OK, so I’ve decided to keep the blog rolling for now.
I have heard from so many friends lately that are in challenging relationships, or are in the aftermath of failed relationships, that I wanted to share some words of, well, maybe “not-wisdom”. Maybe experience.
I hate to say it, but I’ve been in a lot of failed relationships. If you’re looking for how to get into a good relationship and stay there, find another blog. This is NOT the blog you were looking for.
But if you’re interested in what I’ve learned, or are looking for some commiseration, keep reading. I am by no means claiming to be an expert. Some of this is more intellectual knowledge than internalized, but we’re all getting there in our own time. Some of this is from Buddhist practice, some is from a book I’ve recently read called “Radical Acceptance” by Tara Brach, some from friends, and some is just from past experience. Much of it overlaps. You may be aware of these things already, but in my own experience, I find commonality with others to be helpful.
First and foremost: There is nothing wrong with you. The end of this relationship (or the relationship in general) has no bearing on your worth as a human being. It’s just the nature of human relationships. Repeat as needed.
Maybe you keep thinking of the good times you had together and minimizing the bad, and wondering what went wrong. Or maybe you’re thinking only of the bad, and wondering “What the h$$$ was I thinking?” Sometimes you think of both. That’s OK.
If they broke things off, you may be wondering why. You may never hear their answer of “why” and even if they tell you, it probably won’t make sense. If you ended the relationship, you might feel guilt even though you know deep down that it was the right choice. All of these things are OK.
You and this other person came together for a period of time, you learned from them and they learned from you. Maybe there were good things that happened between you. Maybe a lot of good things. Or maybe a lot of bad things. Maybe both. Yet for some reason or another, that run came to an end, as all things do eventually. Even the truest love birds are parted by death. The fact that you and this person are not together anymore has nothing to do with your worth as a human being. Like two puzzle pieces, you simply did not fit. Or you did for a while, but now your shapes have changed, and the match is gone. You learned what you needed to learn from this person and this particular lesson is over.
You may have feelings of loss, loneliness, and perhaps even a feeling of worthlessness.
Accept them. Meet them with friendliness. Telling yourself that you shouldn’t have these feelings will only feed them and make a stronger narrative around them.
As you come to see and accept the feelings there without creating that narrative, eventually, they get tired and go away. Honest. This will take a while, and will be a struggle to say the least. Be patient. Give yourself time and don’t be in a rush for acceptance. In the meantime, be gentle with yourself.
Imagine that all of your friends and loved ones are standing around you in a circle, cheering you on. Hopefully you have family and friends nearby that can do this in person, but if not, use your imagination. Try to talk to yourself as they would talk to you; not beating yourself up.
Eventually we find that there is so much more in life than these transient feelings. And the transient relationship.
And know, dear reader, that I’m cheering for you too.