“When dealing with couples my wife and I draw the analogy between marriage and a base camp for mountain climbing. If one wants to climb mountains one must have a good base camp, a place where there are shelter and provisions, where one may receive nurture and rest before one ventures forth again to seek another summit. Successful mountain climbers know that they must spend at least as much time, if not more, tending to their base camp as they actually do in climbing mountains, for their survival is dependent upon their seeing to it that their base camp is sturdily constructed and well stocked.” – M.Scott Peck, The Road less travelled.
This quote from the famous Classic “Road Less Travelled” by M. Scott Peck beautifully explains the intricate work that is required to keep the magic of relationships alive.
However, there are times when despite of our best efforts and intentions, our relationships end and leave us grappling with uncomfortable emotions like grief, anger or sorrow.
If we can shift our attention from “why is it happening to me?” to “what is this trying to teach me?”, the heartache of a break up can teach us a lot of wise lessons.
Here are 14 beautiful lessons all of us can learn from failed relationships:
1) You do not own people
When we are in love we sometimes knowingly or unknowingly tend to believe that we possess our partners but the fact of the matter is that you don’t own people.
They have a right to make their own lifestyle choices and decisions and they may be as per your liking or not. You cannot control where they go, their behavior or other choices even if you have been in a committed relationship for long.
The best you can do is to have an open and honest communication with them about your choices but you have to honor their individuality and let them make the final call considering their life choices.
2) Love is not dependency
In the love ideal propositioned by fairytales, the delicate balance of interdependence is lost and love borders on the psychological condition of codependency.
Love does not mean that you cannot survive without another person as is portrayed by Hollywood flicks, that is just dependency and not love.
“Love is the free exercise of choice. Two people love each other only when they are quite capable of living without each other but choose to live with each other.” – M. Scott Peck
3) Love is separateness
“Let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love;
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.” – Kahlil Gibran
Love is a beautiful companionship between two separate individuals who come together to help and support each other to reach their highest potential without losing their own authenticity and individuality in the process.
Lovers should acknowledge the unique individuality of each other and provide each other space to follow their own passions and expand into their highest possible version.
Both the partners should spend some time in solitude working on developing their talents and gift and fulfilling their life purpose and then come back to the union to share their gifts and nurture each other.
4) Your partner is not a project to be fixed
We can lead by example and motivate others to improve for the better but if you want to change hows someone looks or what their basic personality traits are then you are not honoring how someone is.
People grow when they are inspired and when a desire to change comes from within them. Being pressured to make changes can work in the short term but it will create resentment and bitterness in the long run.
If you want someone’s behavior to change, you can start by changing how you respond to them.
For example, if your partner is in an angry mood and you too get angry, you would just escalate the situation. Instead, you can respond in a calm manner. When you shift your energy, the other person also catches it and responds in a similar manner.
You can change some nuances by someone’s behavior by leading with example, not by arguments or force.
But if you have a huge list of things that you find wrong with your partner, then you should check with yourself why are you with someone who requires so much fixing.
Your partner is not a project to be fixed.
You should be with someone whom you love as they are and not someone whom you hope to convert into an image you like.
5) Lust doesn’t stay forever
When we initially get attracted towards someone we feel a certain rush of chemicals in our brains. This is why we feel butterflies in the stomach and we want to spend every waking minute talking to or texting that person. But this phase of lust doesn’t last for long.
It is when lust fades away, we can truly know if we have any love for the person.
If we still care for their wellbeing and want to see them happy even when the initial attraction has faded away, then we are really in love.
Love is when you can be completely yourself with the other person without any fear or being judged and you also accept all of them: the good, the bad and the ugly.
6) Some relationships are just lessons and not meant to last forever
Some relationships are meant to come into our lives to teach us forgiveness and letting go gracefully. They are meant to help us evolve and grow into better versions of ourselves. When we are able to learn the lesson and let go graciously, we prepare ourselves emotionally and spiritually for better relationships in future.
7) Relationships we enter into are a direct reflection of our self-worth
The relationships we enter into are a direct reflection of where we are in life.
If we find ourselves being very reactive in relationships, it means that we have wounds we have not yet healed completely.
The triggers that we face in relationships are meant to direct our attention to where we need to work on. Sometimes people come into our lives to make us evolve into a better version of ourselves and leave when their role in our life is over.
The more we work on healing our wounded self and the more aligned we become with our higher self, the more loving relationship we will attract.
8) Relationships are only a part of a beautiful life
Relationships are just a part of life. There is so much more to a beautiful and fulfilling life: friendships, passion, work, fun, service to the world.
You do not have to wait to be in a relationship to live your best, happy and fulfilling life.
9) Your capacity to be alone determines your capacity to love
Self-love is the most important type of love. You cannot give to others, what you don’t have yourself.
Show yourself unconditional love and compassion. Take out time for self-care and prioritize activities that make you feel alive and fulfilled.
“The capacity to be alone is the capacity to love. It may look paradoxical to you, but it’s not. It is an existential truth: only those people who are capable of being alone are capable of love, of sharing, of going into the deepest core of another person–without possessing the other, without becoming dependent on the other, without reducing the other to a thing, and without becoming addicted to the other. They allow the other absolute freedom, because they know that if the other leaves, they will be as happy as they are now. Their happiness cannot be taken by the other, because it is not given by the other.” – Osho
10) Have a partner that is also your best friend
“The problem is that the experience of falling in love is invariably temporary. No matter whom we fall in love with, we sooner or later fall out of love if the relationship continues long enough. This is not to say that we invariably cease loving the person with whom we fell in love. But it is to say that the feeling of ecstatic lovingness that characterizes the experience of falling in love always passes. The honeymoon always ends. The bloom of romance always fades.”- M. Scott Peck
The initial phases of lust and attraction don’t last long. Therefore, if we want our relationship to last longer, we need to connect on a deeper level than surface level things.
If our partner is also our best friend then we share a bonding with them that goes beyond just physical and mental compatibility.
11) Compromise is a two way street
Love means extending yourself for the well being of another. But compromise is a two way street.
You and your partner should meet other midway. If it is only one person doing all the compromises, then it is not love but self-sacrifice and it is not sustainable.
12) Be yourself
You should be comfortable enough to be 100% yourself in front of your partner.
If you feel like you have to put on a mask to impress your partner, then this is a huge red flag.
You cannot fake something that you are not your entire life- if your partner cannot love and accept you exactly as you are –then they are not the right person for you.
13) Compatibility is the key
It does not matter how much head over heels you are in love with someone, if you guys are not compatible, your relationship cannot be long lasting, happy and fulfilling.
While no people can agree on all the points but you and your partner should have enough common factors to keep you together for a long time. You need to be compatible in terms of your lifestyle choices and life values.
If your partner does not like kids at all and you love kids, if you like to travel and your partner is a homebody, if you are spiritual and your partner is a homebody, it would be a little difficult to navigate life.
It is important to have a discussion with your partner beforehand about these lifestyle choices and see if you are compatible before committing to the long haul.
14) Love’s job is not to complete or validate you.
It is futile to seek love and validation from outside. When we look for someone else to complete us, we are just setting ourselves up for codependency issues.
If we do not feel complete and happy on our own, it is impossible to feel complete and happy in a relationship either.
You may feel happy and fulfilled in a relationship for some time but yourself worth issues will crop up again and again till you deal with your internal wounds on your own.
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