The other day I came across an Instagram post discussing how people often call failed relationships a “waste of time.”
When my ex and I first split, I remember feeling this a lot.
I looked back over our 11 years together and couldn’t piece together what was real or what was valid. I was angry at myself and angry with him for “wasting” time.
From my freshly dumped and severely hurting perspective, I felt as though I had wasted my youth and love on someone and something that was suddenly gone. In the first few weeks of the end of the relationship, I remember standing in an airport in a daze and feeling so empty and believing, quite deeply, that I had wasted my best years on something I defined myself by and had no freaking clue what to do next.
What had I been pouring my energy into for the past 11 years?
My body and mind acted robotically for a good while, ruminating on what felt like a waste until, eventually, I began to wake up in my new space and happen upon a different perspective.
This new perspective illuminates the idea that absolutely nothing is a waste.
The events and relationships in our lives come to us as opportunities.
Sometimes, they are an opportunity to act differently. Sometimes, they are an opportunity to speak up. Sometimes, they are an opportunity to not speak at all. Oftentimes, they are an opportunity to just sit and observe and integrate the lessons before us.
If we take the perspective that each and every moment has its messages, then how can anything be a waste?
I came to a different perspective regarding my own relationship quite by accident. I didn’t mean to stop despising my ex, much less regard him as my dear friend. It was quite unconsciously that I decided one day to utilize the aftershock of the bomb that went off in my life. I simply yearned enough for true liberation that I was provided with an opportunity to let go.
The shift in believing my marriage had been a “waste” to realizing that it was all so perfectly crafted to bring me closer to freedom still takes my breath away. I never thought I would develop so much gratitude toward a person who I wanted desperately to hate. I never would have imagined I would fit under an umbrella where “conscious co-parenting” would categorize my unique family.
I am full of gratitude for my ex and his actions. In a time of need—not the hot bath and a massage time of need—but in the “Wake up!” sort, he was the most real type of friend I have ever had. As a true friend would, he did for me what I couldn’t do for myself. He ended our marriage and, in turn, gave me the opportunity to find myself; to find freedom.
Our relationship was anything but a waste.
Apart from the obvious miracles that are our children, my relationship with my ex allowed me to heal so many parts of my karmic past that had kept me down. It was in this relationship that I began to find my voice. It was here that trust in myself and abilities was birthed. It was in this relationship and the ending of it, that I learned not to settle for anything less than what I want.
The experience of the relationship ending gave me a chance to look back at my behaviors in all relationships and choose something different. It allowed me to repair my tendency to keep quiet and small and victimized. It allowed me to breathe new light into the parts of me I had neglected and taught me love myself fiercely.
In the words of one of my teachers, Phil Good, it taught me to “love myself enough to say, ‘enough.'” I am the woman I am today because I got my heart broken—and I chose to get back up.
Absolutely nothing in this life is a waste. Everything in our path is put there to wake us up.
When we don’t pay attention to the little signs or listen to our inner wisdom, something big will come that shakes us to our core and forces us to dive deeper. When that big thing happens we can try to run and hide. We can choose to stay held down by bitterness, hatred, or victimization.
Or we can shine our light on the things that happen in our lives. We can begin an inquiry into self so that we might begin to understand and, eventually, heal. This healing is a gift. Quite possibly the best gift we can give ourselves. Healing the parts of ourselves that are too scared to be rooted in anything other than pain and suffering gives us the opportunity to create more space for the light in us to shine.