Letting go isn't always easy.
Sometimes we let go before we're aware of what we have. Other times, we hang on because we feel that's the only thing we can do. And just about all of us have one person we can't stop thinking about. We call this person "the one that got away."
Some people experience this over and over.
Some of us are unlucky enough to fall in love with more than one person over the years. I call this "unlucky" because it means having a broken heart more than once.
There isn’t a person who’s been in love that hasn’t experienced heartbreak. Not a single one. Not ever.
It's true that falling in love could just be a result of dumb luck. But it isn’t an accident, either.
Sure, you may have met the love of your life accidentally, but choosing to love that person is a different story. You have to open yourself up to the possibility. And once you fall in love, you have to accept the fact that you're in love.
There are people who go through this process more than once -- who fall in love too often (yes, there is such a thing) -- only to experience another broken heart. They clearly aren't learning from their mistakes.
But how exactly do you learn from a bad relationship?
Well, you start by accepting that you've made a mistake. You chose the wrong person; you chose someone who was wrong for you. Once you accept this and break things off, you can re-examine the situation, the relationship, and your life as a whole.
Here are a few lessons you’re likely to learn:
1. While there are some things you’ll deal with, there are others that just won’t fly.
You can deal with a certain level of sloppiness. You can deal with a certain level of closeness and independence. Most importantly, you’ve learned how you want -- nay, expect -- to be treated.
If your last boyfriend was an assh*le, you now know that won’t fly with you again. If your last girlfriend was mean, you know now that you can’t deal with someone who isn't kind.
Sometimes we get carried away with our emotions and don’t even realize when someone is intentionally hurting us. But now that you’ve broken things off, you know that you need to be respected.
2. Relationships are incredibly important, but so are you.
Most couples face one of two problems: someone gets too sucked up in the relationship and loses track of his or her own life or someone pushes independence to the point where the relationship becomes a joke.
If you've been in a situation like this, you hopefully understand now that relationships require balance. It can’t just only be "us" time or "me" time. You need both in a relationship in order to keep it healthy.
People are independent. Losing yourself will damage the relationship. But losing your partner kills the relationship.
To be honest, it's a tightrope walk. But as with all things, it’ll come with practice, and you’ll get better and better.
3. You’re not the perfect person or the perfect partner.
The person you just walked away from wasn't the only "wrong" person; you weren't necessarily the "right" person, either.
We all have work to do. No one is perfect. We all have our flaws. We all make mistakes, say things we don’t mean and don’t show our appreciation.
We all have bad days, bad moods, bad streaks. And that's okay -- as long as you accept that you’re not perfect and plan on working on being better.
You've learned that you need to work on being a better individual, a better friend, a better partner and a better human being.
Life is all about striving to be better. And you'll begin to strive when you realize how much you have left to learn.
4. Now that you’ve been in love once, you’re never going to stop looking for it.
Many of us crawl out of a relationship cursing the concept of love itself. We promise ourselves that we’ll never again fall for the lie. This sort of aversion to love is only natural after a rough breakup.
However, you will come to accept -- sooner or later -- that there’s no escaping love. You’re going to need love in your life. So you'd best be smart on how you go about creating it.
You can tell yourself that you never want to date again, but you’ll change your mind. You’ll come to accept that, even though it isn’t easy, having a loving relationship in your life is the difference between a life worth living and a life that needs fixing.
You can pretend like you’ll never love again. You can also pretend you'll never get wasted and make a bunch of poor decisions, but we know that's not true. You'll inevitably look for love again. But maybe we can skip all the booze and debauchery this time around?