What Can You Learn From Past Relationships?

Person overlooking lake (https://unsplash.com/@umit)

A breakdown in any type of relationship is difficult at any stage of your life. The breakdown can leave you emotionally and physically exhausted, but the magical part of healing is that it always comes, and in time it heals almost anything. Whether you’ve healed or not, those emotional rollercoasters aren’t wasted time. It’ll provide you a chance to reflect on yourself and your interactions with people, and how you react to actions of other people.

Being in a close intimate friendship/relationship with anybody can give you an insight into how you react to how others speak to you. These skills of reacting or not reacting to what somebody says is something we have all had to learn.

How you react to what somebody says isn’t natural to most people, it’s a learned behaviour. The use of words is a complicated tool for communication, and how we interpret what somebody says is something that we have to learn. Thinking about how these words affect how you feel and therefore react will give you tremendous lessons on control, over yourself and your emotions, and also in how you control your actions when somebody says something that may, upset you, anger you or disappoint you.

It’s no denying that when you’re single you’re selfish. You are with you, yourself and I, you are the apple of your eye. However this can also account for your friendships and relationships with your family too.

Understanding how you treat people will allow you to think about whether you are selfish or selfless. It doesn’t matter whether you are either, and it doesn’t necessarily mean one is more negative than the other. Being mindlessly selfless is as bad as being mindlessly selfish. It’s finding that balance.

Finding that balance will allow you to have greater, deeper relationships with the people around you, but also allow space for you to truly ask yourself whether this is good for your life and soul.

Some people don’t realise that they are terrible communicators until they actually have to communicate their ideas or feelings. Especially in a relationship, many of us start relationships with other people at an early age, when we haven’t yet understood how we communicate with other people, and whether what we’re saying is really what we truly mean. (This doesn’t just apply to young people — some people never fully understand how to communicate effectively either).

Learning how to communicate effectively will allow you to truly say what you want to say to those around you. This is beneficial in all aspects of your life. In the outside world, nobody knows how you feel, what you want to do, who you want to be and that voice inside your head. Only you can really interpret and understand that little inner voice.

So all those fights with your friends, family, partner over “that’s not what you said”, “but I thought you meant” and “why didn’t you tell me?” weren’t wasted time, it was a chance for you to reflect and understand that nobody knows what YOU mean, so what you say has to be meaningful and interpreted in a way that THEY understand.

I think this is something many of us forget to have. No matter how extroverted or introverted you are, there needs to be space for you. This doesn’t mean it has to be by yourself, rather what do you want to do?

Being in a devoted relationship, a close friendship and even a carer for a family member, doesn’t mean you should disregard what you want, and how you want to spend some of your time on this earth. Back to your lessons on selfishness and selflessness, you have to be able to figure out the balance between whether you are provided too much time for somebody else and/or other people.

The majority of people in your life don’t want to be a burden on your life, I’m sure of it. (The few that do, don’t deserve you!) Giving yourself that time and space to do what you want, whether that’s spending time with other friends, finding a new hobby or finding your old passions; we should all have that space.

This allows you to be the best version of yourself — for you, your friends; family and partner.

Each relationship gives you a new perspective about yourself. None of that time whether it was “wasted”, whether it was heartbreaking, whether it was magical was ever truly a waste of time.

Everything we go through good or bad should allow us to reflect and see who we have become now that we’re made it to the other side.

I hope you too can look back and analyse how you react to others, how you communicate and whether you can change positively to become less selfish or selfless. Let yourself reflect.

Personal Development Enthusiast. Sociologist.

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