But how do you let it go?
Let's talk about something that affects all of us, but is seldom talked about: friendships ending.
I met up with an old friend a few weeks ago. She wanted to share her heartbreak. Pain from friendships changed.
We all have friendships that have faded, that have ended dramatically, or sometimes halted without words or explanation. No friendship follows a specific story line and there is no guarantee that it will last.
It’s jarring when we lose someone we care about. A future planned out, that will never actually happen. The grief and confusion may cause us to wonder why we invest in friendships at all.
As a person who studies relationships, I think it’s the connection between humans that sustains us. The shared time with another person reminds us of why we’re here. It’s the mutual laughter and space held for us during dark periods of our lives. Even though there may be anger and loss at some point in the story, friendship is worth it.
I recently read, “Talking With Strangers,” by Malcom Gladwell. He writes about how we’re often terrible at spotting a liar. However, he makes a compelling argument that our species would suffer if we opted to be suspicious of others rather than open. He writes, “Those occasions when our trusting nature gets violated are tragic. But the alternative - to abandon trust as a defense against predation and deception - is worse“.
The loss of a friendship can take us down. It can make us wonder if we’ll ever trust again. Losing a treasured relationship can plunge us into the abyss. We might doubt ourselves. Question our words and replay every conversation. We can easily spend hours trying to understand.
Whenever something difficult happens, I always think I’ll feel better if I can just understand why. We’re meaning making people. We like to take fragments of information and compile whole stories. We think a beginning, middle, and end will soothe our anxious minds.
It doesn’t work.
It’s not understanding that we need, it’s acceptance. Whatever happened; happened. We can’t go back and change it. There’s nothing to fix. So much of our lives can be repaired through doing, but this part is more about being.
I’ve heard forgiveness being described as, “Accepting that the past could not have gone differently.” This idea has often aided in my healing. When I can let my mind rest, my heart can begin to restore.
With acceptance I can begin to hold the story a little lighter. I can remember the wholeness of the person and the relationship. No person is all-good or all-bad and neither is the story.
When I no longer push against what happened and the break, I can let love back in. I can tend to my heart and my body. Letting my wisdom show me what has been gained and what can be released.
How do we let go? Slowly. Healing can be a long journey. We need to feel what’s there and take our time. The winding road will eventually lead us back to ourselves. Acceptance is when peace returns.
If your heart is breaking and trying to understand why, trust that it will not always be this way. The midnight hour doesn’t last forever. The break is just one small part of your whole story. (And no matter how it ended, it was probably worth it).
With Love & Backbone,
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Nice Girl Uprising, Jennifer Padilla-Burger