dating advice

Why I've Scrapped the Dating Rulebook (Guest Post)

Photo by  Ben Mater  on  Unsplash

Photo by Ben Mater on Unsplash

I’m so excited to bring you this guest post - and how this came about is exactly why I love the internet!

A few months ago, I received a Facebook message from the author of this post, Jen. Jen so kindly expressed how much my work had resonated with her post-breakup and once we got chatting, it turned out she lives just up the road from me! So of course, we had to meet for coffee!

Jen has her own blog here (which you HAVE to read and bookmark!) and I absolutely loved the couple of hours that we spent together on that Sunday afternoon we met.

Jen is compassionate, fun, intelligent and on such an exciting path following her last breakup. She also radiates a beautiful healing quality. We had tons in common (there aren’t many people I can geek out about Human Design with!) and I knew I had to ask her to write a guest post.

From reading her blog and getting to know Jen, it was clear that her experience and insight will resonate with so many of you.

Jen decided to write about dating after a breakup and I love the wisdom she shares in the piece.

I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did.

Thank you so much Jen 💖

Why I've Scrapped the Dating Rulebook

Dating can disarm and debilitate even the most rational and secure of us, sometimes leaving us feeling downright insane. And when our hearts are still hurting, we can easily find ourselves overwhelmed with emotions, doubting our decisions, and questioning whether we'll ever be ready to move on.

Once I started dating after my breakup, it wasn’t long until I found myself re-enacting the same predictable patterns of behaviour that had left me heartbroken and hating myself more times than I could count. But when I really took the time to reflect on my destructive thoughts, to identify my innate habits, and to recognise my deep-rooted fears and beliefs, I realised that my lack of romantic success had had nothing to do with being unlucky in love, and everything to do with being unconscious in love.

For years, I'd been compelled by a complex cumulation of historic hardwiring and past programming that had me using my relationships as a means of righting my wrongs, fixing my unhealed wounds, and filling my empty spaces.

I'd been so caught up in seeking external validation, so consumed with trying to master the art of playing hard to get, and so intent on finding 'the one' that I'd been failing to acknowledge my own needs in the process.

With a bottomless pit of dating advice never more than a click away, it's no wonder that we often spend so much time obsessing over the 'dos and don'ts' of dating. But if we allow our love lives to be dictated by a set of predefined rules designed to get someone’s attention, to make someone like us, or to keep someone interested, we’re never going to find what we’re looking for.

Because dating isn't about playing games. It’s about being curious. Curious about getting to know ourselves and another person. Curious about finding what works for us and what doesn’t. Curious about what we want and what we don’t. And curious about how to love ourselves, how to trust ourselves, and how to be ourselves.

What about if, instead of trying to get someone else to like us, we learned how to like ourselves? What about if, instead of trying to make someone else happy, we learned how to make ourselves happy? And what about if, instead of trying to play by the rules, we stopped playing altogether?

So it's time to do things differently. It's time to scrap the rulebook that's done nothing but let us down, to drop the dating advice that's done nothing but diminish our sense of self, and rewire the thought patterns that've done nothing but damage our wellbeing.

It's time to shift our definition of success away from finding 'the one', and back to being at peace with who we are, what we are, and where we are.

Because all we really need to be successful are these three simple promises. And, unlike the conventional guidelines around dating, these promises are for our happiness, and ours only.

1.     I promise to love myself.

For me, loving myself means putting myself first. It means creating healthy boundaries and sticking to them. And, most importantly, it means staying grounded in reality when confronted with the all-too-tempting black hole of fantasy and obsession.

So if you find yourself teetering on a cliff-edge, one misstep away from plummeting into the dark and dangerous depths of infatuation, bring yourself back to the present. Take a look around at what you already have. Don’t ditch your stable ground in favour of the murky and turbulent waters of a temporary escape. Because the climb back up is long and laborious, and who knows if those things that you left behind will still be waiting for you when you eventually return?

2. I promise to trust myself.

For most of my romantic life, I ordinarily and obediently overlooked the questionable behaviour of potential partners, convinced that their dismissiveness or disrespect was a reflection of their mood, rather than their character. Time and time again, I brushed off the sour crumbs left in their wake, and swept them neatly underneath the rug, never to be seen again. Or so I thought.

But the problem with living in denial is that those easily-ignorable pink flags eventually mutate into conspicuous and unavoidable blood-red canvases. And by the time they do, it’s too late. We’re already too invested in the fantasy. Too dazzled by the shiny newness. Too blinkered by our animal attachment drives. Too hooked on the delicious poison poured in through the holes created when our walls were torn down and our hearts cracked open.

So if you find yourself engaged in a painstaking war of the head vs. the heart - don’t listen to either. Instead, tune in to your inner wisdom. Connect with that omniscient knowing that resides deep within your gut. Trust your intuition. It’s there for a reason.

3. I promise to be myself.

As long as we’re always trying to hide, change, or conceal the parts of us that we don’t like, we’re never going to find someone who loves us for us. And we are lovable, exactly the way we are. Our mess is lovable. Our flaws are lovable. Our insecurities are lovable.

We are all achingly imperfect, devastatingly complex, yet beautifully unique. We are all human. And our anxieties, aspirations and afflictions - they make us who we are.

So embrace your quirks, your fears, your wounds. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Stay true to yourself and your values. Be unapologetically, unashamedly, authentically YOU.

And if someone doesn’t like you? Then they’re not for you.

Relationship Advice, Based On the Characters of Sex and the City

Image courtesy of    The Newsette

Image courtesy of The Newsette

Call me a cliché but I absolutely LOVE Sex and the City!

In fact, I remember going through a breakup about 7 years ago and it was my beloved SATC boxsets that really helped get me through.

So I just wanted to share a fun post I wrote for the Newsette, which looks at relationship advice based on the SATC girls. So whether you see yourself as a Carrie, Samantha, Miranda or Charlotte, there’s some tips in here that will help you navigate your relationships more smoothly.

I hope you enjoy!

You can read the post here.

x

How to Stop Self-Sabotage in its Tracks

Laura Yates2.jpg

This is one that comes up over and over again with people I work with and I know that all of my own personal downfalls have been rooted in self-sabotage. It’s something I have to work on daily - multiple times!

The reason why self-sabotage is so difficult to break out of, is because it’s habit. It’s our default go-to and most of all, it feels safe. Doing the opposite action (which is usually what’s needed) or just something different is scary and takes us into unknown territory. So we resort back to those old behaviours that eventually lead to the same outcome.

These are the kind of things we say to ourselves and others when it comes to these habits and behaviours -:

- “It’s just the way I am”

- “I know it’s the wrong thing but it’s just so difficult to change”

- “It’s just part of my personality and I can’t help that”

Self-sabotage can hinder us in health, relationships, finances, career, self-esteem and basically everything that involves us being a human on this earth. Usually it tends to happen in one prominent area but can filter into other parts of our life too.

As the quote goes “How you do anything is how you do everything

So how do you stop self-sabotage in its tracks to kick-start your bounce back? Here are a few ideas that I regularly use to pull myself out of it when it creeps in.

#1 Identify the behaviour or habit

It’s very easy to just say ‘well, this is the way I am’ but honestly, that’s not true. Our brains can be re-wired to change and whilst we have personality traits, our way of thinking, our behaviours and our habits can all be re-wired to change in a way that serves us better.

To do this though, you have to be willing to name what it is that’s self-sabotaging you. To call it out. For example, if you find yourself always getting hurt in relationships, what are you doing to create that? Are you gravitating towards the people that just aren’t good for you and ignoring the red flags in favour of excitement, ‘living life’ or giving someone a chance? Are you a constant people pleaser and ignoring the times you want to just say no? When it comes to your health, do you have good intentions but then ‘fall off the wagon?’ None of these things mean you are a weak or bad person - definitely not! But being willing to name them is a huge, brave and very necessary step.

#2 Imagine the habit/behaviour is a separate ‘thing’ in-front of you

It can feel like self-sabotage is innately within us or part of our DNA. It can also feel like it creeps in from behind us when we’re unaware. A little trick I learnt, which was immensely helpful, is to imagine it sitting right in-front of you; smaller than yourself and like an annoying little creature or ‘thing’. All of a sudden, it doesn’t have as much power, it can’t hurt you and you are in a much more empowering position to make a different choice.

So if you know your go-to is to think negative of yourself (e.g. I suck at relationships anyway, I always get hurt, I’m not attractive enough, it’s no wonder I can’t meet anyone, everyone is doing better/more sorted than me etc) and sends you on a downward spiral, imagine that thought or action is right in-front of you instead of part of you. All of a sudden, it can no longer hurt you. You can consciously choose a different thought and even if you still don’t feel great, you’re priming yourself to be less reactive and in a place to make a different choice.

#3 Do the different thing

This one sounds easy and really, it is. We tend to hugely over complicate things but when it comes to taking an action that feels so alien to us, even with the best intentions, our default is to go back to self-sabotage. To create a new habit or way of thinking and therefore way of being, you need to start doing the different thing.

Instead of being tempted by the charming, charismatic guy or your ex who you know deep down is emotionally unavailable, choose to dodge that one in favour of doing something for yourself instead or going for the guy who seems less exciting but is showing you has the makings of a good person who represents all the things you really want and need in a relationship.

When you know not fuelling your body properly makes you feel like crap because of how you’ve felt before doing that, but your low mood seems to make you do it anyway, stop and think what would better fuel you? This doesn’t necessarily mean not having the glass of wine/pizza/whatever food you’ve deemed ‘bad’ by the way! It might actually mean allowing yourself to have it, enjoying it and moving on with your life instead of beating yourself up afterwards. Or it might mean getting better sleep or seeking support from someone who can help you get your physical health on track.

It might mean doing something that you know is going to make you feel better and healthier.

I’ve been on a...hmmm.....'interesting' journey with my health the past 2 years. After being totally entrenched in and obsessed with healing diets and protocols, I’m now having to take complete opposite actions to restore my health. I’m having to do different things and choose different thoughts every day and it’s tough! But I know it’s the only way.

Ultimately, you know what to do. You know what will best serve you so you need to do exactly that even if it feels like you’re in a different body. Doing the thing that creates a different and better result over and over will mean the rewiring will start to take place. And then slowly, THAT becomes the new habit.

I wish I had a magic cure for stopping self-sabotage forever in one hit. (Well, if I did, I’d be living the high life in my Beverly Hills mansion sipping champs with Lisa Vanderpump dahling ;) ) Unfortunately there isn’t an ultimate quick fix. But these steps have helped me and the people I work with one-to-one hugely. (There are many more of course, but I thought these would be a good starter.)

The thing is though, change can be created quickly if you want it enough and are ready to say goodbye to your old thoughts and behaviours - or at least turn the volume of them down. It’s the self-awareness of them and repetitiveness actions to change them that you have to commit to.

So just to repeat, self-sabotage isn’t part of your personality, it’s just a way of thinking that has become so engrained in you. Name it, see it as separate to you and start doing and thinking the different thing.

The way out, is always through :)

Laura x