In my search for love, just like many others experienced while growing up, I had an experience of disappointment and pain; I was emotionally battered after I broke up with the first person I loved. It was a relationship I cherished so much as it was my first time of experiencing those good feelings of sharing one’s affection with someone. From my perspective, the relationship was built on those boyhood fantasies that had no realistic perspective to them. At that time, was I mature for an intimate relationship? NO. Did I know what love was all about? Not at all, yet I thought I was in love with my ‘Cinderella’.

However, when it ended, it resulted to so much emotional distress and pain. It took me about 3 years to come over the effect of that broken relationship. The good part is that I did not develop a negative perception about love and relationship or categorize women as wicked in spite of my pain. I learnt so many lessons from that experience including what true love means and why undefined expectations can be destructive in a relationship. It helped me develop a clear picture of what I really wanted in a wife. Now, I can gladly say that I am better off because of that experience.

Just like me, many folks go through varied relationship breakdown at some point in their life, which either make or break them. Unfortunately, some individuals who have suffered heartbreaks have allowed the experience to break them, stifle and inhibit their ability to love again. Such negative experience has coloured their views about the opposite sex and prevented them from maximizing their opportunities for better relationships.

On the other hand, there are those who have gone through similar distressing emotional experience without letting it define their life and future relationships, rather they have used it as a springboard to learning life lessons. They have sharpened their relational skills and have moved on like nothing happened.

One of the key elements that make a difference in how people deal with heartbreaks is MINDSET. There are two kinds of mindset: Growth mindset and fixed mindset. “A “fixed mindset” assumes that our character, intelligence, and creative ability are static givens which we can’t change in any meaningful way, and success is the affirmation of that inherent intelligence, an assessment of how those givens measure up against an equally fixed standard; striving for success and avoiding failure at all costs become a way of maintaining the sense of being smart or skilled. A “growth mindset,” on the other hand, thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities. Out of these two mindsets, which we manifest from a very early age, springs a great deal of our behaviour, our relationship with success and failure in both professional and personal contexts, and ultimately our capacity for happiness.” Carol Dweck (Mindset- The new Psychology of success)

  1. Those with FIXED MINDSET do not believe in growth and learning through life experiences.
    2. They are of the view that the action of one gender represents the action of all with that gender. Thus, the make a hasty generalization. For instance, if a man cheats on his partner, it means that all men are cheats.
    3. They draw their values and self-worth from failed relationships.
    4. They allow their life to revolve around the individual who jilted them.
    5. They feel anger, bitterness, frustration, hatred and sometimes, wishing that the person that left could come back.
    6. Other times, the wish to get back at their betrayer; they seek revenge

Hence, you hear comments like “I wish I could make him pay for all that he did to me. In their minds, they anticipate failed relationship/marriages for their offender. They allow their experience define them; make them feel judged, worthless and labeled and unlovable. This could lead to self-fulfilling prophecy as they are most likely to suffer more heartbreak.

On the contrary, those with GROWTH MINDSET have a better understanding about life.

  1. They look inwardly to know the role they played that led to the broken relationship.
    2. They identify the lessons to be learnt from the experience, what to do differently if presented with similar opportunity.
    3. They move on knowing that there is more to life than being in a loving relationship.
    4. They look to the future for a better relationship knowing that the best is yet to come.
    5. They know that what defines them is not their relationship but who they are in God.
    6. They have a positive attitude towards finding love again.
    7. They are not shielded from the emotional distress of failed relationship but they suffer the pain with the right attitude.
    8. They refuse to categorize the opposite gender based on their experience.
    9 They refuse to empower their offender through negative emotions such as anger, hatred, revenge, bitterness.
    10. They recognize that emotional healing may not be automatic but progressive and they are willing to make it happen.

Do not let what happened to you define and limit you.
Look inwardly and see what you can do better when you have the opportunity. Develop a GROWTH MINDSET. All men and women are not the same and no two relationships are the same. If I could love and be loved again, YOU TOO CAN.