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I once knocked a small figurine off my desk. It had some sentimental value, so I was upset when it shattered into hundreds of pieces. It had been broken and fixed a couple of times before, but this time, the damage was beyond repair. So as much as it meant to me, I had to face the fact it couldn’t be fixed.

The figurine became a metaphor for some of my past relationships; some became too broken to be fixed. No matter how many attempts to repair, they kept getting knocked over.

A Course of Miracles teaches that relationships will naturally end when the maximum amount of learning has occurred. It took a while to understand the meaning of this concept. Growth in this context means removing all the internal barriers to love. It means letting go of anger and guilt and facing the underlying fear. It’s fear that causes people to treat a relationship recklessly and cause it to break.

When relationships are crumbling, love can be confusing. Trying harder versus letting go is the ultimate challenge. There’s only so much each person can do to keep a relationship alive. If one person is committed to love and the other person is committed to fear, the relationship can never stabilize.

No relationship is perfect, and there’s growth in finding one’s voice and speaking the truth. And since “I am not a victim of the world I see,” your voice, when spoken with love, is the courage to be vulnerable. Transparency means you are able to express what’s troubling you and listen to the other person so that you can truly know one another.  In a loving relationship, honesty is the fiber of trust, and forgiveness is the glue that cements the fractures.

But when someone is committed to destroying every block that is built, it’s not loving to keep picking them up. You aren’t here to waste your life on reassembling someone else’s destruction. Sometimes, it’s best to gather the pieces of your heart and walk away.

It takes two people committed to growth for their relationship to blossom and grow. I once heard a beautiful offering, “I love you, I bless you, I set you free.”

When someone is more committed to destroying a relationship than constructive problem solving, that person must be set free. You can wish the other person well and move forward. Better to go through the pain of loss than to keep getting knocked down.

Eventually, the heart will mend, and as time passes, the alignment of wills to let love replace all else may return. Then, when both people have time to reflect on their actions and what they could do better, their intentions are better aligned. At that point, it is possible to restore a loving connection in whatever form it takes — family, friend, or lover. It doesn’t matter the form; so long as there’s an opening, love will find itself.

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Donna Marks believes that the models for diagnosis, treatment, and addiction have failed. Her mission is to help save at least one million lives by 2030, through education and prevention. She has been an author, consultant, educator, public speaker, licensed psychotherapist, and addictions counselor in private practice in Palm Beach, Florida for more than thirty years. In 1989, Dr. Marks developed a chemical dependency treatment program at Palm Beach Community College, that has since grown into a four-year degree program, and for which she was granted an Award of Appreciation. She became licensed as a Mental Health Counselor in 1987. In 1989, she earned a Doctorate Degree in Adult Education, then became a Certified Addictions Professional, Certified Gestalt Therapist, Certified Psychoanalyst, Hypnotherapist, and Certified Sex Therapist.

Dr. Marks is the author of the 22-award winning book, Exit the Maze: One Addiction, One Cause, One Cure.

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