The people we are attracted to and often have a relationship with reflect back to us who we are, what our issues are and what areas need more work so we become better partners.
When they reflect to us the things we like, we are happy and everything is smooth sailing. But when they reflect aspects of ourselves that we don’t particularly like, we get defensive, confrontational, unloving and sometimes we run away from the relationship. But what we’re really doing is running away from ourselves.
Understanding that the other person reflects back to us who we are, what our issues are and what areas need more work so we become better partners not only helps us understand ourselves better, it also helps us understand and appreciate the other person.
- What are the qualities that you see in him/her that add/added something to your life?
- What do you see as faults/deficiencies in him/her and how do these faults/deficiencies reflect your own issues? Dig deep and be really honest with yourself.
- What lessons did being with your ex (from beginning when the relationship was great all the way to the break-up and post break-up) teach you about yourself?
- What positive or negative traits did the relationship and the break-up bring out in you that surprised you about yourself?
- How have you grown/become a better person as a result of the positive and negative experiences with your ex?
This does not mean you have to feel good about the break-up, your ex or the situation you find yourself in. Not at all. You can’t force yourself to feel good about something you don’t feel good about. This about consciously choosing to appreciate what you learned from the teacher, even if you don’t like the teacher or the school.
This is not about counting your blessings either or re-framing a loss into a gain. You didn’t start a relationship to break-up. A dream (of a happy loving and lasting relationship) is dead, there is not much gain in it. This is about processing the experience in a way that you emerge from it with a better understanding of yourself as an individual and as a partner.
Being grateful to someone we feel hurt us is not something that comes naturally to many of us. And if we were the ones dumped, the tendency is to make ourselves out to be the “victim”. But by making ourselves a “victim” of a break-up, we not only prolong our grief process, we emerge from it unchanged.
If you want to make sure your next relationship (whether it’s with your ex or someone new), is better than your last, you must learn gratitude. You must learn to process your experience in a way that you emerge from it with a better understanding of yourself.
People who do not process their unpleasant or negative experiences are bound to attract back the same experiences (whether it’s with your ex or someone new). After all, you are the only common denominator in all of your relationships… and everywhere you go, you baggage comes with you!