Relationship lessons I’ve learned in 2016

This year has been one of major transformation as I have been on a journey with my inner self and uncovered many beliefs on romantic relationships which have been holding me back from love. I’m used to being single and have never been one to rush into a relationship but there was a yearning inside which I didn’t want to admit I had and that was to be in a loving, fulfilling, romantic relationship.

It all started in Spring this year when I was dating a friend of mine and things didn’t evolve into the committed relationship I was hoping for. I was left feeling hurt and with questions such as,

  • “If I’m so perfect, why am I still single?”
  • “If he really likes me, why are those feelings not enough for him to want to be with me?”
  • “Why does everything feel so right yet two-three months later the guy doesn’t want to commit?”
  • “I was so caring and understanding, what more does a guy want from a girl?”

The transition from dating into being in a relationship just never seemed to happen for me and it was an ongoing pattern. This time I decided to go within and figure out what was wrong. Not because I felt I wasn’t good enough, but because I knew that there must be some unhealed wounds which I needed to confront and work through in order to stop the same situation from manifesting into my life again.

I had always heard and read quotes such as, “You won’t find love unless you love yourself first” and so this was the time I had to finally learn what that meant. I started reading and listening to Wayne Dyer, Marni Battista, Marie Forleo, and Katherine Woodward Thomas. From those authors I learned many things which I will share.

Firstly, I finally admitted that my biggest fear was rejection which was painful to admit for an alpha female, such as myself. I assumed that because I’m such a catch and I know what I want in a man that I couldn’t fail at attracting the right relationship; there was lesson number two which was that my fear of rejection came from believing that rejection = failure.

I was sure that I loved myself but after listening to Wayne Dyer’s “Your Erroneous Zones” I realised that I had been rejecting myself all along. This was in the form of self criticism which many of us do without even realising. I assumed that my inner dialogue with myself was fine. I thought that saying, “I’m beautiful” to myself and liking what I saw in the mirror meant that I loved myself. However that love was so conditional; I only felt good enough when I looked good enough. If my hair wasn’t blonde enough or my abs didn’t stand out, I needed to correct those things first and then I’d love me.

I started reading, “Calling in “The One”: 7 Weeks to Attract the Love of Your Life” by Katherine Woodward Thomas and from that book I have gained so much knowledge and understanding on how and why I’ve been holding back on love. As a single female, everything in my life would feel fine but as soon as a man made me feel special and listened to, I would latch onto that. Unbeknown to myself at the time, that reaction was because I was craving love and had voids I was trying to fill. Voids such as feeling appreciated, valued and cared for. I wanted someone to give me their time yet I always had doubts that the man had other priorities other than myself. Fair enough I always said I’d put my career first and so I expected that off the man, but that was the mistake I was making; I was undervaluing myself and didn’t believe that I deserved to be a priority enough for him to make time for me.

Those doubts came from my childhood wherein I never felt like a priority to my parents. Their jobs were the priority and so that’s how I grew up to be so independent and spent a lot of time with myself. I have no hard feelings towards my parents or my childhood, I absolutely love the woman I’ve become and I know that everything unfolds as it’s meant to however that realisation allowed me to then decide that,

  • It’s OK to want to be a priority.
  • It’s OK to ask for someone’s time. If they can’t give it to you, they’re either not interested enough or not the right person for you.
  • I’m going to make more time for myself so that I can learn to enjoy solitude.

Delving back into my childhood allowed me to unearth beliefs I had towards men which I didn’t realise were holding me back from falling in love. I’m not a man-hater as I love and respect the men in my life but the old beliefs I had which prevented me from entering a romantic relationship were,

  • “I dont need a man, I’m independent and can do everything by myself.”
  • “Men haven’t helped me to achieve what I have nor have they had a significant contribution to the success in my life. I’ve had to do everything myself and so I don’t need anyone.”
  • “As a young girl, the men in my life were cold and emotionless therefore I will never let my guard down and I must show them that they have no emotional power over me.”
  • “I am a strong female who is ambitious – being in a relationship may hinder me achieving my full potential and so possibly serve as a distraction.”

The lack of trust and emotional openness in those beliefs contradict the trust and emotional connection needed in a romantic relationship. Now that I was aware of why I would never let a man in, I had the ability to transcend that attitude into a more loving and trusting one.

The journey I’ve been on this year has been an eye opener which has resulted in a huge increase of self-love, self-worth and fulfilment. I am now unafraid to communicate what I want and know I deserve in a romantic relationship. I also feel no lack within, so when the next guy comes along I will be able to enjoy the relationship for whatever it is without the cloud of fear or doubt getting in the way. To conclude this post, I will share the key learnings I’ve made along with the new perspectives I’ve chosen,

  • Relationships are about being authentic, not perfect – I was obsessed with being the perfect girl in order to avoid rejection however perfection is boring. Being authentic means you love yourself regardless of what others think or feel towards you.
  • I am enough – I thought I loved myself but boy was I undervaluing myself as I tried so hard to be ‘perfect’.
  • Being perfect or ‘the nice girl’ won’t get you the person you want – You need to know who you are and always make yourself the priority. Not in a selfish way but in a way where the other person loves you and wants you for yourself, not who you think you should be.
  • I didn’t know it but I was hungry for love because I wasn’t giving it to myself (even though I thought I was through vanity) – I wanted commitment but rushed into passionate dating which then never progressed.
  • Stop accepting crumbs when you want the whole cake – This is something I learned from “Dating With Dignity” by Marni Battista. Declare what you want and be unapologetic about it. If they can’t give it to you, move on and let someone who will come along!
  • When you’re truly in love with yourself, it doesn’t matter if others love you or hate you – You become indifferent to others’ reactions and feelings towards you as they hold no status in defining you or how you feel about yourself.
  • Life is now! – This is something I learned from “Make Every Man Want You” by Marie Forleo. Stop waiting for the right person to show up or for next month’s holiday to feel good. Feel good now as life is full of opportunities and happy moments which will make themselves apparent when you choose to step into your happy place and feel peace.
  • Romance and passion every day is possible but sometimes they need to take a backseat – Relying on those feelings to determine who you fall in love with and when aren’t the best tools to predict how successful a relationship will be.
  • Friendship is key – This is first and foremost important as it’s through friendship that the building blocks of a strong relationship such as mutual trust and respect are found.
  • We all want our romantic relationships to last our lifetime but that can hinder taking risks – Entering a relationship can be risky since you’ll be devoting a lot of your time and feelings to that person…and after that it may not even last! However the obsession of finding ‘the right one’ or fear of falling for ‘the wrong one’ prevents us from taking risks and enjoying the beauty of whatever will manifest. Release the need to be right as life is and always be ever-changing.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences with me, I hope you found this post insightful and helpful. Lots of love…

Stay true to yourself

Stay true to yourself

Relationships should never be difficult or consist of justifying yourself. There has to be room for freedom and to unapologetically be yourself. Anything else is conditional love and will never be truly satisfying. If someone can’t accept or handle you fully, love yourself enough to know that you sure as hell don’t need them or their approval. Trying to make something work is a waste of time, everything is supposed to flow easily.

The beauty of hindsight regarding a breakup

In a few days it’s going to be a year since my ex and I split up. This year of being single has been amazing. However, the first few months were agonizing and hard as I had to rebuild my self love from the pain of the breakup and emotional turmoil. I had become insecure and found it very easy to fall into the trap of self pity and blame. Such feelings are common given the circumstances and I never wanted to fall in love again. I also felt as if I had forgotten how to be single and being¬†alone¬†with my thoughts was unpleasant. I now look back and am grateful for the experience. My ex was my first proper boyfriend, my¬†first¬†love and he set the standard for every guy thereafter. The men I attract now are so much better than the¬†boys¬†I’d attract before that relationship. I am also a lot more aware of my self worth and do not feel I need attention or a male¬†figure¬†in my life¬†constantly¬†in order to feel good about myself.

I’ve never been one to rely on a male companion to feel fulfilled or happy¬†however¬†we all enjoy¬†receiving¬†attention¬†and it’s fun having that someone to flirt and talk to. Being in love and the¬†feeling¬†of fresh romance is¬†exhilarating¬†and I can look back at the moments I first fell in love and feel the raw, intense joy it brings. That is¬†how¬†I know¬†I have fully overcome the pain from that breakup and feel no bitterness towards my ex. I have reached a place of understanding and compassion. I see and understand that every relationship and romantic encounter is a¬†lesson¬†to us; they allow us to collect data on what we really want and need in a man. These “mistakes” allow¬†progression¬†and so when¬†approached¬†from a detached perspective, the breakups do not being¬†pain, they bring us an opportunity to upgrade from the relationship we thought was best for us. I needed to make that mistake of falling in love and being attached in¬†order¬†to be able to look at myself later and realise where I had gone wrong in order to prevent that¬†happening¬†again. Being in love for the first time can¬†be¬†very confusing and¬†overwhelming¬† The next relationships will only be better as I now know what it feels like to fall in love and how I should keep¬†myself¬†aware of the bigger picture in life at all times. We can¬†easily¬†lose sight and get caught up in the infatuation and¬†feelings¬†of romance. We can also easily get caught¬†up¬†in the¬†feelings¬†of bitterness, pain and¬†over-thinking¬†of what went “wrong” when the relationship ends.

Every emotion and¬†experience¬†serves us and it takes time for us to get over all the negative, confused emotions and thoughts to embrace that concept. I feel I am at my peak¬†with¬†my sense of self¬†worth¬†and what¬†I¬†deserve in a man and that will only expand in the future.¬†Life just gets better and better as time goes on….if you let it.

When I now think of what I want in my man/husband, there is more on the¬†list¬†than there was 18 months ago. My ex was¬†everything¬†I¬†wanted back then, the guys¬†after¬†him¬†have¬†been an¬†upgrade¬†since and now I am still adding to that list (I’d listen to Beyonc√© – Upgrade U after the breakup quite¬†frequently¬†ūüėČ hehe). I cannot wait to meet this amazing companion. However I am happy being single at the moment and I’m so in love with myself and life that¬†I¬†feel fulfilled. I feel satisfied yet excited and open to¬†receiving¬†more of life’s great gifts which are beyond our imagination. It’s all about finding that balance¬†between feeling fulfilled and happy with life yet also aware and open to new¬†experiences.¬†Being so satisfied with life that you feel bored is stagnation, keep the imagination¬†flowing.

So I’d like to say thank you to the universe for that heartbreak I¬†experienced¬†last year and the¬†amazing¬†year I’ve had being single. I feel strong, I feel love, I feel joy, I feel invincible, I feel aware and I feel expansive. As Anthony Robbins says, “Raise your standards.” Life presents you with higher standards through mistakes and so you can only¬†receive¬†better if you embrace every lesson life brings.