“I used to be afraid of the pain letting go of the past would cause, until I realized how much pain holding on has caused.” ~Steve Maraboli
Getting over the pain of a bad relationship is never easy.
Even when I finally felt more in control of my feelings, the pain from my past would still spill over into my present.
I would constantly compare my new partner to my ex who had torn my heart apart. Even though I had moved on from that relationship, I was too afraid to fully trust my new partner for fear of being backstabbed again.
I feared reliving that gut-wrenching pain I felt the last time I was cheated on. The thought of it happening again made my heart race. I’d lose my appetite and feel sick to my stomach. I would feel like I was having a full-blown panic attack.
And the worst part about it was that I had no real reason to distrust my current partner. He was honest, loving, and he truly cared about me. I was feeding off of bitterness from my past.
I refused to let go of resentment.
Not until I realized I had to move on and forgive my ex was I able to change my future and have a fulfilling relationship. Once I changed my approach and adopted a few strategies to help deal with my pain, I was able to live a happier life.
Manage Your Thoughts
When I found out my ex cheated on me, I couldn’t stop thinking about what I could’ve done differently to prevent him from straying.
I thought to myself, Maybe I should’ve tried a little harder, or I should’ve been more attentive to his needs.
I cooked, cleaned, and always made sure he was well taken care of. But apparently, our relationship wasn’t enough.
I soon realized that no matter how attentive or loving I was, he would’ve cheated on me regardless.
I constantly pictured him with the other woman. The thought would infuriate me.
All I could think was, How could he do this to me? Why would he want to throw away all the years we’ve shared together? And while he had moved on and was enjoying his new life, there I was still suffering in silence.
It soon became too much to handle. I had to stop torturing myself. I had to somehow let go.
So I began shifting my focus. Instead of dwelling on my pain, I would imagine myself in a happier place. I would replace every bad thought with a positive one.
Instead of thinking, How could he choose someone else over me? I would think, I’m better off with someone who values me and treats me with love and respect.
The more I did this, the less resentment I felt toward him.
By changing my thoughts, I was able to change my feelings. As time went on, I was able to move on.
Remember What Makes You Smile
At one point, my relationship stressed me so much that I didn’t want to leave the house. I despised seeing happy couples on the street. Even going outside on a sunny day was a struggle. I’d rather it rain to reflect my mood. That’s how miserable I was.
I desperately needed to move on with my life, despite my heartache.
I had plenty of things to be grateful for. I needed to reflect on everything that was going well in my life.
Overall, I had a great family. I knew that regardless of what I went through, they would always be there for me. I had a beautiful daughter. And despite how rejected I felt, I knew she would always love and care about me.
The more time I spent with my relatives, the more I felt loved and wanted.
I also found things to do to make myself feel better. I’d go on dinner dates with my friends and take vacations to different places.
Thinking back now, even working out would’ve been a great way to release some tension.
I realized my life wasn’t over simply because I had a bad relationship. I was still alive and breathing another day. That alone was a reason to be grateful. Each day the sun rose was another chance for happiness.
When we’re hurting, we tend to experience the pain continually in our minds. If we find enjoyable things to do, we can replace negative memories with positive ones.
Find the Lessons
If I could go back in time, I would never erase my past. That’s because my past shaped me into the strong person I am today.
Once I began focusing on the lessons I learned from my experience, I stopped drowning in resentment.
I learned that his cheating was not my fault. No matter how attentive or loving I was, he would’ve cheated on me regardless. He chose his wants and desires over our relationship.
And just like him, I had a choice to move on and be happy. I was only hurting myself by not releasing the pain.
If I wanted to have a healthy relationship in the future, I had to let go of the bad memories from my past relationship. I couldn’t allow my new love to suffer for my past love’s mistakes.
And lastly, I deserved to be happy just as much as anyone else. Holding onto bitterness and resentment wasn’t worth sacrificing my joy.
The lessons I learned were priceless. And once I decided not to allow what a person did to me dictate my feelings, I began to live a happier life.
All the pain, heartache, and tears I experienced turned me into the resilient person I am today. And now I can help others overcome their pain.
Sometimes we go through negative experiences to encourage someone else. Someone's out there who will benefit from your story. Come out of your pain victoriously so that you can be an inspiration to others.
Take It As a Learning Experience
When I decided to let go and forgive my ex, despite his actions, I was finally at peace. Once I released my anger, it no longer had control over me. I was no longer in bondage to the wounds from my past.
I now have a new understanding of forgiveness. Forgiveness is not for the other person; it’s to heal us. When you forgive your ex, you take away the power they had over your emotions.
You don’t have control over your past, but you have full control over what you do in the present.
When you learn to let go of resentment, animosity, and bitterness, you experience freedom. Freedom from the hurt and pain that once held you captive.
Angry couple image via Shutterstock