4 Ways Learning To Respect Your Ex Actually Benefits You In The End

How to turn inward and reclaim what's yours.

Woman smiling holding flowers over her eyes irynakhabliuk | Canva 

Everyone knows February is the month of love. What do you do when you are still haunted by memories of your ex? Over the years, I have watched my clients, friends, and even strangers suffer through special holiday times so hooked in their past dramas that love seems to disappear. 

There is a solution, even if people don't like it when I first suggest it: learn to respect your ex. 

Four empowering reasons to learn to respect your ex (and yourself in the process):

1. You get to reclaim the power of your own past choices.

Don’t answer too quickly. Take a breath and go deep. Could you have delegated the care of your heart to someone who is no longer with you? Are you blaming yourself or them for the failings of your lost love?


If you answer yes, don’t despair. I know what it is like to mistakenly place responsibility for my happiness squarely on the shoulders of someone else. I also know how to reclaim my magnificence, and today I know my value.

RELATED: How The Most Resilient People Cope When An Important Relationship Falls Apart

couple dance but who is in control


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2. Respect allows you to reclaim the energy you're expending upon disliking or even hating your ex. 

Respect is a gift only you can give and allows you to step into your future gracefully. But how can you respect someone who has let you down or broken your heart? Now that the bond is broken and they have moved on, your ability to regroup and rebuild your self-esteem will go much faster if you appreciate the good and the bad your ex brought into your life. Yes, even the bad.

Respect is held in high esteem and honor. If your ex has behaved poorly, you might think you are excused from respecting him. Not so fast. Another meaning of respect is to refrain from intruding on or interfering. If you impose yourself into their world by holding on to their offenses, you cannot hold them in high esteem and honor.

Respect for an ex is doable when you see it as a withdrawal of attention. As you refrain from pushing your energy into their world, you become respectful. Sure, it hurt when they rejected you by breaking up, but I bet you anything you got so involved with them and their life, you have taken all the focus off your wonderful self. It is time for you!


RELATED: How To Fully Commit To A Relationship Without Losing Yourself

3. You teach the world how to treat you with the way you treat others.

When friends and clients come to me with this challenge, I ask these five questions. Ask yourself these now, and see where they lead you.

1. When is the last time you congratulated yourself for completing an important project or do you always see what you didn’t get done?

2. Do you notice when you are tired and stop to nurture yourself or are you driven to manic activity with no rest?

3. Are you an overachiever pushing yourself constantly and never feeling good enough?

4. Do you compare yourself to others and see yourself as less than they are?


5. Are you stuck blaming them for your low self-esteem?

In other words, do you respect, love, and accept yourself?

If you don’t treat yourself well, no one else will either. You teach others how to respect you by how you respect yourself.

RELATED: 10 Hidden Ways An Ex Stays Embedded In Our Lives

4. You get to refocus your energy inward, instead of outward toward you ex.

If the answer is yes, you will find clues in life patterns started in childhood. I know, I know, there is nothing new about looking into your childhood, but here’s a new twist. You learn about respect from the way your parents treated one another. If judging and blaming were the norm, chances are you suffered from emotional and verbal abuse, not because your parents meant to harm you but because they were blind to how their actions were impacting you.


If you only got positive attention when you accomplished something, you can bet you confused those accolades for love. My favorite clients are women who are affirmation junkies and are insatiable people pleasers! Once you know how to unleash your god-given spark...what you were put here to express, there is no holding you back!

Even though, as a child, you couldn’t sort out fact from fiction and believed everything your parents and authority figures told you, once you find your sparkle, your truth, you will finally see their beliefs were based on their experiences and had nothing to do with you at all.

The truth is, they meant no harm — they were repeating the patterns they grew up with. The big difference is you are reading articles like this. You want to change your patterns. You want to find love and self-respect.

What you must get is your current view of yourself is not who you are. The reality is you were born perfect. A shimmering diamond of light vibrates at the core of your being. This is your true identity. This unique essence, your truth, is so incredibly special and valuable that when you start to claim it, you feel the real love you were born to experience.




An exercise to help you reclaim your 'sparkle'

Sit in a comfortable chair and take several deep breaths. Allow your body to relax and sink into the chair. Imagine a beam of pure, sparkling, divine light coming down from the heavens and shining on you like a spotlight on a dark stage.

See the darkness around you and feel the warmth and comfort of this pure light. Now let the light enter the top of your head and illuminate you from within. Imagine the light dropping to the core of your being and see your heart light up like a diamond showcased under the brightest lights.


Like a lotus flower of light, notice how the facets of this gem open into new waves of sparkling electricity with every breath. Repeat this simple phrase seven times: “I am open to the magnificence that is me.”

Each time you connect to this energy, you feel a deeper connection. Once you turn your attention inward and seek your divine spark, your ex will be the farthest thing from your mind and heart.

RELATED: Why I Would Never Take You Back, Even If You Asked

Sherri Nickols is an award-winning author, motivational speaker, and relationship/women's empowerment coach.