A Personal Post on Getting Vulnerable

I intended to write something far more practical today around communication with an ex. Should you text them, shouldn’t you, ways to cope when you get the urge to tell them you miss them etc. But I just feel there are a few other things that I would like to share with you. (That ex contact post will be coming up next though!)

What I wanted to talk to you about today is a little deeper and something that I’ve been experiencing a lot myself this year. I hope you don’t mind that this will be a more personal post. With everything I put out there, I always want to place helping you as my main focus but I imagine that many of you will still be able to relate to this in some way. I really do want it to offer value to you.

Vulnerability. Urgh. Scary isn’t it?! I'm not ashamed to admit that I have been feeling incredibly vulnerable over the past 10 months or so. Behind the scenes of my work, I’ve been struggling with a few health issues that certainly aren’t anything serious in terms of being life threatening and I'm well on my way to full recovery now (whoop!) but that have created pain, burnout, fatigue and more notably to me anyway, an overwhelming sense of disconnect.

What does this have to do with breakups? Well, I’m not going through a breakup but this sure has felt like a breakup of sorts! How I’ve felt in recent months has mimicked how we can feel when a breakup leaves us stripped down emotionally and turned upside down and inside out mentally. Plus of course the physical pain and exhaustion that can manifest through all of that. I literally feel like I’ve broken up with my body, which sounds so weird but that really is how it feels!

Anyway, to cut a long story short, this year has probably being one of the most challenging when it comes to my physical wellbeing. The social life has taken a backseat but luckily, I have still been coaching all my amazing clients and maintained the ability to do this work, which I am SO grateful for. Though over the past 3/4 weeks, I have been very quiet on the blog and social media to facilitate taking a step back, gathering my thoughts on my next steps and to prepare for what’s to come. Because things are definitely on the up in a big way and a LOT of changes are about to take place :)

Anyway, let’s make this less about me ha! What I really want to do is share with you some of the practical and mindful things that have helped me, which might also be of benefit to you if you’re going through a breakup or something in your life which is proving a huge hurdle.

Put your health first

Obviously as health has been the crux of the issue for me, I haven’t really had a choice but to prioritise this one. Why I want to suggest this to you though and emphasise it’s importance (x 100000), is that a lot of my health problems have stemmed from earlier life stresses that I thought I was taking responsibility for. When it came to down to it though, there was still much I was neglecting. This has led to a radical diet overhaul, resting (and I LOVE to exercise so this one is a real killer for me!) and giving my body and mind what it needs. So if you’re going through something right now, put everything into being at your best physically - or at least have a mindfulness about it. Stress is an absolute killer for good health and although it can’t be avoided by any means, it’s our job to nurture out health in any and every way we can so that we’re better able to cope with the stressful times. Good health is different for everyone of course so it’s finding what works for you, eliminating what doesn't and then committing to that.

Attitude and mindset

It’s so easy to ride the positive I-can-manifest-anything-I-want train when things are going hunky dory. It’s actually in the real sh*tter of the moments that we need to focus on the good and be grateful for what we do have even more. Also, to really get clear on what we want in the future and start to visualise and plan the roadmap of how to get there. This year has tested me big time on my overall outlook. And no, I haven’t been prancing around like some positive Polly every day because that just isn’t normal! It’s how we bounce back from those moments and choose to see a different perspective. That's really how we get ourselves through. I’ve been bingeing on the likes of Tony Robbins, Lewis Howes and Brene Brown to help with this as well as doing a lot of journaling.

Know it’s ok to be vulnerable 

Typically I’m a ‘I can do it myself’ type of gal and that’s absolutely fine! Being independent is obviously a great attribute to have but sometimes, asking for help actually shows far more self-awareness and courage than what we realise. Allowing myself to be vulnerable to those around me and ask for help if I’ve needed it has created more compassion in my relationships and much stronger bonds. Whether I've been around people who I know care and who I care about too or spoken to them on the phone, every moment and every conversation has elevated me emotionally and physically. So don’t isolate yourself. It’s ok to be vulnerable and ask for help. We’re not superheroes.

Get excited about what’s to come!

Even if right now, everything feels dismal and like there is no end in sight, in your heart you know that is not true. Waking up day after day still not feeling better has been a tough lesson and what has got me through, is still making plans despite this, for what I want in the future and using this experience to show me how much I have to value every day and what I am capable of. I’ve had the goal all this year to move to LA for 3 months and in less than 1 month, I will be making that happen (OMG!). Obviously I was never going to do this if I was putting myself at risk - there is a balance between pushing yourself in healthy ways that are manageable and helpful and just being reckless. But this goal has given me purpose, passion and something to strive for, which has helped immensely.

Have a goal and purpose

Moving to LA and taking this blog and my business to the next level to help you in more ways (so many exciting new offerings are in the pipeline for you all!) has been my goal, but yours doesn’t have to look anything like that. It can be anything you want it to be. I tend not to do things by halves ha and so for me, packing up my life here in the UK and moving across the world is a pretty big deal! But I know that within that sense of adventure, is where the most amazing shifts happen. Especially after this year, I’m ready to try something completely new in an environment that’s exciting, full of places and people I can’t wait to see and meet but where is also aligned to being able to take care of myself and look after my health in this next phase. Use whatever you're going through as fuel to give yourself something to really go for and don’t be afraid to think BIG!

The LOLs!

Paul Denniston on my recent podcast episode (go listen if you haven't - it's amazing!) even includes laughter in his Grief Yoga classes and workshops and I wholeheartedly believe that laughter is in fact the best medicine (alongside your attitude)! Just laughing with my friends, family and even to myself whilst watching or listening to something funny instantly makes me feel better. It fuels my body and mind. I honestly love nothing more than having a real good laugh, it's the absolute best. :)

I really hope you can see how you can apply these things to whatever you’re going through whether that’s a breakup or a rough time regardless of the situation and circumstance. It really does sound cliché but these challenges, if we choose to let them, can help us shed what we need to to provide a pathway to evolve into our next, more fulfilling stage of life.

I will say that when it comes to relationships too, I have felt a bit of a hypocrite because I've barely dated the past 10 months so who am I to even talk about it and offer advice when I haven’t actively been out there dating or in a relationship?! However, I wanted to write something honest and there are so many big lessons I have learnt this year that have directly impacted my relationship with myself and therefore, my romantic relationships. As a result of them, I am crystal clear on myself, my (new and improved!) boundaries, and the type of relationship I want (not who - I’m totally open to that!). As I’m going into this next phase with all this renewed self-awareness under my belt, I do feel ready and am excited about getting back out there!

Again, I hope you don’t mind the more personal post. Next up we’ll be back to a more practical one ;) As always, thank you so much for reading and inspiring me with your messages. I really can’t wait to share with you all the new things I am going to have coming up for you! And if you would like to get in touch with me about coaching or my online program then please do on contact@laurayatesorg. 💖

Laura xx

What I do when I'm Feeling Down

Image taken by Hey Saturday

Hi all,

I hope you are doing well :)

This post is a little lower key and less advice driven than most but I still hope it helps you. As I want to start mixing my posts up with a combination of advice and lifestyle I thought it might be nice to share a few of my go-to things that I turn to when I’ve either be going through some kind of heartbreak or when I’m just feeling down - because it happens to us all! Yes, even me, a heartbreak coach ;)

Any time I find myself in a slump or going through a rough time, these things always help me to come back to myself and give me the pep up I need to know that everything is going to be ok.

Exercise

Not the most groundbreaking one to start with. Actually, none of these are particularly groundbreaking but they are all what I genuinely do.

I've had a pretty rocky year when it comes to my health (nothing crazy serious but it has definitely impacted my life in a few areas and luckily, I’m on the up now but it’s a process!) Unfortunately, exercise had to take a back burner. I have always defined myself as a gym enthusiast - I've consistently loved working out for both health and aesthetic reasons and not being able to exercise really got me down in the earlier part of the year. So, when I felt a little more energised, I started just walking 5km a day at a gentle pace. I use a free app on my iPhone called ‘Steps’ to er…..track my steps :) Getting outside walking was simple and didn't feel like the 'exercise' I was used to, but had an immense impact on my mindset.

I did this for a couple of months to build up my stamina and now I’m working in some gentle HITT training about 3 times a week and yoga (I have an AMAZING yoga episode coming up on the podcast by the way!). This exercise combo really makes me feel good. You can definitely apply this 'slowly but surely' approach to exercise if you're going through some kind of heartbreak and don't have the energy to launch into something too full on.

When I was going through my last breakup, I worked with a personal trainer and I can safely say that exercise was one of the things that was my emotional and mental life saver. Plus it made me feel more confident in how I looked. So get outside. Walk. Run. Do weights. Dance (I love this one too – spontaneous dance offs are the best!) Do whatever you want. Don’t buy into what you think you ‘should' do. Do what works for you. Just move.

Collagen Eye Masks

I’ve always maintained a keen interest in beauty/skincare but I've really gotten into it again this year. I found these collagen eye masks via Lauryn at The Skinny Confidential and they are the ultimate ride or die after a rough night’s sleep or when you’ve been crying and need something to give a puffy face a much needed pick-me-up. They’re cheap as chips and you can buy them here off amazon.

Chaps, I’m fairly sure you can use these as well ;)

Podcasts 

Usually while walking I’ll put on a podcast. I mix them up between humour, self development, business and of course, dating/relationships ;) Listening to a good podcast never fails to give me the motivation, laughs or inspiration I need if I’ve been feeling down.

Some of my favourites include The Bitch Bible, That’s So Retrograde, The School of Greatness, Tim Ferris, The James Altucher Show, Love, Alexi, OMFG!, Love is Like a Plant, The Great Love Debate and Girlboss Radio.

And of course, my podcast Let’s Talk Heartbreak is one you should listen to too if you’re looking for advice and inspirational stories about heartbreak, breakups, love, dating and relationships ;)

Giving Myself Time to just ‘Be’

So often when we’re experiencing situations, emotions and feelings that are painful, frustrating, stressful, uncomfortable, heart and gut-wrenching, we don’t allow ourselves to just experience them and end up 100 x times more worked up. Just taking some time to sit, breathe and accept what we’re feeling is a huge way to let those feelings move through us. The yoga podcast episode I mentioned earlier REALLY delves into this from an expert’s perspective, so stay tuned for that.

Music

I LOVE listening to music, especially when exercising or when I’m doing bits and pieces around the house. I'm one of those annoying people who are into 'everything'. But I really am. Old, modern, ska, pop, reggae, hip hop, musical theatre, rock - I love it all. I’ve also really gotten into Latin music at the moment. It’s an instant feel good!

Reading

It probably won’t come as any surprise but you’ll usually find me hanging out in the self-help section of bookshops and my kindle library is also highly representative of this. I’m trying to mix up what I read lately as I find a good fiction novel is the ideal form of escapism and gives the creative part of my brain a chance to work it’s muscles. Imagination is an incredible tool at our disposal that we don’t use nearly enough. Tuning into our imagination (outside of using it to conjure up ridiculous ways to get back with/get back at our ex of course) can be a superb way to channel what we’re feeling into something more productive, positive or helpful.

Some book recommendations include A Tap on The Window by Linwood Barclay (I adore a crime thriller), A Wrinkle In Time (a fantastic before-bed book), and How to Build A Girl (hilarious yet poignant). I’m also a fan of anything by Lindsey Kelk. Fun-read chick lit at it’s best. Some self-help ones that have really made a difference to my life and how I view the world or go about things are Attached, The 5 Love Languages, Single is the New Black (by past podcast guest Dr Karin!) The Truth – An Uncomfortable Book about Relationships. The Richest Man in Babylon and Emotional First Aid.

Making time to speak with friends and loved ones

Spending too much time in your own head can be toxic for the body and mind. When you make time to speak to people who you feel good around, who mean a lot to you and who you probably mean a lot to also, it’s a huge pick me up. Even if you don’t feel like it, call someone.

TV Shows

I can’t deny that my Netflix subscription has truly sung for it’s supper this year. Most things I’ve watched have really tapped into that element of escapism I just mentioned, fired up my brain in some way or simply, made me laugh. (Laughing is a big deal when it comes to healing!) I do just make sure I limit my watching time. A few shows I’ve enjoyed are My Crazy Ex Girlfriend, Love, Flaked (though everyone else seemed to think it was pretty terrible!) The Returned (the original was better however), Stranger Things (I’ve jumped on the bandwagon), Orphan Black and I Am Not Your Guru - the Tony Robbins documentary. Onto Narcos next, I’ve heard great things!

Red lipstick

A hugely superficial one but it works nonetheless! My mum was gifted a to-die-for red YSL lipstick at Christmas, which she was forever allowing me to borrow. So this year on my birthday she bought me my own and I love it. There’s something about rocking a red lip that makes you feel amazing. The shade is 16 and it’s called Rouge Pur Couture.

If there’s something be it makeup, clothes, shoes, accessories that make you feel instantly incredible but that you only save for special occasions, wear them anyway! Why not?!

There are many others I could share too but I just thought I would experiment first with a post like this to see if you enjoy it or find it helpful in some way :)

Laura xx

How to Forgive when you Feel you can't

Image taken by Hey Saturday

Forgiveness isn’t an easy thing. Whether it’s someone you loved deeply who committed the ultimate betrayal or maybe even someone you dated who gave you the completely wrong impression about how they felt about you or blindsided you. Maybe it’s a friend or family member you are struggling to forgive. Those ones can cut particularly deep because it's much more complicated than simply disassociating with them.

The thing about forgiveness, is that we can believe if we forgive the person for what they did to us, it lets them off the hook. It means we’re standing our ground, stating a point and refusing to give them the satisfaction of knowing that the s*** they put us through was ok or has been forgotten. Because then they’re free to take advantage once more and we come of looking like the fool yet again.

But at what expense? Forgiveness is something that I have had to work hard at over time and I think so many of you probably struggle with it too.

When I refused to forgive the following things happened -:

  • I felt constantly eaten up by their ‘crime' or bad behaviour
  • I felt bitter
  • I spent way too much time wondering how they could just get on with their lives like nothing happened
  • I looked at others through a microscope, subconsciously pre-empting that the same thing might happen
  • I couldn’t move on

None of these made me feel good, look good (believe me, that tension shows in your face and how you hold yourself!) or gave me any sense of freedom in my life. I felt trapped in pursuit of refusing to forgive and it kept me stuck in the past.

Here is what I have learnt about forgiveness:

It keeps us stuck in pain

'Refusing to forgive someone is like drinking poison, and waiting for the other person to die.’

I’m sure you’ve heard that one but yeah, it’s so true.

Sometimes we refuse to forgive because if we do, what happens then?

It means we have to move on.

We can cling onto the bitterness of forgiveness because it makes us the victim in everything and we don’t have to face up to the real work of getting over whatever we’re going through. As long as there’s someone to blame, we have the right to keep feeling the way we’re feeling. We can keep talking about what he/she did over and over. And over. Is it worth it though? Really? This is why forgiving can actually be incredibly scary but when we do, I can guarantee we're able to release so much of that toxic energy keeping us emotionally captive. Then the real healing can begin.

It’s more about our inability to forgive ourselves than what we realise

Another one that can be a weird idea to get our heads around, but when we’re so eaten up by what someone else has done ‘to’ us, that’s often a reflection of refusing to put ourselves first and take care of who we really need to - us. Instead, we're putting all of our heart, soul and energy into them.

Refusing to forgive is like a desire to want to keep hurting the other person over and over as payback. Ultimately though we’re only hurting ourselves. Maybe there’s a piece inside of you that isn’t allowing forgiveness because you blame yourself for not seeing their behaviour coming or being a pushover or whatever reason. But letting that go will give you the space you need. It will give you the emotional freedom you probably don’t know you’re craving. It’s letting yourself off the hook because you were doing the best you could when whatever happened happened. Now you can forgive yourself, forgive them and learn from this experience, even as tough as that seems.

It’s a good idea to write it out

To forgive someone, you don’t need to make a dramatic declaration to them in person. You just decide it for yourself. A really comforting way to solidify it though is writing a letter to them or yourself expressing your forgiveness. Let it all out and don’t hold back. It makes the decision more official and gets all of those thoughts whirling around your head like the Tasmanian devil on heat out onto somewhere. It can be incredibly therapeutic and an amazing release.

Approach this with love

Ok, you know I love a l-ii-ttt-le bit of woo woo but this is SO important. Forgiving someone is only authentic when you do it with love and compassion towards them and yourself. If you say you’re going to forgive but are still going nuts with an internal toxic cocktail of anger and bitterness in your head, stomach and heart, it won’t work. That isn't forgiveness. Look, we all have our stuff. That person is probably going through their own issues that could have contributed to why they did what they did. But that isn’t any of your business now regardless of what they did to you. That is their responsibility and it doesn’t mean they’ve 'gotten away' with anything. So just choose to let it go, let the attachment to their betrayal go and wish them well. If they are a permanent fixture on your life (like a family member) you don’t have to cut off all contact. You just don’t allow their energy or behaviour to impact you in the same way anymore. You have that control.

If you go in with this compassionate energy, you will feel more at peace AND it will allow in better energy into your life. You have to make room though.

Forgiving isn’t forgetting

It’s simply moving on from the past to make space in the future. We can learn from it, learn how to process pain, learn and understand how we can ever only be in control of ourselves and our own actions and learn to let go of people, people’s actions and situations that aren’t healthy for us.

I hope this helps any of you struggling to forgive someone. Also, just remember that it probably won’t happen like magic. If those old feelings come back again, that’s cool. Instead of indulging in them as the victim just do another 'letting go' ritual. Just come back to why you forgave in the first place and trust yourself (or me!) to know how much better that will eventually make you feel.

I can assure you, learning to forgive is a game changer even if it does take time.

Laura xx

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

Photo by Hey Saturday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Like I did, she wanted answers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laura xx

Latest Podcast with Natasha Adamo of Post Male Syndrome

One of the reasons why I LOVE doing the podcast is that I get to connect and speak to such incredible people. Natasha Adamo is absolutely no exception and it was an honour to have her on Let's Talk Heartbreak. Natasha runs the site Post Male Syndrome, which also focuses in on breakups, relationships, self-awareness, heartbreak as well as health, beauty and self-care. Her advice and wisdom is sensational and Natasha and I hash out SO many things that if you're going through heartbreak and/or a breakup, listening to this will really offer comfort and value.

All in all, this episode is full of solid gold gems :)

You can listen in here on iTunes - please don't forget to subscribe and leave a review if you're enjoying Let's Talk Heartbreak. Not only would it mean the world to me but it gets it out and listened to by even more people.

You're gonna love this one! 💞

Laura xx

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Staying Open to Love After Heartbreak

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laura x

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