I’ll be fine once I get closure – it’s a funny word, eh? Closure. Like once we get past some line in the sand we’ll never feel hurt when thinking of that ex, or that relationship again. Of course that’s an oversimplification though, isn’t it? The distancing and moving past relationships that didn’t work out as we hoped (be they a madcap weekend affair, or a marriage that’s fallen apart) is part of a larger process of self-care and healing….but it can be really difficult to keep that perspective when you’re right in the thick of it. Here are some of the things I’ve learned about that process, both in my own personal life, and through helping clients find closure.
1. Time doesn’t always heals wounds, but it will dull them.
Funny thing about humans. We have a habit of glorifying the past – I think it’s a survival mechanism. We keep fond memories fresh by reliving them through thoughts and daydreams – sometimes even embellishing them to be even more fantastic. Hurts and painful memories, however, we shove away, not wanting to dwell there. Unfortunately that method doesn’t allow us to work through our pain; but it does create space from the sharpest, most intense pain.
2. You can’t suddenly be friends with someone you never were friends with.
We’re still going to be friends! How many times have you heard or said that affect after a break up? How many times have you actually meant it? I don’t bare many of my exes ill will, but few of us are friends either. Friendships are like any other relationship that needs to be developed, and when I meet someone attractive, I often choose to nurture the romantic connection over the platonic connect. So when the romantic connection fizzled, often nothing remains. Why try and force a new connection? Do you really need more friends? It’s okay to let people leave your life when they don’t really have a place in it anymore.
3. You can choose to walk away
Tupac Shakur was a wise man. At some point you need to clean up your shit around past hurts, and relationship baggage – but that doesn’t have to be today; and you most certainly don’t have to stop your life to do it. Sometimes calling it like you see it and walking away is exactly what you need to do.
4. Walking away is not the same thing as running away.
There’s a difference between recognizing problems you can’t fix right now and ignoring them. Nowhere above does it say pretend nothing has gone wrong; pretending there is no crap leaves us at risk of walking right back into it. Being aware of a problem means you can recognize its tell-take signs and learn how to avoid walking right back into that mess with your next relationship.
5. The best person to give you closure is you.
When we look to other people to provide solutions to our problems we give them our power – not even remotely the healthiest choice to make when getting over anything. Tying your closure to your ex-partner/lover/spouse/whatever keeps you linked to them when what you really need to be focusing on is forging ahead on your own path. If they weren’t helping you when they had a vested interest in the relationship, they certainly aren’t going to help you now. It’s time to take your power back.
There are things we can do to speed up the process of finding closure and moving beyond the pain and disappointment of a relationship that didn’t work out as we hoped. Facing our fears and insecurities head on, actively removing your ex from your daily life, or working with a coach to keep yourself accountable are just a few. If it’s time for you to start working on your closure, check out my Closure Checklist for a great way to kick start the process.
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