Many people believe that past relationships are sign of failure or time they wasted with the wrong person. Yes, relationships leave us with feelings of sadness, anger, uncertainty, and guilt but there is much wisdom from these uncomfortable emotions.
Instead of trying to understand why it ended, ask yourself what you have learnt from it? I’ve spent time looking to the past to find answers, only to find that it’s better to focus on the lessons in order to move on gracefully to attract new relationships. And the lessons I learnt have helped me in my current relationship with the man who I have now been with for 9 years.
- People don’t belong to you. I used to believe that when I was committed to someone, that person belonged to me. Of course, now I understand that people are not possessions. This means you don’t have a claim on the lifestyle choices they make, no matter how long you’ve been together. You don’t get to control their behavior, even if it’s not ideal for the relationship. The best you can do is to communicate and create boundaries from a space of trust, honoring the other and self-love.
- We all need “me time”. Being in love with someone doesn’t mean you have to spend every minute of every day with the person, merge your identities, and forget about your own dreams. Finding love means making the most of the moments you do have together while honoring the time you spend apart doing the things that make you happy.
- You complete yourself. Romantic movies screwed up our sense of relationships with the whole “you complete me” crap. If we are looking for validation and love from a source outside ourselves, we are just setting ourselves up for codependency issues. In the past, I needed my boyfriends to validate me; my self-worth deteriorated when I wasn’t in a relationship. What I didn’t realise was that I was giving away my power and putting my happiness at the mercy of another person. If you aren’t happy with yourself, you won’t find happiness in a relationship either. You have to love yourself a little first and find happiness in that before you can share it with another.
- You can’t change someone, only yourself. Sure, we can motivate others by our example, but expecting someone to lose weight or change the way they deal with anger is not honoring who the other person is. It’s also not a very effective way to get what you want. People grow when they feel an internal desire to make a shift. Being pressured to change may lead to temporary improvements, but it’s almost certain to rise to feelings of resentment. People are motivated to behave differently by the example you lead, not the words you speak. And if you’re feeling desperate for someone to change, ask yourself why you’re with someone who needs so much fixing?
- The lust period doesn’t last forever. Understanding the difference between lust and love allows us to be prepared when the real deal arrives. Butterflies in the stomach, dressing to impress, texting and talking for hours a night – these are all signs of lust. These usually fade and love will take place. Love is about accepting an imperfect being and loving that person for their flaws. It’s about being authentic and sharing openly without fear of being judged. When you can share the good, the bad and the ugly with someone, love grows.
- Some relationships are simply here to teach us how to gracefully let go. Letting go gracefully, with complete forgiveness and love for the other person requires understanding and self-forgiveness. It’s something not all of us are capable of, myself included, and it might take 10 years to realise you are ready to forgive and forget. Some relationships are brought to us not as the happily ever after, but to teach us how to honorably let go. Being able to let go of the past allows us to be fully present emotionally and physically in future relationships.
- Relationships are a reflection of the relationship we have with ourselves. When we find ourselves reactive in relationships, it usually means that we haven’t healed our fears and anxieties. When we recognise our responsibility in the situation, we can then make a choice to shift to more loving perceptions. relationships can help us grow and evolve. Sometimes they test us or teach us. Some will use you and others will bring out the best in you. Sometimes the relationship will no longer serve the good in you and your paths will naturally separate so you can both continue growing.
Thanks for reading.