Guest Blogger – Gemma from How To Make Friends

Hey guys, Georgie here just to introduce! As promised, I’ve enlisted the help of an incredible fellow blogger Gemma of How To Make Friends blog and more recently the winner of a UK Blog Award! We met a few years ago and her blog is all about positivity and self empowerment so it felt natural to have her write something for me; especially while I’m in such a negative place. Please go on and have a read of her blog. Details of how to connect with Gemma are all at the bottom of her post so sit back, relax and enjoy…

 

How to build self-esteem after a break up

The breakup itself…

Nothing can prepare you for a breakup and no two breakups are ever the same. Real-talk: no matter how a breakup is instigated (even if it’s amicable) it is always shit. It’s hard because your life gets fully flipped upside down, no one truly understands how you are feeling and you have to continue living your life as if nothing has happened. Not only are you juggling all the changes that hit you at once but the moment you realise you are back navigating the world alone is absolutely heartbreaking. There is nothing else quite like that moment you realise you no longer have a partner in crime, no longer have someone always on your team and no longer have someone to come home to at the end of every day. It’s scary and it’s lonely, which is why people will willingly stay in the wrong relationship for much longer than they know they should. As humans we prefer negative attention over no attention at all. Loosely translated we would rather be in a wrong relationship than be single – it’s human nature! So battling the elements of our natural instincts to have security at home, to have attention and to have someone to love, it’s no wonder breakups trigger the same reactions as when you are grieving the death of someone.

Finding you again…

Most people will agree the best bit about a breakup is the ‘breakup diet’. After the initial shock of it all, is usually the ‘I really must pull myself together now’ phase. The instant want to better yourself, whether it be weight, diet, money, fitness, hair; this is the time you are most likely to make changes. This is the time you will be tempted to jump in and reinvent yourself. New found freedom, friendships and things to look forward to will become a welcome distraction to the heartbreak you are living every single day. The best bit about this phase is that you start getting attention and that’s exactly what you are doing it for. It makes up for the lack of attention from a partner and instead you have other people complimenting you on your upgrades. It feels good but you inevitably still have your wobbles. You feel like you’re really finding the real you, a new you and a better you and you will be feeling the best you’ve felt in a long time.

While you’re feeling fantastic about yourself you may feel tempted to dip a toe back into the world of dating. A few swipes on Tinder and you may just have bagged yourself a date to match your new upgraded self and you convince yourself you are moving on.

Dating…

‘WARNING: Dating may cause extreme lows of self-esteem’

If I could shout this from the rooftops to all the single ladies out there I really would. Yes, dating should feed your curiosity and provide you with some fun, but please take care of yourself. Putting a brave face on to the world is absolutely different to opening up yourself to being completely vulnerable to another person. The worst bit about this first stage of dating is that you will be rejected. Just as you are feeling bloody fantastic about yourself, super confident and the best version of you; along will come a date to really bring you back to earth with a bang! Go into dating expecting to be ghosted, to be told you’re not good enough and to be rejected. Unfortunately, it’s going to happen and the sooner you accept that the better.

From experience I naively went into the world of dating thinking I had struck really lucky with the first date I went on after my breakup. After 6/7 incredible dates he panicked and fled! It felt like a breakup all over again but actually even worse. I had been very cautious to be a strong independent woman and the moment I felt my guard drop slightly, he was gone.

After more dates with different guys I fully gave up on dating. As I hit an absolute low of feeling worthless, depressed and fat I deleted all of the apps on my phone and felt the pressure I was burdening myself with every second of every day release. I had never felt so disgusting about myself in my life and I knew I needed to change.

My advice to anyone reading this fresh from a breakup into the dating world is that it is absolutely brutal and please never lose your love for yourself based on rejection from others. You need to be your own biggest cheerleader throughout this whole process. Some days will be easier than others, but if even on your worst days you can show yourself a tiny bit of love it will make a huge difference.

Whether you successfully navigate through the dating world with ease, whether you find your perfect partner in no time or whether you set out to enjoy single time, now is the perfect opportunity to invest time in building your self-worth. It really is the perfect time to really invest in finding who you are, what you want from life and what your true passions are.

5 ways to build self-esteem after a breakup

1. Be alone

Give yourself quiet and alone time to reflect over your relationship and where you are now. It will hurt like hell, you won’t want to do it but it is really important to make you mindful. You don’t have to get angry at an ex, you don’t have to resent them and you don’t have to want to get your own back. Try to think of the happy times, try to forgive the bad times and really tune in with who you are now. It is important to see things as they are and not to escalate them in your mind. There is nothing wrong with you, no you’re not going to be alone forever and more importantly yes you can absolutely be single and happy.

2. Be grateful

Gratitude is a beautiful thing in times of despair. No matter who you are or what your circumstances are, there is always something to be grateful for. Even reading this you can be grateful to be alive, to have a phone/computer, to have the internet at your fingertips and to be already trying to better yourself. Make a list of all the things you are grateful for. Remember everyone we cross paths with is a lesson or a blessing. Be grateful for the lessons your ex has taught you, be grateful for the time you had together and be grateful that you are the strong independent person you are today.

3. Make some goals

Now is a great time to think about you and your life. A great way to set goals is to make a list of your top 5 priorities. Then you can delve into the what, why, how and when. Dream big. These are your goals and you can achieve whatever you put your mind to. Now is your time to fully invest all of your time and energy into yourself.. Be ambitious, believe in yourself and go set out to become the best version of yourself possible.

4. Commit to loving yourself

If during the breakup things were said that weren’t meant, now is the time to forgive and forget them. Use bitter words said about you to fuel your future passions, definitely don’t dwell on them and put yourself down with them. Yes you are alone right now and do you know what? We also enter and leave this world alone too. If you cannot enjoy your own company, rely on yourself or be independently strong, you are never going to be happy. Other people should complement our lives not make them. Never, ever look to someone else to fulfil your insecurities. This is the time to love, nourish and appreciate yourself for everything you are.

5. Surround yourself with positive family & friends

Amongst spending time alone also schedule in time with friends and family. Go places, see people and be sociable. Learn things from others, get their perspective and soak in any wonderful things they have to say about you. Even if you don’t feel like going out, being sociable will really get you feeling better. This is a fantastic opportunity in your life to make new like-minded friends.

**

I will forever be grateful for having this single time in my life. It has been a chunk of my life that has allowed me to be completely selfish with my time, money and energy. I know single life won’t be forever. I am a true believe in divine timing and I am exactly where I need to be right now. In the last 6 months I have hit lows, felt the loneliest person in the world and absolutely hated myself, but now I am confident, truly happy, extremely grateful and hustling harder than ever to chase my dreams. I still have moments where I miss having a partner, someone to love and someone to give me attention but I know the feeling is only temporary. Being single is a journey, but when you start to embrace it, it is a wonderful one too. I hope you find comfort from this post, you have so got this!!

Gemma x

http://www.howtomakefriends.co.uk
@howtomakefriends_
hello@howtomakefriends.co.uk

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The Fallout

I want you to imagine a little girl. A girl that is no older than 4 years old. At this age her Dad walks away from her Mum, her two sisters and her. He walks away like it’s the easiest thing in the world; like they had no impact on his life. As she grows older, this little girl doesn’t trust many people. At 8 years old a boy tells her he loves her but she pushes him away because she doesn’t trust him. She pushes friends away in whatever way she can because she believes it’s easier than people hurting her. At 12 years old she writes a letter to her Dad. His reply? It includes the simple sentence “You should put me in your past as I have done with you”. Imagine how that feels for a 12 year old girl. As she grows even older she decides to seek help in the form of counselling. She wants to learn how to trust people and better herself. At 16 she learns that the only male who ever said he loved her has died in a terrible accident. At 18 this girl decides to try to trust men and starts dating. At 20 she is sexually assaulted by a complete stranger. A man who thinks it’s his right to take what he wants from her even when she said no more than once and tried to fight back. From the ages of 21 to 26 this girl is lied to by various men who lead her on with whatever lies until they get bored and walk away from her using excuses, like it’s the easiest thing in the world for them. Like she meant nothing to them and like she had no impact on their lives. At 26, this girl fell in love. Truly fell in love with a man she thought was different. In the end he turned out to be the same and walked away from her like she meant nothing. Like it was the easiest thing in the world to walk away. Like she had no impact on his life whatsoever. Do you see how important this girl’s story is now? Do you understand why this girl feels so broken now?

In case you haven’t realised, that girl is me. She grew up to be cynical and bitter. Can you blame her? How can I blame each man individually though? Each one probably didn’t think much of their lies or poor excuses. They didn’t think it would have such an effect on me but when you look at the bigger picture, the effect is huge. One lie from one man means almost nothing. But every lie from every man turns it into something continuous that tells the girl she’s worthless, means nothing to them and has no impact on their lives. Let’s look back at some of the big ones who could have been something great… Andy* ghosted completely so not even a reason for walking away was given. Ok, I can get over that. Brian* who ended up giving me the excuses that he could do better than me and that he couldn’t commit to me. He committed. The girl after me; he committed to her. Richard* who fed me the lies that he would never settle down because he was an unsettled soul who just wanted to travel; he settled for a girl after me, in England of all places! Jamie* who lead me on and on until I admitted I liked him and then suddenly turned around and said he ‘wasn’t in the same place’ as me fed me some bullshit that made me think it was my fault but then a week later had a new girlfriend. Jack* (who was horrific in bed anyway) fed me the excuse that he didn’t have time to date but a week later went on a date with another girl to the pub I work in! They’re now in a relationship. It’s important to recap each of these stories because, just like my Father did, each of these men walked away like it was the easiest thing in the world. Like I meant nothing to them. Like I had no impact on their lives at all. Like I wasn’t good enough for them.

Then there is Scott; the man I fell in love with. The man who ended things with me recently. This man is not a villain. He is good. Although he could never say he loved me, I think he wanted to and even tried to love me. But 4 weeks away from turning 28, i still don’t have experience of someone being in love with me. As you can tell I’m taking the breakup really well haha. I want to believe him when he says that there isn’t anyone else but how can I believe that? Every man before him has fed me various different lies because another girl ended up being there. I wasn’t good enough. How do I believe that this isn’t the case here? Scott lied to me in the end when he promised that everything would be ok; this wasn’t the beginning of the end. As we all know, it was the beginning of the end. How can I trust that anything was real when he lied at the end? Just like every man before him had lied. I get that he never meant to lie to me. He really thought it would be ok. He’d be mortified if he knew I was questioning everything now but what else can I do? I invested everything into our relationship because he promised me a future and I believed him. Then he walked away from me, like it was the easiest thing in the world. Like I meant nothing to him. Like I had no impact on his life whatsoever. I lost his family that I loved as well as his friends and workmates. I guess they walked away from me too. They all forgot about me like I never existed. At least that’s how it feels. I know that he would never say it was easy for him to walk away. I know he would hate for me to think that but how do I separate this from previous experiences?

How do I get past this? All this has proven to me is that I’m nothing more to anyone than ordinary. When I was younger I believed I would grow up to be something special. I thought I was destined to be amazing. Now, I realise that I am nothing more than average. Every man in my life has shown me with their actions in treating me the way they did, that I am nothing more than bottom of the pile. When I walk into a room, nobody looks up; I’m as good as invisible. I was never something special to anyone, even the man I recently fell in love with. He couldn’t see me as anything more than average. Someone easy to walk away from. He gets to move on easily. His family and friends get to move on easily because I’m easily replaceable. I spent time being angry. I went through and impulsively deleted photos of us together on my instagram but he never had to do that because I was never on his. Like I was easy to walk away from. Like I never meant anything to him. Almost like, despite everything I did for him, I never had any impact on his life at all. You see the pattern here?

I was dumped recently and no matter how much people try to tell me that time is a healer do you now understand why this means more than that? Every man in my life has walked away from me like I mean nothing. I’m nothing but average. I’m not special because I make no impact on anyone’s life, no matter how hard I try.

The fallout of being dumped has been something I haven’t dealt with well. It’s brought up a lot for me from my past. It’s knocked my self esteem. I have tried to find different distractions. I’ve been going to the gym a lot and wearing more make up. People are telling me how amazing I look considering everything. I’ve lost nearly a stone in weight, desperately trying to make myself appear good enough for any man who screwed me over. I’m releasing anger in kick boxing classes. I’m eating less and drinking more in a desperate attempt to temporarily forget things. I’m ignoring my friend’s messages about buying houses and getting engaged because although I want to be happy for them, I can’t. I am struggling to be happy for them because Scott wanted to buy a house with me before he suddenly ended things. I had that life, that future that my friends now have but it was pulled out from underneath me. I wasn’t good enough to have it. Now I’m supposed to smile and pretend I’m happy for everyone else who gets to have the future I had stolen from me. I suppose my useless Drama degree needs to come into play at some point.

So the fallout of the breakup? As you can tell, I’m angry. I’m moving forward but I’m still so angry. I am in a place where I’m constantly questioning everything. I am cynical and bitter and struggling to understand why things ended. The reasons I was given aren’t good enough. I am unable to trust that another woman isn’t involved and my past will explain why I don’t trust it. Also, his lies at the end mean I’m struggling to trust anything he ever said or did. I’m terrified to turn up to any of our places in case I see him with someone else. The pub we had our first date, the cafe we had breakfast in all the time. The studio we went to a spin class at. They’re all in my village but he gets custody of them and I have to avoid them all. His life doesn’t change but mine does; because chances are, I meant nothing. I had no impact on his life. I was easy to walk away from.

As you can tell, I’m still in an incredibly negative place. Sorry about that. I don’t want to keep writing so negatively so I’ve enlisted the help of a fellow blogger for my next post. The beautiful Gemma from www.howtomakefriends.co.uk has agreed to write a guest post for me to transition to something more positive for you all to read. I look forward to posting her post!

In terms of the future for me. I’m struggling to see anything but negativity but to the unlucky guy who ends up with me, I ask you to please be honest with me. Tell me the truth about everything. If you are having a bad day, tell me. If there is someone else, tell me. If you don’t think I’m good enough, tell me. Please don’t lie to me. I am worth more than that.

Richard – Pensioner

Don’t be ridiculous, I didn’t go on a date with someone 50 years my senior! I mean, I did but it wasn’t a date. It was a chance meeting with a complete stranger that happened at the right time in my life.

The fact I’m writing this post is difficult; heart breaking in fact because it means I’m no longer in my relationship. You’ll know from my previous post, written a long time ago, that I found someone. I was in a relationship for over a year and I thought I’d found the one. Turns out I was not his one. I fell in love. Whether he loved me back or not, I don’t think I’ll ever know but I loved him with every part of me. I still do so please bear with me because this is painful. I’ve decided not to write a detailed post about why the relationship ended because half of our story is not mine to tell. He is a good man and although I don’t agree with his reasons for breaking up with me, I do understand them. He met me to explain why he’d made his decision. He sat with me while I shouted, cried and even insulted him for what he was doing. He didn’t argue; instead just listened and let me get out my frustration and pain at what was happening. Bob Marley once said “the biggest coward of a man is to awaken the love of a woman without the intention of loving her”. That’s how I feel in this situation. My love was awakened but I will never know for sure whether the recipient ever had the intention of loving me back. His reasons for ending the relationship were cowardly, maybe, but by sitting and taking responsibility; listening to my pain; facing the consequences of initiating the break up; I can’t call him a coward. I imagine that could have been one of the hardest things he’ll ever have to do. Men in my life before him had never had the balls to actually explain real reasons for ending things, and none had done it to my face! I still don’t agree with the decision, but I’m trying to accept it.

You may be asking about the title of this post. The chance meeting with the stranger that came at the right time. The week after my relationship was ended (I use the word ‘was’ intentionally because it wasn’t my decision, nor was it ended by me) I was meant to be going away with my boyfriend, his family and for the weekend, his work mates and boss. Because of the last minute timing, I couldn’t give my annual leave back to work and there was no way I could sit at home crying all week. I had to find something else to do so I contacted my younger sister and booked last minute flights to France to visit her for a few days. I struggled with the trip, I was still feeling immense pain at the loss of my other half. But I needed to be away. Anyway, the flight home was where I met a man who showed me kindness. Kindness that I needed. The flight back to London was not busy at all. I was seated in the window seat while the two seats to my right remained unoccupied until towards the end of boarding when an older gentleman sat in the aisle seat. During take off, a wave of sadness came over me and tears started to roll down my cheeks. This was how it happened since being broken. The sadness hit me in waves, it still does. The rest of the time I feel numb, disinterested and in pain.

Once in the air, the man in the same row as me leant over and asked if I was ok. As I wiped away tears I gave a non committal answer about being fine, just that I had recently been through a painful break up. At this point the cabin crew stopped at us and asked if we wanted any drinks. I ordered a peppermint tea and the gentleman told the cabin crew he would like a tea and would pay for both. He then looked at me and said with such kindness in his eyes “Why don’t you tell me about it over a hot drink?” He introduced himself as Richard (he won’t mind me using his real name) and said he’d been in France visiting his son who lives there. After I had briefly told him about my boyfriend ending our relationship he went on to tell me about his own experiences of heartbreak. This may not be verbatim but it’s pretty damn close to what he did say.
“Georgie, I am 79 years old and I know what you’re feeling right now. I have been married twice. My first marriage lasted for 30 years and I thought we were happy. Then one day my wife left me and told me she wanted a divorce. She gave faintly similar reasons to your boyfriend and I felt the same way about it as you do now. I didn’t agree with them but I understood the reasons. I thought I’d never meet someone else as perfect for me as my first wife. Then years later when I was ready, I did. My second wife was even more perfect and we were married for 23 years in total before she passed away last year. Do you know which relationship ending hurt more?” Well I figured obviously his wife dying hurt more! His reply was calm, like he’d said it 100 times before. He was talking from experience. I have had to paraphrase it because I can’t remember exactly in detail everything he said. I’ve kept the parts that I do remember and that stuck with me
“My first wife leaving me hurt much more. I have mourned the end of two marriages. Just as you now need to mourn the end of your relationship. My wife passing away last year left me devastated, but I only look back on our time together with fondness and happiness. She didn’t choose to leave me and in death, still loved me just as I still love her. The reason my first wife hurt me so much was because she left me. She chose to leave… I fought with myself over it for years after because I didn’t want her to look back and only see the reasons she left me. I didn’t want her to look back and forget the good things we had together… She left me and it made me feel like I wasn’t good enough… As you grow older, you will meet someone else who will make you realise that you were always good enough, he just didn’t see it. Your next love will be the one who proves to you that you were always good enough and he will fight to show you that; the way your recent boyfriend did not fight for you. I promise, you will be ok. But take this time to cry when you need to, talk to strangers on planes if it helps, give yourself space.”

I barely had to speak because he already knew it all. Richard knew what I was feeling. I feel let down. Unanswered questions tornado in my mind. Was I not a good enough girlfriend even though I thought I was? Did I not support him enough even though I thought I did everything I could? Is there someone else that he feels is better than me and who he wants to be with instead? Somebody else who gets to benefit from the future I should have had with him? I feel like I invested everything into a relationship with someone who made me think he too was invested. He planned a future together with me. Yes, he planned it. It was what he wanted. Then to one day decide I wasn’t enough; the future he had promised wasn’t enough to fight for. I will have to live with it. I will have to live with the feeling that I was easy to walk away from. It was easy to just sweep me under the carpet and forget I ever happened. I wasn’t worth fighting for (story of my life). Whether that’s true or not, I’ll never fully know. But that’s certainly how it feels right now. My life has stopped still temporarily. His continues on. Now, I am sat on a plane with a 79 year old man who listened to me. Who let me get all of the pain out into the open. Who offered his own experiences freely; only to try and help ease some of my hurt. I can’t help but be reminded of the long list of people who have messaged me with words of comfort, support and advice for how they have dealt with their own heartbreaks. So many people, some I barely even know, who have offered me kind words proving the amount of good there is in this world. To those people, I thank you. I thank you with all of the love left in me (I’m afraid there’s not much left though since this).

I want to hate the man who is putting me through this. I want to lump him in with every other man who has hurt me. What makes it so difficult is that I can’t hate him. Nor can I compare him to previous frogs because he wasn’t like them. As I said, he is a good man. He’s an incredibly good person. Although he may have been careless with my heart he himself does have a good heart. I fear that even when he realises the mistake he’s made, I know he’s too stubborn to admit it. His fear will take priority over fighting for what we had. I’ve lost the man that I fell so much in love with. I’ve also lost his family that I fell in love with. His warm family who opened their arms to me and who I shared so much with. I’ve lost the friends that I made through him. I’ve lost the future we had together. The break up has made me lose pieces of myself too. I used to love being social, meeting new people and now? I’ve isolated myself from friends and family. I ignore messages from friends and cancel plans because I can’t face going into the outside world. I used to love food. Now, I can barely eat one full meal in each day because my appetite has disappeared from me. I’m not there yet; not ready to accept the loss just yet. But I will get there. In time, I will find the pieces of me that I’ve lost and I’ll put the puzzle back together. I will learn to accept that although this one maybe didn’t love me as much as I thought, there might be somebody else who can. Maybe I can learn to fall in love with somebody else, their family and friends just like I did with this one.

For now, while I still love him and it hurts so deeply to think of him with someone else. I do wish him happiness. He deserves it because even though he broke my heart, before that he taught me that I could experience what I’d never had. He taught me how to fall in love. He opened his family to me and trusted me with his vulnerabilities. He never once let me feel bad about myself (granted until now). He would tell me I’m beautiful. He supported me when I needed it just as I did for him. He was the other half of me who complimented me and knew how to ease my anxiety. He showed me that there are men out there who don’t play dating games and who can be honest. He taught me how to let my guard come down enough to let someone in. Most importantly, he taught me that someone can care about me just the way I am. Although I will feel great pain for a long time, I will always be grateful and look back on the good times we had. I just hope he will do the same.