Recently, a quote popped up on my phone for motivation. It said, “Each relationship nurtures a strength or a weakness within you.” – Micheal Murdock. It’s true in every relationship even if you gain nothing else, you learn something about yourself whether that be good or bad. That really can be said about my last relationship and the things it taught me not only during the time of my relationship but how I acted in my next relationship. Here are four things that my ex taught me about myself:
Communication Was Not My Strong Suit
Going into my last relationship I thought I was a pretty good communicator, until it actually came down to talking things out. We’d get into arguments where no one was listening, even though we’d both be talking. Part of this lack of proper communication was the fact that I’d hold on to things that bothered me until I was at a tipping point. In my next relationship my partner and I had to really work on me expressing my feelings in a timely manner so that problems didn’t build up. Trust me, it was not easy. Doesn’t the quote go: “closed mouths don’t solve problems.” No? Well, it does now.
I Don’t Have Strong Boundaries
This was a big problem that led to a lot of unnecessary challenges in the past year. I wouldn’t say no, even if I wanted to and should have. If you’ve read my other article (Building Healthy Boundaries with Your Boo) you’ll know why lacking these boundaries was so detrimental. Well, eventually the problem of not saying no became a bigger and bigger issue leading me to miss opportunities that would have promoted growth. It took my grades dropping and a complete lack of motivation for me to build these boundaries that protected myself and my goals from destruction.
Being Myself is Better Than Fitting The Mold
Even though the last two things I learned were things I needed to improve on, I learned some good things about myself during that time too. I realized that my individuality and my differing interest from my partner were great things to have. She was teaching me how to read music, I led her through the world of MMA. She taught me to embrace myself through encouraging me and showing me that it’s better to be myself than anyone else. You are the only person you need to be good enough for.
The Importance of Putting Myself First
Above any other lesson I learned from my last relationship, I learned that if you don’t put yourself first, no one else will put you first either. I tried so hard with my ex to help them be better while neglecting myself (and I strongly don’t recommend that). After spending some time alone and thinking back to those experiences, I realized that I should have invested that energy I was putting into changing them into leveling myself up. Sometimes it takes for you to be alone so that you can be second to no one else.
All relationships, even down to family and friends, should teach you about yourself in some capacity. It doesn’t matter if that is as simple as not liking when people chew with their mouth open. Whether you notice how lessons from these experiences affect you or not, it likely shows up in your next interaction with someone. Think back to your last relationship. What did it teach you about yourself? Are you a control freak? Do you actively listen to your partner? If this article helped you realize something about yourself make sure to leave some “Love” below.
One more thing: Remember to wash your hands.
By Patience Hurston, Senior, Thornwood High School
Twitter & Instagram: @itsyaafavvv
*This article is made possible by the support of Chicago Dating Matters Initiative. #DatingMattersChi