Oh, how I cling to this one! Someone once asked me if I would go back and change my marriage to my ex-husband. I just stared at them; I had no idea what to say. How could I "change" it when I'd gotten 2 years of happiness out of it, and an amazing and beautiful daughter? No, I wouldn't change a thing, and I'd make the same decisions to get into that relationship, even knowing what I know now. I could never sacrifice the time I had with my child, nor the love in which she was conceived.
The same goes for my various exes. Yes, I sometimes harbor a grudge for a while. I'm not always happy about my exes and their behavior. Yet the bottom line is, at some point I was very much in love with them, and that love hasn't mysteriously dissipated. It's simply morphed, changed form into something else. Though it no longer continues, it isn't GONE.
When it comes to family, the task is much harder (for me, at least). I had a rocky relationship with my mother, and today we don't talk and do our best to pretend the other doesn't really exist. Sometimes I mourn that lack of relationship, but at other moments I remember what I went through because of her, and realize that it's best for both of us that we're no longer interacting. Still, it's tough!
I harbored a lot of anger and guilt and frustration in regards to my mother (still do, to some extent, though it's not so bad now), and it was affecting my current relationships and life. That's not a good thing. A friend told me, "Don't let your mother live rent-free in your mind." That's stuck with me over the years, and if I find myself drifting back into negative patterns, I remind myself that I don't have to let anyone live rent-free in my brain-pan. I can say thanks, but no thanks, and move right along.
We do all deserve a bit of happiness in our lives. It's so important that the pursuit of it is guaranteed in our Declaration of Independence! Happiness doesn't come cheap, however. We have to work for it, or rather, most of us do. We have to learn how to take care of ourselves, see that our own needs are met, and how to put ourselves first at least some of the time. It's not easy to do in today's world. We're conditioned to give our all... to everyone but ourselves. We go through a guilt response if we take time for ourselves. Yet it's important to be able to care for the body and mind that we have. We can't replace them, after all!
So don't damn relationships that have ended, changed, or failed. Mourn the closing of them, and celebrate the good moments you had. To paraphrase W.B. Yeats, "Tread softly, for you tread on your own dreams."