One of my core beliefs is that true confidence can only be achieved when we work on the inside and the outside of ourselves. These two things are completely interconnected and finding confidence in one cannot be achieved without finding confidence in the other.
Now, while I definitely have a wealth of knowledge around finding confidence in our outer appearance, when it comes to the inner work, I want to introduce you to my friend Selina Man Karlsson. Selina is a previous client of mine and an expert when it comes to the world of inner confidence.
During our time working together I helped Selina elevate her outer confidence and style so it became beautifully aligned with the internal confidence shifts that she’d made in her life.
But I also have first-hand experience of Selina’s therapy work. She helped me make internal shifts at a time when I knew I was going to start speaking at events, but I was afraid of public speaking.
It’s my absolute pleasure to share this interview with you. Selina and I chatted about confidence and self-esteem, and you’ll be introduced to the transformational way she works with her clients using RTT.
This blog is a little longer than usual as there was so much juicy content shared, but I didn’t want to leave anything out, so grab yourself a drink, get comfy and let’s dive in…
I’d love to start by having you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into RTT and what RTT is?
Selina: I’m British born Chinese and I’ve been living in Switzerland for almost 20-years. I came over because of my work for a bank, which I worked for, for 13-years before setting up my own company called Curious Courses. I remember going to a conference that was given by a guy called Brian Weiss, who wrote this amazing book called ‘Many Lives, Many Masters’. After the 3-day conference I thought, “WOW, I really want to go deeper into this”. I felt a real urge to start looking and I found Marisa Peer’s Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT) course.
RTT has been developed by Marisa who is spoken about as being the best therapists in England. She combined her 30-years of experience into RTT, and the basis is hypnotherapy. But she also combines quite a few other tools within it to support people. During RTT you’re guided into a very relaxed hypnotic state, and the idea is that if you’re facing an issue or challenge now, you go back to a previous experience where your subconscious mind has been told it wasn’t safe or that something was dangerous.
You’re guided to different points in your life, when you were 5, 10 or it could even be last week. It’s just little points in your life where your subconscious has believed that something was really a big deal at that time. Then by understanding that you’re no longer in that situation anymore you can start turning things around. Then we produce an audio recording that helps you change your belief, which you listen to for 21 days.
So that’s the essence I would say. But there’s quite a few other things depending on what comes up. We have different tools to handle different situations.
So, if I’m understanding this correctly, you go into people’s pasts, and look at what’s triggered them with creating their current thoughts, beliefs, and stories. So, in what way does that help your clients?
Selina: The best way I can describe it is that a belief that you had leads to a thought, which leads to a feeling, which leads to the actions you take, which leads to the results, which feeds back into the belief.
So, let’s use the belief that I’m no good at public speaking as an example. By changing the original belief and giving yourself more positive beliefs like, I look forward to public speaking. And I’m helping other people. Then the thought is, “Well actually I’m going to help other people. It’s not about me, it’s about others.” And the feeling is that you feel a bit calmer about it. The action is that you get up on stage and you’re able to do your thing because you know you’re actually helping other people, you’re not thinking about yourself. And the results are good because these people are happy with what you delivered, and that feeds back into, I’m helping others.
You can see how, by going to the route of the belief, and letting go of something that things change. Your subconscious is always trying to protect you, even if things don’t seem that way. Once you understand that it’s so much easier, because then you can communicate with your subconscious mind and make the changes that you want.
One of the reasons why I’ve been dying to interview you is because I see connections between the work you do and what I do. We’re both providing women with tools to make them feel good about themselves and be confident. I would love to know what advice you’d give someone who may lack confidence or have low self-esteem?
Selina: Well, there’s actually a lot you can do! Let me give you a couple of examples.
First, start identifying the negative voice. Generally, it’s telling you not to be stupid, don’t do that, who do you think you are, and all that kind of nonsense that goes on in your head. Some people call it ‘monkey chatter’, but it can just be a negative voice. The first step is to identify that voice, and then it’s almost like you can observe it. You can start to realise, oh it’s not necessarily me, it’s something else.
A very easy trick is to imagine one of those old radios and that you can turn down the volume dial – or even turn it off completely! Or you have a very positive voice that counteracts it, and you say, “Hold on! Shut up! It’s my turn to talk!”
So, you can either turn the volume off on the voice or you can start talking back. You can ask what the concern is, what’s the worst that can happen? And go to the point where you negotiate with your fear and say, “What if I try this? What if I do that? What will you feel then?” Then things will start changing.
Another thing you can do is journal about your fear. That’s similar to the process of speaking to it and just seeing what it has to say. It’s just a different way of doing it. So, either imagine yourself speaking with it or just writing it out. Then you can get a lot of insight into the situations that have caused you to feel this way.
You recently spoke to the ladies in my Style with Confidence online program and the common challenge that practically everyone shared was seeking validation from others. So, what are your thoughts on that?
Selina: I think it’s something that’s so ingrained in our systems. Even from childhood as a baby, you learn that if you gurgle and smile, you’re going to get a great reaction from your parents. And if you don’t, they’ll say, “What’s wrong with you?” Or make some negative comment. So, it’s really natural because as children we need to please our parents otherwise we might not get our basic needs met. It’s a survival mechanism.
If you think back to how we lived in tribes. The worst thing you could do was be ousted from a tribe because you wouldn’t survive. Nowadays you might survive but it won’t be great. Survival is inbuilt in us, so you can understand that we want to stay cool with our tribe so that we look after each other.
Just having that awareness can help. When you don’t have awareness and you’re doing it automatically then you’re just people pleasing. A lot of us are people pleasers – me included! But sometimes I have to ask myself the question, is this what I really want as well? Giving a little bit of a gap between saying yes to everything or doing something that you think someone would want rather than what you want, allows you to really evaluate and ask if this is what you really want as well.
Monika: For me that’s really important, because when I’m working with clients, often they say they can’t wear something because their husband likes them to look a certain way. This creates an inner conflict. I always say style doesn’t start with your wardrobe it starts with your mindset, goals, and vision – who is the woman that you want to be? How do you want to come across?
You talk about turning the volume down. But when it’s your partner, a friend or family member, what advice would you give someone if they’ve got conflicting dialogues going on?
Selina: Good question! I definitely agree with you – first of all it’s important to find out who this woman wants to be? She’s come for a reason. She’s obviously not happy with something and wants some sort of change. Ultimately, it’s not the other person’s life. It’s her life that she’s choosing, so the first place to start is to accept what she wants. Because it’s very easy to be influenced by others and do what they want.
I believe you won’t feel good until you decide on what you want no matter what anyone else says. Maybe people need to adjust to your new style, but if they really are truly a loved one, a partner, a friend, they will understand and take in your needs. You can’t try to change someone; the person must want to change from within. So, I totally agree with you, start with what the person wants for themself and go from there.
So, what types of challenges can RTT help with?
Selina: Well, there’s many benefits. So, I typically work with people who are procrastinating and are having trouble taking action and doing something they want to do. But I’ve also worked quite a lot with people who are having relationship issues. And they might not be partner relationship issues, it might be a mother/daughter or mother/son relationships and I’ve found that very rewarding too.
I also work a lot with people who see a pattern that they have trouble breaking, for example if they keep having the same pattern repeat itself in relationships. It’s amazing because it can really shift something so easily and quickly. It just works, by reprogramming the mind and putting the work in and being open to going into places to let go of things. Even for very traumatic things we’ve found that it really helps you let go of situations.
One of the things you’ve spoken about in my Style with Confidence program is body confidence. I find this is the number one thing that stops most women from dressing or turning up how they want. If someone came to you for help with body confidence, how would you help them and what would be the 3 tips that you would give?
Selina: I would discuss with them the situations they find themselves in where they’re not comfortable. And then I’d ask them for a wish list on how they would like to feel instead. That might look like: I would love to feel relaxed and comfortable wearing a bikini on the beach. Or I would love to feel confident and strong on stage. Then I would use RTT and then give them an audio of positive affirmations that they listen to for 21 days to really change their mindset.
It’s also important to experiment a bit and play with things. It’s about noticing how you feel doing everyday things. So, wearing a different colour or setting yourself up in a situation where you get to try something new.
It’s also about upgrading your life. I follow Denise Duffield Thomas who talks a lot about upgrading your life and this is the thing you also helped me with – totally upgrading my wardrobe. You came up with pieces that I would never have normally gone for myself. And I love that. I was really happy with the work we did together because it helped introduce me to different brands as well at a time when I felt like I was in a bit of a rut, buying from the same kind of shops. I really appreciated having your extra eyes on things.
I’d love to wrap things up with you sharing a personal story that relates to your own body confidence journey
Selina: I’m Chinese and I grew up in England and whenever I went for holidays as a child to Hong Kong, it was awful. The Chinese are very blunt and very direct, and they’ll tell you what they think! So basically, they would say to me that I was fat or that I’d put on weight. I don’t think they meant it in the harsh way it came out! Chinese people tend to be very slim, and all the sizes are pretty small. So, whenever I went it was just a nightmare.
First of all, I’d be preparing myself for these comments, and then whenever I bought clothes, they would be extra-large or extra extra large, but in England I was probably a medium or something like that. It was depressing! And I think I carried that with me for quite a while, because I’m not a slim Chinese woman. I’m medium and I’m average if I look at myself from an English perspective, so for me that was always a struggle.
It definitely left a bit of an impact on me. I always found myself not feeling comfortable with my body size and shape. But when I lost weight, my parents would say to me, “Oh you don’t look good!” They want weight because in the old Chinese days actually having some weight was good because it was safer, and you’d survive through famine and things like that.
So, for me it has been a lot of work. I’ve worked on weight issues. I’ve worked on feeling confident. I find that I do sometimes flip flop a bit. It’s really about being conscious of it and knowing that I do feel healthier, fitter and stronger when I eat well and do more exercise.
I think that’s more important to me actually than the weight now, and I think that reflects in my clothes and how I wear my clothes as well. I feel more confident in that respect. It does take time and it takes effort. But I have changed my diet a lot and I take supplements and I exercise, and that gives me confidence to feel good in clothes. Especially if I’m speaking on stage, it does help when I’m feeling confident.
So that’s a wrap! Selina and I hope you’ve enjoyed our chat and have taken away some golden nuggets to bring into your own life.
If you’re interested in connecting with Selina further, she regularly holds workshops. To find out when the next one will be, CLICK HERE to visit her website and under programs you’ll find all her upcoming events.