The ending of a relationship will naturally lead to many feelings but the biggest one we hold on to isn’t anger or sadness, but guilt. After feeling shock, sadness, and anger, at one point you will feel guilt:
“Sh*t… I really f*ed up this time….”
“What could I have done differently to make it work out?”
“If only I did xyz, then things would be different.”
“Even though it’s been over for a while, maybe if I do xyz, then maybe my ex-partner would change…or come back to me…”
“I need to prove my love for my partner and give what my partner is asking for, even though it hurts me; even though it means I have to go against who I am and what I want… BUT then my partner will see and feel my love and everything will miraculously get better!!”
Years of self-sacrifice and martyrdom go by and nothing we do makes it better. The relationship is still unhealthy, maybe even toxic.
“My partner isn’t changing to be the person I need them to be.”
“Maybe my partner is happy that I changed, but I’m miserable! My partner has everything they wanted from me, but I’ve lost all I am and all I wanted…”
Even after the relationship has run its course, we keep on brainstorming, finding creative ways to make a relationship that wasn’t meant to be, BE.
Even when it all falls apart, as it inevitably does, we feel guilty.
Whether you left, or your partner left, you can’t help but feel guilty… THIS IS NORMAL.
“How did I let this happen? What can I do to fix it? There’s gotta be something I can do to make it better!”
Feeling guilty for something you thought was bad (whether it actually was bad or it wasn’t) is a wasted emotion. Do you feel like if you take on the entire blame it could have changed the outcome? If you do take on full blame will it enable you to go back and make things work out?
Alternatively, if you (gasp!) ALLOW the other person to own THEIR share of the problem (which likely won’t ever happen) will it make you feel less responsible and you’re dead set on stealing that responsibility from them because you don’t respect them enough to let them own their part? Maybe that would make you feel even more guilty?
Are you playing the HERO? Maybe even thinking you can play God, trying to save or spare the other person from feeling bad or guilty?
Imagine if your best friend or even your daughter/son was in the same situation. What would you tell them? What would you advise them?
You would probably tell them that rather than piss and moan and sulk in your one-man pity party, to take responsibility for only YOUR part of the problem, respect your ex/partner to own THEIR part, and make conscious choices moving forward that allow you to live and be your best version of yourself.
Consider what you gained from that experience. As you write your list of pros and cons, ask yourself: was it worth it? Would you prefer to go back to what it was? Because if you think there is any other option (going back to a fantasy version) you’re still in the denial phase… sorry… 😦
Feeling guilty is basically an effective way of punishing yourself. Do you like punishing yourself? Do you like making yourself suffer? Your ego convinces you that you deserve all sorts of punishment for what you’ve done. It convinces you that you have some sort of control…over the inevitable pitfalls of life and control over others. And dude…that’s just sick…
But think about it… Is it possible that the end of this relationship was a pathway to a second chance to make things right within yourself and others?
Yeah, maybe things didn’t turn out the way you wanted. THAT’S LIFE. GET OVER IT.
Look at what you have in front of you right now and tell yourself the truth. You wanted to prove your love, but are you even giving yourself the love you deserve? How can you love others when you can’t even love yourself? Why would anyone want to be loved by someone who has absolutely no respect, dignity, and love for themselves?
Look in front of you. Who is by your side? Who is supporting you? Are you allowing others to love you? Or are you DEAD SET on making this person who clearly does NOT love you, love you?
You’ve spent so much time believing that things SHOULD be different. But how does that belief serve you? If you let go, do you think you’re letting yourself off the hook? Do you feel that at some level, by not sacrificing your dignity and dreams, you would be dishonoring the love you have for this person?
Where did the breakdown in the relationship happen? Was it suddenly? Or was it a constant issue? Are you feeling guilty about the loss? Or are you actually feeling bad for the problems in the relationship you continued to have and hold on to but were not able to fix?
At one point, you’re going to have to face reality. You’re going to have to look at what is in front of you and accept the fact that sh*t happens, things don’t always go the way we planned or hoped, even when we gave it our all, and even if we “kinda gave it our all”… and THAT IS LIFE.
Almost no one walks into a relationship thinking “gee, I hope this doesn’t work out”. No, we all want to love and be loved and do our best with the time and person we are given.
But you gotta know that accepting reality isn’t the same as liking it. You don’t have to LIKE the reality that is in front of you…but you do have to accept it. You just have to stop lying to yourself that it is any different, or that it “should” be any different. THIS IS YOUR REALITY. Suck it up. Own it. Move on. Be better…
So what’s stopping you? Do you feel bad about doing what is right for you? If so, ask yourself why. Why are you incapable of doing what is best for you? Why are you incapable of loving yourself? Why do you think you don’t deserve a HEALTHY LOVING RELATIONSHIP?
Self love is feeling love and compassion for yourself.
Self love is a concept.
After self-love comes self-care.
Self-care is ACTION.
That’s where we usually get stuck. How do we actually love ourselves? Isn’t that selfish? Won’t that make me feel MORE guilty?
Not at all.
Self-care is the simple act of proving that you care enough for yourself to take care of yourself. It’s the small acts of kindness, like getting more organized, maybe seeking therapy, maybe eating better, practicing patience, and maybe even forgiving yourself…
Feeling Guilt is a wasted emotion. It’s time to move on.
Don’t wanna move on? Then stop complaining.