love

Approaching Mental Health and Dating

Pic by  Hey Saturday

Hi guys and gals! Hope you're all doing really well. 

Today I wanted to share a post I wrote for Eharmony on mental health and dating. This one is so important and definitely on my heart due to what I've experienced in the past couple of years with my health bounce back and learning to overcome the fear of dating and getting into a relationship. 

During this time, I've been incredibly consumed with thoughts of being inadequate, a 'burden' or like I don't have as much to offer as a partner. It goes without saying that it's taken it's toll mentally. I will be going into this much more in depth on my podcast next week. 

Mental health is something that so many of us are challenged with and we often suffer in silence. It doesn't and shouldn't have to be that way - particularly when it comes to dating and our relationships. So I really hope this helps and offers some comforting yet practical advice. 

You can read it here

Laura xx

Sick of being Single on Valentine’s Day?  Don’t be Afraid to Face your Fears!

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Today for Valentine's Day I have a guest post for you! Christopher Jones is a renowned Breakthrough Expert and has some fantastic advice for anyone who is fed up of being single this Valentine's Day.

Go for it Chris!.........

By Christopher Paul Jones, The Breakthrough Expert

So Valentine’s Day has rolled around again and you are single… again.

While the shops fill up with, and then get emptied of, roses and chocolates and hearts and cards, you find yourself wondering why you are on your own again this year.

Of course, for some people, it is just a case of bad timing.  For others, however, there can actually be something going on subconsciously that almost forces us to destroy a relationship, so that we find ourselves perpetually single.

Maybe now is the time to ask yourself whether fear is the reason that you are single.

After all, fear can play a BIG part in a relationship – think about it… Fear of commitment, fear of your partner cheating, fear of losing someone that you care about... And we usually learn to fear something because of how it felt when we first went through it.

And now, let’s take this one important step further. I know this might sound silly at first. But, from a psychological perspective, I see many clients, who are actually being kept single because of their reaction to fear. Yes, it’s their reaction to fear, rather than the fear itself that destroys their relationships.

A reaction to fear? Keeping you single?

In general, when faced with something that we fear in our relationship, we, as humans, will turn to one of three reactions.  I’m talking about fight, flight or freeze mode. Or, in psychological terms, it is what we refer to as the reptilian mindset. In other words, it is a primeval reaction that happens because of our subconscious.

Usually, when we are little, something happens to us, something not pleasant, and our brain reacts by going into fight, flight or freeze mode. Now, the first time that this happens, we aren’t even aware of it. But our subconscious mind decides to repeat this, every time that we are presented with what it sees as danger.

So, for some of us, when presented with something that our mind perceives as negative, our subconscious then provokes this reaction - and it is this reaction that could be the culprit for keeping us single.

To make this clearer, let’s talk about Michael (we’ll call him Michael). Michael is 30, and lives in the city. Michael is looking for love, but keeps ending up single. What happens is that every time Michael is faced with a woman’s emotions, he reacts to his fear, and starts to become kind of angry… Michael automatically goes into fight mode, and as much as he thinks that this is being passionate… for his partners, they often see him as aggressive.

Michael, doesn’t fully understand why he becomes so angry. He looks to blame his partner. But what’s really going on is that Michael actually fears something… and his mind simply reacts to it. And he keeps on repeating this pattern, over and over and over.

Imagine just how much easier life could be for Michael if he could understand this mindset. Not only would he be able to change and control his reaction, but he would also be able to understand his fear. This would mean better communication with his partner... And possibly a long term relationship!

And it’s not just one party's lack of understanding of this pattern that can cause confusion in a relationship. Maybe you have found yourself being on the receiving end with someone when they go into fight, flight or freeze mode?

Perhaps you know all too well what it feels like to be with someone who reacts through fleeing (flight mode). This is the person who leaves after an argument, and never picks up their phone again.

Or maybe you have dated the freeze kinda guy or girl, who just clams up when under pressure, and seems to just sit there... And stay there. This can come across as uncaring. Yet what is going on on the inside, can be a totally different story.

By working out your own reaction, when faced with fear in a relationship, whether it be fear of commitment, or fear of losing someone, you put yourself back in the driver’s seat. You are able to a) dig deep and face yourself, and b) communicate with your partner.

Sometimes, all it takes is working on your fear with a therapist, coach or maybe, and a conversation with your partner, and once you understand what’s been going wrong here, you are able to see things a lot clearer.

One thing’s for sure - fight, flight or freeze - whichever reaction suits you best, in some ways, it’s actually natural. So, figure out where you fit, and then look at evolving past that. You owe it to yourself, and your future partner, to stop letting fear get the better of you.

Christopher Paul Jones, the Breakthrough Expert, as featured on the BBC, can be found at christopherpauljones.net and is available for one-to-one consultations on Harley Street, London. 

How to Use Heartbreak as Fuel for Reinvention

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Illustration for the Newsette by Ellie Benuska

This week I had the pleasure of writing a guest post for The Newsette. If you haven't signed up for it, make sure you do - I'm such a fan! It basically curates the best inspiring, motivating and informative career-focused content from around the web for busy women that you can read before your first morning cuppa!

I wrote a post for them sharing advice on how to use heartbreak as fuel for reinvention. You can read it here and hope you enjoy!

Love,

Laura x

What to do if you’re Still not 'Over it'

Pic by Saskia of  Hey Saturday  

Pic by Saskia of Hey Saturday 

You probably feel like you’ve done absolutely everything you’re ‘supposed’ to, you’ve followed all the advice, all the 'do’s' and 'don’ts' and yet you’re still not over the heartbreak. For some this feeling can creep in after weeks, for others months, and even years for some people.

What I want you to know is that you’re not alone in this feeling. I really wanted to write a post on this topic because not only have I experienced it myself, but I know and have worked with countless others who have too. 

The thing about heartbreak, is that it isn’t linear. There isn’t a set time limit by which you should be ‘over it’ and it also depends on the complexities of the relationship or what you’ve been through. That’s why you can never compare yourself to someone else’s experience.

I recently had an email from someone who asked me how to speed up the process. Like I always say, there isn’t a quick fix to getting over heartbreak and you can't exactly expedite it. But there are things we can do that will, let’s just say, help things along. Unfortunately, this doesn’t usually involve a simple ‘5 step’ plan from a google article. I know I know, that’s not what any of us want to hear but like a sugar fix is only temporary and leaves you hungry for more and feeling all sorts of wired, it’s kind of the same thing when it comes to dealing with heartbreak. 

Usually, the biggest reason why we fail to ‘get over it’ is because despite intellectually wanting that more than anything, on a deeper, more subconscious level, we haven’t let go because we don’t want to or are scared to. Not intentionally and this isn’t our fault - the subconscious sure is a tricky one to figure out! 

On one hand, you’re wanting to be over it and frustrated as hell at that, yet creating an inner contradiction by ruminating over the past, wondering if breaking up was the right thing, questioning if you’ll ever find that relationship because months/years on even though you’ve dated, you still can’t seem to find anything or anyone that sticks. The initial effort of doing ‘all the things’ is there but a part of you still keeps looking back and isn’t really letting go at all. 

Usually, because truly letting go propels us into the unknown. It means total acceptance and it means changing old habits. The thing about habits, is that even if they’re not working, they’re safe, they’re comfortable, we know the outcome of them, and they’re our identity. 

So try asking yourself what would really happen if you did, 100% let go? What would that mean? What part of yourself and your past would you be shedding in favour of the new and unknown?

What kind of feelings come up from that? There might be some uncomfortable ones but that’s ok. 

If you really want to get over the heartbreak, honestly, you have to be prepared to change this identity you’ve created for yourself. You have to put in the work to change the habits and gradually replace them with ones that are more aligned to moving on. That are more aligned to you, who you want to become and what you want for your future. 

You have to 100% believe you can and will get over it and know you want to on every cellular level. You have to know that despite what you're feeling, there's a future out there for you that isn’t tarnished by that breakup, person or heartbreak. 

Some relationships or situations will leave a mark, even a scar on our hearts, but that still doesn’t mean that we can’t find love, fulfilment and happiness in the future. We just have to want it enough. 

Here are some things that it might mean -:

- Accepting that your ex is with someone else - dating, in a relationship with or married to. BUT also 100% deciding to believe that it doesn’t mean you weren’t good enough and instead, knowing that by the very nature of them being with someone else, the relationship wasn’t right for you.

- Accepting that just because you’ve dated, met loads of people and it hasn’t led to anything, it doesn’t mean that breaking up with your ex was the wrong thing or that you won’t find anything/anyone better for you.

- Letting go of regrets. It's a cliché but for a reason!

- Owning up to the crap/habits/behaviours that aren’t working and taking the steps to change them. And taking those steps again and again. Creating new habits is like teaching a child something - they have to be told over and over, not just a couple of times. 

- Treating yourself like the person you want to be (and how you want to be treated in a relationship). Having full respect for yourself and seeing this through in your thoughts, actions, habits, behaviours - everything!

- Embracing the unknown.

- Knowing that it’s ok to feel sad, hurt, lonely, frustrated and that it’s actually very healthy. But to also know that these feelings don’t have to define you. You don’t have to sink into them and you have the ability within you to choose better ones.

- Knowing that this all takes persistence and patience.

- Getting support, advice and help from others but ultimately knowing that the decision to let go has to come from you. When you make that decision, you have everything you need within you.

- Believing that letting go is the key to your emotional freedom.

- Knowing that forgiving (yourself and anyone else) is the biggest key to being over it and TOTALLY reclaiming your emotional freedom. 

As always, you have my full support and believe me, you can do this. You can let go and move on if you really want to, I assure you :) 

I have some fun style/fashion themed Christmas posts coming up next so excited to be preparing those for you!

And if you'd like to find out about working with me 1:1, please email me on laurayatescoaching@gmail.com

Love,

Laura x

 

 

If you're Struggling because your Ex has Moved On, Read This

Pic taken by http://www.heysaturday.co/

I receive many emails and speak to so many people I work with who are so petrified that when their ex moves on, that they will be forgotten, that this other person they're with will FINALLY be the one to change them and get the BEST of them.

I’ve written about this before but I really don’t think it can be said enough.

I’m here to tell you again that 99% of the time, this simply isn’t the case at all.

If you’ve been through a breakup, regardless of who you’re ex is dating, sleeping with or actually in a relationship with now, the very nature of the breakup happening means that something pretty substantial wasn’t right between the two of you.

Oftentimes, we look for the most immediate thing that will dull the pain of heartache. For some that’s food or substances. For others it’s social media, Netflix or TV. Much of the time, it’s other people that we look to as the solution to heartbreak. Sometimes it can be a toxic cocktail of a few things.

Some people will look to date and date and date to numb the overwhelming emotion they’re feeling about the breakup. Partly because they can’t deal with the breakup and to fill the void of not having you in their life any more. Mainly though, because they can’t deal with the root cause of what’s going on with themselves emotionally.

Most of the people I speak who are going through a breakup have experienced a relationship that was full of drama. Ups and downs. Highs and lows. Their ex has displayed narcissistic tendencies, completely blindsided them, consistently treated them badly or acted out of character. All of these things reveal much more going on beneath the surface. The breakup (which let me assure you - needed to happen if this was the case) was merely a signpost to what’s truly going on and getting with someone else quicker than me to a new episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is their attempt at ignoring the signpost and running in the other direction. Getting a high from something and someone else to avoid the true source of their pain.

What you need to know when you're worrying about them being with someone else, is that a person can’t change another person. All might be rosy in the garden of romance now between them and their new boyfriend/girlfriend but those old patterns that you witnessed probably time and time over like groundhog day will gradually start to reappear in this new relationship or dynamic too. It’s currently serving as a quick fix. The new person won’t get the ‘best’ of them and you won’t be ‘missing out’ because they don’t have the power to create that in your ex. Just like you don’t, which is why getting back together isn’t the answer either.

So instead of focusing on your ex and the new guy/girl, even though it will feel like the hardest thing to do, you have to focus on what’s important in this moment. You. If you’re totally consumed by thoughts of your ex, maybe you’re missing the signpost too? Maybe there’s a piece of you that can recognise in yourself what I’ve described above? When I say this I say it with absolute compassion, and it doesn't mean that you were to blame. Not at all. But are you looking to getting your ex back as the solution to your pain? I know you might believe that getting back together will be the answer, but it won’t. All that will do is act as a temporary cover up so that you both don’t have to address what’s really going on as individuals. That is where the real change can only take place.

So the work isn’t in worrying if your ex will suddenly change now that he's with someone else, a ploy to make him/her see what they’re missing or get them back. The work and true reward is in delving deep to the core of yourself and focusing on cultivating your own self-love, self-esteem, boundaries and inner wisdom.

I know that everyone wants a sexy quick fix. But honestly, it’s not the answer. I can assure you though, that what’s on the other side of self-discovery, trusting your intuition and actually trusting yourself, your worth and your abilities to then instil those boundaries and live with authentic intention by them, is far sweeter than getting back into a relationship that was broken. Where the one or two people in it are more willing to ride out over and over something that’s sub-standard than to step away and do the work that will lead to something so much more real and beautiful for each of them.

Like many things, it’s harder short-term but the reward is far greater.

Whilst your ex isn't willing to do the work right now, you can be. You can come through this happier, wiser, more intentional, assured, confident and at peace with yourself.

If you choose to.

It doesn't mean you will suddenly forget your ex and not have these thoughts. Not at all. That's ok though because you are not your thoughts and you have the ability to choose what you do with those thoughts and how you react to them.

What it does mean, is that you will be taking full ownership of your own emotional health and happiness. Those thoughts of your ex will start to fade bit by bit once you start to put yourself at the centre stage of your life.

I want you to, as you deserve so much more. 💖

If you would like more 1:1 help with getting over your ex, I offer a Move On From Your Ex Rewiring Power Hour, where I will introduce you to a range of tools and techniques that will help you to rewire your thought patterns to be able to let go of your ex. You can book that here.

I also have my audio product on this topic, which you can find here https://www.laurayates.org/shop/getting-over-your-ex-moving-on-audio

Love,

Laura x

PS I'm sharing tons of live video content and behind the scenes of my own life and learnings over on Facebook! You can find me here https://www.facebook.com/laura.yates/

I also have my private group (this one is for girls only) here called Girl Chat with Laura where I share more videos and content geared towards women. Request to join and I will add you!

Dreading Valentine's Day? Here's what to do....

Ahh Valentine’s Day. To be honest, what you tend to see on social media and online when it comes to V Day these days is one of eye rolling and skepticism as opposed to love, hearts and flowers. This can be reassuring if you’re in a place of heartbreak or even single and hating it - there’s nothing like community to make you feel less alone. And I do agree that the commercial side of Valentine’s Day hypes it up to become something way beyond than what was intended.

Which is a day of love.

And yes, that might be with the emphasis on love with a significant other. But why not use today as an opportunity to commit to embracing love of all kinds?

So if you’re heartbroken today on Valentine’s Day, here are some words of encouragement, support and advice from me to you.

Focus on Abundance

Just because you don’t have romantic love in your life right now, you can choose to see and honour the love you do have. Family, friends, co-workers - use today as a chance to SHOW love rather than dwelling on the fact that you’re not getting love in the way you might want.

You get what you embody so giving love to other people means that you will become a magnet to receive that back in all forms. It’s like putting out the signal to the universe (or whatever you believe is out there), that you’re ready to receive love. Who knows who or what will show up! Every day is a new opportunity to meet someone, to create an interaction on Tinder that could lead to something amazing, even just to have a flirt (such a confidence boost and way to put a spring in your step!).

But spotting all these chances and acting on them means being open to them. Being open to them means you have to experience them. You have to experience love. You can do that by showing love in some way to everyone around you. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive, committal or radical - a compliment, a hug, telling a friend you appreciate them by text, calling someone in your family to see how they are and telling them you love them, smiling at a stranger. Make today your personal mission to show love to people around you.

To ‘Get’ you Have to Believe

If you know that a relationship or even just to have a more colourful dating life is what you want, good for you. It’s human nature to seek a companion and something we all want at one point or another in life. You are worthy of that and 100% can get it. But you have to believe it.

Similar to the idea of you get what you embody, you can only get what you believe is true. There’s a lot of talk about manifestation and imagining the perfect person and relationship in your head as a way to get it. That’s lovely but it will only remain in the la la land of your dreams until you actually believe it. If you’re imagining it but your subconscious is saying ‘erm, that’s lovely but thinking that could happen to me is complete BS!' you’re only setting yourself up for a mighty fall.

So I want you to see today as that signpost. A signpost that if you want someone to share a day like today with, you have to believe that person is out there - right now, for you. Maybe you're not ready for another person if you're not over your ex but you can still believe that something else - something better and more aligned for you is out there, when the time is right. And if you don’t believe that, then what needs to change? Do you need to dig deeper? Do you need to spend more time alone since your last breakup and finally let go of your ex? Do you need to find a way to raise your self-esteem? Do you need to put new boundaries into place, act on those signs when the guy/girl you’re dating does something that doesn’t sit well with you. Do you need to spend more time on enjoying your life rather than focusing on who you don’t have in it?

Be Prepared!

Continuing on from the above two pieces, someone could show up in your life ANY TIME NOW. Are you prepared?? Or have you got so disillusioned that you’ve stopped prioritising dressing to feel good every day, making an effort with your hair, doing some exercise to feel good about your body and fuelling it with nutritious food? Is your life one you’d be proud to tell your future partner or someone you’re dating about?

If any of the things you do when you feel good about yourself and life have fallen by the wayside, use today as a chance to put that right and get back on track! The more ready you are for someone special to enter into your life, the wider the path you offer them to find you. Sounds a bit out there, but I urge you to put your faith in this one!

If you’re heartbroken right now, I’m sending my love to you - and I’m cheerleading for you! I’d also love for you to use today as a reminder of how far you’ve come in this. Through everything you're still here! You've got this!

Remember, today is just another day. It can mean exactly what you want it to mean. Don’t feel like it’s you against love - it’s the complete opposite.

Love, Laura x

New Podcast Episode - Ellen Huerta of Mend

Wow, nearly the end of January!! How has your year started? I hope you're doing well :)

I just wanted to very quickly let you know that I have a brand new episode of Let's Talk Heartbreak up with the fabulous Ellen Huerta of Mend!

Mend is an app (there's a website too with tons of inspirational articles and interviews) that's essentially like a personal trainer for heartbreak. It's been created to guide people through their breakup where every day you get sent audio trainings, activities to try and thoughts to consider. It's fantastic and I highly recommend it if you're struggling.

Make sure you listen in HERE - Ellen and I chat and offer advice around breakups, dealing with heartbreak and how to create transformation coming out the other side.

I hope you enjoy! 💖

Laura xx

Why did they do that to me? I Just want Answers!!

Photo by Hey Saturday

When someone treats us in a way that creates so many unanswered questions, it can feel impossible to move on.

- I just don’t understand why he did those things?

- Why do I still miss her when she made me feel like that?

- Why do I keep going back to them even though they make me feel like sh**?

- What must have been going through his mind to think that was ok?

- I know there were things wrong but I still wonder if breaking up with her was the right thing?

These are all things I hear from people every day and I totally understand why we create all of this internal anxiety asking ourselves these questions. I know I did.

I spent so much time in a previous relationship asking myself why he would refuse to communicate and then disappear for days on end, why he’d play these crazy emotional mind games 100% knowing how it would make me feel, why I’d often feel like I was being ‘tested’. I also wondered why, when I knew he did all of these things, did I still want to cling to all of that and let go of everything else within my life in pursuit of making this relationship work.

I know a lot of people will resonate with this in their own way. I was on a call with a client last night who had done so much great work on herself since coming out of an emotionally abusive relationship but still questioned why during those vulnerable moments, she missed him.

Like I did, she wanted answers.

The thing is though, no matter how many self help books we devour, articles by psychologists and relationship experts we frantically highlight, and stories we read from other people who have gone through the same thing, the more time we spend analysing and trying to piece together the multitude of layers of someone’s behaviour to be able to conclude a solid reason as to why they did those things, it makes absolutely no difference.

You don’t need to find a reason. They did those things and that’s the only conclusion you need to be able to let your quest for answers go and move forwards.

We always seem to want to get inside the heads of other people but all that does is take the focus away from what’s really important and our most vital responsibility; us. Your ex (or whoever you were seeing that this applies to) did what they did and now your only job is to be ok with the fact that you feel emotionally bruised from it (because that’s inevitable), nurture yourself and take forwards what you learnt from that.

Of course, we’re going to spend time asking questions about why, if someone professed to love us so much, then why did their actions prove quite the contrary? But when we can acknowledge that the answers make absolutely no difference about the fact they did what they did, we can turn our focus inwards and instead, think about what we need to do when it comes to our own self care and emotional wellbeing to be able to build ourselves up after going through this experience.

I totally understand that this is a LOT easier than said than done! But the harsh fact is, if someone treated you in a way that compromised your self-esteem, values and what makes you you, regardless of why they did that, they did and therefore there isn’t a place for them within your lives moving forwards. That should be a non-negotiable. Even if there were moments of almighty amazingness, your job is to still walk away because that isn't enough. Even if they say they will change, your job is to still walk away. Their job is to SHOW you that there is substance behind their words by working out their own answers.

These situations can become incredibly complex as there is usually a lot of emotional game playing, manipulation and even abuse at play. But the answer to getting the answer you want on it all is quite simple - you need to focus on you. You need to take what you learnt from this experience and give yourself all the things you didn’t get from that person. You need to surround yourself with the people who can offer you the unconditional love and support you didn’t get from that person. You need to remind yourself of all the amazing things that make you uniquely you that that person tried to tear down, change or devalue. You need to think about the warning signs you first ignored for the sake of keeping the relationship going, call BS on the excuses you made and you need to implement new standards as of right now.

All of these things will gradually create that sense of finality or closure you need. You have the choice to create that for yourself and I think that’s a good thing to know.

I’m going to do a more in-depth post elaborating more on how exactly to bounce back from a situation such as this one. I hope this helps if you’re someone struggling to move on in pursuit of answers though. You've got this :)

Laura xx

What to do When you can Never Seem to Find Real Love

I was watching something last night that hit such a chord with me that I had to write about it as soon as possible. I don’t really watch that much TV, but Netflix is my total go-to guilty pleasure when I like to completely switch off. I’m currently watching a show called Crazy Ex Girlfriend, which is my absolute ideal because it’s a musical comedy and I’m all about impromptu moments of bursting into song. (No really, I am ha!)

The general theme of the show is about a girl, Rebecca who moves from New York to West Covina in pursuit of getting an ex boyfriend from when she was 16 to fall in love with her. It’s a far more detailed and sophisticated storyline than how I’ve just described it so I recommend you check it out as not only is it hilarious and clever, it’s highly relatable.

So the reason for this post is an episode I watched last night where Rebecca is having a conversation with her therapist. (Well, she’s having a conversation with her in her dream but that’s not so important here). Rebecca is at her wits end, down and depressed about the fact that she can’t seem to find sustainable, deep and genuine love with a guy. She recognises that she has gone from one car crash relationship to another - always relying on a man to be the source of her validation, worthiness and happiness and doesn’t know how to fix this. (Sound familiar??)

The therapist takes her back throughout her life to pinpoint monumental times on her journey as she’s gotten older and to create a deeper sense of self-discovery. There was a moment where Rebecca was at school, taking part in a play. She ends up hooking up with a fellow student, who is also the director and gets so absorbed in him that when he breaks it off, she reacts on her emotions and walks out of the play, feeling she’s unable to be around him.

Rebecca moved on past this, not recognising its significance as she was so young and teen heartbreak is normal. However, she ends up recreating similar relationship patterns in various circumstances as she gets older and still can’t understand why there is a huge void of romantic love in her life when she’s now an adult, accomplished in her career and should have this relationship stuff nailed.

The therapist helps Rebecca to see that she has always had love in her life though. When she walked out on that play, she not only walked away from someone she thought she loved (well, lusted over) but much more importantly, something she loved in the form of being in the play. This obsession with love and men has been a huge reoccurring theme in Rebecca's life.

The reason why this hit a nerve with me is that when it comes to getting over a breakup, s****y dating experiences or just sheer frustration about ‘never meeting the right guy/girl’, we can get so completely and utterly consumed by this. We walk around with this heavy weight of lack on our shoulders and completely disregard the things that can bring infinite love into our worlds. I can relate to this even right now and I’m not going through a breakup. A major love of mine is music and creative writing, which always brings me so much joy to immerse myself in regardless of the outcome. Yet I so often deprive myself of it in pursuit of something else, which lately, has been my work. Don’t get me wrong, I love that SO much too but I recognise there is a need to switch off and tap into the other part of me that really, defined my younger years and that brought me so much happiness and confidence.

Moving onto you though because that’s what I’m here for ❤️

If you are going through a breakup or feel sad, empty, down or even depressed because you don’t have romantic love in your life right now, I want you to think of something that you love to do. If you can’t think of anything, what was something you used to love to do? We ALL have something. I want you to go and do that again. The more we realise that we have actual control over how much love we can bring into our lives, the more fulfilled, vibrant, happy and healthy we’ll be.

There’s also this amazing shift that happens when you start tapping into those things. Without sounding too otherworldly here, your energy changes and you’ll find that you start to attract the feelings, things and people into your life that you feel you’ve been lacking for so long. When you do something you love, you also don’t get so tangled up and crazy about the outcome because the joy comes from the act of doing it.

A big part of pattern breaking if you struggle in the relationship territory is learning how to undo negative behaviours such as being outcome dependent, trying to assert control and completely losing your head, heart and boundaries in the process. When you allow yourself to do the things you love, your psychological dynamic is completely different during these moments and you can learn to apply that to other areas of your life because you’re not so completely consumed in one thing that feels like such a struggle. Your life has far more elements of light, shade and colour within it.

You also begin to appreciate the people around you who do love you - maybe it isn’t romantic love, but it’s love nonetheless and that’s precious. In the case of Rebecca in the show, she was forced to reflect on her friendships (and someone who she completely overlooked as a romantic love interest). So I also suggest you take some time to remember who these people are for you and engage with them on a deeper level too.

It’s really all about shifting from a place of lack to one of abundance (which I know is phrase that’s thrown about a lot in the world of self-help, but it does work). It’s about taking control of the things that you can control. Go and do stuff you love - or just even like! Focus on the love that you do have in your life right now.

See what happens, how it makes you feel and let me know :)

(And now watch this from Crazy Ex Girlfriend for some major lols.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZx5zfkG6oU

Staying Open to Love After Heartbreak

I’ll admit it, I’ve had love on the brain for the past couple of weeks. Who would have thought?! ;) I’ve just returned from a trip from LA, which most wouldn't exactly associate with being a city of love, but I think just taking some out and seeing things from a different perspective (oh, and visiting the Museum of Broken Relationships - more on that soon!) had me thinking about all things love and life.

I write so much about love not working out that it’s easy to slip into a more cynical mindset without even realising. Actually, that’s not strictly true. I am the eternal optimist when it comes to love and that has certainly been the case since coming through my last big breakup. But I think even I get so focused on the down sides to love sometimes. I’m a pro at helping people or writing about the fallout of a breakup and the whole getting back on your feet part but I’ve realised that I don’t write or talk too much about the other parts! And this has possibly filtered into how I approach love as an individual too - I was recently told that I have ‘romantic angst’! What?! I’ve never even heard that phrase before let alone ever considering it to be something I have. And to be fair, it’s on the somewhat more dramatic side and definitely delivered with a heavy dose of humour….but interesting nonetheless! On reflection, I think it’s probably more accurate to say I’ve leaned a little too heavy on the practical side when it comes to love.

The thing is though, without love what is there? Why do so many love songs, stories, films, plays, poems exist? Well, love is the one thing that’s universal, it’s timeless and it never goes in and out of fashion. It’s constant. Yet it’s so easy to edge away from it, particularly after a bad breakup, heartbreak or totally sh***y experience.

It’s hard to know where the parameters lie between letting yourself get caught up in the love whirlwind and sticking to your boundaries. But it can be done. What you learn by going through a breakup and heartbreak, you don’t have to use as a shield. You can use it as like a kind of inner alert system for sure - it will help you spot and act on red flags sooner, it will give you more self awareness of your own habits that might not have served you so well in past relationships or led to getting your heart broken and it will help you choose people that will be a better fit for you. Using it this way makes it even more easy to be open to love again.

Seriously, when you have your own stuff in check and know what you will and won’t put up with and what you want, it makes the love territory a lot less daunting. Sure, heartbreak can still happen. But that comes with far more adventures, learnings, stories and growth than staying coccooned in fear.

Being in love is the thing that means everything. Yep, it can drive us nuts, cause tears, heartbreak, arguments and make us question everything we believe. It can leave us feeling rejected, kick our egos down and leave us feeling so despondent swiping on Tinder night after night to no avail. But when we fixate on all of that negative stuff in pursuit of protection, we completely deny ourselves the chance of incredible happiness. And our own love stories.

It’s also easy to be scared of being in love or falling in love. We can talk ourselves out of it to protect our heart and ego. But why does it have to be all or nothing? Making a decision to go with the flow (but with our awareness in check!) doesn’t mean making the decision to be with that person for the rest of our lives. I think that’s why we tread so carefully because we see each person as potentially the last we’ll be with. That’s sooooo much pressure and completely strips the fun and spark out of the whole journey!

Relationships often end. Many will stick too. That’s just the way it is. We can never really know for sure. But if your relationship does end, it doesn’t mean you’re inadequate, it doesn’t make it any less valuable and and it certainly doesn’t mean it was a failure.

I say this so often but every relationship - good or bad, and every heartbreak, makes us more well-rounded, more resilient, more aware, more creative and more transformed. Overprotecting ourselves dampens our spirit, curiosity and sense of adventure.

So whether you’re head over heels in love, have that giddy/butterfly feeling at the start of something or single and nervous about what the future holds, take the time to be grateful for it! Lead with curiosity! As long as you have your boundaries in place, listen to your gut feeling/intuition and keep that inner alert switched on there’s no reason to not celebrate the feeling. Whether it lasts a moment or a lifetime, it’s one to be cherished.

I hope this doesn’t come across as too preachy because it’s kind of a note to myself as well as to you all ;)

Laura x

What to do when you Feel like Giving up on Love

Love can sometimes really suck.

Or, that’s what we tell ourselves because it might well be what we’ve experienced. After going through a hell of a breakup or one bad date after another or being let down by people you’re dating again and again…you know how it goes….it’s hard to stay optimistic.

When it comes to love, we can get jaded. We think that we’ll never have a love again like we did with our ex or give up altogether because he/she is clearly just not out there.

The thing is, when we have all of these dismal views towards love and finding love, it’s all we see. Don’t worry I’m not going to go all woo woo on you all here (well, not too much ;)) but when you choose to see a certain perspective, that is what your world and your life will show you.

Yes, you may have been getting yourself out there online and going on date after date and feel like you’re putting all the ‘work’ in. But believe me, if you’re mind has become programmed to expect the worse then you’re setting yourself up for dating doom from the get-go.

In many ways, we become conditioned to think this way too. I've been guilty of this so many times on a general level. To protect myself from a bad outcome when I don’t feel confident, like I don't have control or to avoid disappointment, it’s almost like I preempt that not so great outcome to 'prepare myself'. I tell myself to not get too excited and then the hurt or disappointment won’t feel like such a crash. I have a friend who does it when it comes to men and dating all.the.time. She tells me it goes well but that she’s ‘told herself to not get excited because these things never seem to work out’. I have another friend who is always suspicious that the men she dates are only after one thing with her. There’s nothing coincidental about the fact that she seems to mostly attract men who only prove what she believes. Why? Because she feels safer lowering her standards and so she ends up dating guys who are nothing but a waste of her time.

Can you see how this perpetual way of thinking never, ever helps us or gets us what we want?

What I’ve learnt through recognising this way of thinking in myself, especially when it comes to dating and love, is that there’s a huge difference between being realistic and keeping a level head, and then just thinking the worst.

And look, this isn’t about going in all gung-ho, not having any of your boundaries in place and completely ignoring any red flags. In so many ways actually, when you are clear on those and can act on them accordingly, then there’s no reason to bring in Debbie Downer or Sad Sam attitudes towards love because you’re far better equipped to filter out the douchebags (of the male and female variety!).

And if you do get blindsided, even when you do have all of those in place, well that happens too. It’s life.

Being jaded about love happens to so many of us at some point and I think if you are feeling like this there are a few things you can do -:

- Take a break. Focus on other stuff that brings you happiness. You might not be happy single but if dating is making you miserable, take a step back and focus on making your own life the most amazing it can be. When you can get excited, happy or enthusiastic about other things outside of love, energetically (sorry for the woo woo again but this is true) you will attract all kinds of different people and opportunities to you. Also, try not to make bold claims about 'giving up', 'accepting it's never going to happen' etc etc either. Again, this puts up subconscious blocks. Put attention on yourself but stay open!

- Talk it out. I had such an amazing conversation with a good friend on the phone the other night. We’re both single, are building our businesses and there’s been a few hurdles for us both recently. BUT, talking, laughing like crazy and offering advice and support and most importantly, getting excited about all the amazing things that have happened and are happening for each of us made us BOTH feel fantastic (thank you for that G ❤). Who you spend time around or speak to is so key, guys. Yes you want your friends/family to be honest with you of course, but if you’re surrounding yourself with people whose attitudes and opinions are bleaker than that film The Mist, then that is what you will feel and get. If you’re able to go on dates in the first place, there is a TON of stuff to be excited about and grateful for.

- Which brings me onto gratitude. I cringe as much as the next person when I see the #blessed hashtag all over social media BUT do not ever underestimate how important gratitude is. You haven’t found love yet but you’re reading this on some kind of techie device which means that you’re at an immediate advantage to so many other people out there. Taking some time to be grateful for who and what you DO have when you feel like your love life is an utter sh** show, can help put things into perspective.

- Just do things that make you feel good, that build your confidence and remind you of all the great things you have going for you or things that you can aim towards. For YOU. Oh, and just don't take it all so seriously! That might seem easy to say, but it's easier to practice than you might think ;)

Finding love is something to get excited about! You might have been dating for years and years and years and haven’t found it yet. You might have gone through one bad breakup too many and still can’t meet the guy/girl. You might have been treated badly in the past. Sorry to be blunt but so what? The experiences you had in the past don’t have to be what you get in your future regardless of how many rough ones there have been!

I help people in dating and coach in this area and I still haven’t found love again either! I’m certainly not immune to all of those thoughts about wanting it though. I feel the same sometimes! But I’ve learnt to be more than ok with not having it yet because I’m SO excited for it when it does happen! I’m 100% honest when I say that I'm excited about it, and I’ve had my share of rough experiences too. Again, so what though? I have other things, people and goals in life that make me happy and keep me focused and I think that’s a big part of figuring this love and life thing out.

So, if you’re telling yourself you’ll never find love and you DO want to find it, it’s simple. You need to change your attitude, see a different perspective and tell yourself a different story.

Laura xx

Ex Moved on Quickly? Here's what you Need to know

That gut-wrenching moment when you find out your ex has moved on with someone else.

Whether they’re seeing, sleeping with or in a full blown relationship with someone else, the pain of knowing that it’s really over can be unbearable.

I think part of that pain is not being able to understand how they're able to move on so quickly. How can they just disregard us and go straight into something with someone else?

Obviously they didn’t love us that much in the first place.

Maybe they were secretly seeing that person behind our back.

The relationship clearly didn’t mean that much to them.

They found the break-up easy whilst we’re still here in pain.

All of these things can go through our minds because the thought of us being with anybody else just isn’t an option. So how can they just hop onto Tinder in search of the next person whilst we’re crying ourselves to sleep, resembling someone who looks possessed the next morning?

I think it’s important to understand that all of the thoughts listed above, many times, aren’t true. Just because someone has seemingly moved on quickly, it doesn’t mean that they didn’t love us or that they’re over us or that the relationship didn’t matter to them. Just think of all the stories you hear where someone has dated a guy/girl and it hasn’t worked out because they were still hung up on their ex?

The thing is, often people go in hot pursuit of finding someone else because they think that will fill the void of being without their ex. It will fill the gap where the relationship was and will fix what they’re feeling, which they can’t handle or deal with alone. Even if the relationship ended for the right reasons and they don’t want to be with you, moving on quickly doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten you. It probably means that this is what they’re using as a plaster/bandaid to temporarily heal that wound.

It’s rare that you can meet someone when you're straight out of a relationship and be fully in that new relationship for the right reasons. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen, but in many cases, it’s to fill that gap. That black hole of emotion that we just don’t know what to do with.

Some people struggle to face being on their own and what that means. They want to know that they can still get someone else and instead of using the time to get over the break-up and focus on themselves, they jump straight into the thing that’s going to give them the instant reassurance and confidence boost - dating someone else. And whilst doing that they’ll be taking all of the stuff from the break-up over into that new dating scenario or relationship, which is a cocktail for a complete and utter car crash.

So if you are feeling crushed that you’re sitting here alone and your ex is out with someone else and plastering pictures about their new amazing life on Facebook, just know that it can be a coping mechanism. People deal with break-ups very differently and just because on the surface it doesn’t look like they’re feeling anything, that likely isn’t true.

But what matters here is you, not them. What matters, and what I try to focus on when coaching people through this stuff, is that you’re setting yourself up SO MUCH BETTER by allowing yourself to feel this pain and kind of feel through it. Taking the time out alone and to be single is important because it helps you get over this break-up and everything that comes with that. It means that when you do want to go out dating again, you’ll be starting fresh over (or as much as is possible) instead of taking all that crappy break-up residue along the way.

This isn’t to say that you should now live in denial about the break-up and sit here waiting for your ex to stop dating other people, realise the error of their ways and beg you back. As I said before, the relationship probably is over. But just know that just because they’re with someone else or going on a dating spree, it doesn’t mean you have instantly been forgotten.

And if they are able to genuinely move on that quick, then the relationship clearly wasn't right for you either.

What’s important is that you focus your time and attention on what you can do right NOW to move forwards.

f you would like more 1:1 help with getting over your ex, I offer a Move On From Your Ex Rewiring Power Hour, where I will introduce you to a range of tools and techniques that will help you to rewire your thought patterns to be able to let go of your ex. You can book that here.

I also have my private group (this one is for girls only) here called Girl Chat with Laura where I share more videos and content geared towards women. Request to join and I will add you!

Laura xx

How to Love Yourself After a Break-Up

Love yourself. It's a bit cringey that phrase isn't it? Not that I don't agree with it because it's absolutely true. But when people advise that you ‘learn to love yourself’ after a break-up, it's a bit of an alien one to grasp after nights of ugly crying, too much wine and struggling to even put a comb through your hair. If your self esteem is at an all time low, going and doing something nice for yourself just isn't going to cut it.

So how do you actually learn to love yourself after a break-up? In my opinion, there is only so much you can do with feel-good affirmations, talking to yourself kindly, getting your hair done or even working out. Don't get me wrong, all of that is valuable and will help, but when it comes to building your core self-esteem, which is where loving or at least liking yourself derives from, all of that has it's limits.

You need something more than that. You need more of a foundation.

A huge part of loving yourself comes from setting your boundaries and then walking your talk and living by them.

Say you've been cheated on and you're feeling rejected, hurt and maybe a bit victimised. Loving yourself will come from not going over and over what happened but looking at where you might have missed or ignored the signs. Were you turning a blind eye to bad behaviour, did you have doubts that you didn't communicate or were too afraid to voice in case you got the answer you dreaded? Well, loving yourself now is all about dissecting where all of that came from and setting those boundaries to make sure that doesn't happen again. It's taking everything you learned and enforcing some inner ground rules for yourself for the future.

Loving yourself is having the respect for yourself to not be a victim and not let this experience filter into your next relationships.

When we love someone so much that we let bad behaviour slide or let those gut instinct or hunches go, our boundaries drop quicker than a dodgy facelift. And then when it's over, we place the blame on the other person and can go into this victim mentality, which isn't congruent to learning to love ourselves at all. We listen to empowering songs to build us up and tell our friends that he/she can go to hell, but then secretly we're texting them telling them how much we miss them or gravitating towards people who will also treat us badly. We have no boundaries and therefore our emotions and self-worth becomes a free-for-all for others to just do what they want with. This all starts with what we allow in. It's not actually the fault of the other person or people. It's inevitable we'll all meet some prize tools when it comes to matters of the heart but we can love ourselves enough to learn from that moving forwards, and take responsibility for our part.

What setting boundaries and loving yourself doesn't mean is putting up walls and refusing to let people in or have fun. Or to not be able to go with the flow and be spontaneous. And of course, things will take us by surprise and come out of the blue where we might not get the outcome we want and wind up hurt.

But when it comes to loving yourself throughout these things, it's having the respect for yourself to know what you will/won't put up with and in turn, others knowing that too. But they'll only know that when you act upon what you're saying. You don't need to tell someone. You just have to show them. So it's having a word with yourself when you might convince yourself that going and meeting that guy at 1am (that you already know won't commit) is just a bit of fun, but knowing deep down that you'll wake up the next day and feel like crap because he didn't even walk you home last time that happened. Or knowing that girl is only texting you last minute to see you because her other plans fell through and you're the backup.

Loving yourself is being stronger than giving into the temptation of something that you know isn't good for you. It's looking at what hasn't worked with previous men or women you've dated/been in a relationship with and committing to change those repetitive patterns that have caused the same situation to keep happening again and again. Loving yourself is taking full responsibility for yourself and not allowing your self worth or how good you feel to be determined by others.

And once you get working on this, doing the surface stuff when it comes to loving yourself will seem all the more sweeter :)

It's not an easy one and it takes time, but it's so so so important.

Hope you found this helpful in some way! Do let me know what you think, As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts :)

Laura x

Image courtesy of theunboundedspirit.com

Anxiety about being Single in your 30's?

I was talking to a guy friend recently and the conversation turned to relationships, dating in your 30's and how things become a little different. I know when I came out of my last relationship, I definitely felt that pressure of now being single in my 30's when everyone around me seemed to be doing the marriage, babies and settling thing. (Even as a coach, I get the same niggling insecurities, believe me!). He was saying how now he's had a couple of years single after his last relationship and knows he wants the marriage, kids and feels that pressure too, but is scared that he hasn't sorted himself out enough to offer that to someone. So he's resisting and holding back, yet still knows he wants it and isn't sure how to bridge that gap.

We're complicated creatures aren't we!

The thing is, dating at whatever age should ultimately be an opportunity to meet new people, have new experiences and figure out what you want/don't want.

But tell that to someone who is desperate to settle down and feeling the pressure; it's not exactly the ideal piece of advice they want to hear! Things are shifting in my own life at the moment and it's made me think about this - relationships, what I really want and as someone who has felt that slight anxiety at times about being single in my 30's, here are a few things I've learned.

It really does start with you

Anxieties about relationships can reveal a lot about other things. We can look to finding the perfect relationship to fix the other stuff going on in life - the things we feel we lack or the things that aren't working for us. My friend just mentioned is unhappy in his job and feels stuck. It's not a great feeling for him but because he's become so aware of it, it's made him realise that perhaps that's why he's scared to let someone else into his life. His view is that he's not the best man he can be whilst he's so unhappy with a major part of his life. I think that makes total sense.

I'm not saying that once he finds a better job, the relationship will all of a sudden click into place, but he'll be a lot happier and therefore putting out a different vibe. Being around someone who hates their job (especially someone who isn't doing anything to change that) can be a real energy suck and just isn't attractive, so if something in your life isn't working - be it your work/career, lifestyle, habits and so on, you have to get yourself into gear and do what you can to change it. It will very likely alter your approach and attitudes to relationships and dating. And in your 30's…..well this is the time to get to the core of all of this and take responsibility!

Comparing is pointless

Yep, another one I'm sometimes guilty of doing! It's true, many of my friends are married, have kids and all that. And you know, when your friends tell you 'how amazing' their husbands are or when you're supposed to be out for drinks, the conversation never fails to turn to an account of their baby getting it's first tooth, the endless pictures etc…you smile and make all the right noises, but really it's irritating you or killing you because you can't relate to that (and maybe want to). Plus you've probably had the digital lowdown on Facebook already and seen the same pictures tagged 'amazing weekend with my gorgeous little family', which doesn't help in the throws of comparison either.

But you know what, I have just as many friends who are single too. A few are in mediocre relationships because that's safer for them. And a handful are in the process of, or have gotten divorced. I don't know about you, but I'd much rather take my time and wait for the right person than go through all that emotional and financial hassle. We tend to focus on noticing the things that we lack but what others have, rather than seeing the overall picture.

The thing is, none of that really matters anyway when it comes to you.

People are other people; they're not you. Comparing yourself to others is going to lead to feelings of envy or jealousy and no good can come of that. Unless you can channel that in a positive way, which would be seeing something in others that you want to work towards having in your own life - but not feeling bitterness or disappointment because of it.

I will admit, being shoved photos in my face of other people's children on a night out isn't my idea of a fabulous time but it's a big thing for those people, which I understand and I love to see them happy. I don't get riddled with anxiety because of it because I'm pretty happy in my own life. All that is eventually something for my future and I'm content with that.

(My friend Lucy bases her entire coaching around getting over the comparison trap so if this is something you're struggling with, I definitely suggest you check her out.)

If you know what you want, be bold about that!

There are a ton of self-empowering articles out there on being single, and that's great. But there's also nothing wrong with wanting to settle down. If you want the marriage, a family then that's awesome and something you need to keep in mind when you are dating. I think sometimes we can tell ourselves that we're not bothered about all of that and maybe want to be perceived as the guy/girl who is 'cool to go with the flow and whatever' or the person who is all about the career or travel. And obviously that's fine too if you want that. But if you are after something serious then be bold about it and don't waste your time with people who don't! You definitely don't want to go on every first date bringing up conversations about wedding venues and first dance songs, but don't invest your time and energy with people who clearly want something different just for the sake of being with someone.

Don't make dating a separate project from everything else in your life

I think we can look at dating as something completely separate from our day-to-day life - like there's our life and then our 'dating life'. The more pressure you put on it the more it will just become draining and a hassle. Dating should really just be an enhancement to your life. This is why it's so important you er…still live your life. Not from a place of lack but using being single as an opportunity (and to be able to do all those things your married with kids mates moan they can't do!) The more active your life is the more people you'll meet, the more interesting you'll become, the more attractive you'll be and the more chance you'll have of attracting a great partner and having choices. Not just relying on dating apps, sites and singles nights. Mix it up so that it becomes more natural - an integrated part of your life. Put yourself in places where you'll always be meeting new people.

Remember, it's completely fine to feel these anxieties - we all feel them now and again. Don't let the stress get the better of you because that will radiate from you when you do go on dates and you don't want dating to turn into an interview process. It is supposed to be fun! You can have that balance of going with the flow but with intention.

Being single at any age is completely normal and there’s nothing wrong with it. If all your friends are married/in relationships then do things to make some new ones so that you're not constantly surrounded by it. Turn your anxiety into a positive - know what you want and mould your life (and yourself) into something that will allow that in instead of just worrying about it but doing nothing. Try to relax, because you are where you are and that's fine! Do things and be around people who help you see that it's a great place to be and use it to your advantage :)

I'd love to hear any thoughts you have on this!

25 Things I Learned about my Break-up - 1 Year on

When I was going through a tough time in my last relationship, I always used to go on a walk near my house. There was something about being amongst nature that was soothing. It pacified the emotional chaos in my head and it's also where much of the inspiration behind what I'm doing today came from. It became my safe haven.

I still go on that walk most days. And now the warmer weather has arrived it seems poignantly strange as it brings back all of those memories. Today, I realised that I had even more of an urge to venture there more than normal. As I was walking it dawned on me that it was almost exactly this time last year that I ended my relationship. It made me reflect upon the past year and what my break-up has taught me.

So, as I like to do, I thought I would share away....

1) My happiness doesn't come from someone else. Nor should I put that kind of expectation or responsibility on someone else.

2) If it didn't work before, chances are it won't work again.

3) I will never compromise on feeling less than I know I deserve. But to know what I deserve I've had to learn to value myself. And because of that I've grown in ways I never thought possible.

4) I've learnt to take responsibility for myself.

5) Always always ALWAYS trust your gut. If you have a hunch something ain't right, it probably isn't.

6) My health and wellbeing is always going to be the most important thing to be at my best.

7) This year has been one of the most transformational in my business and personal life. The two of which often merge together. I'm so grateful for all the incredible friends and inspirational connections I've made since starting this venture - to find people I have genuine common ground with and who I also have a great time with. Many of which I'm sure will be friends forever.

8) Surrounding yourself with great people and trusting them, is one of the most important things you can do when going through a break-up.

9) The drama of a relationship that has gone beyond fixing is not worth the drama.

10) …and don't do things that are going to create drama.

11) I learned to let go despite the fairytale ending I convinced myself was meant to be.

12) I learned to forgive. Yes, I sometimes still might think he's a word that I won't grace this page with, but almost now in a way that I can smile about it on reflection. I certainly don't hate, wish him bad or feel that emotional attachment. Whatever happens in a relationship and it's breakdown, both people have to take responsibility for something. I am and have in my part and I'm sure he probably is in his. The good memories are good and I still have those. But I see things how they were in reality as opposed to how I wanted them to be.

13) No matter how much you rationalise it or how much love there is, that doesn't mean it's right.

14) I've learned that I can still fall for somebody else. Um, yeah, in 2 weeks ;) I also recognise that this is something I got caught up in as we can sometimes do. And no, it didn't work out how I envisaged. But, it showed me I can feel that way about someone and get those butterflies. This time last year - even 6 months ago, I never thought that would be possible. And there will be others. It was a kicker but in a strange way I'm grateful that experience happened.

15) The above experience showed me how far I've come in recognising my own value. A couple of years ago I'd have beaten myself up, thinking I'm not good enough, dwelling on it. Now, I can just see it for what it is and move on.

16) I've learned that dating is still a bloody minefield! But with the right approach and mindset (and solid diary coordination!), it's really fun.

17) Love isn't about having all the same things in common, liking what someone does for a living, what they look like or even how they live their life. It's about supporting why they are who they are and why they do what they do.

18) I've learned that enthusiasm is good. Passion is great. But only when there's compassion.

19) I've learned there are some really decent guys out there.

20) I've also learned that there are some with very unfortunate surnames.....

21) Relationships don't make your life. Your life makes a relationship.

22) I've learned that love and feeling loved means different things to different people. They can even be conflicting. In a relationship, you have to communicate to each other what these are and what you both need to feel loved.

23) I've learned to push myself out of comfort zones.

24) Social media and a break-up don't go hand in hand.

25) I've learned to be grateful for everything that happened. That experience evolved into a fierce desire to help other people going through the same thing. I love what I do and it's created so many opportunities, friends and sense of purpose.

So there we have it. I think there's probably many more but those are the main ones that come to mind right now. I'd be really interested to hear your thoughts on what you've learned so please do leave a comment. Or you can reach out to me personally on contact@laurayates.org

Laura x

How to Deal with Feelings of Rejection

One of the hardest (and most long-lasting) challenges to deal with after a break-up is undoubtedly the feeling of rejection. Maybe you were cheated on, maybe you were broken up with out of the blue, maybe they said they didn't love you anymore. Well it's obvious isn't it? You weren't good enough.

Well no, this is quite wrong. The thing is, we get so used to perceiving things not working out in the way we hoped as 'being rejected' that it becomes instilled in us. We didn't get the job because we weren't as clever as the successful candidate, we weren't let into the popular crowd at school because we weren't pretty enough…..The thing to understand is that it isn't a direct response to us being good or not good enough. It's more about where the other person is at, what they need/are looking for at the time or it can just be the situation. Not a direct attack on us and our worth.

Whatever though, we still feel it. I know in a relationship that I was in I was consumed by the idea that I wasn't good enough. This was never really the case at all - it was just a story I was telling myself. I was just reacting to the way the other person was behaving and convinced myself that he was acting that way because I wasn't good enough. The truth is, that's just the way he was in a relationship. It wasn't always fair on me or right but it wasn't because he didn't think I was good enough for him. And if you are feeling like this in a relationship it's really important to get a grasp on why that is. Are you feeling unnecessarily insecure or paranoid about the other person? In which case you'll be giving off that vibe which will put pressure on the relationship and might actually end in your partner wanting to finish it. So maybe you just need to relax into it more and focus on the things in your life that make you feel great outside of the relationship so you're not obsessing purely on that. Think about whether the feeling of rejection is actually coming from something in you rather than as a result of what the other person is doing/not doing. Or are you being made to feel rejected because you're being treated badly? In which case, take control. It's not because you're not good enough, it's because your boyfriend/girlfriend is probably just a (insert your choice of word here ;) )

If after a break-up you're still consumed by these feelings of rejection, it can be useful to sit down and really think about it logically and realistically. Write down exactly why you are feeling rejected and what actual evidence there is to support that. Here are some thoughts that might then change your mindset a little when doing this. Even if you were broken up with, that doesn't mean you weren't 'good enough'. It means that the relationship wasn't right in whatever way that is for the other person. Relationships are dynamic and life has so many twists and turns and we often don't communicate enough. We're not always on the same bus as our partner. Sometimes a relationship for one person has just run its course or they feel they can't offer you what you need. That's not because of you being less than them though. They're just in a different place to where you are and they want or need something else. And although it's really painful now, them ending it is much better than continuing because they don't want to hurt you or would prefer to stay in a relationship that they're not happy with just because that’s easier than the alternative.

If you were cheated on or betrayed in some way, this is awful to deal with. But it says far more about them than you. You probably desperately love them still and are torturing yourself about whether it was because you weren't attractive enough or not to their standards or whatever you think the reason behind it was. The harsh truth is if someone can betray you in that way, they're not a good fit for you. Don't obsess about why they ran off with the other person. It's hard to do but a completely negative use of emotional time. What you need to do is amp up how you feel about yourself and take a step outside of those negative obsessive thoughts. It's unrealistic to just say 'forget about it and move on' though so try committing for 1 week. Try putting these thoughts aside as much as you can. Place putting yourself first and doing things to make yourself feel good as a priority for 7 little days - do something every day no matter how small it is and then see if that feeling of rejection has lifted, even a little by the end of the week. See if your view on it has changed.

The more we obsess over thoughts of rejection the more we immerse ourselves in them, build them up and the more real they seem. We then accept them as so and don't do any of the work to change how we feel which then ends up in feelings of rejection lasting for months or even years. What we often fail to see if that it's actually more about the other person or the circumstances and far less about us. Think to a time when you ended a relationship or decided against dating someone. I bet it was because they or the relationship didn't match what you wanted at that time rather than because they weren't good enough or that you saw them as less than you. The thought of them wallowing in rejection because of that would probably seem nuts to you?! It's also handy to remember that sometimes we don't know how to express our own wants and needs to someone else in this type of situation. It's always awkward knowing the best way to tell someone which can often result in us unintentionally doing it the wrong way (brushing them off or ignoring them for example which of course, doesn't make the other person feel great!) instead of just being honest and possibly avoiding the other person taking it so personally and feeling like we've rejected them.

Also, if you were broken up with because of a specific behaviour you displayed or a build up of behaviours that were addressed but didn't change and led to your ex ending the relationship, don't take this as rejection either. It's just a wake up call that you probably need to work on what this issue is to prevent it happening again. Don't stew in rejection if it's something you can be proactive about changing.

Feelings of rejection can be incredibly tough to deal with and is such a complex topic that I'd love to expand more on. But I hope this might help anyone who is struggling as a starting point.