When Relationships Change or End, Maintain Your Peace and Happiness
Life without any relationships would be unbearable! We thrive when we invest time and emotional connection on healthy relationships, such as family, friends, and a romantic partner. The challenge arises when expectations aren’t met…when relationships change or end. How you navigate the sea of emotions that arise when a relationship doesn’t work out, will determine if you continue moving forward in life or you get stuck in time.
There can be a great deal of pain when relationships change or end. Sometimes, it’s hard to make sense of it all. It’s normal to ask, “Why did it happen? Who’s to blame? Why me?” Navigating all the emotions that flood through you at times like these — anger, sadness, betrayal, abandoned, fear, shame, vindictiveness, loneliness — can be difficult to understand and manage.
I believe that we are all connected…that relationships exist to teach us things and help us grow. As a child, your relationship with your immediate family was your whole world. As you matured and learned to be more self-reliant, I hope you discovered that your happiness and fulfillment rest solely on you. You can’t expect others to fill those needs for you. It has to come from within. Does that mean your relationship with family doesn’t matter? No, it simply shifts, changes, and hopefully deepens.
Every day you change as a person. You can mindfully choose to become a better version of yourself through almost imperceptible changes. Once in awhile, you change in dramatic ways. The same is true of all humans. It’s healthy to make room for these changes in yourself and others.
What can get us into trouble are expectations! Now there are some expectations that we have every right to — being treated decently and respectfully. The expectations that cause problems are the ones that can’t or won’t be fulfilled. It doesn’t work to want a relationship to be something that it’s not.
When a relationship isn’t meeting your expectations, it’s time to take a step back and determine if your expectations for that relationship are realistic or if you need to make adjustments in your own point of view or even in your actions. It’s extremely helpful that you shift from what you hope will happen to being open to experiencing the reality of “what is” and learn from it.
If you can’t change your circumstances, change your perspective. How can you recalibrate your perspective when relationships are rocky? Here are five stages that will help …
- Mindfully recognize what is real. Take off the rose-colored glasses that are clouded by unrealistic expectations, hopes and dreams. Notice and acknowledge the other person’s behaviors. Look at patterns and ways they regularly treat you. Remember how you feel when you’re near them.
- Accept people for whom they are. Trying to manipulate them is unproductive and will frustrate you and them. Acceptance allows them the dignity of being true to themselves and lets you decide if you can have a close relationship with them or not.
- Understand what is possible. There’s a trap in creating fantasies that are unrealistic. You can only move forward in any relationship if you focus on “what’s possible right now”. By staying in the present moment, you see what you can build upon or what you need to let go. Whether you stay or leave, you are both moving forward to where you need to be.
- Develop greater interdependence. You’re not going to have a strong relationship with everyone you meet. Gain strength from those who love you and support you. Reach out to them and make your connection stronger. Be mindful to remain open and inviting to new relationships.
- Maintain a strong relationship with self. We tend to look outside of ourselves for validation and happiness. Only you know what you truly need. If you’re yearning for reassurance, compassion, or encouragement, give it to yourself. Embrace that you are enough! Then you can be grateful for every relationship that comes your way — those that remain part of your life and those that pass into the night. They all will teach you something and help you to grow!
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