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So let’s just put it out there: I have horrible (arguably comical) past relationships, situationships, almost coulda-beens, and that one (or couple) times-that-shouldn’t-have-beens. In my quest for love, I’ve picked up just about every hitchhiker, stranded pedestrian, and I tried to nurse countless “wounded” animals back to health. As you could probably guess, those experiences didn’t end too well. I’ve learned a lot about love, and I’ve learned a lot about myself. I went through some experiences, but I grew through more of them, and that’s by far the most important part. It almost (just almost) makes it worth it.

As we are beginning this new year, I wanted to share with you some of the top lessons I’ve learned in 2016 from my ex’s (and other significant and insignificant loves of my past), and I promise this will not be me bashing them (I’ll save that for another time or podcast):

1. What is supposed to be will be.

Up until recently, I spent a lot of time trying to make a relationship happen or a situation work. This required a lot of time, energy, stress, and anxiety. It’s fun to think that you have control over everything that happens to you, but it’s freeing to know that you don’t. You only have control on how you react to these relationships and experiences.

When I started to view qualities good and bad from the perspective of “this happened for a reason and it will lead me to where I’m supposed to be,” things changed for me. When I started reminding myself that everything that is supposed to happen will happen, I stopped worrying about finding my “other”.

 

2. Closure isn’t something that happens externally.

You don’t get closure from confronting or talking through problems and experiences with someone who hurt you. You get closure from confronting and working through experiences within yourself by yourself.

 

3. The opposite of love is not hate.

The opposite of love is apathy. If you still have strong negative feelings toward someone, feel the need to still flex on your ex, scroll through their social media, or check their snap story EVERYDAY, you might have some unresolved issues inside yourself that you must work through.

Deep down, I think you know this, but from someone who had to have a very real conversation with someone this past year, sometimes you need someone else to tell you things you already know. Now, there’s a difference from cutting someone off because they are toxic or you no longer think they deserve the privilege of having access to your life. These things are your rights. But if you are still literally ready to flip a table at your favorite bar because your ex-something or another walks in, you have something’s you need to work through yourself.

 

4. Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder from a relationship is a very real thing for some people.

Now, granted it might not be to the same degree as a soldier coming back from a 3-year tour overseas, but it still brings out some very real emotions inside the sufferer.

If you suffer from this, don’t fight it. Acknowledge it. Don’t beat yourself up. Find and work toward ways to move past it. Pretending it is not real will only end up hurting you in the long run. You will end up avoiding things that will trigger you for the rest of your life and could end up blocking your blessing.

 

5. Self-love, self-care, and self-growth are so important going into 2017.

“People can love you from the very core of your soul to every particle of your external being, and that will never liberate you from the responsibility of loving yourself” -Awakened Vibrations

Thinking of the social and political climate, it’s, how you say, “hard out there for a pimp”. Some of the greats are getting taken out the game everyday, and when you look around, no one is coming to save us. So it’s our job to save ourselves.

You’ve probably heard this so many times before, but I’m just going to say it again. Take care of yourself. Love yourself. Grow yourself. You can’t depend on anyone to see your value, if you first do not. You have to protect your star player (hint, your star player should be yourself). Because how could you be good to someone else, if you don’t know how to be good to yourself.

If you are single or just find moments when you have time to yourself, practice self-care, self-love, and self-growth. Remember the best project you will ever work on is you.

 

6. Stop and remind yourself, that you still have time.

I’m admittedly pretty young and if you are too, we are supposed to make mistakes. At some point, a lot of us put ourselves on this internal clock that has a deadline that’s approaching so fast. We were supposed to be at this point at this time and we’re behind. But keep in mind, if we are the ones who set the clocks forward, we can also set the clocks back. Give yourself time and space to make mistakes, grow, and become better everyday.

These are a few love lessons I’ve learned this year and that have helped me navigate my personal life, but by no means does this apply to every situation. Whether this has been helpful to you or not, the most important thing I think you can take from this is the cliché, “everything happens for a reason.” It is really up to the individual to find the lesson in every good or bad situation. Self-reflection is the key to self-growth. I encourage you to analyze your past year and pull some of your own lessons.

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