Nothing lasts forever; nothing is permanent and everything changes. That includes the people we love and our relationships with them.
Life is a series of problems or lessons. If we solve a problem adequately, if we learn the lesson, we move on. The universe then sends us a new problem/lesson. If we don’t solve a problem or learn adequately the lesson, we become stuck and and/or have to repeat.
Relationships follow the same rules. People appear in our lives in a similar way. We find ourselves with someone because we have a lesson to learn. When we have learnt the lesson, we can move on. Sometimes it is obvious that it is time to move on; you might feel you’ve grown out of the relationship or perhaps you simply cannot abide their behaviour. If, for whatever reason, we do not want to accept the lesson (usually through fear) then we can get stuck in an unsatisfying, unhappy or toxic relationship. Worse still, we can find ourselves in a series of such relationships.
Hanging onto a relationship when its time has passed, creates suffering and unhappiness for all involved.
One of the hardest things to decide is when to leave a relationship, to let go and move on.
A relationship should provide a source of support, love and affirmation. Even in the inevitable disagreements you should know that under it all, you are both on the same team.
If your relationship is a constant source of stress and anxiety, if it makes you feel bad about yourself, if the relationship is undermining your self-respect and self-confidence then maybe it’s time to move on. Even when we understand all of this at some level, we might continue with the relationship for one of the following reasons:
- I can fix/change them: We will be happy once he/she changes and behaves the way I want them to. Trying to change someone else will just make you crazy. The attraction of this approach is that when we focus or obsess on the problems of others, we do not have to look at our own problems.
- Fear -I will have no one: I don’t want to be alone! We might not like the relationship we are in but at least we are “comfortable” even if not happy. Comfortable here means: “Even if I am not happy, at least I know this game.” The saddest aspect of this is that when we grasp onto the “comfortable” relationship, there is no space for the happier relationship to appear.
- I cannot afford it: If we break up, he/she will get half of our money and goods I won’t have enough. Besides which, he/she doesn’t deserve it. Only you can put a price on your happiness and wellbeing.
- I don’t want to be the “bad guy”: I will wait for him/her to make the break. When the approval of those around you is more important than your happiness then you will find it hard to ever have peace in your heart. Life is not a rehearsal; living for the approval of others is a sure recipe for anxiety and stress.
It is very difficult to know what you want if you don’t know or accept who you are. How could you possibly know who or what you want if you don’t know and accept who you are. Instead, we are left with rejecting ourselves and building the façade of an idealised person. This façade simply has no room for who we really are and what we really need. Over time this will create anxiety and a feeling of emptiness.
Often people only act when they cannot take any more. When our body or mind starts to break down it is often because of a desire to free yourself of the role/character that you have (unconciously) adopted. It is your body’s way of saying. Enough of this! It is not you. Now do something different!”
This is why our mission in life should be to know, love and accept ourselves. In the long run it is the most fruitful and least stressful path. To do so reduces distortions to our perception. We don’t create unnecessary stress and we can ensure that our true needs are met.