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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Staying Open to Love After Heartbreak

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laura x

Heartbreak, Dating & Finding Purpose with Social Media Influencer and Comedian Madeleine Byrne

I've just got back from an amazing trip to LA (whole post on that coming soon!) and whilst I was there, I recorded a podcast with social media influencer, comedian and actress Madeleine Byrne.

If you're not familiar with Madeleine, she makes really funny and entertaining videos on instagram, many of which touch on dating, online dating and life in general - stuff we can basically all relate to!

Check out the episode on iTunes here http://apple.co/296DgJJ

....and on Soundcloud here

I loved recording this with Madeleine and we spoke about so many topics - heartbreak, dating, dating in LA, the entertainment industry, being an introvert, being an only child, the importance of friendship and human connection, beauty and loads more.

If you like what you hear, please don’t forget to subscribe and write a review on iTunes! I'd be SO grateful!

Hope you enjoy it!

I have loads of posts coming up for you all over the next few days so stay tuned :)

Laura x

4 Things You Learn When You Stop Thinking About What ‘Could Have Been’

There’s been one guy I dated, which was definitely one of those “could-be” relationship scenarios. I have to say, getting over that and accepting the reality of it really stung in the moment.

I think in most of these could-be relationship situations, there’s usually one person who wants it more than the other. The other person who isn’t quite into it goes along with it regardless because it feels good, and maybe allows them to play out something they know they’ll never really have to commit to. There’s just always that barrier there that stops them from taking it to the next level......

Read the rest of my post over on Elite Daily.....

What to do when you Feel like Giving up on Love

Love can sometimes really suck.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laura xx

17 Signs that you’re Starting to get over your Ex

A lot of people ask me how long it takes to get over an ex. I don’t care what statistics say, I don’t think it’s particularly measurable because it’s not like you wake up one day and are all of a sudden ‘over them’. Usually, it takes small steps and it gradually happens, often without you even realising.

So here is a quick and dirty list of a few signs that you’re definitely on the right path!

1) You’ve finally started to not need your phone constantly cemented to your hand incase they text or call

2) You’re no longer disappointed if your phone buzzes and it’s not your ex

3) You’re getting better sleep

4) You have even a tiny bit of curiosity about someone else you’ve met or know

5) You’re enjoying spending time with your friends and really appreciating them

6) You’ve taken up a new interest or hobby (or fell in love with an old one) which fills some of the time you spent with your ex

7) Even if you don’t love being alone, you’re ok with it

8) You don’t feel the need to talk about your ex, the breakup, how they hurt you or what they did wrong. That story isn’t the centre of conversation with your friends, family, co-workers or whoever will listen now

9) You still might think about your ex but you think more about the realistic reasons why the relationship ended instead of dwelling on all the good times and thinking you’re now missing out or will never get that back

10) You’re not obsessing over their Facebook, instagram or social media pages trying to decipher what they’re doing and who they’re doing it with

11) You think you might have just flirted a bit with that guy/girl!

12) You’ve stopped or not as tempted to google ’ways to get your ex back’

13) You’re toying with the idea that there could be a better relationship for you out there and there’s a tiny spark of excitement about that prospect

14) You can go out, have a few drinks and enjoy it instead of texting your ex, crying or bitching about them

15) You’re able to laugh and actually have fun (even if it’s just a little bit!) without it feeling forced or like you're putting on a brave face

16) You're not making excuses for or justifying what they did or didn't do that led to the breakup happening. You're starting to think more about what that says about them or the relationship

17) You're starting to focus more on your own health and self-care. It might feel strange but you're becoming more ok with putting yourself first or at least acknowledge that this is the best thing you can do right now

If you’re feeling any of these and you’re considering getting back with your ex because it’s familiar, would be easy or you just wonder what indulging in that craving for nostalgia would lead to, then remember that by feeling any of the above things, you’ve created a shift. You’ve created a shift between the past and present and whilst we would all love to be able to go back down memory lane, in the ‘today’ it probably won’t be as hearts, flowers, roses and unicorns. Because today is different to back then and you're starting to see things differently now.

By feeling any of these things on the list, you’ve pivoted. You've pivoted on a new and more fulfilling path for yourself. Keep on that path, keep doing exactly what you’re doing. Oh, and go flirt some more whilst you’re at it too! ;)

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe they were secretly seeing that person behind our back.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are many ways I can help you through this if you're struggling.  Email me on laurayatescoaching@gmail.com and I'll tell you all the ways we can work together.

I also have my audio product on this topic, which you can find here https://gumroad.com/l/CrdFs

Laura xx

2015 Reflections - Love, Life & Work!

Image taken by Saskia of Saturday Nights Alright

I think like most people, I’m struggling to believe that 2016 is here! So, I thought it would be nice to write something a bit reflective about 2015 because…. well, a lot has happened!

So here goes.

Love

Ahh the L word. I tell you what, coaching people through break-ups is a sure fire way to make sure you’re working on your own stuff at the same time. It’s amazing when I work with people how the things we talk about and go over are often the things I need to make sure I continue to do and remember too. Anyway, 2015 was the year that I feel I properly got my head and heart in a good place again. So high five to me on that. That’s not to say that things don’t come up every now and then, but that’s life and I don’t think it’s possible get to a point where you’re completely clued up. Plus, wouldn’t that be boring?!

2015 was the year that I dated quite a lot. I thought I ‘fell’ for someone earlier in the year - that didn’t work out but I can definitely see that it was always supposed to happen that way. It taught me about what to look out for in future and didn’t end badly or sadly in any way. So that’s nice. And now I can see I didn’t fall for him at all, he was just the first person I really liked after my last relationship and I strongly believe that was the purpose of it happening. It also helped me become more resilient because I feel I saw the reality on that a lot quicker than I might have done as the ‘old’ me.

I’ve dated other guys too and met some really interesting people! I dated whilst in the US and that was an experience! I’ve made a few friends through my dating escapades so it just goes to show that dating can lead to friendship if it doesn’t work out. I have to admit, there have been some funny experiences in the mix too and I feel really lucky to have met some of the people I have. And in the ways I have.

So, right now, there is no one special person in my life but this is exactly how I wanted it to be as to be honest, I really haven’t wanted to be in a relationship this year. It’s always tough knowing the right balance between being open to meeting people and allowing things to develop whilst keeping sight of your main goals if they’re not relationship orientated. So maybe there have been times where I haven’t been as open to love as what I should or could have been, but I’m a strong believer in the fact that you can have it all - just sometimes, not all at the same time. But who knows what could change for 2016 ;)

Life

This is where the biggest changes have happened. This year I’ve pushed myself out of so many comfort zones and despite being sh** scared through many of them, I have truly learnt that nothing good comes from staying inside your comfort zone, especially if you want to make change. I’ve taken risks that have paid off and led to amazing opportunities and have used my ‘vision’, I suppose, as my motivator to keep pushing myself. Some examples include travelling alone, doing talks (getting up in front of people and talking made me want.to.die. Much less so now though and I’m starting to enjoy it!), getting myself in front of a camera (soon to be released on YouTube), putting a podcast together, making connections with people who I’d never have dreamed I’d have been able to connect with, and going on dates with people who I would probably have never met if it wasn't for travelling and trying out new things. It’s crazy the stories we tell ourselves and how we let those hold us back. I now always say to myself that if I consider doing something but feel scared to do it, I have to do it. (Providing it’s safe and legal of course!) And sometimes, these things don’t always end in the way you might want them too. But those experiences teach you what you need to learn, improve, step up in or just persevere at.

There are many ways I want my life to change in 2016. I want to find more time to do the things I love to do and try out even more things, I want to spend a few months in the US and I 100% want to create time to pursue my passion of music and creative writing. I want to focus much more on my health to ensure I have the energy to do all of these things.

Of course, life hasn’t been all hunky comfort zone pushing dory in 2015 but I won’t dwell on those moments because I still feel that they provide experiences to learn from. Life is never ever going to be perfect and 2015 fully deserved to end on a high!

Work

I honestly don’t see what I do as ‘work’ because it gives me so much joy to help people in the way that I do. Aside from that, I have made the most amazing and inspiring friends in the wonderful and often weird world of dating and am lucky to collaborate with many of those too. Each and every client I have worked with I feel so much appreciation for and have LOVED coaching them. To have been on podcasts like Entrepreneur on Fire, Elite Man Magazine, OMFG! and shows like Hoxton Radio have been such a highlight. Oh! And I was a finalist for Dating Expert of the Year at the UK Dating Awards. I never thought any of those would have happened this time last year.

And what’s coming up for this year? Well, I feel it’s about time I er...get with the times and get my mug on YouTube so expect some videos (and please try and be kind if you do watch them!) and I’m launching a podcast called Let’s Talk Heartbreak where I talk about the empowering, inspiring, funny, entertaining or thought provoking things people have done or learnt through heartbreak and break-ups. Plus some thoughts and advice from yours truly. I’m launching 3 products including an online programme guiding you through getting over a break-up and a group coaching programme. I’ll be collaborating with some superb people and companies and travelling more. You’ll be seeing a lot more of ‘me’ this year as I really want to share more of my life, personality, passions and interests in my content too. So you can definitely expect a whole lot more in 2016. I’m both nervous and excited!

What’s really made 2015 so incredible is people. Making new friends, creating stronger bonds with old friends and being blown away by the kindness of some of the people I have around me. Some of whom I haven’t even met in real life! These people have acted as mentors, motivators and friends all rolled into one and I’m eternally grateful for them.

So this year, I also want to try and give back more.

I’m excited to help even more people through their break-ups and dating lives in 2016 and hope that all the ways I’m stepping up my content will enable me to reach even more people in that way too. So keep an eye out for updates :)

And finally, thank you so so much for all of your support and encouragement in 2015 - it’s really meant a lot. And now, let’s look forward to 2016!

Lots of love,

Laura xx

Appearance on the OMFG! Podcast

I recently went to LA and it was nothing short of an AMAZING experience. One of the highlights for sure was going on the OMFG! podcast. Hosted by 2 female comedians, OMFG! talks about all things pop culture, entertainment, social media and basically, everything that impacts people in their 20's and early 30's.

I got to go on as a guest and share my insights on getting through a breakup, social media etiquette and dating in the modern age. (That's me there in the pic getting all enthusiastic talking about Tinder.) I can't tell you how much fun this was to record - Deanna and Emily (the hosts) are hilarious and I was so honoured to get to meet them. It was nice to get to be a little more er....'unfiltered' than usual :) Oh, and there's a little unexpected twist at the end too ;)

You can listen in here - episode 57 https://itun.es/i6Sw34Z. Make sure you subscribe to the show too if you enjoy it - it's very entertaining!

Hope you're all having a great week!

x

How to Love Yourself After a Break-Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laura x

Image courtesy of theunboundedspirit.com

Uh oh. What if you're the one who is 'Emotionally Unavailable'?

There's a lot of talk in the dating world about what to do if you're involved with an emotionally unavailable person. Typically that advice is to ditch and move on - I think I even said that in one blog post somewhere. But what if you are the unemotionally available one? You might have been labelled as the a**hole, you've perhaps claimed that you're 'just not very good' at dating or relationships or haven't met the right person, but deep down, know at the core of it that there's something more going on.

So what to do if this is something you want to change? (Which eventually, you will probably need to at least work on if you want a happy romantic life somewhere in the future.)

Admit it

There isn't a manual to being good at relationships. Or a good dater. Or good at that in between bit. If you've been claiming you're not good at it, the real answer is that you probably just don't want to be in a relationship and haven't been able to communicate that in an honest way, you're unsure about commitment or getting close to someone, there's things going on in your life that need work or that you're unhappy about, you're not ready for it or you're just plain scared of getting hurt. None of these are wrong or even need solutions right now, but to change them, you have to be prepared to be honest with yourself. If you have been the a**hole in the past, just admit it. That's only when you can start to look at how not to be one in the future. No one wants to be that guy or girl forever.

Usually, when I speak to people who have felt emotionally unavailable, there was one thing, event or person that triggered it. So identify it. But don't place blame. What matters now is how to move on from that.

Write it down

Journaling is a really effective way of unraveling our thoughts and emotions. Especially when it comes to admitting things to yourself that you might have been suppressing or making excuses for. Journaling can get tarnished with the woo woo brush but don't let that put you off. It's a really good thing to do. Let yourself be vulnerable and write down everything that you're thinking and feeling about this issue (or issues). It doesn't have to be structured or make any sense but getting it out of your head on paper can be incredibly therapeutic and it can also help you come to some realisations about yourself that you didn't even know were there.

Talk to a friend

It can really help to share what you're feeling about all of this to someone who you trust. Allowing yourself to be emotionally vulnerable is the only way to tap into what's really going on. A good friend will support you and very likely respect you even more for opening up. It doesn't mean you're being weak (it means the exact opposite) and you don't have to be overly emotional. Just talk to them about what's bothering you and get their viewpoint on it.

Let it go

Just like clinging onto an old relationship or an ex that moved on months/years ago, to be able to let people in, you need to let all that stuff from the past go. Not letting go could be sabotaging you because if you've been hurt in the past, a coping mechanism can be to hurt others (and that usually isn't even intentional). It will never make you feel good, it's creating blocks, it's in the past, it doesn't exist right now and it's probably destroying your ability to have fun, get close and allow something potentially special to blossom with someone else.

Understand that being emotionally available doesn't mean you have to get into a relationship

If you don't want to be in a relationship but still have fun and date, that's more than fine and no one is judging you on it. You just need to think about how you communicate it to the people you're dating or seeing. Be compassionate because if you're dating someone, giving them mixed signals or all the signs of a green light and then running a mile (which could be a reoccurring pattern if you're in the emotionally unavailable camp or labelled as such), you're likely to hurt them if they were clearly into it. Just be honest and mindful of the feelings of the people you're getting involved with.

Look at the rest of your life

If you're an emotionally unavailable person and keep dating or getting into the start of something and then running time and time again, maybe take a break and focus on what's going on in the rest of your life. It can be tempting to look to other people to fill a void but that hasn't worked out too well so far because you've probably met a number of really great girls/guys yet the same blocks, sense of dissatisfaction or fears still keep appearing. Take away all that and you'll be more likely to have to face other things in your life that maybe you're unhappy about or need to focus on. Are there bad habits that you could do with changing, does your lifestyle need some reassessment, how healthy is your social life and social circle? Do you live with purpose, are you striving for something? Do you generally feel positive and excited about your life and where it's going? Are you happy with yourself? Are you surrounding yourself with people who make you feel good and who are decent people themselves?

Sometimes it's a shame because emotionally unavailable men in particular, get given a hard time when the real reason they struggle in the emotional availability dept can be because they feel inadequate in other areas of their life and can't envisage someone else in that out of fear of it not being good enough. But they can't communicate that, face up to it or know what to do about it, and so they come off as a bad guy. That's where you need to start though. Do something proactive about it or change the way you think about it. Small steps make big change.

Take a risk

Maybe you do have your life sorted and you're just scared of getting hurt. That's ok - most people if they're honest, are. If you've met someone you genuinely like and can feel yourself pulling back, sometimes you have to step into what's scaring you most and see what happens. It doesn't mean you're committing your life to this person, but what it does mean is that you're taking things a little beyond what you normally would. And that's progress because allowing yourself to be even a tiny bit vulnerable is what will help you. Again, doesn't mean you have to keep engaging in deep and meaningful conversations about being scared. Many guys for example say they 'don't really do emotions' or struggle with them, but really it's is just being a bit more transparent to yourself and the other person about how you feel. No tears or emotionally fuelled conversations needed ;)

Don't future trip

It's helpful to remember to avoid going from A - Z in your head when it comes to future tripping, as doing this can make it 10 x more scary than what it needs to be. Being emotionally available isn't selling your soul away to the next person you date. It's doesn't have to be all or nothing. It's just allowing things to evolve, going easy on yourself for feeling a bit out of your comfort zone, not putting pressure on yourself and not running away at the first sign of what you think means 'commitment'.

Remember that perfection doesn't exist

Whilst I am a definite fan of indulging in the dating buffet, in today's world it can be very easy to use the idea of finding the perfect person as an excuse for other things going on. If you're searching in pursuit of that unicorn holding the moon on a stick, you'll be looking for a long time or might have even already found him or her but run. I absolutely do not mean 'settle' but be realistic and honest with yourself about the real reason that you're unable to stick around.

Don't be an unripe avocado ;)

Being involved with an emotionally unavailable person isn't usually much fun. I saw a recent article liken it to an unripe avocado, which I thought was a clever comparison. (I'm really into my avocados and it's very disappointing!) Fruit and veg aside, I think we've all been that way too at some point though. I know I have. It's rare that you can seamlessly go from relationship to relationship with everything all perfectly figured out. At the end of the day whatever end of it you're on, you have to take responsibility for yourself.

I'd love to hear what you think about this one and any experience you've had, so please do leave any comments! And as always, all emails are welcome to contact@laurayates.org or you can catch me on Twitter @laurayatesUK

8 Ways to Turn your Break-up into a Break Through!

Photo taken by Saturday Nights Alright

Songwriters, poets, writers, artists - some of their best pieces of work were inspired by heartbreak or a break-up. Look at Taylor Swift - she's made a fortune out of hers! Even if penning a No 1 single to commemorate your break-up isn't on the agenda, there are many ways that you can still use it to make your life even better.

Here are 8 of my suggestions over on the Metro UK.

Enjoy! x

Anxiety about being Single in your 30's?

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

We're complicated creatures aren't we!

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

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

It really does start with you

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

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

Comparing is pointless

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

26 Ways to Become a Better Person after a Break-Up

Even if your break-up has happened because you were wronged, hurt or cheated on, as devastated as you probably feel, there is always, ALWAYS something that you can learn. There are always ways you can grow. There are ways you can become a better person most importantly for you - and eventually when the time comes, for your next relationship. Here are a few ideas.

1) Help someone else. In the depths of despair, an amazing way to shift the focus is to help someone else. Donate to charity, call a friend and ask how they're getting along with that thing they're struggling with, smile at someone, give them a compliment. Doesn't have to be big. It will make you feel better and gets you out of your own head even for a few minutes.

2) Read. Educate yourself on something completely new. Even if the book isn't your cup of tea, you will still learn something.

3) Exercise. Exercise is one of the best things you can do to lift your mood and improve your health. Try not to make it a one hit wonder and schedule in some form of exercise every day for the next week. Do it week by week.

4) Be mindful of how you speak to others. You're probably feeling sad, tired, distressed and maybe even a bit hopeless right now. But make an effort to be nice. Be kind, listen and be gracious. Think about the words you use, they mean a lot.

5) Commit to not gossiping or bitching.

6) Be selfish. This time is also about taking care of you, so do something for yourself that is way beyond what you would normally do. Buy yourself something fancy, go for a pamper day, take a day trip to Paris. Watch something terrible on Netflix all day. Whatever you can feasibly do that you would usually make excuses to not do, do it.

7) Become curious and interested. (This will also make people curious and interested in you.)

8) Learn a new skill. Set yourself a goal that in 6 months with this skill, you want to be able to  ...……………..

9) Drink a green juice every day. (Yawn.) Yes I know, totally boring and I'm cringing a bit writing it, but I'm not joking when I say it will change how you feel - and within a couple of days. Even if it's chucking in some spinach, celery, broccoli and apple. You only need to keep it basic to notice a big change.

10) Write down 10 ideas for absolutely anything every day. (Except ways to get revenge on your ex, that probably won't help!) I can't take credit for this one - James Altucher is the brains behind it but it's an amazing way to get your brain ticking again.

11) Learn to be grateful. Make a gratitude list every day and note down 5 things.

12) Set your standards. Break-ups provide massive opportunity to think about what we will and won't accept in the future. Not just with partners but with other people too. Do you notice patterns whereby you seem to always come off worse? Set your standards and commit to living by them. If you constantly seem to attract the wrong sort of people, there is something you can do about that. It's not bad luck. If you don't know what your standards are yet then spend time working them out.

13) We all have flaws. Think about something you know you need to work on and how you can make a start.

14) But don't give yourself a hard time either. Whatever you are feeling right now is ok.

15) Don't live your life through your social media feed. Learn to enjoy what's real and out there right now. Social media is fantastic, I love it don't get me wrong, but when the shit has totally hit the fan, it can be a real hindrance and we forgot half of what we see is through a fancy filter.

16) Get out of your music rut. Listen to something new.

17) Let go, have fun, be spontaneous.

18) Care about people - but don't care so much about what others think if this is something that has held you back. People are too concerned with their own lives to be too worrying about your choices. They really are. (Aside from possibly your mum but you have to let her off ;))

19) Place more importance on your sleep and more so, the quality of it.

20) Learn and get inspired by other people. Particularly ones who have overcome troubles or adversity if you're really struggling at the moment. I recommend TED talks on YouTube and I also listen to podcasts every day whilst I'm travelling or working. I love it - I learn something new every day. This really helped me during my break-up.

21) Sort out or define your image. Could it do with a shake-up or a wardrobe clear out? What kind of first impression do you want to make?

22) Read this.

23) Spend as much time around people who make you feel good and who you make feel good too.

24) Work out what you can do about any jealously you feel or insecurities you have. Where is that coming from and what does it reveal about what you really want for yourself?

25) Speak to yourself as you would speak to a friend. If you're having a hard time with feelings of rejection and thinking you're not good enough read this and this.

26) Find small ways to address how you are feeling physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. If the word 'spiritual' makes you wince, just substitute it for something that makes you feel more comfortable. Basically what I mean is those non-material things. I won't go too woo-woo on you but how can you feel more at peace and content with what you have right now and what can you do to amp that up.

I hope you find those useful. There are always ways you can become (an even!) better person after a break-up so take the opportunity that it offers you.

Exciting news! I'm also holding a free workshop in London on Tuesday May 19th called 'Move On, Feel Good, Date Better' which will look at moving on from past relationships, creating a life that fulfils you and makes you happy and tips and advice on getting back on the dating scene. It will be held from 7.30pm - 9pm, is free to attend and there are limited places so get your names down! I'm really looking forward to this and will be creating more in-depth workshops following it.

You can get your tickets here: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/move-on-feel-good-date-better-tickets-16842818323?aff=estw. I really hope to see you there :)

Laura x

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laura x

How Can I get Closure?

I got asked today about how to create closure on a past relationship. We hear this phrase 'closure' a lot. And sometimes, we think that to get it, both people in the relationship need to come to some sort of mutual agreement or acknowledgement that the relationship is over and each has permission to move on. Hmm, well unfortunately and probably usually, it's not always going to be able to happen like that.

Sometimes, we do want and need answers - sometimes a situation can be that a relationship has been ended suddenly without any reasonable explanation and that the one ending it has disappeared with complete radio silence. That's harsh and of course we want answers. But we can be waiting a long time to get those or the closure that we need from the other person and at the end of the day if the relationship is over, it's over regardless of how long you're waiting for that call, text or email. The best possible thing you can do is make steps to deal with the emotional impact of the break-up and begin to move forwards little by little again. There will be healing time needed but you can't heal whilst you're in limbo waiting. This will make it worse. It's shocking how often relationships end this way actually, but honestly, the only person you'll be hurting more is yourself if you wait and don't make the small steps out of no man's land.

Regardless of how your relationship ended, I think it does help when you have some sort of ritual, occasion or symbol which signifies your ‘closure’. And this doesn't have to mean that you push everything away, forget the memories and refuse to feel anything about the relationship or person anymore, as that isn't the aim. It's more about having something that represents a new chapter.

Write a Letter to your Ex

You're not going to send this so go to town on this one - don't hold back! Write down everything you feel, spare no detail. Writing things down can sound like a bit of a slog but can have such a therapeutic and freeing effect. In the letter, find a way to explain that you're moving on - the words somehow make it more real. When you've finished, do anything you want with the letter - burn it (er..please consider safety if you do this obviously!), put it away somewhere, tear it up - whatever you want. Something that signifies that as of now, this is your new chapter.

Allow yourself to Grieve/Mourn

It sounds like a contradiction that to create closure you have to allow yourself to grieve but closure is about accepting that the relationship is over and to do this, you need to feel everything you're feeling. Not push it away or convince yourself that your ex will come back/take you back or plot ways to make that happen. Just know that you will feel bad but that you will get over it. It's like a physical injury - there's no shortcut to it healing. You have to rest and do what you can to make it better. If you don’t, it doesn’t heal or gets worse. It's the same with emotional pain and the 'do what you can to make it better' is all the things I talk about in relation to moving forwards positively. It's about doing the 'feeling' and then the 'doing'.

Get Rid of any 'Stuff' that Reminds you of the Relationship

Don't have things hanging around that make you think of your ex. Actually, it's a really good idea to have a de-clutter of your whole living environment and give that a bit of a spruce up too. Your surroundings need to also reflect you moving forwards. This doesn't mean you have to up sticks and move but just add something fresh to your environment so things feel a bit different and new.

Get Away

If you can, break up your routine and go somewhere. Having something that separates the old part of your life with the new can really help and to come back recharged and refreshed will get you in the right mindset.

Give your Confidence a Boost

Write down a list of your strengths, talents and assets. (And now isn't the time to be modest!) Really look at those and work out ways that you can start to do things that bring them out even more.

Assess the Bigger Picture

What in your life needs work? Social life, your health (this is always a good one to start with anyway as it's usually the first thing we let slide when we go through traumatic experiences), money, your job, your friendships? This new chapter signifies learning and growth and the more you can make headway on something in your life that you know could do with a bit of tlc, the more you'll be focused on something new, positive and that's going to help you thrive. Start work on this now to begin the momentum.

I think that though we don’t always admit it, we actually use getting closure from an ex as an excuse to not let go. We've all been there. We want the 'why' but often, it won't make any difference anyway. You'll either get the why you don't want or a why that leads to thousands of other questions that then need more closure. It's just an exhausting cycle that keeps you buried in the rubble of the relationship.

So, if you feel you really need closure, know that you have the power to get this yourself. You just have to commit to doing it.

How to Deal with Feelings of Rejection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Get Over your Ex Moving On

The end of relationships are tough to deal with. First, you have to deal with the initial heartbreak or getting over him/her and then the real stinger can come when you learn that they're seeing someone else.

That sinking feeling...awful isn't it! I was actually inspired to write this post as a few days ago I received this message from a friend on Facebook. She says "Just seen my ex has got engaged! FFS! I don't want him but I don't see why he should have what I want either!"

Urgh. Jealousy associated with an ex partner moving on can be a killer! It can totally consume us, even if we were the one to end the relationship. We automatically start thinking about all the good times and begin to wonder what the new partner has that we didn't to make our ex so happy. In a way, we can sometimes subconsciously revel in the fact that they might be suffering without us. So when we know they've moved on, it can hit hard and reignite all of those raw emotions that we worked so hard to move on from.

So what are my learnings on this? Well in its simplest form, the fact that the pair of you are no longer together in itself confirms that your ex isn't 'the one'. I actually don't believe we have only 'one' person out there, but in this situation, they are certainly not one of the potential 'ones' :)

It's as simple as this: if you were meant to be together, you would be. If you are meant to figure out a way to make things work, you do. The relationship ultimately ended for one or a number of reasons and whilst it can be so easy to remember the highlights during tough moments, it really does help to readdress all of those reasons why it didn't work. Even write them down if you have to. Not with the intention of conjuring up any upset or anger, but just to reaffirm to yourself why it wasn't right.

The good thing about exes moving on is it gives you a clear path to move on yourself. The line has been drawn and the only way forwards for you now is away from that person and into a new amazing chapter of your own life. If you have cherished memories with your ex, that's great. But don't dwell on them; use this as an opportunity to create new memories!

So how about this - do one thing this week to start something completely new and begin making these new memories. What can you do for yourself that will make you feel really good? What can you do that's different that will make your day brilliant, or enhance your wellbeing or confidence?

Seriously, don't bother with jealousy, anger or bitterness. Know when you're feeling it and make a conscious decision to channel that energy into doing something for YOU that makes you feel good.

And even if you aren't in the situation of struggling to deal with a relationship breakup or your ex moving on, do one thing this week for you anyway. Maybe you want to feel more confident in something? If so, what can you do to get a tiny bit better at it? Small actions like this, where we put ourselves first, create huge changes in all areas of our lives.

There are many ways I can help you through this if you're struggling.  Email me on laurayatescoaching@gmail.com and I'll tell you all the ways we can work together. (Please be aware that I can't offer advice for free) ❤️

I also have my audio product on this topic, which you can find here https://gumroad.com/l/CrdFs

Laura x

What I've Learned about Confidence

I've tried many things over the years to become more confident. Someone recently said to me that I have the 'bullshit factor'. This took me aback a little for obvious reasons! Then she went on to say that I come across as very confident but underneath, there's a layer of vulnerability. I think that's true and I think, very natural given that I'm also a shy and sensitive person.

I spent many years pondering how I could be more confident. Confidence covers so many areas - we can be professionally confident but a complete mess when it comes to social confidence for example. For me, overall confidence has been more about finding self-acceptance. When you have that, even if you aren't even 50% confident in something else, it makes dealing with it a whole lot easier.

Right now at nearly 32, I'm probably feeling at my most confident - or self-assured, which is possibly due to age and I also think due to many things I've learned about confidence. There's no cheat sheet or life hack to becoming more confident though. I don't want to say it takes 'work', it's actually more about learning, growing and observing. I can go from one end of the confidence scale to the other in a heartbeat depending on many factors. You have to notice what you do in one situation compared to another. And of course, there are things you can do to build your confidence too.

Here are 3 things I've learned -:

- Some people I can meet instantly and feel like I can just be myself around them. I feel confident. Others I go to pieces, I become socially awkward, can't make eye contact, can't even speak properly sometimes! Why does this happen? Well usually it's because as people, we feel most comfortable around people who are like us. The people who we feel at ease with are probably the people we should be spending the most time around. Obviously you can't choose who you interact with on a day-to-day basis and there are many people who I also feel intimidated around. Even people I know quite well sometimes! So I think about why I feel that way. Is it because I admire them? If so, that's a positive thing and it's therefore easier to think of ways to be more confident around them, which is mostly about being mentally prepared and being very aware of things such as maintaining eye contact and keeping open body language. And also, letting go a little around them. Some people just have big personalities and as someone who is naturally shy, that can be overwhelming. Once you acknowledge that you lack confidence around specific people, or types of people, instead of it just happening, falling to pieces and then forgetting about it until the next time, if you observe why all these things happened, you'll probably realise that there are different ways you can choose to behave around them and different conversations you can make with them. Be prepared. And also, acknowledge that it's mostly your own mind chatter that's making you feel that way! It's likely that you're falling into the comparison trap, which can be so easy and a serious confidence killer – especially when we’re around people we look up to. Again, it’s about noticing how you feel, relaxing and thinking of better ways you can interact with them. It's also important to remember that feeling more comfortable and therefore confident around some people and not others is very natural!

- Constantly push yourself. There's that saying that you should do something every day that scares you and I think it's a good one to live by. If there's something that you're not confident with, challenge yourself little by little to do more of it. Or just do something that scares you a tiny bit, even if it isn't directly related to what you want be more confident in. The act of pushing small boundaries will make you see that you can get yourself out of your comfort zone, which will equal greater confidence in yourself all round!

- Get good at what you want to be confident in. For me a big one is public speaking. I think this is one that many people lack confidence in. I've actually never done a public speaking gig and it's something I passionately want to do - but the thought terrifies me! Although I know I have something valuable and meaningful to say, the idea of just getting up there and doing it, I instinctively know will not be the way for me to tackle it. I'll probably need to get lessons, practice to friends, practice 1000s of times over and be very prepared! At least until I get into my groove with it! But even though I know I'll still lack confidence when I get up in front of people, if I'm prepared, that will be half the battle. People who give amazing talks and who seem naturally confident in their ability to do so probably put a look of work into honing that craft! So when it comes to confidence in a skill, that type of confidence can definitely be learned.

- Go easy on yourself. This is the most important lesson I've learned. Going back to the self-acceptance side of confidence now, I spent most of my twenties really not liking myself much at all and so my confidence was rock bottom. I really had to spend a lot of time rebuilding the essence of who I was. I wasn’t confident because I didn’t know who I was. The confidence I have now really comes from taking care of myself, doing the things I love to do, making the leap to do what I love when it comes to my career, spending time with people who have my best interests at heart, not worrying so much about what other people think, challenging myself in the most positive ways possible and taking responsibility for myself. Oh yeah, and having fun! Being silly! All of these self-nurturing habits make me feel good and when I feel good I feel like 'me' and when I can be me, I feel at my most confident. Even if I'm not the loudest person in the room that doesn't matter because confidence is really, an inner self-acceptance. And even that layer of vulnerability isn't a bad thing because it just makes me - me.  I’m sensitive and also, vulnerability makes us human and helps us grow. I think we all have to wear many hats and with that comes having to 'put on' confidence in some situations. And that's fine, it's normal. But ultimately, I think that having that real authentic inner confidence is the foundation of what we need to be able to build all the other parts of confidence that can be applied to other situations.

Confidence is an ongoing process. The more we learn about ourselves, the more experiences we have, the more we interact with different types of people…the more you can throw yourself into these situations and scenarios the more you'll learn about where and when you feel most confident. But it all starts with taking care of you. Nurture yourself, take time to acknowledge all the amazing qualities and strengths about you and what you have to offer. Be good to yourself, sleep well, eat well and have fun. Know who you are, what you want and surround yourself with people who make you feel incredible.

So they are just a few of my thoughts I have on the topic of confidence. There are plenty more, which I'll delve into more in future posts! I'd love to hear what you feel about confidence and any tips that you have?

xx

The Light in a Breakup

There's no denying it, breakups are crap. We all have to go through them. Maybe even a few! They can leave us feeling a mixed bag of emotions - vulnerable, sad, relieved, lost, numb - the list goes on! Making the decision to end my relationship is something that I have gone through very recently. I really want to use this blog as a way to share these raw personal experiences. Writing is such a good way to get your feelings out of your head (anyone I work with will know I bang on about this all the time!) and I hope it can maybe help someone who is going through a similar situation.

So, the context of the relationship was this – almost 3 years together with my main issue with him being a lack of compromise, respect and understanding. I wholeheartedly believe that we all have things to improve on and often these can be highlighted when a relationship breaks down. The relationship was very up and down and throughout the downs I played my role in trying as best I could to take care of my side of stuff but unfortunately this was never really reciprocated. And so the past 18 months was a cycle of the same issues coming up - consequently making me feel bad, questioning my own judgement on what was acceptable and generally, not feeling like an equal. Not very empowering!

I won't go into the 'he said she said' details but due to his job it was a long distance relationship with the majority of the time apart and I was left feeling alone, disrespected, unheard and without a clear idea of where it was all going.

Through the work I was doing with clients and learning to listen - to really listen to my intuition, everything was telling me that the relationship had to stop. The same voice was telling me the same thing a year ago but at that point I was caught up with fear-based responses like -:

- what harm would one more chance do? This could be it; he could be ‘the one’. In fact, I was convinced he was the one, which made this even more difficult

- what will happen if I end up on my own (ridiculous as at age 30 I know, but the fear voice was still there)

- is it really worth all the upheaval?

We get so comfortable with settling in uncomfortable situations that the thought of stepping out of that - alone and into the unknown, can be more scary than staying uncomfortable.

But is it? Not really, no.

What I've learnt from this is that you can't change people. You can only be responsible for yourself. I got to the point where I become so expectant of his ways that by the time it was glaringly-bright-light obvious that I had to put a stop to it, I was actually completely detached. I instinctively knew my self-worth was down to me. Not him. There was a lovely moment in a coaching session I had the other week where my client was overcome with gratitude for her partner who is obviously a wonderful guy and the two of them just work together - not against. I was the coach yet I wanted that! She had it nailed and I am so happy for her because I completely understand the importance of support in a relationship. That was a defining moment in knowing I had to take action on making a change. Which is interesting because in that way, she unawareingly coached me I suppose!

I'm so pleased my intuition stepped up and raised her voice on this one - the whole process of ending it was a bit like letting her take over and do the right thing. Another thing I used to do was create chaos around the situation to avoid actually dealing with it. So complaining to my friends, arguing with him, getting worked up, trying to seek answers from his friends and family. Yet all of that changed nothing. Everyone else ended up frustrated, I felt guilty because here I was again in the same situation after creating all that drama and the whole thing became a circus! When I let my intuition take over, there was no drama. She made the choice, wanted to do the right thing, sent the email (that sounds like a crap way of doing so but the nature of his work means that communication can only be carried out via email) and that was that.

And how do I feel?

I'm not going to lie, empty and of course, sad. But I dealt with the raw emotion months ago. And the time before that. And that. You get the drift! This emptiness means cleared space for new opportunities and people. I feel empowered to have stepped away from someone who I loved with all my heart but that right now, I could see was not good for me - and I don't even think that was intentional on his part as I'm sure in his own way, he wanted it to work too.

Being really uncomfortable but in a place where you feel safe on your own is so calming and reassuring. Overall, I feel positive and excited.

So if you are in a relationship that isn't serving you, I'm not going to go all girl power on you and tell you to end it just like that because I think that's unrealistic when you love someone. If you want to of course, then definitely do it! But I also think that journey of self discovery where you reach the point of choosing to really listen to your intuitive voice and then act on it is so enlightening and changes EVERYTHING. Even outside of that specific relationship because it's a tool that you have developed and can use for other things too. It's that little nugget of gold that guides you to the right people, situations and choices.

So yes, breakups are crap. But you know what, they can also be quite amazing.