Jane, in her mid-30s, recently ended a year-long relationship. She wanted to take time to regroup. She heard all the mantras: Live in the moment, Don't look back, Don't look through the rearview mirror at your life.
She couldn’t help wonder, Is the past relevant?
The answer is yes. Relationships offer us opportunities to understand our past, who we are, what we fear, and what the meaning of true love is. The idea that past relationships are learning opportunities may seem counterintuitive because we know that they can be frustrating, challenging, even heartbreaking experiences. And yet they can be so much more.
Our past relationships give us our greatest chance to find real love and true healing.
Give the love to others you want. When you’re past a breakup and single again, you may feel you are not complete, you can’t find your own love without that person, and you can’t create your own happiness.
Instead of trying to find the next right person to love, make you more worthy of being loved.
To find love, you must ask yourself if you’re giving as much love as you wish to get, or if you expect people to love you more than you love them or yourself. Give more to all, yourself, your friends, your loves.
Pay attention to what you say to yourself about past relationships.
They always leave, Men are too much work, I am screwed up. These thoughts do not serve your past or present. Meet them with compassion and love for they are your old wounds. Remind yourself they are not the truth, it is an old wound speaking. Ask for healing, try to see things differently. You didn’t fail. Your last relationship was a success. Don’t see the relationship as a failure.
As you begin to see relationships differently, you’ll recognize that they have their own rhythmic flow.
Some will last a lifetime, others a few decades, some a few years, and some only a few months. But there can be no judgment here. It lasted the perfect amount of time for you to learn.
Past relationships give you the opportunity to understand your own healthy and unhealthy archetypes. That’s how the past can provide you with a window of opportunity to not just look into how a relationship ended, but to also understand the thinking that built the relationship in the first place.
No relationship was a waste of time.
Many of us think that this relationship went sour or that one was a waste of time, and consider those months or years as something we will never get back. But the truth is that each relationship is an experience that we have been uniquely and personally assigned. The last relationship was the perfect teaching tool. The wrong person was actually the perfect person for the lessons we needed to learn.