Do Any Relationships Really End?
Updated: Jan 3
Think about it. Relationships have beginnings, and evolutions, and stagnations, but official endings are complicated. Even a messy breakup or forever stalemate can't take away the memories and feelings you already have, or stop you from processing them long after the fact. I think all our relationships are growing and changing throughout our lives... even with the people we've lost or lost touch with.
Why does that matter? Well, having better relationships is important to us. Even when they seem like more trouble than their worth. I'm not just talking about romances. Friendships and familial relationships count. Teachers from decades ago count. Your first name basis with the guy who runs your corner store counts. These are all growing, changing people, making shifting impressions on you as you also grow and change. Nothing is truly stagnant.
To add to that... we don't have control over anything but our own perspective. We can't force or usually even predict how things will turn out, and how people will take things. Though sometimes we might wish for certain outcomes or types of people to be in our lives, we really only have our own intentions and choices.
So, when relationships (lovers, coworkers, friends, kids, industry people, etc) aren't quite fulfilling us in the way we'd hoped, we have more reliable inner options, like:
1. Seeing the best in each other.
2. Empathizing without causing too much pain/hysteria for ourselves. 3. Wishing the very best outcome for all involved.
4. Staying true to ourselves before diving into service to others.
5. Not letting judgment, strong reactions, or manipulations shake our core beliefs or affect our center of deep appreciation and love for the people in our lives.
It sounds nice... obviously it doesn't always work seamlessly... BUT we don't need it to. We benefit from micro-improvements in our choices and actions and thoughts. From being more present on calls with our parents and siblings, writing letters and personalized messages, communicating to our housemates when we need time to ourselves, and just sitting in non-verbal gratitude for the people we know and love.
My relationship with my grandparents isn't 'ended'. I still put together puzzle pieces of their life, think back on our conversations, and place them in new situations in my mind. I still find things to appreciate and learn from them. I can honestly just think about my grandma's face and it tingles my heart. No way that relationship is over.
My breakups and faded friendships didn't erase the time I spent getting to know people. To this day, I process our talks and memories with a fresher, freer perspective. Just because something retreats to the back of your mind doesn't mean your relationship with it has ended. You can often retrieve 'forgotten' things about a moment in time or a person, maybe even with different thoughts about the situation. You can do the work to forgive yourself and others. You can be gentle on, and learn from your mistakes. You can wish someone health and peace and abundance even if you don't talk anymore. You can also try to avoid thinking about/speaking to someone, but you're not likely to grow past the situation if you don't face the challenges it bestows.
With that, no matter what our relationship is, I wish you unfettered joy and the humor/resilience to get through the challenges of 2020. I think the best of you and wish the best for you, and I'm grateful for the time we've had and whatever it looked like.