Some people think that they’re ‘damaged goods’ and limit their romantic prospects because they’ve had little or no experience, or because they’ve had a string of unsuccessful relationships or because of, for example, a difficult childhood. In this week’s episode of The Baggage Reclaim Sessions, I delve into why we don’t need to use our relationship experience (or perceived lack of it) to hold ourselves back or write ourselves off.

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Some nuggets from the episode

  • As much as it might be about us judging our relationship experiences, sometimes it’s about how others judge us. There’s this pervasive notion in society that if we’ve managed to hold down a relationship, even if it’s the wrong one, then we are a ‘success’. This is outdated, but it’s also just straight-up off-base.

In or out of a relationship, it’s about how we use our time, including whether we’ve healed, grown and learned. 

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  • Someone can seemingly have way more relationship experience than us and have little insight into themselves or have a host of counterproductive habits of thinking and behaviour. 
  • If we know ourselves way better as a result of the time we’ve had out of relationships plus we’ve cultivated healthy boundaries with family, friends and co-workers, surely that is as valuable as someone who has done the same in a relationship? 
  • Let’s say that we’re dealing with someone who has twenty-plus years relationship experience, but they’re also, at best, narcissistically inclined. Do we really need to carry on as if they’re the Grand Poobah of relationships? That’s twenty-plus years of screwing people over versus twenty years of growth!

You can have all sorts of crackery go in your childhood or have a crappy relationship or few, or make a load of mistakes AND go on to be a healthy, loving person who has a partner, relationships, a job, career, etc.

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  • We can like or dislike people for any reason, rational or irrational. We do need to exercise judgement and discernment. Still, we do, especially if we want to break patterns, need to be aware of the biases, judgements, assumptions and generalisations that cause massive blind spots.
  • If we’re judging someone because, for example, they were married before or their parents broke up whatever, and we keep thinking about it and can’t overcome that no matter how good things might be in reality, the problem is with us.
  • Why do we think that we’re more qualified? What’s behind it? What are you giving you a gold star for and why?

Relationship experience isn’t verifiable, is highly subjective, but it’s also really as good as how we show up in any given relationship. 

  • It’s all very well someone priding themselves on how much experience they have, but if how they show up is in a destructive fashion, it shows that they don’t have enough experience of truly knowing and growing themselves.
  • Some people do think that it’s just enough to have snagged a relationship. That doesn’t make them an expert.
  • If we’re not judging us for our relationship experiences, no one else can use them against us.

Links mentioned

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