by Mo Seetubtim
We blame past failed relationships for emotional baggage that we have today — fear of heartbreak, wasted time, energy and emotions.
We all look at failure — be it in love or business — as a negative thing. But if we turn the glass around and look at it from another perspective, all these failures are essential and are the springboard to the success we have today.
Here are what you learn and why you should embrace them…
1. You learn more about yourself and life.
Only when you get so close to someone in a serious relationship do your true personalities really come out. Such personalities don’t come out as strongly with friends because you don’t spend as much time with them — and you don’t have as much of emotional expectation as you would with a serious boyfriend or girlfriend.
This really makes you learn about life in terms of people, mannerisms, personality traits, core values and attitudes towards the world.
If you have a boyfriend or girlfriend who is so similar to you, then what you learn about him is like a reflection of yourself that you would normally not realize on your own.
If your boyfriend or girlfriend and you are so different, then clashes and frustrations also help you learn about yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, preferences and compatibilities.
2. You learn to be a better communicator and be more expressive.
Relationships teach you to be more expressive, especially if you normally aren’t.
A relationship is made of two people — we are not mind readers. Unless you’re lucky to be dating someone whom you can see eye to eye with on most things, then you can sense what the other person is feeling or thinking. But even so, there are always things you need to communicate and explain so that the other person understands you better and you both can make it work.
A failed relationship teaches you that communication is key to understanding. And understanding is the key to life.
Without communication made clear and correctly understood by both sides, arguments and agitation are likely to occur. Over and over, this results in one or both parties feeling like they are not being valued, appreciated or cared for – even though sometimes it’s unintentional.
3. You discover the emotional side of yourself.
Being in a relationship and letting someone into your life takes courage and strength.
Letting yourself become vulnerable emotionally can make you feel so weak that you become so strong.
It’s hard to even really discover and understand who we are – our passion, our strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, the way we think and our own beliefs and core values — let alone discovering the emotional side of ourselves.
When we’re in a relationship, we become so vulnerable emotionally that we realise what makes us feel whole, what completes us emotionally and what fulfils our self-esteem and self-confidence from the inside out. What kind of love makes you feel loved?
Everyone has a different definition and expression for love.
And if two people with different definitions and ways of expression for love come together, they can feel unfulfilled because there’s always something lost in translation between the two.f
Some people show love through giving and receiving material things. To some, love equates security. Some crave affection.
Whatever love means to you, you’d only discover what it is that makes you feel loved from a partner by being in a relationship. And if you’re lucky, you only have to go through one. But for most of us, it takes several relationships to discover one that fits us most perfectly.
4. You learn the value of give and take.
Compromising can mean a lot of work especially for people growing up independently. To some, it’s second to nature especially if you grow up in a big and close-knit family.
There is chemistry — and there is compatibility. The two don’t always come together equally.
- If chemistry is higher than compatibility level, then there’s a lot of compromise – from the way you look at the world and understand things, what you believe in, to taste in music, food and lifestyle choices.
- If the compatibility is higher than chemistry, then there’s a lack of passion and boredom occurs.
In a relationship, you learn the value and the art of give-and-take. We humans are selfish, and it takes willpower to be able to give and take when the level of difference and clash is high.
When it’s too much to handle, you realize that this whole give-and-take thing is coming to an end. It’s not going to work. The compromise cannot be compromised anymore.
5. You become more empathetic.
When you love someone, their happiness affects yours — you want the person to be happy.
Without realizing, you start putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. You become less selfish. You try to understand him or her. You try to make it work. You become more empathetic.
Having not been in a few relationships, you would not know what it feels like to care for someone so much (besides family) that you try to understand them, rather than satisfying your own needs…
To feel the emotional intensity of transferable happiness.
When a relationship fails, it’s when empathy becomes too much to handle. You no longer try to understand the other person. Your own happiness doesn’t increase when the other person’s level of happiness increases anymore. The emotional and mental compromise for the person’s happiness start to kill you. But nonetheless, this has taught you a valuable emotional lesson.
You’ve learned what it feels like to really have your happiness correlated to the other’s happiness.
6. You learn to be patient, calm and resilient.
Relationship also teaches you to be able to control your emotions better. If your partner is hot-tempered, you learn to become calm, patient, and resilient in order to handle the flame.
If you are hot-tempered yourself, you learn to control your emotions and to pause before telling your partner off, yelling at him/her, or becoming abusive and aggressive.
Either way, the time spent in a failed relationship was not wasted. You’ve learned to control your temper, mood, and emotions — which is indeed a valuable skill to master in life.
7. You learn to let go.
I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.
— Marilyn Monroe
In life, you can have it all in life but “not all at once.” You have to let one thing go to let a better thing come in. You can’t dwell on the past if you want to work on the present moving towards the future.
When things don’t feel right, let it go. So that better things can fall into place.
Learning to let go is hard — you learn to control your thoughts, your mind, your emotions and your actions. Over and over, your mind is trained and your willpower is strong. You can let things go more easily as time comes because you’ve learned The Trick to Manipulate Your Own Mind.
If you’re blaming on past relationships for the emotional baggage, don’t. Because the time spent on a failed relationship was not time wasted.
You’ve learned some valuable skills in life from every failure.
Take it in. Connect the dots. And move on.
Mo Seetubtim is Founder of BRANDMENTALIST.com – The Art of Passionate Living – where she writes about self-development, life, happiness, and entrepreneurship. Her vision in life is to inspire people to live a purpose and passion driven life. Mo has lived in 3 different cities and is on contemplating on her next move while working on her online store and co-founding a tech startup. Read more posts written by Mo on BrandMentalist.com. Follow Mo on Twitter at @brandmentalist.