Acceptance, Challenging Beliefs, Family, Relationships, Romantic Relationships

“I’m engaged!”And why I’m looking forward to a less than perfect marriage.

So I have some great news to share with you all! The other night my beloved boyfriend of nearly 3 years surprised me by popping the question, and I said yes!

We’d been to one of the most heartfelt and joyous weddings that I’d even been to just days prior to him asking me to marry him.

And whilst I’d like to think that it was the romance of the wedding that had swept over him the truth be told I think it had more to do with a big fight we had the next day. By big, I mean the biggest we’ve ever had. This fight combined with a quote from Pulp Fiction has led me to one of the most joyous and loving places I’ve ever been in.

In the lead up to the weekend I was stressing out about a decision which I didn’t need to make. Rather than just go along and deal with the problem if it ever arose, I took it upon myself to try and find some hypothetical solutions to what is a hypothetical problem.

In other words I was making shit up in my head, a little trait that I’ve tended towards oh too many times.

After speaking with a dear friend about it, and given our mutual love of Pulp Fiction, I was sent this pic below and then a really profound message.

My new favourite quote from my old favourite movie.  Thanks HS. :)

My new favourite quote from my old favourite movie. Thanks HS. 🙂

“I know what it’s like to get in your head too much, but if you turn it to a point of appreciation it actually puts you back on track to where you are wanting to go, rather than beating your self up for not being exactly where you want to be…and bitch be cool!”

I was really touched by the message, it resonated deeply with me and it wasn’t the first time that the answer to me feeling better about a situation lay in appreciation.  It annoys me so much though, because for heavens sake I know this stuff; I teach it for a living.

But in a weird way me forgetting to adhere to my own advice is great validation for what I do, an outsider is able to bring so much more to a situation, particularly when we are too close to it to see the bigger picture. It’s the whole forest through the trees thing.

The day after the lovely wedding my beloved and I had a stupid fight over something stupid. We had a perfect storm brewing, we’ve had visitors for a few weeks, we’re renovating and this has meant that at the moment our bedroom is in the living room without a wall or a door.

We hadn’t connected, communicated or spent anytime together in weeks and our little wheels fell off. Niggles would arise that we couldn’t talk about because we didn’t have the privacy and then another and another until boom.

Here’s the good news. At the point of boom I did something that I rarely do. I didn’t freak out and get into my head; I didn’t let the boom expand into the reaches of my hypothetical future. I told myself “bitch be cool”.

I told myself “we’ll sort this out, we always do”, I appreciated all that we have together and I chilled out about our relationship not yet being where I want it to be in 5, 10 or 20 years time.

Early on, my last wedded union was riddled with me comparing it to my parent’s marriage and being frustrated at how short we came up. Even after my mother generously shared with me,

“You never saw your father and I in our first five years of marriage, so stop comparing yourself to where we are now after years and years of hard work.”

I wanted it sorted; I wanted to just get to the destination without having to experience the pain of the journey. This is a little habit of mine too from as long as I can remember. Many a time I have managed to avoid the perceived pain of a situation but I’ve also avoided the exhilaration and the joy of it.

So there I was, after the ‘blow up’ feeling closer to my beloved than ever. I’ve finally accepted that one, or two or many blow ups don’t mean that it is all going to turn to dust. My father gave me some fantastic advice (which I didn’t take on board either) on the eve of my first wedding. He said,

“Your mother and I have worked out a balance where 10% of the time I’m impossible to live with and 10% of the time she is. As long as we try and spend most of our time living in that 80% then that’s my definition of a really happy marriage.”

Our new engagement as well as being in a serious relationship again in general, has led me to reflect upon so much within my first marriage. I can hand on my heart honestly say that I never let my ex have his 10%. I was always on his arse about everything.

Fix this about yourself, this annoys me, change this, give me more, take from me less; I just went on and on. But I sure as hell expected my 10% to be accepted and understood with patience and empathy.

With the benefit of hindsight I firmly believe that if I’d just allowed my previous relationship not to be perfect from the beginning then it may very well have developed and blossomed into the relationship of my dreams.

This insight has infused me with great confidence going into a second marriage, great confidence as well as great responsibility. For I now believe that I have a lot more control over how successful this marriage can be then I even dare to acknowledge.

I firmly believe that most relationship problems can be fixed from just one side, even my beloved Dr Phil talks about this when he frequently refers to “it only talking one person to be a hero and step up.”

My previous quest for perfection was always outwardly focused, “you need to fix this”, “you need to change”, “you’ve made me feel this way”. Never once did I come from a position of responsibility and used the words “I am”, “I’m going to love you just as you are without asking you to change for me”, “I’m going to be patient and kind with you because I believe in all that you are”, “I’m going to focus on loving you rather than on being right”, “I’m going to strive for a loving connection, rather than perfection”.

Now I can see how, even unknowingly that my hunt for perfection used weapons of criticism, judgement and control to bring my ex-husband down.

Where as a hunt for a loving connection uses tools of acceptance, understanding and patience to build up.

Moving forward in this relationship these are my great quests,

  • To let our relationship be exactly what it is for now.
  • To remember that nothing remains the same, both in our relationship and as individuals, we can’t help but to grow, expand, change and move forward and sometimes that is going to be frustrating and other times it is going to be awesome.
  • To focus on appreciating all that my new husband-to-be, myself and our relationship is, rather than all that it’s not.
  • And to remember “To be cool!” when things aren’t perfect.

So back to the proposal, fresh from my revelations from the weekend, the Monday just afterwards was my birthday. I take birthdays very seriously, perhaps too seriously, and last year’s was a debacle. I left all of the planning up to my beloved and as birthdays aren’t very important to him, long story short; he managed to drop the ball in a spectacular way…from my perspective anyway.

So this year rather than brace myself for another flop, I positioned myself in a place where I was opened to giving him the benefit of the doubt as well as letting go any expectation that he would do anything special for me. I would just let it be what it was going to be and offer love and appreciation regardless.

I spent the entire day appreciating all of the wonderful things both big and small in my life; and boy oh boy, isn’t that a good recipe for a joyful and happy birthday.

I had a fantastic day, I was high on life and chilled out about birthdays being a part of his 10%, and then the most wonderful thing happened. Genuinely free from any judgement or expectation he absolutely nailed the whole birthday thing and then went on to nail the whole proposal thing.

He’s had the ring for over 6 months and had been waiting for the right moment. I’ve been banging on about the perfect proposal, hot air balloons and those YouTube videos of ‘The Best Proposal Ever!’

I think it was no coincidence that the minute I stopped pushing for everything to be perfect, my life played itself out in ways which were more beautiful than I could have imagined.

So to all you stress heads and perfectionists out there allow me to grace you with these final words, “Bitches be cool!”

Leanne xx

NB: If you enjoyed this article then it would be fantastic if you could share it with a friend if you haven’t already done so, either via email, twitter, Reddit, carrier pigeon or by liking and then clicking the share link on the Loving Business Facebook page. (Share links at the bottom of this article.)

Also for more Loving Business Articles please see the links below.

Much Love & Appreciation

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Uncategorized

10 Awesome Dating Tips We Can Take Away From The Bachelor

I love watching the television show The Bachelor.

I’ve realised that for me it is not too dissimilar to how my partner watches football. I have my favourites that I cheer for; I scream at the television when there’s been foul play and I am left disappointed when attempts to score are thwarted.

And it is as an armchair player at home that I offer my words of wisdom to all of the players. The following are the things that I like to shout at the telly and the real world tips we can take away for dating without the cameras.

1. You’re on a TV Show!

Real World Take Away: Context matters

If you are drinking in a bar when you meet a guy don’t be surprised if he doesn’t notice the full complexity of your personality. Don’t be surprised if he doesn’t get how smart and competent you are at work, or how caring and thoughtful you are with your family and friends.

You are in a crowded space, you are drinking, and it’s loud. He is most probably not going to look past how attractive you are to look at to, how much fun you are having and how warm and flirty you are. Not because he is a player, but because it is logistically hard to do otherwise.

Enjoy it for what it is, fun. You don’t need to push against your context by resenting the shallowness of it.

 2. Don’t worry about the other girls!

Real World Take Away: Be Present

He may be dating other women, flirt with another girl at the party after he just met you or have other girls checking him out in a bar; but when he is with you he is with you.

When you are talking with him give him your full and absolute attention. Let go of worrying about anyone else and when he is front of you be in the moment with him. Enjoy your conversation, your interaction and your spark if there is one.

Don’t get caught up by his physical absence, he could be thinking of you when he is on his next date for all you know. So save yourself the energy and don’t concern yourself with it.

Worrying about other girls early on sends our self-esteem the message that he’s the more valuable person in this interaction. Remind yourself of just how much of a catch you are.

3. He gave you a rose for a reason!

Real World Take Away: Stop looking for more signs that he’s into you after he just gave you a sign.

If he tells you that he likes you; that he enjoys your company and he’s looking forward to getting to know you better then believe him. Chill out, relax and trust that it will unfold organically.

And if it doesn’t then he’s not the one for you, so you will be free to move on.

4. Make friends with the other girls!

Real World Take Away: Put your eggs in more than one basket.

New relationships are exciting, whether they are romantic or not. Developing other new relationships whilst you are dating is a great way to mitigate your emotional risk.

This could be a simple as saying good morning to strangers on your way to work, flirting with your local barista, or following through on a planned catch up with someone you clicked with at a party. Create interactions that put a spring in your step.

Don’t let a text message from your new love interest be the biggest highlight of your day. Let it be one of many that make you feel giggly inside.

5. That’s not his mansion or his boat!

Real World Take Away: The life you are currently living is going to look similar to the life that you would live together.

When we are first dating it is so easy to get caught up in all of the exciting and superfluous stuff around our new beau.

We all love to fantasise and that’s great. But if he doesn’t offer you a rose, then don’t morn the loss of this fantastic and glamorous life that you dreamt you could have had together.

He’s just a guy made from the same flesh and blood as you, you would have had similar frustrations with your new Bachelor as you have experienced with all of your ex’s.

The level of glamour and adventure that you live in your own life is totally up to you.

6. Keep your Crazy in a Bottle!

Real World Take Away: Not because you don’t wish to scare him off. I say this to mean if your insecurities are popping up; then be open and let him know rather than unleash upon him out of context.

Give him something to work with; if you are feeling jealous then let him know about it. He may be empathic and supportive or he may not be, but at least you’ve given your relationship the opportunity to see how you navigate these issues together.

If he was tired and frustrated from work for instance, wouldn’t you prefer him to be open with you about it then take it out on you in a confusing context?

7. Be Yourself!

Real World Take Away: You are only one good date away from never dating again.

Dating is a fantastic opportunity to get to know lots of new people who will help you to define what it is you are looking for in a mate as well as your life. Being yourself is going to enrich this process, being what you think your new mate is looking for is only going to take you further from where you want to be.

The best way to be yourself is to be in the moment. As best you can try blocking out your fears and expectations of the future, and your regrets and hurts from the past.

8. He’s not your boyfriend!

Real World Take Away: Respect the men you are dating as people who are on their own journey that has happened to intersect with yours.

Things that you both thought were absolutes in life may now change and shift because of the new information that you have brought to each other. All you need to worry about is right now is, are you enjoying his company?

Dating is nothing more than a ‘toe dip’ of a relationship. By the time you both decide to dive in headfirst your dynamic is going to be very different. So relax and try not to keep a scorecard or a checklist early on. Try not to judge him on paper or from what he or anyone else tells you about him.

Let it develop naturally over a period of time that is reasonable to you, what’s the rush?

9. It’s not his loss! It’s your gain!

Real World Take Away: You were really keen on him but he didn’t give you a rose. It’s not because you’re a lousy prospect, it is because he has seen something about your interaction that you’ve ignored.

He get’s that there is a better match for him elsewhere, and if it’s true for him then it’s true for you too. He has helped you dodge a bullet by ending it before things got serious.

10. This is not the end!

Real World Take Away: Finding Prince Charming and marrying him doesn’t end with a happily ever after in real life so why do so many of us buy into the fairy-tale?

Whether you make it through every rose ceremony and he proposes or you are booted off the show in the first episode, your romantic journey is still going to continue.

Have you ever hit a big goal or milestone in your life and then everything has been smooth sailing from there on in?

Your relationship with your Bachelor is going to have just as many ups and down and just as much good and bad as your current dating life. Now please don’t let me hear you say “Well at least I’ll have someone to help and support me through those challenges, I won’t be on my own.”

You’re not on your own right now; I’d say there are at least 10 people in your life who truly and deeply care about you. Start paying attention to all that you have rather than all that you don’t.

After all, isn’t this the most precious gift that you can offer to your Bachelor? Who wouldn’t want to be with a girl who is appreciative of all that she has, because once the shine wears off you’ll need to make that same effort to appreciate him too.

Enjoy the journey no matter where you are at because your enjoyment of the final rose ceremony will be fleeting. Finding and falling in love with your own Bachelor is a milestone, it’s not your end game.

Leanne xx

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Acceptance, Forgiveness, Relationships, Romantic Relationships

Loving Letter to my Batshit Crazy Past Self

I was married quite young by today’s standards and had very little idea about who I was or what made me happy.

Early on our marriage became a perfect storm of confusion, anger, fear and hurt. And where that combination builds up to the point that you are no longer in control then the Batshit Crazy is never far behind. I define Batshit Crazy as behaviour that ceases to care about consequences, sacred lines or collateral damage in the pursuit of ‘making the pain go away’.

I often think about that young girl who felt like she was going out of her mind and I am committed to offering her ease about everything that she went through. She was the trailblazer that led me to this point; her instinct to push and fight inspired me to get out and look for another way.

I write this letter for her and for anyone else who has experienced so much confusion, fear, anger and hurt within their relationships that they’ve felt Batshit Crazy.

Dear My Past Batshit Crazy Self,

If you were to write an advertisement for your current relationship I think you’d find it a difficult one to sell.

For Sale: One relationship filled to the brim with misery, arguments, and emotional pain. Includes a critical wife who is starved for affection and an emotionally withdrawn husband who is defeated and broken.

But wait there is more! There is zero joy or fun to be had, that’s right zero! If you call now we’ll also throw in zero appreciation, zero compassion and all the blame you can carry!!!

I know you believe that there are no ‘winners’ from a relationship breaking down, but can you believe me when I tell you that there doesn’t have to be a ‘loser’ either? I encourage you to stop looking for one.

It was never your intention to be cruel or hurtful in your relationship just as it wasn’t his. It just happened, and it happens easily when you love someone without loving yourself. And there is no better way to lose your love for yourself then to focus more on what’s not great about another then on what is great about you.

You don’t need to put your hand up and declare that you are the bad guy here, but making him out to be one isn’t going to work for you either. It just creates another dichotomy for you to struggle against. If he’s so bad then why did you marry him? Let me guess? “He’s changed and he’s no longer the man you fell in love with?”

You are going to find this really hard to hear but the man you are married to isn’t lacking any of the qualities that you need or want. You made a great choice; you always make awesome choices when you follow your heart.

Neither of you has ‘changed’. Your dynamic has changed; but you are both just as capable of expressing as much love, appreciation and compassion as you did when you first got together.

You are two beautiful balls of wool that have gotten so tangled up that you are not expressing those aspects of yourselves right now, but they are still there.

I know; I hear you desperately asking,

“If I love him so much, if he hasn’t ‘changed’ and if he was such a good choice of husband, then why is everything so horrible?”

Deep down you already know the answer to this question, but you don’t like it and that is why you are asking me. And the lovely thing is that by the time you are ready to hear the answer, I promise you’ll no longer care about the question.

The question I’d like to ask you right now is, “Can you put your burning question on hold?” I know it seems really counter intuitive to do so, because for you it seems like the only question of any importance right now.

But I’d suggest that there are far more pressing questions to be answered that will bring you immediate peace, like “What’s great about me?” and “What am I doing to love myself right now?” and finally “Do I love and appreciate myself for the magnificent person that I know myself to be?”

Put your other questions on hold for a bit until the answers to the questions above become a predominate part of your thoughts. This is how you start sorting out your ball of tangled and knotted up wool.

Not his ball. Sorting out his tangles and knots has brought you more tangles and knots. Sort out YOUR ball. Let him know what your intention is, ask him for a little understanding about the space you need.

Get some perspective and see where the threads run. Enlist your friends as support; I said support, not ears to hear how knotty his ball of wools is.  Let them help you to see how beautiful your ball of wool is, let them inspire you of your abilities to untie some of these knots on your own.

Read some books, seek help, ask people how they’ve untied their own knots. Get some hobbies, spend time in the fresh air and sunshine. Exercise, eat delicious food, drink delicious wine, laugh more, go to art galleries, write, paint, take photo’s. Do all of the stuff that you love!

Let all of this help you to see the beauty within your own ball of wool. Let it ease the tension on your knots long enough so that you can untie them and give yourself a chance to hear your own voice again.

The coolest thing that I can tell you is that little inner voice of yours knows exactly how to untangle your ball, and quickly. Listen to it, let it guide you.

My advice to you is to commit to untangle your ball and ‘then’.

  • And ‘then’ decided if this is a relationship you want to be in.
  • And ‘then’ decide what your beliefs are around marriage and divorce.
  • And ‘then’ decide what your next step is.
  • And ‘then’ ask yourself the big questions.

Everything that is fighting inside you, all that Batshit Crazy behaviour is about trying to untangle your wool. Your eventual disentanglement is inevitable but how you go about it is entirely up to you.

You can do it as a couple or on your own; but if it’s not untangling your wool, then it is contributing to your Batshit Crazy behaviour. And why would you want to focus on the stuff that is making you miserable? Let it go for now, you don’t need to bother about any of it right this minute. It’s not going anywhere.

Untangling your wool has zero to do with if he loves you or if you love him, it has zero to do with whose fault it is, where it went wrong or if you ‘should’ be together. It has zero to do with whether or not you are ‘good’ at relationships or are a ‘good’ person. And it also has zero to do with how much you’ve been hurt and how much you’ve hurt him.

You can commit to untangling your ball of wool while you are together, you can cut the strings and end it now, or you can keep pulling until they snap. You cannot get this wrong because no matter what you do all roads lead to a place of disentanglement.

Your instincts will continue to guide you and your inner voice is now much louder so you’ll hear it much sooner. Every time you’ve ignored that voice it has gotten stronger and stronger, the Batshit Crazy has served you as a guiding light. So stop feeling embarrassed about it, everything has been working perfectly. It’s time to start easing up on yourself. You should be proud of all you have done to get to this point; all that you have been through will continue to bless all that you are.

As your future self I know how this story ends, you don’t work through it together and it takes you awhile to tend to your own ball. You’ll understand soon enough that it’s not the tangles that caused the Batshit Crazy in you. It was the distracting thoughts, beliefs and questions that led you away from tending to you own tangles and knots, and this is the stuff that has caused you all of the distress.

The day you made the decision to stop worrying about everyone else’s balls and untangle your own was the day that you took back your power, and it was the day that everything changed for you.

This doesn’t mean that you don’t get tangled or knotted up ever again, you do. The tangles and knots are a part of life and you wouldn’t be you without them. All that changes is that you stop stressing about everyone else’s threads. You finally understand that tangles and knots are OK, because you are perfectly capable of tending to them yourself.

All my Love, Your Future Self xoxo

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Acceptance, Challenging Beliefs, Forgiveness, Friendships, Relationships, Teaching & Learning

My Batshit Crazy Series

So what makes Batshit Crazy different from normal crazy or just plain old hurt?

By my definition, Batshit Crazy happens when there is an acute mixture of hurt, confusion and fear. It happens when we are no longer able to decipher any reason or logic from a situation; and when we cease to care about who or what around us this affects.

When we are totally overwhelmed by; and fearful of; the pain of our emotions and we’ll stop at nothing to make the pain go away. To an outsider it appears as erratic, unpredictable, and illogical behaviour and as though no lines are too sacred to cross.

I feel it is important to remember that in its essence this is a very human experience, we’ve all done and said things that we weren’t proud of. How far we took it and how we went about it may have looked different from total Batshit Crazy, but we’ve all felt intense pain and wished for it to stop.

While it is very easy to see the Batshit Crazy person as an ‘other’ I wish to propose this question,

“Is it possible to have a Batshit Crazy person in our lives without us having contributed in our own Batshit Crazy way?”

My answer to that question is no, but I’d love to hear what you think either in the comments below or through the LOVING BUSINESS Facebook Page.

It is my belief that you can’t play tennis on your own. Unknowingly we hit the ball back over the net ever time we too are left hurt and confused by their behaviour. Every time we defensively interpret their behaviour as Batshit Crazy rather than as a sad call for help, we become players on their stage.

Don’t get me wrong I have no judgement here. It is incredibly hard not to react to Batshit Crazy behaviour; I know I’ve done my share of lashing out in response and I will probably continue to do so in the future. It is really hard not to react defensively to behaviour that by design pushes our buttons.

Looking beyond what is right in front of us is the biggest challenge of any relationship, nay, of life. Imagine the lives we could inspire if we were successful at loving people for who we knew them to be deep down? Imagine if we did that no matter how cruel and unpredictable their behaviours were? Imagine what our world would look like if we managed to pull that one off?

At times we can interpret Batshit Crazy behaviour as funny and fascinating, there are whole websites dedicated to posting crazy text messages that people have sent. But it can also be violent, heartbreaking and relentless. The underlining issues are the same; they are not coping.

That woman on the train that we saw all over the news; the one who vomited out the racist tirade is a perfect example of Batshit Crazy. Imagine how difficult it would have been in that moment to have offered her compassion, understanding and love?

I honestly don’t think I would have. And not because I don’t think she deserves it or because I don’t believe in the power of a loving approach; but because I don’t think that the thought would have even occurred to me. I would imagine that instinctively all of my concern would have been directed towards her victim.

It has been my intention in writing this series to do just that; to put the thought into my head so in those high stress, high conflict scenario’s there is a small chance that I could step back and ask myself the question,

“What is really going on here? Are they crying out for help?”

In the series I have written 3 letters which cover the perspectives of;

The sentiments running through these letters can be universally applied to other relationships that we have, e.g. a Parent, a Sibling, an In-Law, a Partner, a Work Colleague, a Boss, a Friend, or a stranger on a train. I also wish to be clear that although these Batshit Crazy Letter’s are addressed to woman, I strongly believe that Batshit Crazy behaviour is in no way limited to the female gender.

I’ve also written these articles because I wanted to bring some empathy and compassion to the situation. Now before you go thinking that I’m pronouncing myself as a saint who takes the higher road I want to be clear that my motivations are much more aligned to my own self-interests.

I’ve found that when I’ve looked beyond what is being presented to me and I’ve tried to focus on the real person and the real issue; that it has brought me much more of what I want. I want peace in my relationships and in those stressful situations.

It is also an approach which helps me align with my own higher sense of self. I say I want to experience myself as a compassionate and caring person; well what better context to give that a go in then a Batshit Crazy one?

My goal is to interact within the parameters of this sentiment:

“I am hearing what you are saying and it makes sense to me that you are feeling this way. I know that there is a lot going on that I’m not seeing too. I’m here to help you understand that what ever it is, you are more than it.

In the meantime I’m going to chill out a bit from being so defensive. I’m going to look past what you are presenting to focus upon what I know to be true about you.

I know that just like me; all you want is to feel loved, safe and heard. No matter what you do or say, you are valuable and I know that you are doing your best, just like me. You are, just as the day you were born, a magnificent being.

I want you to know that I feel blessed to have you in my life; because it is the uncomfortable things about you that are helping both of us to grow.”

Dear Batshit Crazy Person

Like I said I don’t always get it right and I never will, but the good news is that even when I let my hurt and confused loved one down; the interaction causes both of us to desire more peace and harmony in our relationships.

‘Letting them down’ also reminds me that they don’t need me to ‘help’ them; they are magnificent beings that are more than capable of seeking out the solutions for themselves.

So who’s with me? Who’s up for the challenge of redefining our own role in the Batshit Crazy dynamic?

Leanne xx

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Friendships, Romantic Relationships, Single Life

Why My Friends Wouldn’t Set Me Up and How I Rebranded Myself

Please forgive the sleazy pic above, you’ll understand why it’s there in a minute. But for now I want to tell you about the most charming man that I met last night at a local business owners meeting.

He was about 6’4, fit, handsome and had a nice sense of style. He was articulate, successful at his job, engaging and energetic. But the real charm came from his warmth, openness, honesty, intelligence and humour. You could just tell that he came from a really lovely family and would have lovely friends. My instincts even said ‘very healthy relationship with his mother’, which is a huge tick in my book.

I didn’t ask if he was single but let me tell you he is exactly the type of guy I’d want to introduce to my single friends.

And here’s where it got interesting. I started to pour through a list of my single girlfriends and I couldn’t find a match. I wrote all of my friends off as either being too picky, too closed off or too much of game players.

These are my friends! These are people who I love and adore and who I know the full complexity of. These are people who I know to be loyal, caring, smart, open, funny, and beautiful in the context of our friendship.

But in the context of the romantic relationships that I’ve seen them all in recently, I only know them to be uncommitted, fussy, critical, closed off, unreliable, protective, pessimistic or just not ready for anything serious.

Am I actually saying that I think this charming stranger that I met last night is too good for my friends? Um, yes I guess I kind of am.

I knew that they’d either mess him around or write him off as being too nice of a guy. The idea of setting them up felt like giving them the keys to a brand new Ferrari whilst knowing that they are rubbish drivers.

This got me to thinking about my own life as a single in her 30’s. Is this how my friends saw me? Would they not recommend me to a charming stranger? I asked them and they said yes. Ouch!

For most of my single years I wasn’t ready to commit to a grown up relationship again, even though at times I pretended that I was; the truth be told I was just really scared. So I either cut myself off from dating altogether or I ‘dated’ the types of guys who weren’t interested in a commitment either. But the kicker was…I then felt let down, hurt and upset by their lack of commitment.

That last bit is the topic for a whole other blog; but my point is the type of partner that my friends saw me being wasn’t indicative of who I knew I really was. I presented as a game playing commitment-phobe because they were the parameters that my relationships were bound by. To offer anything other within these relationships would seem either ridiculous or desperate to the other party involved.

Actually I did just that one evening. I met a nice young fella and we attempted to have one night of passion but due to some logistical issues (we couldn’t find a spot to do ‘it’) it didn’t happen; so we rescheduled to ‘catch up’ the next night.

It had been AGES since I had participated in anything slightly romantic so I lovingly prepared a candle lit dinner for us both, soft music and all.

Of course I knew that it was going to make for a really awkward prelude to some even more awkward sex, but I thought it would be a) funny and b) nice.

It was soooo ridiculous! We had dinner for goodness sake! We had zero in common and zero interest in talking to each other. After dinner I segued with, and I kid you not,

“So…..you want to see my room?”

We’ve since become good mates and we still laugh about it whenever I see him. I do a whole routine at parties where I re-enact our dinner scene that is hilarious! But I digress.

Just prior to meeting my current partner, and not even knowing that I did it, I rebranded myself. When I decided that it was time to get back into the game I cut off contact with (well most of) the pseudo-relationships that I was involved in. And more importantly I stopped talking to my friends about either my lack of a love life or my messed up, disappointing, drama filled ‘relationships’.

When my single girlfriends and I got together, actually when I caught up with any of my friends the topic of conversation would invariably re-enact that scene from the Bridget Jones movie,

“So how’s your love life?”

One day rather than regale with stories from my brief and dysfunctional dalliances or declare that I had nothing going on; instead offered something a little more like this,

“I’m not seeing anyone right now, I’ve ceased contact with the Fireman and the General (there were always code names). I’m ready to get back into a loving relationship; it’s time. I’m looking forward to offering all that I have learnt to someone really special, I’m ready for a really spectacular relationship.”

I would then go on about the specifics of what I had learnt and about what I intended to do differently. I never spoke about what I expected from my future mate, only about what I was excited to offer. Without knowing it I was rebranding myself as a person who knew how to be in a spectacular relationship.

It had never occurred to me until now just how much the rebranding brought to me. Of course there were a few other things at play but in essence, I had simply asked for what I wanted and started behaving in way that aligned with that request.

From that point on I actually had fantastic men seemingly coming out of the woodwork, and they were all introductions from friends. The interesting point is that these men were not actually in the woodwork, I was. They were there all along; I just wasn’t able to see their value because I wasn’t letting it in.

I met the man I now share my life with through friends at a party. Where this rebranding idea gets really interesting is with regards to what his mates had to say about me.

I knew some of his friends from high school; I couldn’t recall a single conversation that was longer than hello and goodbye but as it is when growing up in a small town we all knew of each other. When my now beloved mentioned to his mates at the as party that he was sweet on me and wished to get to know me better, his best mate said

“Mate, I wouldn’t even bother. She’s massively uptight and a bit of a snob.”

That was an impression that was garnered over 20 years ago!

Upon reflection I’ve learnt two massive things;

1. How you treat people matters in ways that we can never be aware of. The type of person that we are in all of our relationships is important.

Not because our friends will introduce us to people, although that is a nice perk. But because if our nearest and dearest don’t think we deserve someone wonderful, why would we?

The aspects of ourselves that we get to live everyday are the aspects that we come to define ourselves by.

2. Even when we live a life that is completely contradictory to the one that we know is our truth; as long as we believe ourselves to be more, love will always find a way.

How is the life that you are living lining up with your own personal truth?

Leanne xx

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