Like most people, you are likely to experience several significant relationships in your life — relationships which you will enter with a sense of optimism and joy, — but what happens when things go painfully wrong?
Whether this happens after years of marriage and the birth of kids, or after just a few months of intense passion, how do you pick yourself up, heal your wounds and self-esteem and get yourself into a fit state to love again?
If you carry emotional baggage from your old relationship into a new one, you seriously risk complicating it and even dooming it to failure too, so here are three things you can do to help you release the pain and empower you to have more successful relationships in the future:
1. Take Responsibility
Are you still blaming your ex-partner totally for the failure of your relationship? Are you prepared to concede that, maybe, you too were partly responsible? Although you may feel so hurt that you want to pin all the blame on them, if you really want to find true love, you have to own-up to your share of the responsibility.
Were you too needy, too demanding or too willing to please? Were you too insensitive, too quick to rush to judgment or to act unreasonably?
No-one forced you into your last relationship, so why did you choose to enter a relationship with your ex? Did you deliberately ignore the warning signals? Were you so desperate for something which you thought your partner and a relationship would give you? You made the choice, so why did you get it so wrong?
Whatever happened, you were responsible for choosing it. This is not to blame you for what happened, but to get you to appreciate that you created it and to stop you wallowing in self-pity and victimhood. You created the doomed relationship and with some increased wisdom, next time, you can create a successful relationship.
2. Forgive Yourself And Then Forgive Your Ex!
There is a Chinese proverb which says «Before you set out on the road to revenge, dig two graves — one for your enemy and one for yourself». In this context, you need to give up all the negative feelings you feel towards your ex, because clinging on to them will only hurt you and damage your prospects of finding someone better.
By accepting responsibility for your contribution to the failure of the relationship, you will have subtly acknowledged that you need to acquire more wisdom and that you did the best you could at the time. In view of this, be compassionate and forgive yourself.
Then forgive your ex! Be gracious and understand that if your partner hurt you, it was because they were unable to behave in a better way. They too will have been doing the best they could, given where they were in their own personal and spiritual development.
Your failed relationship was a case of ‘wrong person, wrong time’ — get over it and be grateful that you have been released to find a better and more suitable relationship.
3. Learn The Lesson
As your relationship was disintegrating, what was going through your head to cause you distress? Was it anger, fear, upset? What was the little voice in your head telling you? What did the break-up confirm for you? Whatever meaning you gave to this, this is the core baggage which you need to put down.
Maybe you concluded from the break-down that ‘All men are unreliable’, ‘All women are crazy’, ‘I’m unlovable’ or even ‘He/she was my soul-mate and so I can never love anyone else again’. If you carry this ‘meaning’ into your next relationship, you will be dooming it to failure before you even start.
Instead, convert this ‘meaning’ into a positive lesson. Using the above examples it would come out something like — if I repeat my behaviour, I will create the circumstances which will make me unable to trust men, which will make me unable to understand women, which will make me believe that I am unlovable or which will make me believe that there is no-one else out there for me.
Learn the lesson of how you created your failed relationship or you will be destined to repeat it in a different form, with a different person in a different relationship.
When you truly understand that relationships are experiences to teach you about responsibility, forgiveness and personal growth, your search for true love will become much easier.