Too busy for a relationship?

This is adapted from an article I originally wrote for teachers on Staffrm.io. Of course this applies to many other professions too and the pressures of the modern world.

Recently there was an article in TES (The Times Education Supplement) about how many teachers felt, because of the stresses of their job, they did not have time for a relationship.

I find that very sad. If you are not happy in one area of your life it will impact on the others such as work and friendships. As a coach I help people find balance in their life and what works for them. That includes work as well as personal life.

I have been single for many years. I was in an abusive marriage for over 15 years which ended in 2002. My abuser died in 2014. This brought up the pain from my marriage which I had suppressed so I had no alternative but to face it. I realised that it was a major factor in stopping me from forming another relationship and a healthy one.

So it might be worth looking at what is really holding you back. Often it is not what you think. I thought I had recovered so it was a big shock when he died what I felt.

In April I decided to commit to finding my soulmate by the end of this year. Things have definitely shifted since I made that intention.

Things I found that were stopping me included:

– I didn’t think I deserved to be happy

– all the good men were already taken

– I was happy being single (nothing wrong with that and I was) but I was tricking myself into thinking it was ok when I would really love to be in a relationship

– I am too old. And as each year passed there was more tension around this one!

– admitting I would love a relationship is a sign of weakness

– I am too busy. I have a full life, how on earth would I find time for a man?

– and the biggie – I am afraid of getting hurt again

If, like me, you have suffered trauma in the past it would be well worth looking at some sort of support or counselling. There are several domestic abuse charities out there that can help. There is the national charity Womens Aid but check out for local ones in your area too.

If you are still feeling stuck why not consider coaching? As a coach myself I can help you find out what is really going on for you. It’s hard to do it on our own sometimes and it is not a sign of weakness to ask for help. Rather it’s a sign of strength and vulnerability.

On this blog I share my journey and I hope to inspire others too as I write my own fairytale happy ending. I have always been a hopeful romantic!

Sending love to you all. Remember it starts with loving yourself and knowing your own self-worth. Easier said than done but never give up! I haven’t.

Getting clear on what I want

A few years ago I had a chat with a friend who is a relationship coach and asked her how she worked. She told me that it was important to be clear on what you want in a partner and a relationship. I had never really thought about it before because a belief I formed in childhood was that what I wanted didn’t matter. It was also selfish, or so I thought. She explained that it wasn’t selfish and that if you didn’t know what you wanted how would you ever get it?

I spent probably the best part of the first 40+ years of my life putting my needs last. When I got married I moved away from the place where I grew up and all my friends. I had said I didn’t want to live there but it was implied that as my fiancé had a job in that area I had no choice but to go where he wanted. I was 22 going on 23! I had serious doubts before my marriage but thought it was pre-wedding nerves. I couldn’t go upsetting people now could I? Especially after all the plans we’d made and the money that had been spent.

I knew how I wanted my wedding to be from a very young age (as many little girls do) – and it was pretty much that. I hadn’t thought about the type of man though or what would happen afterwards. Neither did anyone ask me. My mother was married very young (and my parents are still together after more than 56 years) so I assumed that was what you did.

Since my divorce I was certain at first what I didn’t want! I dated a couple of men and one said to me, sounding frustrated, ‘But I don’t know what you want Helen.’ And neither did I. I couldn’t answer him.

I then decided I needed to take time out and learn to be happy on my own. I was getting clearer all the time, based on past experiences, what had worked and what hadn’t. It is still evolving but at present looks pretty much like this:

  • He has his own business and has an entrepreneurial mindset.
  • He has been married and has grown up children. (I’ve done parenting, he understands my children are important and is ready for commitment.) Grandchildren is a bonus as I don’t have any of my own yet!
  • He has his own interests but puts our relationship as a priority and sticks to our plans unless it’s an absolute emergency. He is in regular contact even when we are busy.
  • He is adventurous and enjoys travel.
  • He is spiritual.
  • He is tall.
  • There is a connection with the past. At my age I want a friendship as a foundation to build on.
  • He makes me laugh.
  • I can talk to him about anything and he values my opinions even if he doesn’t agree with me.
  • He is solvent with an abundant mindset. I am perfectly capable of supporting myself as I have done so for the past 15 years. It is more to do with his beliefs around money. I have dated men who had a terrible lack mentality.
  • He has been single for at least a year. (He has moved on from his ex completely.)
  • He is my best friend.

Phew, that seems like a rather tall order! Only kidding, by being clear can I attract the right man. I have done that in the past trying to convince myself it doesn’t matter if one or two are missing. Believe me, it does. It also saves a lot of time. It is also important to put the statements in positive form and in the present tense. We are also putting the intention into our subconscious mind. Often the qualities we want to attract are a reflection of the qualities we like in ourselves.

What you focus on magnifies. When you buy a new car, for example, you then start to notice more cars of the same make because it has been brought into your awareness. I have noticed over the last couple of years any men who have sparked my interest have come closer to what I want each time. They have also become closer in physical location. This has helped me become more confident and open.

So then all I had to do was put the intention out into the universe and wait…

Making good habits fun

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Good habits don’t have to be boring. The picture above is my ‘choices’ bag. I returned from a retreat in October and I wanted to find a more creative way to stay  ‘in the gap.’ This is the space between something happening and responding to it. Most of the time we react without thinking about it. I have been meditating and practising mindfulness for over 10 years now and one of the downsides is that I am very aware of my bad habits! I am learning to be kinder to myself and instead of beating myself up replacing them with better ones. It is much harder to stay with our experience when we are upset or bored so we find something to distract us – usually something addictive like social media, alcohol, cigarettes etc.

In my choices bag are coloured cards. On the yellow different meditations, the pink different forms of exercise, the blue different writing activities and the green different inspiring ideas of something to read. I keep it by my bed and I pick out one of each colour as soon as I wake up. I am not one for a day to day routine so this works for me because I love stationery and I don’t know what I am going to choose it makes each day’s activities different. It can be hard to stay motivated when you are working at home. Another reason it works is that of course I have only put on the cards things I enjoy doing. There is no point me putting going to the gym on a pink card because that will never happen so I have doing yoga, going for a walk or bike ride or swim.

Sometimes they don’t all happen so I have to remember to be kind to myself as life gets in the way. However in less than three weeks I have established a daily writing habit, something I was struggling to do before.  If you struggle to get motivated please feel free to contact me about coaching.

Thank you for reading and have fun today!