relationships

How to Make Online Dating Fun

Photo by  Kiwihug  on  Unsplash

Photo by Kiwihug on Unsplash

•This is a guest post

There’s no denying it – online dating can feel like somewhat of a slog. Endless dates that don’t go anywhere, ghosting (although to be fair – that happens with offline dating too!), never being sure if the person’s profile is aligned to their real life persona, never even getting to the stage where you meet the person face-to-face!

Many people can feel like it’s a waste of time and become despondent.

So, this guest post is designed to get straight to the point on how to approach online dating with a curious and explorative mindset. Ultimately, how to make it as stress free and fun as possible!

Let’s get straight on with the tips.

 ●      Don’t Knock It Until You’re Sure

Don’t let anyone peer pressure you into signing up for any dating sites. I was told by friends a long time ago to sign up for a site because they thought I needed it and honestly, I didn’t feel the need for it then at all. So, don’t let anyone force you into signing up because if you aren’t interested, you will get bored soon and wonder why it’s not working. Get into the proper headspace before jumping on this ship because if you lose interest, the whole fun part of online dating is missing.

●      Work on Your Profile

The profile is everything, and you have to work on it since first impressions are everything. If you need some help, you can go through this best tinder bios article and you can use it on your profile on any online dating app.

Use a good photo, choose the right words for your bio and keep it interesting because after all, people will like you only when that bio catches their eye.

Keep your bio concise but interesting, and perhaps consider spending a little extra cash on getting the perfect photos - first impressions are everything. I mention my interests and hobbies in my bio because sometimes, these little details can start some great conversations.

●      Don’t Be Dishonest

Your bio has to contain the truth, if not the whole of it, then some of it, and lying is a strict no-no, on your end and theirs. I remember going on a date with a guy who said he liked Games of Thrones, and I was excited since I’m a fan and I thought this date would be fun and we could discuss some common fan theories. But turns out, he lied on his bio and thought he’d be interesting if he said so on his profile.

Now, I know this isn’t a big lie and not watching a popular show isn’t a huge deal breaker, but he didn’t have to lie to look interesting to people and then get caught in his lie—no one likes that.

●      Have Fun with Your Profile

That been said, don’t forget to keep your bio fun, after all, who likes reading a boring profile? Don’t just say, “Hi, I am Miley, I am 25 and I work as a banker”, it is so dull and it doesn’t even say who you are properly! Show some personality, show your fun side, mention your interest and even if it’s a quirky interest, who knows who might be attracted by that?

Don’t be too serious, you’re here to have fun, and I did learn this the hard way when I realized my brief, dry description wasn’t getting me any likes, and soon as I switched it up, I got to talk with some really cool people.

●      Indulge Your Curiosity

You can’t be afraid of stepping out of your comfort zone every now and then. If someone looks interesting, even though if you think they aren’t your type, you don’t know how the date will end. I remember going on a date with this guy who collected vintage movie posters and did you know that Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo movie poster had hand-drawn typography inspired by German movies from the 20s? As an art enthusiast and mystery movie lover, this tidbit of information led to a second date at a screening of Vertigo that I enjoyed very much.

I’m not a classic movie person much, but now I have bookmarked Casablanca and I can’t wait to watch it.

●      Know What You Want

This is so crucial; you need to know what you want. You need to establish your boundaries and you need to let people know what your limits are as well. My teenage years were over, so now in my thirties, I knew what I wanted and most importantly, I knew what I didn’t want. This saved me a lot of trouble, I could understand right away which conversations weren’t happening and which dates won’t lead to anything else. I was here to have fun, but that didn’t mean that I couldn’t pick and choose.

●      Learn to Handle Rejections

Rejection sucks, there are no two ways around it and I feel like it doesn’t stop stinging like a something spicy getting in your eye. You pretend it doesn’t bother you, but it does and no amount of cold water washes it away, but you learn to handle it. You have to learn how to handle it because as the old saying goes, there’s plenty of fish in the sea.

 Things can be a huge hit or miss when you start online dating and there will be good days, good dates and then there will be dates that will be the fodder for stories to share with your friends at three in the morning. Maybe, try it out and you never know - the outcome might surprise you! Remember, mindset is everything.

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.

Why Won’t They Fight For Me?

Photo by  Hunter Newton  on  Unsplash

This question comes up a lot in the messages I receive from people. They’ve come out of a breakup and typically, their ex was the one who maybe cheated or was engaging in behaviour that was disrespectful in some way. The person messaging me is the one who seemed to make all the compromises, sacrifices and bended their boundaries big time to try and make the relationship work.

The breakup happens and the person who acted in ways that hurt the other has now descended into victim mentality, wants to give up, even if the other person was willing to forgive and fight for the relationship.

 “What gives? Why won’t that person fight for me when I was willing to let go and forgive to save this relationship?!”

Although logically and intellectually we know that this kind of emotional dynamic isn’t one that will end well, on an emotional level it still hurts to know our ex doesn’t want to fight for us. It seems unfair and like we’ve completely lost control. We want to be the one who walks away with our crown in place and head held high but it feels like the only way we can feel valued is if our ex says ‘I want to fight for you, I’ll do anything it takes.’

When what they say is the opposite, or if they seem defeated, want to walk away and decline our offer of forgiveness, it hurts. 

What you always need to come back to is if the trust has gone on some level, no amount of ‘fighting’ will be able to erase that. Whilst relationships take work, communication and compromise, the need to ‘fight’ for a relationship is a huge red flag in itself. I think the idea of it has been glamorised in films, romantic novels and TV but in reality, there are too many people in the world out there who you can find a much more harmonious relationship with. It won’t be like a fight. It might not feel it now because you had so much pinned on that person and that relationship but that doesn’t mean you should need to fight to make it work, if it’s already broken. 

After a breakup, we also don’t have a clear perspective of the difference between what we want and what is good for us. They are two different things. When we’re so emotionally attached to someone, we think we might want to forgive and forget because we’re reacting from a place of heightened emotion. We’ll do anything to keep that person even if it means going way against our values and boundaries. The only way to see what is good for us on a soul level, is to create that emotional distance.

The remains of a relationship can’t be rebuilt on quicksand. If you’re not both in it with all your heart after both taking time to reflect and get perspective in a healthy way, your only choice is to walk. 

If the person who has cheated or done wrong in some way has lost the will to continue the relationship - whether they’re in denial or even if they do regret their behaviour, this is your green light to exit once and for all. That’s all you need to know.

Although it’s devastating when this happens and of course, our confidence can plummet because it feels so personal, you have to keep looking at the long-term, bigger picture.

Whilst you are in those raw times of hurt, sadness and feeling like you deserve more, have things like journaling, EFT (tapping), a support network and doing things that make you feel grounded and nurtured in place. But always be thinking of the future you who will be thriving when this period ends. Know that although it feels sh** now, you walked away from something with grace and dignity; knowing what is best for your highest self, even if you had to suffer the hurt in the short-term. 

Not fighting for someone or a relationship isn’t about fairness and it’s not about thinking we deserve it if we’ve put all the effort in. It’s awful when we’re cheated on and it’s natural to take it personally but when we look at it like a transaction e.g. I was the one cheated on, I’m willing to forgive so therefore I deserve to be fought for, it becomes more about our ego and needing that person to validate us rather than stepping out into the unknown and learning how to validate ourselves.

That is what you truly deserve - to set yourself free to live your life in alignment with your values and when you feel ready, find someone who you won’t have to fight for, who won’t engage in behaviour that compromises your boundaries. To be with someone that, you know, it feels a lot easier with and who you feel loved by and valued by 100% of the time! 

Walking away from something and someone that isn’t right will give you so much more self-worth than trying to be fought for by someone whose heart just isn’t in it. Or in a relationship dynamic that is broken and one-sided.

When your ex doesn’t give you what you feel you need, it’s the best lesson you can enrol in when it comes to confidence and self-love. Because you can learn how to give that to yourself. And that makes you truly unstoppable.  

Laura xx

 

Self-Care & Creating Healthy Habits with Jaime McLaughlin. New Bounce Back Podcast Episode

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I wanted to pop on the blog and let you know that I have a new Bounce Back podcast episode out with self-care strategist (and expert in all things hair and beauty!) Jaime McLaughlin.

Jaime is the founder of The Mac House and let me tell you - she's the queen of all things bounce back. She's had quite a journey going from a single mother of 2 in her early 20's who found herself in a cycle of destructive relationships, to happily married, owning a successful business as a mum of 4 kids and doing what she loves.

Jaime gives some incredible advice on how to build resilience and we also talk beauty and style on a budget, motherhood (and how to find time for yourself even as a busy mum), creating healthy habits that set you up for the day, what self-care means from both an internal and external perspective and working through relationship struggles. 

Jaime is hugely talented in all things hair, makeup and beauty so this was a fun way for me to get some tips too ;)  You can listen in here.

I hope you enjoy and I'd love to know what your key takeaway from this episode was? Let me know in the comments!

Love,
Laura xx

Is My Ex Happy With Their New Partner?

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Hello! It’s been a while since I’ve been here on the blog but I’m excited to be getting back into the swing of writing again!

I thought I would start with a topic that repeatedly arises with clients I work with and readers. One I often would ponder over myself of course too. 

The question of whether an ex is happy with their new partner.

It can feel so incredibly brutal when we find out our ex has met someone new. Especially when we feel we have invested so much time and emotion into the relationship and then they just suddenly…well….move on.

So many questions consume our thoughts - ‘Did they love us in the first place?’, ‘How can they be happy when we’re stuck in a cycle of misery?’ and the most potent of all the thoughts ‘Is this new person going to change them/get the best of them?’

This final question can feel like a living purgatory and can ignite so many emotions. Fear, anger, loss, shame, guilt. It’s like a never-ending, not fun rollercoaster and makes it so much harder to gain a sense of closure of the relationship. Let’s be real; a breakup can feel easier to deal with when we know our ex is suffering too. But when we find out they’ve met someone and splashing their happiness all over town, especially if it was their bad behaviour or some kind of wrong doing that triggered the breakup, and yet here we are still engulfed in a myriad of horrible emotions and pain, how can that be fair? 

And then we start thinking that maybe if we’d have hung in there that bit longer or compromised just a little more, they’d still be with us and not with this new person who is now going to get the best of them? Whilst we’re here alone and miserable!

Ugh, it’s truly exhausting isn’t it. 

Well, the purpose of this post is to try and shed some light on this tough to navigate situation. Let’s cut straight to it - and let’s shout this one louder for the people at the back!

Just because your ex is with someone new, this doesn’t mean that they will now gloriously transform into a new person or that it will eradicate their previous bad behaviour or habits that contributed to the breakup in some way. 

Even if they end up getting engaged to or marrying that person, this also doesn’t mean an automatic remedy for toxic behaviour and will only serve as an expensive, elaborate and drastic bandaid/plaster. That’s an important one to remember. 

I get it though - it still feels so tough but what you have to keep reminding yourself is that whilst your ex is probably in the honeymoon period now and putting their best foot forward, their same patterns will start to surface with this new person eventually. By then, you will feel so relieved that this isn’t you and understand that even if you got shot by the bullet whilst in the relationship, the next time round you most definitely dodged it. You will be grateful for that, I assure you.  

I just want to add here that this isn’t about taking glory in the fact that your ex and their partner might experience relationship turbulence and unhappiness later down the line. That’s not what I’m about and it’s not good for any of us to revel in that kind of thought or emotion. Your happiness should be the priority and focus. But what I do want to offer you is some perspective. The new relationship can trigger us into questioning our judgement. It can make us believe that we should have compromised our boundaries more and feel like now we’re going to have to pay the price for letting them go.   

The truth is, if your ex hasn’t resolved their issues, the happiness they’re showing now is temporary. If they need to change in some way in order to know what it means to be part of a healthy relationship, only they can do that. New partners or other people can certainly inspire us or be a positive influence on us and be part of the reason why we want to change if that’s needed, but ultimately, the desire and motivation to change has to come from within. That’s why you will see so many people - and maybe you’ve done this too (because hey, this isn’t about ex-bashing, we all have stuff we could do with working through!) repeating the same patterns in each relationship. Your ex isn’t going to be an anomaly. 

If it’s the type of situation where your ex didn’t really do anything wrong and you find yourself wondering if they’re happy with someone else, I think it’s key to find a way to make peace with the fact that yes, they might be. It doesn’t mean that they weren’t happy with you but as I always say, if a relationship isn’t right for one person then it isn’t right for the other either. What you need to do is find your own sense of happiness again as an individual and regain that sense of owning your life force. We can often look to a partner to fulfil this and breakups can be the perfect catalyst to really understand how to take ownership of ourselves once more. 

The answer to both scenarios is to try and shift your thoughts away from your ex and onto yourself. You have too much of a life to live and that must take priority over worrying about the happiness of your ex. Allow the thoughts to come if they do, but then stop, remember the perspective you now know, and choose a different thought. That’s how the rewiring of eradicating the ex-obsession will start to form. 

I hope this has helped anyone who needs to hear it.

Laura x 

Why we Need to be 'Selfish' in Relationships

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I wanted to share a new podcast I have out asap as it's a GOOD one! I have Dr. Laura Dabney with me on The Bounce Back podcast. Dr. Laura is Virginia’s Top Marriage Counselor & Psychologist and we delve deep into so many juicy topics when it comes to all things relationships.

Including -:

- Why we need to be selfish in relationships

- What it really means to be selfish in practice

- Setting ourselves up for the right relationship when we're single

- How to communicate effectively 

- Breaking the pattern of bad habits

- How to spot a red flag and what to do!

You can listen in here

This one is filled with actionable tips and advice so I know you're going to get so much from it! 

Love,
Laura xx

Coping with a Breakup When You Weren’t ‘Officially’ Dating

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Breakups are hard enough when you’re in a relationship but what about those breakups when you’re only ‘kind of’ or casually dating someone? Somehow, I think these breakups can actually be harder to transition through because it’s almost like we don’t feel like we should or deserve to grieve that relationship - whatever it was.

So I thought I would talk about this topic more. A follower sent me this on instagram this week -:


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Who can relate??! I think it’s a huge challenge of dating in today’s world!

In fact, I remember going through a very similar experience a few years ago. I really liked this guy - everything seemed to be going amazingly and very quickly (which in itself, when I reviewed the signs and circumstances was a red flag). In all honesty, the lifetime of the relationship was only about 6 weeks. We were never ‘official’ because he was admittedly emotionally unavailable but when things ended, it knocked me harder than a couple of my longer-term relationships.

The thing was, I didn’t quite know how to get over it or move through it because we were never in an actual relationship. I felt like the usual ‘steps’ didn’t really apply to me. I felt like I couldn’t get the closure I needed.

After speaking with so many people on this, coaching them through it and of course, having gone through it myself those years ago, I wanted to share how you can deal with it if you find yourself in this mindf**kery of a scenario too!

What You Are Feeling is Real and OK

Ok so first of all, the ‘terms’ of the relationship aren’t important. What is important are your feelings and what you are feeling is very real. You’re human. You had a connection with someone; whether that was physical, emotional, spiritual or an amalgamation of the three. That isn’t to be discounted just because there wasn’t a label or a time period that constituted it being a long-term relationship.

Some of the hardest romantic experiences to get over are the ones that lasted barely any time because they were so intense. So if you are feeling heartbroken, you’re completely entitled to feel that. Allow it.

Cry, journal it out, look after yourself physically, surround yourself with positive people, do things you enjoy - all the things you would do if you were going through an ‘actual’ breakup.

No Contact

Don’t contact the person you dated. Remember, you can create your own closure. You don’t need the other person to do this. You don’t need text conversations about why they didn’t or can’t commit. You don’t need answers because the fact that the dating experience between you is over is closure enough. They’ve shown you their intentions and perhaps they’re not a bad person, but just not ready. That’s nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. 

However, that still doesn’t mean you lower your standards to accommodate them. The guy I mentioned above, he wasn’t ready but he wasn’t a bad person. He just had so many things he needed to figure out for himself and I didn’t have the power to speed this up. No matter how understanding I was, how pretty I tried to look when I saw him, how intellectual, funny or empathetic I tried to be. No one had that power. It was heartbreaking walking away but it saved me so much potential heartache in the future. 

The danger with these very casual types of relationships is that they leave so much room to weave in and out of each other’s lives because there are no relationship parameters. Usually when there’s an unequal balance of commitment, the person who is hot/cold and more into the whole ‘casual’ thing, they can unfortunately see it (and us without our boundaries) as the low hanging fruit. It almost gives them a free pass to text when they’re bored or even maybe genuinely missing us. They can perhaps say the right things but if they still can’t commit there is nothing we can do to change that. Texts are easy. Words are words. Actions - and consistent actions, are very different. 

Know your Values

When you really like someone it’s very tempting to compromise your values and wants just to get to spend time with them. So know where the line is drawn. Don’t accept morsels of a ‘what-if’ relationship. The fact is, if the person isn’t willing to commit to a relationship (and I don’t mean for the sake of calling it a relationship, but more so, they give you all the things that a healthy relationship consists of), then you have to be really strong and put your feelings for them beneath your values, self-respect and needs.

You have to disregard ‘what if’ for ‘what is’.

Believe me, I know this one is hard but it’s the greatest gift you can give yourself to walk away from someone who isn’t prepared to offer you the commitment you deserve. Again, this isn’t about being the bigger person or doing it so they see what they’re missing. It’s about committing to yourself and walking away from people or situations that aren’t aligned to where you’re at. 

The New Person They’re Dating isn’t Getting the ‘Best’ of them

Also know that if this guy/girl quickly starts dating someone else, it’s ok to feel hurt. Again, you’re human and its unrealistic to feel nothing when you had a form of connection. But please know that if you were messed around or they were emotionally unavailable in some way, just because they’re with someone else, that someone else will soon experience all the things you did too. The hot/cold behaviour, the unknowing about where they stand, the same patterns. The new person doesn’t have a special power to change them just like you didn’t. Changing can only come from within them.

If this new person does end up being a long-term thing, the exit out of the ‘kind-of’ relationship was exactly what you needed. That person was not for you and now you’re free to find the right one. It can be so hard to accept but it is true.

Even though this knowledge might not take away the pain, it can help to soothe it. I really do want you to try and take comfort in this because I know it’s heart-wrenching to go through. 

What if you Have Mutual Friends?

One question I also received was how to navigate awkward conversations with the person you dated if you share a friendship group. This again can be really hard but if your feelings are that strong, creating distance with that group, especially if your ‘ex’ is always around too, can be a wise thing to do - even if it’s temporary. Put your feelings first because the more you see them, the more you’ll relive the pain over and over and it’s excruciating. It’s like rubbing salt into an emotional wound.

If you’re feeling somewhat neutral about the breakup, just make peace with the fact that the conversation will be awkward. There’s no getting away from that. I don’t think there’s any way to escape the awkwardness that comes with bumping into an ex (even the not ‘real’ exes!) for the first time?! So the best way to handle it if there is one, is with grace, ease, dignity and a degree of emotional distance. 

Are These Type of ‘Drive-by’ Relationships Healthy?

This person also asked if ‘drive by’ relationships are an unhealthy coping mechanism for bigger personal issues you have yet to face. She explained that both her and the guy she was dating had recently gotten out of long term relationships. The dating situation then ended and perhaps they were seeking fulfilment in each other to avoid looking within themselves?

With this one, I think we’ve all been there when we’ve dated quickly after a relationship. I don’t believe this is good, bad, right or wrong but if part of you is questioning your reasons or deep down, you know that it’s to mask something underlying that you’re struggling to face, then that suggests that some more time is needed to heal.

It doesn’t necessarily or always mean you have deep rooted issues to resolve, more so that you’re feeling a little vulnerable and looking for a new experience with someone else is a way to relieve that. But when this comes with an aftermath of pain or mini-heartbreak, then it’s likely a sign that you just need to give yourself more time to show yourself that you can find that fulfilment within yourself and other aspects of your life. So that is what you work on.

When you feel that your life is nicely full and that a partner would add to that rather than relying on them to make it full, that’s a great place to date.

Taking time out to be alone and address any issues if there are any can be scary but it can also be truly transformational. It’s like you almost have to walk into the unknown, face that fear and go through the discomfort to get the reward that 100% comes at the other side. And the fear does lesson but you just have to give yourself that time to allow it. 

Breakups and dating - of all types can be messy. It’s so important that we be kind to ourselves, take the time we need and know that not every relationship is going to work out perfectly. (Sometimes we can over-analyse things that just weren’t meant to be and drive ourselves crazy!) But also, that there is always some kind of lesson or opportunity for growth.

I really hope this helps anyone going through this right now - please let me know if you have anything to add or something you’d like me to speak more on in a follow up post!

Love,

Laura x

How to Stop Self-Sabotage in its Tracks

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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

 

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

Making your Space your Own after a Breakup

Image from  Design Home

Image from Design Home

Breaking up with someone is tough enough, but when your space only serves to be a constant reminder of your relationship, it can be even harder to get some form of escape. It can also be a real challenge transitioning to living alone.

However, like all rough things that happen, I strongly believe there is opportunity in this! In this case, it’s a chance to explore your individuality through your space rather than worry about what (and who!) is missing.

This past year I’ve really got into home décor and have become totally obsessed with how people arrange and furnish their spaces! Your environment can be such a great reflection of your personality, creativity and mindset and it’s also a fun and nurturing way to explore your independence.

So, I've put together a few ideas on ways that you can make your space or home feel distinctly yours.

1) Explore different colours that energise you

Updating the colour of your space is a great way to invite in renewed feelings and energy. Hated that boring white wall your ex insisted on? Well now is the time to experiment with a colour that really lights you up!

2) Experiment with new art or accent decor

When you live with another person, there can be disagreements on taste in wall art, furniture décor and even the simple touches like throw pillows. Adding in some unique accent pieces such as a signature hanging light like the ones here or a unique piece of framed art from Etsy can transform your space without buying new furniture. Accent pieces are also a great way to be creative and let your personality shine through!

Another of my personal favourite places to buy good value and super cool wall art is Desenio.

3) Incorporate a bar-cart or tea/coffee corner

I love this one! Now that you’re single, you have even more time to entertain and spend time with friends. A chic bar-cart or space devoted to chatting with friends over tea can be a perfect way to inspire yourself to invite people over and rev up your social life. Here are some nice ideas to get you started.

4) Designate a space in your home for new hobbies

It’s all about creating new memories and undergoing personal expansion! One of the best cures for a breakup is finding something new to explore on your own. If it’s a hobby you want to immerse yourself in, designate a space in your home that's devoted to it.

It could be art, DIY, cooking, learning a new language or creative writing. For me, working out was my saviour so you could create a specific space for some yoga practice, dance or a general workout. Whatever your new hobby is, don’t be afraid to incorporate it into your environment, as it’s a reflection of you, your personality and your new-found independence!

Ultimately it’s about finding touches to add to your home that make you happy and represent a fresh chapter in your life. Plus it makes for a healthier distraction than stalking your ex’s Instagram ;)

I hope you enjoyed this slightly more practical post! As always if you’d like to look into working with me on a bespoke level, reach out on laurayatescoaching@gmail.com and let’s make it happen.

Love,

Laura

How to move on: a guide for anyone struggling to let go of an ex. (Guest Post for Eharmony)

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Hi everyone! I just wanted to share a new Eharmony piece with you where I talk about my top tips for moving on compassionately when it comes to letting go of your ex. I hope you enjoy and find it helpful!

You can read it here: How to move on: a guide for anyone struggling to let go of an ex

Love,

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

How to Manage Life when going through Heartbreak

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Getting over a breakup is tough enough in itself, but managing other responsibilities and obligations such as work, college, school and socialising can make it seem all the more overwhelming.

I’ve received quite a few emails around this so thought it might be useful to address it in a post in the hope that it will help anyone who is struggling with managing their healing whilst navigating everything else going on in their life. I know how overwhelming it can feel!

I remember when I was going through this and what really helped me, was to avoid compartmentalising. I tried not to see my work and other responsibilities as separate 'tasks' to my healing and instead, found new ways to use them to fuel and compliment it. 

It can actually be really useful to have these other things going on in your life as a way to focus your mind and attention. Although all we might want to do when going through heartbreak is to hole up under the duvet for days (or weeks) on end, that usually ends up perpetuating what we’re feeling even more because our minds get saturated with thoughts of the breakup. It’s all consuming.

Whilst something like work and actually being productive once there can seem like an almighty uphill struggle, it can lend itself to be a positive distraction and a way for you to channel your brain in a different way. 

Whether its work, college, your business, school, friends, family, your social life in general, you can still work on your healing at the same time. Although, I really do believe that it’s crucial to only take on what you can during these more vulnerable times. Don’t try and overload yourself and stick to what you have to do, and what you want to do!

When it comes to school/college/uni and earning a living, these can’t really be avoided so see them as an opportunity to get yourself into a different environment from one of the heartbreak you’re feeling. Plus, actually getting up out of your heartbreak pit, getting dressed and out the house to get there is a huge in itself! You’re showing up and that’s an achievement! 

It’s not about trying to forget what you’re dealing with once your there (as this might seem impossible!) but more about committing to focusing your attention on the task in hand in small chunks. Just take it in the smallest sections of time possible if you have to. Class by class, meeting by meeting, project by project and so on. 

Time and attention blocking this way will remind you that you can still accomplish and keep control of your life. It can also offer you some new found fuel and inspiration to work harder at your goals and objectives. But you can also factor in some of the more calming healing techniques throughout your day too. Even something as simple as getting out for a walk at lunch can make such impact on how you feel. Or 20 minutes of reading, journaling and some deep breathing in those oh-my-god-I’m-gonna-burst-into-tears moments can really help too!

Try and get in some exercise throughout your working day (Tip - I recommend installing a free pedometer app on your phone to keep track of how many steps you're taking. Even just getting up away from your desk and walking around the office really helps them add up!) , keep yourself well hydrated and choose nourishing foods instead of reaching for quick fixes like sugar and caffeine. I promise you, it sounds boring and simple but will help your mood, energy and how you feel about yourself!

Creating fresh memories is something I also really recommend. You could try taking a different route to wherever you need to get to, listening to some new upbeat music when you’re on your way there and home, grabbing your morning latte in a different coffee shop. The smallest things help to create new, more positive neural pathways in the brain instead of it being triggered to ruminate on the past. There’s nothing worse than passing that same coffee shop every morning where you might have met your ex for breakfast or always called them at lunch and thinking back to those times, dreading how you’re now going to get through the day!

Make new associations with work or school instead.

When it comes to friends, family and your social life, this is where you can be a little more selective. Spend time with people who you genuinely feel good, uplifted and safe around (i.e. not people who suck and drain your energy!) People who you can be transparent with but who aren’t going to encourage you to talk about the breakup over and over. There comes a point where going over the same old ground and trash talking your ex just isn’t helpful. 

Having good people around you who are compassionate about where you’re at but can still make sure the conversation isn’t centred around your ex will definitely help your healing. Laughter, even the shortest, most subtle bursts of it, is THE best medicine and the ultimate antidote to heartbreak. Having the right people on your team to encourage this can be amazing for your wellbeing!

I also really recommend using your social life as a tool for your healing. Surrounding yourself with existing friends but also again, making fresh memories by trying new things and meeting new people. This will help to infuse your world with a sense of moving forwards instead of staying stuck in the past.

Empower yourself to do what you want to do. Strike some sort of balance that’s right for you. If going out with friends after work is just too draining right now, put yourself first and stay home. It’s more than ok to take time out from your usual Thursday night cocktails (and as we all know too well, alcohol and heartbreak ain’t exactly a match made in heaven!)

If you know you just need time to rest your body and mind, do it. Healing is also about instilling your own boundaries and placing your emotional and physical needs as THE top priority when something isn’t a ‘must do’. 

I really hope you found this helpful! Wishing you a great week ahead as always and please do let me know in the comments if you have any more specific questions around this one!

Love,

Laura x

 

How to Reinvent yourself after Heartbreak this Christmas

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Pic by Hey Saturday

With Christmas coming up, I know how this can bring up feelings of dread and despair if you’ve gone through heartbreak. Yes, it’s supposed to be a happy time, but it can also be hugely triggering.

On the flip side though, it’s also an amazing time to think about what you want for the next year. I know it’s not easy, but looking forward instead of remaining in stagnancy is so crucial to healing and setting some momentum.

I’m not really about New Year’s Resolutions, I’m more of an intentions kinda girl. These aren’t so ‘goal’ orientated and just feel more fun, less dogmatic and less overwhelming.

When it comes to intentions, the idea of reinvention has been on my mind a great deal recently so I thought it might be useful to talk about some ways that you can use your heartbreak as rocket fuel for your reinvention and why right now, before the New Year is the perfect time to kick start these into action!

1) Be grateful every single day

As one of my faves Tony Robbins says “I believe the ultimate path to enlightenment is the cultivation of gratitude. When you're grateful, fear disappears. When you're grateful lack disappears.”

I know there’s a ton out there about gratitude and it can seem somewhat fluffy and surface level, but I promise you, when you get into the mindset of having some sort of gratitude practice on the daily, your life will change in profound ways.

It isn’t just about being grateful for people and possessions, it’s being grateful for your setbacks and your heartbreaks, what they've taught you and how they've spurred you to use them as fuel instead of sitting in despair. It's about being grateful for embracing how much light your pain will bring (because it will if you’re committed for it to).

2) Call back in the person you were at your best

Reinvention can also be creating a reunion with your core, best self. Think back to a time in your life when you feel you were at your best. When you felt unstoppable! What were you doing? How did you spend your time? What boundaries did you have in place?

For me, my absolute best self was when I was in my late teens and early 20’s. Not from a maturity perspective (ha, hell no!) but the way I approached life and the things I was engaging in. I was prepared to ‘be a beginner’ and that brought me so much inner freedom. It was when I felt the most ‘me’.

So part of my own reinvention for the next year is bringing those elements back in, not being afraid to be a beginner and merging those parts of my best and most vibrant younger self with the woman I am today.

3) Don’t sit in your setbacks but USE them

There's a lot of people talking about their setbacks - I have on here plenty of times. And whilst I know talking about our struggles makes us feel less alone, more connected and helps create empathy, I also know that setbacks, failure or the feeling of failure, completely and utterly sucks. Plus, talking about it too much can keep us stuck in victim mode and it can gradually become part of our identity. So instead of bathing in your setbacks and failures, use them as a match to light the fire of your reinvention.

Learn from them and actually do something different to make sure you don’t get the same result again.

4) Know that forgiveness is your ticket to happiness

Forgive and let go. Others and yourself. If someone has done you wrong, it isn’t letting them off the hook, it’s letting yourself and your emotional freedom off the hook. Leaving more room to live the life you truly want and deserve.

5) Learn something new

It’s been proven that learning something new creates new neural pathways in the brain. (Honestly, it's fascinating!) This will help to form new memories, new habits and encourages your brain to operate in a completely different way - which is often what’s needed when you’re in a place of stagnancy.

If you don’t know where to start, write down 50 things you’d be curious to try and then pick something you feel excited about and just give it a go!

6) Stick to your own path

I advise people I coach to have an open mind about many things, but when it comes to your overall vision for yourself and your life, something I’ve learnt is that it pays dividends to stick to your own path. Enforce a productive kind of tunnel vision. Yes, you can get inspired by others but there’s a fine line between inspiration and then comparison, jealousy and the type of influence that knocks you off-course.

The idea isn’t to become a copy of someone else, it’s to become the best version of you in all your unique glory! The less you look to others around you or on social media to give you permission and external confidence and instead, having full faith in your own path, the more you start to truly live and flourish with freedom. 

7) Don’t care what others think but care about what matters

Similar to 6, staying on your own path is also about being your own cheerleader and not caring what other people think. My god I wish I’d have learnt this one sooner. There is nothing more physically, emotionally and mentally stifling than waiting for someone else to tell you you’re good enough to start that project, end that relationship that’s toxic or just not right, or do that crazy thing that your heart is screaming for.

You don’t have anything to prove to anyone.

I have seriously paid the price for this on all levels and it’s taken a lot of work to reach a point where now I don’t seek or wait for permission from anyone. 

However, I care where it matters. I request and take people’s perspectives and suggestions on-board and am always grateful for that. I just choose wisely who I go to and whose opinions I allow in.

This one isn’t about being reckless and disregarding everything and everyone. It’s about caring so much about what you want that you put 100% love and thought into it. It’s about caring for yourself throughout that and having ultimate respect, compassion and fire for yourself and the process regardless of the outcome. And it’s about caring for the people around you who really matter.

When it comes to love too, I know how easy it is to get caught up in thinking we need to change in order for someone to like us. My best piece of advice from experience is that changing to accommodate others is a fast track to anxiety overload because it isn’t sustainable.

Here’s what you do - you change for yourself.

This will probably involve looking at your own stuff and facing that head-on instead of hoping someone else will take it all away. It isn’t easy and will take time and work. But I assure you once you commit to having ultimate respect, love and faith in yourself and who you are (despite the blips that life throws at you along the way), you will attract the right people who honour that and who probably think the same about themselves too. E.g. the perfect recipe for a healthy relationship. Like attracts like after all.

8) Try a new look

Perhaps a lot fluffier than the other ones, but reinvention means evolvement and let’s be real, it’s amazing how better fitting clothes, a new shade of lippie or a fresh hair style can help you step into the ‘you’ you want to become!

9) Your health is your emotional, mental and financial wealth

Focus on this first and everything will follow.

10) Have faith that even after heartbreak, you can still find love again

I’ve experienced it and have helped countless clients who have proved this time and time again. It sounds corny but once you learn to fall in love with yourself and life again - using the art of reinvention to do so, love with someone else will come without painful effort and you don’t feel so dependent on a timeline.

Whilst you’re still hoping that finding love will fix everything, you're looking at something external as the source of your happiness and wholeness, and that makes you powerless. When you focus on yourself, you’re taking back you power in every way. You have control. The love will come, I assure you, and when it does it will be better than ever because YOU will feel better than ever!

So there you have it! I hope this helps you and as always, I'm sending you lots of love especially for the holiday week ahead.

If you’d like to reach out to work with me privately, you can do so on laurayatescoaching@gmail.com

Love,

Laura xx

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

 

 

11 Ways to be Unstoppable (in Life and Love)

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After going through something such as a breakup, health crisis or any life shattering experience, it really makes you think about how you want to live life moving forwards. Like there has to be a better way, right?

This is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.

Being ‘unstoppable’ was one of those things I saw in others but never felt like I could attain myself. Truth was, I never felt worthy of it. Until I had enough of watching from the side-lines and made the decision to take ownership of myself, my life and decided that following a ‘prescription’ or template wasn’t going to cut it. 

I’ve spent some time recently thinking about the ways in which I’ve modified my own approach to life after experiencing many ups but also, many downs over the years, and here is what I’ve come up with. There are no ‘rules’ but living by these principles or at least, always being conscious of working towards them (hey, we’re all a work in progress!), has helped me immensely when it comes to ALL areas of my life.

So here goes :)

1) Know what you have to offer and own that 100%. I can’t count the amount of times where I have completely lost sight of my strengths, talents and skills in favour of believing what I had in comparison to others was sub-standard, not as good, exciting or lack lustre. Whilst this isn’t about being cocky, it is about knowing your value and not accepting anything less than that. You have to constantly remind yourself of the reasons why you deserve that incredible relationship, friendship, job or opportunity. 

Keep mastering your crafts in the way only you know how and putting them out there. Be proud and don’t get caught up in what everyone else is doing. You’ll only end up diluting down the one-of-a-kindness you have within you.

It’s this that is your secret sauce, your secret weapon and makes you totally unique and therefore, unstoppable in your very own way.  

2) Know that setbacks are inevitable. No one really loves a setback. They’re annoying, upsetting, frustrating as hell and can kick us down further than we ever thought we'd fall. I’ve experienced this in love, health and career at various points and in the moment, it’s damn hard to get yourself back up again. But you have to. You have to keep that faith because the best comebacks come as a result as using the setback as fuel. Every single day you have to take a tiny step towards your big, bold comeback by doing just one thing. And trust me, with this attitude you will get there. 

3) Looking to others and comparing what you have/are/do to them is a recipe for insecurity, jealousy and chasing after shiny objects that might not actually be aligned to who you are or what you want. The internet is truly an amazing way to connect with people, get inspired and make real-life friends too, but it also comes with its pitfalls. Not only is social media ripe with people showcasing their happy relationships, expensive wardrobes, jet-setting careers and social life that isn’t always a true portrayal of what’s really going on, but it’s also rampant with bad news, complaining, negativity and smoke screens. 

Whilst it’s not about ignoring that this is how the world has evolved and refusing to embrace that, you have to take responsibility for how much of it you buy into. Comparing at the (pricey!) cost of your self-worth can be the most toxic form of procrastination regardless of whether what you see is real or not quite so. You can totally lose sight of who you are.

There have been times where just scrolling on Instagram or Facebook has left me emotionally depleted, not knowing the cause, and with an overwhelming sense of feeling less than and berating myself for not being where I ‘should’ be in life. Or worse, getting eaten up inside by feelings of envy and jealousy. Gross, but I’m sure you can relate?

That time would have been much better spent creating something for my business, actually doing the things that would get me where I want to be or just doing what makes me happy. This is where there is a benefit to having tunnel vision. Get inspired of course (some of my best outfit ideas come from the ol’ IG!) but don’t get sucked in. 

This can take hold much closer to home too. The same idea applies though. There is no fixed template that you should be following and the fact that someone else has what you want just means you can have it too - if it’s what YOU really want and not what you think you should want. So give yourself the space to figure that out. 

4) Don’t drop your own standards for others. If the person you’re dating or in a relationship with is operating on a moral or emotional level that doesn’t align with yours or who’s behaviour/lifestyle is constantly clanging (or just tinkling!) alarm bells, know when to step away. This isn’t about being high maintenance or refusing to compromise, it’s about knowing your standards and staying true to them.

No matter how much you like or even love someone, a relationship based on mis-matched values in particular, is going to cause you stress, drama and probably, future heartbreak. You don't have time for that - walk away now and you’ll thank yourself later, trust me. 

5) Don’t make decisions when you’re in a state of emotional hot-mess-ness, unrest or panic. Some of my worst decisions in love and professionally in particular (would you like me to share more on these?!), came as knee-jerk reactions that were down to poor health, needing a quick fix or just from a place of lack. They weren’t properly thought through from a calm and logical state of mind.

But this point goes for relationships too. It can be very easy to say or do things in the heat of the moment, respond to that text from your ex or send one to them when something else has just happened to trigger a reaction in you. There were countless times in past relationships where I sent text messages that could rival the length of War and Peace to a boyf/ex boyf in the midst of a reactive emotional crisis and then found myself reading them back the next morning regretting it and attempting to backtrack. OR (mostly!), wishing I’d have just stayed silent, keeping my head firmly held high. 

My golden rule now is to give myself 24 hours before I do anything. You will usually see things differently and if not, at least you’ve given yourself time for your emotions to settle if it still feels like the right thing to do.

6) The quality of your health is the foundation for everything else in your life. Relationships and professional life included. When you feel off-kilter and don’t know where to start, begin with working at balancing the components of your physical, emotional and mental health and see how this ripples out to other areas. 

7) Know it’s never too late. Whether you’re single in your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and even beyond, it’s never, ever too late to find love. You have 2 choices; mope around telling yourself you’re past it so what’s the point OR get out there and refuse to look at the people who are happy in relationships at your age as the only way the world works. It isn’t. Just because that’s what you’re choosing to focus on, it doesn’t mean it’s the only way. Focus instead on using the coupled-up people as inspiration of what’s out there for you. Choose to see the amount of people who are also looking for what you want because I assure you, there are plenty out there! 

It’s never too late to reinvent yourself in any or all pieces of your life and there are countless examples of people who are likely older than you who have done just that. Some, multiple times. 

It’s really very simple; stay stuck in your mouldy beliefs or get out there, be the example and make things happen.

8) If you commit to something, firstly make sure it’s 100% what you want. And then, always do your best but don’t deplete yourself. A bit like 5) not reacting in the moment, it can be very easy to say yes to things that in our gut don’t feel quite right. Only say yes to something that feels right on a cellular level. 

Sure, we all have to do things, especially when it comes to work, that aren’t always ideal. But is taking that a temporary measure, providing a financial cushion/giving you skills/allowing you time to get you to where you want to be OR is it going to completely suck your soul dry and lead you further off your path because you’re mentally, physically and emotionally drained?

It’s the same with anything though - how you approach dating (intentional swiping rather than mindless!), your romantic and business relationships and friendships. 

If you do commit, commit with integrity and with an inner promise to do your best and give your all to that commitment. But don’t stretch to the point where you’re over-giving. Giving ‘your all’ doesn’t mean putting yourself to the bottom of the pile to the benefit of someone else, an opportunity or a work role. (And by the way, it’s also ok to say no or step back at a later date if it isn’t right or compromising your health, heart or wellbeing.)

Giving your all means looking after yourself first to do your best, to stay true to your word, to deliver your best. It means showing what your standards for yourself are from the onset.  

9) When you respect yourself and live with that as a purpose, others automatically respect you too. 'Nuff said :)

10) See things for how they really are. We overcomplicate things so much. If someone you’re dating isn’t showing you the same level of respect, isn’t acting on their word or is going hot and cold, don’t try and justify it by telling yourself and others that the situation is ‘complicated’ so you’re hanging in there just to see. When someone likes you, they show you. Take off the rose tinted-s. Dating and relationships come with complications totally, but where signs are being pointed out to you, don’t look too deeply into them, get caught up in the drama or choose to turn a blind eye. Simplify it down to what it really is and what it really means. 

Walking away might feel hurtful, disappointing, like you’re admitting defeat or have failed, but in reality, the exact opposite is happening. You’re taking control, showing ultimate respect for yourself and choosing for yourself instead of playing puppet for someone else.

Move on as there is someone out there who won’t make you ask these questions. 

11) Have fun and find your way to approach life in a way that works for you. We can take life so seriously and yes, it comes with things that need to be taken seriously, for sure. But I always like to approach the ‘self-help’ (urgh, I really hate that term!) aspect of what I do from the perspective that whilst inner work is crucial, happiness, a great relationship and an unstoppable life in general doesn’t have to mean following all of the very ‘prescriptive’ advice that we can be bombarded with. 

If you hate meditating, don’t do it! If eating the way all the health bloggers with banging bodies eat makes you feel like crap, don’t eat that way. If the advice in that 7th self-help book makes you completely cringe, that isn’t the only advice. If totally removing alcohol from your life makes you miserable (if alcohol wasn’t having a detrimental effect on your life or health of course) don’t do it. Enjoy the wine! Find your own moderation.

You are unique and what works for you will be unique. 

The key to the ‘inner work’ being more effective and less laborious, is to find a way that feels good. It’s not about someone else having all the answers. You can look for guidance, advice, help and support in others and try things out as that’s how you’ll learn, grow and discover. But you always have to take full ownership of you. Be your own leading role in your life. Piece together your own formula.

It’s not even the self-help aspect of life either. The more you’re having fun, taking opportunities that excite you, working towards something that really makes you come alive, dating in a way that doesn’t feel like a chore, engaging in relationships where you feel relaxed, happy and where it’s on mutual respectful terms, the better your life will be. You’ll be more resilient, enjoy higher quality relationships and be unstoppable without even trying.

So there you go. These have all helped me immensely and I really hope they can help and inspire you, in your own way too. 

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

Love,

Laura xx

Can you Stay Friends with an Ex?

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Following on from my last post about why an ex might reach out to you, when it comes to staying friends with exes, it’s murky waters indeed. When you have someone in your life who you feel so close to - physically, emotionally, spiritually perhaps, to just cut ties when you break up can seem impossible, if not unbearable. This is when the friendship conundrum comes in and where things can become incredibly hazy.

So here are a few thoughts to consider when it comes to staying friends with an ex. I really appreciate that all of these are the tougher side of things to think about, and as always, I write everything with compassion because I've been there too and approaching it honestly was what helped me. 

First of all, you need to think about the genuine reason you’re wanting to stay friends. It’s crucial that you get real with yourself on this one. In my own experience and through the many people I’ve coached around this, too often we can use the idea of remaining friends just to keep that person in our life and avoid having to cut ties. 

But think about friendship and what that means for a second. If you’ve broken up, something went wrong there. Can you really create a new immediate dynamic of friendship based on what caused the two of you to part ways romantically? Perhaps it was amicable, but even so, can you really be friends with your ex in the truest sense of what friendship means and detached of those emotions?

When people do get completely honest with themselves (and I know too well how hard this can be), staying friends with their ex isn’t really with the intention of friendship, even if they don't quite realise that. It’s with the underlying hope of maintaining a connection, the relationship being rekindled, having an excuse to stay in touch or a way to keep tabs on what your ex is doing and who with. Those inquisitive questions are innocent and ok because you’re friends, right? 

Especially in the case of where the relationship didn't make you feel loved, alive, heard, respected and happy, is holding onto friendship the life you want to be living? Is that who you want to be? 

You deserve so much more. 

It’s almost like settling for the cheap meal deal version of the relationship where you’re never, ever going to be fully satiated and wind up with a hangover. What if your ex meets someone new? Even in the breakup situations where nothing 'bad' as such has happened, would you really be able to handle that news in the same way as a platonic friend telling you the same thing? 

Something else that often quickly becomes apparent when this situation occurs too is that the void of that person no longer being in our life only illuminates gaps in other areas. Such as other friendships. Your ex might have felt like your all or your companion but a romantic partner should really serve a different purpose and fulfil a different need than what a friendship does. You can totally be friends with your partner in a relationship of course, but have you been relying on them too much for things that it’s perhaps healthier to get from external friendships? 

(One of my all-time favourite psychotherapists and relationship experts Esther Perel talks a great deal about this. )

If there is a lack of human connection and this form of soul nourishment in other parts of your life, it can make letting your ex go seem even more daunting and impossible. But if this is what’s happening, try and see it as something to embrace. When I was in this place and felt powerless, the silver lining was that it gave me something to work on. To do. You might feel completely empty after going through the breakup itself, but having parts of your life open to fill with new people, experiences and learnings is such a gift because you can take action on it - even if it doesn’t seem that way now. 

I’m not saying that you 100% can’t be friends with an ex. I had a conversation with a friend just yesterday who told me that after time apart from her ex, when they next spoke, the dynamic from both sides had completely shifted because they’d each had time to understand why the relationship didn’t work and see that romantically, they weren’t a good fit. Neither had hard feelings towards the other - in fact they respect each other a great deal. But all of those past emotions had been released, let go and they were approaching it on completely new grounding. I also know many people who have formed a type of friendship with their ex after time. 

So, it can of course happen. With the caveat that only after significant time (or enough time) has passed for both of you to have consistent no-contact distance and work on making your own life the best, fulfilled, full and nourished it can be independently of your ex. You both have to have grown in your own way. 

Even then, what can often happen is that both people see that friendship isn’t necessary, possible or healthy. Sometimes, people aren’t supposed to stay in our lives forever and that’s ok. It’s all been for a purpose and is never, ever wasted. 

I know it’s hard - I really do. You know that everything I share is rooted in my own experience. But cutting that tie is so crucial in having the ability to move forwards. Feigning friendship - even with the best, most wholesome intentions when you're feeling so upset by the breakup, is truthfully only setting you up for stagnancy, comparison and continuing to sprinkle salt in the emotional wound.

Give it time, give yourself time to breathe and time to re-discover yourself. 

Try and see it as an opportunity. A chance to fill those gaps and to learn to give yourself what you feel you don’t have. You have everything you need within you, you really do. Please trust me on that :)

I think that's some ex stuff covered for now ;) I'm putting together a new post for you about my personal beliefs I live by when it comes to life and love so can't wait to share that with you soon. 

I really hope you found this post helpful and if you'd like to find out about working with me 1:1, please email me on laurayatescoaching@gmail.com 

Love,

Laura x

Why did my Ex Reach out to me?

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I wanted to write a post on this because I’ve recently received a few questions around exes reaching out and how it can completely throw us!

Whilst it’s often incredibly tough to refrain from contacting an ex in the throes of heartbreak, it can also leave us utterly bewildered when we do stop all contact and an ex reaches out to us - particularly when we’re the ones who have been broken up with!

We followed all the ‘rules’, let them be to get on with their lives, got on with ours and then a ‘hey, how are you’ text pops up out of the blue. What gives??!!

First of all, just know that although it can feel mighty satisfying in some ways when this happens, it can also propel us right back into the heartbreak we’ve worked so hard to wade through and leave us confused and upset. Whatever you feel, try not to judge your emotions around it. It’s bound to have some kind of effect on you because regardless of how the breakup happened, there are still going to be feelings triggered when any form of contact happens. 

Heartbreak is an emotional rollercoaster and sometimes, we just can’t predict how we’re going to react. What’s important to keep at the forefront of your mind, is that an ex reaching out does not change anything. The breakup happened and your only focus right now should still be yourself and your own healing. That text, email or social media message is bound to throw you off-track, of course. But don’t let it deter you from how far you've come. A message is so easy to send and can’t undo what caused the breakup to happen in the first place.

I often get asked why exes do reach out and although I don’t have the ability to go inside someone’s mind and get a glimpse of the motivation behind their actions (I wish ha!), what I do know is this; in a weaker moment of their own they’re looking for some form of connection with you. They’re going through their own breakup journey too and even if they're the ones doing the breaking up, that still comes with its triggers and urges. 

It doesn’t make it right and it can be selfish - especially when they’ve explicitly told you they don’t want to see or hear from you. But the contact is a reflection of that piece of them needing some kind of connection or familiarity. Try not to look too much into it as what it definitely doesn’t necessarily mean is that they have changed, that they want to get back together or that all will be well if you did get back together.

It could have been sent after a drink or when they’re craving some kind of validation and need a quick fix or a replay in the now of an old memory. I’m aware that can seem a little harsh or make you feel disposable and I really don’t mean it in that way. Breakups can cause us to do all kinds of odd things that we can’t anticipate and it’s likely not your ex’s intention to make you feel bad. They’re in their own heads and the contact is most probably their way of fulfilling a need in that moment. This is why it’s important to not read too much into it.

What I would definitely suggest is to avoid continuing the conversation. You don’t have to respond. No response is a response in itself and in many cases, your ex will see that they have overstepped the boundary and hold off messaging any further. You need to not see this as a big deal and continue to hold your head high and stay on track. Take time to honour your feelings about it but don’t dwell on them. You’re still doing amazing and nothing can change that! 😀

Remember, we can’t ever change other people’s actions but we can choose how we react or in this case, don’t react.

I hope you found this helpful and if you'd like to work with me 1:1, email on laurayatescoaching@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you.

Love,

Laura xx