Worst Valentine's Day Ever

Can a disasterous Valentine’s Day actually be a good thing? I should know…

Worst Valentine's Day EverValentine’s isn’t always all hearts and flowers

Valentine’s Day can be wonderful.

If you choose to spend it with the person who you love, enjoying and indulging in the wonderful connection that you have, it can be magical.

If you’re alone, it can be difficult.

If your partner walked out on you unexpectedly the night before, it can be devastating.

I know.

Several years ago, this was how I spent Valentine’s Day.

At 11pm on February 13th, the man who I thought I would be spending the rest of my life with walked out on me unexpectedly.

I was in shock.

I was waiting for the punch line.

Surely this was just a bad joke. A very very bad joke.

But it wasn’t.

It was real.

It was painful.

It was heart-breaking.

The bottom fell out of my world.

When he walked out of the door, he took with him my partner, my best friend, my business mentor, my technical team, and the vast majority of my savings account.

I felt completely and totally alone.

My romantic life was in tatters, my business was up in the air, my financial stability had been removed and my confidence was in ruins.

My Worst Valentine’s Day Ever…

I woke up, Valentine’s morning feeling like I’d hit rock bottom.

I cried, I talked, I cried, I vented and cried even more.

Most of my friends and close family members were either married, in long-term relationships or having babies.

At that point it felt like I was a million miles away from “happily ever after”.

I was done.

For the first time in a long time I realised I didn’t want to be in a relationship.

I’d spent the last 10-15 years of my life pretty much going from one relationship to the next, without much time for me in between, and it felt like it was now my time.

Having spent so much time with other people, I’d lost touch a little with my ‘Inner Claire.’ What did she want? What did she need? What was important to her? How did she want to spend her time? What did she want to do?

It was time to find out.

So I decided to go on a bit of a journey of discovery. Learning more about myself, learning how to become my own best friend, learning to love myself, exactly as I was.

Spending quality time with me.

Going out dancing, travelling, spending time with friends, visiting places I loved, meditating, journaling…doing the things I loved, and enjoying them!

By spending this time making my life ‘All about me,’ I was feeling fulfilled in a way that I hadn’t done in years.

I was happy, having fun, enjoying life.

I was absolutely beaming, and everywhere I went, people were remarking about how I was radiating this great energy. I kept hearing that I was bringing a certain ‘sparkle’ when I entered a room.

After a while it occurred to me that it’s because for the first time in a long time I was being me. Unashamedly, unreservedly, undeniably me.

It was transforming how I felt, the work I was doing, the experiences I was having, and the people I was coming into contact with.

All of a sudden I realised that by being all of me, I was giving them permission to be all of them too.

Everywhere I went people were being magnetically drawn to my energy.

And not just any people, the people who I wanted to spend time with. The ones I resonated with, the kindred spirits, the soul sisters and brothers; my kinda people.

So I asked myself, what had changed? Why was I all of a sudden attracting a different kind of person into my life?

If it was happening with friends, would it start happening with men too?

And then it happened. The lightbulb moment.

In the work I was doing with women and men from around the world, I saw a pattern.

Those who were struggling to attract the kind of relationship they really wanted were following certain behaviours. More importantly those who had attracted the relationship they’d always desired WEREN’T following these same behaviours.

A Different Story

Suddenly the answers to so many questions became clear. Why I’d been attracting relationships that were doomed to failure, why I’d struggled to find any masculine men, where I’d been going wrong for all these years, why I couldn’t find love.

When I recognised the mistakes that both I and so many other women were making I started to change my approach to dating, and to men in general.

At that point everything began to change.

Not long after the most incredible man appeared in my life, and being conscious of avoiding these mistakes transformed the experience of dating for us.

That was some time ago now, and he and I are now travelling the world, living the life we’ve always wanted, and sharing the experience of helping others to transform their relationship lives.

He is everything I wanted in a man and more, our connection is deeper, more real, more intimate and more passionate than any man I’ve been with before.

This is the best relationship I’ve ever experienced in my life and we couldn’t be happier. What’s interesting is that without the Valentine’s Day from hell, I wouldn’t be where I am now.

So it turns out the worst V-Day ever, was actually the best gift I could have asked for.

Something to think about…

Wishing You Love,

Claire x

Would you like to know how to avoid the annual breakup season?

breakupThe festive season can be wonderful.

…it can also be a really challenging time of year.

Family commitments, present-buying, Christmas parties, money-worries, end of year deadlines…

It’s a recipe for a stress-cocktail.

It’s no surprise that according to Facebook, December is the month of the year with the highest number of breakups.

The problem with stress is that we have a tendency to take it out on the people who are closest to us. They are the people who see every side of us…the good, the bad and the very ugly.

We don’t put on pretenses for those who are closest to us…and we don’t tend to pull our punches.

You see, when we’re under stress our bodies jump into fight or flight mode.

Why is this the annual breakup season?

We learned our stress responses many years ago when ‘stress’ was caused by coming face-to-face with a saber-toothed tiger or a woolly mammoth. It was a matter of survival. Us or them.

Unfortunately our stress responses have not evolved with our lives…so we get the same rush of adrenaline and hormones when dealing with an urgent deadline as we did when being considered as a Paleolithic beast’s lunch.

So when we feel stress we see the world as a threat…including our partner.

When we see someone or something as a threat, all compassion and understanding tends to fly out of the nearest window. We have two go-to responses; protect & defend ourselves, and attack.

…and when one person gets defensive or confrontational, the other person often isn’t far behind.

So how can we avoid the stress-loop that often leads to a breakup?

The biggest problem when we enter this stress-pattern is that we forget that we are on the same side.

We’re on the same team.

They aren’t your adversary, they’re your team-mate.

Think about a football team. How successful do you think a team would be if they spent all their time tackling each other rather than focusing on the opposition, or the goal?

Not very.

You see, our response to stress often has us drawing battle lines against the person with whom you could instead be creating a battle strategy WITH.

So if you notice yourself dropping into ‘confrontation mode’ with your partner, here are a few simple steps to help you get back in each other’s corner again.

  1. Stop – So many of our troubles at this time of year start because rather than responding to what’s happening we react. We fire right back at the moment we feel upset or triggered without taking a moment to stop and consider how we want to respond, or the consequences of our reaction. Take a pause…it could make all the difference.
  2. Breathe – Take a deep breath, and allow yourself to let go of some of the tension in your body. When we go into fight of flight mode our muscles tense in order to be ready to swing a right-hook, or run for the hills. Taking a deep breath and shaking out your body can release some of this tension and help you to relax.
  3. Ask yourself a question (or two)…(or three) – When we feel this way, it tends to be because we’ve attributed a meaning to our partner’s behavior (what they’ve said / not said / done / not done) that might not be in-line with the intention behind it. So ask yourself “What else could this mean?”, could there be another reason than the one you’ve got in your mind? The other question to ask yourself here is “What is my outcome?” what do you really want in this moment? Do you want to be right? Or Do you want to be happy? Do you want to fight? Or do you want to build a bridge with the person who is usually your biggest ally? The final question to ask yourself is “How do I REALLY want to deal with this?” Your reaction has the potential to create a battleground or a dance floor, to fire an attack or wave a white flag, to metaphorically slap them in the face or reach out to connect with them. This is your moment to choose how you show up, which has the ability to completely transform the situation.
  4. Apologise – At this point you may be a little confused. Apologise? But they’re the one who’s upset me! While that may be true…step back a little bit. Is there something that you’ve said or done (or not said or done) that might have caused a reaction in them? Might they have misinterpreted your actions or words? If you can see how they might be upset, apologise for your part in what’s happened, without reservation, and without bringing how you’re feeling into it (for now).  When you do this for another person, they go from attack and defend mode to putting both their weapons and their defences down. This is the first step towards working together to find a solution.
  5. Ask for their help – This situation could simply be happening because they don’t really know what you want or need, and how to give it to you…so the easiest way for them to be able to do this is for you to tell them. But barking instructions at them is probably not going to help them feel you’re on the same side. Instead ask for their help…ask for what you want and need, show them how to help and support you.
  6. Remind them (and most importantly yourself) that you’re on the same team – Remember that you’re on the same team.  Remind them (with kindness) that you’re on their team…and that you know that they’re on your team too. Just verbalising this can make such a difference to how you both perceive what’s going on. It might be a misunderstanding, it might be a difference of opinion, but if you’re on the same side, you can figure it out together.

When you’re on the same side, dealing with the stress of the season seems so much more manageable…and you know you’re not dealing with it alone. Navigating your way through the festive period can both pull you together, or tear you apart…choosing to be on the same team can make it more likely to be the former.

…but what if you do breakup?

If you do break up this time of year, there are a few things to bear in mind.

If the choice to separate wasn’t yours, then the other person has done you the favour of walking away from you. You want to be with someone who chooses you, who sees you, who values you…who wants to be with you. If this person has made another choice, you deserve more.

But knowing that doesn’t make the process of dealing with it any easier…so you might want to check out a couple of these articles to help you through the process:

The new year is a good time to move start afresh, to go through the process of letting go of the past and to begin to attract and create the relationship that you desire and deserve.

…and if you think the advice in this post could help someone you know, I would love for you take a few seconds to share it.

Would you like some help in navigating the annual breakup season?

Often when we’re dealing with relationship challenges, whether it’s stress, money, arguments, worries about trust or infidelity, it can be tough to do it on your own. It can feel isolating and lonely, especially when everyone around you seems to be enjoying a challenge-free festive season with their loved ones.

Or maybe you’re single and worried about how to enjoy the festivities without a special someone to share it with? Maybe you’re worried about the comments or questions from family about ‘When are you going to find someone?’ Maybe you’re just fed up of the thought of another Christmas and New Years Eve on your own?

So if you’d like to find out how I might be able to help you with your specific relationship concerns, worries or challenges at this time of year, then either send me an email: claire@lovepolarityandpassion.com or book a discovery session here to find out how you can avoid or reduce the relationship challenges that most people face at this time of year.

It can be a tough time to navigate, and it’s so much easier when you know you’re not doing it alone.

With Love,

Claire x

When to say "F*ck That" to Gratitude

When to say ‘F*ck That’ to gratitude

When to say "F*ck That" to GratitudeI’m all for an attitude of gratitude, in fact I’ve spent a lot of time blogging about it over the past 3-4 years.

If you’d prefer to read a nice, happy, focus on the positive blog post to celebrate this day of thanks, then my advice is to cut your losses now and head over to one of these other posts:

http://feminine1st.com/life-as-a-woman/the-attitude-of-gratitude/

http://feminine1st.com/life-as-a-woman/can-you-always-find-the-gratitude/

http://feminine1st.com/life-as-a-woman/grateful-things-dont-work-way-planned-expected/

http://feminine1st.com/life-as-a-woman/how-often-do-you-thank-you/

If you’re looking for a real, honest, pull no punches, I wanna get down to the nitty-gritty post, keep reading.

As we know, gratitude is a game-changer.

It’s the antidote to a lot of the emotions we label as ‘negative’.

It’s not possible to feel gratitude and fear at the same time, it’s not possible to feel gratitude and anger at the same time, it’s not possible to feel gratitude and judgment at the same time.

In fact a good old dose of gratitude can pretty much help you feel better in the midst of any emotional challenge.

…and therein lies the problem.

Feeling authentically grateful, because that’s the emotion that’s primary in your life at any point in time is wonderful.

But the challenge for a lot of us is that we try to use gratitude as a tool, to avoid, or distract ourselves from the other emotions we’re feeling and experiencing. In short, to make ourselves feel better when we’re really feeling something else instead.

I mean, who’d want to feel angry, if you can go for gratitude instead?

Who’d choose sadness over feeling grateful?

Who’d opt for disappointment over being thankful?

When we are faced with the alternative of something that, let’s face it, feel’s pretty crappy, why would you feel that over something that feels so much better?

Well, the answer is, because every emotion serves a purpose. It’s our body’s way of processing the experiences that we’re having. If we feel angry, there’s a reason for it, something has happened to trigger anger in us and it’s important for us to allow ourselves to be in the emotion, to feel the anger fully, in order that it can serve its purpose and we can learn from it and let it go.

If we don’t allow ourselves to feel it, we don’t ever really process the situation, instead we end up holding onto it (and the emotion), and it just sits deep inside us festering and fermenting away until one day it pops up unexpectedly out of nowhere and rears it’s ugly head.

Because now we’re not just dealing with the emotion, we’re dealing with the emotion + interest.

Being thanksgiving, I was going to write an article today about gratitude.

I had a few options available to me.

Maybe a piece about how shifting to a perspective of gratitude towards your partner instead of focusing on their shortcomings can transform a relationship (which it can, by the way).

Or a nice article on how feeling grateful for our heartbreaks can transform the experience and help you to see how each one has given you something and contributed to your learning along the way (again, a very valid topic), along similar lines to the final section in this piece: http://feminine1st.com/relationships/changed-experience-heartbreak-forever/.

Or perhaps a blog about how being grateful for yourself is the first step to having a better relationship with anyone (another important thing to know).

And then I realised that there are a million articles like that out there (especially today of all days) but not very many that actually give you permission NOT to be thankful when you’re actually feeling something else.

For example, I do genuinely believe that everything happens for a reason in life. I do believe that every heartbreak taught me something. I do believe that each broken heart ultimately was a gift. It was something to be grateful for.

But in the moment, at the point at which you can feel your heart shattering into a million pieces, if someone comes along and points out that it’s for the best and one day you’ll be grateful that this has happened, your first instinct is to say “F*ck That!”

Not “I don’t feel that way at the moment,” not “I’m sorry, but this feels crappy and I’m not ready to see the silver lining yet,” but literally “F*ck That.”

The F word has a certain power to it. If it’s used all the time, it can lose that power and just becomes another word in your vocabulary. But if it’s used sparingly and only when that level of emphasis and charge is needed, it can be very cathartic.

Because trying to make yourself feel better when you’re in the midst of a painful experience is an insult to your emotions. It diminishes and dishonours what you’re going through.

And if anyone is trying to diminish your emotions and your experience (whether it’s you or someone else), the “F*ck that” response says: That’s not acceptable. I will not allow it. No.

That is a response you have every right to, because this is you respecting yourself, respecting your emotions, respecting your experience and taking back your power.

Not only do you have every right to say “F*ck That,” but it’s actually preferable.

Because you can’t get to genuine gratitude unless you go through the emotions first.

And at that point, at the point of pain, the situation just plain sucks.

It hurts.

It’s not good.

There seems no reason good enough for the fact that you’re feeling the way you feel.

You don’t want to feel it.

You don’t like feeling it.

But doing anything else is ultimately doing yourself a disservice.

So cry. Wail. Shout and scream. Sob into a cushion, and beat the crap out of a beanbag (my personal favourite in situations like these).

Talk to Friends. Spend a day under the duvet.

Be with it.

Be in it.

Feel it.

Experience it.

And when it’s served its purpose, you then have the choice to be able to release the emotion and let it go.

Then you can begin to think clearly about it.

You can begin to get some perspective. You can start to look for the lessons, the learnings, the gifts.

At this point you can allow yourself to step into gratitude, and step into it fully, completely, unreservedly and whole-heartedly.

So the next time you find yourself feeling a strong ‘negative’ emotion, you have my full permission to say “F*ck That” to that false, distracting gratitude, and instead allow yourself to actually feel what’s there first.

Because when you go through the emotion first, you can actually get to the other side, after which you can get to genuine gratitude.

Put simply, saying “F*ck that” to false gratitude is the path to experiencing REAL gratitude.

…and there are very few things more powerful in this world than genuine, from the heart, I feel it in my soul gratitude.

I invite you to Tweet the Love… Saying f*ck that to false gratitude is the path to REAL gratitude @LovePPassion

Now I’d like to know what you think. Have you learned to say “F*ck That” to false gratitude? Have you experienced it as the path to real, genuine gratitude? Does it feel like an edge for you? Does this resonate with you? Or do you think I’m totally wrong? Is it something that feels uncomfortable? What have YOUR experiences with this been?

And on thanksgiving I give you permission to say “F*ck That” to cheap imitations of gratefulness, the ones employed to distract, avoid and ‘make us feel better’, and instead to make the powerful choice to only embrace and express gratitude that is real.

In the short-term it can feel like it sucks, but in the long-term it’s the key to real, genuine emotional freedom.

And there’s no other feeling like it.

With Love,

Claire x

P.S. If you’d like some free tips and advice on how to create your perfectly imperfect relationship, pop over here now and check out our free video series “The First Steps to Transforming Any Relationship”