I was asked quite bluntly months ago how I could be a life coach, when my relationship had failed.
Boom. There is the bomb. Dropped.
A past version of myself would have felt offended or had an urge to defend myself and prove my worth.
Instead, I didn't feel offended at all. I felt compassion and understanding for the woman who hit me with the blunt question.
Why? Because I get it.
There is a hierarchy of worth and success based on your relationship status:
Married: "You are oh so worthy and successful! Everyone around you must be so proud."
In A Relationship: "You're doing it right. Marriage is surely right around the corner."
Single: "You're lost, struggling and hopefully you change so someone will choose you one day." (Insert a "bless your heart" from our friends in the South)
Single & a Life/Relationship Coach: "What? How? That must be a joke. How can you coach something if you aren't worthy of a relationship and aren't successful in life? Absolute madness!" :)
We are living in a time where old paradigms and new paradigms are colliding. Leaving us with a great deal to think about. One topic being: what does it mean to have a successful relationship?
Back to my conversation, there was so much I wanted to share and explain when it comes to life coaching, and relational success with the woman who genuinely asked of my credentials. Instead of really getting into it, I gave a brief overview of how my relationship ending was really a sign of success and an opportunity for me to follow a path that is in most alignment with what I desire.
This conversation crossed my mind recently, and I found it fitting to share a few thoughts, (I have a great deal to cover on this topic - stay tuned for more in the future!)
Success & Failure Within A Relationship:
Breaking up isn’t a failure: it doesn’t mean the work wasn’t done, effort wasn’t put in, or someone failed. It is difficult to accept the ending of something, without having the mindset of the end representing a failure. We are surrounded with messages that preach successful relationships are the ones that last forever.
What if a relationship is successful when it teaches both parties how to love fully, how to grow?
What if success is bringing more life and love into the world, while also teaching us how to let go of something we love?
If we can rethink what success means in the world of relationships, we might notice that there really aren’t any failures. Instead there are opportunities to grow and learn, and that is beautiful! That alone to me, is proof of success.
For me, I found success as I stepped into a stronger relationship with myself. Not only was my break up not a failure, but it opened the door for my relationship with myself to deepen. Some partners have done the work and developed the tools it takes to hold space for the relationship, as well as individual journeys and growth. This sounds easy, but takes some serious work, self reflection and a separation from the ego.
With a mindset of wanting to learn more about myself always, I have discovered my relationships have all improved! It is such a natural reaction to point blame or ask others to change their behavior when we feel uncomfortable or frustrated. The justifying/defending/blaming mindset is a tough one to live with! It keeps the doors to growth and connection closed. And love becomes conditional. Instead, by looking within & striving to learn as much as I can, what I've experienced is that any blaming, defending or justifying that previously showed up in time of conflict has slipped away. Replaced with curiosity, radical acceptance and complete ownership.
Whether it is a relationship with yourself, family, friends or a partner, the only failure is a refusal to grow. When the heels are dug in, defensiveness takes over and the ego rules - then you are not going to find the success you are looking for. Instead, the universe will continue to show you the same lessons over and over again - inviting change. The invitation is always there - nothing is permanent, even in a defensive state there is the opportunity for growth; success is always one conscious choice away.
Stay curious, not all relationships last forever and you only fail when you completely stop trying. Success is found in the willingness to try, to learn and to lean in the direction of growth. In the meantime, the universe has your back and will guide you on your path - keep your head up, you're not alone in this. It's a heck of a journey - but what I can tell you so far is that it's absolutely worth the ride!