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S. Jakes


Growing From Your Past

Posted On:21-Mar-2020/12:07 am

Learning to accept the past and move on is one of the hardest parts of growing up. It’s easy to sit and wallow in pain once we have experienced something emotionally difficult but accepting the pain can make all the difference in the world. When something bad happens, or when we experience a grueling aspect of life, it’s hard to accept that we cannot change the past. Accepting pain and learning from it is truly the only way to leave the pain behind. Not only are we able to move on but accepting our past can allow us to learn and grow from what has happened. We learn something about ourselves or those around us and we can adjust in our lives to better ourselves for the future.

A great example of learning from our past is our takeaway from a failed relationship. Relationships -- whether they are romantic, platonic, or family-based -- are important learning opportunities in our lives. When a relationship ends, it is, of course, painful. Sometimes, particularly with romantic relationships, we may feel as though we have wasted our time. We might even regret the relationship entirely, especially if it ended badly. No matter how heartbreaking a breakup is, or how dreadful the relationship was, unfortunately, we cannot take it back. As much as we might want to pretend a toxic relationship didn't happen, we must accept that it did. Likewise, thinking the relationship was a waste of time is simply not productive, or even healthy for our future growth. Accepting the past, even a painful past, can teach us valuable lessons and help us grow into better and stronger people.

For example, my sister and her boyfriend separated over a year ago. At the time, the breakup was very difficult for her. Ending any relationship, despite the rise and falls, is painful. However, she has accepted the pain and does not see that three-year relationship as a waste of time. Instead, she recognizes the growth that has come from it. At the time, she told me that she now understands what she wants from a relationship. While she loved her boyfriend, their differences were just too vast to overcome. She now realizes this, and in the future, will not try to force a relationship when it just cannot or shouldn’t happen.

She also understands herself even better. Because this was her first serious relationship, she has learned that although she enjoys long-term commitment, because she is still fairly young and trying to get her life started, casual dating makes for sense. Additionally, she understands how she behaves when in a committed relationship, and she recognizes her downfalls (mostly trust issues). But most importantly, she has been through a tough breakup, she’s already faced the hardest part of dating. Now that she has experienced that pain and come out the other side, she no longer fears the emotional waxing and waning of a romantic relationship.

As humans, we are quite resilient. We can, and have, experienced the worst amounts of pain possible — both emotional and physical — and lived to tell the tale. By taking pain as a learning opportunity and growing from it, we are able to accept our past and move on to better and brighter things. Even our worst romantic breakup can be a learning opportunity – “tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”.


1 : All of us go through emotional pain sometimes in our lives.

2 : Accepting and working through this pain will help us learn and grow.

3 : Think of pain as a learning opportunity to grow.

Category:  the Self/Self-Improvement / Subcategory:  Learning Opportunities

Tags: learning, opportunity, pain, life, relationship, romantic, breakup, heartbreaking, growth, commitment, dating, move on

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Amie Warwick


S. Jakes, I think emotional pain is what helps us grow the most. It does not have to be about breaking up with a boyfriend or husband, emotional pain can come from any relationship that is going bad, problems at work, failure, job loss, how you see yourself, etc. But like you say, the key is learning from that pain. Amara, I so agree with you.

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Amara Kone


S. Jakes, your sister's experience is something most of us remember when we think about our first love (and first breakup). When we get to the point in our life when we are in a committed and long-term relationship, we should thank all of our partner's past loves, because they made our partner who he/she is today.

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Bruce Peters


S. Jakes, I would say that I probably learned the most about life, love, myself and human nature because of my divorce. My divorce was by far the lowest point in my life--talk about the emotional pain of failure. Here is the ultimate situation where one of two things can happen--one, the feeling of failure takes over your life and you will live in despair for the rest of your life--two, you accept your part in the breakup (not seen as a failure), be truly introspection about the marriage and take what you have learned (the new you) to your next relationship. Appreciate it, S. Jakes.

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Adaego M. Azi


Jakes, I like the idea of thinking of emotional pain as a learning opportunity. When you think of it, we really don't have any choice about this--you either learn, grow and move on, or, as you say, sit and wallow in it forever. I agree, heartache from a failed relationship is one of the worst pains (particularly when you get dumped). Awesome duppydom Jakes.