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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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On 7/2/2021 at 3:38 PM, honeybeetree said:

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?

Be honest with him. I personally don't stay friends with any exes, it doesn't work for me and it really doesn't matter why it doesn't work for me, it just doesn't and I honour my feelings and my needs and am clear with my partners about that. How I would start this conversation is simply saying "Hey! I enjoyed being in a relationship with you but this friendship thing is not working for me anymore. I need space and a clear break and no communication is what I need right now. I hope you understand, take care and wish you all the best with everything".  Then delete his number and move on with your life and create space for someone new to enter. If you want a new friend, you can make a new friend, but transitioning from a relationship to friendship when you still have feelings for him is just going to feel like settling. M xx

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On 7/2/2021 at 3:47 PM, Blondie said:

Hi @Michelle Elman could you share some tips for starting out on a body positivity  journey?  

Hey there! How I started gaining confidence in my body was actually to stop caring about my appearance anymore and to stop thinking about it at all. I stopped vocalising the negative thoughts about my body and because I stopped saying it aloud, the amount of time and energy I spent on those thoughts decreased. When you spend less time and energy thinking about your body, you also spend less time criticising it and as a result, I used that extra time and energy I had in my life to create a life I loved and realised I was so much more than a body or what I looked like. If you want to know my full body confidence journey, you can watch my TedX talk here: 

 

 

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On 7/2/2021 at 4:56 PM, Dotz Kay said:

How can I mentally get over relationship and family trauma, which has consumed me in the last year? Thank you 

You don't get over it as much as you get through it and you get through it by sitting in your feelings and letting it hurt. It's painful and excruciating to feel your sadness and your hurt and the pain you have in your body but as you said, it consumes you anyway so you either heal it by sitting in it or you spend your whole life avoiding it and it affecting your life. You can find meditations online to start this process or you might just find it easier to pick a song that helps you feel feelings and do a scan of your body. Where can you feel the sadness? Place your attention on that sadness and when you do this, it is normal for this to hurt more, breathe through it, make any sounds that you need to or shake it off if you feel the urge to shake and keep focusing in on that point. You might find that physical sensation moves around the body, follow it around the body until the pain lessens. The first day you might only tolerate one song length and by the end of the week if you make time for it everyday you might be able to sit with it for 5 minutes. This is the pain that needs your attention and presence and needs to not be ignored M xx

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11 minutes ago, Michelle Elman said:

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

Thank you! 🥰

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On 7/2/2021 at 6:09 PM, charlchurros said:

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?  

You can't control his reaction and there is no way you can say it that will guarantee he won't get upset because he is allowed his response, his reaction and whatever emotions arise for him. The longer you wait, the harder this is going to get. It won't get easier so you need to have the hard conversation now. Be as kind and as caring as possible, provide him as much detail that is necessary for him to have closure but do not include any details that are unnecessarily hurtful. It's OK to be scared about these things but don't let the fear stop you from having the conversation. 

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On 7/2/2021 at 8:38 PM, MoonieOwl said:

How do you get inspiration for your books?

My first book 'Am I Ugly?' was a memoir and I never intended to publish, it. It was me writing to just get it off my chest and have somewhere to keep all my memories about what had happened to me in the first 20 years of life through all my surgeries. When I finished it, it was only then I got the urge to publish it and the motivation behind that was the fact that I wish I had a book that had spoken about childhood illness without the "brave" or "inspirational" lense but was more realistic. "The Joy of Being Selfish" is all about boundaries and it had become my favourite topic over the years and what I loved speaking and writing about the most and the motivation to write that book was that I found so many people using the term boundaries wrong and I believed there needed to be an educational resource to teach people how to actually set boundaries

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8 minutes ago, Michelle Elman said:

Hey there! How I started gaining confidence in my body was actually to stop caring about my appearance anymore and to stop thinking about it at all. I stopped vocalising the negative thoughts about my body and because I stopped saying it aloud, the amount of time and energy I spent on those thoughts decreased. When you spend less time and energy thinking about your body, you also spend less time criticising it and as a result, I used that extra time and energy I had in my life to create a life I loved and realised I was so much more than a body or what I looked like. If you want to know my full body confidence journey, you can watch my TedX talk here: 

Thanks so much for sharing Michelle! 

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6 minutes ago, Michelle Elman said:

You don't get over it as much as you get through it

This really resonates! 

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On 7/8/2021 at 11:05 AM, bingabong said:

Heya, what's your advice for people who feel uncomfortable about setting boundaries and confrontation? thank you 🥰

You are learning something new so it will be uncomfortable at first but as you do it more and more, it will become easier. My advice is to start with people you don't know so get confident with actually saying no when a waiter asks if you are happy with your food and you are not, or when a hairdresser asks if you are happy with your haircut and you want to say no, that's the easiest place to start. The first boundary to test your skills with is the word 'no', it is the simplest boundary there is. Another tip I would say is that if you cant' set the boundary in the moment, that's OK, there is no time limit, step away from the conversation for a while and come back to it when you feel ready. In terms of fear of confrontation, realise that confrontations get worse by not saying how you actually feel. A lot of people bury how they actually feel until they explode and thats' when it becomes harder to handle confrontation. Instead of confrontation, see it as simply communication, and people will good communication prefer honesty. M xx

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Just now, Michelle Elman said:

Thank you everyone for all the questions! Really enjoyed answering them! Have a wonderful weekend M xx

Thank you so much Michelle - such a lot to take away from your advice. 

Have a great weekend 🙂 

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18 minutes ago, Michelle Elman said:

You can't control his reaction and there is no way you can say it that will guarantee he won't get upset because he is allowed his response, his reaction and whatever emotions arise for him. The longer you wait, the harder this is going to get. It won't get easier so you need to have the hard conversation now. Be as kind and as caring as possible, provide him as much detail that is necessary for him to have closure but do not include any details that are unnecessarily hurtful. It's OK to be scared about these things but don't let the fear stop you from having the conversation. 

Thank you for picking my question 🙂 

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37 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

I struggle with this but it makes sense when you put it like this 

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34 minutes ago, Michelle Elman said:

Be honest with him. I personally don't stay friends with any exes, it doesn't work for me and it really doesn't matter why it doesn't work for me, it just doesn't and I honour my feelings and my needs and am clear with my partners about that. How I would start this conversation is simply saying "Hey! I enjoyed being in a relationship with you but this friendship thing is not working for me anymore. I need space and a clear break and no communication is what I need right now. I hope you understand, take care and wish you all the best with everything".  Then delete his number and move on with your life and create space for someone new to enter. If you want a new friend, you can make a new friend, but transitioning from a relationship to friendship when you still have feelings for him is just going to feel like settling. M xx

thank u 

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Hello!  I'm going to be a senior in college.  I hate the place, bc I had planned to go somewhere with a full scholarship, but my parents wanted me here.  I thought I had a decent group of friends, but during the last Covid year, my friend/roommates isolated me socially, and my other friends followed suit.  I did try to communicate opening up any discussion so I could understand and take responsibiiity to correct the behavior.  In our roommate agreement,  we had agreed to clear up any issues as they occurred.  In our case, it was put off and grew until I just wanted to run away.  My 'home' just had my single place to sleep; I stopped eating bc I didn't want to cook and be present while the others were around.  Even the one I trusted the most and said she felt the same way refused to check up on me over the summer during my stressful family situation. I'm part of a few groups on campus and feel ignored and unappreciated in any of my efforts and have trouble lifting myself up.  Btw, I'm usually the first to try to make peace, but I just can't anymore.  I'm honestly trying to make the best of things, but without a feeling of belonging, it's very difficult.  

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On 8/2/2021 at 3:23 AM, jeanam said:

Hello!  I'm going to be a senior in college.  I hate the place, bc I had planned to go somewhere with a full scholarship, but my parents wanted me here.  I thought I had a decent group of friends, but during the last Covid year, my friend/roommates isolated me socially, and my other friends followed suit.  I did try to communicate opening up any discussion so I could understand and take responsibiiity to correct the behavior.  In our roommate agreement,  we had agreed to clear up any issues as they occurred.  In our case, it was put off and grew until I just wanted to run away.  My 'home' just had my single place to sleep; I stopped eating bc I didn't want to cook and be present while the others were around.  Even the one I trusted the most and said she felt the same way refused to check up on me over the summer during my stressful family situation. I'm part of a few groups on campus and feel ignored and unappreciated in any of my efforts and have trouble lifting myself up.  Btw, I'm usually the first to try to make peace, but I just can't anymore.  I'm honestly trying to make the best of things, but without a feeling of belonging, it's very difficult.  

Hey,

Thanks for coming to us about this. The Q&A has now closed, but I'm more than happy to speak with you about this if you like. I guess that home is supposed to be our safe place, and when we feel like we don't belong there, it can really throw us off balance, so I totally get why this is difficult for you. How are you feeling about everything? I hope you're as okay as you can be, but it's also okay to not be okay. Can I ask, do you feel like you will be able to sort things out at all with your roommates? Also, are there any groups or other people that you feel more connected with?

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