After my previous relationship ended I made a vow to myself: I would never get into another relationship until I had learned how to love myself. From that, evolved another vow: my next relationship will be my last one. I can assure this isn’t as somber as it sounds!
During my previous relationship I found myself to be changing into someone I did not like. The pressure of how a relationship was ‘supposed’ to be overwhelmed me and I started resisting. At the time I didn’t realize that was what it was. My mood changed completely. I found it hard to get out of bed, I found everything boring, I became jealous very easily, my usual laid-back nature became one of extreme up-tightness, and I was extremely quick to anger. Most important of all I found that I hated myself, which threw me. When you’re in a relationship you’re meant to be happy, love everything about the world and yourself right? I didn’t and it scared me. How could I make a relationship work if I hated myself? I became completely lost and overwhelmed. I responded by pressing a self-destruct button on the relationship. In my mind I didn’t want to be responsible for breaking someone’s heart, so I would push my partner further and further away until he ended the relationship. Although unconsciously I was pushing the relationship to end, when it did actually end it still came as a shock. I was devastated.
Once I had cried all the tears out I started to reflect on why it had ended. Because I’ve always been spiritual in my outlook it was a little bit easier dealing with the breakup. But only a little bit. There were a number of coincidences surrounding the timing of the breakup that I knew it was supposed to happen and I needed to take a close look at my behavior. The time had come for me to take responsibility for my role in the relationship.
It was hard being completely honest with myself and admitting that I thought I was a horrible person to be around, I wanted everything my way ALL the time and found it hard to compromise. It was really hard to admit I had control issues. I had always seen myself as laid-back, but to realize I liked to control everything and everyone was a shock. If I could control everything then I wouldn’t get hurt and the outcome wouldn’t be a surprise. I knew what to expect.
After a lot of self-reflection here are the reasons why I’ve decided my next relationship won’t fail.
1. It won’t fail because I know my insecurities stem from fear
Any insecurities that arise during a relationship are based on fear. Whether that be a fear of not being loved, a fear of being abandoned or a fear of being hurt. All my fears in my previous relationship stemmed from all three of these and now that I know this, I’ll be better prepared in my next relationship to talk these fears out with my partner.
2. It won’t fail because I’m more considerate
I’m more aware of myself and my motivations. I’ve become much calmer. I’m open to compromise and I know that a relationship involves two people working together. I now know that a relationship works depending on the people involved and not on unconscious rules imposed by society. I think about what other people may need instead of constantly concentrating on and worrying about what I need and if those needs will be met.
3. It won’t fail because I’m not a control freak anymore
Well, not completely, but I’m much better than I was! I know I can’t control the outcome of anything. I’ve learned to try and let go of controlling everything. It’s a waste of energy especially when I could be enjoying the moment rather than worrying about a future that hasn’t even happened yet. We’re taught that relationships are meant to work in a specific way and if they don’t then we’ve failed. But what a lot of people don’t tell us as we grow up is that there are no fail-safe ways to have a successful relationship. People are different and because of that each relationship works differently.
4. It won’t fail because I know what I want from myself
I know the type of person I want to be in a relationship. I’ve come to learn that I am who I am. I shouldn’t be changing myself to fit anyone else’s expectations when it comes to relationships. I may have momentary relapses as the relationship evolves, but I’m now a person who talks through my feelings and isn’t afraid to be vulnerable.
5. It won’t fail because I’m learning to love myself
I’ve learned that being in a relationship involves a lot of self-love as well giving it to another person. My self-esteem was incredibly low in my previous relationship and it was hard to come back from that, but I managed it. And if I can do it, you certainly can!
6. It won’t fail because I can never truly ‘fail’ at anything
I don’t think any relationship ever ‘fails’. I think we’re all growing as people, and as we grow so does what we need from ourselves and our lives. From each ‘failed’ relationship we learn new things about ourselves. For a start we learn how to survive heart-break. We learn which aspects of ourselves need improvement. It’s a journey of self-discovery. When my previous relationship ended I viewed it as a lesson to learn about my ‘dark side’. As Paul Hudson says in his article “…if you’ve never had your heart broken, you haven’t yet seen both the brightest and darkest sides of your being.”
When we enter into a relationship we do so to give love as well as receive love. Sometimes we become so fearful of not receiving that love, that we act desperately and start seeing signs of not being loved everywhere. We imagine scenarios that don’t exist, we read too much into a simple phrase such as “I’m going to be home later than I thought” and it all stems from fear. Once we realize this, we finally set ourselves free from victim mode. We take back our personal power and we say “you know what, that relationship may not have worked out, but I’m a better person from it.” Relationships are beautiful things whether they go ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. It’s such an opportunity to grow as a human being, to learn what motivates you to give and receive love; you become empowered to say “I deserve love” with unrelenting conviction.
Thanks to our past selves we’ve come out the other side we a renewed sense of who we are. I’ve learned not to be ashamed of who I was in my previous relationship, instead I’ve chosen to embrace that person, learn what I needed to and then grow into the person I want to be. If I can learn to love myself and actually ALLOW myself to do it, then you can too.
Featured photo credit: Cute man and woman sitting on a beach with sea/Ed Gregory via dl.dropboxusercontent.com