Our relationships continue from our earliest experiences with our parents and caregivers to our friends and partner today. As babies, we are shown a world filled with excitement, possibilities and hope. In a perfect world, these experiences will help us in forming secure attachment styles in childhood and throughout our lives.
Every experience we have has helped shape us into who we are — what we believe to be true about ourselves, how we view our value and worth, how we view others. However, all relationships, including the one we have with ourselves, are so much more complicated than to say we exist as shadows or highlights of things we’ve experienced.
Every person who’s ever walked in or out of our lives has helped to add shade, and definition and color to our world. They’ve left their mark on our canvas by either showing us what we want in our future or what we never want again. Every relationship offers us a chance to get to know ourselves a little more, and to get to know others better in the process.
Every pain we’ve felt, every smile we’ve shared, every tear we’ve shed, every relationship we’ve cherished, those who walked away, and those who passed away, have all helped to color our canvas.
As the old saying goes, “Experience is the best teacher.”
So the question becomes:
What did I learn from the experience?
· I learned that not everyone who says they love you, does. In fact, I’ve learned that those who say it the most, often love you the least.
· I’ve learned that coming in when the street lights came on has identified an entire generation.
· I’ve learned you can’t fully understand the pain of betrayal unless you’ve experienced it firsthand.
· I’ve learned that actions speak louder than words.
· And I learned that as a kid.
· I learned that if they’re not happy for your joys or accomplishments it’s not a reflection on you.
· I’ve learned that time doesn’t heal all wounds, it just makes most of them less painful.
· I’ve learned that if you’re abandoned early in life it can set the stage for how you view your worth later in life.
· I’ve learned that words like love and forever are subjective; forever to one to person has an expiration date to another.
· I’ve learned the greatest love we experience usually comes without warning and can leave without it.
· I’ve learned that with grey hair comes wisdom, if nothing more than the experience gained by the grey hair.
· I’ve learned that travel is sometimes the best medicine.
· I’ve learned that Hollywood movies ain’t got nothen’ on a spontaneous kiss during a winter snowstorm.
· I’ve learned that best friends sometimes come with four paws and a tail.
· I’ve learned that being introverted isn’t wrong or weird any more than being extroverted is.
· I’ve learned that betrayal changes a person; you never trust the same way again no matter how much time has gone by or insight you’ve gained.
· I’ve learned that kids can teach adults everything there is to know about living for the present and being happy in the moment.
· I’ve learned that self-respect sometimes means walking away, even if you stumble on your way out the door.
· I’ve learned it’s not always a bad thing not being the smartest, or the prettiest, or the most popular.
· I’ve learned that if you have one friend you’ve known most of your life and still talk to them, you’re richer than you know.
· I’ve learned that we are drawn to those who replay our childhood pain as reminders of what we need to heal.
· I’ve learned that the saddest people often hide behind the biggest smiles.
· I’ve learned that childhood pain shapes how you view yourself as an adult and it impacts your adult relationships.
· I’ve learned that trauma can shadow a person’s world but it doesn’t identify them as a person.
· I’ve learned that everyone should travel somewhere they’ve always wanted to go. Bonus points if you’re with the person you love.
· I’ve learned that letting go is damn near impossible if you weren’t given a goodbye.
· I’ve learned that the hardest memories to forget also have the greatest pain attached to them.
· I’ve learned that telling a kid how valued and smart and important they are, are the most important things you can say to a child.
· I’ve learned that kids who aren’t told those things in childhood often grow up believing they have no value.
· I’ve learned that Friday nights indoors munching on chicken tenders and watching movies is a thousand times more intimate than any night on the town.
· I’ve learned that no matter how deeply you love someone, there is always the fear in the back of your mind that they won’t love you back.
· I’ve learned that in order to overcome our pain, we first need to accept that we’re in pain.
· I’ve learned the happiest memories are sitting at home spending it with loved ones.
Previously published on “Hello, Love”, a Medium publication.
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Photo credit: Freddy Castro/Unsplash