Every Relationship is a Teacher: Life Stories vs Love Stories

July 5, 2022

Every single relationship in our life can teach us something. 

Even the ones that end badly.

By reframing each challenging experience as a lesson, rather than a setback, helps us grow and move on with much less resistance.

“Thank them for the lesson and move forward.” 

If you find yourself still feeling resentment or anger about a person or situation – normal and healthy emotions – here we’re diving into how to train our minds to look at these with gratitude and curiosity instead.

Because curiosity and the desire to learn is one of the most necessary ingredients to building beautiful relationships.

In this episode, we’re talking about:

  • How we can train ourselves to reframe our experiences into lessons
  • How scarcity mindset keeps us clinging to past negative experiences 
  • Our greatest source of pain
  • Why many people (mistakenly) think they’re unworthy of love and relationship
  • How reframing negative experiences can propel us forward rather than keep us stuck
  • Why we shouldn’t overlook past relationship experiences as part of who we are today
  • Why we should be grateful for relationships even when they end badly
  • How to get unstuck from clinging to a relationship or situation that isn’t working

I would love to know what you have learned from a past relationship. 

What lesson did you derive from it that helped shape who you have become? 

Connect with me below! 


Episode 260 | How To Let Go And Recover From Loss

Episode 317 | How Do You Deal With Friendship Breakups?

Episode 287 | A Relationship Ending Is Never A Failure – It’s An Introduction To A New Version Of Yourself

Episode 315 | Manifestation Is A Sign Of Healing With Alea Lovely Of “Spiritual Sh*T” 

Episode 194 | Living An Energetically Balanced Life With Alea Lovely Of The Spiritual Sh*T Podcast

Episode 248 | Grief, Love & Why One Cannot Exist Without The Other

Episode 117 | The 9 Year Affair: Lessons In Infidelity

Episode 319 | How To Let Go & Practice Presence When You’re Impatient

Episode 320 | Integration Of Wisdom

Episode 266 | Not All Men, But Almost Always With Traver Boehm Of Man Uncivilized

Episode 280 | Choosing Relentless Courage, Facing Death & Challenging Societal Norms With Traver Boehm Of Man Uncivilized, Part 2


Book a private coaching call with Emily to work together.

Your FREE 15-page foundational guide Where Do We Begin.

Jump on the waitlist for Becoming YOU, my 6 week women’s group coaching program re-launching Tuesday, July 12.

Men’s group coaching program coming in August 2022 – waitlist here.

Instagram: @emilygoughcoach


Emily Gough Coaching

Room to Grow Podcast

Episode Transcript:

And when we start to think of, you know, every, every lover as, as a teacher, first of all, it removes some of the deep sense of scarcity that, that, you know, we can often have in search of the one. If that’s, what, if that’s what you’re looking for, not everybody is, secondly, it helps you to view things with curiosity and curiosity also happens to be one of the most necessary ingredients to beautiful relationships.

I’m Emily Gough, a human connection, coach speaker, and mental health advocate within insatiable sense of curiosity and adventure. Always asking more questions and using the power of stories to teach, learn, and grow. It’s about allowing for room to grow. And this podcast focuses on three main pillars, human connection, personal growth, and freedom. We cover topics like relationships and cultivating,

genuine, supportive connections with ourselves and others speaking your truth, shattering personal barriers, radical self-acceptance, and courageously leaning into your skillsets. Whether it’s a solo episode or bringing on highly curated guests with incredible stories, experiences, and expertise to share, we’re leaning in and taking the entire idea of growth to the next level all while still covering the uncomfortable topics that many of us like to avoid.

There’s always more room to grow. Let’s do this. Hey, there, welcome back to the room to grow podcast, Emily here. And before we dive into today’s episode, I wanted to remind you that my women’s small group coaching program becoming you is launching next Tuesday, July 12th. So it’s six weeks long and it’s such a powerful potent container. I’ve spent the last,

like most of this year, honing it and making adjustments and changing some things up. And I have gotten it to a point where all the women that go into it, they’re different women when they leave. And I love doing the group containers because I always learn so much from my clients, whether it’s on an individual basis or in a group setting. But what I love about these containers is that they learn the women and they’re learned so much from each other and I learned a ton.

So it’s just amazing. It’s a, win-win all around. And I do keep them small, very intentionally because I want to, I want to cultivate that magic to leave space for that magic to come in, as opposed to having, you know, a massive group where everyone is sort of faceless, right? That’s not how I like to run things.

So if you want more information, make sure to jump over to the show notes or@roomtogrowpodcast.com. And this is for the woman who it doesn’t matter if you’re single, if you’re partnered, I either way we all have to work on the relationship that we have with ourselves, because that is the relationship that will affect all the others, platonic, romantic work relationships.

It doesn’t matter. They all come from us. All of our relationships are a mirror for what is within us. And that’s the one that we have to work on. So if you’re looking to step into a fuck, yes, relationship with yourself, if you’re looking to gain confidence, if you’re looking to learn how to flourish in all of your relationships and to see enormous changes in your relationships,

this is where you need to go. The, the results that the women that have gone through it have gotten have just been incredible. Just incredible. So let me know if you want me to refer you to any of those so that they can tell you about their experience. And if you have any questions and don’t hesitate to reach out I’m over at Emily golf coach on Instagram,

or send me an email, all the details are in the show notes. Okay, let’s dive in today. I want to give you a very simple shift and belief, just sort of a different thought to offer you. And, and as anything that I, that I ever teach or talk about, take what you want, leave the rest. And,

and if this doesn’t resonate with you, then leave it. But this might, this is a really simple tool that I, I often come back to and think about that. I just find to be so useful. And it’s that I like to think of everyone as our teachers. And you, you might be thinking, well, I’ve heard them before,

but this, let me elaborate. There’s a little bit more to this. Let’s say that you’re looking for your equal and capable partner as my dear friend, Aliyah, lovely would say, Aaliyah has a fantastic podcast, spiritual shit. I highly recommend it. She’s been on the podcast here a couple of different times on episode three 15 and 1 94. I’ll reference both of those for you,

but I, and I love that she always uses the phrase equal and capable partner. So if you ever heard, hear me use that. I adopted that from her, but I like to think of everyone as, as teachers. So let’s say that you’re looking for your equal and capable partner, and rather than being frustrated with every lover that you have past or present,

or your Xs, or, you know, whatever, and, and being better about certain situations or how you feel that you were treated in a particular relationship, remember that they are all teachers and we assign value to our experiences. We, we are the ones who, who create the meaning behind whatever experiences we have. And if we, if we can shift this,

the meaning that we’re giving, the experiences that we’ve had with certain people in our lives from being bitter or angry or any of those things and listen, all of those things still need to be felt. All of those emotions still need to be felt they’re valid. If they’re coming up, like feel them address them, allow a lot of space for them to breathe,

right? Like all of those things. And then when you have worked through that and when you’re ready, think of those people as teachers leading you down the path of all the beautiful things that you’re headed towards, and there’s that, that phrase, people come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime. And I talked about that a little bit more in episode three 17,

but friendship, breakups, and episode two 60 about a life story versus a love story and how to let go and recover from loss. That’s a really important episode that would go really well with this one, actually. So I definitely recommend checking that one out, but people come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime. And when we can look at things through a different lens,

and when we start to think of, you know, every, every lover as, as a teacher, it changes things. It changes our perspective. First of all, it removes some of the deep sense of scarcity that, that, you know, we can often have in search of the one. If that’s, what, if that’s what you’re looking for,

not everybody is. And again, my, my view on the one is that there is not only one human that walks this earth, who has meant for us that there can be many and that, you know, timing circumstance play a role. I’ve talked about that before, but I really, truly deeply believe that that, that, that comes from that idea of there only being one person comes from a deep,

deep sense of scarcity. Secondly, if you think of this person as a teacher, it helps you to view things with curiosity, to want to learn both about them and, and from them. And curiosity also happens to be one of the most necessary ingredients to putable relationships, whether it lasts for the short term or the longterm cultivating a deep sense of curiosity is going to allow you to see other perspectives,

to learn different views, to learn more about yourself along the way, and about what you want to it’s like opening a portal that is always open and available to you yet. So often I see people lose their sense of curiosity over time, they become ingrained with habits and routines, and they lose that, that beautiful childlike sense of wonder and awe. That is just so magical.

I was sitting on the beach alone the other day, really early in the morning, like five 30 in the morning. And this, this older gentlemen came up from behind me and he asked my name. We introduced ourselves and he, he asked if he could do like a little mini interview with me, because I guess he’s got some Facebook page where he,

he literally goes out and talks to people on the beach. And he ended up telling me that it’s B it’s part of the, this whole little project that he started for himself came as a result of him, actively looking to engage with people with more curiosity. And I was like, oh my God, this is amazing. Like, this is what I teach on.

I love this so much. It’s just so cool to see. And this guy was, I don’t know, maybe in his sixties, something like that. There there is. We will never reach a point in life where we can just where we just stop being curious. I mean, you can reach that point. You can reach that point today. You may have already reached that point,

but don’t worry because it’s a renewable resource. If you decide that you are going to start to get curious, that’s something that you can start today. You can start that right now. And, and relationships are so important to attend to with curiosity, both curiosity about ourselves and, and why we feel the ways that we do about our own patterns about,

you know, why, why this thing is triggering me, all of these things about the relationship with ourselves, as well as our relationship with others. And love is often our greatest source of pain. We know this that that’s not news. I, I’m not, I’m not, re-sharing groundbreaking information by saying that, but love is often our greatest source of pain,

which is how we know. We usually have the most to learn from it. And our pain does not define us. In fact, your pain is the least interesting thing about you because it’s not particularly unique. All humans have pain. It’s everything else about you that is so stunningly, beautiful people, don’t fall in love with your pain. They fall in love with how you shine,

even brighter, despite everything you’ve been through and undergone, they fall in love with all of your beautiful imperfections that make you who you are, that, that breathe life into, into you in ways that no one else in the world could possibly embody in the exact identical same way, because they’re yours. They fall in love with the very flaws that you mistakenly believe,

make you hard to love. I’ve talked to two people, you know, just in everyday life and clients as well, who will instinctually share their story of divorce or heartache with new people as though they’re reading a bio. And there was a time when I led with the story of my nine-year relationship ending as well. If you want the whole story on that it’s episode one 17,

but for anyone who’s been a long time listener of this podcast, you may have noticed that in the last, the last, almost a year, I don’t talk about that story very much anymore. And, and I, I used to lead with it a lot because it was such a pivotal moment of redirection in my life. Like it was a cataclysmic moment that everything that has come since then has only come because of that,

that nine-year relationship ending in the very dramatic fashion that it did of the relationship ending at all, but especially the very dramatic way that it ended everything that has, that has come since that, when I trace all of that back, of course, it’s not the only thing, but that is by far the most significant course, correction in my life where it sent me down a completely different path that has led me to where I am today.

And, and what’s, and I think a lot of people feel that way where, you know, we’ll go anyone who goes through these, because we all have these moments, these cataclysmic moments, where when we look back at where we’ve gotten to in life, we’re like, that was one of the moments where things took a different route that sent me down a different path that,

that changed everything. My friend, Traver Boehm always asked the question when, when was the moment that everything you knew to be true was no longer true. And, and I think if we really deeply go inward, all of us have those moments at some point. And when, when I, I, you know, see clients that I’ve worked with,

or I, I know people in just my everyday life, that they, they stop leading with that story of whatever happened to them. Like whatever their story is. That’s when I know things have started to shift for them in really huge ways, when they no longer wish to lead with that story, the story is still their story. It’s still part of them just as my story will always be my story,

but it’s not who you are. It’s something that happened in your past. And now it’s then up to you to take what you learned from it, what you’ve integrated as a direct result of it, and move forward with your head held high, because the longer you give your attention to, what’s not for you, the longer you postpone, what is.

So when we start looking at everyone as our teacher, it can shift our attention a little bit because when we’re so wrapped up in, in the story of, of giving our attention to someone who is either in her life or who, or who used to be in our life, and rather than focusing on the present moment. And, and, and what’s ahead of us When we change that.

And instead, start to view someone as, as a teacher, we can thank them for the lessons and move forward. And when I was going through the darkest days of my life, that I kept repeating that like a mantra over and over and over again, I think I’ve talked about that on some, on one of the episodes, but I don’t remember which one where I just said that to myself over and over and over again.

I’m like, thank them for the lessons and move forward. Thank them for the lessons and move forward. Thank them for the lessons and move forward. I would tell myself that every day, when it felt hard to even take a step into the next hour, much, less, much less the next day. But when we start to look at someone as teachers,

we can then change the conversation. We thank them for the lessons and we move forward and you keep going forward. You keep moving, you keep progressing because life is going to move on with, or without you. We know this. And, and there’s that saying about the person who loves walking will walk further than the person who loves the destination. And,

you know, we we’ve heard this before that like, like appreciating the journey and, and sometimes some of this personal development stuff can be like, yeah, blah, blah, blah. I’ve heard it before. But sometimes it hits us in the exact moment that we not only need to hear it, but that we are actually finally open to fully receiving it and understanding it in a new way,

based on our experiences up until this point, it can be that lightning bolt moment where it’s like, oh shit, yes. Like that is exactly what I needed to hear. So the person who enjoys the journey is the person who’s going to go even farther than the person. Who’s just always focused on the destination. And there will always be risks, right?

Like life is inherently risky. We’re dying. The moment we’re conceived, but we get to choose what we do while we’re here. And it takes a special kind of strength to walk away from an almost because you can tell it still isn’t quite the right fit. And I bring that up because when we look at everyone as our teachers, it, again,

I want to bring it back to this. It might hopefully for you remove some of the scarcity of getting so wrapped up in a particular person or situation that might actually not even be the best fit, but we’re hanging onto it and, and like lodging onto it because we want it to work so badly, even if it’s not truly working. And if we can look at people as our teachers,

it, it can remove some of that, almost just some of the rumination as some of the potentially almost desperation in certain circumstances. And, and I want you to think about this. If we genuinely change our belief system from thinking that we don’t deserve love or that we think it’s just not in the cards for us to instead recognizing and believing that we can have a true,

deep, genuine, supportive love in a beautiful relationship, then we can no longer even entertain the idea or the reality of, of anything less. That doesn’t line up with that new belief. And sometimes our beliefs become far heavier than they need to because we’re, we’re making the decision to carry them over and over and over again. And they start to weigh a ton.

So sometimes we have to loosen our grip a little and to change the way that we see ourselves and to let go of the stories that we’ve created about ourselves and about our lives and, and let yourself choose to walk on a whole new path, because it doesn’t always have to be so heavy and we can embrace the present moment and move forward one step at a time.

And thank all of the beautiful teachers who come into our lives to, for everything that we’re learning from them, for everything that we’re gaining from them. This also ties in a lot with, with the integration of wisdom, from what we’ve learned from, you know, from the various lessons that we, that we gained from the people and experiences that, that the come into our lives.

And you can check out the other episode I’ve done on that. I can’t remember the episode number, but I will reference it in the show notes. Cause it’s a really important one about the integrating of the wisdom. We can learn all the lessons, but we also need to leave space for the integration and this, this can be part of that, like really changing how we view the people in our lives and changing the stories that we hang on to about them and about the situations that we,

we end up with them or that we may have ended up with them in the past too. So let me know how this goes. You can jump over to room, to grow podcast.com for the show notes, for all of the details or check the app of whatever, whatever app you’re listening to this to. And all the, all the other episodes will be listed there as well.

And I’d love to hear how this goes. I’d love to hear this go. It’s like thinking of everyone as our teachers. How does that, how does that sit for you so many damn over at Emily golf coach on Instagram, I’d love to hear it and we will be back soon. Thank you so much for listening to the podcast today. It means the absolute world to me.

And I’m so grateful for any references in the episode and all show notes. Be sure to jump over to room, to grow podcast.com. And if this episode touched your heart, it would mean so much. If you would take a quick second to hit subscribe, write a review and share on social media, over someone who really needs to hear today’s message.

It makes such a difference to keep this podcast going so I can continue to bring you amazing content and absolutely incredible guests. Be sure to tag me over on Instagram at Emily golf coach, that I can thank you in real-time for listening and connect with you. We’re back every Tuesday and Thursday with new episodes, and I’m looking forward to growing with you.


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Create the kind of relationships that make your entire nervous system breathe a sigh of relief as you think to yourself, “this is what it’s supposed to feel like.”