advice

How I Handle Break Ups

Apparently it’s the season to be breaking up, with a bunch of celebrity couples recently calling it quits, according to Cosmo. I’m normally not one to believe the magazine gossip but this seems to ring true in real life – maybe something to do with the year coming to an end, people reflecting on their last 12 months and what they want for the next 12.

While this doesn’t apply to me, it did get me thinking about break ups and particularly how people deal with them. Everyone has a different way of coping. Perhaps you pull out the emergency Ben and Jerry’s and cry while reading over old texts. Perhaps you instantly erase their existence, deleting his phone number, unfriending him and throwing away his tshirt. Perhaps you drag your friends out for a night of single girl dancing, debauchery and rebound hunting.

I know I have a pattern whenever someone breaks up with me. I handle it the same way, I move on in the same way.

First, I cry. A lot. I think about how wonderful they were and all the wonderful things they did and all the wonderful times we had together. I am sad, I miss them and I cry. This first stage varies in length. Sometimes it might only last a week. Sometimes it continues over months.

After thinking they are wonderful and being sad, I switch gears. I chuck it in reverse, go back and think of all the flaws. There are always flaws. We are human, so everyone has them. We might find them hard to see when we’ve got our rose coloured glasses on but those shades are long gone now and the flaws start to come into focus. Big or small, it doesn’t matter, just find some flaws.

And if you can’t think of any flaws, if your ex defied humanity and was, in fact, a perfect person, then think about the flaw of why the relationship is over. They chose to end things with you. They didn’t value or appreciate you as much as they should have. They chose to leave without asking you to follow them. They chose to leave for someone else. They chose to leave to ‘find themselves’ because they weren’t convinced their place was next to you.

I ask myself why on earth I would want to be with someone who didn’t want to be with me, who didn’t appreciate me, who chose not to wake up next to me anymore. They couldn’t see what they were letting go of and that is a major flaw.

I find these flaws and remind myself of them, over and over again, until I don’t have to remind myself anymore and I just know. I know that the relationship was flawed and I am better off without it. I know that while all relationships have flaws, they didn’t think ours was worth sticking around for, and I am worth more than that.

And then I smile to myself and realise what an idiot they were.

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Don’t Learn How To Say No, Learn When To Say YES.

I want people to like me. Let’s face it, deep down nobody wants to be hated. This desire to be liked has often lead to saying yes too often. You know back when you worked in retail and there was always that one casual worker you could guarantee would cover for you if you needed it? That was me. Even if I had prior engagements – I’d work around them so I could help out. I’ve always had to work on knowing how to say no. While I’m getting better at it I’ve realised that this, in fact, may not be my problem after all. It’s not that I need to learn to say no more often – ‘no’ is a word that screams negativity and limitation. Instead, I need to learn who and what I say yes to.

Sometimes life really is black and white and I have come to realise that I may have been saying yes to all the wrong things.

I have been saying yes to people who don’t put enough value on my time. My time is precious and should be reserved for people who respect that, people who make plans for my time and stick to it. I have been saying yes to people on the basis that they have been in my life a long time and on this basis alone. Time does not constitute a good friendship if it lacks care and support.

I’ve also been saying no to all the wrong things.

I have been saying no to new experiences with new people or, worse still, saying yes and then wishing I could bail out last minute. I wish I could leave before I even arrive because making small talk gets annoying; I might end up getting bored; I can’t be bothered putting in the effort; I might be uncomfortable. I read these excuses back to myself and all I can think is that I am intentionally limiting myself from the possibility of having fun, meeting new friends, adding a great story to my list of otherwise rather uneventful stories.

Saying yes to new things might not always work out. While I only plan on doing this for things I actually want to try, I know that sometimes this will put me in situations I wish I could run from. If that happens then trust me, I’ll run. Call a taxi and get out of there. No one is forcing me to stay. However, saying yes to new things might just end up being the reason I meet a new group of friends or land my dream job or meet my future fiancé.

I don’t want to keep saying yes to the same things just because it’s a habit. Habits will make or break you and doing something simply because that’s how you’ve always done it is the worst possible reasoning. I want to stop the cycle and think about what I actually want. I want to say yes to that.

             

Pusher

There are people in your life who are there to push you. Push your boundaries, push your abilities. We all need these people; they help us to grow, they encourage us to achieve, they give us someone to report back to. Sometimes, when we are the sole stakeholder in the production, outcome and reward of a task, it can be hard to carry through with it. If we aren’t answering to anyone, if no one else is relying on us to get it done, if the only person affected is yourself, it’s easy to rationalise that this task is less pressing than others.

Sometimes this is true – tasks for your actual job, you know, the one that pays the bills, should come before your hobbies. But if we constantly push aside our own personal goals in favour of things ‘more pressing’ then we are essentially assigning less value to those personal goals. We are subconsciously saying they are less important. And your own goals should never fall into a category labeled ‘less important’. Having someone checking in on you and pushing you on your personal goals means you have something to answer to. It means you’re more likely to get it done. More likely to accomplish.

There are a few people who push me like this, one who stands out in particular. And I couldn’t be more grateful for it. Sometimes I don’t want to be pushed, sometimes I feel like it’s too much, like I’m being hassled. But at the end of the day, I am always grateful more than anything else. I wouldn’t get all my stuff done if it wasn’t for someone pushing me. I need that person to help me in an area where I fall short.

The problem is, I am scared. I am so terribly frightened of putting any personal goal into action even slightly because it means I’ve started. I’ve taken the first baby step to try and achieve something. And only when you try is there the possibility to fail. It’s the possibility to fail that scares me. When you’ve got in your mind an idea of what you want out of life, of what will make you happy, there are 2 key things that can shatter that idea. The first is that you try to achieve it and fail. The second is that you do achieve it, but it isn’t what you thought it would be. It’s very possible that the second scares me more than the first.

So, if you don’t try you can’t fail. There is no fear. But here’s the kicker; you also can’t succeed.

Great Girls and Mean Men

There is a lady in my life I’ve always had a bit of a crush on (okay, there’s more than one but I’m only here to talk about one for now). She started off as the friend of a friend. She was one of those girls I instantly liked, before I even knew her. One of those girls I Facebook stalked constantly, thinking how gorgeous she looked in all her photos. As it turns out, she’s a total babe in real life, too.

Now that I’m actually friends with her (it’s so much easier to stalk someone once they’ve accepted your friend request) I’ve learnt that even people you think are amazing will have doubts about themselves. Hearing truly amazing girls doubt themselves is always disheartening. Knowing it’s because someone else has made them think that way is sickening.

You see, my friend is struggling to let go of a relationship, something almost everyone can relate to. The problem? This is a relationship that has done nothing for her confidence except bring it down. This is a girl who is worth so much more than she is being told. And the worst part is that the longer someone tells you that you aren’t good enough, eventually you start to believe it.

The irony is that my friend is painfully aware of how bad this boy (not worthy of the title ‘man’) is. She knows he is deceitful, rude, selfish. Unfortunately, it is easy to overlook the bad parts once you’ve fallen in love with someone and it is hard to let them go. It is hard to get out of the habit of talking to them every day. It is hard letting go of a relationship when it feels like giving up, when it feels like failing.

But sometimes, giving up on someone doesn’t mean you are failing and it certainly doesn’t mean you have failed as a girlfriend. It simply means you are giving up on being disappointed, frustrated, upset or annoyed.  You’re giving up the part of your life that was bringing you down.

So to her, or anyone struggling to let go of a relationship that you know isn’t good for you, the self doubt has to go. You are stunning, smart and talented. You have achieved great things (in her case, among others, raising 2 beautiful little girls) and will continue to do so. You are a total babe and ‘total babe’ is a trait everyone loves. Anytime you doubt this, just come back here and remind yourself of how truly awesome you are. After all, if you don’t love yourself, how will anyone else? The key to future happiness in relationships is to start by being happy with yourself. The key to being happy with yourself is to let go of all the things that are making you unhappy – ungrateful, no good ex boyfriends included.

Yes, it can feel close to impossible to get over someone you dedicated your life to for some length of time. But when that person is lowering your self-worth, stressing you out and making you cry more than they make you smile, it’s time to kick them to curb and never look back. And if that’s too hard to do on your own? Gather your friends and ask them to skip with you along that footpath, smiling and laughing and yelling at you if your head even slightly turns to look around, until you’re able to do it on your own. And remember; don’t be afraid that you won’t find someone to settle down with one day, be afraid that thoughts like that might lead you to settle for less than you’re worth – because that would be the real tragedy.

How to Make Your Partner Stay With You

Don’t. It’s just that simple.

Sure, you can be the best person you possibly can, shower them with love, remind them how much you care about them – through actions and words – be supportive, understanding, caring, fun. These things, I advise you do throughout your entire life in every relationship. But sometimes none of that matters. You can find flaw in any relationship, no matter how much love is there, no matter whether it’s something both of you consider a flaw or not. At the end of the day, if someone decides they no longer want to be with you there’s nothing you can do to change their mind.

You can hope, wish, question, demand an explanation, close your eyes like when you were a child and try to pretend it isn’t happening, but we’re not children anymore. You can’t stop someone from doing what they want. You shouldn’t try to. Do you really want to be with someone if you’ve had to talk them into staying with you? If you’re constantly wondering whether you are what they really want? That will drive you crazy.

The best thing to do is simply remember that life goes on. Even if things end well before you’re ready for them too, remember that you were happy before this. You’ll be happy after it, too. And take solace in the fact that maybe, if their decision is to no longer be with you, they don’t deserve you in the first place. Just as there are always flaws in relationships, there are always positives in every situation – sometimes you just need to look a little harder.