“He/she just had too much baggage!”

Have you ever heard a friend drop this phrase after dumping someone? Or found yourself shuddering (even just a little) at your lover’s past?

We all have our own amorous past. So why can’t we accept a lover’s history? After all, a person’s past is the very reason they are who they are. If you’re dating someone, chances are there must be something amazing about them that made you date them in the first place!

Do you wonder where this unwillingness to accept a person’s past comes from? Or if this aversion is even about your partner at all? We are uncomfortable with the pasts of others because we have yet to release our own.

Last week, I created this video to initiate the process of healing and releasing just about any negative dating or relationship experience you’ve encountered in your life:

When I created this video, I thought of the grief, internal pain, longing and angst that binds and controls our reactions in dark moments…and that’s when I was reminded that pain is universal. Pain brings with it the same “games” that play with us over and over again. These cycles aren’t intended to be a punishment, but in their midst it’s so easy to feel a sense of unfairness, which overshadows the lessons at hand.

Anything we feel guilt or pain over is destined to treat us all the same. We are battling with the same demon wearing many masks. An incredible and potent Buddhist practice respectably entitled, Chöd (meaning “cutting through”) speaks of facing our inner demon and meeting it with great benevolence and self-compassion. This happens to be a powerful example of “Fierce Self-Compassion.” The compassion that’s provided to us in life can often come swiftly and not quite as we expect. Sometimes, this fierce compassion will arrive as an unexpected turn that ends a relationship, or the ending of a job we no longer need but haven’t found a way to let go of.

The practice of Chöd reminds us that we are able to have a dialogue with our inner demon and, eventually, when it is “fed/sated,” it will become a potent teacher and trusted ally that teaches us about our inner selves in the most amazing of ways. In other words, when we approach the feelings and events of our past with the intention of making peace with them, all while having great care and self-compassion, we can let go of these old cycles. We provide ourselves with new growth and lessons centered around what we truly desire in our lives.

So while our inner demon may wear the mask of grief over losing a loved one, the mask of shame over events of the past, or the mask of anger pointed at ourselves and/or others, it is all the same demon. It teaches us who we are and what we are here to accomplish.

Devika J. Singh is a Tantric sex and singles relationship coach. Got a love/sex question? Email her.