It seems that everywhere you look, many long-standing (or short) relationships and/or marriages are dissolving. If you’re like most people, when this happens, you find yourself stuck in thinking about the past, wondering what went wrong, and unable to move from the pain of the relationship. You might even fear that any future relationship will turn out the same.
It doesn’t matter whether you left the relationship or were left–the best advice we can give you is to learn from the past and not carry old “baggage” into the new life you envision for yourself.
Here are 4 ideas to help you move forward in a more empowering way:
Tip 1: Never look at a relationship (or anything else) that hasn’t worked out as a failure
Often it’s the seed of a current or past “failure” that fuels you to the very success that you’ve always dreamed of. It sounds trite, but there’s always something you can learn from every experience.
Past relationships give you a clearer picture of what you want and what you don’t want in a relationship if you take the time to examine them. It’s the power of contrast that living in an unfulfilling relationship can give you that can lead to you creating the relationship that you do want.
What we’ve learned is that if a relationship has ended, it is not a bad thing or a failure that our society likes to label it. It just may be that you have learned what it is that you were supposed to learn by being with that other person and it’s time to move on to other “lessons.”
It might also be a chance for both people to look at what happened and to learn to “do it differently” the next time.
Tip 2: Turn from the past and look toward the future …YOUR future
It’s easy to get stuck in the past when a relationship ends.
You will begin to heal and move forward when you begin thinking and writing about what you want for your life, today and in the future.
Setting goals is very important in this process of turning to your new life. The famous motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar said that he had never met a truly depressed person who had goals for his/her life and we know that this is true. Take some time right now to create some new goals for your new life and then start taking small steps toward those goals.
Tip 3: Take responsibility for your part–no more and no less
When a relationship ends, very often we want to assign fault and blame, either to ourselves or to the other person. When you are in a healthy relationship with another person, both people are equally responsible for the relationship. If a relationship ends, the same thing usually applies. No matter who appears to be at fault when challenges come up, both people are responsible.
You can only heal when you let go of assigning “fault” and “blame” and focus on what you want to change about yourself and what you want to create in a relationship.
This can be a very difficult process if you are hanging on to the need to be right, anger, judgments and unexpressed resentments.
Taking responsibility means accepting what’s true about what you have or have not contributed to the relationship that ended and considering what you intend to contribute to relationships in the future.
Tip 4: Learn from and give thanks for the lessons that you learned and change your attitude
As painful as it is to hear, the truth is that everything in your life (including your relationships) is a result of the choices you have made up until now. If you don’t like the circumstances in your life or relationships, decide to make other choices.
This could mean changing your attitude from blame to acceptance. It could mean opening up to bringing new people into your life. It could mean deciding to be a better person in your current relationships. It could mean being grateful for what you have.
Being grateful for where you are and what you’ve learned will be a positive movement toward creating what you want in your life. Change your attitude and you will change your life.
When a relationship ends, it’s tempting to close down and vow never to get in another relationship again or even rush into a new relationship. Instead, we invite you to take the time to learn from past relationships, be in gratitude for where you are and start moving toward the relationships and life that you really want.
Author: Susie and Otto Collins