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.
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?