Category Archives: Relationships

Miranda’s eleventh month: Writing

May did not turn out as planned. In the end I could not even pick up my guitar and two days ago everything fell apart. I am so confused right now. In one moment I somehow manage to repress what has happened, in the other I struggle to remember how to breathe. It seems as if the only thing I can do right now to cope with the anxiety and regret is to write. This will be a tough month, but I seem to be the most creative when I don’t feel very well. So maybe this is the perfect month to finally start writing my novel. Maybe it will be easier if I can slip into that other world, just for a little while, and pretend I’m not the girl who broke up with a boy she still loves terribly.

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Filed under creativity, Love, Miranda, Relationships, Writing

To let go

I’m happy I chose Productivity as this month’s focus, because I really wouldn’t have time to focus on anything else than getting things done. I’m so stressed out that it’s affecting me physically, making me nauseous and tired all the time. Tonight, however, I sat down and tried to structure all my tasks for the rest of the year, week for week. Now I know what I need to do every week when it comes to school, work, driving practice and exercise, and that is somewhat comforting. Next week I’m going away for a few days to visit my grandfather, and perhaps the change of scenery will help me relax a bit as well.

So, what about the Love month? Although my boyfriend and I have had our ups and downs I think I managed to take quite good care of our relationship last month, and I keep trying. I survived the tour, obviously. After the first anxious days I simply didn’t have any energy left for worrying. I let him take care of our contact, which meant that I didn’t have to worry about unanswered texts or calls and got a happy surprise each time I heard from him instead. And I ended up really enjoying having time for myself.

Whether it’s a sky-high heap of homework or a boyfriend touring Europe or something entirely different that makes your intestines ache with anxiety, the only thing that really helps is to let go. And to realise that when you do, things tend to work out quite nicely in the end.

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Filed under Fear, Giving space, Letting go, Love, Miranda, Productivity, Relationships

Miranda’s third month: Love

Despite the success of last month’s project, there was one drawback. There is a distinction between self-confidence and self-esteem, and my intention was to work with both last month. However, I was so busy tackling challenges that I forgot about the second part. I do feel better about myself, when it comes to achievements, but I still doubt myself when it comes to just being me. I still feel bad about my appearance, I’m still scared that l’m not good enough and I still stay quiet because I’m afraid people (even my boyfriend) will find me weird or stupid. Conveniently, the focus area of this month is Love. Thus, I’ve decided to focus not only on my relationship, but also on appreciating myself more.

I fear this will be another ridiculously long post, but these are probably my most difficult challenges so far, and I think I need to make things very clear for myself. Anyway, these are my goals for October:

 – Give space
I’ve been terrible at giving space. Not intentionally. I just haven’t realised how important it is for a relationship, probably because, as I mentioned in my last post, my boyfriend has been my life for the last few years. I haven’t had any friends that I’d rather hang out with or a band that I need to spend time with alone. I’ve only had him. So I haven’t realised how trapped my boyfriend has felt, because I’m always there, feeling left out whenever he forgets about me. The last six months up until September were extreme, because he didn’t work and I studied from home, so we were together more or less constantly, getting on each other’s nerves. Besides, because I always worry too much, I tend to contact him too much when we’re not together. He, on the other hand, is terrible at answering texts and calling me back, which only causes me to worry even more. Last month, however, when one of my many challenges was to let him contact me, I noticed that as soon as I kept my hands off my phone, he started calling me and sending random text asking what I was doing. It was such a relief to see that he actually wanted to speak to me, I just had to give him some space. It’s not always easy, but I will keep letting him contact me this month, unless I really need to ask something. I will also keep developing my own social life, so I won’t have to depend on him all the time.

The hardest part of this goal, and something I have dreaded for several months, is the fact that my boyfriend is going on a European tour with his band for ten days this month. That is actually the main reason why I chose to focus on Love during October, because I knew this would be such a huge challenge for me. To not feel jealous or terrified that he’ll do something stupid. To not contact him all the time to make sure that he still loves me and that nothing has happened to him. But after last month, I think I can do it. It will probably be the greatest challenge since we met, but for both our sakes I need to give him that space, show him that trust and be happy for his sake. If I’d ever get to tour with a band I would want him to do that for me. And if I make it through those ten days without freaking out, I think I will be able to do anything.

– Be honest
I played truth or dare with some girlfriends last weekend and one of us had to answer what was the most important quality of a partner. It turned into quite a discussion but I think everyone agreed upon honesty. If you can’t trust someone, that what else about him matters? My boyfriend is very honest and although I tend to forget that when I get anxious, it’s one of the things I like the most about him. I also try to be honest, and that’s lucky, because I’m a terrible liar. Sometimes, though, when I feel bad or sad or scared or jealous for some reason, I just can’t tell my boyfriend about it. I’m not sure why. I’m probably just scared it will lead to a fight and that he’ll hate me. So, I stay quiet, or say that it’s nothing or that I don’t want to talk about it. And he hates that, of course, because he feels shut out and lied to. He’s told me to stop doing it several times. He’s even presented me with an ultimatum. And still I keep doing it. I know this has to stop. It’s not that I always need to tell him everything. But I can’t start crying or sulk for a whole evening and then tell him it’s nothing. I’ve told myself so many times that I have two choices: either tell him or let it go. I don’t know what else to do but keep reminding myself. And be aware of it.

 – Be kind
This is quite simple: nag less and appreciate more.

 – Give (and appreciate) proofs of love
My boyfriend is not very romantic, and sometimes that makes me a bit disappointed. He does give me proofs of love, probably more often than I realise, but because I’m so bad at remembering the good things in life, they tend to slip by unnoticed. I want to get better at appreciating all the small things he does for me, and be able to show what I feel without expecting a heap of red roses in return. In a week, it will be two years since the first time we kissed. It’s a silly thing that you wouldn’t expect any guy to remember. So, I’ve decided to do something romantic for him then, just because it’s important to me and because I want to let him know how much he means to me.

 – Love yourself
Actually, I can’t really imagine how difficult it would be to live with someone who would deny any compliment you give them, who wouldn’t trust you no matter what you did, and who would be terrified you’d leave them no matter what you said. I’ve always been like that, but I need to stop. Now. For his sake. And for my own sake. If I felt that I was good enough, I wouldn’t have to be so anxious or jealous or scared. Life would be so much easier. I’m not quite sure how to do it, though. If I was, I would probably have changed a long time ago. But I will keep writing down good things about myself, and not just achievements, but things that are good about who I am. And I will make an honest attempt to appreciate compliments and exchange my negative thoughts with positive ones. Even if I don’t always believe them.

P.S. If anyone has made it through this post, I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions. What do you think are the most important aspect to focus on in a relationship? Which is the best way to learn to be more open about your feelings? And can you learn to love yourself?

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Filed under Challenge, Fear, Feelings, Giving space, Goals, Honesty, Love, Miranda, Relationships, Self-esteem

Finding myself in the chaos

We’re nearing the end of September, which has been a pretty busy month for me. I’ve started a master’s program at the university, joined a book club, had four guitar lessons and challenged myself almost every single day. I can honestly say that I am very proud of myself. By turning fears into challenges, I have realised that many things aren’t so scary after all: I’ve been to school, talked in groups, been to the first business meetings of my life, made a scary phone call, handled stress without freaking out, let go of my need for control, spent several nights alone, done spontaneous things and made four new friends. And that’s just some of the things. As a finale, I registered my own company tonight. Within a year, when my studies are finished, I will have to fend for myself. But I know I can do it. It may sound like a cliché, but I think I’m starting to find myself – for real. Since I got out of my teenage depression, I’ve kind of just adapted to the life of my boyfriend. I’ve had my own interests and my guitar and my school, sure, but I’ve relied too much on his choices, his happiness, his social life. Our friends have been his friends and our weekend plans have been his plans. I didn’t fully realise until I started this project that I spent all my time trying to please someone else instead of doing what I wanted. And actually that just resulted in my boyfriend feeling rather unpleased, since I forgot my own will, forgot to make my own plans and made him feel trapped in a silly attempt to be a perfect girlfriend. But it’s all changing now. I’m creating my own life, and I feel more independent than ever.

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Filed under Challenge, Confidence, Fear, Independence, Miranda, Personal development, Relationships

Recognise it, pause, breathe and deal with it (part I)

It is suddenly Sunday evening and I’ve spent the last few hours finishing my homework, slightly nauseous from wearing glasses for the first time in my life. Unlike Titania’s, my first week has been far from smooth. For various reasons I haven’t had the time or focus to keep up with my habits very well. I’ll try my best to get properly started with the project next week. However, the obstructive events of this week really made me see how important some areas of this project will be for me, especially the next two months, when I will focus on Confidence and Love. Swindling on the edge of disaster a few days ago, I truly realised how much my boyfriend and our relationship means to me, and how great an effort I am willing to make to improve it. I have also come up with a strategy that I think will be especially useful during these next two months.

When I was 17 years old, I was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder. I had cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for some time, until my therapist finally decided it didn’t help enough and prescribed antidepressants instead, which I never took (which I am tremendously thankful for today). I graduated from high school shortly afterwards, and since my biggest problem was related to classrooms, I managed to break the worst of my vicious circles on my own. The last few years I have developed a lot as a person, and I’m not even sure my social problems would count as a disorder anymore. Although I’m still scared of social situations I don’t run away from most of them anymore.

But this doesn’t mean I’m done working with my behaviour and myself. Two nights ago, I think I had the worst row of my life, and it was to a large extent caused by my insecurity. It came down to an ultimatum. Or well, I managed to play down his “leave and never come back” and promised to pull myself together, to quit being scared and insecure, to quit over-analysing things, and to let him be himself. Easy to say, hard to do, but for his, ours, and perhaps especially my own sake, I really must do this. Yesterday, I took a long walk with my mother and figured out a strategy to help me focus and remember what I need to do to work this out.

I believe the most difficult aspect of personal development in general is remembering all the things you need to remember to be able to change. When behaviours don’t come naturally you have to start doing them consciously, and when there is a heap of different behaviours you need to learn, it gets complicated. Take a conversation with a person you’re not totally comfortable with yet, for example. To have a normal conversation I would need to keep telling myself to keep eye contact, ask follow-up questions, say more than yes or no, stop picking at my nails instead of listening, and so on…

In the case of my relationship there are a lot of things I need to remember in order to change my behaviour for the better. To make things simpler, I have identified five things that affect my relationship badly, and that I really need to work with: fear, anxiety, jealousy, sulkiness and insecurity. When I’m scared I avoid things, like being myself at a party or telling my boyfriend what the matter is. When I’m anxious I try to keep control of everything (read: him). When I’m jealous I get sulky and feel anxious and insecure, when I’m sulky I ruin the mood, and when I’m insecure, being myself becomes even harder. It’s a vicious circle of destructive feelings that lead to no good at all. The good thing about these five feelings is that they are all quite easily recognisable. So what I need to do, to prevent these feelings from choking our relationship, is recognise them, pause, breathe and then deal with them.

If I can learn to follow this strategy, I think I will be able to deal with a large amount of different difficult situations by just remembering these four feelings and the right ways to deal with them. And which the right ways could be, I will figure out and write about in another post, because now it’s time to step away from the computer and do my back exercises. And tomorrow I’ll go running. The times they are a-changing, but I’m honestly happy, even in the middle of this chaos.

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Filed under Feelings, Mind, Miranda, Personal development, Relationships, Social anxiety