Lately, I’ve been having a hard time keeping my mouth shut. Having made sacrifices for people who don’t acknowledge or appreciate how I’m hurting myself for their benefit has been tolling. So badly, I want to just yell at them and say, “You did this! You didn’t do that! You are this way! It is your problem!” I’ve had to muster up a lot of strength to not blame and shame.
In the age of social media, moving on from people who have hurt us can be difficult. With each post that pops up on our feed, it is a painful reminder of what could have, should have, was or isn’t. Being the stubborn person that I am, I refuse to unfollow. I don’t want to give that person satisfaction to know I am still hurting. (If it’s even noticed. 🙄) I’m trying to acknowledge our lives go on and be happy for that person separate from me, (because deep down I know it’s for the best). Still, a bitter taste resides in my mouth. I think of all the self-work it’s taken me to accept what is, only to see them rather easily and happily moving on without me. I must not have been as important to them as they were to me.
But I know this isn’t true. They could easily say the same about me. What we see on social media is curated. I don’t post my dark days online and neither do most other people.
Sometimes we forget that these unhappy reminders happen IRL too. We run into someone we’ve parted with in the most unexpected of places. We stumble through awkward hellos and good to see yous only for it to remind us of the good times we had that have now been lost. We walk away feeling melancholy, possibly in a bit of shock, and ultimately try to collect ourselves from the social-emotional connection wall we just hit. Whether the demise of the relationship was good or bad often seems irrelevant in these situations. At some point, this person was important to us, and our memory almost automatically floods with feelings of good. We have to remind ourselves that the relationship ended for a reason, and that we are better off a part.
Reminders of relationships past are almost unavoidable. Some relationships end, and you will eventually run into that person again. Some relationships end, and the relationship takes a different form. Some relationships end, and you will never see or hear of that person again. Some relationships end, and your world will never be the same without them.
When a relationship is lost due to death, sometimes the reminders of this person comes in all of these forms: A memory pops up on our Facebook feed; an old acquaintance you run into asks how that person is doing; and a possessional item holds significant emotional value.
It is the people we connect with that brings meaning and purpose to our lives. When relationships end, the fulfillment brought to our lives from that person does not diminish too. We have learned and grown from that person, that relationship, and that brings a deeper purpose to our being after the relationship, just as it did during the relationship.
Sometimes, we have to let go of relationships before we feel ready; our head and our heart can be in two different places. This is when it’s hard to accept ambiguity in closure. I think seeking closure is a lot like seeking an apology. We want someone else to take responsibility for their part. When they fail to recognize how they’ve contributed to the problem or the demise of the relationship, we have to rise above our lower self. We have to resist the urge to say, “You did this! You didn’t do that! You are this way! It is your problem!”
But let’s be real, this can be really F’ing hard.
What we need to remember is that there isn’t always an immediately better view when we take the high road. The terrain may actually be steeper and more difficult to navigate. The journey can be longer.
We were put on this planet to serve one another. Sure, it may be easier to stoop to a lower level. But stooping to that level of answering blame with blame and shame with same isn’t making the situation better for anyone. The other person may not have the emotional strength and intelligence to rise above their lower self. While we may not immediately feel better rising above our lower self, it’s actually putting a stop to the blame and shame cycle – which is better for everyone in the long run. ✨