Breakups hurt. Saying goodbye hurts. A relationship ending in any sort of fashion hurts. Humans build physiological, emotional, mental and spiritual bonds. From the presence of the neurochemical oxytocin to the transcendent experience of love in the human soul, humans were built to bond it seems. When those bonds are broken, the people left in the aftermath can end up broken too. Are the pieces just meant to be left in the dust?
My answer as well as that of others with far more wisdom and experience than me would say “no” resoundingly. An end is not just an end, but can rather be a beautiful beginning. Lewandowski & Bizzoco published a study in 2007 looking at the potential for growth following the ending of a low-quality relationship. They found that positive emotions can occur following breakup, particularly when the previous relationship did not expand the self and when personal growth occurred after the break-up. While this study was looking at relationships that we could consider “toxic” the principle can apply to relationships where may be things were going pretty well overall but ended for whatever reason.
The driving principle that I want to highlight is that growth is possible. You do not have to just wallow and decay. Your life is not the sum of your relationships. While they are crucial to our make-up, they do not and should not define the value of our lives. Keep the ending of relationships in proper perspective. There was a reason they ended, even if you can’t or won’t acknowledge it right now. Somewhere, someone’s needs were not being met. The goal isn’t to pin blame but rather to increase awareness.
You now know better on how to receive and give love. That not only makes you a better lover, but a better person. One who can go into a hurting, dying world and dwell with those who are broken-hearted and offer them the love you wish to receive and that they need. That awareness and deep empathy may not have been there without the breakup. Furthermore, that person you were with may have been withholding your growth and decreasing your ability to love more and better.
While a healthy relationships can enhance life so much and help us to reach our fullest potential in all facets of life, an unhealthy one can do the opposite. Take time to reflect and decipher which instance was taking place in your relationship. Learn what you what to accomplish and become in life. Learn how you want someone to keep you moving towards that goal. Learn how to do that for others. Volunteer, spend time with couples who have healthy, long marriages or just travel and discover new skills and interests. Just don’t decay or perhaps even worse-stay. You have too much to offer, and that is true regardless of whether your former significant other recognized it or not.
“Falling apart is great—it’s the only chance you get to put yourself back together however you want.”
― Connor Chalfan