A quote I heard this past week took me back to the time when our daughter was in college and the summer she toured with a Christian singing group, The Continentals. 

Jennifer was the pianist for the group that traveled the eastern part of the US and several countries overseas.

This was in the age before cell phones, texting, and e-mail, but she managed to call home every so often.  On one leg of her tour she was excited to tell us that on her flight from Rio De Janeiro to Johannesburg, South Africa was none other than Nelson Mandela. 

The quote I heard this week came from this famous historic figure. He said,

I never lose. I either win or I learn.

Let that sink in for a moment. I never lose. I either win or I learn.

Quite a statement from someone who spent 27 years in prison for opposing South Africa's apartheid system, later to be elected its first president in 1994.

I’ve been thinking this week about how this quote applies to relationships; I never lose. I either win or I learn.

The “wins” in relationships are often immediate. I do something kind and thoughtful for someone and they express their appreciation. It makes me feel good about myself. It brings out the best in me.

Conversely, what appears on the surface to be a “loss” in a relationship creates a sense of defeat in the moment. But from it we learn valuable data that helps us make wiser relationship decisions in the future.  

For example, I make friends with someone I connect with easily, only to discover later that what drew me to them initially hid character flaws that pushed me away and left me friendless. From this “loss” I learn to be more cautious and discerning in future relationships. That’s a big win.

What a valuable lesson parents can teach their children, to look at the losses they experience as learning opportunities.

How about you? 

What have you learned from the relationship losses in your life? 

There’s more where this comes from

If you missed last week's blog post, Click here. It's one where I ask for help on some research I'm doing.

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