A psychologist, coach, profiler, consultant.
In 2014 her initiative led to establishment of Travel Psychology Center, which is a reflection of her proprietary stream – Travel & Luxury Psychology. Ilona Ciżewska, as she admits herself, was taught to look luxuriously at her life in childhood, and now she aims to teach others that the proper way is to achieve the mental luxury and only then the material luxury.
Interview by Olga Długokęcka
What exactly does “luxury profiling” mean?
Luxury psychology is generally quite an innovative trend, practically unknown in Poland. I like explaining that as a space where our deepest desires and expectations appear. It is a place where you can realize that you can live and think in a completely different way, at completely diverse level of awareness. In short – it’s all about finding a field of satisfaction from who you are and what you own.
It’s a bit trivial on one side and quite enigmatic on the other. And how can you find it?
If you want to know the formula, then there is no such way, as the universal formula doesn’t exist. You could say that our product is made-to-measure, just like a suit at a good tailor. I work with the client face to face and from our relation based on mutual respect and trust I create their experience. Conversation and meeting hours are scheduled in various environments to drive as many stimuli as possible. From my client I draw particles that have always been present in them, that are a continuous and natural element of their identity, however unacknowledged. I combine them with reality, creating a path to fulfillment. All that is done to achieve a higher level of satisfaction in everyday life, to feel luxuriously at the level of body and mind.
You are an educated lawyer and psychologist, also a graduate of a school of tourism. Your education is therefore quite extensive. Why luxury profiling in the first place?
This is my proprietary method, created as a resultant of my all experiences and extensive education you have mentioned. People used to come to me and say that they wanted to develop, however they didn’t want how to do it properly. Having this knowledge and tools, I decided to meet their expectations. So what I do is a certain combination of my education. But not only. It also includes the remains from my childhood, because as a child I was lucky to have that possibility to travel a lot, meet new cultures and view the world from various perspectives. That gave me a wider perspective.
When you tell the people you profile luxury, what the reactions are like?
In Poland and Europe luxury is mainly associated with snobbery. In the United States or Asian countries this notion is perceived otherwise. Luxurious approach to life doesn’t mean being surrounded by material goods. It’s not about having a luxurious car. It’s about being aware what this luxurious car is really capable of giving us. So it’s a need for prestige, control or traditional satisfaction. People have things, collect them, but still they don’t know why they do that. And that’s the point – to know why.
How did you gain this self-awareness?
I was raised to look at life luxuriously. I was taught that at home. World is a beautiful place, and life is an amazing challenge. All you need is a little bit of work with yourself, just to see that. And as I experience that everyday, so I would like to be able to show that to people. I have a feeling we often lower our sight and watch our shoes instead of raising our heads, look ahead, see the horizon and then look into the sky. It saddens me and I would like people to experience this beauty that surrounds us.
I would like to experience that beauty. Tell me that method, just one trick.
And do you love yourself?
That’s a difficult question. I have better and worse days, like everyone else. What to do when it’s bad?
Be kind and good to yourself. Look at the mirror and tell yourself that you are a cool woman.
And that’s enough?
Nice words we say to ourselves are one of the methods. Sometimes you meet someone who tells you a compliment. It’s nice then and that gives you wings. But next day you meet someone who insults you. And you wish you could run away, disappear, hide. Is it like that?
Exactly. That is a proof that others can influence you. And in fact the only person that should influence your comfort is yourself. That is why those nice words are necessary. Because you should draw power from yourself, not from the others. When people see your strength, they are unable to hurt you.
And isn’t it possible that when I say too many nice words to myself, I will become a narcissist?
No. We have a mechanism that won’t let us overpraise. If you are a mature and smart person, you know your own limits. It is also one of the methods of luxurious thinking: I perceive myself luxuriously, I perceive the world luxuriously and thanks to that the world perceives me luxuriously.
At what level your life is the most luxurious?
At the level of choice. I was able to make choices since I was a child. My Mum always gave me that. Of course she always told me frankly what she disliked and left the actions and their consequences to me. Some consequences are still with me now, just the perspective has changed and I’m not burdened with them anymore. It’s a real luxury – I don’t have to do anything, I can do anything. I have that luxury of choice of what I want to do in my life and I want to teach others. But I also teach that every choice has its consequences you have to bear. Thanks to that you can be a free and aware person.
Your brand is also built with awareness?
Definitely. At the professional and private level I use the same motto: consistent thinking, acting and feeling. If I can feel discomfort at any level, I know I should withdraw from the project or relation.
All or nothing?
I know when to let go, but at the same time I give myself very high requirements. In return I expect what’s best, as I know I’m worth it and I deserve it. However I don’t give up after my first failure. You need to try, the effect will come if it’s our destiny.
Thank you for this conversation.