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Ask me Anything: Michelle Elman - life coach and queen of boundaries!


Michelle Elman

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Hi everybody!

I'm Michelle Elman and I'm a life coach, author, influencer and public speaker. You might know me online as Scarred Not Scared and most recently, I released a book on boundaries called The Joy of Being Selfish. I'm most passionate about showing people how to live their most empowered lives whether that's around boundaries, body positivity or dating and I work with DTL because I think it's important to demonstrate authenticity online and I believe DTL give people a safe space to discuss the issues that often arise online and through working with them, I hope to give people the tools to love themselves just as they are!

You can ask me questions on any topic. I have worked with an array of clients on different problems so you will be hard pressed to find a topic, I haven't encountered before. To find out more about me, I'm @ScarredNotScared on Instagram, TikTok and Twitter and if you would like to ask me more questions, I answer questions weekly on my podcast In All Honesty or on Instagram on Mondays. 

I'll be live on the Ditch the Label Community on Friday 9th July from 16:00 BST time, but you can leave your questions in advance on this thread. 

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Hi Michelle, not sure if you can give advice on this or not, but I have a friend who has started messaging my ex bf. we weren't all that serious and it ended about a year ago, i told her i don't mind bc i don't want to come across as not being over him but i just feel so angry at her. i feel like its a really shitty thing for her to do. what should i do? any advice would be appreciated bc its really affecting our friendship now and she keeps asking me what the matter is and i just don't feel like i have a right to tell her to stop messaging him?

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hiiii. ok my question, what is it like being in the public eye and what do you enjoy most about your job?

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Hi Michelle, I have bad stretch marks on my thighs and make me feel embarrassed in shorts or a swim costume. What can I do about them? I want to be able to not care but I do.  

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when i broke up with my bf i promised that we would stay friends but i'm struggling with it as I think i still have feelings for him.

We weren't even together that long so I don't know why i even care.  He seems fine about it so I don't know what to do?

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heyyyyy, i've been dating someone for a long time and i don't know how to break up with him. He's lovely but my feelings for a while have just been friendly and I think he knows that something is wrong but we haven't spoken about it.

I don't want to upset him but i can't keep doing this, I'm worried as our families have been friends for years and it'll get really awkward. Please can you give me some advice?  

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On 7/2/2021 at 3:05 PM, bingabong said:

Hi Michelle, not sure if you can give advice on this or not, but I have a friend who has started messaging my ex bf. we weren't all that serious and it ended about a year ago, i told her i don't mind bc i don't want to come across as not being over him but i just feel so angry at her. i feel like its a really shitty thing for her to do. what should i do? any advice would be appreciated bc its really affecting our friendship now and she keeps asking me what the matter is and i just don't feel like i have a right to tell her to stop messaging him?

Hey there, it sounds like you prioritised their perception of you over your needs. You cared more about what they thought of you than honouring your own feelings and as a result you were not honest with your friend. You feel angry because you have not honoured those needs and not communicated them. You are projecting that on to your friend when you are actually feeling it towards yourself. What you need to do is to be honest with your friend, you are right that you cannot dictate who she is messaging or who she is friends with but you can still communicate with her that it upsets you and allow her to make a decision based on the information you have told her. Start the conversation owning up to the fact that you should have spoken up, it can be as simple as saying "Hey! I wanted to speak to you about something. You know you've been asking me what is the matter and I have said nothing. I wasn't being honest and I didn't know how to tell this to you but it does actually upset me when you talk to my ex. I'm really sorry I didn't say this earlier and let this affect our friendship but I wanted to tell you how I was feeling, no matter what decision you make". Then I would sit with your feelings, why is it an issue that she is friends with him? What does it mean? What are you telling yourself about it? For example, if you are telling yourself that he is more interested in her, then that's the problem, not the fact they were talking. You have created a meaning that doesn't match the behaviour and therefore you need to adjust the meaning. What else could it mean? It could mean they just want to be friends and enjoy each other's company. You've got this and it might be a hard conversation to have but it's better you vocalise it than keep it inside, M xx

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On 7/2/2021 at 3:52 PM, billywaffles said:

There's a girl in my class that i really like and I want to ask her out, i'm worried she'll say no and then it'll be weird as we see each other all the time. 

Hey there! When you admit to liking someone, you definitely take a risk that it could affect the friendship either temporarily or long term or create some awkwardness. There is no way to guarantee no awkwardness will happen so you need to weigh up in your mind, is it worth the risk? What will you lose if it is awkward and what will you gain if it works out? For me, I always think a little bit of awkwardness is worth it. I know you said you are worried about her saying no but on the flip side, the worst thing she can say is no! Feel the fear and do it anyway. If she says she isn't interested, then accept it graciously and casually with a "no worries, I had to shoot my shot but thanks for being honest with me". Some feelings of rejection may arise for you and you will need to process that but if you act normal, what you will find is they will reciprocate and at the least you know the awkwardness is not coming from you. Good luck! M xx

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On 7/2/2021 at 11:08 PM, Stormy_Skies said:

how would you set bounderies with parents who believe they are entitled to have none with you?

Hey there! I believe boundaries are no different with parents than anyone else. Family do not get to treat you differently just because they are family so I would set my boundaries the same way and if they respond negatively, I would reinforce the boundary in the same way I would with anyone else. With families, it might require a number of reinforcements for parents to accept that your dynamic has changed but perservere. You can set simple consequences like if they walk into your room without knocking a lot, a consequence would be telling them "I have asked you to knock when you enter my room, if you aren't able to do that, I'm going to lock my door next time I need privacy". M xx

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On 7/3/2021 at 12:15 AM, Princess said:

I struggle with lack of motivation. How do I find a balance of asking for help but not wanting them to put constant pressure on me?

Hey! Motivation is created by finding your 'why', remind yourself 'why' you are doing this so if this is completing a job, your 'why' could be being paid. The other side to people procastinating is that there is an underlying fear that isn't being addressed so a lot of the time people procrastinate completing a piece of work because when it is finished, it means it will be graded and that fear of judgement is what stops you from wanting to complete the piece of work. How you stop this is by staying in the moment and focusing on what you are doing right in front of you, reassuring yourself that you can handle whatever happens and that you are safe. In terms of the constant pressure, separate your life into 100% work or 100% play, do not do a middle ground of working while going on social media or relaxing but worrying about work. Allowing yourself real rest time and real play time means you will be even more productive when you decide to work. M xx

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On 7/2/2021 at 2:55 PM, Harper said:

Hi @Michelle Elman, welcome to our Community! My question: how would you define boundaries for somebody who isn't very familiar with the term?

Thank you so much! Simply put, boundaries are about how we are treated, what is and isn't acceptable. It's how we teach the world to treat us and it's the line between who we are and who the world wants us to be. M xx

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On 7/2/2021 at 2:59 PM, jake said:

hiiii. ok my question, what is it like being in the public eye and what do you enjoy most about your job?

Hey there! It is a very odd experience being in the public eye in positive and negative ways. In positive ways, it's weird to me that anyone would care what I think on a matter, let alone care about my opinion so much that they would write me or message me online. On the more negative side, the criticism is also strange to me because at the end of the day, people don't know me. What I love most about my job though is that I am able to explore all my interests creatively and that I am helping people in a way that maximises my strengths. M xx

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On 7/2/2021 at 3:24 PM, DanTheMan said:

What are your thoughts about boundaries with parents and other senior family members?

I know it can be hard to set boundaries with people who are older, especially if they have grown up with the "respect your elders" mentality but I believe respect is earned and just because they are family doesn't meant they are owed a place in your life. You do not. have to accept worse treatment just because 'that's the way they have always been' and whilst we might not be able to change their behaviour, we can limit their impact on us. M xx

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10 minutes ago, Michelle Elman said:

Hey there! When you admit to liking someone, you definitely take a risk that it could affect the friendship either temporarily or long term or create some awkwardness. There is no way to guarantee no awkwardness will happen so you need to weigh up in your mind, is it worth the risk? What will you lose if it is awkward and what will you gain if it works out? For me, I always think a little bit of awkwardness is worth it. I know you said you are worried about her saying no but on the flip side, the worst thing she can say is no! Feel the fear and do it anyway. If she says she isn't interested, then accept it graciously and casually with a "no worries, I had to shoot my shot but thanks for being honest with me". Some feelings of rejection may arise for you and you will need to process that but if you act normal, what you will find is they will reciprocate and at the least you know the awkwardness is not coming from you. Good luck! M xx

Thank you very much  i'm going to try and do it 🙂 

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On 7/2/2021 at 3:33 PM, dipsi333 said:

Hi Michelle, I have bad stretch marks on my thighs and make me feel embarrassed in shorts or a swim costume. What can I do about them? I want to be able to not care but I do.  

The first time you wear shorts or a swimming costume, you will care. And then the next time it will get a little easier! Remember that people are not noticing your stretch marks as much as you are noticing them. You are the person most conscious of your appearance and instead of focusing on your stretch marks, put the shorts on and then focus on your day, go about your day like normal and you might find yourself after a week of wearing them, actually forgetting about your thighs for a whole day. If you let a piece of clothing have control over you, it will. The way you change that is doing the thing that scares you and realising the worst thing that you think is going to happen, won't happen and if anyone does make a comment or is judgemental, they are just showing you who they are and it's better you knew that's the kind of person they are like now better than later! M xx

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4 minutes ago, Michelle Elman said:

I know it can be hard to set boundaries with people who are older, especially if they have grown up with the "respect your elders" mentality but I believe respect is earned and just because they are family doesn't meant they are owed a place in your life. You do not. have to accept worse treatment just because 'that's the way they have always been' and whilst we might not be able to change their behaviour, we can limit their impact on us. M xx

This is such a good point to remember. 

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