I’ve had my heart broken a few times and it always feels like a small piece of you goes away that will never heal. At first this seems discouraging. After all, I don’t want to lose any of myself in a relationship. Then I think about what I have gained.
I decided to make a list of what I’ve gained from my exes or even just people I casually dated. I encourage you to do the same, as it offers great wisdom with the way you want your future to look like.
My boyfriend in college taught me that I could completely open up to someone and be loved. He taught me that my flaws were okay, and showed me some of my strengths I didn’t even know existed. He also taught me a very important lesson on giving people a chance, and that a date is just that — a day on the calendar in which you make plans with someone to get to know him better. It doesn’t make you obligated to do anything after that.
The first guy I dated who turned into a jerk taught me that sometimes you can be great to someone who doesn’t deserve it, and that it isn’t always up to him to break things off when they become unfair. He taught me that I am so much stronger than I ever realized, and that just because you forgive someone doesn’t mean they have to be a part of your life. Through our unhealthiness, he taught me what a healthy relationship should look like. He also taught me to pay close attention to how a man treats his family — because that is likely the way he will treat his wife one day, too.
The first person I crushed on after a bad breakup taught me that I could feel butterflies around new people and that not everyone I like will like me back. He taught me that sometimes people are more interested in a chase than they are in a relationship, and he taught me that I needed to be more careful with my heart.
One man I casually dated taught me that it’s so important to be with someone who you can have fun with just sitting on the couch, playing board games, or entertaining yourselves with music and conversation. He also taught me that you don’t have to have everything in common with a significant other, but it’s important to have some similar interests. I learned from our relationship that just because someone knows your heart and loves you for it doesn’t mean they’ll never hurt you. He taught me how quickly someone’s actions can change, and he taught me that I can respect myself enough to walk away as soon as someone treats me poorly. This was a big step up from where I began with dating.
My first deep and passionate love taught me that God often has different plans for you than you do for yourself. You can’t always control when or where you meet someone you’ll fall for, and you never know when an acquaintance might just turn into someone who changes your life forever. This man teaches me what it is like to be loved to your core and how to be selfless in a relationship. He doesn’t let a day go by without telling me how much he cares for me, but he also shows me this is true by making me a priority and spending time on me. He respects me, he loves me exactly the way I am, and he takes care of me, even when I don’t need him to. He has taught me what I want in a future spouse, and makes me want to be the kindest, most caring, and loving version of myself.
Today’s lesson: None of your past was a waste of time. I have made so many mistakes that I sometimes wish I could take back, but they are what made me the person I am today. I am more empathetic, understanding, kind, and accepting because of what has happened in my life. When I really take the time to think about it, I wouldn’t change a thing; now I can write about things that have hurt me and I have done wrong so that others might escape from some of the pain I have endured in my own life. I also may not have the love in my life that I do today had my past not gone the way that it did, and I am infinitely thankful for that.