Many believe that past relationships are a sign of failure or waste of time with the wrong person. Yes, relationships leave us with feelings of sorrow, uncertainty, and guilt, but there is much wisdom from these uncomfortable emotions.
Instead of trying to understand “Why did it end?”, the real question is “What lessons am I meant to learn?”
People are brought together, in relationships, to help us grow and evolve. Sometimes the purpose is to test you, teach you. Some will use you and others bring the best out in you. If your spiritual lessons are complete, the relationship will no longer serve your highest good, and your paths will naturally separate so you can continue growing.
I’ve spent much time looking at the past to find answers, only to find that we must focus on the lessons, not the mistakes, to move on gracefully and attract new relationships.
Here are 7 beautiful lessons we can only learn from past relationships:
1. People don’t belong to you
I used to feel that when I was committed to someone, they belonged to me. I chose you, so you’re MY boyfriend! People are not possessions, they play certain roles in your life but ultimately, they are responsible for themselves. Setting healthy boundaries is necessary, but evaluate whether you’re placing limitations on another person due to insecurity, fear, or jealousy. Communicate and create boundaries from a space of trust, honoring the other, and self-love.
2. We all need “Me Time”
From a spiritual perspective, we are meant to grow individually and grow together in a relationship. To be successful in a relationship, each person needs space to embrace their uniqueness, and heal their flaws. It’s painful when you lose yourself in the process of loving another. Trust me, I know! Remember, you are special too! You each have your own life lessons and experiences which may not involve the other. Honor the other’s life mission and allow space for your own passion and journey to unfold. Being in love with someone doesn’t mean you have to spend every waking hour with the person, have your identity merge into theirs,and forget about your own dreams and aspirations. Finding love means making the most of the moments you have together, while honoring the time you spend apart doing the things that make you feel alive.
3. You complete yourself. Period.
Jerry McGuire screwed up our sense of relationships with the “You complete me.” junk. We are setting ourselves for co-dependency issues if we are seeking to find validation and love from a source outside ourselves. We complete ourselves! In the past, I needed a man to validate me, and my self-worth deteriorated when I wasn’t in a relationship.
By believing we are searching for the one to complete us, we are giving our power away, and our happiness is at the mercy of another. You have to love, honor and respect yourself in order to set that standard for others to do the same. If you aren’t happy with yourself inside, you won’t find that happiness in a relationship either. You have to cultivate self-love and happiness in your life first, before you can share it with another.
4. You can only change yourself, so stop trying.
Don’t fool yourself to believing you will transform your boyfriend into YOUR Mr. Right if you work on his temper, if he loses 10 lbs, or he becomes more ambitious. Sure, we can motivate others by our example, but forcing someone to change is not honoring the other person’s free will.
Be in a relationship with a person for who they are right now. If you still want them to change, ask yourself why you are in the relationship to begin with? The only constant in life is change. People grow when they feel the internal desire to make a shift. Being forced to change is temporary and can give rise to feelings of resentment. If you find that you don’t like when your boyfriend has a short temper, then change the way you react to the situation. Respond from a space of calm. When you shift your energy, the other will automatically feel your change. People are motivated to change by the example you lead, not the words you speak.
5. The “lust” period doesn’t last forever.
Understanding the difference between love and lust 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 things usually fade and love will take place. Love is about accepting an imperfect being and loving them for their flaws. It’s about being authentic and sharing your flaws openly without fear of being judged. Love grows in a place that vulnerability is cultivated. When you can share the good, bad, and the ugly with someone and trust that they will support you through your challenges and good times, that is when a relationship creates love.
6. 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. There are certain relationships that are brought to us not as the happily ever after, but to teach you how to honorably let go and grieve the loss of a relationship. Letting go is a powerful lesson we all face. We don’t’ take our current baggage to future relationships when we give ourselves time to fully grieve.
7. Relationships are a direct reflection of the relationship we have with ourselves.
In relationships, when we find ourselves triggered or reactive, we haven’t gone inside to heal our fears and anxieties and miss the opportunity to convey love. When we recognize our responsibility in the situation, we can then make an empowered choice to heal our past and shift to more loving perceptions. The more we act from our higher self, the more self-love we cultivate. It is from this internal space of abundance that we are able to freely share and receive love to transform our relationships.
Every past mistake is an opportunity, to do the inner work, to heal our soul and connect more meaningfully in all our relationships. After going inside and surrendering fears in meditation, you can bring your higher self forward in each future relationship. Practice that real connection where you act, speak and love from your higher self and love will be returned to you.
We put so much emphasis and importance on first kiss, first crush and first boyfriend. Yes, firsts are important, but in the realm of relationships, it’s the last person that matters. All your past relationships helped you grow, and the last one ended your search to find your soul mate.