I saw a friend of mine on social media the other day get told that someone thought it was dumb to post photos or look at photos of her with her ex-boyfriend from years ago. Apart from the fact it ended up being a bit of a popcorn worthy comment fest on the photos it got me thinking.
Denying your past is one of the quickest ways to lose your present self.
I’m 30, and I have ex-girlfriends. I know, sounds like a silly thing to even have to say, but it’s true, sometimes we act like we never had them, but we pretty much all did.
The concept of exes is a strange one, they are these people with whom you were inextricably close, sharing intimate moments, secrets, smiles and cries…. And then one day, you just aren’t that any more.
Sometimes the ends of these relationships can be explosive, sometimes they fizz out, sometimes you are the instigator, and sometimes they come at you out of the blue completely unawares. At the end of a relationship you might be elated, or you could find yourself in the deepest pit of misery that appears to have no way out.
I never understood why some of my female friends would go out with men that were ‘bad for them’, until I went out with the female equivalent. Intelligent, funny, quick witted, a big heart and incredible chemistry. We had such intense good times that I was taken aback by the whole thing… As is often the case in the yin/yang of the universe, we also had intense bad times.
What is it about that kind of relationship that keeps you in it? The strange feeling that when someone can get that level of intensity out of you it’s because they understand you better than anyone else? Because the good is so good you take the time to ignore the bad? I don’t really know. All I know is I have been there, and I wouldn’t ever deny that experience.
I have had wonderful, caring and beautiful partners and we have drifted apart, or come to loggerheads over certain things that become irreconcilable after a while and we have split up. I don’t think any less of them for not being the person that I will spend the rest of my life with, why should I? Why should anyone else?
Denying that we had good times, that we cared, that we shared intimate moments, thoughts and feelings is denying huge parts of my own emotional development. I would never hide or be embarrassed of photos of my ex, because each one of them shaped who I am today. Without learning from the mistakes that have been made in the past how can we be better for future partners?
We are all the sum of our experiences. For everyone who is single (excluding tragedy), we are all at 100% fail rates in our relationships, if you simply take it as a binary relationship on/off measurement. Or we are all further in our journeys to work out who we are and who we’d like to spend our time with. In high school you learn lessons around holding hands in public and remembering birthdays, as a grown up you learn that about sharing chores, making people feel loved and who to invite to family functions.. among a million other things. It’s an evolution, just as you are.
Own the photos of your exes, for better or worse they inform the people that we are today. Especially the ones that still hold some fond memories for you. Some exes were shitty, but they helped teach you to stay away from the bad ones (hopefully).
Own your past, the good bad and indifferent. Only by acknowledging where we come from are we able to truly understand and own our present selves.
Be loving, be forgiving and as always Just Be Nice.
- Josh Reid Jones
Josh Reid Jones - Founder of The Just Be Nice Project and Odin Sports