I can honestly say that I still love some of my exes. There were some that I strongly liked, but with time, it dissipated into just a memory of someone I once knew. There were others who were seriously unstable, and I empathize with them but would never allow them back into my life again. But for those that I do still love, I don't equate that with the need to be with them.
The reason why I still love them? Because they have helped me grow.
And I don't mean growth from the heartbreak that they caused me. I am referring to the ability to see and do things for myself that I would have never considered, had I not crossed paths with them.
Here is an example: Years ago I was once with a man, we'll call him John. John was an amazing musician, super handsome and had the most soft spoken sexiest voice that you couldn't help but get an eargasm from. He was also 15 years older than me. And very focused on his music career. He had traveled and lived abroad for a large part of his life. Though he wanted to have a relationship with me, due to my baggage from past relationships and his focus on his music career, our relationship slowly weakened and we parted ways.
Us parting ways, lead me to fall in love with him even more because he inspired me to travel the world. For that, I am forever grateful to have once had him in my life.
We don't talk anymore but I will always love him because he inspired me to challenge myself in going abroad on my own and that is how I fell in love with traveling.
Every ex has something to teach us, if we choose to see the lesson.
I once dated a man who was an alcoholic and emotionally unstable. I was 19 and at that time believed that when you truly love someone, you stick by their side and can help change. Far from the truth. He became a project, but I realized that I was no one to change anyone else and found the strength to walk away. Sadly many women (and men) still believe that you can change someone and decide to take the burden of "helping" someone improve their lives.
Lesson learned from this relationship: We can never change anyone. We can only change ourselves.
I no longer love this man, but feel compassion for him. The pain he caused me when I was with him does not compare to the pain he inflicted on himself. Realizing this, made it easier to let go of the hurt from being with this man.
All relationships are mirrors. And it is sometimes not a pretty sight. And that is okay.
I am a strong believer that in relationships, it takes two to create a problem with the exception of physically abusive relationships. Fortunately, I have never been in one, but know people who have and when you fear for your life, your psyche takes on a whole different route.
You must seek help if you are in this type of relationship.
For all other relationships, even if we really never contributed to the problem, the fact that we stay and do nothing is a way in itself that we contribute the problem. Also known as enabling, it is when we become co-dependent in our relationships. I have been an enabler and trust me, it does not feel very good. You feel suffocated and victimized. But with continuous self-reflection, I have been able to walk away when necessary.
How do we stop becoming enablers? How do we know when to stick it out or leave a relationship?
It is a simple but difficult thing to do: We listen to our intuition.
Here is an example, my last serious relationship ended six months ago. My ex was a kind person but not trustworthy and I knew it from the day that I met him. My intuition told me to hold off, but I interpreted that "gut" feeling as fear and pursued the relationship. Six months later to no surprise, we broke up.
Biggest lesson learned here: Just because you have fear, does not mean that your intuition is not present.
I have come to learn through extensive mindfulness practice, the main difference between fear and intuition, is that intuition is expansive. Fear diminishes when you face it, but intuition grows when you stay in a situation that you should not be in. It is an alarm system that grows louder and louder until you can't take it anymore and you take action. Or it could be suppressed and turned inward and reflected through depression and disease in the body.
Intuition is a powerful gift that we all have and should train ourselves to use. We are not taught to use it or what it is, but it is crucial to our well-being and peace of mind.
No relationship is ever a waste of time or energy, as long as we gain wisdom from them. We all do the best that we can with what we know at that point in time, including our exes.
Our experiences shape us and the directions that we take in life. Let us use our pain/discoveries of ourselves from break ups to empower ourselves and those that we love.
Ladies, what lessons have you learned from your past relationships? What wisdom have you gained from them? Let me know what you think in the comments section below. :)