Working to achieve a successful relationship
A fantastic, loving, nurturing relationship with someone special is a truly life-enhancing thing. At its best it makes you feel bullet-proof against whatever life throws at you, knowing that someone who has your best interests at heart is there backing you up, being your cheerleader. Not to mention it gives you a warm and fuzzy glow!
Don’t we all seek that?
But what if there are some bad memories lurking from a previous relationship that make you keep your armour firmly in place, that maybe even make you self-sabotage when the possibility of a new relationship presents itself?
What I mean by that is that whilst you say to yourself and friends that you are definitely looking for love now, in truth at a deeper level you are scared and keeping your barriers firmly in place. Then when you meet someone who might actually be a good fit for you, you start to find reasons why you shouldn’t pursue it further.
You don’t want to expose yourself to even the possibility of hurt gain. It’s understandable.
It’s your subconscious’s job to keep you safe – it’s why we develop extreme fears and phobias. Some bad memories serve a purpose; they can prevent you from making the same mistakes again. But an overdone protection mechanism can keep you stuck.
Working with clients in this situation I find there is often a commonality in what’s keeping them stuck. And that is a lack of closure and resolution.
Who’s had the experience of holding an imaginary conversation with the person in question from their past where you finally get to tell them exactly what you think of their behaviour, you say all the cutting things you wish you’d said at the time, you get answers to all those questions they refused to answer, and you emerge holding the moral high ground. But somehow you don’t feel any better ….
What if those awful memories didn’t have to dictate how you engage with new relationships?
Scientists have found that for you to store a memory, proteins stimulate the brain’s cells to grow and form new connections. And the more we revisit the memory (or indeed rehearse events surrounding it) the stronger these neural pathways become. So each time you dwell on it, you’re doing yourself no favours at all.
There are some really powerful tools I use coaching one-to-one to deal with this issue, including hypnotherapy and neuro-linguistic programming, but a simple technique you can use yourself is to get it out of your head and on to paper. Say everything you want to say – about your emotions, the impact on your life, what you’d say to them if they were in front of you. Make it as detailed and emotional as you like. Then throw it away.
And if you find yourself drawn to revisiting it, become alert to your thoughts creeping in and have a go-to response instead: play some upbeat music in your car that you sing along to (you can’t then think about anything else), do something else that occupies your mindfully. Because whilst you can’t control the thoughts that pop into your head, you can control which of them you engage with and take for a very long walk in your mind! (Something I talk a lot about in my workshops.)
In time the impact of these memories will decrease and you will become more open to new relationships. So when Select find you a suitable person to meet, you won’t go into self-sabotage mode and you’ll feel truly open to try again.
Dating Coach – Select Personal Introductions