Breaking up with someone is never an easy thing to do. While there are a few lessons you can learn from a breakup, it can still be a very lonely experience. When your relationship is officially over, it might be hard not to think about how you wasted your time or how you wish you could've done things differently. But instead of thinking of what you could've done, try to think about the lessons your relationship has taught you.
Every relationship, whether good or bad, always has a lesson behind it. You just have to look at it from a positive angle. Even though watching Netflix and eating a pint of ice cream might seem logical in the wake of a breakup, this is actually the best time to figure out exactly what you want, what didn't work out, and how to love yourself again. Relationships are supposed to be about that intimacy you share with another individual, and even though not all relationships last, at least you can view each relationship as a time of personal growth and understanding. If you've recently broken up with your significant other and you're trying to find the positive during this really difficult time, here are seven lessons you can take with you after a relationship has ended.
1. Your Happiness & Validation Come From Within
You don't need a relationship to be happy with yourself. While it might be hard to admit right now, there is more to life than being in a relationship with someone, especially when someone doesn't treat you the way you want to be treated. Your self-worth is worth more than being with someone just because you're afraid to break their heart or scared to be alone. According to The Huffington Post, Stephanie Harrison, consultant, educator, and innovator said, "Happiness is a state of internal fulfillment. Happiness is not the result of external events. We labor under the misconception that external events are within our control." While being in a relationship will make you happy, your external world is just the icing on the cake when it comes to your personal happiness.
2. Sadly, Love Isn't Enough To Make A Relationship Last
As much as we would like every relationship to be a fairy tale and to have our significant others sweep us off our feet, that is, most likely, never going to be the case. When it comes to love, there's more than just looking deeply into each others' eyes and saying, "I love you." Your significant other should be passionate, compassionate, reliable, trustworthy, etc. But when those qualities are not present, that is when love may not be enough. According to Psychology Today, Howard Markman, Ph.D. said, "We kill love by how we treat our partners, by not handling negative feelings well." The way we treat our partners will exemplify how much we love them, even through the toughest times.
3. You Can't Change Someone
It might be hard to admit, but there's no way for you to change a person, even when they're your life partner. I've learned this the hard way. For your significant other to truly change, they should want to do it for themselves — not you. In The Huffington Post, Art Markman, Ph.D. said, "Unless someone is willing to really commit to a new goal and make plans that will help them achieve that goal and turn it into a habit, that individual is unlikely to make lasting changes in her life." It probably was for the best that you and your partner broke up if you remember having a lot of discussions of things that were displeasing to you. While opposites do attract, you want to make sure that your partner is satisfying your needs without having to ask them over and over again.
4. Always Listen To Your Gut
Your gut will always have your best interests at heart, no matter what — whether you like it or not. A lot of the time, we tend to ignore what our intuition is telling us because we don't want to believe it. But our instincts are usually right. According to Psychology Today, clinical psychologist Susan Heitler, Ph.D said, "Your gut gives you important intuitions, definitely worth listening to. Your heart tells you about your feelings like sexual attraction and affections. Listen to it as well." There probably were plenty of times when your instincts were telling you that something wasn't quite right about your past relationship. Learn to truly listen to your gut during your next relationship.
5. Learn What You Do And Don't Want In A Relationship
Another great lesson to learn when you do break up with someone is to figuring out what you want and don't want for your next relationship. Breakups happen for a reason, whether you did the deed or not. Really evaluate your past relationship to see what you loved about it and what you wish was different. According to WebMD, Colette Bouchez, author of seven health books for women including Lifestyle Advice for the Best Years of Your Life, said there are five core values to help get to know yourself better. These values can assist you in knowing what you want out of a relationship. According to Bouchez, once you understand your emotional needs; identify your love pattern; test drive a potential relationship; and once you are dating, go in for a three-month checkup, you'll truly know yourself. By understanding your core values, you'll know exactly what your heart needs and wants.
6. It's OK To Be Alone
Breaking up is really hard because the person that was once by your side and considered your best friend is no longer there. That part of your life is gone and sometimes it can be really hard to come to terms with this. But just remember that it's OK to feel those emotions and to be alone. According to The Huffington Post, take this time to heal yourself, to chase after your goals, and to hang out with all your friends. This is a prime time to rebuild yourself and be selfish because the only person you have to worry about is yourself. When you fulfill your own happiness, then you'll be ready to dive back into another relationship. Don't try to fill that void with another individual, because if you do, it just might end in heartbreak.
7. No Relationship Is A Waste Of Time
Whatever you do, don't view this relationship as a failure. No matter how long you and your significant other were together, don't ever think that you've wasted your time with that person. According to The Huffington Post, Sherrie Campbell, PhD Veteran, licensed psychologist explained, "Relationships are the playground where love, self-esteem, insecurity, worth and value all get to play and help define each other. As these states all intermingle and we combine and try out different mixtures, we soon come up with a working formula of what works best for us in relationships."
When a relationship ends, it doesn't mean that you wasted too many years on this person; there was a reason this person came into your life. Take this time to rediscover yourself and cherish the memories that you did have together. While you may feel sad now (and that's totally normal), eventually you'll look back having learned from the breakup, and you'll feel like everything happened for a reason — and you'll be a stronger person because of it.
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