“All we can really do is love people. We can’t change them or make them do things they’re not ready to do. But we can love them… sometimes it’s from afar, but we can always send love their way.” – Vienna Pharaon
I have a scene from Friends (the TV show) on replay in my head, as I think about the subject I’m going to talk about today. In this particular episode, Rachel Green, played by Jennifer Aniston, calls up Ross Geller, while on a date with someone else, to tell him that she is completely over him. She ends the phone call with, “And that, my friend, is what they call closure!”
This scene makes me laugh every time, but in reality, that phone call or form of “closure” doesn’t ever work. That is because it’s coming from that heartbroken, dishonest place. How do I know this? I’ve done it!
I am the person who gets left. This is not a pity-me statement at all. It’s simply a fact. I have been almost embarrassingly guilty of being the one to hold on, even when I am completely aware that the relationship is turning down deeply incompatible paths. I often believe there has to be a piece of the story that can turn everything wrong to right.
When the other person “disappears,” I have always been obsessed with gaining closure from said person, and as I’ve often found, that doesn’t always happen.
What I have found is that the other person usually has no more of an idea of how to say goodbye than I would if I even tried.
Some of these relationships ended, and it hurt, but with time, I understood. Other relationships sting to this day, primarily because of their endings, words that should have never been said, and actions that should have never been taken through both participants trying to save something that was unsalvageable at the time of the break.
Now, don’t worry, I discovered what does work, but it takes practice and finding what twist of the psyche works for you in overcoming heartbreak, the same as any form of setback.
Love and incompatibilities
As a writer, I break down characters for my stories, and there always needs to be the antagonist(s) placing the protagonist in situations that challenge him/her to confront themselves, discover why they feel the way they do, and see where they may be holding themselves back or be wrong in a particular dynamic.
These antagonists are as significant to a story as they are to your own life. I have grown as much from those who have hurt me as I have from the ones who have loved me deeply.
One method I believe could bring you into the space of closure for yourself is creating two columns on a piece of paper: one column for you and one for the other person.
Let’s begin with love.
I know when you’re hurt, it’s difficult to switch to what you once loved about the person, but please give it a try. At the top of the page, write “Love.” Now, in your column with your name, write what you love about yourself. In the other column, with the other person’s name, you write what you loved about them.
This is a feel-good exercise, but it also comes from my belief that anger is often the cover for the fact that you did in fact care for this person. You loved this person for a time. For a time, they were exactly what you wanted and needed. It is also my belief that no relationship is ever a waste of time, especially when you break down your story through exercises such as this.
When you are done with these two columns, on a separate sheet of paper, create two more columns. At the top of the page write “Incompatibilities.” Working within both columns this time, write down what was incompatible between the two of you.
Try to be as honest as possible, trying to avoid letting bitterness slip in. Maybe it’s activities you love that they didn’t. Maybe it’s differences in beliefs. No one is going to see this but you, so this is a place for you to write your truth.
When you’ve completed this exercise, look at the two papers side by side. I think you will discover an appreciation for the person, as well as a sense of closure that comes down to you being two different people who were meant to come together for a certain amount of time, but are now meant to move on to relationships that are fundamentally a match.
Chances are, you were both compromising yourselves. Now, being more conscious of this tendency to compromise in the future, you will be able to grow more as the person you desire to be by knowing what you truly value and what is no longer negotiable.
Find your art
Another writing exercise you can try is writing down a list of qualities you want in your future relationships. We are all constantly growing, so what once were qualities you were seeking in a person may not be the same today, or the necessity for greater substance in your relationships may be something you can no longer ignore.
What has also always helped me in gaining closure for myself is taking care of my health by exercising, giving myself time to be alone, spending lots of time with the people who have always been by my side (this will reinforce who you are and what you need), and art! Creating art out of the pain has uplifted and inspired me immensely.
I encourage you to find your art, whatever that may be. Write the rawest pain into a poem. Paint a picture that’s a splattering of colours that reflect what you’re feeling. Create music. We are all artists. I am a big believer that art heals through transforming your emotions, and sometimes those lists I mentioned above are the entryway to this art.
Finally, send love through your thoughts to that person you were hurt by. It costs nothing. I am writing from experience. This act will make you feel good, and I guarantee that it will bring more positivity into your life.
I wish for you all to find the closure you need to lead you into abundantly healthy, happy, growth-filled and lasting relationships. We all crave and deserve these light-filled relationships, and that is what I wish for each and every one of you.
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image 1 “Square peg, round hole” by sfllaw is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 2 “art” by d26b73 is licensed under CC BY 2.0 3 Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay