. It is really a pleasure to be a guest on your show today. I really appreciate you having me.
SAMIA: I'm so happy to have you. And please, Shahista, tell us more about who you are and what you do…
SHAHISTA: Okay, my pleasure. So I am an NLP Life Coach. Had a few vocations over the years, but this is what I'm quite happy with. Alhamdulillah. So I do NLP coaching, which is to do with processes and trying to change the subconscious mind. I work with kids as well. I do a bit of Bars, which is a different modality from something called Access Consciousness. I do something called an Energetic Facelift. I do a bit of BodyTalk. I do... I'm a Cupping therapist and a practitioner. So I teach and facilitate people to become Cupping practitioners. I teach massage... I teach Indian head massage. So I'm trying to evolve and trying to be a little bit more of a very integrative, holistic approach to health. Alhamdulillah. So you're working on the physical health, working on the mental and emotional… so together, just letting somebody be the best they can in all aspects of their life…
SAMIA: Yes. That is awesome and amazing. And I love it because you know, I find that this integrated, holistic approach to health and wellness is so important… because ultimately we are just one person and everything in our system is so interconnected and so interdependent... I know more and more now, thankfully, even in the mainstream medical system, this awareness is starting to grow. But I know, like, for example, when I was younger, growing up... And, like, really growing through some real challenges in terms of my health and wellness… this is like maybe now, 20, 30 years ago… you know this kind of integrated holistic approach, at least the environment that I was in, it wasn't being talked about. There didn't seem to be so much awareness of it. I was mostly in the hands of western medical doctors. And first of all, they had all kinds of difficulty even diagnosing what was wrong with me. And then finally they made some diagnosis and they started some treatments, which helped a little bit, but not a whole lot. And what I realized later on, because as I actually started to get better, it took me like a good 10, 15 decades... not decades… years, of treatments to actually start feeling better. And the reason for that was that a big component, as it turned out, in terms of why I was getting so sick and not so healthy in the first place, was because of mental trauma and emotional trauma issues that were not addressed at all in the medical system that I was being processed through. And until I started working on my mental-emotional health, my physical health didn't start to improve either... So it's like, it's just really, really amazingly strange to me now, knowing what I know and having experienced what I've experienced, that everybody, in terms of the medical profession and the health and wellness profession, is not about taking an integrated approach and a holistic approach to health and wellness. It's just so... It's so, so strange to me now.
SHAHISTA: I think when you know what you know, and because information is so relevant out there now, you can't imagine another way. And that's the best way, because like you so correctly said, we are so integrated… and our entire body… I mean, when you learn about physical issues and how they come up at the end of it all, at the bottom, the root of it all, is always some emotional trauma. And I had a very similar experience. I used to do NLP alone, and I was quite happy working on the mental state of people, working on their subconscious mind. And that's why I love NLP, because you're physically changing the subconscious, which is great. And I tell people that your mind... If you think about it, it’s like your cell phone, it's very... There's so many things, there's so many facets to it, there's so many things happening. But if your cell phone had to stop working, we don't talk to it, we don't just leave it there and hope that it gets better. Like, you go in and you give it in and you want it fixed, and it comes back with a sort of a warranty. So our minds are exactly the same, and that's why NLP worked. But when I did that for a while, I noticed that people are starting to feel better. But I felt like I wasn't dealing with their bodies because they'd still come in with a little bit of pain or things that were trauma that were sitting in their bodies from such a long period of time. And then I said, I want you to get into more of the little bit of body processes as well. So I've done quite a few modalities that deal with body and with mental state… And when you deal with it together, then you notice that people really start not only just feeling better in their mind, but their bodies show it as well… I'd have somebody leave and say, for the first time in twelve years, my knees don't hurt anymore... And at the same time, they actually feel like… they look at life and sometimes they'd walk out of my office and say, but does it look brighter today? Does the sun, everything just look better? Because, Alhamdula, I think it is great that you can start seeing life for what it needs to be. And that's why I am so grateful to have found this modality, because you can change lives. And just much like you, I also have at the moment, some health issues. And the doctors have diagnosed me with… youknow I had hepatitis A... It caused a lot of liver cirrhosis. I mean, people that drink a lot have liver cirrhosis, and I've never taken a drop of alcohol in my life. And now you've got 80% of my liver that is just dead... But because it's a regenerative organ, that the 20% that's well, it really is what's keeping me going. So when you work on your mindset, then you can deal with that. And the body actually says, but I don't need a transplant. I don't need to go into hospital as often. And that's why I feel like I need to be my own example, because I can tell my clients then that look, you know because some of them come with the weirdest problems and shame, and some people really have a lot of issues and so much of trauma, and they keep thinking that because you're the coach, you've got all the answers. You're supposed to have this perfect life because you know better. And then I have to tell them, but this, and this has happened in my life, and this is what's going on in my body. And this is a sign of my trauma from a long time ago, and this is how I'm dealing with it. So I may look like I've got certain answers, but that doesn't mean that we are beyond going through those issues. But it's how I'm dealing with it that's helping me to have this positive mindset and keep telling myself that things are going to get better and I'm fine. And as long as we carry on this way, things will always be good… and try not to let it bring you down and stop you from living a normal life and doing things that you love. And when you have that going for you, I think it just makes a difference because you feel that you're fine and you're normal and you can carry on... So even us coaches who seem to supposedly have everything in place go through similar trauma as well, and we have to find ways to deal with it also.
SAMIA: Yeah, you just brought up some really amazing insights. Okay, so I had been thinking about talking to you about a somewhat different topic, but this is what's come up, so this is what we're going to talk about. So you know, dealing with challenges… like let's stick to this health context issue… because this is like in some ways a very concrete kind of a challenge…. you know, it's like there's something that you can see, feel, touch, that there's something that's not quite right in your body. And like with mental-emotional trauma, sometimes it can be like, "Oh, I don't know, am I better? Am I not better?" I mean, people can struggle to evaluate how good they're doing and so forth. But if you have a physical condition, then usually there's more ways to measure your level of wellness or sickness and measure the progress that you may be getting in terms of, you know... So I mean, I just say all that to say that, you know, when we do have something that goes wrong, so to speak, in our body and we are practitioners of holistic healing and all of that kind of good stuff, and we are like, "Okay, let us be our own best practitioners and practice what we are preaching on ourselves." That is really cool. That is really cool... And I know like for me sometimes that is when... It's like… what's the point? There's like a few different points that I want to make. The one that's floating on top... Okay, so there's a few… but the one that's floating on top is one... I actually also recently went through a little health event where I developed this pain in my hip. Now, theoretically, I've had this issue that this pain comes back every few years. And this time around it's been longer than usual since it's come back. And this time more clearly than ever before, I must say I've been realizing that there is a mental-emotional connection to not just my feeling the pain, but to how quickly it's been resolving or not. Because the experience that I've been having in this round of this pain emerging is… because now I do different kinds of spiritual healing processes also, and I do these really powerful healing prayers... And the really interesting experience that I had this time around was that I started feeling the pain, I was like, "Okay, I'm going to do my healing practice." So I did the healing practice. I did the healing prayer. And the pain went away. And I was like, "Yay! Wohoo." But then, like, one or two days later, the pain came back... Yes. And so then I did the same thing. I did my healing prayer again, and the pain disappeared. But then it came back. And then what happened is that I got into… like this kept happening where I would do my healing prayer, I would feel better, but then the pain would come back. I was like... And then I didn't immediately want to associate and admit why it kept coming back, but it's because I got angry. I had a fight with somebody, and I got angry, and I wasn't willing to let go of the anger entirely. There was still some part of the anger… and even after I calmed down the anger, there was still some hurt feelings that were underlying the anger. And so even after I let go the anger in terms of the feeling, the hurt was still there. And behind the hurt, there was judgment... Right? And that is what I was really struggling to let go of… the judgment and the hurt feelings that caused that judgment. And I realized, Oh, my gosh, this is why the pain keeps coming back. Because no matter how many times I go through the healing prayer, when I allow myself to slip back into the judgmental mindset, the pain comes back. And so it's only when I'm like, okay, so instead of focusing on, "Oh, I have this pain in my hip", in the context of my healing process, I'm now like, Okay, I'm going to focus on releasing the judgments and the hurt feelings. And I must say, ever since, it's just been a few days since I've admitted to this as the core problem and shifted into this mindset that I'm definitely now starting to feel… like the pain is still just a little bit there, but I can feel it getting better. And I can feel it getting better not just like in a… like the fact that it's happening for me slowly, I'm like, okay, I'm going to take my time because it's really important that I get rid of this from the root, you know.
SHAHISTA: Absolutely. And pain is our body's way of talking to us. Like a lot of times we feel a certain discomfort, but we ignore it. And I think a lot of females, like, we kind of say, it's not serious, I'll deal with it. You take a panada or the paracetamol, you take some kind of medication, and the pain disappears. And you think that, okay, it's fine, I can deal with it. And the next time the pain comes, it's a bit more severe... But again…. So we tend to just ignore. And the body's way of literally telling us that something's going wrong is by giving us pain, because that's the only time we pay attention. So when you actually got to a level of pain in any part of your body, that's where you really have to pay attention and actually say, now I need to sort this out, because from here, it just gets worse and worse if it's not addressed. And the amazing thing is, with the amount of studies that have happened recently, over the years, we can now pinpoint literally what emotion is sitting in which part of the body. And I think that is just totally amazing because… there was a lady that had made an appointment with me on WhatsApp, and we agreed that she'd come to the office, and I just knew her name, but she sat down and she came in a little bit late, and she was in a frenzy... And "I'm so sorry I'm late, and I was rushing to get here, and, oh, my gosh, I have such a bad headache." And so she just said that. We hadn't even talked about her surname, or that was it. She sat down, and that's what she said... And I thought, here's an opportunity. So I said, "Okay, so who's not validating you? Who in your life is not making you feel important?" And she was shocked. And she looked around, looked at her, and she said, who have you been speaking to? How do you know this? Right... And for me, when you get a headache, that's a sign that you're not being validated. And as human beings, our core value is for someone to validate us. I mean, as kids, when the kid does clinkly nose or knows how to smile or laugh, when we clap hands and we tell the child and they clap hands, so we validate them. And then they want to show us more of the cute things that they do. So at the base of human core level, being made to feel important is so significant for us. And anyway, as we spoke, and I said, no, nobody spoke to me. I just know that headaches mean this. And she said, "Yes. That's why I'm here. I'm not dealing with it. I'm married about four years now. I'm still living with my in-laws. But I don't feel like the home is my home. I'm told every single day what I need to do, what I need to cook, how I need to do it. I'm not at peace. Nobody makes me feel important. No matter how much I do in the house, it never feels like I'm doing enough, and I can't take it. I'm getting migraines now." Right? So it was actually so bad for her. So we worked on her self-esteem. We worked on her level of validation. And because the thing is, you can't change people. You can't change somebody to love you and force them to be there for you. You've got to sometimes be there for yourself, right... And so that was the way we actually handle her coaching and brought her to a level of, "Okay, I'm important." And the minute she kept on saying that and releasing everything and all the trauma and the way she was feeling and the way they made her feel, the headaches got better, to the point that she could manage them. And so people will say, okay, so the doctor would say, sometimes you're dehydrated. That would also lead to a headache. If you have too much of dairy, sometimes that also leads to a headache. So you have those physiological issues. But at the core of it all is always an emotion, you know... And once I had… just an example... I had a client. She came in, right ankle completely swollen. She was limping for, like, months. She was limping, she couldn't walk. And she said, "Okay, I'm coming in... You know, I heard about what you do. Let's see what comes up”. And I said, " Well, yeah, well, that's it, I'm just a practitioner. Let's see what comes up..." In any case, we worked on her traum. And what came up was that she was having issues with her father-in-law… because when… it was right…. So this is an amazing thing about the body, and this is something quite interesting for the listeners… that if it's anything on the right side of the body, it is always somehow related to some male in your life. Like, it could be a boss, it could be your husband, it could be a brother, it could be a son, it could be some male-related issue. And that always shows up on the right side of the body. And when you have something related to your mother, a female coworker, any female in your life, and you've got some fight, some issue, something, somehow the body always lets it out on the left side of the body. So there was just a genuine sign... So when she came in with a right ankle, I told her, listen, there's some male issue in your life, and when it's ankle, it's about not being able to move forward, right. Because legs are about taking us forward in life. And she said, "Nah... you don't know what you're saying." And then we go through this entire session, and at the end, I said, "This is it. I think it's your father-in-law." Because we went through this whole thing. And she said, "I can't believe, but you're correct..." So her father-in-law stays somewhere that's 600 km from where she stays. But every single weekend he calls them and he'll say, what are you guys doing this weekend? And they say, well, they have to answer. And they say, we're going shopping. And he would say, “Again? But didn't you go shopping last week? What do you need this week in your house?” So from 600 km he was dictating to them what they should be spending on. And she kept on telling her husband, you don't have to tell your father everything. And he thought it was disrespectful. So he'd answer every single question to his dad. And that was sitting in her ankle. And the minute we worked through it, she could walk. She could walk better without a limp. And she was so amazed at how amazingly connected the body was, that she never considered that her ankle pain, that had caused her to limp, was related to her father-in-law, who was sitting so far away. So, you know, I just find that it's always amazing that the body, once you understand it, you get so many answers from it. And that you can actually…. like you say, when you accepting certain emotions, when you're willing to deal with certain things, the pain starts to dissipate and you start feeling better and it heals itself. It's just you know... It's a beautiful tool. I think our Creator is a master Creator. Because when you see how it's built, how it is, how it can manage itself, like you just... it really... It's just... It's a wow. You know, it's really fascinating.
SAMIA: Yeah, it's like... Like you said, part of, I think, the learning that we can strive for in this life is to understand better how our bodies work, how our minds work... Because when you understand your inner self and the workings of your inner self, you know, there's something really profound about that, in the sense that… in terms of connecting that understanding to what is the purpose of our lives here... Why are we here to live? And you know, like for me, it comes down to… we are here to learn things. Each one of us has maybe different lessons to learn, but we all are here to learn something or the other in our lives. And the challenges that pop up in our lives… right now, we're talking about these health challenges... They pop up for the reason of actually helping us to learn the lessons that we need to learn. It's like I need to learn to let go of the anger. And even more than the anger, the judgments and the hurt feelings that are underlying the anger with regards to the specific issue that I'm dealing with right now… because it's not a universal problem for me. There's lots of other issues where I don't get angry anymore. I don't get upset anymore. One of my biggest wins, I think, in that context, is… when… I'm living in America. And here we have been dealing with a lot of Islamophobia. You know, I moved to America right before 9/11 happened, the terrorist attacks that happened. And there's this huge spike in Islamophobia and anti-Muslim kind of incidents and racism that Muslims in America had to deal with. And then, you know, it got better after a while and then there was another spike. You know, so it goes up and down, up and down. And these days we're definitely going through one of those periods where there's more islamophobia happening again and more anti-Muslim sentiment happening again. And I just... whatever I hear, it doesn't make me angry anymore. It doesn't make me upset anymore… because I've come to realize so deeply that it's not about me…
SHAHISTA: Well done.
SAMIA: And it's not even about my religion, not really… because the things that people say they hate and that they are protesting, they're not really truly a part of Islam as I know it and as I live it and as I love it... They are protesting and hating things that actually I'm like, you know what? I hate violence, too... I would never support or condone, you know, some killing of innocent people or, you know, this and that. And so what you hate, I actually hate that, too. And I don't believe in that, too... So we are actually on the same page in that way. And because I've realized this so deeply, well, you know, it doesn't bother me anymore in terms of feeling angry and things like that. I mean, I can still recognize that, okay, this person doesn't have the full information about Islam and Muslims, and maybe there's something I can do to educate them or share my experience, my perspective with them. And hopefully, that helps them start to feel better and have more empathy and compassion for Muslims in general. But you know, that's a separate issue than how it makes me feel and how I react, you know. So I know from experience that it's possible. Yeah…
SHAHISTA: I think that is such an important point to bring up because in every aspect of our life, we're always going to have somebody who's not going to like something that you do. We're always going to have somebody that's going to have a problem with something that you're saying... We always... we have those people that are maybe not even haters, but people that don't like you for whatever particular reason. And when you're a person that's a people pleaser, when you're somebody that always considers that somebody's opinion of you must be good, that you try hard to please them, you try hard to make them like you, that person always has a lot of issues… Because you're always trying your best, and when people don't accept you, you try even harder and then they don't accept you again and you try harder. So their entire lives are about convincing other people to like them and to validate them and to think that they're good enough, right? And a lot of our issues come from that because every time somebody doesn't say something good, we internalize it and we say, "Oh, that's true, I am like that. So if they don't like something about me, then I must be like that." And that's how almost 70 or 80% of the world is. I mean, I've been coaching for over twelve years. I've seen almost thousands now of people, clients over the years. And this is the biggest problem we have. My husband said this to me and it must be true... My in-laws say that to me. And you saying that, you come across all these hate and violence and the behaviors, and you actually think to yourself, I'm not going to take it personally anymore. Like, I'm not going to make it about me. And that is one of the most mature, wonderful ways that we can handle people's behavior. And one day I watched a little video and it was so pertinent. So the lady says, okay, I speak Spanish. So what if I swore you in Spanish, would you take offense to it? And it was like, no, I don't understand Spanish. So you could swear me in the worst language, in the worst way, I wouldn't get offended because I wouldn't know what you're saying. So she says, well, why do you still take it personally? But even if I'm saying it in English, because you should be knowing that much about yourself to actually take it personally or not. You need to know who you are. And you got to say, well, that's your opinion of you. Like you've really got to be that kind of person that says, well, I'm sorry that you feel that way about me, but it's okay, it's your opinion. It doesn't have to be mine. But what we do as most human beings is we take that, we internalize it. We play it in our mind like this horror movie that just depletes us of happiness and energy and any goodness, because we literally playing that over and over. And then we start believing that about ourselves. And then you start getting depressed. How can they see me that way? How can they believe that I am like that? And then everything that people say, you feel it's a personal attack. And when you do that, those people that try so hard to please others are the ones with the most amount of trauma, because you've literally got to undo all this terrible behaviors and terrible beliefs that they have about themselves. And then you've got to teach them how to be strong and resilient and actually tell themselves, like… it's just an opinion. I don't have to take on your opinion…. That's all it is. And it's that, "I know myself. I know what I'm worth. I know what I believe in." And when you have that mindset, you notice that people take you far more seriously. People respect you a lot more because you have that inner respect for yourself. So I love that because that is a lot of the basis of why people come. My husband said this to me. My mother-in-law does that. My mother… Mother trauma... Oh, my gosh. That's on another level. My mother doesn't phone me as often as she phones my sister. So what? It's okay. Find somebody else to talk to. Like, why do you take everything personally? Why doesn't she treat me the same? Like, if we asked questions all the time about why people behave the way we do, we'd still never get the answers. Because we can never explain why people do the things they do. All it does, it just brings you so much of hurt because you think you're not doing enough or you're not good enough person, or your mother doesn't love you. And that leads to a lot of pain. Like, if you think of anger, like you were specifically talking about… anger would sit normally in the liver or the gallbladder. Okay? And that's why I have, well, seriously, liver issues, because I've had suppressed anger over my life. My parents never got along. My mother left my father I don't know how many times. It was very traumatic as children. My brother and I have exactly the same symptoms. Exactly... When we go to the doctor, the doctors are baffled because we've got identical issues. And they said, we've never seen that in a brother and sister. Like, not identical in this particular way when it comes to ill health. And we say, well, we grew up in the same household, it would make complete sense. And they're like, medically, they don't know how to explain that, but holistically and emotionally I know it makes complete sense to me. So people need to become resilient, where you really need to grow a bit of a thick skin and say, who am I? I need to know myself so well, because the day I do, then nothing about other people's opinions bothers me, ever again. I can take it seriously if I choose to, to improve myself, but it doesn't have to be to the point where I'm losing sleep over it.
SAMIA: Yeah. So, okay, this last thing that you just said, it brings up a question for me that I would love for your... love your feedback on. Because… when other people expressing their opinions and it impacts you, I mean, you know, it is what it is... Do you... is there a role for… or like, how do you separate between, especially like at a mental-emotional level and how we're feeling about what we hear people say, where there may be some legitimacy to their perspective, where there may be some feedback in what they're saying that we could benefit from... And so to take that feedback and use that to help us improve ourselves, and at the same time, to leave aside the negative aspects of the emotions that they're projecting or those parts of their opinion that are not valid. So for example, I remember now, this was like, again, many years ago, and I remember going to see a doctor, and my mom and my sister were there at the same time. We all went together. And the doctor was basically… we were all going to take turns to see the doctor. That's why we were all there together. And when it was my turn, my mom said to the doctor about me that, "Samia has mood swings". And my immediate reaction was, "No, I don't..." And then my sister was like, "Yes, you do..." And I was like, "No, I don't..." Then they started to give some examples of like times when they perceived me to have mood swings. And again, my immediate reaction was, "No, I don't...", because I did not like that idea of me having mood swings. So I wanted to resist that. But, you know, I mean, now looking back, I can see, "Oh, actually, I can see the validity in their perspective..." But in any case, the point is, sometimes what people are saying about us, to us, even if we don't like it or it doesn't immediately strike us as true about ourselves, sometimes there can be some validity to their perspectives. So is there a way that we can sort of be introspective in a way where we can separate out what's true and what's not true and take what's true and leave aside what's not true…
SHAHISTA: I think that's an important thing, because that can be possible, right. There's definitely the element that that is... So when we’re mature enough and when, you know, as a person that we always have room for improvement, I think that becomes easier to take a little bit of what people say. But before that happens, I always believe that if you know who you are intrinsically, like, I know my strengths, I know my weaknesses, I know what's good for me, I know what's not good for me, I know how I behave in certain behaviors, and I know how I can react in certain situations... So when you're very comfy with who you are and you actually aware, because human nature is such... And I studied something called life print, which is a behavior analysis, right. And I do that for always, all my clients. So I can literally give you a 99.9% behavior pattern that you would have when things are going well. So it's a proactive behavior. And when you get something called a reactive behavior. And the funny thing is, I have people sitting here, sometimes couples, and they, like, married for 20 odd years. And when I do a behavior analysis, because I feel that's exceptionally important to know who you are, some of them will say, "I didn't realize I'm like that. But you're right. Now that I think about it." So I still believe that sometimes, even though we could be living with ourselves for 30 years or 40 years, we forget who we are, or we're not even aware of every part of us, of every facet of how we behave. So when you understand you and when you understand what you are, it kind of helps to separate that. Because then you can take some validation from that. And you say, "Okay, so I hear you in this point. I hear you. But that one, no, that can't be me. But then, you know, when I think about that, sometimes there is an element of truth, and this is why we did an exercise. And this is a beautiful exercise for anybody to do. So we always call it the t-shirt exercise because it's a plain piece of paper with, like, a t-shirt drawn it, right. And it's got a column in the middle. So the one side says, how I see myself. Okay. And the other one says, how others see me. And I can't tell you, Samia. So when we were doing our coaching and know, you had to know a lot about yourself, you had to heal parts of yourself, because you can't get a client sitting and you're crying… doesn't make you very professional when you look that, right. But I, we all, so we all had to do this. And I thought, Yay, I'm a great mother. I'm always sacrificing for my kids. I have a great sense of humor. So my kids are just going to write all these wonderful things because how I see myself, I wrote it down. And then I send the paper along and I said, just be honest, because this is an exercise that I need to do because I want to learn about myself. And my kids wrote stuff. And when I looked at it, I couldn't believe. Because how we see ourselves from our perspectives, sometimes people don't see that way. Like, they really just don't... And my kids wrote… she’s a bit impatient, sometimes favors the small brother… And I'm thinking, where is all this coming from? You know, and I remember now, it was so hurtful. And I'm thinking, I have been living in my own absolute world because I thought I'm this amazing mom. And here they've got like ten different… and each one of them had different things to say. But so I always believe that when you see that particular exercise, you realize that other people perceive you differently. So if they had to give you feedback, I feel that we should take everything that they say seriously because the way people see us is not the same as we see ourselves. So we've got to be open to the idea if we want to improve on ourselves. And we've got to say, Okay, I understand where they came from, but it's also helpful if they explain themselves. Because how a person tells you something is how you're going to react. Because we all have defense mechanisms, right? We all want to defend ourselves. So I always tell my clients, if you're going to speak to somebody, you have to have a lot of wisdom when you're saying it. You have to do it in the most beautiful manner. And the most important, you've got to use the “I”. Like, “I feel that…” Not, “you this and you that”. So the moment we do that, we put up our defenses and we say, "Who are you to tell me that?" Right? I mean, that's human nature. So, people that want to change us and people that want to make us aware of our behavior, they have to do it in the nicest manner because that's the best way that we perceive it. That's the best way that we'll actually say, "Ah, okay, thanks for bringing that to my attention." But if they were like, you this and you that, and point that finger and that kind of behavior, automatically we close up because that's normal human nature. So I think it's important firstly to know who you are and also then to be open to the idea of learning about how you can improve yourself. Because that's the only way we can become better. If we were just stuck in, I'm perfect… I mean, when my kids did that exercise, it would have been easy for me to say, well, you guys just don't appreciate me. You don't care about me. I sacrificed my life. I sit at home taking care of you, I drive you around, and this is what you think of me. It would have been easy for me to do that, right. And just carrying on, being the mom that I wanted to be. But in order to improve on who I was and improve on being better for them, I had to pay attention. And I had to say, okay, so I don't see it that way, but they do. So let me do something about it. So the most important is to be open to being introspective and open to change and open to being more… a better version of who you are. And even it's painful... I can tell you, it is painful because you think you're always doing the best and you're always doing the right thing. And people tell you your good is not good enough. It doesn't feel good. But I believe that we should thank those people and say thank you because of your insight, because of your opinion, because of how you see me, it helps me come better. There's definitely different elements. And if we want to improve on other people, then please, we've got to do it in a good manner. We've got to be kindly and compassionate when we say it. And one day when we talk about communication, we can really talk… because words are only 7% of communication. The rest is your facial expressions and body language and those kind of things. So if somebody is telling you that in the most horrific manner, you're definitely just going to say, I don't talk to you, because that's not how I like to be spoken to, you know. So there has to be an element of goodness and genuineness and caring and compassion when you're trying to change a person.
SAMIA: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. It takes a lot of maturity and wisdom to get to a place where… like, I think about some of the greatest models that we have of people who lived with peace and nonviolence. And I think what really distinguished them and what allowed them to be so peaceful and nonviolent in their behavior towards others is because they had developed this ability to see the real issue and let go of everything else that was not important. So if someone sees the real issue in terms of what's really going on for them, that's making them behave that way… Like, if somebody is not expressing themselves in a beautiful way, to be able to sort of look past the surface level of how they are behaving and to be able to see beneath that their pain and their hurt… but also to hear and to separate what they're saying that is valid, good valuable feedback, and what is just a reflection of the anger and the hurt. So that's just a skill, I think, we can all strive to develop more and more, get better and better…
SHAHISTA: Absolutely. It is… and I think it depends on who it comes from as well. Like if it came from someone close to you, you'd be more inclined to listen because maybe you spend more time with those people, maybe they know you better. You know, there's some element of truth that you should be paying attention because you want to improve your life with them. But if I had a long-lost friend and somebody who I met very seldomly, and she didn't have good things to say about me, I'd be less inclined to pay attention to her because we will literally meet once in a while. Every time you see me, you've got something to say, like, it's okay. I wouldn't probably take her too seriously. But if it was somebody that was very close to you, your relationship with them was something that was important to you, I would definitely take a little bit of interest in what they had to say. Because, again, I don't think we are perfect. I think we all have room for improvement. And I think if you seem to take somebody a bit seriously and show some kind of effort in what they had to say, you would only improve your relationship. Because relationships are based on how much of effort you're willing to put in. And if one side does everything, the other side does nothing, then you wonder about how one-sided… does this person feel the same way about you that you do for them? Because it's in the actions, right? Everything is the actions. Words are very easy. So when we actually say, "Okay, that's what you said about me, I may not fully believe you, but I'm going to try to meet you even few steps or just even a quarter way along the path…” And they see some kind of effort on your part, I just feel that it just enhances your closeness, your relationship, the way you handle each other. And effort shows that I care... I am willing to, you know, meet you halfway, or come and take you seriously enough. And I think that's something that's all important because we all want better relationships.
SAMIA: Yes. Yes, that's true. You know, what you were just sharing made me think about… another really important aspect of this whole dynamic is that… you know, definitely the kind of relationship you have with this other person is so important, both in terms of how you feel in the first place, but also how you proceed in the long term, in terms of how you respond and so forth and how much effort you put into making things better. With someone that's close to you, the relationship is important to you, so you want to put in that effort and that time. I think one of the things that becomes really important also... It's like earlier you were saying… one of our core needs is to feel validated. And I think that, for me, I might use a somewhat different word, that we want to feel loved... Like, you know… and not just loved in any which way, but we want to feel unconditionally loved. You know, I have learned this lesson in my life where I remember a time in my life when I was highly traumatized, because I'm a survivor of child sexual abuse. And for many, many years, I didn't tell anyone about being abused. And in that time, you know, I was carrying all kinds of shame and guilt inside. And because of that, I didn't feel lovable. I didn't feel worthy of being loved. And so even though, for example, I was surrounded by loving family members… I especially felt this with my mom, where my mom, she's the kind of person who just loves to show her love in so many different ways…. hugging, kissing, making food for you, doing all kinds of little big things. And so on the one hand, I could see that my mom loved me. But the thought I kept having, which was really depressing, was that if she really knew me, like, if she knew how dark I am on the inside, then she wouldn't be able to love me. And I'm not actually worthy of her love… And so, you know... And so what happened with that, it was like it made me realize that it's not enough for my mom to love me. I need to know that she can love me as I am, even with all my darkness and my shame, and my guilt. So in some ways, until I got to the point where I was able to tell her about what had happened, and then she was like, I still love you… there was this anxiety, and it sort of kept a sort of barrier between me and my mom. So until I could be sure that she loved me unconditionally, there was this barrier. So it's just, you know, when we are in conflict with anyone, whatever they're expressing, whatever we are expressing, if we can remember or realize or recognize… or hopefully that it's true for the relationship that we have unconditional love for each other, then we can get through anything. You know, whatever is going on, whatever things we might say to each other, we can get past it, we can work through it, if we can be sure that we love each other unconditionally, we are committed to the relationship in that way. So you know, yeah... I'll just stop there because then I'll…
SHAHISTA: I think you are remarkable, really, because something like that can change you for the rest of your life. And I've seen young girls who really just go off the handle, who don't see goodness in themselves, who don't see anything good in life, who really don't feel like they need to be here. They go in major depression. And the saddest part is they don't have people that are there for them. Because a lot of people go through… I don't believe you, can't be true… because, you know, there's so much of different elements to it. So firstly, you know, the fact that you've come such a long way, that shows absolute human brilliance, resilience, how we can overcome anything. I mean, I really admire that about you. And not just, you know, having that experience, but taking it on and saying, I'm going to make a difference in the world. I'm going to do something that's going to help people in whichever way… because that's what this podcast do. Alhamdulillah, it's beautiful. It's wonderful that you're giving back... And you are absolutely right. Like, it's so important to have people on your side because I know the anxiety, I can understand the anxiety that goes with it, because… will she believe me? Will she not? Will they be on my side? Will they not? Because this whole issue going on in your own mind at that time about whether it's the right thing to do, whether it's the wrong thing to do, and you're trying to keep this big secret. And it's such a big thing that it really makes your heart heavy. You're not seeing any goodness anywhere else because there's so much... And the shame and the guilt that young girls feel, unfortunately, which is nothing to do with them, but it's just something that they do… So really, it's so commendable that you are who you are, that you've come such a long way, that you make a difference to the lives of people, that you are who you are. And I think that is so special, really. And it just shows again, with the right people on your side, anything is overcomeable, if that's even a word, and everything is possible. And when you got support from the... You know, sometimes you just need that one person that really pushes you, that stands behind you, that loves you, that shows it to you... And the most important is you have to be willing to receive. Like, a lot of people find that they have good spouses or they have great parents, but because they carry something within themselves that is so closed off and so dark that they're not willing to be open to receiving. And I think that's where you got to really work with those people, with those clients, and tell them… whatever's happened in your life, whatever it could be, it has nothing to do with you. And like we say, hate the sin, not the sinner... So you're still a good person. A bad thing may have happened to you, but that doesn't make you bad, it doesn't make you horrible, it doesn't make you terrible. It just makes something bad happen to you. That's it... And if we can get them to see it like that… and I know it sounds very simplistic when we're saying it, but when you're in it, it's so different.
SHAHISTA: But it just helps that you see goodness in yourself. Because... I mean, I have women that come here and they're over 50 years old and they have never had a close relationship with either parent, right. And that's where trauma starts, really speaking, in your childhood, normally between the ages of zero and seven. And they're sitting at 50 and these women can't see any good in themselves. And yet they’re mums of doctors and children who have done really well at varsity or in life generally, settled and moved on. And they are grandmothers. But somehow because of something that happened such a long time ago that they loved a life where they gave everything of themselves but couldn't receive. And then a time comes when the children leave the home. There's that empty nest syndrome and they finally have time to deal with themselves and they don't know how because everything is escapism, you know. Let me indulge my kids, let me put my full attention on their education, on the grandchildren, on something, on my husband, because… everything not to deal with themselves. But the only thing you do is prolong your own trauma when you do that… which people don't realize... And then they're coming at 50 and these women feel nothing for themselves, they're getting no pleasure out of life… they have all the money, they don't feel like traveling, they don't know what their favorite color is, their favorite food is, and it's very sad. That's because they haven't healed what needed to be healed at that time… And all it did is fester over the years. Now they've got arthritis, they've got so many different illnesses that come out of it, they don't see. So the sooner people know that there's some trauma that needs to be healed, the sooner you do that, the better off you are. It doesn't have time to stagnate and get heavier and get, you know, really play a huge part in getting your body into a space where you don't want it… and ill health and disease and all of that. So it's very commendable. Alhamdulillah. I think it's beautiful... And like I said, one person to show you unconditionally, no matter what happened to you… I love you… and you'll going to be okay. And the minute you've got that somebody patting on the back, you just know in human nature is we resilient, we change, we go with the flow. We can pick ourselves up. I mean, every single person in life has been through something or the other, and we just get up and get going. Every day is a new day... So I think that's very commendable.
SAMIA: Thank you... Yeah, you know, I keep wanting to ask you more questions and talk about more things, and I think we are like, way over time, we need to wrap up for today. But that was a beautiful thought on which for us to sort of begin to wrap up. Do you have any last thoughts, Shahista, that you would like to share?
SHAHISTA: Firstly, I really want to thank you for this. This has been such a special podcast for me. And we thought about one topic and we just went in a different direction. But I always say that sometimes, you know, we just need to go with the flow because there are people that need to hear this as well. My last parting shot would be that everybody out there who's going through any kind of difficulty, work on it. There are books to help you. They are coaches to help you. There's ways to get by it. I don't think in this day and age, anybody needs to sit with anything anymore and not get on with life… because I don't have time or… you have these little excuses… but the excuses are just basically you thinking that you're not worthy of being more than you are.
So fight it... Push those thoughts aside. Go and get help. Be the best you can. Deal with the pain, deal with your traumas. And I just think a beautiful life awaits you when you can actually be pain... I mean, who doesn't want to be pain-free? Who doesn't want to have clear minds that don't play this, whatever's happening to your life all over again. And everybody deserves that. So if you're out there and you're somebody that needed to hear this, just remember that you're loved, you're special, you're important. You're amazing, you're brilliant, you're fantastic, and you deserve the best.
SAMIA: Yes... Give yourself the unconditional love that you desire. Okay. So with that, my only other reminder to our listeners is to please make sure you check the show notes. Because I will be adding Shahista's links in there so you can connect with her whenever you need and whenever you are ready for it. And until we connect next time, I just wish you lots and lots of peace and joy... :)
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