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 tried to explain that she wasn’t actually going to carry on crossing the road. But 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 so hard on them.
I wonder how different the outcome would have been that day, had I shown a little more patience to the woman who crossed the road, and showed 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 towards 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 too have shown us this forgiveness and compassion, instead of the opposite.
If you're a certified 'road-rager' when it comes to your relationship, but you'd love to drop the rage and replace it with a little more understanding and forgiveness, then you need to check out my brand new ‘Effortless Relationships’ programme that I'm launching this week.
It includes a 5-module online training programme, and if you subscribe to my email list you’ll get to watch the first module completely free :)
Here's where to go to check it out: www.ptissem.com/free
Do you ever feel like with all the family and friends around you, that you still don't have a solid support system?
Someone that will hear you out without judging, look at things from a wider perspective and try to help you come to your own decisions?
All too often what we actually end up with is a lot of people dictating what you should or shouldn't do, judging decisions you may or may not make and only talking things through with you if it fits what they believe should happen. Or worse, not talking about things at all, as if the very fact that you need to talk a decision through means you're weak and again, need dictating to.
Anyone who's been through this knows that what this ultimately leads to is a constant stream of worried, indecisive thinking that takes place in our own minds.
With no safe place to vent for fear of being talked down to or talked about behind your back, we keep everything inside creating a bottleneck of thoughts and feelings that have no escape route. And guess what, no decisions can possibly be made when there's no space left in your mind to digest everything that's going on.
Having someone there that will listen without judging, listen without being emotionally attached and listen without running off and sharing your innermost secrets with others, is really hard to find.
It's what led to me to turn to someone else.
Someone outside of my situation who would give me the confidence to not only make my own decisions but to ultimately trust that my decisions were right for me.
That person was my coach.
He guided me towards a place where I could discover my own clarity on my situation and without telling me what to do; helped me finally sort through the jumble of thoughts in my head and see which thoughts actually mattered - and which ones I could safely discard and no longer be afraid of.
Ultimately, he put my trust back into Allah's plan for me, something I had been unable to do for months.
Once that trust is restored and your mind is quiet and clear, it becomes very easy to choose which path you should take in your marriage.
And in the same way that my coach was able to guide me to this place of clarity, that's what I'd love to do for you too. And it's why I've launched a brand new programme called ‘Effortless Relationships’, designed to take the hard work out of relationships by giving you an abundance of coaching and training - at a very affordable price.
You can access the first module for free by going straight here: www.ptissem.com/free
Do you ever wish that there could be a product recall, for your husband..?
Like a husband recall?
Where you could just package him back up, return him to where you found him and then go back home alone.
That feeling of relief that you no longer have a potentially dangerous product in your home, that could break at any moment and cause you harm.
Or maybe it wasn’t dangerous, but just not a great fit for you, so being able to return it quibble free is equally relieving.
I used to often think that the answer to all my marital problems, would be to just go back in time and not marry my now ex-husband (and if I could keep my kids then that would be perfect).
That seemed to me to be the only solution that didn’t involve any drama, heartache or future suffering.
But clearly that wasn’t an option outside of my imagination.
So instead, I continued to agonise over the decision of whether or not to leave my marriage without ever really coming to a solid conclusion.
And when I did finally make a decision, I realised how I could have easily made that same decision much, much earlier, if only I’d known this one simple truth.
And if you want to find out about this simple, life changing, problem-solving truth, then you can learn all about it in my new ‘Effortless Relationships’ coaching programme; designed to give you the clarity you need to finally start making big changes in your marriage.
Because let’s face it, although it sounds like a great idea, the husband recall is never going to happen is it?
We’re going to have to deal with this one ourselves...
You can access the first module of the ‘Effortless Relationships’ programme for free(!) by going here: www.ptissem.com/free
So..it's my birthday tomorrow.
I don't actually have that much planned, a birthday meal with the kids, lots of cake...and probably a bit more cake just for good measure.
What I don’t have planned however, are tears.
Unless of course they're tears of happiness at how much cake there is 😉
But on a serious note....just a few years ago, tears were definitely on the menu when it came to my birthday.
Back then I was still in an abusive marriage. And though you make initially think that the tears came from experiencing abuse that day, they actually came from something else..
Beautiful, heartfelt (?) apologies, written in stunning, hand-made birthday cards. Filled from top to bottom, in small, neat handwriting. Line after line of sweet words, apologies, promises and hopes for the future.
The first few times that I received cards like this, I believed every single line that was written inside them.
For someone who was pretty much illiterate, he'd gone to such an effort to write out all of all those words that pleaded for forgiveness and a fresh start for our relationship. I genuinely thought wow, he really means it this time. I really wanted to believe that someone wouldn't just write all these words and not mean them.
But time would pass, as it does, and as the saying goes..actions speak louder than words.
And boy did they speak louder.
The abuse never stopped. Maybe he'd be better behaved for a week or two, but as anyone that's gone through anything similar to this will have noticed, a cycle of abuse was always there, ticking along in the background.
The phase of apologies and promises of a better future would soon move into the next phase of abuse when they see that you're not conforming to whatever rules they want you to. And inevitably this would lead to the next incident of abuse. And then the apologies would emerge again. And so the cycle would continue..
The last time I received one of these beautiful, handmade and handwritten cards, I did cry.
I cried because I knew it was all lies.
I cried because I knew that he didn't mean a single word of it. That all those small, neat lines of handwriting meant absolutely nothing. They may as well have been written in Chinese. They were nothing but empty words.
And so I cried on that birthday.
Because I knew deep down, that things would never improve.
And a few months later I left the marriage for good. Because not only did things not improve, they got a whole lot worse.
Thankfully, I no longer have to experience this sadness and disappointment on my birthday anymore, or any day for that matter.
And if for any reason I do end up crying tomorrow, then it'll probably be because I'm so happy that I can stuff myself with cake all day long, totally guilt-free.
And I'll take that over an abusive, unhappy marriage any day of the year.
Happy birthday to me ❤
P.S. Why should only the birthday girl get gifts? For this weekend only, I'm going to gift five 1-1 relationship breakthrough sessions with me. These usually cost £97 but hey, it’s my birthday and I'll give away free breakthrough sessions if I want to 😉
Go here to unwrap yours: www.ptissem.com/session
If you've ever come across a poem by Rumi, you'll know that his writing was deeply spiritual and full of love and insight.
However, he also had a great sense of humour..check out the following piece of relationship advice:
"Here is a relationship booster that is guaranteed to work: Every time your spouse or lover says something stupid, make your eyes light up as if you just heard something brilliant"
And 3...2...1...eye roll..
Rumi was a deeply spiritual person...so could he have meant something else by this statement?
Could he have possibly known the truth of the Inside-Out Paradigm, of where our feelings actually come from? Did he realise that when we say 'stupid' things to our partner, that we're just innocently lost in the Outside-In illusion and in that moment, can't see the truth of where our feelings are actually coming from?
I'm guessing that he did..
And if like Rumi, we were able to see this truth, how different would our relationships be?
If we could see that our spouse had just momentarily lost sight of the truth and innocently believed that something other than their own thinking had the power to make them feel anything; then perhaps we would be more compassionate and look at them as if they had just said something brilliant. Perhaps we'd be less quick to dismiss them or argue with them, but instead find logical ways to work through whatever challenge or issue they were facing.
Rumi rahimu-Allah, was definitely deep.
And although he didn't leave behind a School of Relationships (how amazing would that be) - I've got the next best thing.
By going here, you’ll get free access to the first module of my 'Effortless Relationships' program, designed to help you nurture a beautifully deep and loving connection with your spouse.
If your Facebook newsfeed is anything like mine, you'll have noticed that more and more people are posting 'positive thinking' style, uplifting memes.
Whatever challenge you're going through - there's a meme for that.
Some of the inspirational advice that I believe has the opposite effect however, is when people are told to be grateful for their situation because others have it worse.
Now at face value it appears to be sound advice.
Comparing ourselves to others who are worse off should theoretically cause us to be more appreciative of our own situation and circumstances.
However, if you've been through a really challenging time and are struggling to be grateful, what can actually happen upon reading advice such as this, is that you feel even worse for being such a bad person that you can't even feel grateful for what you do have. Comparing yourself to people who have far less does nothing to lift your mood and so you feel worse about yourself and sink into feeling even lower than before.
There should only be one uplifting meme on Facebook and it should say this:
'You're only ever feeling your thinking'
Now at face value, this may not automatically solve all of the problems you're experiencing in life.
And that's exactly why I created a five-part online training programme, that takes this one simple statement, but with it digs deep so that you can see the truth of it in your own life.
And when you see this simple truth, something really nice starts to happen.
Your mind becomes so much quieter that you naturally become more thankful and express this gratitude to Allah every day. You no longer need to be forced to be grateful, you just are. Because you now understand the simple truth of how your mind actually works.
To begin to experience this for yourself, go here and watch the first module completely free.
For anyone that's into personal development, you may think it's strange that I'm telling you that it's OK to be sad.
I mean surely the whole point of self-development is so that we can be happy more of the time? We want less of the negative feelings and more of the positive feelings, right?
But here's why I believe that the focus shouldn't be on the 'positive' and 'negative' feelings, but rather, on the source of these feelings. Because when we understand the true source of our feelings, we can experience a different type of 'negative' emotion. We start to:
- Feel hurt without feeling heartbroken
- Feel sad without feeling distraught
- Feel lonely without feeling despair
- Feel upset without it needing to drag on for days, weeks or even months
When we realise the true source of our feelings, we experience a peace around even the most 'negative' of emotions.
I use inverted commas because I don't actually believe there are negative and positive emotions. These feelings are all neutral and what we perceive as good and bad feelings are actually a normal part of life. If the Prophet PBUH experienced every single emotion out there, then we know its sunnah (tradition) to also experience the same.
But there's a small but very important distinction in how we experience them.
When we know the true source of our feelings, we welcome these moments and stop looking at them as negative feelings. We experience them for what they are and avoid slipping down the slippery slope to despair, heartbreak and depression.
We're no longer battling against ourselves to stop experiencing the 'bad' and trying so hard to experience more of the 'good'.
Because there is good in it all and it's this understanding that allows us to experience life events such as the death of a loved one, in an entirely different way. In a way that brings us ease, peace and grace in the most challenging of circumstances - and with this comes a deeper connection with Allah.
To experience this for yourself, make your first stop my 5-part online Effortless Relationships training programme.
It's designed to help you have a more beautiful relationship - with yourself. And I've made the first module available here for free 🙂
P.S. And if you needed any further convincing, here's my favourite poet Rumi with a strikingly similar message 😉
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, depression a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes,
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Who isn't guilty of having one of these....when things don't go to plan, we retreat to the sofa and have an adult version of a toddler tantrum, albeit a quieter and less physically demanding one.
We may sit there silently stuffing ourselves with cake and chocolate, whilst contemplating how rubbish we have it compared to everyone else. We sigh heavily and may even cry at how things are just not working out for us.
We feel so sorry for ourselves.
And if we're not careful, this short and sweet self-pity session can turn into a constant phase of living in victim-mode. Suddenly our self-pity has become a big part of our life to the point where it comes up in conversation with others almost immediately. It's as if we introduce ourselves to others as 'Hi my name is Joe Bloggs and I'm a victim of xyz'.
We may not even realise that this is what we're doing.
What we feel self-pity about, suddenly becomes 'us' and we forget that the real me, our true self, is so far removed from the made-up stories we've been telling ourselves during our self-pity sessions.
You see, no matter what we think about ourselves, none of that made-up thinking can actually take anything away from who we truly are at our core. We are all perfect beings, who sometimes face challenging times, who sometimes make mistakes and slip-up and sin, but get up again and strive for better.
When we pause for a moment and stop beating ourselves up for how things have turned out for us, it frees our mind to instead focus on what we can do right now in this present moment. We end up taking more beneficial action because we're no longer dwelling on the past which no longer exists, or worrying about the future which hasn’t even happened yet.
The only moment that really matters, is this one.
Right now, in this present moment, everything is fine. You are fine. And only your thinking will tell you otherwise.
So, ditch the self-pity session and the beating yourself up and instead start to live life as your highest self. And if you need some help in doing that, then you should probably watch my 5-part online training programme. I've made the first module available for free here.
This is one of my favourite memes.
It rings so true and perfectly sums up the confusion we can feel when we're desperately praying for a sign from above, but then completely fail to see the signs when they are shown to us.
In fact, as Muslims, it's something we fall into regularly whenever we pray the 'Itsikhara' prayer - the prayer of guidance. Where we ask Allah to make a certain path easy for us if it is good for us, and if it is not good for us then to steer us away from it and make us happy with that outcome.
And it's a wonderful prayer, because we are handing our affairs over to Allah, because He knows best and we know not what's best.
But then we get to the tricky part...
How do we then spot any signs that we're not supposed to continue on a certain path? How do we see these signs clearly?
Just as in the meme, a sign can be right there in front of our face, but if we're too emotionally attached then we either won't want to see this sign, or we'll just plain ignore it...
What we're often asking God for, is a sign that tells us that we want to do, is the right thing. And if there are signs pointing in the other, not so desirable direction, then we tend to overlook them or wait for a 'bigger' sign that re-confirms that we really should take that other path.
Anyone notice a pattern here?
I see lots of waiting and lots of not knowing, despite praying and sometimes despite clear signs coming our way..
It's wonderful to pray for guidance and highly recommended, as Allah has infinite wisdom and is the Best of Planners. However, we need to do our part, and make sure we are as clear headed as possible so that we can make sense of any signs or wisdom that are coming to us, that are trying to guide us down a certain path.
Allah always makes it clear which path we should take....we just don't see it sometimes because of our own desires and attachments.
If you'd like to start seeing things more clearly and be more receptive to your own wisdom that's coming from Allah and trying to guide you through your challenges, then I'd like to help.
I'm offering a 60-minute, 1-1 breakthrough session as well as lifetime access to my 5-part online Effortless Relationships training programme for just £47 (regular price £97).
Call it a sign that you're meant to take some action today 😉
You can sign up here to take advantage of this special price, which will only be available this week. Then it goes back up to £97.
One of my all-time favourite TV shows is The Affair.
Apart from the great acting, it has a unique way of playing out its storyline. The events in the show unfold by viewing it through the perspectives of both the main characters, Noah and Alison. Each episode has a Part 1 and a Part 2, and each part gives you their unique perspective on the same events.
It can be both intriguing and very entertaining to see how differently the story is shown from each person's perspective.
The same event is altered to reflect how differently they recall past events and interestingly, how they see themselves and each other.
Whilst watching the most recent episode I got to thinking about how realistic this actually was.
How could they both have sometimes quite different versions of the same event?
But then I realised that this actually happens to us all of the time, without us even realising what's going on. And it's down to a simple truth about how we actually experience life day to day.
We all go through life living in our 'own world'. We throw this statement around a lot without realising just how much truth it holds.
Every day, we get up and experience the same things other people do, but we will have an entirely different experience of it, because we live that experience through our own thoughts. The very nature of thought itself, means no two people can have the same thoughts, or think the exact same way. It's why we can often watch the same movie as other people, but leave the cinema with an entirely different experience of it. Our thoughts create our experience, so when we're in a particular situation, or we're watching a movie, or having a conversation with someone, we're experiencing it all through our own thinking.
And because of this, no two people can have the exact same experience of something.
So with this in mind, the focus can switch from wondering why two people aren't thinking the same thing, and perhaps even thinking that there is something wrong with one of them because of that; to understanding that everyone will always be living in their own separate reality and it's 100% OK if someone doesn't think the same way we do.
When we stop wondering why someone isn't thinking the same way as us, we end up dropping all of the unhelpful thinking and reactions that we may have previously had.
We accept that they cannot think the same way we do, even if we believe it would be better if they did.
The natural consequence of this in our relationships, is that we become better listeners, better communicators and better at just being there and being present with whatever is happening in the moment, rather than wasting our time and energy wondering why our partner does not think or feel the same way we do.
We see through the illusion and accept each other's perspectives, rather than being annoyed by them.
If you’d like to experience this shift in your relationship and learn the secret to dropping so many of the often unnecessary and unhelpful expectations that we have of our partner and ourselves, then you’re going to love this.