real life

The advice that will change your mindset on failed relationships.

So often in life, we're quick to cast aside any remnants of a failed relationship, chalking the end to a mistake or regrets or years wasted, or simply not even acknowledging that this other person was once the centre of our universe, sometimes for a very long time. But what if we chose to see the end of a relationship as a blessing, something we were lucky to have experienced while it lasted?

Seasoned journalist and author Julia Baird has this refreshing, and fairly unique, take on why a failed relationship doesn't necessarily mean a failure in life. In a candid chat with Mia Freedman on a recent episode of No Filter, Julia opens up about the life-changing experience of losing her ex-partner, journalist Morgan Mellish, in the Garuda plane crash back in 2007 - and how a simple poem opened her eyes to a new way of seeing.

Watch: Mamamia Confessions. The worst excuses we've used for a breakup. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

"I read this poem by Jack Gilbert [called Failing and Flying] and the idea being people always forget that before Icarus fell, he flew," Julia explains. "And so often relationships are described as, 'Oh, it's a failed relationship because it didn't last,' as opposed to 'Oh, we had a few amazing years together' and then you work out it's not right and you have to make the really hard decision to say this can't be forever.


"But then, and it says in the poem, [Icarus] wasn't falling, he was coming to the end of his triumph, and I just love to think about relationships that way."

Julia Baird. Image: Getty.

Julia's latest book, Bright Shining, explores the notion of grace in humanity – what it is, how it is presented, what it means to different people. She says she wrote the chapter about grace in the midst of grief after recognising the importance of Gilbert's poem when applied to relationships that didn't stand the test of time. 


Julia and Morgan were together for five years, but at the time of his sudden death in Indonesia, she had well and truly moved on - marrying another man, having a baby and moving to the other side of the world. 

But that didn't change the fact that Morgan was once the most important person in her life, and there was nothing wrong with respecting and honouring that, instead of seeing their relationship as a failed chapter.

Julia wholeheartedly sees the end of a relationship being like Icarus reaching the end of his triumph, insisting, "That is how I think about some of my relationships that didn't endure, and to me there's a gentleness in that perspective as well.

"And it's not all about loss - it's about looking back and seeing what you had and how incredibly lucky you are."

"It's such an honour and responsibility to be with a person, even if it's not going to be forever."

Listen to No Filter with Mia Freedman. In this episode, Mia speaks to journalist and best-selling author Julia Baird about grace and how you can't see it until it happens. 

Feature Image: Instagram.

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