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How to Stop Thinking About Your Ex - Phase 2
Phase Two: The Bigger Picture
Phase Two is when people don't just understand but actually feel inside their being what I call THE BIGGER PICTURE.
When talking with people about their past failed relationships, there was a near-unanimous conclusion:
After all was said and done, and after time allowed the wounds to heal and some perspective to be developed, it was ultimately better that the relationship ended.
Here are some of the things I've heard repeatedly said:
"I was never truly happy and I wasn't aware of how unhappy I was until I was away from the bastard."
"I finally found a partner that I was far more compatible with and I never would've met him had my relationship not ended."
"I wasn't myself. Now that I look back, everything I did wasn't because I thought it was what I should do or what I wanted to do; instead it was so that she didn't get angry and make the entire day or week miserable for myself and my kids."
One girl told me this story:
"Upon graduating from college, I had several offers from excellent companies all over the U.S. and even abroad. I decided to take a lesser-paying job far from home just so I could live with my boyfriend of two years who I thought was the greatest thing ever. After living with him for some months, it became obvious that we weren't meant to be. I became sad and confused and miserable and started kicking myself for being so easily manipulated into moving halfway across the country to be with him.
"After we broke up, I kept trying to think of reasons to call him or to just get together, hoping that maybe we'd reconsider our new "friendship." Eventually it got in my head that we would never get back together.
"I was put on a new project at work and soon met someone. Despite him not being anything I ever imagined myself with, I couldn't stop thinking about him. Had I still been involved, I never would've given the guy a second look. We eventually got married and after 15 years, I am still deeply in love.
"Some people say I should never have moved away like I did. But had I not taken that lower-paying job, I never would've met my husband. In its own strange way, that failed relationship was necessary for me to meet what I now consider to be my true soul mate."
I shared that story because there are so many others just like it. I could fill an entire Chicken Soup for the Soul book of how a horrible relationship led to meeting their "soulmate." There's no reason why you should be the exception to the rule, so when you get past all this crap, good things will eventually happen.
"I'll Never Find a More Perfect Person for Me"I've heard people whine, "There's no way anyone could be more perfect for me than (my ex). How could I possibly meet someone that's better?"
For those who have had a number of relationships and have had time to look back upon them with perception, there are some that were better than others but, as one person put it;
"It's not really about someone being better than the other since, thanks to them, I grew into a different person. I grew to want and appreciate different things. I couldn't possibly compare the relationship I had when I was 17 to that when I turned 32."
In other words, think about this silly apple analogy:
I should never compare any of my past loves any more than I can compare juicy, crunchy apples. When I eat an apple, I don't think, "Holy moly! THIS apple is SO much better than the last one." Instead of comparing, I just enjoy the apple.
With relationships, it's often not about finding the absolute best apple or wishing for apples of the past. It's about simply expecting to enjoy the next apple, and appreciating the one you have at the time.
(One must keep in mind, though, that when a person finds a bad apple, they don't keep eating it just because that's what they have in their hand. They drop it and reach for another. And they don't hold onto it hoping it'll change. Bruised apples don't get better - they only get worse.)
I'm sorry to say this, but your ex had a bruise and it's time to throw that apple away.
(Ok, no more apple talk.)
"I Don't Want to be Hurt"
Have you ever heard someone say, "I just don't want to be hurt again?"
Being open to relationships isn't about being open to getting hurt again. Past relationships aren't about the bad that happened. It's about the good that comes out of them. I love to love. I love to learn about someone, to grow, to share, to see things from a new perspective. All this comes when you meet someone new.
Have I been hurt in the past? Sure I have. Have I been incredibly happy in the past? Hell yes. And I plan on continuing to accumulate happy experiences as I continue to learn and grow and live and eat those incredible, juicy, crunchy apples. (Sorry.)
So, the clichés are actually true:
- You broke up for a reason.
- You'll come to love another person when the time is right.
- There's always a bad apple or two in the bunch
- Without the risk of getting hurt again, you will never find THE ONE.
The biggest cliché needs further elaboration: There is a reason the two of you broke up: a bigger reason. It's not something like, "He cheated on me" or "I gained a lot of weight and was a constant nag." Instead, it's a reason that comes from your soul that says, "It's time you moved on to something else. You are finished here. You have other life experiences to gain from."
The challenge is to accept this deep within your moral fiber. If you can truly understand that there's something out there, something else, that you were meant to experience and, more importantly, that you won't experience until you release this person from your mind, then you will be able to finally stop thinking about that ex.
Having said all that, the mental goal you want to have as far as your emotions for this person is indifference - NOT dislike or hate. When you like or love something AND when you strongly dislike or hate, either way your thoughts are drawn to this something. This is exactly what you're trying to avoid.
Your goal is neutrality -- still remembering, still appreciating, just unattached. This neutrality allows you to be a good person to this individual while also allowing your life to blossom into something new. (And if it makes you feel any better, the only thing that bothers an ex more than the psycho temper tantrums and the vicious name-calling is complete indifference. Being nice AND unavailable will drive that person crazy!)
Often the only thing holding someone back is not that they wish to get back with that person but instead, that they still harbor hate and ill-will towards them.
Spiritually, on the deeper soul level, a person must release this attachment before their soul can progress. Meditate on that for a bit, if you're so inclined.
* * *
Ok kids, let’s review:
1) Release the hate. And release the love. That person, good or bad, contributed to who you are today and especially to who'll you'll be once this is all over.
2) If need be, distract yourself until you understand the bigger picture -- until you become neutral.
3) Learn from the experience. Sometimes the lesson is rather insignificant, sometimes it's profound. Either way, there's usually a lesson in there somewhere.
4) As you develop indifference or neutrality, your eyes and your mind will open and before you know it, exactly what's best for you will simply appear before you.
(I really tried to throw in one more apple thought just to tie it all together, but none that came to mind were worthy.)
Stop thinking already! Enjoy your life.