How do you Define Success?
Redefining Success in Relationships
A New Definition of Success
What if we defined the success of a relationship instead by what we learned from each other, and how much we grew? Then even the most heart-wrenching breakups can be seen in the light of offering new insights and catalyzing new ways of being. Instead of lamenting how poorly things went, to torture ourselves with guilt and failure, we can highlight those misalignments as lessons to be learned. We are primed to see the good that comes out of the whole engagement, instead of being primed to focus only on the suffering and pain. We validate the true intimacy we share in deep relationships regardless of how they are defined in our present reality.
This is the relationship that never ends …
Defining success in a relationships by its “ending” is a grave mistake because relationships never end. If we expand our our understanding of what the term “relationship” means we can understand that the relating between two beings is a state of dynamic flux. The nature of it, the feelings, the expectations are constantly changing moment to moment. Many people stay in regular contact with the exes, becoming close friends and trusted advisors, even co-parenting or running businesses together. They are still in relationship even if it is not romantic.
But what if they no longer communicate at all? What if one person dies? There is still a relationship we hold to our memories and our past. They affect our present and future whether or not we remain consciously aware of them. Without recognizing that ongoing relationship we do ourselves the disservice missing the ongoing lessons we can learn from our previous ways of interacting. We also turn a blind eye to legitimate causes of emotional upset and joy.
This is true of all relationships. If you leave a company or quit a sport, that does not mean that the time you spent with them was a failure. How ridiculous would it be to consider a child’s t-shirt as a failure when they have grown into adulthood?
Yet that is often how we see our relationships. We consider what we have simply grown out of a mistake, because we forget to look at the process by which we arrived to where we were. Whatever relationship you were in—be it romantic, business, friendship, or other—was probably the right one for you at the time or you wouldn’t have chosen it, just like the t-shirt that fit you as a child. The fact that it no longer fits is no fault of the shirt, and it is no fault of yours.
Blaming either one, or trying to squeeze into that t-shirt when it clearly will not fit, is a silly mistake. You can do it, but it’s pointless, and it will keep you from experiencing the happiness of finding something that does fit.