Sometimes it’s ok not to be ok

This week I had a mini revelation.

It’s ok to say you’re not ok.

During the healing of my marriage break-up I worked hard to turn around my perspective on life; focus on the good stuff in order to bring in more good (the law of attraction); learn to love myself and my flaws, and see the opportunity for growth in all situations. Living this way healed me from my crisis, it brought me new love and a happier life.

But I got myself into a bit of a fix. Being positive, a survivor of hardship and strong under pressure became who I was. At times I felt amazingly strong, but I forgot about the part of me that was just human, not superhuman. I began to put higher expectations on myself to achieve personal goals. I hoped that I could fit everything I wanted and needed to do into a mere 24 hours a day, and still be happy and serene. I realised I was trying to juggle three children as a single parent, run a household alone, write a book and a blog, find quality time for me, find quality time with my partner, work a job, train on a course and care for my elderly mother who is in declining health. Continue reading

Trust that things happen when they need to

Next week I will be returning to study to train as a counsellor. It’s been 18 years since I graduated and ever since then I never really knew what I wanted to ‘be’. I had jobs, I became a wife and a mother, then a single mother. It used to frustrate me that other people knew their career path and I didn’t. Then, through the experience of divorce and healing from it, I found my purpose. A part of me wondered “why didn’t I do this years ago?”. But here’s why.

Almost 20 years ago I sat in a counselling lecture, as part of my degree course, and felt a real sense that I could be good at this. I found it absorbing, challenging and I certainly knew it would be fulfilling. But something stopped me from pursuing it as a career. Possibly fear, or lack of self-confidence. But most likely, looking back, an inner knowing that it wasn’t the right time for me. I hadn’t experienced enough to show others the way. I couldn’t counsel with any depth of knowledge of what it was like to heal from real emotional trauma. Not that I hadn’t faced some pretty harsh pain, it was just that my    20-year-old self had just not learned the lessons from it at that point.

And it’s the lessons you learn in life, not the pain you’ve been through, that defines you.

Emotional trauma and big life change serve a purpose. However cruel and hopeless the loss feels at the time, there is a reason for it. The lessons may not be immediately apparent, it may take a lot of work on yourself to find them; but if you are willing to see even the possibility of an opportunity in a terrible situation, you are already on your way to healing.

If you’ve recently broken up, look at where the end of this relationship fits into the timescale of your life. The end of a relationship is a turning point. A chance for change within you. A chance to show yourself what you’re made of and follow your heart towards a far better life than you thought was possible.

Allow yourself to grieve. Then allow yourself to know that this isn’t the end of your life, simply a change in direction. Little by little expand the limits of what you feel is possible for you. You will begin to see that, in the bigger picture, this has happened because the time is right for you to change your life.

And here are two things which may help you with the pain. Because, despite the fact that there is a purpose to the heartbreak, it still desperately hurts.

1.Break Up and Shine Chapter One The 5 stages of grief and beyond  This is the first chapter of my book, available to download as a free pdf.

2.When Everything Changes, Change Everything by Neale Donald Walsch This is a book which I have recommended many times. It was a huge perspective shifter for me when my marriage ended.

With love

Marissa x

One of the year’s 10 Best Break Up blogs!

I’m feeling so honoured and excited this evening to find out that Break Up and Shine is considered one of the year’s best blogs about relationship break up, by the website Dating Advice.

It makes me so happy to use my experience to support others who are going through a really difficult time, and inspire them on their healing journey. Being recognised as great source of support is such a boost!

Check out the list of top 10 break up blogs on Dating, and see what other support could be out there for you!

I am off on a summer holiday this week with my gorgeous family, so if you want to get in touch please do, and I will respond as soon as I can on my return in around 2 weeks.

With love

Marissa x

3 Ways to Know If Our Perceptions of Each Other Are Accurate

My latest post is another article for Tiny Buddha. This is a helpful one for if you’ve ever struggled with the concept that observing negative behaviour in others is always just a projection of your own negativity – I know I certainly did!

Here’s how I understand things better now: 3 Ways to Know if Our Perceptions Of Each Other Are Accurate

I’d love to know if this resonates with you, and what you think. Feel free to comment below.

Marissa x

Hard work and Cosmic Ordering: my story of finding love again


In a conversation the other night, a lovely divorced lady said that she didn’t have a new man because she didn’t feel she was deserving of being treated like she was special. It’s a common thing, though not many people admit they feel this way.

I don’t usually talk in-depth about my current relationship, but that conversation prompted me to share with you how I came to realise that finding love again simply meant removing the mental blocks that make you believe you can’t have, or don’t deserve what it is you truly want.

I love my story, and hope you will too. It still fills me with gratitude and awe to this day to have found someone so right for me after such miserable heartbreak. I hope it will inspire other to have faith, listen to their hearts, and let go of the past so that they are in a place where new love cannot fail to be magnetised to them.

So here it is……

Around 11 months after my ex husband left, I began divorce proceedings. It had been an intense time of grief, letting go and starting to move on with my life. It was January 2011, and with the ‘new year, fresh start’ as impetus, I knew I didn’t want to be married to him any longer than I had to.

I began to see that an important part of my future involved having someone to love and love me in return. I had no interest in dating for fun, my aim was to find true love. But despite my aversion to the dating game, I knew I had to start somewhere ,so I set in my mind an intention that I would go on a date in July of that year.

As the divorce proceedings ambled along, I was faced with further layers of grief to overcome,each part of the process releasing a bit more hurt and bringing up emotional issues to deal with.

Somewhere in the midst of this, a book was brought to my attention entitled,  “Calling in The One: 7 weeks to attract the love of your life” by Katherine Woodward Thomas. Despite the title, and the first impression from the front cover, the book was not 7 easy steps to bag a husband! It doesn’t teach you skills to be interesting, sexy or funny. In fact it was a book that takes a lot of courage to work through. It requires determination and a willingness to really look at yourself, and your beliefs around relationships. It is kind and encouraging, but also requires you to be open and vulnerable.

But it’s exactly the kind of necessary work you need to do in order to attract the kind of relationship that is going to serve you well, and make you happy. As I started work on the book in the spring of 2011, I worked out that 7 weeks to “Call in The One” meant that the man of my dreams would enter my life some time in mid June.

I treated the book like a really important project. I did the exercises, pushed myself to get out of my comfort zone when I had to, and really opened myself up to the possibility of finding love, though realistically I had next to zero prospects! I lived in a small town, was  a 37-year-old mother of three young children, and I was not in the least interested in online dating. Eligible single men were thin on the ground for me. But I persevered.

July arrived and although I had not given up hope of a date, I was also very much ok with the fact that it might not happen right now (divine timing, and all that). But then on 19th July I sat and simply asked for what I wanted. Out loud. “Universe, please send me a really great boyfriend. Not because I need one, just because I want one!”.

Within an hour of that request I was at a friends house. She told me she had a friend who thought I was beautiful and had asked if he could have my number to ask me out on a date. I was stunned! The jaw dropping synchronicity had me smiling for the rest of the week and that Saturday night we went on our first date.

In the fairytale ending version, we lived happily ever after. But here’s what happened next…

The date was amazing. I didn’t know I was capable of feeling so comfortable and having so much fun with a man. We both felt the connection, and before we’d even had our second date he had asked me to go away with him for a weekend six weeks away, to a party where I’d meet all his close friends.

That summer I fell in love. But there was always a part of me worried that it was too good to be true; wondering what I’d done to deserve being this lucky and meeting someone so special so soon. And when you put those doubtful, fearful thoughts out there, they just hang around waiting for an opportunity to prove you right.

Half way through September we broke up. The circumstances were cruel. Our feelings for each other had not changed, but sometimes forces bigger than you play a part in determining the course of your life (as I knew only too well). His decision to break up with me crushed me more than I thought was possible, yet the irony was that I respected and loved him more for the choice he had made.

I couldn’t make sense of it. I knew in some way I was being tested but I couldn’t see how, or why. It just felt so bitterly painful and unfair to have lost someone again, when I thought I was on top of my life. I was torn between letting go and holding on to hope that his circumstances would change. I saw a therapist and sobbed my way through a session. She asked me a question that became pivotal to my happiness:

“How long are you prepared to wait for him?”

I knew then, that my lesson in all of this was about putting myself first. Not losing myself in love again. Remembering that with or without a relationship I matter. At home that evening I wrote down a statement on a piece of paper. It said:

“If he is the right man for me, please let him come back to me by the end of October”.

I had answered the therapists question. I decided in real time how long I would wait for him, then I would accept and move on.

The six weeks until the end of October were not filled with endless waiting, expectation or longing. I cried, I mourned. I had an endless supply of love from friends. But I picked myself up; I’d been through harsher. I had already learned about heartbreak and was teaching others. I listened to my own advice and continued to work on myself and my happiness.

Towards the end of October I spent the day with a male friend. It wasn’t a date, but we had always been a bit flirty and enjoyed each others company. It was a beautiful day; despite the time of year it was sunny and warm. At the end of the day, sitting quietly on the beach we kissed. Neither of us wanted more, we were still just friends. It was lovely. But it made me miss my love, because deep down I still wanted him back.

Still, I was smiling about the unexpected kissing for the next 24 hours, and that kept me happy and my mind off of heartbreak the next day at work. That evening the October weather was true to form. It was a rainy, chilly evening. The kids were away and I was cosy indoors. Alone on a Saturday night, but happy.

When the door knocked he was the last person I was expecting, despite the fact I’d asked for it. He told me that his difficult circumstances had passed. He was sorry for the way it had ended between us. Ever the respectful man, he had not come over expecting anything from me. We hugged, and I felt I had come back home as he filled my arms, he was rainsoaked and vulnerable. I loved him deeply still, but gave him space, aware that emotionally things were not ideal for him. We chatted for a while, then he left.

It was the 29th October, and I knew in my heart that he was the right man for me because this was what I’d asked for.

This July will be our two year anniversary! I don’t count the six week break-up because as far as I’m concerned, it was a vital part of making our relationship what it is today; strong, respectful and amazing.

Finding love again after a divorce is not always easy. But you have to believe you are worthy of being loved again, and that the right person will come into your life when you are ready.

with love and hope for happiness

Marissa ♥

Does time really heal a broken heart?

How long should you give yourself to get over the end of a relationship?

We rightly accept that when we face a loss we must give ourselves the time and space to heal. Grief is valid and vital. To push on through without allowing grief and all the emotions that go with it is repressing part of who you are. But how long is long enough?

Of course there is no standard answer. It’s all relative and personal. It’s a question of how long is long enough for you.

If we wait passively it can be a very long time. It is possible to move on to a new happy fulfilled life, yet still have fleeting moments of sadness, poignancy or nostalgia years later. That’s healthy and very human.

But it becomes damaging  to you when you haven’t moved on from your ex-partner emotionally, are still in pain, you feel other areas of your life are stuck, or you continue to replay relationship disasters. Explaining that ‘time heals’ to someone who is still suffering five or ten years after a divorce, is doing them an injustice. Because if you believe that feeling better is simply a matter of time, and not within your own ability to control, you will eventually give up hope of happiness because it has failed to ‘arrive’.

tunnel illusion 3

I like this quote because it’s empowering. I’ve come to understand that it’s not really the time that heals us at all. Growth is what heals. And the good news is that how quickly we grow from the pain is within our control. The slightly tougher news is that sometimes it takes a lot of work. You have to really want to heal.

So how do we grow?

Well, from my own personal experience, and in no particular order of significance, this is what worked to turn my life around.

  • Learn from the past; don’t let what happened be in vain
  • Forgive
  • Gain perspective of the bigger picture
  • Love and respect yourself; remember your life is still valid and worth living as you, not just as half of a couple.
  • Make positive choices based on the present and future, not living in the past
  • Listen to your inner knowing and trust your intuition
  • Be grateful for the good in your life

Once you begin to grow in these ways, your life becomes not just about healing from your break-up, but about feeling positive and empowered in everything else you do. When you take an active part in your healing, rather than simply wait, the sooner the proverbial tunnel shrinks and the quicker you reach the light at the end.

Do you feel that you have reached your limit of feeling awful and are ready to move on?

What steps can you take today to lift you out of break-up grief and start on a shiny new path? Let me know in the comments below!

With love and support 

Marissa ♥ 

Share: Give and Get Support

butterfly.jpgRelationship break-up is probably one of the most common life crises there is, but that doesn’t make it any less devastating when it happens to you. One of the positives that can come from a painful experience is that, as you heal from it, you have the opportunity to help others going through a similar ordeal.

I want to share readers’ positive stories, so that anyone feeling in the depths of despair right now, can see that there is hope of a happier future.

If you would like to share your story, please contact me on the Get In Touch page. If you would like your story to remain anonymous that’s fine, just let me know and I won’t print your name.

hf_logo[1] I have also started a ‘Break Up and Shine’ group over on the wonderful social networking site Her Future. Please come along to ask advice, seek support or offer inspiration. You will need to sign up to the site in order to join in the forum, but it is a wonderful supportive community for women looking to be inspired in all aspects of life.

Although the Her Future forum is only open to women, anybody wanting to share resources, or ask for support is welcome to comment on my Share page.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Marissa ♥