Have you ever been rejected, dumped, cheated on, or left by someone who you cared for greatly? If so, then you have something in common with about 99.9% of people who have had more than 1 relationship or dating experiences. The majority of us “learn” our lessons from heartbreak and wrongly keep doing the same things that led us into heartache the first time. Eventually, many people begin to live life with their heart half open, or completely closed off, from connection with others. After enough bad experiences, we tend to believe that other people are bad and not to be trusted. Is it possible, that these break-ups and rejections could help us become better people and learn from our mistakes? Is it possible every single relationship, no matter how brief, can give us valuable insight into our: strengths, weaknesses, values, needs, emotions, and minds? Is it possible that heartbreak can help us learn to love others unconditionally and experience truly extraordinary relationships in the future?
Love is scary, if you have never been in love, then you have no idea how terrifying it can actually be. Many people are willing to open themselves totally to another person and show them who they really are. Falling in love can be likened to putting down the draw bridge and allowing another kingdom’s army inside of your castle walls. We may trust another person with all our heart, but the fact remains that they have access to our most intimate and hidden parts of ourselves, even if we trust them, there still remains the potential for massive damage at any time. So knowing the major potential for pain and heartache, why do some of us still choose to allow others into our hearts? We all crave love, and we feel good when we have a special someone to share our most intimate thoughts and moments. We choose to make ourselves vulnerable, because it is the only way to experience love. The possibility of loss makes it exciting, it makes us feel connected and alive, and love has the potential to bring out the best of us.
So how can rejection and heartbreak make us better people? When we open ourselves to people enough to suffer rejection or heartbreak, we create a very emotional and intense internal environment with the potential to bring out the best of us. Often if a relationship is unsuccessful the blame rests on both partners, not just one person. Contrary to what we often believe after a breakup or heartbreak, we are often just as guilty as the other party: realizing this may hurt, but it also frees us to forgive, learn valuable lessons, and ultimately love again.
If we are still reeling over the loss of someone and focusing on their betrayal of our trust, we won’t be ready to open up to another person fully. We must first accept at least our equal share of responsibility for the break up: chances are its at least partially our fault. Ask yourself what you can learn? What caused our break up? What bad qualities of us came out? How effective were we at communicating our wants and needs? How accepting where we of the other person? How much effort did we put into meeting their needs and wants? These are all questions that can lead us closer to the hidden lessons in heartbreak.
Rejections and break ups are a window deep into our soul. Opening ourselves up to another person fully, allows them access to the best and worst parts of us. They are able to view all of us: our scars and our desirable features. We often blame others for our problems, we often lash out at criticism, we often run from adversity: we do these things to avoid introspection.
Our ego is amazingly resilient at protecting us from suffering pain or defeat, but it blocks us from improvement in the process. Believing all of our heartbreaks are because of someone else frees us from the pain of feeling inadequate or accepting responsibility for our own shortcomings. Of course relationships are complicated and it always takes two to tango, but if the person you loved suddenly walked out on you, its probably fair to say that you held a share of the problems as well. Realizing that you possess weaknesses and made mistakes throughout an unsuccessful relationship not only allows you to forgive the other person and move on, but it gives you a special opportunity to grow as a person
Once we accept our responsibility, we can forgive others who have hurt us in the past and look at the reasons why our relationships have failed. Some reasons for breakups may be out of our control like communication styles or difference in values, some things could have been fixed with effort-like taking time to clean up after ourselves or thank our partner for all they do, and some reasons are entirely our faults, like presenting a false version of yourself or refusing to make ourselves vulnerable.
Only you can identify and improve the areas of your life and personality that have negatively affected your past relationships. Trust me, the people who have hurt you the most, probably tried to tell you what you needed to improve on, maybe they weren’t effective at expressing it, or maybe you just didn’t listen, but they definitely tried. Being able to examine ourselves, accept criticism, and take responsibility for our actions is one of the keystone habits of successful people. Our partners give us numerous opportunities to improve ourselves everyday, but it is up to us to listen. Leave your ego at the door and open yourself fully in your relationships, you may get hurt, but as always, your best self lies at the other end of the pain.