Early last year, I found myself sitting on the floor of my apartment in San Francisco, in a place I did not normally sit, having a phone conversation that sounded an awful lot like one I had had two years prior, where I had also sat in this same spot. In front of a large mirror, I, for the second time, watched myself react to a break up.

The two situations were remarkably similar. With both, I had recently ended a long relationship when I began seeing someone I was very excited about. The first lasted six weeks, the second lasted eight weeks. Through both of these periods, I existed in a state of anxiety as I wondered, where is this going, are we on the same page, etc. Both came crashing down.

The difference? Me.

I was not the same person. The first time around, I resisted. I negotiated, I argued, I threw an adult temper tantrum. I could not let it go. My ego (which is synonymous with fear) had me in a debilitating headlock and I kept him on the phone for more than an hour. It was embarrassing. I was embarrassed even as I did it, and yet, I couldn’t stop. I was a train wreck, watching my own reflection in the mirror, unable to save myself.

The second time around, I got it. Sure, I liked him. But if he didn’t think it was going to work, for any reason under the sun, it wasn’t going to work. If, for no reason other than, he wasn’t willing to show up for it in the same way I was. This conversation lasted exactly eleven minutes. We talked, I got the clarity that I needed, and I thanked him for being forthcoming and honest. I wasn’t even hurt. It didn’t work out. The things that aren’t meant to work out in our lives fall away so that we can grow and expand, and have a life beyond what we can even imagine.

I may have learned more from this eight week relationship than I had learned from any boyfriend I’ve ever had. It’s not because of him, or anything that happened – it was actually a fairly uneventful eight weeks. It’s because of me and my willingness to recognize this relationship as an assignment (because all relationships are), and as a key event in a spiritual transformation.

I spent those eight weeks in a state of anxiety that I don’t believe I had found myself in before. Prior to meeting him, I was in a stable and happy place. As soon as we united, I allowed my world to be flipped upside down. I stared at my phone, waiting for him to text back. I counted the hours until I’d see him. It very quickly became unhealthy.

I never would have thought of myself as codependent. I am a strong, ambitious, fiercely independent, career-driven girl who, on the outside, doesn’t “need” a man. But on the inside, I was secretly waiting for a guy to come into my life so I could breathe a sign of relief, call it “game over,” get married and ride off into the sunset.

For many of us, myself included, the reality isn’t so simple.

For someone with triggers like mine, even if the relationship does blossom, and we fall in love, even if there truly is a strong, good thing, if left unresolved, these anxieties will come up to the surface sooner or later. I can now see that even my relationships that lasted for years were affected by, or outright sabotaged by, these same insecurities that brought me to my knees over those eight weeks.

The difference was, I was willing to see things differently. Because of this shift in perception, I was able to react to a nearly identical conversation in a radically different way. He thanked me for being so “cool” about it. His intuition pointed him in a direction that was not wrong. Had he stuck it out for longer, the same questions would have come up, with the added wonderment of why he hadn’t listened in the first place.

I needed this relationship to come into my life to bring up all of my shit, so that I could heal it, so that I could have a healthier relationship in the future.

People come into our lives and some stay for years. Others are simply here to teach us the lessons we need to learn. If we do not learn them, if we do not choose to see the situation from the perspective of our highest self (which is, to see it without fear), we are very likely to have to relive the same situation over again. We find ourselves in the exact same place.

That last time, I learned it. And it blasted the walls down around me. On the other side of this particular trigger of mine, there was always freedom. Freedom from the anxiety, from the prison I built for myself. The ability to remain unattached to the outcome of a situation, to allow it to flow and unfold naturally, allows the universe to work its magic and grant us all of the things that we want in our lives. The trick is, to not control the process, to not try to figure it out, to not manipulate reality to be what we wish to be true. This creates struggle, and resistance, and rarely affords us the pleasures we desire on the highest level.

If you find yourself in a headlock, the key is to surrender. Surrender, and release, again and again, until you feel the chains break and find the space to again breathe freely. Allow life to unfold, and it wil do so miraculously and beautifully. Life is, after all, happening for you, and not to you.

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