I’m someone that likes ‘endings’ to round off nicely. No matter how deep the hurt is or was, I believe that people are in your life for a reason and that goodbyes should be as respectful as possible. From breakups to friendship fall outs… it all happens for a reason. Even if someone leaves my life in the worst way, I always try to make sure that eventually the negativity is resolved.
It’s not always easy.
Sometimes it takes me a long time to process how I feel. Sometimes getting to a point of understanding is hard work. Sometimes the other person isn’t receptive to a resolution, and that’s fine because I’m not in charge of how they feel. Sometimes the hurt runs so deep that I don’t know if I will ever be able to move on from that sense of abandonment and betrayal.
But, in my opinion, coming to a moment where you both can walk away thinking ‘it’s a shame things ended but I’m grateful for the time we had or the lessons I’ve learnt’ is such an important thing. It helps you heal, it helps embed the lessons learnt and, most importantly, it means you can move on.
But how do you know you’re at that point?
- When you think of what happened, you no longer feel anger towards yourself. There have been events in my past that have made me so furious that I’ve been angry at myself for not speaking up sooner, for not being stronger with my convictions, for being meek and agreeable. When something hurts you so badly that you take your anger out on yourself, it takes time to process what has happened and start treating yourself with kindness again. As soon as that anger goes, though, you know you’re on the right track to moving on.
- You can talk about what happened without being upset. Whenever I’ve experienced a fallout, it feels like the most painful thing, but I always find that a few weeks or months later I can talk about it in a reflective way. Once I can speak about something without my emotions clouding my judgement, that’s when I know I’m ready to move on.
- You can look at the past with fondness. It’s hard to remember good times when all you can taste is the sourness of things going wrong, but remembering that things weren’t always bad and that good times were had makes a big difference. I’m a big believer in people being in your life for a reason and so to be able to look back without being clouded by resentment is a good thing.
- You are okay with being someone else’s ‘bad guy’. When I was younger, I hated the idea of being disliked. I was such a people pleaser because of it. Someone else making me out to be the ‘baddie’, especially when I felt like I had been wronged, made me burn with injustice. The truth is that there are two sides to every story and you don’t get to decide how you are portrayed in the other person’s narrative. As long as you know that you’re a good person, then whatever anyone else wants to say or believe is something you just have to accept. You and the people who matter know who you are as a person. Everything else is just background noise.
- You’re in a place where you not only can forgive and forget, but you can be at peace if the other person doesn’t want to. Even if you feel like you’re finally ready to forgive and forget the other person might not be in the same place as you are. You have to be okay with that. If you’ve made your peace and they haven’t, you’re just at different points of the same journey. Move on.
- You understand that things like this happening are just a part of life. When we are little, we are sold the idea of the lifelong best friend or the love of our life being our first partner at school. In reality, this ideals are rare and sometimes lead to us putting up with treatment that we shouldn’t. As soon as we accept the fact that life isn’t scripted and that unexpected events happen, you learn to let go of what has been before, take the pressure off of yourself and enjoy the ride.
From all of my experiences, I have learnt that you will never have the same relationship with the person that hurt you as before. In most cases, you won’t have any relationship with them at all.
But do you know what?
You both had the capacity to love each other and to hurt each other. You both helped and you both made things harder. There is right and wrong on both sides – that’s just the way it is. Life moves and shifts and things aren’t meant to stay the same. Your friendships and relationships are included in that.
So, as cheesy as it sounds, don’t cry because it’s over – smile because it happened.