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The Onward Journey

View profile for Liz Headley
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We are now into February and most of us will be ready to wave goodbye to one of the gloomiest months of the year with a sense of relief. Maybe some of us have managed to stick with well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions, or maybe, like me, you have given in to temptation and eaten that bacon sandwich or had that glass of wine? What seems like a clever idea to take into a new year, in terms of either giving up something, or doing more of something that takes effort and determination, can become a real challenge and difficult to sustain. Whilst I commend the self-discipline and determination that some people can demonstrate when soldiering on with their New Year’s resolutions, I also think for the rest of us lesser mortals, who have possibly fallen off the proverbial ‘wagon’, it’s useful if we can develop a compassionate view towards the collapse of our plans to be ‘better’ in some way.

I feel a more compassionate, understanding internalised view of ourselves and others can be extremely helpful when we are faced with challenging, possibly unexpected circumstances, some of which can provoke major responses.  It can be so easy to allow self-criticism and shame dominate our thinking which can then lead to poor mental health, inviting anxiety and depression.

The end of a relationship can so easily provoke feelings of low self-worth, regret and potentially deep-rooted feelings of failure.

The majority of us do not enter into a committed relationship unless we feel sure that it will last. We do not make the choice to have a family without the confidence that we will stay with our partner for life. However, nothing is ever 100% certain and none of us can predict the future and relationships can break down for many different reasons.

Over the years that I have spent working with those who are going through a relationship ending, I have frequently heard individuals speak about their self-doubt, lack of self-belief and feelings of failure. These powerful emotions can cause mental pain and stress which can be enormously debilitating. To try to combat some of these negative feelings we can try to develop a kinder view of ourselves, so whilst owning our mistakes, we can try and understand some of the reasons why they might have happened.

For those who had a childhood where there were lots of positive affirmations from parents or carers and acceptance of their individual characteristics, the ability to maintain a compassionate view of self might come more easily. For those who received a more critical parenting style, with more conditions put in place regarding how to gain acceptance and positive regard from those we love, the journey to become more self-compassionate can be arduous.

If you are having issues in a committed relationship or are going through relationship breakdown, please do try to be kind to yourself, both physically and mentally. It can be a time when criticism and judgement are all too frequently aimed at individuals. Ex partners and those associated with them may be angry and upset and can demonstrate their ill feeling by making hurtful comments. Having negative comments and judgements aimed at you can be really difficult to deal with and having good levels of resilience and self-worth will be useful when trying to combat the rejection and criticism you might be feeling.

If your internal dialogue offers compassion, kindness and understanding to yourself when working through any insults aimed at you, there is far more chance you can maintain a positive self-image.

To end a relationship can take courage, to be told your partner wants to end your relationship can be shocking and distressing, either way, individuals will need support and empathy from others, particularly those they love. However, the capacity to love yourself is also important when you are going through a major loss and the need for self-care implicit to recovery.

Please do use opportunities to mentally acknowledge your successes, however trivial they might seem. It is very easy to reflect on what you might perceive as inadequacies and internally log them as failures. Be proud of small achievements, maybe keep a written record of them somewhere so they don’t get lost in all the other stuff you might be dealing with. Believe in your strengths, they will carry you through difficult times and make sure that you do your best to develop a compassionate focus towards yourself, it will serve you well.    

Brethertons try to offer their clients support, empathy compassion and understanding at every stage of their relationship with them. Please do take advantage of both the legal expertise and emotional support that they offer. If you have any questions please do contact Bterthertons on 01295 270999.