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It’s all about learning what you don’t want

Ah man, it sucks that relationship didn’t work out! I know you thought they were the one, but what did you learn from it?

What a tough question to answer when you’re grieving for someone who isn’t even dead!

What did you learn?

When a relationship breaks down and this doesn’t even just have to be a romantic one, you HAVE to walk away saying to yourself “well ok, next time I know from a process of elimination, here are the things I know I don’t want in my next person” rather than taking the approach of “here’s my super long list of tick boxes I want them to fill”.

Instead I think it’s better to add to a list of things we know we don’t want next time rather than sticking to a list of absolute must haves for our “perfect” partner (who won’t exist by the way because perfect is simply unattainable).

What have you realised you don’t want your forever person to be like, or what traits have you realised you don’t think match your own for whatever reason.

Here’s the benefits of finding your perfect match from a process of elimination rather than going off of a “must haves” list.

1. We might think we know exactly how we want our forever person to be in our minds, but when we experience it in real life it feels strangely different to our expectations.

2. Finding out what kind of person you want to be with from a process of elimination rather helps build you into who you are at the same time.

3. Until you’ve experienced what you don’t want, how will you REALLY know exactly what you do what with total certainty?

4. Creating a list of expectations for our perfect match to fill actually reflects more of what we’re missing from our own life than anything else, you want someone outgoing, confident and not scared of anything? Okay cool, but are you actually bringing that to the relationship yourself? Because if you’re not, how do you expect to attract someone like this?

5. As brutal as it sounds, getting your hands dirty will make you fully appreciate the final stop. So if I’m putting this in terms of dating, until you’ve dated some s**t heads, you’ll never fully appreciate the person you’re supposed to be with. See what I mean?

6. Dating is character building. Honestly it really is. You can’t expect someone who’s the embodiment of some list of “must haves” to show up without you putting in any effort. You have to get out there and experience some crappy relationships to realise what you ACTUALLY want because our wants from a relationship change as we get older.

So honestly. In learning what you don’t want. You’ll inadvertently learn what you do and that’s a far better way around of doing things because it sill help form you into the person that you are at the same time.

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Therapy session 1 – it’s a process

Sending yourself to therapy, does that make you crazy? Maybe it makes you attention seeking? Like you’re looking for a problem that maybe doesn’t even exist. You’re looking for something or someone to blame all your out of character actions on perhaps?

But your brain is an organ, and just like your liver or your heart it can get sick when it isn’t treated with care, right?

We know all about the things we should and shouldn’t eat, we know how much water to drink, we even know how many steps we should be doing a day and how many times a week we should be hitting the gym. So why do so many of us seem to falter when it comes to looking after out minds, like we don’t know how to care for that part of us or like asking for help from people to give it the care it needs means we feel weak and damaged.

Would you call someone who’s constantly suffering from heart attacks crazy for trying to go to a professional for help? Doubtful. so maybe more of us should shut the f***k up when it comes to giving an opinion on someone and their need to give their minds some more care and attention.

You know what the sad fact is, the people who take themselves to therapy are in most part only there to deal with the people in their lives who should be in therapy. Ironic really.

But anyway, how can I be a such a big advocate for something and be out here telling people around me that they’d benefit from going without actually trying it myself? Seemed hypocritical.

All I can say on a verdict on session one is this – we all have issues. Therapy actually takes a lot of mental strength. Most of us go into defence mode when someone points out an issue in us, so get ready to battle some demons that you’ve hidden down VERY deep. Get ready to have memories triggered that you didn’t even know existed. And for me, quite possibly the worst part …. get ready to cry in front of a stranger who’s managed to trigger an emotional response in you just by talking about what’s currently happening in your life.

Something no one knows really is this, you’re actually going to feel worse before you feel better. As memories and experiences get dragged up out of the gutter of your subconscious it feels like you have to start from basement level to work your way up.

If you’re going to therapy to look for other people to blame for your issues, then you’re probably not going for the reasons you should be, and if you come away with a victim mindset, then you’re not ready to do the growth you should be expecting either.

Therapy isn’t there to give you an out for being a shitty person. It’s there to help you understand all the things that go on in your head when you don’t understand them yourself. It’s there to give you valuable tools so you can stop falling into recurring toxic patterns and making the same mistakes.

But above anything. I think the most important thing to understand is this: therapy is not for the weak, it’s for people who want to understand themselves and are ready to stop making the same mistakes they always do.

It takes a lot of mental strength to voluntarily go through a process like this. And I’m still very much a big advocate for it, but only for those who I think have the mental competency to hack the journey it takes you on.

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So tell me, what does love look like to you?

The Journey Church: Marietta OH > Faith...The Battle for Your Heart and Mind

A very key and important question I like to ask anyone who sits in front of me newly in a relationship “What does love look like to you?”

Why is this such an important question you might wonder, well to put it quite simply I like to figure this out because normally the idea of what love is to someone will look and sound totally different in the head of their partner. So if the two of you have different ideas of what love is, how will you know once you’re actually in it? (and by it obviously I mean love)

Even if you’re not with someone right now, it’s still an important question to wrap your head around, because your idea of love that you have in your head might actually look totally different to what you find yourself in in real life.

In your head love could look like grand romantic gestures, passion in abundance and endless amounts of affection. When in reality, the relationship you’ve found yourself in is actually representing love in a calm, supportive and romance in every day small actions kind of vibe ….. so naturally when your built up idea isn’t matching the reality, it will be hard for you to accept that this is in fact love.

If you’re anything like me you grew up idolising your parents relationship, you looked at them and the unit they’d created as if that’s the only version of love you ever want to experience. But then …. well, we grow up. We start noticing that maybe this relationship we idolised isn’t actually as prefect as we first thought. It doesn’t mean there aren’t aspects we still adore about it, but what we can realise is that we probably won’t want to duplicate that kind of love. I like to refer to this as our rose tinted glasses falling off.

As we grow up and start experiencing our own relationships and our own heartbreak, our vision of love will begin to morph into what we know we want our “forever love” to feel or look like, it’s very rare for someone to view love in the same way consistently throughout their lives, I’ve never heard someone say they see love in the same way they did as a teenager vs when they hit their 30’s, unless of course, they haven’t taken any lessons from their relationship experiences!

While searching for lessons in break ups has always tended to be known as a more feminine trait to help us process the heart break, I think it’s very important for anyone going through a break up to sit back and take some time to understand what that relationship has taught them about love so they can take something with them going forward.

When I look back on who I was at the age of 21 and what I wanted from a relationship I can see how much I’ve grown as a person and to me that’s a great sign that I’m moving in the right direction. While at 21 I wanted to be in a relationship consumed by chemistry and a level of sexual attraction that drives two people to act in crazy ways, I’ve actually come to realise that actually what I crave in a relationship above anything else, is a sense of calm. I love knowing that I have someone who will be in my corner no matter what and always be on my side in times of external conflict, but to me that shows I’m ready for a relationship that has longevity rather than short term satisfaction.

So here’s the questions I want you to sit back and ask yourself now:

  1. What does love look like to me in my head?
  2. Do I really really think that idea is something sustainable in a real life relationship?
  3. Have I ever experienced a different kind of love to the one I thought I wanted in my head and how did it make me feel?
  4. What are the core values I bring to a relationship to make sure I give and receive the kind of love I want?
  5. How has my perception of love changed in the last 10 years?
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Confirmation Bias and a serious case of regression

Did you know our brains are there to protect us from things that we register as dangerous? Like it will literally send chemicals around our body when it senses danger.

And you know what we register and scary and dangerous? – the unknown. And what gives us the biggest sense of “the unknown”? Well … a break up.

When a relationship ends we enter into the biggest unknown phase that we’ve been in for a while, so we tend to go into flight or fight mode.

We start going over things in our minds like, what will I do without them, how will I fill my time, what will my future look like. Etc. Etc. But all of these questions open us up to the big scary “unknown

To our brains …. regression is the biggest form of self protection because it’s taking us back into a sense of known behaviour and our brains associate that with being safe. Our brains will literally play neurological tricks on us to make us feel like the sun shines out of someone’s back side and they can do no wrong, just because dating someone new seems too scary.

So wether you’ve just been dumped or you’ve just dumped someone, keeping a good check on your brains need to regress to your former person because they represent safety is something I would definitely recommend.

Before going back to someone you need to ask yourself these questions because another neurological issue we can be facing is falling into a state of confirmation bias.

What is confirmation bias I hear you asking?Well … you know that saying about rose tinted glasses? It’s kind of like that. It’s when our brain goes looking for memories to back up our own views and in the case of a break up, our beliefs are that the person we aren’t with anymore was the best person in the whole entire world because our desired outcome is to believe that we won’t ever find anyone that compares to them.

When we feel ourselves missing someone our brains will literally search for reasons as to why this is true, so suddenly all we can think about are the positives in an ex just so our brains can back itself up for missing them.

So when the need to regress tricks your neurological systems into a state of confirmation bias, remember that everyone has a flaw. Seriously … everyone does and I can guarantee that for every one thing you miss about someone, there will be two things that make you better off without them.

So here are the questions I like to ask myself to make sure I’m not being tricked by my own love confused brain post break up.

1. What did they bring to me that I can’t bring to myself?

2. What was a deal breaker I was happy to overlook while I was with them but not now?

3. Did they do as much for me as I done for them?

4. What traits that they have are actually irreplaceable?

Dig deep when you think about answering these, because I can guarantee that when you really think about it, you’ll see that your brain has probably tricked you into a right f***ed up confirmation bias situation!