On Saturday, some cohorts and I were brainstorming around relationship questions for an upcoming iGNITE forum. We had a list of about 50 questions to work with, and one of the ones that stuck out the most to me was, “What’s an important lesson you learned from a break up?”

I’ve had my fair share of interesting endings to relationships where I’ve learned something good. So this question got me thinking. Most of y’all know that I run the gamut from uber pessimist to Optimus Prime depending on the temperature of Edmonton, Alberta, concerning all things life. Yet, I always tend to take something positive from each relationsituation. Here are five lessons I’ve learned from break ups. Let’s levitate like the picture today.

Uncle Charlie was wrong. It's not magic. It's application.

Uncle Charlie was wrong. It's not magic. It's application.

1. Being around your friends helps. Your friends are there for you to lean on during the tough times. And I, like many others, have learned that trying to do it alone is the worst way to do most things in life. I specifically remember having two friends travel a couple of hours to spend a specific day during one February with me to keep me in good spirits after a bad break up. Those are moments when you learn who your real friends are.

2. Trust is of the utmost importance. I detailed this here. But I’ll expound: I believe trust is the most important thing in a relationship. You can find people who you have stuff in common with and can talk to for hours. And I believe passion is important, too. But if you don’t have trust, you don’t have a good relationship. Period. OK, not period. If you can’t trust someone, you shouldn’t wonder why you can’t, either. You should just be done with it. Period.

3. That whole “let’s be friends” thing doesn’t work. Not at first, at least. In some situations, someone is still going to have feelings gonna be Deborah Cox. In most cases, the other person is going to be RL, especially if the relationship was worth anything. If you play friends, and let your old boo know about your new boo, you’re setting yourself up for #failure. My rule? Wait until those feelings are as defunct as that in-wood television sitting underneath your mom’s HDTV.

4. Going back is almost always a mistake. Contrary to popular belief, love ain’t a boomerang. When you throw out with the trash, it’s most often not gonna come back smelling like Roses. Besides, Outkast already told you about the prickly flower, remember? Breaking up with someone hoping that they’ll change for the better works about .333337 percent of the time. Ask Jennifer Aniston’s character in The Break Up. And that whole “if it’s meant to be, it’ll be” mess is a farce. If it’s meant, it is. There shouldn’t be an elongated breaks where people get married have two kids, a dog and a house with a white picket fence then get divorced before they realized that you’re the one.

5. You define your own happiness. This is the most important lesson of them all. Consuming yourself with someone else and making that person an essential condition for your happiness is the blueprint for successful #failure. Other people are there to be a part of and share in your life (see: No. 1). But you must be the key that starts your own ignition. Not some Robert(a) Kelly. When you go through a break-up, you should learn this more than ever. You shouldn’t jump to the next one hoping he/she will fill the void. Placebos don’t work. You have to get up and choose to make yourself smile instead of slumber. You have to choose to move on with your life. You have to choose happiness.

What have you learned?


19 responses to “Levitation

  1. 1. Whatever time it takes, it takes. People will tell you all sort of formulas (takes 1 week for every month you were together – whatever!). Sometimes it takes months to get over someone, sometimes it takes a rum-soaked weekend in Playa del Carmen with some dude named Julio with abs of steel that you met on the plane… but I digress.

    2. Everything happens for a reason, we may not get to know what the reason is right away but there’s a reason you went through the nonsense and the pain. If for no other reason than telling you what NOT to do (or who NOT to date) the next time.

    That’s all I’ve got. But on a related note, I did write a post on some of the worst break-up stories ever: http://www.blacknbougie.com/2009/08/breaking-up-is-hard-to-do-but-that.html

  2. Morning, y’all.

    @damon: Good post. I agree with the points you made.

    One other thing I’ve learned is to not share details of the break-up/demise of the relationship with any and everyone. Only a select few should be privy to this information. This reminds me of Two Can Play That Game when she didn’t want even her close girlfriends to know everything because she knew they’d take it ‘there’ & only make things worse.

    btw…What is iGNITE? Sounds interesting.

    • @Shawnta’

      This is truth spoken. I know which friends I can share the ugly details with and which ones I can’t. I have one friend in particular, I love her to death but she doesn’t know how to ‘not say’ some things. I respect her bluntness but sometimes a little cooth is ok too…lol

    • @Shawnta’

      Agreed. Along these same lines, you shouldn’t share all of the negative things that happen in your relationship especially if you don’t plan on ending it. Just because you forgive your S.O. doesn’t mean that your friends will.

      • @jlbd & @tam: Exactly. I agree that the details of disagreements & arguments that occur during a relationship shouldn’t be shared with everyone either. Good point about friends (and even family) not forgiving the SO (even if you do). The details of negative things may change their opinion of your SO and then you’ll have to hear it from them for the entire duration of the relationship.

      • @tam: I think you have to know which ones you can and can’t share stuff with… There are some who don’t hold every little thing against your SOs… yet there are others who are ready to curse your SOs name if your SO even looks at you the wrong way. The latter is the type of person you needn’t tell much.

    • @shawnta: Vivica’s character had the wrong friends, too….

      I posted the link to iGNITE above this by accident.

  3. “That’s levitation holmes!”-Scott Van Pelt

    I couldn’t help it *shrugs*

  4. The main thing that I’ve learned is that the one you love should NEVER be your everything (meaning you love them more than anything and everything else in life, including you). You can never truly love someone without loving yourself first and once you love yourself to the point of no return it is the best gift you will ever give yourself. Being in love with yourself is not narcissistic. The definition of narcissism is having an inordinate fascination with one’s self consisting of vanity. Yet, being in love with yourself simply means that you regard your life, your feelings, your heart and emotions too much to put up with some bullsh!t. You care too much about yourself to allow someone else to not care about you to that same degree. Once that love affair with self is set in place all the other things listed above won’t even be an afterthought.

    • “…being in love with yourself simply means that you regard your life, your feelings, your heart and emotions too much to put up with some bullsh!t. You care too much about yourself to allow someone else to not care about you to that same degree.”

      @jlbd: Agreed. Good points. Along w/not putting up with BS, when you truly love yourself you won’t settle just for the sake of being in a relationship.

    • @jlbd: Knowing exactly what you’re speaking about and what you learned from, I have to admit that I just had the funniest/corniest thing run through my head…

  5. This is a good list, I’ve learned these same things from break-ups before. I have a few things to add.

    1. You can’t always listen to your heart because sometimes the heart has a way of ignoring the bad feelings and emphasising the wonderful ones. Just because your heart thinks it is in love if your head knows that it is wrong then it may be best to listen to you head.

    2. Love/relationships in real life are generally very different from the movies.

    • @tam: Your #2 is so real. Speak on it. I think a lot of people pass up on, let go of or inadvertently ruin would be great relationships because it isn’t ‘like the movies” (and romance novels).

    • @tam: An interesting No. 2… I hope that there are few people who believe that it is like what they see in the movies…

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