Have you ever thought about what made you the person you are today? Our lives are shaped by every experience we have, from the time we are born all the way up until the present moment.
Some of your experiences may feel like wonderful adventures, while others may feel like ordeals. Between the extremes, you learn what does and doesn’t work for you.
Romantic relationships operate the same way and present one of our greatest opportunities for self-knowledge and growth. If you’ve learned anything about yourself from the way you handle relationship conflict, you have a lot to be grateful for!
Learning the Hard Way
Most of us learn lessons from relationship conflict the hard way. For example:
- Instead of resolving conflict in a healthy way, we choose to stuff it down…even though we know it’s not good for us.
- In the midst of anger, we treat our partners in a way that later makes us feel guilty…and then start beating ourselves up over it.
- We sacrifice our needs for the sake of our partner’s needs and then end up resenting them for it.
You get the picture. All of these examples cause unnecessary pain, and yet very few of us have escaped these common patterns. So why does this happen to SO many people?
You Don’t Know What You Haven’t Learned
In the past, when looking back at some of the mistakes I’ve made in my relationships, I used to cringe and think ‘how could I have been so stupid?’. I now realize that I was doing the best I could with the knowledge and resources I had at the time.
Some mistakes needed to be repeated several times before I finally learned the needed lesson. But I did eventually learn, and I am grateful for the lessons that keep me from making the same mistakes.
Appreciating the Challenges
What mistakes have you learned from in your relationships? And how have they helped you to develop into a better person and partner?
Or maybe you’re still in the process of learning from your mistakes and striving toward becoming the person you want to be.
Either way, this week, in honor of Thanksgiving, I encourage you to write a letter of appreciation to yourself. Write it as if you’re writing it to a friend and telling them how you admire them, but in this case, that friend is you.
Include the challenges that you’ve been through and how they’ve helped shape you into the person you are today. For example: “Having the courage to leave an unhealthy relationship of thirteen years showed me that I deserved so much better, and I’m proud of myself for recognizing my value.”
Or “Learning how to get clear on how I feel and what I need before I communicate with my partner has produced much better results than the way I used to communicate, and I love that I was willing to learn that process.”
Or “Choosing to stick it out in a relationship that I wanted to run from has taught me a lot about my resilience and ability to trust the process…no matter how it turns out.”
Acknowledging what you’ve learned from your relationships will remind you how far you’ve come in your life and that you have the ability and strength to continue growing into your best self.
Hope for the Future
This process will also help you appreciate the challenges themselves. You wouldn’t be the person you are today without them. And if you’re not yet happy with the person you are today, realize that there is always hope.
If you’re going through a difficult time right now in your relationship, just think about what you’re learning from it and how your future will be brighter from the wisdom you are gaining. I know this is easier said than done, but that doesn’t have to stop you from doing it.
Romantic relationships are one of our greatest teachers in life. As the student, you have the power to change your story. Use this catalyst as an opportunity to honor your truth and to grow from the lessons you’re learning.
You are worthy of a fulfilling relationship and a life that’s filled with joyful adventures. The more you’re willing to learn from your painful experiences, the greater your chances are at having that amazing life.
Please always remember…you are stronger than you realize, and your voice matters! Thank you for being YOU.
Stay tuned for more mindful messages. Giving you helpful tips and exercises to improve the quality of your life and relationships!
With love and support,
Healthy Relationship Coach
P.S. Curious to learn more about how you can use your relationship struggles as a catalyst for growth? Schedule your free Relationship Breakthrough Session here. I would love to connect with you and support you however I can!