All Posts by Tori

The Joy of Dating

When people think about dating, it’s very rarely the positive elements that spring to mind.  It has us recalling wasted evenings that could, in hindsight, have been put to better use.  We mentally re-live the absolute uncertainty involved, sometimes the time and cost implications and always the sheer inconvenience of not getting what we want after making the effort to find it.  In fact, it’s not uncommon to only view a date as positive if it ended with our minimum goal, whether that was sex, a second date or even long term commitment.

It’s true to say that too many people allow the age-old comedic formula of Tragedy + Time = Humour to get in the way of appreciating the immediate joy of dating.  This is a shame because dating with a mindset that is firmly fixed on what you want or need in order to have a good time, is short-sighted at best.  Whatever your idea of a worthwhile or bad date, how you deal with it in the moment can make all the difference.  Don’t wait until your friend is bent double at the hilariousness of it before you can see the fun in funny.

I like relationships, not dates

We think about dating in reverse of the way we think about sex.  With sex, our imagination is immediately drawn to amazing, synchronised moments, mutual connections and orgasmic endings.  In reality, we forget the awkward times and endings of dubious satisfaction.  Truth be told, dating and sex can both be acts of exploration.  Dating is a wonderful opportunity to meet and spend time with a whole host of people that you would otherwise never meet.  If you’re going to embark on the journey, starting from a place of curiosity and openness will serve you well.

I get worried they won’t be attracted to me

If your predominant concern when going on a date is whether or not the other person will fancy you, then you have some pre-date work to do around confidence and self-esteem.  People generally look their best when on a date and so as harsh as it may sound, it saves a lot of time knowing right from the start that your best isn’t good enough for someone. Don’t beat yourself up about it every time you step out, the right amount of confidence can entirely change an evening and someone’s perception of you.

I never fancy my date

It’s disappointing when your date in no way resembles who you were expecting or who you envisioned spending the rest of your life with.  Please remember, this doesn’t automatically make them any less of a human being or entitled to any less of your time. How many of your friends or family could be considered unattractive by someone else, and how would you hope a date treated them?  Rather than immediately plotting your escape, discover if you like them as a person and try to put looks aside for one evening.  Enjoy being with a new person you have a mental connection with.

Bad dates are a waste of time, money, make up….

If this is your mindset, then you are not ready to date.  The simple solution is don’t go, don’t get dressed up, don’t travel, don’t put yourself out.  Relationships and dating are about growth, you need to value the opportunities you have, as well as the other person’s time and their own investment in meeting you.

What if we have nothing in common?

If you genuinely have nothing in common with your date then there are couple of options.  You can spend the time stifling yawns and wishing you were somewhere else or, you can decide you’re going to learn something and try listening without the agenda of being entertained.  You never know, they may reciprocate the kindness and listen to something you’re equally passionate about.  Remember that love is in the detail, passion can be shared between two people a lot closer to the surface.

Article commissioned by elite match making service Berkeley International

Owning Your Dating Decisions

Throughout history dating has always been an important stage within people’s lives, so much so that choosing a partner was often removed from the hands of those doing the actual dating.  Whether we look at particular cultures known for their strong belief in matchmaking, or eras where chaperones and class systems featured heavily, it’s clear that making the right choices is considered crucial.  What the dating world hadn’t banked on perhaps, was relationships in the digital age.  A time in history when you can love incognito, never having to reveal, let alone explain your dating decisions.

The concept of buying help to find a suitable mate is not new and goes back way before the Internet.  Ten years ago, having an online dating profile or matchmaker was something you only told people who ‘got it’.  And those people were few and far between.  With the rise of apps and sites, along with a plethora of success stories, the embarrassment in your choice of how to find love may now have diminished, but it has in no way disappeared.  With all the personal experiences we have, as well as watching others go through the dating process, one of the biggest and best pieces of advice has to be to own your choice of how to date.  You don’t need to shout it from the rooftops, but you do need to stand by it without fear of other people’s judgment.

You want love, so you’re going to go find it

Deciding to take charge of your relationship status is an admirable thing to do, so never confuse being a private person with being too embarrassed to be honest.  The world is filled with people who settle or remain single because life hasn’t hand-delivered the partner of their dreams.  They forget, that everything else in life we work for, we try to be in the right place at the right time, we set goals, we hang with people who make us feel good, see professionals who make us feel better.  The dating world is just another life situation and we must choose the route we, not our friends, feel will offer the best results.  You have to remember, backgrounds and fears can dictate the decisions people make and you cannot find love based on someone else’s opinion of what is the right thing to do.  Being open about your choice to go online, meet a matchmaker or to go on blind dates will give you added confidence in your dating life.

This is my love life, not yours

Successful people know that to get what you need, sometimes you have to be creative and do things a little differently.  If you know that your happiness lies in being with someone half your age, from a different culture or with a fuller figure, then do not let anything stop you from standing by that knowledge. Our circle of friends and even acquaintances can have a massive impact on our dating choices.  It can affect the places we take our date, if we make introductions to family and even if we marry or have children with them.  The less investment you have in how the relationship you want ‘fits’ society’s expectation of you, the better your chances of finding the companionship you need.

It may work out, it may not, so support me or don’t

Whether a date goes spectacularly well and ends in the committed relationship you wanted or it crashes and burns, you need to keep two things in mind.  Firstly, you made a choice to start this journey, to invest time, money, efforts or gym sessions, and you did so knowing full well that success was not guaranteed.  It’s not only the people around you saying ‘I told you so’ that need to understand this, you do as well.  Support your own choices and go easy on your dating self.

Secondly, you have as much choice about your next step as you had about your first.  Shake off the disillusionment, the self doubt or any blame and use both dating wins and losses to inform or change the future choices you make. Revise your profile, get a dating coach, be more specific or more relaxed with your matchmaker. Whatever you do, for heaven’s sake don’t give up.

Article commissioned by elite match making service Berkeley International

Why You Need Help Finding a Date

When we’re young, the concept of ‘help’ is extremely prevalent in our lives. From day one we’re assisted with doing the things we cannot figure out, or can only do so well. We’re taught how to eat, how to walk, how to interact with other people. In education we’re given private tuition or extra time when our efforts do not align with our results.  Health professionals instruct us on the best way to care for and maintain our bodies.  Help is everywhere.  Not only are we taught the how, we’re also guided on the most efficient and effective way to put it into practice.  Bizarrely however, when it comes to dating matters, our willingness to accept it appears to vanish.

Here’s the funny thing about human beings – or one of them at least – when it comes to our personal life of relationships, we expect to automatically have all the tools necessary to create our desired version of success.  In different areas of life we acknowledge that other people do things better.  Either naturally, through training or experience, they just do. We accept we need help from hairdressers, stylists, PAs, accountants, brokers, real-estate agents, lawyers, chef’s, cleaners – the list goes on.  What we have a hard time accepting, is that some people are better at dating and some people are also better at relationships.  Rather than seek to learn from them, we battle on year after year, hoping for a break.

Being Honest With Yourself

Why do we find it so hard to admit we need help getting a suitable date, when the truth is that a lot of people have the same problem?  Well, usually because we don’t want to be like those people, we want to be like the ones for whom dating is easy.  Unfortunately however, dating is not an organic or smooth process for everyone – fact.  The sooner you admit it to yourself, the better.  There are as many reasons why it may be difficult for you to date as there are stars in the sky, so finding your own Achilles heel is a safer strategy than denial.

The Prep Work

There are people who really begrudge the work that dating can take.  This includes everything from writing profiles and initial calls or email exchanges, to meeting and discovering on date five that you’re not suited to each other after all.  Truth is, the prep should be the most difficult part of a date because this is what can minimise surprises and hiccups later on.  If you’re repeatedly entering dating situations that are not a fit, then it’s likely you need help with your pre-date communication, as something you’re doing is not serving you well.  This is vital because when repeatedly let down, you’ll naturally reach a stage where you become disappointed and disillusioned.  Re-evaluating your ability to pick real contenders is a must to avoid this.

Your Fitness to Date

Whilst your friends and family may have the very best intentions for you, they won’t always be as honest or have as much expert knowledge as a coach or matchmaker.  You may have the clearest, most honest profile and attract the exact interest you desire, but if you’re unable to blend you powers of prep with the intricacies of real life, you will still find yourself struggling.  For some, it is essential to work on yourself before being in any way ready to date the type of person you’re looking for.  Whether it’s attitude, style or confidence, ensure your fitness to date is on par with the outcome you want.  An impartial stranger, who need not worry about guarding your ego or ruining friendship, can be the fastest route to getting you date and relationship-ready.

Post-Date Advice

Getting post-date feedback and perspectives from the people closest to you is okay and need not be limited to friends with good dating histories.  It’s highly recommended to engage and speak with single, married or divorced friends as well.  People can often offer insights you may otherwise miss.  Do remember though, that just because someone has or had a car, it doesn’t mean they’ll be any good at teaching you how to drive yours.  It’s the same with relationships.  As well as asking those whose opinions matter to you, you also need to think and reflect, determining but not obsessing over what went well or what could be better next time.  If in doubt, treat it like any other area of your life, get help from a professional.

Article commissioned by elite match making service Berkeley International

Say What You Need To Say

This is a super quick post about saying what you need to say in life.  Maybe you’re in a relationship where you hold back on communicating how you feel, or you have a boss that you think should give you a pay rise or a friend you walk on eggshells for.  Whatever the circumstance, if you’re struggling to say things that you know should be said, think about using the below two pieces of advice as your starting block.

 

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DETACH YOURSELF FROM THE OUTCOME

Sometimes in life we hold back from saying things because we’re afraid of the response that we’re going to get.  People hold onto things for years because they’re fearful of not being understood, of upsetting someone or being vulnerable.  Practice the art of speaking, only this time without requiring a certain response from the listener.  Speaking your truth is more important than how people respond to it.  Be authentic, be kind hearted, intend for good and then say your piece.

 

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DON’T LOSE THE MESSAGE IN THE DELIVERY
As well as finding it difficult so say the things we want to say, likewise when we hear things we don’t like we can go into defence mode and make people regret having said them to us. It’s important to remember a couple of factors here.  Not everyone is able to communicate effectively or as well as the next person and sometimes we can be more sensitive to things than we should be. Learn to recognise the difference between the messenger (who is speaking), the message (what is said), the delivery (how it’s said) and the intention behind it (the purpose of the message).  The more conscious you are of all these things, the better able you’ll be to share your own message in an effective and thoughtful way.

Fear is not the enemy in relationships, it’s your best friend

 

So this may seem like an outrageous statement. Fear is something we avoid, right? We don’t like to be afraid or scared. Fear changes our physiology, it changes the way we think, react, breathe – the way we live our lives. It’s the one thing we seem most unable to control, it can appear without warning and leave just as fast. So why on earth should we embrace it? I’ll tell you why.

Fear has some powerful lessons to teach us. Alongside love, it can be the fastest, sharpest accelerator of growth that we have. It is the quickest way our subconscious has of telling us that a change needs to be made, that something needs to be confronted or that we’re missing a component which is of vital importance to our progression. When it comes to anything we do, especially in our relationships with ourselves and others, I challenge you to look squarely at anything that scares you.

1 – Don’t run, don’t retreat, just stop

Begin by standing still with your fear, by taking time to acknowledge it and know it at more than a surface level. Whatever is making you afraid doesn’t necessarily have to be present, it’s just about stopping and working out if your fear of this thing is genuine, or a disguise for deeper issues that lay beneath it. Are you scared of quitting your abusive relationship because you might not find a better one, or is the fear actually about being alone?

2 – Assess the threat

So you’ve either determined that your original fear is genuine or you’ve uncovered the real, underlying one. Now what you need to do is work out what the threat means for you and your life. Perhaps you’re scared of failing with yet another partner. Ask yourself, what does failure actually mean for you, what does it say about who you are as a person, how will it affect your friendships or your future? Is the result of ending a relationship all negative, or are there any positive ones? How real are the consequences of this threat and how many are imagined?

3 – Assess the risk

So maybe you’re scared of being hurt or of something ending badly, this could be the threat you foresee to a current relationship. But what is the actual risk of it? For example, if you’re frightened that moving in together will end badly, think about how things have gone so far. Do you communicate well, is there mutual respect, are you both aware and considerate of each other’s feelings? If you continue like this, then is the risk of things ending badly significantly lower than perhaps it was in other relationships you’ve had or known about?

4 – Make a decision irrespective of the fear

Ask yourself what you would do in this situation, if fear were not an issue. What course of action would you decide on, if you were throwing caution to the wind?

5 – Make a final decision

Make a conscious decision, one that is based on the points above and not a knee-jerk reaction to the fear. When making a conscious choice you should not only acknowledge your chosen course of action, but also what you’re not going to do, i.e. ‘I choose to continue avoiding love. I choose to not get help from a professional about it.’ This makes you accountable as much as possible for your chosen path in life.

6 – Plan for the future

Plan your future based on your decision. It might mean that you revisit your decision in 6 months time or, that you’ll look into methods of keeping your fear at bay for the rest of your life. For example, if you decide that you’re not going to meet your partner’s children, you may want to start working out whether you really want to date someone with kids.

Always use fear, as much as possible, as an aid to opening your eyes to challenges that need to be confronted. Remember, fear need not rule your relationships, you always have a choice.

The Key to Balancing Your Busy Life With Your New Partner

Article commissioned by elite match making service – Berkeley International 

For members of the dating world who have everything except time, the logistics of creating solid and meaningful connections can be the hardest challenge of all. Love and business represent two very distinct worlds and the necessity of syncing calendars can be a hindrance to any dating at all, let alone spontaneity. The key to success however isn’t found in how well you’re able to juggle these two worlds, but in how well you’re able to unite them.

The desire to be in a relationship is quite often fuelled by at least one of our basic human needs, these being love, certainty and significance. Each of us craves one of these more highly than the others and the partnerships we make in life strongly indicate our preference. For those seeking love or significance with a mate, there is the romantic ideal of spending time together, sharing common interests and communicating in a way that’s unique to the partnership. Indeed, it’s the stuff that movies are made of, but what Hollywood takes for granted is the time required to achieve it.

Get honest about what’s really at stake
One of the most efficient ways to begin merging your two worlds of love and business is by changing the way you think about your time and relationship. Stop making an effort and start making a commitment to love. Making an effort to be available implies you’re doing something very difficult and inconvenient to the natural course of your life, that you’re somehow removed from the benefits and are mostly doing it for someone or something else. When we speak of commitment however, it cuts to the very core of what we ultimately want for ourselves. Psychologically, the idea of commitment takes us directly to the impact that our choice will have on our whole future. It forces us to be conscious and accountable for every decision we make. Ask yourself honestly, do you really want to take time away from your business and commit it to this new partner?

“I work long hours, have children I need to see and I travel constantly”
To successfully merge your current life and your new love interest, you need to train yourself into accepting that business, family and love are at very least, of equal importance to you. What does this mean? It means that when you’re at work you proactively schedule time to communicate with your partner. It means your Personal Assistant blocks out a breakfast, brunch or lunch once a week, schedules a dinner twice a month or a personal phone call before your next meeting. It means you set up reminder alerts to text or Skype your partner and find out how they are, you let them know they’re valued and in your thoughts. Remember, it’s not always necessary to give people large amounts of time. If they understand it’s the one thing you have in limited supply, then small and thoughtful quantities will be greatly appreciated.

Whilst this may sound like a regimented and prescriptive way to love, you have to be mindful that it’s only the minimum requirement. Doing more is always preferable, but if one week it’s not possible, then this as a baseline is better than nothing.

This is who I am!
If you’re an extremely busy person who is single or newly in a relationship, then one would hope you communicate your time challenges to your new partner from day one. In partnerships like this where minutes in the day are at a premium, it’s vital that you’re clear about the type of relationship you can have. It gives potential matches a choice whether they want to be part of the whirlwind that is you. It also lessens any guilt you’ll have around not being the ever-present partner someone was expecting.

New Year, New Thoughts

There is a fundamental flaw in the creation of New Year’s resolutions that most people will miss for their entire lives. It’s one of those bizarre repetitive behaviours that we continue to do without question, like saying we won’t over-indulge or spend too much, all the while forgetting our not so successful results from previous years. Whilst this mistake we’re making can be harmless if our resolutions aren’t essential to health or happiness, it is still one worth correcting for the times that do matter.

 

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As radical as it may at first sound, the true reason that your New Year’s resolutions usually fall flat is because you’re focusing purely on action. We’re all familiar with the phrase ‘actions speak louder than words’ but whilst hopeful, the list of what you’re going to do is largely impractical. At the root of all conscious action is the way you’re thinking and it truly is a force to be reckoned with. Put simply; if you want to eat less, exercise more or have better relationships, then joining a slimming club, the gym and a dating agency isn’t going to cut it. Not longterm. Your time in January is best served investigating 1) the thought patterns making you so emotional that food is the only comfort 2) the mental process keeping you on the sofa when you could otherwise be taking a walk or 3) the reason your relationships haven’t worked thus far. If your New Year’s resolution is not about addressing the root cause of why you haven’t already achieved the things you now desire, then real progress is much, much harder.

Alongside the thought process that tells us we ‘just need to commit’ to something in order for it to work, is the one telling us that willpower in large enough doses will conquer all. This is an immense amount of pressure to put on yourself and it’s helpful to remember where willpower actually originates from. Yes, you guessed it, from the mind. If you’ve had a thought which for most of your life has told you it’s not practical to pursue the job of your dreams, then a new thought urging you to ‘go for it!’ will have a lot of groundwork to cover. It’s more productive to address the old thought first, so the new one doesn’t have such a mega fight on it’s hands.

 

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So this year, when sitting down to write your list of resolutions, approach it from a different angle and try something new. Rather than focusing on what you want to do or the new behaviours you want to adopt, write a list of possible thought patterns which may have hindered these things in the first place. It may be challenges around self-doubt, a lack of confidence or even personal beliefs that are limiting your true potential. Whatever you come up with, deal with that underlying cause first, and then go join the gym.

Why Finding The One is Difficult For You

Most men and women will have an idea or image of their perfect partner, with anything outside of this being classed as a compromise or more realistic.  Regardless of whether we believe the person we truly desire is actually out there, it’s very likely we’ll compare the one we meet today with the one in our minds.  It may seem futile and unfair to have the real people we meet compete with figments of our imagination, but actually if more of us knew how to do it properly, we might reap more rewards.

While there’s no hard and fast rule to finding your perfect match, there are some behaviours and thought processes that will undoubtedly hinder your progress.  If finding ‘the one’ is proving difficult, it’s worth taking the below points into consideration.

Your relationship with yourself

The number of single people who attempt to find happy, healthy relationships without first learning how to be happy and healthy individuals, is quite staggering.  Whether we like it or not, in life we attract the type of people that we either a) most have something to learn from or b) are a match to what we’re projecting out into the world.  Ultimately, we are all ‘the one’ for someone else, so it’s crucial we also do the self-work we’d like our partners to do.  If you seek love from an already confident, grounded and emotionally stable mindset, you make better and healthier relationship choices.  When looking for Mr or Mrs Right, aim for someone to share your life, not to complete it.

Your relationship blueprint

We all have a preference, it’s simply our level of attachment to it that will vary.  If finding your perfect match follows a very specific set of criteria and this criteria has not yet yielded promising results, it’s helpful to look at the selection blueprint you’re using.  Take this practical example; if you’re trying to build a house and the walls keep collapsing, rather than repeatedly replacing them, wouldn’t it make more sense to investigate the foundations?  Now transfer this to relationships.  It may be imperative to you that your partner has blond hair and you are of course entitled to this preference.  In this case however, you must also accept that your true match, the person who could genuinely make you happy, might be the brunette you’re automatically dismissing.  Be accountable and make sure to ask yourself if this risk is okay.  If it’s not, expand your blueprint.

Your focus

As mentioned at the start, comparing the people you meet with your ideal mental picture can be an extremely worthwhile exercise, when you learn to do it properly.  People however, generally make two mistakes here, the first being that they focus heavily on what they don’t want.  They don’t want someone who is too short, too emotional, too complicated or who reminds them of their ex, the list goes on.  The problem with this line of thinking is that the minute a potential partner displays one of your ‘don’t want’ criteria, you write them off, even if they fulfil 97% of your must-haves.  Be mindful of this.  We attract the things we focus on, so focus more on the boxes someone does tick and then decide if this outweighs the ones they don’t.

The second mistake people make is that they’re not specific enough about what they do want.  Imaging, for example, that your ideal partner is always smiling and happy is not enough. What is it that makes them happy, being surrounded by people, being alone at home with you, playing with the children?  If you’re going to create the ideal partner in your mind, give them clear attributes.  It makes them a lot easier to recognise when they do show up in your life, despite any initial doubts you may have about them.

Article commissioned by elite match making service Berkeley International

Aligning your personal and business values

Aligning the person you are at work with who you are in your personal life is a greatly feared option in today’s society. People have become so used to the idea of work as a separate world, containing set routines, etiquette and expectations, that the thought of applying personal principals or reasoning is something that’s considered experimental. Yes, it’s important that we’re skilled at adapting to various situations or challenges as they occur, we do this in order to attain goals and it’s a very successful way of operating. However, to live in a constant mode of adaptation or compromise for eight hours a day is a very different scenario. If you listen close enough, you’ll find it says a lot not only about you, but also the environment you’ve chosen to work in.

 

The most common presumption is that introducing more of your ‘out of office personality’ into the work space equates with some sort of weakness or with being unprofessional. If this is the case, what does it say about the other side of you and your overall compatibility with the company you’re currently in? Why are you choosing to be somewhere that requires you to be so incredibly different from what you consider your natural state? Whilst we need allow room for a little give and take, there are some fundamental principles that are definitely beneficial to stick with.

 

Be clear on what you’re good at and what you need help with

In our personal lives we’re often quite vocal about the things we can’t do, sometimes to the extreme of self-deprecation or, doing a disservice to our own capacity to learn. In the work place however, it’s common to take on tasks with elements we know are going to be new and taxing, and to become frustrated as we muddle through, only reluctantly asking for help. If when you’re out socially you’re the person who naturally stands up and says, “wait, I don’t get this” but you don’t do it at work, then question why. Ask why you allow work to repress your honesty, then make a change based on your answer.

 

Know your limits and respect them

You’re out with your two best friends and they both ask you to be somewhere or do something on the same future date – what do you say? Is it your natural reaction to agree and then fret about it for weeks, or do you make them aware of your other commitments and attempt to renegotiate times, dates or needs? It’s so incredibly easy in the work environment to feel stretched to capacity, but all too often we have the battle internally or we discuss it with the wrong colleagues who are only able to sympathise, rather than the ones at cause or able to directly influence change. Respect your limits as you would in your personal life and at the very least communicate your reality to the right people. If you enjoy this level of pressure or it’s what you actively signed up for then that’s another story, if it makes you uncomfortable however, do something.

 

Don’t stand for in business what you wouldn’t stand for in your personal life

I’ve seen countless cases of office bullying involving victims who are true forces to be reckoned with in their personal lives. The bullying behaviour experienced by them can range from being constantly given all the menial tasks, to being addressed rudely and dismissively. It’s crucial to understand here that the four walls of work do not contain a magic force-field that your personal standards and self-respect are unable to penetrate. These aspects of your personality are what have helped you get to this stage of your life, they are loyal resources that should be upheld, not tucked away because suddenly the environment has changed and you believe the boundaries have shifted. Self-respect, standards and personal values are traits which need never change from situation to situation, unless you’re happy to let them do so. The key word here is happy, if it makes you miserable – hold them firm.

 

Listen to the way you feel

In the work place, ignoring the feelings that see you through your personal life is not always a good idea. Feelings are the mind’s natural way of communicating messages to us about things we are experiencing. What you’re doing when you ignore your feelings at work is essentially ignoring yourself and placing some other thing or person as a greater priority. Even if it’s not appropriate in the moment, it’s essential to revisit anything that causes a strong reaction in yourself, so you can either deal with it or learn from it. It doesn’t just have to be the negative reactions you focus on either, it can be something that makes you extremely happy, i.e. a colleague or project. Pay attention and pursue these feelings as much in your work environment as in your personal.

The 5 Steps of Change

Change, once you strip out any pressures, baggage, sentimentality or emotions associated with it, is a very straight-forward process. Not easy, straight-forward. If you’re genuinely in a quandary about a decision, mentally step outside of the situation and follow this chart. Answer the questions factually and honestly until you get to the end. Your answer is 5 steps away, sometimes less.

Once you get to the end of the chart, you have the choice to add back in everything you put aside.  So that’s the pressures, baggage, sentimentality or emotions. You choose, it’s up to you. Or, more usefully, you can concentrate on the next step you need to take, the resources and strength required to follow through with your decision.

 

The 5 Steps of Change

 

 

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