I’d never label any of my past romantic relationships as “failed” , because each one of them taught me something different, something valuable, and more importantly, helped me grow as a person.
There are always things for you to takeaway from a broken relationship. It’s up to you to either put all the focus and blame on the other person, or reflect, forgive (both the other person and yourself) and self-love.
In the heartache, the hurt, or the unfortunate lies a perfect opportunity for you to change your future for the better.
Through these deep and intimate experiences with others, you really learn priceless lessons about yourself as a person— this is a valuable opportunity you rarely encounter in other aspects in life.
Here are some of the things I’ve learned through my past relationships that did not work out:
- Be Responsible for Yourself
- Stop Trying to Make Yourself Feel Important
- Examine Your Path of Anger
- Your Beliefs Are Your Choices
1. Be Responsible for Yourself
You got hurt. You are sad. You are resentful. Maybe those hurtful behaviors came up once, maybe they happened multiple times.
The act of feeling sorry for yourself or acting on anger are all normal things we do when we get hurt. I am not saying getting hurt is fair or something you can control.
But remember, if you continue to be involved with the people who’ve hurt you in any way, you are the one enabling them to do more hurtful things to you in the future.
You give people the permission to be in your life. You should always take 100% responsibility to choose who you talk to or interact with.
When are your days, behaviors or attention revolved around other people?
On top of the obligations of your committed social roles, do you have any goals set for your personal development in any aspect?
What do you do to show love to yourself?
What do you do to nurture growth in yourself?
Before you expect to have the love of your life or accuse others for anything, check these questions to see how responsible and reliant you can be with yourself first.
2. Stop Trying to Make Yourself Feel Important
For women, the idea of being treated like ladies in fairytales was often planted in our little minds by books, movies or songs.
We learned that we could meet a “prince” who’d save us from it all. We learned that if we were “pretty”, “sexy” or “kind” enough, someone‘d eventually come along and shower us with the love we’d been waiting for all this time.
The truth is, none of us is more “special” or “deserving” of love than another person. Stop judging yourself or other people. Stop making yourself feel important.
The feeling of importance can come from being validated, accepted or loved by other people. The feeling of importance can also come from our own ego and thoughts.
People with a healthy mindset about love do not need to “demand”, “exchange” or “wait” for love. No one else can “complete” you other than yourself, other people should only add additional values to your life.
Self-loving people choose to gain a sense of purpose and importance by doing what is healthy and meaningful for themselves, instead of clinging onto external people or situations.
You helped people with something, even if they asked you to, but so what? Does that make you more “lovable”? Does that make you more “deserving” of attention or love? No it does not.
If people cannot truly appreciate and accept you, no matter what you do they will not change. If people do not know how to love themselves first, they are simply too entangled in their own problems. You can help other people, but be aware of your choices and expectations.
If you genuinely accept and love another person, you will not feel the need to demand anything in return. That is unconditional love.
Any keeping count, desire of power play, or feelings of resentment come from a “self-centered” place. The feeling of I don’t deserve this or I deserve that is because of your own expectations and fears.
This does not downplay people’s hurtful behaviors. My point is, if people hurt you due to whatever reasons, that’s their problem. You can choose to react by exerting your self-worth and personal values in any given situation. You can choose to draw clear boundaries, to let go, or to leave.
Recognize when you are being overly reliant on other people to feel busy, alive, important or validated. Never waste time with those who aren’t on the same page as you. Your life is too short and precious.
3. Examine Your Path of Anger
Did you know that anger is only a secondary emotion?
This means that whenever you feel angry, there is actually something deeper which you are simply reacting upon.
For example, one relationship I had started off as the other person being extremely passionate and loving. His words and behaviors framed us as a match made in heaven and that I was the “one” for him. But as his passion wore down, his behaviors changed drastically. Eventually his love just seemed to have “disappeared”.
It was easy for me to feel victimized in this situation. Feeling so accepted and loved at first, how different he started to treat me left me feeling resentful. What angered me more was that I was always the one pushing for open communication. I had to courageously “fish” for a truth that I knew would only hurt me, while he tried to avoid any kind of responsibilities.
The truth unsurprisingly led to our breakup, I felt angry. How could you do this to me? What is wrong with you? And these feelings came back often when I was in the healing stage.
But after learning that anger and resentments were only secondary to something bigger, I dived deeper. What were the real reasons that triggered me and stopped me from forgiving?
It was the feeling of being abandoned. It was the feeling of having real hope for love again and that being completely crushed by this whole experience.
It sucked to see that the hope he gave me was false and just an empty shell, but this really helped me to let go. I knew that this hope was mine to regain. I could forgive but this did not mean I had to forget. Through being intimate with someone like this, I learned to recognize new red flags at a much earlier stage. I gained a slightly better idea of what kind of people I can better invest my time with in the future.
4. Your Beliefs are Your Choices
If you think all men are assholes, chances are you are going to end up with a big asshole.
If you are think you are too weak for love, chances are you are going to be too weak for love.
But none of these have to stay as your absolute truth.
Be aware of what you believe in. Be aware when you are taking the easy way out to either numb your pain or escape from your realities.
Be aware of when you are taking into society’s or other people’s values as your own. Evaluate what you truly care about as an individual.
I’ve written an article about evaluating and challenging your personal beliefs before. This whole phase of challenging myself was really mind-opening for me.
Don’t stay in your own prison of so-called beliefs, there is always a door open for bigger and better possibilities.
Getting hurt is really not the scariest thing.
The scariest thing is allowing yourself to fall for the same things over and over again.
The scariest thing is when you refuse to learn from your experiences and believe that you are always the victim.
The scariest thing is when you do not love yourself, and choose to rely on others for your own purpose and happiness.
Getting hurt, just like many other negative experiences in life, can help you grow.
It’s a chance to reset yourself and love yourself just the way you want.
Melody Zheng :)