Category Archives: relationships

Relationships form the basic foundation of everything we do. Knowing how to communicate, show empathy and embrace others in a positive way is essential for getting through life.

Focus on yourself

self focus

Focus on yourself

It’s so easy to focus on the other person in a new relationship. Do they like me? Are they into me? It can become a draining and anxiety producing experience because we can’t control what another person feels or how they behave. This is why you must focus on yourself. All we have control and power over is how we wish to behave and react in a relationship. Focusing too much on the other person is a waste of time. I have been insecure in relationships in the past and it has turned a good relationship into one where I feel on edge. I am not the jealous type but I did tend to worry a lot when in a relationship and look for any sign that they were losing interest.

As you can imagine, this took all the fun out of the relationship. What I should have been doing was enjoying the relationship more and not overthinking and dissecting every small thing the other person did, driving myself crazy in the process.

Where to Put Your Focus

Putting your focus on getting your partner to like you, or constantly trying to figure out if they like you really doesn’t help you in a positive way at all. Instead, put your focus on yourself. Work at your own personal growth and self improvement. Have a lot going on in your life. The richer your own life is, the less bothered you will be if your partner is temporarily less attentive. If they are your whole focus, it will be a much bigger deal when they don’t text enough or show you enough attention. Work on really liking yourself and on finding fulfillment in your own life.  I know it’s much  easier said than done, but that’s what makes all the difference.

Be philosophical and trust the workings on the universe. Trust that things are unfolding as they are meant to. We don’t have much control over anything in this life. You can’t control how someone feels, or when, and if, certain things will happen to you and for you. All you can do is focus on yourself and find a way to be at peace, to accept yourself as you are, and to love who you are.

Mandy X

What makes relationships work

 

happy relationship photo

What makes relationships work

I have often wondered what it is that makes a relationship work. Believe me, I have tried many different strategies to see whether I could come up with a foolproof method in order to be successful in the dating game.

I tried being really nice and keen. I also tried acting disinterested. After a while of internet dating, I upgraded my car and wondered if a nicer, more expensive car might improve my chances. I also moved home during my dating phase into a larger more expensive home. I kept some men guessing and didn’t return their texts straight away. I tried many different scenarios. Unfortunately, each different strategy didn’t produce overwhelmingly positive results and each time I ended up back at the drawing board where I originally started.

All of this made me realise something. Mostly, it’s not about the car you drive or where you live and it’s not about being too nice or treating them mean to keep them keen. What makes relationships work is down to one fundamental thing – how much the other person likes you and wants to be in a relationship. It’s that simple!

If the other person likes you, they will make allowances for many things. If they like you – that is, how you look and they fancy you physically and like your personality, the rest is less important.

You can stand on your head and do cartwheels and give your best impression ever but if the other person isn’t into you, nothing you do will change their mind.

So, the lesson here is – just be yourself!!

Obviously, you may be on best behaviour initially but fundamentally you need to be true to yourself. No one can keep up a pretense forever and you will just make yourself anxious trying to be someone you aren’t. Be confident in yourself and like yourself and others will be inclined to do the same. If someone doesn’t love the true you then it is their loss and this leaves you free to find someone who loves and appreciates just as you are!

Here’s to ‘TRUE LOVE’ – being true to yourself in love xx

Mandy X

Reasons to love and commit to someone

 

happy relationship photo

11 Reasons to love and commit to someone

They love you as you are

When someone loves you, they actually like your strange little habits instead of finding them annoying.

They do small things without being asked

When your partner does small favours for you without having to, it shows that you are on theit mind and that they want to please you and make you happy – this is a very good sign.

You can tell them anything

When you feel that you can be completely open with your partner without fear of them rejecting you, it helps foster intimacy and a sense of unconditional love

You are best friends

When your partner is the first one you want to tell about an event in your life it’s a good sign that you are best friends.

You share the same sense of humour

When you can laugh at the same things it can help you to feel that you are a little team who ‘get’ each other in a way others don’t and this can make you feel closer as a couple.

Ideally, you have similar political and religious views

This is a bonus in a relationship but not not lead to a ‘make or break’ situation.

You are good emotional support for each other

Some people have more emotional intelligence and empathy than others, and it can be a real struggle in a relationship when one of you needs more emotional support than the other. Finding someone who is supportive and makes you feel cared for can be wonderful in world where there are few ‘soft places’ to fall.

You want the best for them

When you love someone you want them to be the best possible person they can be and enjoy it when they get ahead. You will do whatever you can to help them have an easier life.

If something bothers you, they will try to stop doing it

When someone cares about you and you have a complaint about the relationship, it will be important to them to try stop whatever it is that is upsetting you. Instead of denying what is going on or telling you that you are wrong, they will be mature enough to look at their own behaviour and how it may be contributing negatively to the relationship.

You miss them when you’re apart

When you aren’t together, they are on your mind a lot of the time. If you don’t think about them much it’s probably not a good sign or if you don’t look forward to seeing them after a break.

They respect you and talk to you nicely

When you truly love someone, you respect them and treat them well. This doesn’t mean you never argue or disagree but you tend to speak to each other in a respectful, loving manner.

Relationships can be wonderful but they involve a certain amount of emotional risk. Enjoy the intimacy and trust your instincts. Give a relationship a chance and don’t run at the first sign of trouble but also learn not to take too many knocks. Remember you teach people how to treat you, whether you react or not.

Mandy X

 

 

 

 

 

How to decatastrophise

 

relax photo

How to decatastrophise

We’ve all been there – something triggers us and we end up catastrophising and imagining the absolute worst case scenario. We make mountains out of molehills. Try out the techniques in this blog post to decatastrophise and get back to normality. One thought can sometimes spiral out of control and before we know it we have become homeless, bankrupt, single /and/or have imagined ourselves on our deathbed. Learn to deal with anxiety and stress in a calmer way and enjoy a less stressful life.

Steps to decatastrophise

Specify the catastrophic consequence clearly:

This has to be as specific as possible. “What if something bad happens?” is too vague.

Here are a few good examples:

What if my health never gets better?

What if my partner leaves me?

Losing my job

Change any “what if” statements into concrete declarations of fact:

Examples: My health will never get better

My partner will leave me

I will lose my job

Challenge the truth/validity of your statement:

Ask yourself if anything bad has ever happened before. Ask yourself how often this might happen or whether it is very likely to happen. Also ask yourself whether there is any clear evidence to suggest that your worry will come true.

Ask yourself what a friend might say if you told them about your worry. Are there any reasons to doubt your worry coming true?

Examples: My health is bad right now but I have been ill before and improved. The doctor said I had a good prognosis.

My relationship is going through a rough patch but that doesn’t mean my partner is thinking of leaving me. My partner has given me no indication that they might leave me.

I might be performing worse at work but losing my job is a big jump. Perhaps I am jumping to conclusions. There is no evidence that I am about to be fired.

Come up with three positive alternative statements:

My health will probably get better. I’m at my worst now – even if I don’t fully recover I’m likely to get better than I am now.

My relationship will survive this tricky patch

My job will still be there tomorrow

Remember that thoughts are not facts and there are times when we allow our thoughts to get the better of us and cause us great distress. Use the above exercise to restore calm to your mind and see things from a different perspective.

Mandy X

 

 

How to deal with emotional blackmail

 

emotional blackmail

How to deal with emotional blackmail

Emotional blackmail is a form of psychological manipulation. When someone tries to make you feel fear and guilt if you do not do something, you are probably being blackmailed emotionally.

Manipulators love to use emotional blackmail. They are very adept at knowing your weak spots – the areas that lead you to feel guilt or shame and they will target that mercilessly. They will make you feel you are a bad parent, a bad child or a bad spouse with emotional blackmail

Examples: If you loved me you would take me to see that show.

A good father would pay for me to have that outfit.

The give-get ratio is out of balance and you may not realise you are being manipulated. Even though you may not fully realise what is going on, you will more than likely feel bothered or may even feel anxious and depressed.

Is there someone in your life who always seems to be judging you as “good” or “bad”. Do they judge your actions and use emotions to explain why you should or shouldn’t be doing something? Are you doing things for others that you don’t feel entirely comfortable with? It may just be that you are the victim of emotional blackmail.

Set personal boundaries for yourself. Decide what you will and won’t do and clearly define what is acceptable to you. Stick to this no matter what. A blackmailer will try to confuse you and throw in all sorts of issues to distract you and make you doubt yourself. Often they are complete hypocrites who do all the things they say you are doing or not doing. Double standards are something emotional blackmailers live by.

Manipulators will often try force someone into making a quick decision. Never feel pressured and take your time if you are unsure. Trust your instincts.

Learn to say no and stick to personal boundaries. These are the most important strategies to deal with emotional blackmail. Learn to cultivate emotional distance from what the person is threatening you with. If you fear you will lose the relationship and keep giving in to them, they will keep manipulating you. You have to be willing to lose the relationship and stand up for yourself for something to shift and for you to regain power in the relationship. It is only once you take a stand and refuse to give in to the emotional blackmail that a positive shift can take place.

Mandy X

 

Rules for arguements

 

argument rules

Rules for arguements

Before you begin, ask yourself why you are upset

Are you angry because your partner left the lid off the toothpaste yet again or is your dissatisfaction more to do with feeling you do more of the housework? Often, the small stuff is a symptom of the ‘bigger stuff’. Look at the bigger picture. Try to pinpoint what it is that you are unhappy about.

Discuss one issue at a time

“You spend too much time at the office” can quickly lead to “You don’t care about our family”. Now there are two problems to discuss instead of one. When a discussion gets off topic it can son lead to a discussion about everything the other person does wrong. Stick to one issue at time with resolution in mind.

Don’t use degrading language

Discuss the issue without insults or blame. Don’t resort to put-downs, swearing or name calling. Degrading language is an attempt to express negative feelings while making sure your partner feels just as bad. This will lead to more character attacks while the original issue is forgotten.

Express your feelings with words and take responsibility for them

“I feel angry”. “I feel hurt when you ignore my calls” “I feel scared when you yell”. These are good examples of how to express yourself. Starting with “I” is a good technique and encourages the other person to listen.

Take turns talking

Be careful not to interrupt as tempting as it may be. If you find it hard not to interrupt, use a tennis ball, The person who is talking holds the ball and when they are finished they hand it over to the other person to respond. Really listen when your partner is talking, don;t use that time to focus on what you want to say back!

No stonewalling

Sometimes, it is easier to run from conflict and retreat into your shell, refusing to speak. This refusal is known as stonewalling and it is very unhelpful. You might feel better in the short term but long term it will damage the relationship. The issue will remain unresolved and resentment will grow. If you absolutely cannot talk about it, schedule a time in the future to discuss things further when you feel ready.

No yelling

This goes without saying. Yelling is aggressive behaviour and isn’t conducive to problem solving discussions.

Attempt to compromise or reach an understanding

There won’t always be a perfect resolution but do your best to create a win-win situation where you both get your needs met. Relationships require commitment and compromise.

Mandy X

How to deal with conflict in relationships

 

couple arguing photo

How to deal with conflict in relationships

Deal with the problem, not the person

Focus on resolving the issue rather than blaming the other person. Blame never solves anything and leads to defensiveness. The other person will stop listening and want to defend themselves if you are insulting them or verbally attacking them. Once a conversation becomes insulting, the interaction is no longer productive. If a disagreement gets personal, pause the conversation. Act like an adult as much as possible.

Use reflective listening

Often, we focus more on getting our own point across instead of really listening to what the other person is trying to tell us. Get into the habit of repeating back to the other person what they have said to you, in your own words. This shows them that you are really listening to them and opens the way to better communication and to both people feeling understood.

Use “I” statements

When sharing a concern, start your sentence with “I”. For example: “I feel hurt when you  don’t tell me you’ll be late”. With this sentence format we show that we are taking responsibility for our own emotion rather than blaming our partner. The alternative sentence – “You never tell me when you are going to be late” will often cause the other person to close down and become defensive. Try to avoid using words such as “you always” or “you never”.

Know when to take time out

Know when to call a break if the conversation gets personal, insulting or stops becoming resolution focused. Spend some time apart to cool down and only return when you both feel able to listen and move forward in order to find a solution.

Work towards a resolution

Disagreements are part of most relationships. If it becomes clear that you and your partner will not agree, focus on a resolution instead where you compromise and negotiate towards something that you both find acceptable. Ask yourself whether this conflict/disagreement really matters that much to you or whether you are willing to make concessions for the sake of the relationship. Sometimes it is better to be happy instead of right!

Mandy X

How to deal with a confidence crisis

 

confidence crisis

 

How to deal with a confidence crisis

Confidence is a dynamic concept and it varies throughout our lives. Usually there will be a trigger that strips our confidence away. If we aren’t able to nip this in the bud, a full confidence crisis can ensue where we are so focused on what it is that we perceive are our shortcomings…that in the end our insecurities become all we can see.

Here are a few tips to help overcome and deal with a confidence crisis:

  1. Get out of your head

Once we focus on our perceived shortcomings, we tend to spiral downwards. Remind yourself that your thinking is probably distorted and not entirely realistic. We tend to be our own worst critics. Instead, remind yourself that thoughts aren’t facts and don’t allow yourself to dwell on negative thoughts about yourself. If you catch yourself being self focused, make an effort to distract yourself.

2. Have clear goals

Know what you are good at and know where you are headed in life. Having that commitment to ourselves and our goals can help us to stay strong when our foundations get shaken. Regularly remind yourself of all that you are proud of and why you think you are a lovely person – whether it’s the way you make a cake, drive a car, your sense of humour or your kindness…never stop letting yourself know why you are special and why you deserve love and to be cherished.

3. Don’t compare

It’s so tempting to compare ourselves to others and we all do it but it is probably one of the most destructive things we can do. We very rarely come out ‘on top’ when we do that. Accept that we are all different and we all have different priorities. Love your own priorities even they seem different to other people’s. Embrace your differences rather than seeing them as inferior.

4.Evaluate your triggers

Figure out what is causing your confidence crisis and decide whether something can be done about it. Is it a specific relationship causing your confidence crisis? Is it a job, a situation? You will usually have three options – change, accept or let go. If you can change it then get stuck in – have that conversation, don;t let things get out of hand. The less assertive we are, the worse the situation will become. Often, we turn a blind eye and hope that the situation will resolve itself but it rarely does. It will often take an active and assertive intervention. If you feel unwilling or unable to make changes then you need to learn to accept the way it makes you feel or learn to let it go – whichever is applicable.

Face your triggers head on, part of approaching the problem will lead to an increase in confidence. When we do something actively to sort our troubles out, we often feel empowered. Believe in yourself.

5. Trust your instincts

All too often we lack the self belief and self doubt gets the better of us. When in the throes of a confidence crisis we may find it even harder to approach the problem and fix it. A confidence crisis never lasts thankfully, and you will get back up again and feel stronger.

In the meantime, be kind to yourself, don’t criticise yourself and never allow someone else to make you feel inferior.No one is perfect and if some one else is somehow leading to your confidence crisis, make sure you keep perspective. You are wonderfully and unique and don’t let anyone else ever lead you to believe otherwise!

Mandy X