Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - METRO - SHERLIN BARENDS

WHIT­NEY Hous­ton’s ver­sion of I Will Al­ways Love You could be one of the most pop­u­lar break-up songs of all time. But it’s Ari­ana Grande’s re­cently re­leased Thank U, Next that I’m lis­ten­ing to on re­peat.

Re­la­tion­ships are dif­fi­cult, more so, when they play out for all the world to see. Early last month Grande’s ex-boyfriend, Mac Miller, died of a drug over­dose. Some fans had the gall to link the rap­per’s death to the cou­ple’s re­cent split. Even more re­cently, Grande’s short lived en­gage­ment to Satur­day Night Live co­me­dian Pete David­son came to an end.

So when I heard Thank You, Next is ded­i­cated to some of Grande’s exes, I ex­pected one of the dirt­i­est diss tracks of 2018. Though she names Miller, David­son, Big Sean and Ricky Al­varez, she doesn’t shame any of them.

In­stead she sings “I’ve loved and I’ve lost... I’m so f*ckin’ grate­ful for my ex”. She’s filled with gratitude be­cause of what th­ese un­suc­cess­ful re­la­tion­ships have taught her: “love”, “pa­tience” and “pain”.

“Grate­ful” isn’t a word I’d use to de­scribe my­self straight af­ter my last breakup. I was shriek­ing to the sounds of Kelly Clark­son’s Since U Been Gone for days on end. It’s cathar­tic. Heal­ing with each shriek and tear.

Yes, re­la­tion­ships don’t al­ways work out, but if you’re open to it, they’ll teach you some­thing about life, your­self and the other per­son. Un­suc­cess­ful re­la­tion­ships al­low one to take stock of what went wrong and al­low you to think about what you’ll do dif­fer­ently at your next shot at love.

I have had a few sig­nif­i­cant re­la­tion­ships over the years. It would be so easy to talk about what they did wrong and what I wished we did dif­fer­ently.

My high school love and I share many firsts. I went to his ma­tric ball and he went to mine. He was also the first per­son I trusted to shave my hair.

My sec­ond boyfriend is re­spon­si­ble for re­ally high highs and my first heartbreak. I was dev­as­tated, but quickly learnt the im­por­tance of lov­ing your­self more.

Then there was the An­golan who taught me to dance and the beauty of liv­ing in the mo­ment. And the pescatar­ian who in­tro­duced me to the ben­e­fits of re­duc­ing my meat in­take.

Grande has al­ready moved on to her next courtship. This time she’s in it for the long haul: “Plus, I met some­one else... I know they say I move on too fast, but this one gon’ last,” she sings. Yet this new re­la­tion­ship isn’t with a man. It’s with her­self.

As much as we learn about our­selves and the world from our re­la­tion­ships with oth­ers, we also learn a great deal by spend­ing quality time with our­selves. The ben­e­fits of in­tro­spec­tion are end­less. Grande’s re­la­tion­ship with her­self and com­mit­ment to self-love has taught her “love”, “pa­tience” and “han­dling pain”.

We are re­spon­si­ble for our own health, hap­pi­ness and well-be­ing. You can only truly love some­one else when you’ve learnt to love your­self. You can­not give to oth­ers what you, your­self, don’t pos­sess. In other words, self love pre­cedes the love for oth­ers.

When I look at some of my past re­la­tion­ships I find that I some­times “loved” so deeply, that I lost my­self in the process. It’s in­evitable that you’ll re­sent your part­ner at some point, if you con­tinue to ap­pease them, at the cost of what you need.

Life is too short for toxic re­la­tion­ships. You don’t need to be in a re­la­tion­ship to be happy. Yet, when th­ese re­la­tion­ships end, you can still look back on them with gratitude.

What’s more, even if you’re hap­pily com­mit­ted to some­one, you should never ne­glect lov­ing com­mit­ment to your­self.

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