EGYPT: Beliefs and how they impact our lives


According to Merriam Webster, a belief is, “something that a person accepts as true or right, a strongly held opinion about something.” A belief is just an opinion, not necessarily the truth or the reality. Beliefs can be imagined as an iceberg. There are some beliefs  we are conscious of, like the tip of the iceberg that can be seen above the water. Meanwhile, there are other beliefs we are less aware of, the larger part of the iceberg that lies below the water.

There are different types of beliefs. There are some that are empowering beliefs, like we are happy, we are successful , life is beautiful and worth being lived, failure is a part of the success journey, and so on. Other beliefs are disempowering, like I am unhappy, I am not good enough, life is unfair, I am a loser, et cetera. Such beliefs can be very limiting. Our beliefs about ourselves shape our lives. If we hold empowering beliefs, we feel more satisfaction and peace of mind. Otherwise, we are frustrated and unhappy most of the time. Most of our beliefs are formed during our childhood and adolescence.

Why our beliefs impact our lives?

Our beliefs drive our behaviors, so anything we do can be linked back to a certain belief we hold. Our perception of a situation creates a thought in our mind. The thought triggers an emotion, and the emotion makes us behave in a certain way. For example, one of my clients felt uncomfortable when her colleagues repeated to her, “You are so kind.” From my point of view, it was a positive comment of praise, while she perceived it as, “You are so naive.” With the positive perception, she would have felt totally comfortable and satisfied. Meanwhile, with the negative perception she felt annoyed and uncomfortable. These two different perceptions of the same situation triggered two completely different feelings, which lead to two totally different behaviors.

When we go through the same experience with the same thought, we feel the same feeling and we behave the same way until it becomes an unconscious belief and the behavior becomes automatic. Unfortunately it becomes the TRUTH while actually it is just our truth that we created due to our perception. If we want to change our behavior, we need to change the angle from which we see the situation.

“Making mistakes is shameful”

I grew up in a family and a school where making mistakes was not an option. We were punished, made fun of, and severely criticized for making mistakes. There were only one way to do anything, the way the elders wanted it done. Anything else was wrong and unacceptable. Living in such an environment was really hard.  I always felt like an accused who needed to defend herself. I wanted to have my own life, but unfortunately anything that did not match their way was considered a mistake.

One of my dis-empowering beliefs that negatively affected my life and harmed my self confidence for many years was, “Making mistakes is shameful.” I was so sensitive, so I avoided many situations and experiences to avoid the feeling of guilt and shame I felt every time I thought I made a mistake. I feared oral exams, trying new things, delivering presentations, and giving an opinion in a meeting or a class. I was so frightened of failure that I had to find help. My coach helped me see my foundational belief that making mistakes is shameful, and helped me to see that it caused me to avoid situations where I feared failure. It took me some time to adopt the new perception and to overcome my fear and my belief. Fortunately, I can now express myself in public easily, confidently, and in a relaxed way.

How we can change a behavior?

When you want to change your behavior in any situation and you want to find out what dis-empowering belief you hold, just answer these questions:

What are your thoughts in this situation?

How do you feel every time you go through it?

Write down your answers, and repeat this process several times. You will begin to notice a pattern. Notice your inner self talks and your wording – it will tell you a lot about your beliefs. To change the behavior, you need to change the angle from which you perceive the situation. Try to find a more positive perception – it will make a big shift in your thoughts and feelings and hence your behaviors.

As moms we need to be so careful with our children. We must pay attention to how we treat them, and also how we treat ourselves or speak about ourselves in front of them. We need to be aware of our dis-empowering beliefs, and work on changing them as they will surely affect our children. They acquire their self confidence and self esteem from ours. Our children see themselves through our eyes and they believe us, so if you tell your child they are not good enough or they are amazing they will believe you and may be they will live their whole life with this belief. Be cautious which beliefs you want to implant in your child.

Are you aware of your beliefs? What type of beliefs do you hold about yourself? How do they affect your life? Do you have a similar story, to share with us, about replacing a limiting belief ?

This is an original post for World Moms Network by Nihad from Alexandria, Egypt. Nihad blogs at Aurora Beams Life Coaching.

Image via José María Foces Morán / Flickr


Nihad is an Egyptian woman, who was born and has lived her whole life in Alexandria, Egypt. She says, “People who visited this city know how charming and beautiful this city is. Although I love every city in Egypt, Alexandria is the one I love the most.” She is a software engineer and has worked in the field for more than twenty years. But recently she quit her job, got a coaching certificate and she is now a self employed life and career coach. She says, “I believe that women in this era face big challenges and they are taking huge responsibilities. That's why I have chosen my niche -- women looking for happiness and satisfaction. I help and support them in making whatever change (career change, life change, behavior change, belief change…) they want to bring more satisfaction and happiness in their lives.” Nihad is a mother of two lovely boys, 15 and 9 years old. She states, “They are the most precious gifts I have ever had. I madly love them, and I consider them the main source of happiness in my life.” Our inspiring mother in Egypt can also be found at Aurora Beams Life Coaching.

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World Mom, @JenniferBurden, is on @BabyCenter today!

World Mom, @JenniferBurden, is on @BabyCenter today!

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In collaboration with BabyCenter’s Mission Motherhood™, our World Moms are writing posts on maternal health around the world. In today’s post, Jennifer Burden in the USA writes about the differences between a prenatal checkup in rural Uganda after her trip there with Shot@Life in 2012.

“Have you ever gotten to the point where you feel like a regular in your OB/GYN’s office during prenatal visits? I remember my own visits, a few at first, and then, more and more as my due date approached. However, when I was last in Uganda, I met up with a nurse midwife and I asked her what a typical prenatal checkup is like for a mom in a rural area there.  The differences surprised me more than I expected.”

Read the full post, “Prenatal Care in Uganda: 7 Differences that May Surprise You“, over at BabyCenter’s Mission Motherhood™!

Jennifer Burden

Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Network, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Network writes from over 30 countries, has over 70 contributors and was listed by Forbes as one of the “Best 100 Websites for Women”, named a “must read” by The New York Times, and was recommended by The Times of India. She was also invited to Uganda to view UNICEF’s family health programs with Shot@Life and was previously named a “Global Influencer Fellow” and “Social Media Fellow” by the UN Foundation. Jennifer was invited to the White House twice, including as a nominated "Changemaker" for the State of the World Women Summit. She also participated in the One Campaign’s first AYA Summit on the topic of women and girl empowerment and organized and spoke on an international panel at the World Bank in Washington, DC on the importance of a universal education for all girls. Her writing has been featured by Baby Center, Huffington Post,, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life, and The Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists.” She is currently a candidate in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in the Executive Masters of Public Affairs program, where she hopes to further her study of global policies affecting women and girls. Jennifer can be found on Twitter @JenniferBurden.

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INDONESIA: Life Without The Privilege Of Domestic Help

INDONESIA: Life Without The Privilege Of Domestic Help

I was born in Peru in 1978, when I was very little I spent a lot of time at my nonna’s (grandmother’s) house. I remember sitting with her in the bedroom while she talked with Antonina, the cook that had come upstairs to plan the day’s meals. My grandmother would ask if there were enough ingredients for something and Antonina would tell her what was missing. They would write a list, count out some money and then the cook would go off to the markets to get all she needed for lunch and dinner that day. In her apron she carried the handwritten recipe book; the page with the chosen recipe and some cash.

A woman posing with her child and domestic help

The author with her mom and grandmother.

After my nonna was dressed and ready to go and do some kind of activity, the upstairs maid was already making the beds and cleaning the bathrooms. Downstairs, the first floor maid was dusting or sweeping while the gardener took out weeds from the flowerbeds and the butler served breakfast. The chauffeur was in the kitchen drinking coffee with the seamstress. My nonno was already at the table with his newspaper and his coffee.

I remember all these things as if they were normal; a complete part of my nonna’s house. I didn’t think it strange that there were so many people doing so many different things around the house. This is the way my mom grew up, and that’s what I experienced until the age of 9.

The house I lived in with my mom was not like this, we “only” had a maid and a nanny. Little did I know that just these two people were a huge help!

I have moved away from Peru twice in my life, to the United States when I was 10 and then to Southeast Asia when I was 35. When I was 11, we didn’t have a maid, or a nanny or a cook or a gardener. Instead I had a very tired mom who would try and make me clean my room or throw away the trash or wash the dishes. Everything seemed so foreign and annoying. Then because of visa complications and jobs that were lost, my mother was the one cleaning houses for money. It’s funny how things can turn around like that.

When I went back to Peru to live with my aunt, she had two maids, a gardener, a washing lady, a front street guard and a handyman that painted or fixed things on a regular basis. When I went to live on my own in Cusco, the house I went to live in had a cook, a maid, a chauffer, a gardener and also a fix it all handyman. Back in Lima the first thing I did was hire a maid, and she stayed with me for 8 long and wonderful years.

Three and a half years ago we moved to Asia without our lovely maid and suddenly I had to do it all! Well wasn’t that a freaking shock! I remember walking into our house in Laos and stressing over the dust on the floor, and the ants, and the windows not being squeaky clean or beautifully see through! We did end up hiring a maid for the three months in Luang Prabang, mainly because I was extremely pregnant and the shock was way too big for me.

When we moved to Bangkok I started doing it all myself without help and my most vivid memory regarding this change was how I would stress out, over my 13 year old daughter not helping me out! Well how could I complain, she had grown up with a maid and nanny too, they did everything for her (and me). That was a harsh slap in the face, it was like reliving when I was a teenager and my own mom freaking out, over me not helping her out.

Domestic help in the kitchen

Domestic help in the kitchen

My mom learned the hard way, I learned the hard way and my daughter learned the hard way too. You will not always have the help you were accustomed to, you will not always be able to just sit back and wait for lunch to be served.

Those privileges are not always accessible, and for me now, they seem almost superfluous. I also feel that no one could ever be like Sabina, my maid of 8 years, she was like family to me, as I am sure my nonna’s cook was to her.

A few days ago I was at the indoor playground with my two kids, the cafeteria has some tables and sometimes they are not enough to seat all the parents and nannies that accompany the children so often, the tables are shared. While we were in the outdoor area playing on the swings, a Balinese woman sat at the table where we had our water bottles and snacks. I got to talking to her when we came back in to refresh in the Air Conditioning. She is a Stay at Home Mom that is finishing her masters in Law but only because she’s “bored”. She has a nanny who is also the cook and the maid in her house. The nanny was the one playing with her son in the playground while she shopped for clothes on her laptop.

She was amazed at how I would actually play with my kids, she said she really disliked playing with her son, that she got bored very fast. She asked how much videos I let them watch and told me how her family would judge her if her son watched “too much” YouTube. This conversation put a lot of things into perspective for me. It really isn’t about where you live that decides if you will have domestic help or not, it’s the way you are brought up and what your priorities are.

I remember in Peru knowing of families that did not have that much income but nevertheless had a maid or nanny and other families with nice houses and higher paying jobs that decided that they did not want a nanny at all and at most had a cleaning lady come to their house once a week. The Balinese woman in the playground told me that that’s the way it’s done here, you have a maid and a nanny and a cook even if you are a Stay at Home Mom. Exactly like my nonna.

My husband offers to pay for nannies and cooks and maids all the time when I complain of being tired of the work but I keep on saying “no”.

I have finally given in to a cleaning lady who comes three times a week to do the mopping and bathroom scrubbing. I also managed to get a gardener so now my front garden and backyard are looking beautiful. I have made “friends” with a couple taxi drivers so essentially I have a chauffeur. What I still don’t have is a nanny, and that might take a long time for me to feel comfortable with.

The need for Domestic Help I have come to realize is totally a psychological thing, you get it if you feel you need or want it.

If you can’t afford it then you pass the days wishing you could have it. If you have it, then you pass the days thinking of how you are wronging your kids by not being with them as much as other moms. It’s a lesson to learn and find balance in how you manage your house and kids. I feel that I am still learning.

What is the “domestic-help” scenario at your own place? And what is your take on it?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by World Mom, Orana Velarde in Bali, Indonesia. 

Photo credits to the author.

Orana Velarde

Orana is a Writer, Artist, Mother and Wife; Peruvian Expat currently living in Kyiv, Ukraine with her husband and children. She works as a writer, designer and social media manager for diverse organizations around the world.

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OMAN: Raising Children As Global Citizens

OMAN: Raising Children As Global Citizens

Is it possible to raise children to be global citizens in a conservative society?

Is it possible to bring the ideas of globalization in a culture that might reject anything new?

Is it possible to raise children as global citizens, yet respect their own culture?

These are the questions that we as parents, caregivers or educators should be aware of, when raising/educating children in the current global world. For me, as a mother of three children in a conservative society, I believe it is not only possible but a necessity.

Extremism in any culture, I think, is partly a result of isolating a society from the world to the extend it rejects and fights anything that differs from them regardless of the reasons.

Therefore, some effort is needed. Our children are not only influenced by us as parents. They are influenced by all the other constituents of the society they evolve in especially.

As parents, we may start with ourselves. We may be culturally-sensitive, non-judgmental and educated to the differences around us.  We may be very careful to what we say in front of children when they ask questions related to different cultures and ethnicity. We, ourselves, can be judgmental unfortunately sometimes towards a specific culture and may be careful with any words we utter in the presence of our children.

The other thing that I believe is crucial are resources. Books, television, internet programs,  and after-school activities could be diverse. We are lucky to have diverse and a rich market that allows us to learn everything about anything. Travelling allows us more exposure to different cultures and learning opportunities.

I think that learning English (or any other language) at a young age provides more contact to different “diverse” materials. We do have more diverse materials in English than , say, in Arabic.

Charity works wonders in an interesting way too. You may involve your children in a charitable action into giving to others who are in another country or culture. This provides a learning opportunity, empathy towards others and a responsible child who believes he/she can make a change.

Preparing children to be global citizens is a must at the present. We will not be present at every step they take in their lives, but at least prepare them to manage better in a fast growing world.

What are your ideas to raise a global citizen?

This is an original post from our #WorldMom, Ibtisam from Oman for World Moms Blog.

Picture Credit to the author.

You can find more of her wonderful perspective on her blog:

Ibtisam Alwardi

Ibtisam (at Ibtisam's musings) is an Omani Mom of three, living in the capital city of Oman ,Muscat. After working for ten years as a speech and language therapist in a public hospital, she finally had the courage to resign and start her own business. She had a dream of owning a place where she can integrate fun, play and 'books', thus the iPlay Smart centre (@iplaysmart) was born. Currently she is focusing on raising awareness through social media about parenting, childhood, language acquisition. She started raising awareness on (the importance of reading) and (sexual harassment) targeting school-aged children. Ibtisam enjoys writing, both in Arabic and English, reading and working closely with children. She plans to write children books (in Arabic) one day. Contact Ibtisam at ibtisamblogging(at)

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UAE: Interview with World Mom, KC in Abu-Dhabi

UAE: Interview with World Mom, KC in Abu-Dhabi

Where in the world do you live? And, are you from there?

Home for the moment is Abu Dhabi, UAE. Our family (husband, 2.5 year-old and yours truly) just moved here six months ago for my husband’s job. Originally from the tiny city-state of Singapore, we have been living a transitory life and have resided in four countries since 2007.IMG_4548

What language(s) do you speak?

English and Mandarin, and such basic French that I wouldn’t even call it speaking! While the official language of Singapore is Malay, today it is mainly used by some of the older generation, the Malays and a minority of other Singaporeans. The business language in Singapore is English and all schools instruct in English so this was what I grew up reading and speaking. In schools, you also have to learn a second language and although I managed to scrape by in my exams, I still always feel a little nervous and panicky when someone speaks to me in Mandarin. I also understand some Hokkien (another Chinese dialect) from listening to my maternal grandmother when I was a child. I never practised it very much and needless to say, I had numerous moments when things were lost in translation with my grandmother!


When did you first become a mother (year/age)?

In 2013, three days before I turned 32, my daughter made an early entrance into our lives. Since then, we’ve never had a dull or quiet day.


Are you a stay-at-home mom or do you do other work in or outside the home?

By choice, I am a stay-at-home mom. Initially, I left my job to focus on conceiving. When my daughter was born, I didn’t have any help with her and was her main care-giver. And now, she is with us on her first overseas posting, and I’m happy to be at home with her to maintain some sort of consistency. I remember being a teenager and telling my teacher that I wanted to be a physical education teacher (I ended up teaching English Lit, but close enough) until I had a family and then I would stay home with my children. Somehow, things turned out the way I had dreamed, and I am so very thankful that I can make the choice to stay home with my daughter.

Why do you blog/write?

I’ve only started writing fairly recently, mostly as a means to keep my brain working especially when my days revolve around nursery rhymes and Disney songs on repeat. I’ve found it rather cathartic and calming, and it gives me a chance to stop and gather my thoughts. Blogging and reading other blogs also provides a platform for an exchange of ideas, different perspectives and very importantly, support between friends and fellow mums. 


What makes you unique as a mother?

As a mother in the parenting game, I am like any other mother who wants the best for her child. My uniqueness lies in one fact, that I am my daughter’s mummy, that I know her better than anyone else, and that I love her differently from anyone else.


What do you view as the challenges of raising a child in today’s world?

Because we move from country to country ever 3-4 years, and we are away from our family a lot, I worry that my child will lack permanence, a connection with others and a sense of rootedness. “Where is home?”  and “Where do I belong?” will be questions that she will need to find answers to. And hopefully, as parents, we will be able to provide safety and security at home, so that she can face other challenges as we move around.


How did you find World Moms Blog?

When I first started writing, we had just moved away from Singapore, and I was searching for other blogs for expat parents; I wanted to find some support from mums who were living abroad with their young kids. When I came across World Moms Blog, I was immediately drawn to it. Not only did it feature mothers from across the globe, it highlighted many inspirational issues and causes, and gave others a rare glimpse of mums living, working and parenting in different parts of the world. With each post I read, I learn something new and am spurred to want to do more than I am doing. There’s no better place to be inspired and uplifted by other mums!

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by KC in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. 

Photo credits to the author.

Karen Williams

Karen is a Singaporean with an 8 year-old daughter who’s a little fire-cracker version of herself. She’s spent the last 15 years in her various roles of supportive trailing spouse, mother, home-maker and educator. Having experienced six international moves alternating between overseas postings and her home country of Singapore, Karen considers herself a lover of diverse foods and culture, and reckons she qualifies as a semi-professional packer. She is deeply interested in intercultural and third-culture issues, and has grown immensely from her interactions with other World Mums. Karen is currently living in Brunei with her family.

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