“You’ll only have three great loves in your lifetime.”

Jeremiah wasn’t normally the philosophical type—but then again, none of us in Mrs. McNair’s fourth grade class were. I never did find out where he’d picked up that prophetic notion and I don’t remember what we were discussing at recess when it came up, but it still haunts me 30 years later.

It’s haunting because if it’s true, then I’ve met my quota; I’ve fallen in love, hard, exactly three times. And each time it’s been a spectacular failure. Fortunately, failure is a great teacher and these three heartbreaks taught me a lot about relationships and, surprisingly, business

I’ve learned that there really are three different kinds of love, each requiring its own type of personal healing and carrying its own potential for professional success.

Karmic Partners

Karma gets a bad rap, but it’s simply what we attract in response to the thoughts, words, and actions we choose. If you’re emitting confidence, self-respect, acceptance, and generosity, you’ll attract a partner who’s also in those good vibes. If you’re insecure, full of self-doubt, judgmental, and controlling, well…you’ll repel Mr. GoodVibe and find yourself with a not-so-friendly narcissist. 

Karmic partners come into our lives to teach us the kinds of lessons that can only be learned from painful experiences, and then (mercifully) disappear once we’ve learned them. Our entanglements with karmic partners call our “stuff” to the surface, pour salt into wounds we thought were long healed, and expose toxic patterns we weren’t even conscious of.

And therein lies the potential for business brilliance—because how we do one thing is how we do everything, and the gift of a karmic breakup is the awareness you gain about the patterns that are limiting you. In the absence of an emotionally draining partner, you can redirect your energy toward cleaning up those patterns and setting healthy boundaries. 

Did you undervalue yourself in the relationship? See where you’re also undercharging for your products and services. 

Did you defer all decisions to your ex, hoping to stay small and avoid confrontation? Check how you respond to objections raised by prospective clients during sales presentations. 

Did you lose yourself in the relationship? Take a closer look at your brand and how you’re marketing your business. Chances are good that your messaging sounds like what you think people want to hear, and almost nothing like what you actually want to say. 

Soul Mates

When I reconnected with my high school sweetheart after divorcing the narcissist, I thought it was a sign from the universe that we must’ve been onto something 20 years ago, and this was our second chance at true love. It was so easy to be with him—he was just so familiar, even after all that time. That’s the thing about soul mates: to your heart, they feel like home.  

But there’s a reason you left home—at some point, you grew up and wanted to experience life from a different angle. Such is the soul mate relationship: a perfectly fine companion who doesn’t challenge you…and who doesn’t excite you, either.

Ending a soul mate relationship can be confusing because you may really like them, but you know in your heart you were meant for more. Channeling that energy into your business can result in you finally starting that passion project you’ve been dreaming of for so long, that may not make sense on paper but it lights a fire inside you that you can’t explain. Before you know it, you’ll step into a whole new professional identity—one untouched by the opinions and perceptions of people who you may have been acquainted with for a long time, but who never really knew you or what you were capable of at all. 

Twin Flames

The most intense of all, the twin flame connection is ecstasy and agony all at once. Somehow you know as soon as you meet them that your life is forever changed—ultimately for the best—but not without first dragging both of you through the absolute worst. I can recall the exact date I fell in love with mine, because it felt like a lightning bolt hitting me. I swear the earth literally stopped spinning in the seconds leading up to our first kiss, and my heart physically hurt inside my chest every one of the many, many times we parted ways.

Twin flames are sacred mirrors, reflecting our greatest strengths and our most intimate weaknesses back to us. Like karmic partners, they show us the lessons we need to learn but, unlike karmic partners, they are always connected to us. You may separate for a time but you’ll always return to each other eventually, because the reason for the relationship is to help each other develop into your very best selves.

I’m not yet convinced that getting over a twin flame breakup is possible, but I’m positive that their exiting your life can be a catalyst for real, meaningful, lasting change in your business. The undeniable void they leave creates an opportunity to ask yourself: 

What suddenly becomes possible, now that the dream of “us” is off the table? 

What risks can I take that he or she would’ve advised against? 

How can I leverage the strengths I saw in their reflection to be even more attractive to potential customers and more influential within my professional circles? 

This isn’t the kind of heartache that’s soothed by trying a new hair color—it requires deep introspection. But, like the twin flame relationship itself, it can forever change your business and your life.

I don’t know if I agree with my childhood friend and the scores of other people online who espouse this notion of three great loves. I do know that breakups, regardless of their love label, hurt. Grieving has its place, but you’ll bounce back so much faster and better if you have a process for channeling the pain of heartbreaks and disappointments into something that makes you feel confident and proud of yourself. It’s not only an enlightened path to healing, but a powerful business strategy as well.