Don’t cry because it is over. Smile because it happened..
I used to hold the assumption that once I became an adult my relationships would become effortless.
Interestingly enough, once I became adult, that is when I truly experienced the bliss of close friendship and the anguish that comes when those bonds are lost.
I’ll never forget the connection I formed with three other women in my college dorm that first year of college. I was over 200 miles away from home and I encountered personalities that would forever shape the woman I would become in the future….Yet, the years following we disbanded into different directions and I haven’t seen them for over a decade.
When you reach a certain age, you start to look back on the relationships you had in your life. In some instances, these friendships fizzle out slowly – in others, they explode like fireworks.
It makes me wonder that sometimes we may put too much emphasis on the separation instead of honoring what beautiful bond and fulfillment that did existence at a certain point in our lives…whether it be family members, with ex’s, and with friendships….
So how exactly is one to take the good and leave the bad when it comes to saying goodbye to relationships in our lives?
Whenever someone leaves our lives or takes a much lesser role in it, there is a void left behind. The more significant and personal the connection, the more vast the void becomes.
Of course, our tendency would be to fill it as quickly as possible – and sometimes we end up seizing the next relationship too soon…deflecting any emotion that needs to be felt and quickly moving on to the next best, greatest thing.
I used to run from relationship to relationship when I was growing up (both friendships and in relationships). I always felt like I needed someone there to validate my qualities as a friend or as a girlfriend. I realize now on how unhealthy that was and I see that now with other people I know.
Healing takes time – and there is no substitution for it.
Although it can be painful, people need time to actually feel the emptiness. In the end, it is about learning discipline and self-control – and ultimately learning who you are alone that will result in the largest transformation and growth.
No matter what the relationship, I have realized that people come into our lives for a very specific reason – they teach us about ourselves.
What we do with that is our choice: We can continue to hit the repeat button and do things the same way or we can choose to learn and become a better person (for ourselves and other relationships we have in our life).
There was a point in my life in which I would constantly blame whatever terrible things that happened in my life on my upbringing: “If only my dad didn’t leave. If only my mom would have been around more.” These statements used to play in my mind like a recording loop – then I realized there was a lesson, an opportunity there if only I would stop replaying this mantra and having a pity party for myself.
Now, when a relationship dissolves or is experiencing a difficult time – I stop holding grudges and I recognize that people do the best they can at each given time. What people need from us is understanding - not judgment.
Instead of busying myself with insignificant criticism of ‘what went wrong’ and ‘who did what’ - I ask myself, “What am I learning from this? How can I become better?”
With this comes some ownership as to why the relationship isn’t working correctly. At first, this might seem challenging or unfair (“Why I should forgive them”) …however, this redirects your focus from the other person to yourself (“What can I do the next time”).
Playing the victim every time someone slights you doesn’t provide an opportunity to develop and grow. If a person continues to declare that nothing is their fault then they must have arrived at relationship perfection – and wow, that must be lonely.
As odd as it sounds, I found that sitting down and actually writing out what you have learned from a relationship that has gone sour helps tremendously. I have actually placed this list so I can see it from time to time – this helps me remember and apply it to relationships I have daily. Oddly enough, I noticed I was making the exact same mistakes in my current relationships that I had in the ones that were no longer in my life.
The greatest of all relationship secrets is that everyone is your mirror.
The qualities you most admire in others are your own – same goes for those qualities you dislike about yourself.
You can certainly notice how your relationships tend to be similar during certain parts of your life – the fundamentals seem to remain while only faces change.
It’s not until you, yourself, make the changes you want to see in others that your relationships will change.
It is when a person understands what it means to see yourself reflected back at you that it will result in judgment, blame and victim mentality receding in yourself (and in others) – then there is only room for understanding and, ultimately, gratitude for that person’s part in your life.
A relationship or friendship can deteriorate over time for many reasons, that is a part of life–once it has served the purpose it was intended for we can (and should) reflect back and be thankful for it’s part in your growth and happiness.
For all of you that have been a part of my life – that are currently taking part – and those of you who will visit in my future: Thank you.