Tuesday,17 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1292, (21 - 27 April 2016)
Tuesday,17 October, 2017
Issue 1292, (21 - 27 April 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Thinking feminine

Mai Samih finds out how a group of trainers are working to revive self-confidence and true femininity in women

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Al-Ahram Weekly

“For years I have been longingly looking at myself in the mirror, looking at everything I lack. I don’t like myself and I have never seen a look I recognised as me,” thus sang singer Dina Khedr in words that could express the feelings of many women, according to inspirational writer and life coach Rania Samir.

The song was sung at the beginning of the “Think Pink Day” held in Heliopolis this month. The event aimed at helping Egyptian women develop strong personalities and confident femininity.

Samir is a Faculty of Arts graduate and the organiser of the event. “I am passionate about whatever touches the heart and makes a difference in people’s lives. I do this in different ways, such as writing and coaching,” she explained. Samir previously worked in different jobs before turning to coaching by joining Passion to Profit, a community group that helps train people in different fields.

“My friends and I decided to organise an event that maintains the balance in women’s lives between pampering and not forgetting responsibilities in life, something many women tend to forget. Being a real lady doesn’t mean that you become irresponsible,” she added.

Through sessions at the event and elsewhere Samir and her colleagues teach women to take care of their inner selves and outer appearance. “So you can be successful, achieve your dreams, and still be a lady from the inside and the outside. Make-up, for example, is part of the process, but it is not the whole process,” she explained.

Through the sessions, they work on the three aspects of the mind, body and soul in a day, with women from different age groups. They started with a session related to etiquette by Salwa Affifi, which aimed at helping women communicate with themselves and others.

Marwa Ibrahim, one of the facilitators, talked about the aims of her session, called Mathawleesh (Don’t Try). “In my session, we talk about a women’s inner beauty and teach her how to appreciate herself as much as possible. It is very important to differentiate between being upset because of something and disliking yourself more permanently, because the first feeling fades while the second stays,” she said.

“If you don’t discover this in time, it could develop into self-destructiveness, a problem for women who treat their friends better than they treat themselves. Some women try to change for others but not for themselves, and this should be reversed,” she added.

“My session is about laughter yoga, which is a new type of yoga in Egypt,” said holistic consultant Mariam Emara. “It is very important to have this type of yoga here in Egypt as many people are subjected to stress. It is a combination of yoga, breathing exercises and laughter exercises that replaces negative energy with positive energy and a sense of happiness and inner peace,” she explained.

Emara is determined to spread the culture of laughter yoga in Egyptian society by organising free classes in Al-Azhar Park in Cairo on Fridays.

“My session aims at teaching self-defence tactics that any girl can use in the streets if someone attacks her,” said Rehab Sherif, in charge of the “Defend Yourself” session. “I teach women how to stand, walk and talk in the street to avoid being attacked,” she said, adding that she also teaches them to be alert as this makes it more difficult for someone to attack them.

“The aim of my session, Eqleshi Makhawefek (Get Rid of Your Fears), is to teach women how to deal with their fears,” said trainer Rania Youssif.

“After reading about the technique, I wanted to share it with others. Fear is a feeling that no one can ignore as it is part of our lives. My session teaches people how to listen to their heart and try to accept bad circumstances and deal with them. When that happens, a person relaxes and is balanced from the inside.”

Maha Salah, who works in the field of colour psychology, said that some women have difficulty accepting themselves. “I believe that there is no woman who is not beautiful. Sometimes our souls are beautiful from the inside, but our bodies do not help us to show it,” she said.

“Through my session, called ‘Revive Your Beauty,’ my aim is is to help every woman know how to take care of herself,” said Tahagoud Raaouf, who instructs women in how to take care of their face, skin and hair.

“I learned about the event from a friend via Facebook. I liked the session about colour psychology as it teaches you how to say the truth even to yourself and make sure that you are not going on the wrong path,” said Asmaa Al-Kady, a participant at the event.

“I learned that you can motivate yourself by yourself. The ‘Revive Your Beauty’ session helped us to look at ourselves to see what is good about us and what does not work for us. I liked the make-up tips as well. The talks were inspiring because they made you feel there was a light going on inside you,” she said.

The event ended with a film called He’s Just Not That Into You, which was followed by a discussion to teach women how to appreciate themselves by reflecting on it together.

“We should all eat healthily, as everything starts from the inside. Every women should exercise, and if she can’t she should drink a good quantity of water each day and eat healthily. She should not subject her face, skin and hair to dust and sun damage,” Raaouf said.

“A woman should watch out for four wrong things in her life: exaggeration, sarcasm (of herself or others), comparison between herself in the past and someone else, and blaming (self-blaming or blaming others). If this is done, a woman will be balanced from the inside and will be able to manage herself better,” said Salah.

“I advise women not to try to escape from fear. You should feel fear and express it. Then you will be able to deal with it. You could ask others for help. If you fear something, run towards it. This is how you deal with fear,” said Youssif.

“I hope they extend the colour psychology session next time because it was the most beneficial as well as the ‘Loving Myself’ session as if you don’t love yourself no one else will love you either,” said Al-Kady.

Samir agreed. “You could look good on the outside, but if you are not taking care of your inner personality you will not feel good. You will feel that there is something missing and underestimate your real qualities. So if you take action to support your inner side, this will be reflected on the outside,” she said, adding that more events are planned to help women see themselves in a more balanced way.

“A girl should avoid walking in a dark street unless someone is with her. She must carry her bag properly so no one steals it. She must put in mind that exercise is not just for males but also for females. She must feel that she is strong and can walk in the streets without worrying,” Sherif said.

“Women always seek to satisfy others but not themselves. This should be reversed. Women should not magnify problems; they should be fair to themselves. Women should appreciate themselves and make sure that they have internal peace,” Ibrahim said.

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