I believe that our closest relationships are the greatest catalyst & incubator for personal growth.
This belief may not be a scientifically validated truth, but it has certainly been true in my life.
I see how my relationships continually reflect back to me the lessons I need to learn about myself. Specifically, the things I’m doing wrong in one area of my life – but choose to ignore or suppress – will be reflected back to me in my most intimate relationships.
Learning this principle alone has made any heartbreak or pain I’ve ever felt completely worth it. (I wrote this post: 3 Ways to Deal with Challenge or Conflict a few years ago and created a list of 16 painful truths that became sobering & liberating realizations.)
Lately I have been filled with gratitude for all of my past relationships… and the lessons they’ve all brought.
In addition to the above lesson, some of the other significant treasures I’ve unearthed in recently include:
- Hurt is not a bad thing. I learned this after the most painful breakup I’ve ever experienced. I had never felt pain to the degree that I did at that time. I thought it was a bad thing; something I wished I could avoid. After what felt like crying for months, I realized that… sorrow increases our capacity for joy. Instead of wallowing in pain, I embraced it, and appreciated it for what it was: a sign of how deeply I could feel love. Learning this lesson made a subsequent breakup approximately 10,000x easier. (See this post for a bit about how I applied it on the 2nd go-round)
- Shakespeare was on to something when he penned the famous words “Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds.” Pondering the question “What is love, really?” lead me to discover that we don’t fall in to love, we don’t fall out of it and it isn’t defined by the feelings we get from another person. Real love is having an undying commitment to the well-being of another person. Though the nature of a relationship may change, if it you truly ever loved someone, you will always want for their best interest… however that may look.
- Most clichés are founded in wise truths. We’ve all heard the saying: “If you love something, set it free… If it comes back to you, its yours. If not it was never meant to be.” There is timeless wisdom in this adage, and by applying it I’ve learned that Letting Go Opens The Door To Receiving.
Living life Outside The Boat, has brought a lot of painful mistakes… all of which are my own doing, but it’s a process I wouldn’t trade for anything. These lessons have forged me into the person I am today. A very imperfect person, but one that I love.
What I’m Currently Learning. (Or at least trying to…)
The most important lesson, though, is the one we are currently learning. (Then, when we learn it, the next one becomes the most important… see how it works?)
So, here’s mine:
This takes a lot of faith. A lot.
I love people and often find myself connecting with people in a very deep way, very quickly. I see this as a good thing, but it also makes it easy to get caught up in a good situation, instead of focusing on the best. It takes faith to say no to the ones who aren’t the one.
Now, I’m not talking about being overly picky. That’s nonsense. It’s not about seeing some people as better than others and trying to get the best one… or someone “good enough” to meet an unrealistic standard we’ve set (that we often don’t meet ourselves). It’s about finding the right one.
I believe that people are all just like puzzle pieces. We all contribute to a beautiful painting called life, and we are all equal – just one piece in a big masterpiece. Some of those pieces aren’t even close to the same shape to fit together, no matter how hard we try to jam them. (Been there, done that) Still, others may be a close enough shape to fit, but they don’t make the right picture. (Check) But then there’s one that fits, perfectly. It’s not necessarily better, or of more value, than the other pieces, but… it fits.
(Now, I don’t necessarily mean that there’s only one person on this planet we can build a successful life with, but that’s another post…)
We know when we’ve got the wrong piece. Both in puzzles and in relationships. Every “wrong” relationship I have been in was preceded by an intuitive nudge that I chose to overlook. I’ve dated, proposed to, and even married… despite the inner voice whispering, in one way or another, that: “this isn’t the one.”
And, when we ignore those lessons that first come in the form of a whisper, they usually come back with a sledgehammer. 😉
The inner voice knows the end from the beginning – it takes faith to listen.
And it takes faith to say no the ones that aren’t the one. But faith always precedes the miracle. I’m learning to have faith that even if a puzzle piece is almost the right one, no matter how many great the connection, that if I exercise the courage to Let Go… that just around the corner, I will find my perfect fit.
Until then, I’ll patiently exercise the courage to say no to the others…