#38 Stefanos Sifandos
With refreshing honesty master coach Stefanos shares about his healing journey, authentic authentic true relationships, inner child work, breathwork, his prior habits of going to exercise, food and sex to comfort and feel safe, and how he has healed and nurturing this. We talk about his father, our daughters “Athena”, the inner relationship with high performance, toning to get into presence, sexual abuse and how to recognize that a person might have been sexually abused.
With mesmerizing reflections, Stefanos shares how his experiences shaped his inner beliefs, his relationships, and his perception of himself. Together, we uncover the compelling forces that drive our desire for external validation, the complexities of seeking approval from others, and the profound power of conscious awareness in shaping our lives. Join us as we explore the profound impact of personal growth, healing, and the pursuit of authentic self-worth. In this captivating conversation. Get ready for an episode filled with raw vulnerability, personal discovery, and the path towards self-acceptance. Welcome to "Stefanos Sifandos." Let's dive in!
Stefanos is a master personal development coach who has worked with: Elite Special Forces soldiers, Olympic Gold Medalists, high-performing CEOs and entrepreneurs, world champion fighters, couples wanting to deepen and/or heal their relationship and individuals with substantial mental health issues.
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Stefanos Sifandos: [00:00:00] and sometimes we motivate quote unquote motivate ourselves.
by shaming ourselves and guilting ourselves and judging ourselves into high performance and look that can work but it just comes at a cost it can work for some some need that motivation there's a there's a distortion and I don't want to say pathology that's a little strong but there's a distortion in that and it can work per se but it comes at a cost and when it comes the cost that it comes at is psychological degradation ultimately low self worth and then making choices from that place
and not prioritizing ourselves in healthy ways even becoming or increasing the the tendencies of our narcissism increasing hyper selfishness increasing the distance that we create in relationship and intimacy because we can't trust others we fear intimacy we fear getting close because we judge ourselves so hard we don't want others to judge us as well, so we want to keep people at a distance there's this domino effect that comes with that kind of behavior and that kind of insight into self.
Sebastian Engström: [00:01:00] Today, Stefano Sifandos joins me. He is an authentic relationship coach, breathwork facilitator, just overall a very brave man who is sharing vulnerably about his story, the struggles that he's come up against, everything from sex to food to exercise. How he's healed us, where he's at today, modalities, how to work with yourself in these areas.
We talk about sexual abuse. We talk about our daughters. We talk about many things that are close to our hearts, as we're both very high performing individuals striving to be the best version of ourselves. and help others in the process. I am thrilled and so humbled and grateful that you get to listen to the conversation that we had and may it impact you as it impacted.
If we go into... Your past right off the bat. There's been a lot of work that you've done and [00:02:00] so much of what you do today is helping people in different ways helping elevate people raise their level of awareness and everything from personal work to Relationship work, but that took a journey for you to get to where you're at today.
You have a just an amazing wife Christine Hassler for anyone who wants to Be deeply inspired and moved a power couple, and you just welcomed a daughter to your life, right? How, how did this all come about? It's been a journey and a love for us to dive into what not always was so calm. Starting with your childhood and we can maybe get to the place where you're at today and what led you into where you're at today and yeah, weaving that into sharing with the audience who you are.
Stefanos Sifandos: [00:03:00] Yeah, I mean, you know, we are a product of our experiences in our environment and what often happens is we become unconscious products. and unresolved products of those environments. And I was that for a very long time. And what I mean by that is that whilst our environments shape our beliefs and our values and who we are, and they very much shaped me in the way that I saw myself, my self worth, the way that I gave and received love, and the way that I saw others, my hyper vigilance, my level of perceived threat and trust in others, as an adult and as someone that carries consciousness and awareness, I have every opportunity to not allow my past to dictate my present.
And for many, many years, I did that. For many, many years, I just allowed the volatility and the violence and [00:04:00] the instability and the fear, um, drive me and not choose to resolve it or not choose to work with it and be with it and allow it to have a healthy expression. And so, As a result of that, I compensated a great deal, I armored up my heart and couldn't see the, the, the beauty in, in myself or others, and therefore really kept people at a distance, but that was competing with wanting to also be close, and so I'd give this very confusing energy to others, but also confusing for myself, which caused me, the way that I dealt with that was frustration and anger and rage, and I had that in me, and that's what I expressed to the world a great deal.
And for my life path, you know, the more inner work I've done, the greater outward success I've experienced, whether it's simple things and quote unquote superficial things like making more money [00:05:00] or creating greater impact to Having healthier, more robust, meaningful relationships, um, you know, authentic, true relationships that aren't predicated upon wearing a ton of masks to hide my insecurities or my lack of confidence or in self or my, my fear.
And so, again, I come back to that, yes, we are products of our environments, but are we conscious or unconscious products of our environments? When we start to say, well, I want to be more aware of my environment and make adjustments in alignment with who I truly am. That's when that deep inner exploration, that deep inner work takes place.
That's when we have to confront our demons and our shadows and the uncomfortable parts of us. That's when we have to. Move towards closing physiological trauma loops. That's when we engage in practices such as breath work or somatic work or in a child healing many other modalities. You know, family constellation work is another example as well, [00:06:00] even psychotherapy, EMDR, cognitive behavioral therapy, whatever it may be right.
These modalities that help explore a fuller part of who we are and. To not be afraid of our fullness because we've often been told that, um, we're not enough, you know, I was shown that I wasn't enough. I was, um, beaten a great deal. I was yelled at. I, um, you know, my expression was stunted. It was teased by whether it was within my family or outside of my family.
There was bullying there. There was abuse. There was, there was a ton of stuff that Showed me, or at least I interpreted that as, I'm not enough, I'm not valuable, I'm not worthy, and so I took that, really that underlying belief into everything that I did, and I hit a point in my life where I didn't want that anymore, but I didn't know how to deal with it, so I just, I compensated, I tried to hide it, I tried to mask it.
I did that with false bravado, I did that with fighting, and alcoholism, and numbing, and drugs, and TV, and food, and sex, really, you know, [00:07:00] um, sex addiction, sex compulsion, love addiction, love compulsion, that was really big for me, and food. Um, and, and athleticism, but not athleticism for the sake of athleticism, athleticism for the sake of wanting to be recognized.
So, you know, seeking excessive recognition and validation outside of myself through my triumphs and the more difficult the triumph, the more intense the validation. So the more intense the triumph, the more intense the validation, the more satisfied I feel I felt, but like any addiction or any compulsion, there's more of it that's needed in order to fill.
Full, because we're not really dealing, I was not dealing with the thing that was at the core of my pain.
Sebastian Engström: So now, if we fast forward, well not fast forward, go into today, I mean, you're a fit guy. You have a one one can say from the outside of blossoming in relationship, like these things are still alive, like exercise, like sex, [00:08:00] these what can also be healthy things.
What is that like today in your relationship with it and how? Do the, I mean, I'm sure the past comes up sometimes. What, what is, yeah, if you can speak to relationship with, with these things, even food for that
Stefanos Sifandos: matter. Yeah. It's, and look, you know, my relationship to food, my relationship to sex, my relationship to exercise.
There are elements of me that have unhealthy tendencies in interacting with those parts of my life still. So if I'm under pressure, or I'm overwhelmed, or I have a lot going on, or I'm pulled in different directions, or there's just challenges that I'm facing in life, and maybe my, my wife is unwell, and I have to look after, not have to, but you know, I want to look after my child.
I, I, I spend every second I possibly can with her. I just absolutely adore her. She's just the light of my life. She's the light of lights to me and wherever I can, I spend as much, much quality time with her as possible. Um, but you know, if I'm pulling [00:09:00] different directions, there's pressure. Um, you know, I'm taking too much on, which can come from an unhealthy place.
And sometimes it just comes from a place of just pure passion and excitement and all those things as well. I can lean into food, um, a little too much. I can emotionally eat as an example, right? Um, with my exercise, sometimes I still feel that defines my self worth. My performance defines my self worth.
And so I'm proving something less to other people, more to myself. And so those tendencies are still there, but for the most part, um, including my relationship to sex, there's less neediness on it. There's less desperation, there's less compulsion, far, far less. I have greater mastery. I have greater.
connection to these practices. I have the ability to notice when I'm in numbing or coping or excessive coping. I'm able to step back physically, emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, and really evaluate and feel what's underneath what's underneath this and get to the core of it in real time as opposed to reflecting on it [00:10:00] years later.
And so that's how it's changed and shifted where it's a very different. internal conversation that I'm having now, and I don't shame and judge myself like I used to. That was a big, that's what perpetuated the addiction or the compulsion or the, the coping strategy that was maladaptive was the shaming, the self shaming and the self judgment, which I, I, I don't want to say I no longer engage in, but I seldom engage in that these days.
And that's very helpful and very empowering for shifting behavior, but also shifting my internal state and my relationship to these parts of my life that once really took a stronghold over the entirety of me. So, um,
Sebastian Engström: one, one, If you feel overwhelmed or there is too much, are there certain practices that you have, let's say, I mean, I know you're big into breath work, like are there tools, specific tools, or maybe there are mantras you say, or are there meditation, like what is it that you [00:11:00] come to maybe in the moment as you feel yourself?
being pulled into these things
Stefanos Sifandos: of the past? Yeah. I mean, it depends, but my, my go to strategy really is, um, one of my go core go to strategies is breath and pause and slowing down. And so that involves the breath, right? But it also involves me grounding. It also involves me, uh, being still, not being erratic, not moving around too much, just still literally just stand still, sit still, lie still, be still and ask questions.
Like I'll get curious, very simply like a generic question could be, what's really happening here? And then I'll just breathe slowly, I may do some sounding if, if, look, if I'm in a circumstance, if I'm dysregulated, where I'm really angry about something and I can feel my nervous system moving into sympathetic nervous system response, I may.
Do some very specific vagal toning or sounding to help calm my nervous system down alongside some [00:12:00] breathing. Um, there's a technique that I utilize called the vooing tech. There's many techniques, but vooing is one of them and you just make a voo sound. Am I doing it? Just showing it right now? Yeah. Yeah.
So, and I'll give you the, the sort of history behind it as well. I think I got this from,
I'm pretty sure I got this from Peter Levine, Dr. Peter Levine, I think. Pretty sure. Years ago I was reading one of his books or listening to something, um, that he was, he's speaking to. Anyway, it's a, it's a, it's a foghorn technique. So the sound is vooing and imagine the sound is that foghorn on a ship dock and the ship dock is home and the, the, the foghorn, the sound is.
The sound of truth bringing you home and you are the ship that is lost at sea or lost in the fog and allow the sound to come back to you. And so it just sounds like you take a big, long, deep breath in.[00:13:00]
Pause, breathe in again, repeat for a few minutes and you'll feel a vibration. Your lips, you purse your lips. When you do it, it's voo. That's what the sounds like. And that's an instant, not almost instant, you know, del delving into parasympathetic nervous system response, where then you're calm. You're more regulated, you can think more clearly, you can access prefrontal cortex, you know, analysis, reasoning, feeling, thinking, you're not flooded with compensatory emotion, you're not flooded with um, fear, you're not flooded with cortisol and adrenaline, um, you can be in the moment more.
And for me, being in the moment is very important, it's that mindfulness in the present moment. So [00:14:00] there's, you know, there's one technique that, that I utilize that's pretty effective.
Sebastian Engström: I mean, I couldn't feel that as you're doing it. I mean, I feel the calm it's, it's something that we've, my wife and I have started doing more regularly.
I, even when I been in, um, say done say plants medicine journeys, I've been in certain, certain very connected say surroundings with people who are very connected. I find myself naturally going into a saying, like, depending upon.
What I'm called to do in sound and vibration is something that's ever so present and it's, it's fascinating how it feels like as a self development community, we're starting to connect with that more and more. I myself can relate to a lot of what you're saying with the. Eating disorder [00:15:00] or going towards food or going towards exercise, it's been coping mechanisms for me, um, as well as with the, with the shame and the guilt and many, if you follow stuff in his work, you, you will recognize that he brings that up.
That is very, very common for, for men to go into those feelings. Uh, maybe you can. Go into that and explain more. Why is it that we as a man go into shame and guilt so often?
Stefanos Sifandos: Yeah, because we want to perform. We don't want to let people down. We don't want to let ourselves down. It's, uh, you know, I'm a, I'm an avid student of evolutionary psychology and evolutionary biology.
And, you know, I look at how we've evolved and how we've, um, you know, grown up per se. over generations in clans and tribes and villages and small groups of people and bands of people, you know, our contribution to our people, whether it was three of us or 13 of us or whatever it may be, was really crucial in the survival of [00:16:00] the tribe.
And so there was a lot of pride that then, you know, an honor that was developed from our ability to be skillful and add value to our community, to the people that we were a part of, you know, that in group, if you like. And so I think there's some, there's some old tethers to that. And, uh, we just want to perform.
This is a masculine energetic of competitions, a masculine energetic of performance, of, um, wanting to really serve, uh, our higher self, but also those that are around us. And when we don't. Um, because society can be quite individualistic, our Western society, Western, uh, paradigms can be quite individualistic and quite hyper competitive.
Um, if you're not winning, you're losing, right? And but it's something that you're losing, that you, you're losing with disrespect, you're worthless. You're not enough. You're not good enough. And, and we don't want to feel that. And so we often then want to do everything we can. And sometimes we motivate, quote unquote, [00:17:00] motivate ourselves.
By shaming ourselves and guilting ourselves and judging ourselves into high performance and look that can work, but it just comes at a cost, it can work for some, some need that motivation, there's a, there's a distortion and I don't want to say pathology that's a little strong, but there's a distortion in that and it can work per se, but it comes at a cost and when it comes, the cost that it comes at is psychological degradation, ultimately low self worth and then making choices from that place.
And not prioritizing ourselves in healthy ways, even becoming, or increasing, the, the tendencies of our narcissism, increasing hyper selfishness, increasing the distance that we create in relationship and intimacy, because we can't trust others, we fear intimacy, we fear getting close because we judge ourselves so hard, we don't want others to judge us as well, so we want to keep people at a distance, there's this domino effect that comes with that kind of behavior and that kind of, insight into self.
So you're breaking
Sebastian Engström: up, bringing up [00:18:00] narcissism and hyper, just being super selfish. These are things I find that the more I'm in pain myself, it goes by default that I go into focusing on myself and then I suffer even greater. Can you dive into deeper into that?
Stefanos Sifandos: Yeah, we don't want to suffer greater, but we almost don't know any other way.
And, and there's part of us that. You know, it depends on the individual, but there's part of us that feels that, you know, the more that it's, it's a martyrdom complex, or the more that we suffer, the, the, and we can come back from that suffering, the more value we hold, right? Because the story is. Oh, you know, I fought really hard to get first place.
I broke my legs six months ago, I had cancer, I did this, I did that, and I still came first. Look at me. You know, there's a, that story is, is really the accolades, the [00:19:00] validation, right? Like I'm seeking that external validation. What lengths can I go to? And again, some, it's motivating for some, like in terms of immediate goal completion, it can, it can work per se.
But again, it comes at a cost and what's the source of that, like, is that coming from a place of you still want your father's approval and you never got it and you want to be validated by your father and you're projecting your father onto everything you do and everyone that you meet, it could be some of that that's happening as well.
There's, you know, psychoanalysis or understanding human beings can be complex. In other words, very multilayered and it does. Differ from individual to individual, but we also share very common themes in the way that we human in the world, the way that we be human in the world. And, and so when we're seeking that external validation and we, we, we really, really need it, we really need it.
We think we need it. We're codependent with it. We will often do extreme things to get that. And sometimes it's putting ourselves in deficit to dig ourselves back up to tell that story. So [00:20:00] others can be proud of us as well, AKA validate us.
Sebastian Engström: This is a something that you see so commonly among high performers is this almost narcissistic trait or self centered trait where you might have a family, you might have children, you might have employees and so forth.
But at the end of the day. It all comes down to what is the reflect? How will this reflect me? What, how, what do I look like because of X, Y, and C, the company, the wife, so forth. And at the bottom of it, there's usually, I mean, there's always deep pain or trauma of some sort. And it's usually, I mean, I've heard it said before, usually the most successful people are sometimes the most traumatized people because there is such deep drive.
Yeah. To prove something or to hide something that there is this opposite effect, I will do whatever it takes in order to compensate. Um, how do you feel like [00:21:00] that? I mean, you've, you've achieved a great deal. I would consider you're a high performer. How, how would you reflect upon that yourself in your life?
Stefanos Sifandos: Which part exactly?
Sebastian Engström: Cause you, you, you spoken to the validation through, you can say from women through exercise and so forth. So we've gone into that topic to a degree, but how do you feel that? I guess my question is, how do you feel like you can have a healthy relationship with being a driven high performer, but not like, for example, I, I, I still know that I want my father's validation.
I've turned it to instead of resentment and doing anything I can just to prove to him that sometimes I'm better than him or that I don't need him. It's more, I love you. I will use what I felt. And I still there's still unresolved things, of course, but there's more awareness around it. Uh, and it comes from more of a loving approach.
I do. I mean, there's there's things obviously that [00:22:00] you spoke to about your past. How do you feel? Do you mind describing your relationship with with with that pain and how? Uh, that has fueled you and what the relationship is with it right now.
Stefanos Sifandos: Yeah, it has fueled me, you know, and likewise I can resonate with you in the sense that there are still parts of me, my little boy, and parts of my little boy, aspects of my little boy within that part of my psychology that Um, that regresses and that hops timelines and that still has a voice in this present moment that wants dad's approval and dad's love.
And it's far less about resentment and anger now for me. And it's more about, uh, and less about, I'm going to show you, I want to be better than you or anything like that. It's it's, and it's less about, Oh, I need you to be proud of me. And it's more about, um, tapping into the part of him that. Is super grateful to be a father and helping him smile again, you know, but not being attached to [00:23:00] that and and the truth is as well, man, you know, I know where my father's consciousness is, or at least I think I do, right?
I'm open to that changing as well. I don't want to be fixed and rigid in my idea. Oh, my father's like this and he's not going to change and therefore a B and C. It's more. I have a sense of where my father's at. And I'm okay with that. And I'm open for him to show me something different too. And what I mean by that in, in, in specificity is he doesn't carry a maturity.
Um, from my perspective to be able to have deeper conversations, to be able to. Um, really acknowledge who I am in the world and I'm really okay with that and he does have capacity to be really proud of what he thinks I am in the world, right, to him and to others and so forth, right, and I'm meeting him where he's at and I'm open to him surprising me in different ways, you know, and our relationship has changed a lot over the years.[00:24:00]
And I've just forgiven a lot, and it's taken me many years to get to that place, but I really feel I've just genuinely forgiven a lot, and it didn't come without a lot of anger, and moving that anger, and the frustration, the sadness, and the grief, um, and to accept where he's at. And I couldn't do it before I could, you know, we go through stages of forgiveness and we go through stages of letting go and stages of acceptance and surrender and all of that.
And the early stages are really more spiritual bypassing and emotionally bypassing. And that's okay, that's part of the process. But what happens in society is most of us get stuck in that space. We get stuck in the bypass and we just stay there. And I just didn't want to stay there anymore. I didn't want to pretend everything was okay when.
You know, underneath, I was fuming still. It was bullshit. I was being fake. I was just perpetuating more fakeness. Um, and so I just really did the inner work and the inner work was really trauma release, emotional release, being honest with where I was. Um, I had open and honest [00:25:00] conversations with my father.
Um, you know, where I asked him very, very directly, you know, tell me the type of father you think you were. Do you remember doing this? Do you remember beating me and me and my brother? Do you remember doing that? And he says, no, I never did any of that. Now, Do I think he lied to me? No. I think he convinced himself that he didn't do any of those things because they were really hurtful for him as a father to do that.
And I smiled and I accepted that and I wouldn't have had that conversation with him if I wasn't ready for it. If it was a few years before, maybe even a few months before, I would have lost my fucking shit and I would have told him to get fucked and I would have walked away. That just doesn't, it doesn't serve.
I've been down those paths. I've had those relationships before and evolutions of those relationships with my parents and with my family and so forth. It just doesn't, it doesn't work. And I only need to be hyper protective if I feel unsafe within myself. So let me feel safe within myself and I won't have to push people away.
Sebastian Engström: [00:26:00] So becoming a father. Usually brings up a whole set of memories and even behaviors that I personally never thought I would act like my father in certain ways. And I found myself just being exactly like him in some ways, some amazing and some that I wish would not come up. How, how has that journey been for you?
And especially as you're speaking about your father right now, becoming a father
Stefanos Sifandos: for you. I mean, man, you know, becoming a father has been everything, man. It's, it's, it's really, it's really changed my life. It's changed every aspect of who I am. It's given me a greater respect for my parents as well, and what they went through.
And it's also given me, I'm also in a little shock as well, in the sense that, Like I look at my daughter and how much love I have for her and because of the volatility that I experienced I did experience love growing up. [00:27:00] That's a thing, but I experienced a lot of violence. It's very confusing to my nervous system Sometimes I think I wish I just fucking experienced Straight up abuse with no love and no care because it would've made, it, made it a lot easier in some sense, right?
Mm-hmm. . Um, and that's not to minimize someone that has had that experience devoid of love. I wanna be very clear on that. It's just sometimes my, my projection of wow, like that, that was really not, that my thing is more challenging than anyone else. It's just very challenging for me. It's very confusing.
And so when I see my daughter, man, I'm so in love with her. Like this is, I'm so connected to her. I, and I think to myself, How can a parent not, you know, I'm very empathetic, so I think about how can a parent neglect their children, it's a rhetorical question because I know the answer, like, you know, from an intellectual place and an emotional place, I understand the answer, I know what the answers are, hurt people hurt people.
Right? People that are dysregulated can't give love. They can't receive. They can't open their hearts up. People that are still hurt and [00:28:00] carrying many wounds, like I can go on and on, like I get it. Like it's not, it's not like, Oh, I don't understand what's going on. I understand. But it's, I still ask that question, like, how can, how can you hurt a child?
How can you not love? And then I think. My parents, right? They were so disconnected from themselves. They couldn't connect to me, my brother, they couldn't connect us to themselves to each other. And there were times when they did, but there were there were fleeting moments. And so when I asked that question, I know the answer, but it's still a question that comes through to me.
And it helps me be very, very grateful. For the work that I've done to get to this place of being very open to my daughter and very open to receiving her and being a better human because she's in my life. Like when I, when I got together with my partner, I chose to start at a deeper level, become a better human, whatever that looked like in, in honor of our relationship, I'm doing the same now in a deeper way with my daughter.
Because she picks up on every single thing I do, every single thing I say, how I say it, how I feel, how I move, how I breathe, and so [00:29:00] she's given me a deeper level of accountability, um, that I prioritize because I value her, I value her being, her beingness, I value our relationship, I value our love, I value the father that I am, and it still feels strange to say that I'm a father.
It still feels, it still feels weird because I never, you know, really up until five years ago, I did, I was a very hard fucking no on having children. Very hard no. And I was doing, again, inner explorative work, and it, I unearthed something in me that gave me permission to say, Oh, maybe I can have children.
Oh, maybe I actually want to have children.
Sebastian Engström: Speaking of children, there's a concept of inner child work, and I've heard about it for Quite a few years, and I thought, well, okay. Nice concepts, but there is that, you can say over there, not the healthy, you can say masculine side of me or pushing it aside, like kind of think of who do I, who [00:30:00] am I to work on my inner child relationship?
Like why should I be talking to myself? And, um, I did, we did, my wife and I did a, a relationship workshop with, um, you and Christine and you spoke about your relationship with your. Little boy, very vulnerably and how even Christine spoke to. Well, that's when I know Steph's little boy gets triggered and hurt.
And that's why he acts the way he does. And for me, it was almost like it was emotional for me to witness that and hear that. And here's. A, a partner speak about someone's little boy for me, it triggers like humiliation triggers for my, for my child is like, if you, if you show, show any type of vulnerability, like you, you're going to be, I mean, made fun of at, at best.
And there's a whole, whole lot of worse things that would happen too. But it's just, we're, we're so, [00:31:00] we're so, you can say indoctrinated that as men to never show weakness or vulnerability, what, what, what is your relationship right now? With little stuff. And do you have any, do you speak to him? Like, do you write to him?
What, what, what is that like today?
Stefanos Sifandos: You've gone through many iterations and processes, man. Um, you know, as you know, my wife and I have an inner child workshop level one and level two. I'm an avid student of inner child work and that, that, um, Psychological work, the inner psychological work as well, and put that parts work essentially, and so, um, my relationship to my little boy is very strong, very connected, um, and there are times where I do neglect him, where I get too busy, too overwhelmed, stuck in, I don't want to say stuck in the present moment, but stuck in the, in the material world too much, right?
And I forget about, His needs I forget about how rushed life was when he was younger and how he felt and in a [00:32:00] sense I'm mimicking that because it's a familiar environment. So again slowing down Stillness letting that part of me know that I'm here And I'm here with him and he's not alone You know, that's important, letting those parts of us know that do feel overwhelmed or overstretched or disconnected or upset or not seen or whatever it may be that they are seen and they are connected and that they do matter.
And, and that part of our psychology needs to hear that because, you know, basic human needs. We need to be seen. We need to be heard. We need to be understood, appreciated, respected, um, all parts of us. And if we've experienced life where that hasn't happened and it's usually, no, we're not, I shouldn't say usually, but often it's during our formative years that that foundation of that is laid.
We've got to work with those parts so they feel seen and heard and loved.
Sebastian Engström: At the beginning, when I asked you that [00:33:00] question, you, um, you brought your, your hand up to your throat. I don't know if there's, was there anything specific that came up? I don't know if you noticed that yourself.
Stefanos Sifandos: No, nothing specific came up.
I was just, just, just doing this. Yeah. Just because this, you know, the, for me, the, Um, I never, I never had a voice as a child. I shouldn't say never. That's a very strong, definitive, absolute word. I seldom had a voice as a child. And so, you know, interesting the work that I'm doing in the world now where I have voice, you know, you know, and, and, and avoids become our values.
So for me, the, the, the nurturance canal that, that really runs across the frontal plane of our body, um, through here, it's important for me just to make contact and bring awareness to those parts of my being as well. Hmm.
Sebastian Engström: There was, when we speak about children on that topic, [00:34:00] we happen to, or both of our daughters happen to have the same name, Athena.
Uh, how, uh, I'll share more about how we came to, to that name. How, how did that. Can you tell us that story, how she, she received
Stefanos Sifandos: that name? Yeah, two things, um, it, it, she gave, she told us that that's what she wanted her name to be. It came to a vision in my wife, it came in, in a vision for my wife, um, and honestly it was a name that I'd always, always, not always.
But when I started feeling into having children, even before that, I would think just because I would like to, even if I was a hard known anything, I think I'm, I'm often, you know, thinking about experimenting internally with what it looks like my grandmother's name is Athena or Athena, um, my paternal grandmother.
And so. So, in Greek tradition, I'm half Greek, half Italian, but in Greek tradition, we, our, the child, our firstborn child, if it's a, if it's a girl, we name it after our grandmother. And if it's a boy, we [00:35:00] name it after our grandfather. I was named after my grandfather, um, or, or, yeah, yeah. So, um, for me it was, yeah, grandmother, or I should say grandmother, father or mother as well, by the way.
Um, but, but for me, it was. Very clear that that was going to be her name and she really she told Christine and we thought it was going to be Isabella Actually, Isabella is a beautiful name I love Isabella and there were a couple other names that were really really pertinent for us some old Older Sanskrit names and so forth, but Athena just came in very strongly.
It was very clear. It was just yep. That's
Sebastian Engström: it for us It's just, well, a lot of it has to do with, with Greek mythology and just the, the, what Athena represents. My wife's name is Sophia. So I mean, both, both, that was
Stefanos Sifandos: one of the names as well,
Sebastian Engström: but there we go. Both [00:36:00] are a reflection and mean in wisdom in one way or another, uh, assist, um, and what I came to name.
Our business after that was a combination of the two because I was so stuck myself in invices and, and, and narcissism and my performance to prove mainly to my father, but to everyone else that I'm worthy, but it was really lacking and masking deep wounds and hurts that we can go into a bit bit later.
But with that, I. I dedicated and just, it came to me Safina has, has been the combination and it's really to, to live for something higher than myself. And that has been such a, whenever I'm lost, like in materialism or when it comes to distractions or trying to prove that I'm worthy in one way or another, as soon as I start dedicating myself to them.
My life changes, my life shifts, I have purpose, like it's this deep [00:37:00] rooted ancient like, what are you here to do as a man? It's not to prove to everyone who you are, what you can achieve, but for me, it's such a great part of how can you lead like that for me that truly feels like that to be of service is also to be a king.
Like to serve those who matter the most to you and you are doing this not only for your family, but you're doing this for what I'm so called to do too, is to help women where you can say the feminine rise in one way or another. I speak to it with my voice. You've taken action in other ways, like your breath work.
Can you speak to that? Like my wife has been like, Oh, I can't believe we moved from Sweden and now they're doing all these amazing things with, with helping the feminine rise with, with your breath works. Can you speak to that? And what, what called you to do that work?
Stefanos Sifandos: Well, so my wife and I [00:38:00] have a, um, we, we have a program called be the queen that we started, um, in 2019 and it's for women that, Um, a seeking love, but also deep healing of their past so they can really call in epic relationship.
And so, um, we run that with the next one that we're running is in, uh, we, we, we have, it's as evergreen, but we also teach it live. So we teach it live generally once a year, sometimes a couple of times a year depends. Um, this year will just be once a year. So our next one begins at the end of February. And so.
I was looking at that part of that I take the women through, it's a very large container, all women, just myself and my wife that, that run it, but I take the ladies through somatic work and I was noticing really, really powerful, um, just really powerful transformation. And I've, I've been, I've been teaching breathwork for many years and of course I've done in person and virtual and all of [00:39:00] that, and my wife and I also have a breathwork and meditation sequence that we, that we, um, have on our websites per se, so you can do it at your own pace.
But I was thinking, I really... Just want to get back into in person work again, which I do, but I just feel I don't do enough. So I thought I'm just going to do these every month, every month really support women bring, but, you know, my wife's there. I have other women facilitators. I'm definitely not, you know, the, the only, um, facilitator there because at the end of the day, no one will really know women better than women.
Right. And so that plays an integral part of it. I just wanted to really give back to the community in this way and, um, and these are live streamed and virtual as well and recorded. So we often have hundreds of women around the world, you know, every month do this and that's growing. It's growing as well, which is great.
Um, and so I just, I make it very, uh, cost effective on purpose. I just, uh, really want to build this community of, of women, [00:40:00] um, helping. really helping them understand men in deeper ways and really helping them see that men can be safe and I'll start integrating co ed work into that as well. But right now it's just, it's just for women.
Um, but yeah, every now and then, like probably a couple of times a year, we'll bring men into the container as well. It just has to be done in a really articulate way.
Sebastian Engström: There is, there's something so powerful, especially with a man like yourself who has done the work, has to pass. That you have like you have been one can say a womanizer to a degree and still shifting that for women that there is my wife has gone through this as well as associating a confident, good looking man that is charismatic and is charming to be someone that can might bring short term satisfaction, but it's not safe.
And I feel so many women. [00:41:00] It's like the, the bad guy, nice guy syndrome and, and, and I think like that's so powerful that you're helping shift that and also not only for women see that there is not for them to take on the project that is so common, oh, I can, I can save you, I can change you, but to seeing that, Hey, I don't have to settle like there is so much more, it can be quote unquote, like a bad guy, but he, It's not up for me to do the work, it's up for him to do the work, but also for, for, for men to see that, well, shit, like I may have these attributes and it's amazing, but I don't have to be stuck in that in order to be admired by other men and to attract these women, because one can see, and this is why I'm going into and asking you so many personal questions is the greatest, the greatest one can say, um, inspiration is seeing someone speak to it that have lived it, [00:42:00] And for me so much, you have lived this yourself.
Like you've been through the dark narrative soul of being in this hyper masculinity or coming back to being. One might say a softie, you explained at one point, like you can live one of your greatest attributes, you live on the such a broad spectrum extremes and you can learn and you can, or you know where, where to go and when to go there and.
I just wanna, um, thank you for doing that work, um, that's special, thank you for how you show up, Seth.
Stefanos Sifandos: Thanks man, I appreciate that very much.
Sebastian Engström: To close things off, gonna hit him with a bang, there's more sexual trauma that's coming up. And, um, this is personal for me as well, as this is something that I've started exploring.
And it makes me, a lot of emotions come up underneath the [00:43:00] surface, something I haven't really spoken about. This is more prevalent. One might say midwomen, but I know specifically one workshop that you did. And all this has been a domino effect that, that you did with Fit for Service. When you asked, you and Christine asked these women and men to step in or step up if you're being sexually abused.
And the percentage and amount of men that stepped up a share that been sexually abused was just,
um, I'm at a loss for words to, to really describe it. Maybe you can describe this better than I can.
Stefanos Sifandos: Yeah, it's a lot, man. It's a lot more than what we, um, than what we think. And it's, it's a lot more, it's more for women as well. It's just more full stop. And so this, this is an anecdotal evidence, if you like, it's, [00:44:00] um, you know, in every single one, it's not empirical evidence, but in every single one of works in the workshops that I've run, where I've run very similar exercise or have had these very honest conversations with people, we're looking at at least.
It's five or six out of ten men that have experienced sexual abuse and seven or eight women. Um, it's just more than what we think, so it's more than what statistics tell us. At least anecdotally, that's been my experience. Um, or if I'm co facilitating with other facilitators, I'm stepping into their workshops.
It's just, it's just a lot and abuse will stop. Emotional, physical, sexual is, is happening everywhere. Uh, sometimes it's very unconscious, sometimes it's very deliberate, and it's, it's really impacting children and therefore impacting these children that are becoming adults.
Sebastian Engström: It's so deeply layered under so much [00:45:00] protection. For me, it's taken years and probably many men who never will discover this. Maybe even women, are there any particular things you might, I don't even know if a recommend is the right word, questions you might ask yourself or things you might, if there are the things that you should listen to or, or, or tell signs that you might should pay, like be, be open to.
Stefanos Sifandos: You mean, you mean as adults, when we're, when we're interacting with people or partners or friends looking at them and saying, Oh, maybe they've experienced some really intense abuse growing up? Is that what you're asking? Right. What are the signs that we look at? Oh man, it's, it varies. It really depends on the individual.
I mean, you can look at hypersexualization is possibly a sign, um, deflection, uh, avoidance of depth and [00:46:00] intimacy, um, fear of commitment, fear of intimacy. Um, fear of rejection, um, hermitism, like isolation, people that isolate, people that can't deal with conflict very well, um, you know, they panic in conflict or they run away or hyper aggression, hyper protectiveness, uh, extreme sarcasm, these are all protective strategies, right?
Like to push people away, hyper intellectualization, hyper competitiveness, um, to prove to be in power. Or people that want to excessively control could be products of. You know, in extreme abuse or abuse, there are many, many things to look for it. And it's hard to say it's, it's hard to say, Oh, that's definitive.
If that happens, like if I see someone being hyper controlling, it definitely means that they experienced sexual abuse. You can't make that direct causation, but there could be a correlation with other factors involved as well. So.
Sebastian Engström: At this [00:47:00] point, I feel like this is a good cliffhanger. So there are more than one can learn about stuff. How can people learn more about you and what you're up to to dive deeper? And what do you
Stefanos Sifandos: discuss today? Yeah. Um. So my website, stefanossifandos. com, uh, any of my, um, uh, social media channels, uh, at stefanossifandos.
Uh, if you want to work with me directly, uh, coaching, one on one coaching, uh, coachwithstef.
Sebastian Engström: com. Amazing stuff. This, um, this lived up to my expectations and I, I'm, I'm saying that even, even above that, it's just when you have certain amazing conversations, it's just. There's a natural flow and, and I, I, I just, I, I see you, brother, I feel your heart.
I recognize you [00:48:00] for the work that you're doing and, and, uh, it's been, it's been an honor. Uh, and I want to say this and aspiring or might be even king to king. Like I see you, brother, I see you as a father, as a husband, as a man, everything that you do. But thank you for being on this path and leading so many of us.
Stefanos Sifandos: Thank you, man. I appreciate you very much. Thank you for having me on your show.
Sebastian Engström: Thank you, Stefanos. That was one hell of a podcast. Talk about knowledge. You blow me away every time you, uh, speak. Not just that you're connected to your heart, but your vocabulary. Dude, you, uh, you bring it. So I, I hope you all of it. And you listeners felt this, the connection, the authenticity, the knowledge that Steph carries.
And if you want to connect with him more, his message more, you can find [00:49:00] all the links to what he's up to in the show notes. And if you feel like you connect to this podcast, if you feel like this strikes you in your heart. It truly helps if you leave a review if you leave however many stars that you feel called to five obviously helps us spread this message to more people but we truly welcome the feedback i'm looking to get better every single day and even if that is a humbling message so thank you for supporting the podcast the episode and everything that we're up to love you so much