These are the words of my coaching client Laila*.
Laila contacted me after reading an article of mine in the Muslim Vibe and was interested in learning more about the Inside-Out Paradigm of Psychology. Like many of us, Laila was struggling to make things work in her marriage and hoped that this understanding could help her in some small way.
Laila ended up joining my group coaching programme and after only a few sessions alhamdulillah, sent me the following update on her marriage:
"I'm literally cringing at myself over how many times I've been patronising, condescending and defensive with my husband instead of trying to be patient and understanding.
I'm taking into account everything you have written and going to apply inshallah. You will be pleased to know things have gotten so much better Alhamdulillah thanks to you!!! You have made me see the error of my ways and I'm working on myself every day.
The reason why things had been at a standstill for so long was because I had never taken accountability for my actions and only expecting the change to come from my husband and not from within myself, it's still a work in progress but I no longer sweat the small stuff!!! Before I would of made it into a mountain!!!
Thank you so much, u will get so much ajar inshallah!! It's amazing how reading something can make you wake up and hear a few home truths!
Keep up the good work xx"
So, what happened in these first few sessions that created such a positive change in Laila's relationship with her husband? The same relationship that she had been struggling with for so many years?
In our first few coaching sessions together, Laila went through my video training programme - The Inside-Out Paradigm: A Beginner's Guide to Effortless Relationships. This 5-module training programme works by opening your eyes to what's really going on behind all of that thinking and feeling that can consume us on a daily basis. It helps us to make sense of our thinking and not let all of the big feelings we experience weigh so heavily on us.
And here's the really special part…
Laila sent me this feedback after having only gone through three of the five training modules. It had a positive effect on her that quickly. You know why? Because the Inside-Out Paradigm of Psychology is truth. And our souls always recognise truth. When we hear truth, it has a simple but transformational effect on our lives. It makes it so much harder to resort back to our negative thinking patterns and all of the emotional suffering that comes with that.
And I want as many people as possible to also experience this, insha'Allah.
It's why I've made the first module of my online training programme available here for free. This first module is only 18 minutes long but is a wonderful introduction to how we actually experience life and how we are innocently allowing ourselves to experience unnecessary emotional suffering - all because of a simple misunderstanding of how we really work.
If you watch the first module and your soul also recognises just an ounce of truth in anything I've shared and you want to learn more, then I've made the full programme available at a really special, low price.
Not only that, but I'm also bonusing in a 60-90 minute, 1-1 telephone coaching session with me, where we can delve deep into your own relationship and get some much-needed clarity on the issues and challenges that you're currently facing. It will also be the perfect opportunity to get further clarification on anything that was covered in the training programme or answer any questions you may have.
You can access the first module and find details for the full training programme by clicking here.
I pray that it benefits you as much as it benefited Laila, insha'Allah.
*Name changed to protect identity
I almost lost the will to live last week...
It felt like I'd spent weeks on end, trying to sort my garden out so that the kids could enjoy it as much as possible during the heatwave we were having. All I needed to do was have an outside tap installed, get a garden hose and pressure washer, clean it all up and then fill with toys and a paddling pool. Simple right?
Except it was far from.
My kitchen got flooded after the plumber had an accident.
The garden hose my mum gave me was just a pile of crap for want of a better phrase.
And the pressure washer would just spit out a few measly drops of water and refused to work.
I'd already spent so much time running around the shops trying to get all the bits and pieces I'd need, so when I got home I just wanted to connect everything up and get to work.
But no, that would be too easy wouldn't it?
Every time I thought I'd get something done today, I'd be faced with another problem, something else that wouldn't work correctly - and with no husband at home to just 'fix it' for me, I started to get slightly annoyed...
OK, that's an understatement, I got really annoyed!!
And the only person I could vent to was my brother, as I knew he wouldn't hold the barrage of swear words that I sent to him over text message against me once I'd calmed down...
Suddenly everything was against me, why was I even having to do all of these 'man' jobs anyway? Why don't things just 'work' when you plug them in? Don't they realise I don't have time for all this crap? I still have to bath and feed the kids, I don't have the time to figure out why the pressure washer won't work correctly!
So yes, suffice to say that I was a little Outside-In (OK, a lot!)
In that moment, or moments, I'd lost the plot and started to believe that my feelings came from somewhere other than my own thinking. I believed that all of this malfunctioning garden equipment was the cause of my feelings - I believed I was annoyed because nothing was going to plan. And my brother was quick to tell me that I needed to take my own advice and practice what I preach when it came to my thinking and feeling - LOL!
And this is something important that I really wanted to highlight.
Because as we start to learn about the Inside-Out Paradigm of Psychology, as we start to see that we’re only ever feeling our own thinking and the positive effects this understanding is having on our relationships; we can all too easily start to put unrealistic expectations on ourselves to always be Inside-Out. If we fall into the Outside-In illusion, where we innocently but incorrectly believe that something other than our thinking in the moment is causing our feelings; then we can easily slip into beating ourselves up and feeling down about the fact that we've 'lost' it and have gone back to our old way of thinking.
But this isn't the case at all.
We will always fall prey to the Outside-In illusion, where we believe that people, situations or circumstances are the cause of our feelings, because it's so deceptive.
But the problem here isn't falling into the Outside-In illusion - this happens to everyone.
Knowing we've fallen into the Outside-In illusion is what helps us to quickly self-correct and start to see things again from the Inside-Out.
We know that falling into the Outside-In illusion means we're not seeing things clearly and for how they really are. We know deep down that our feelings are only ever coming from our thinking in the moment - we know this to be 100% true, so even when we do fall into the Outside-In illusion, it doesn't have the same hold over us anymore.
We understand the Inside-Out Paradigm - we understand the truth of how we really work psychologically.
And so when we do feel annoyed and frustrated and we innocently but incorrectly believe that it's because of a situation we're in, or because of a certain person's behaviour or words, this Outside-In thinking and feeling doesn't last very long.
Because we know that feelings can only ever come from our thinking, we end up naturally dismissing our Outside-In thinking that is telling us otherwise, until we're no longer experiencing it.
We basically 'snap out of it' very quickly and whatever we went through no longer has any kind of hold over us.
Can you see how this would have a hugely positive effect on your relationship with your partner?
The opposite of this happens however, when we don't have the knowledge of the Inside-Out Paradigm and we don't fully understand how we work psychologically.
It ends up being a lot harder to make sense of our thoughts and feelings. If we feel annoyed, frustrated or upset, this can drag on for days, weeks and even months, because we're not clear on where our feelings are actually coming from. We innocently but incorrectly believe that something needs to change in order for us to feel OK.
We’re giving people, situations and circumstances the power to dictate how we feel - but it just doesn’t work that way.
And if we're holding onto this Outside-In thinking and feeling in our marriage, it can have a detrimental effect on repairing our relationship with our partner - and with ourselves - moving forward.
We end up becoming stuck in our Outside-In thinking and find it almost impossible to see a way out of the challenges and situations we’re facing.
If you’d like to permanently free yourself of this emotional suffering, so that it becomes easier for you to return to your natural Inside-Out state, where you’re much better able to deal with the challenges in your marriage clearly and logically, then click right here and let’s get started insha’Allah.
acting out fake arguments..
I recently came across this meme on Instagram which I instantly shared with one of my siblings, as it was funny and rang so true, as do so many memes these days.
Memes are funny and entertaining, but we like them so much because there is always truth in them, truth that we often don't reveal unless it’s in an entertaining format such as a meme.
The comments section for this meme was filled with people saying that they thought they were the only ones that did this - my sibling included - and then it reminded me of something I used to fall prey to so much, before coming across the Inside-Out Paradigm of Psychology.
We can sometimes without even realising, spend so much of our time and mental energy, preparing for situations in the future. The meme highlights this perfectly and as evidenced by the comments section, thousands of people every day spend time acting out situations in their minds as if they were real and preparing themselves for the various outcomes a situation could take.
Sounds like a wise move no? What's wrong with being prepared?
When we find ourselves doing this regularly in our relationships however, what we're missing is the following:
So there really is no need to stand in the shower or lie there in bed acting out or worrying about all of these future scenarios and trying our best to prepare ourselves for them. It's totally unnecessary, because Allah has already blessed us with insight that will help guide us through everything as and when it happens. IF something does take place in the future, you can deal with it there and then.
As for right now, empty your mind of these concerns and focus instead of what is actually happening, right now, in this present moment, because that's the only moment that actually exists.
If you'd like help with learning how to dismiss more of these unhelpful thoughts and ways of thinking, in order to have a clearer mind and not waste so much of your mental energy unnecessarily, then you’re going to love my Inside-Out Paradigm 5-module Beginner’s Guide - an online video training programme that you get completely free when you register for a 1-1 Relationship Breakthrough coaching session with me.
Click here to learn more and to use your time and energy for something that’s actually beneficial, insha'Allah :-)
I used to love nothing more than being on holiday and lying on a beach, staring at the clouds and the blue sky and listening to the waves crashing against the shore. To me it was heaven; an escape from the day to day grind, with little on my mind other than what I would wear or eat that day. It was pure bliss.
I felt so calm and at peace with myself… and so relaxed. It’s no surprise that in that state of mind, my best ideas came about how to move forward with my life over the next few months. My summer holiday became what the New Year is to many – a chance to reflect on where you were in life and think about what you wanted to achieve in all areas of your life over the coming year. I always felt so refreshed and so clear.
However, as the days passed, a feeling of dread would seep into me as I saw that my return flight home was looming ever closer. Slowly but surely, I would fall out of that beautiful, chilled place in my mind and return to the busy-ness of life and everything that came with that – most notably a chaotic mind. Once that plane landed back at London Heathrow, it was as though I was being greeted by my ‘real’ life – which was far from peaceful and relaxed. A big sign seemed to be awaiting me in the arrivals hall saying ‘Welcome back to reality – the holiday is over! Deal with it.’ As much as I desperately tried to hold onto that positive outlook and renewed energy, within a couple of days I’d started to wonder if I’d ever experienced it at all. It felt like nothing more than a distant memory...
oh sh#t - where's my phone..?!
Being forgetful really cost me one week..
On the Wednesday, I'd done all my grocery shopping, packed it away in my car and returned my trolley to the trolley park. I drove home, took my shopping indoors and then wondered where the hell my handbag was? A quick search in the car found nothing and then it hit me. I'd left it in the bloody trolley!!
Thankfully my phone was in my jacket pocket, so as I quickly scrambled to get back into the car with my one year old, I frantically called the supermarket in the desperate hope that someone had handed in my bag. Although I knew it was a (very nice) copy of a Prada bag purchased in the lovely bazaars of Istanbul, I was filled with dread at the thought of a stranger believing it was real and thinking they'd won the handbag lottery that day.
The lady on the phone could hear the desperation in my voice and alhamdulillah, thank God, the trolley assistant had found it shortly after I'd driven away and handed it in.
I was saved. I couldn’t believe my luck and bought him a big box of chocolates to say thank you. Phew - I will never do that again I thought...
I shared the story with my mum friends that Friday at school pick-up, as we joked about how forgetful we can be sometimes. As I said goodbye to them, I failed to realise that I'd left my iPhone on the roof of the car, and proceeded to drive along the open countryside roads, back towards home.
And yes, I only realised what I'd done once I'd got back home. And no, I never found it again even though I drove back up and down those country lanes desperately searching for it. It had gone forever, most probably smashed to smithereens by another vehicle. Oh and did I mention, it wasn't insured either...
Why was I so stupid? How could I be so forgetful to do something like this twice in a matter of days? What was wrong with me?!
Was it just really just general forgetfulness? It's easy to blame it on this yes.
But more often than not, what’s really happening is that we're just not present enough. We're not focused on what we're doing right now, on really living whatever it is we're doing in this moment. Sure, we're physically going through the motions, but in our minds, we are far, far away, somewhere else completely. We're living in our own little wonderland, so whilst on the outside, we're going through the motions and appearing to be present in our surroundings, we're actually paying most of our attention to the constant stream of thoughts that are passing through our minds, to the point where we end up living in our thoughts and not actually being present in what’s really happening right now, in this moment, at all. We're too busy thinking ahead, or thinking about what's passed, or worrying about that niggling issue that just won’t go away. We are literally lost in thought.
So, it's no wonder at all that we forget our phones on the roofs of our cars, or that we put the kettle in the fridge instead of the milk, or that we leave our handbags in supermarket trollies. Because we're really not paying attention to what’s happening outside of our thinking - we're not paying attention to reality. We're too busy giving all of our attention to our thought-created reality, which often has very little to do with reality itself.
So how do we snap out of this before we lose something far more important than our belongings - our relationship with our partner and our own emotional health.
Understanding the role that all these thoughts really have on your experience of life and seeing the direct relationship between your thoughts and your feelings, frees you of the emotional suffering that we can all too regularly find ourselves falling prey to. When we're so caught up in living in our own thinking, we fail to see the true reality of situations and therefore fail to see our way out of them.
But once you do start to see your thoughts for what they really are, once you start to understand how you work psychologically, everything becomes clearer and instead of that nonstop stream of worried and anxious thinking that we suffer with, we instead experience more calmness, more understanding and way less stressing. And with that comes the natural consequence of never being distracted enough by your own thinking, that it takes you away from what's really happening, right now in this moment.
You're better able to work through the challenges in your relationship and to see the beauty in things, instead of giving all of your attention to your own thinking, which could be unhelpfully pointing you in a different direction.
To experience this for yourself, click here to book in a free relationship breakthrough session with me, where we'll get to the bottom of what exactly it is that's keeping you living in your own little wonderland and figure out the best way to free you from it, insha'Allah.
Road rage is so easy to slip into.
I was driving home the other day when a woman started crossing the road without looking in both directions, completely oblivious to the fact that I was just metres away from her. She was only focused on the cars coming from the other direction.
Needless to say, I put my brakes on and held my hands up at her in awe - that she could be so, I don’t know, stupid I guess, to cross the road without looking.
And she sensed the patronising attitude that was seeping out of me, and although she tried to explain that she wasn’t actually going to carry on crossing the road, my judgmental face must have said it all and as I drove off I could hear her swearing and shouting at me, supposedly for being so unreasonable.
I shook off the incident very quickly and couldn’t understand why she’d started swearing at me like that. And then I remembered something I’d heard about road rage - that momentary feeling of annoyance that arises because we all of a sudden forget about all the times that we’ve made similar mistakes and instead focus on the other person's flaws. We forget that when it was us in the wrong, we hoped that we’d be quickly forgiven by the other motorists. It was just a mistake after all. Please be nice to me, we think to ourselves.
The same rings true in our relationships. Our partner could slip up and make a mistake, and our initial reaction can be accusatory, patronising and we can even berate them for being so ‘stupid’. This can automatically put them on the defensive, because they’re now feeling attacked and this then leads to relationship rage on both sides, when perhaps all they really wanted and needed in that moment, was some compassion and recognition that we too have made similar mistakes and because of that, we’re not going to come down on them so hard.
I wonder how different the outcome would be that day, had I shown a little more patience and smiled at that woman who crossed the road, showing her some compassion for being nothing more than a little distracted. We’ve all been there. I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t have become angry or started swearing at me.
How different would the outcome be in our relationships, if we showed more understanding and compassion for our partner, based on the fact that we too make mistakes and will probably continue to make mistakes for the rest of our lives. And what we really want when that happens is forgiveness and understanding. So that we can breathe a sigh of relief and try to be better next time. We'll also end up having a lot more love and appreciation for our partner if they have shown us this forgiveness and compassion, instead of the opposite.
If you’d like help with dropping the relationship rage and replacing it with a little more understanding and forgiveness, then click here to claim one of five free relationship breakthrough sessions that I’m giving away this week. Because life is so much more enjoyable without the rage ;-)