Written by: Cally Worden
When a relationship fails it’s natural to dwell on the reasons behind the break down. You may find yourself wondering what you did wrong, what you could have done differently and be angry at the time and energy you feel you have wasted. While valid and totally understandable, these downbeat emotions keep you locked in a cycle of negativity, preventing you from moving forward. When you feel ready, try looking at the relationship you had from a fresh perspective. One of enlightenment. Every interaction, every relationship we have is a learning opportunity – a chance to better understand ourselves and our place in the world. Here are some things that failed relationships can teach us all:
You are responsible for your own happiness
Relying on another person to deliver joy to your door may work temporarily, but ultimately it is only you who can make yourself truly happy. No one else is inside your head. Others are only guessing at what makes you tick. Be clear in your own mind that getting some happy is down to you. How can another person possibly contribute to your happy, if you don’t even know what drives it yourself?
Making Time for Yourself is Essential
In or out of a relationship it is important that you take time to take care of you. That means making space in your world for ‘You Time’. This is not selfish. It is not a sign that you need space from your partner because a relationship is going bad. It’s a simple, effective, self-preservation issue. Being centred and happy in yourself will make you more open to the challenges and compromises that a relationship demands. Losing yourself in another person may feel heady for a while, but ultimately it will leave you feeling vulnerable and lonely, even when you are part of a couple. Find yourself, create space to keep your focus on you.
You are in Control of You
Erm, obviously, right? Absolutely. But when you are deeply involved in a relationship it can feel like the other person has some call on you, and you on them. When it comes to it though, only you are in control of your choices and actions. You cannot make someone else behave in a certain way, nor they you. Accepting this truth is an important part of moving on and preparing for another relationship.
Being you is Enough
Corny as it sounds, leaving a relationship behind is a kind of affirmation of something we all forget from time to time – that we, alone, are enough. We don’t need anyone else to define us, to prop us up, to validate us. Those things are nice, sure. But we don’t NEED them. We are enough.
We Are Not Perfect
It takes two to make a relationship, and two to break it. It may have been your partner whose actions ultimately caused the split, but the driver behind those actions will have been a discontentment over something in the relationship to begin with. The responsibility for that lies with your both. Accepting that we all make mistakes helps us to take responsibility for our lives. While that may not always be a comfortable place, it is empowering because self-acceptance paves the way for forgiveness, and growth.
People are not Possessions
No-one owns any other person. A relationship is made up of two independent individuals, who make an active choice to come together and exist as a unit. That decision in no way bestows any right of property or ownership on the other person. If we truly care for another then we have to accept and honour all of their behaviours, decisions and choices and not try to control them.
Live in the Now
No matter how bad a relationship breakdown feels, you will feel better over time. Not all partnerships are meant to last. Look for the positives in what you had, learn to forgive and be prepared to move on. We are defined in part by our experiences, taking the risk of loving another person can deliver huge emotional rewards. Hold onto the good stuff and let the rest wash away. Live for the now, not for the past. And be prepared to learn from the things that didn’t go so well, turn them into positive points to take into future relationships.