The path to a happy ending isn’t always obvious. Reaching it can involve experiencing the depths of sadness and pain, while finding a way to come out the other side wisely. Failure, in any form, can be intensely hard to let go of, but also hard to move on from. Especially when that failure can be felt emotionally and has a history. That sense of loss is something often experienced by those coming to terms with a failed relationship. Learning to forgive yourself and your former-partner can open the door to a new beginning of healing.
When a meaningful relationship that you have been invested in fails, it can feel like the end of the world and it is normal to experience a range of emotions from anger to frustration. But don’t force yourself to forget what you experienced, explore the emotions and use them to help you come to terms with the ending. Even though you may no longer have that relationship, understanding what happened can provide insights and help you process it better.
At times the grief may feel overwhelmingly intense, and it can help to find an outlet. Whether it’s journaling, going out with friends, or simply giving yourself the space to cry: find ways to express the pain and allow whatever you are feeling to pass through you. It’s important to create some distance so that you can take emotional stock, understand how your feelings have manifested, and be aware of how they could potentially harm your future relationships.
When you are in emotional pain it’s easy to loose sight of the bigger picture. Find ways to connect with your identity beyond your romantic experiences. When the hurt feels heavy, remind yourself of the activities that bring you joy, make sure you still engage in those things. Often talking about your issues with family and friends can be helpful. Spend time with them — if you need their energy and entertainment, provide yours as well. They can be powerful reminders of your inner strength and offer assistance when plans of moving forward seem daunting.
Forgiveness also plays a role in restoring emotional balance. Anger can provide motivation to move on from a failed relationship, but holding onto it can hinder personal growth. Take time out and forgive both yourself and the other person. Make peace with the experience; this is not a sign of weakness, but a brave expression of vulnerability. Recognize that you both were making decisions based on the information you had at the time; learn how to understand the painful past, accept you could not have done things differently, develop awareness and reframe lessons learnt to contribute positively to the future.
It feels like a lifetime away, but soon enough you will start to feel more comfortable with your independence and who you are as an individual. And as you do, the future can seem less daunting and more optimistic. Emotions will come and go, so don’t try to silence them – welcome their presence, listen and respect them. Know it’s okay to feel, but it’s not okay to stay stuck. To build a life filled with happiness, you must eventually make room for new experiences and embrace the path ahead of you.
Ending a meaningful relationship takes strength and courage. No matter what the circumstance it can cause deep wounds, but also open the door to renewal and healing. If you are working to move on from a failed relationship, honor the time and emotions you’ve invested in the past; generate self-compassion and listen to the wisdom of your lessons. And know that someday in the future these experiences, their scars and ultimately the closure, will all make sense.
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