Learning from Loss
I felt the loss in the pit of my stomach, my own failure in the relationship was clear and the emotions I experienced rolled around in my system. As I read and re read the message,I realized I had lost a friend.
Many of you have experienced the mutual drifting from a friend you met in previous seasons of life... It became harder and harder to know them because of change in proximity or personal values. In my situation, the lack of communication had been happening for probably months and maybe years but the suddenness of this friend's words on the screen hurt quite acutely. This person had been disappointed by me and now the relationship was beyond repair.
My ability to own up to my failures is not something that I struggle with; I know that about myself. I was able to be honest with this (former) friend, but I know that my words fell on deaf ears. After I heard from my friend for the last time, I was left feeling confused and saddened. I so desperately wanted to fix things but I knew that I couldn’t. I wanted to wrestle and talk it out and have some resolution, but that was not going to happen and now I am realizing that maybe it was for the better. Losing this friend has taught me how to react in conflict, and communicate when I feel hurt. I hope you can learn some things through me.
First, my reaction to losing this friend was not about that person in particular, it was about my loss of control. I felt deeply wounded and there was nothing that I could do about it. This loss of control made me go on high alert and question a myriad of different things about myself, my personality, and my current relationships. I turned inward and I did not like what I saw. In my effort to be perfect, this broken relationship reminded me of how seriously imperfect I am. There isn’t much to be learned when all you are doing is focusing on yourself, I learned that I needed to embrace my loss of control, calm my overwhelming thoughts, and let others into my pain.
Second, after I calmed myself down and stopped over-analyzing everything about my failures, I was able to lean in and get in touch with what I was actually experiencing; I let myself mourn the loss of my friend. I released my focus on my inabilities and let myself feel sad and dismayed by the loss. I wished I could go back in time and reintroduce myself to her. I wanted my friend to know the new me that still resembled bits and pieces of the me she had grown up with. She had not experienced all the ways I had grown and changed over the last few years. I felt that if she knew that part of me, we would not be estranged or disengaged from one another. But as I found myself wishing for her to know the “New, improved me!”, I sensed the people pleaser inside, rearing its ugly head. (Warning bells should have been ringing in your ears too as you read this paragraph… ha)
REMINDER: Relationships are co-created so no matter how great you think you are, you have to be in it to win it with the other human being. Relationships don’t work if you have one person jumping up and down exclaiming how great they have become because of their personal development processes. At best that is just annoying.
Finally, one person's experience of you does not negate the other people in your life who have come to know and love the person you have become. In my loss I was reminded that my strive to be perfect in all things was tripped up again and I was reminded of how seriously imperfect I am. Thankfully, the people who are with me right now are in it for the long haul. They have seen me through break ups, moving days, marriage, and grad school.
I encourage you to hold tight to those people around you who you call friend or family. Remember to connect with them often and have tough conversations with them. Do not let too much time go before you say what you need to say, and be ready to own up to your failures and stand up for the things you know about yourself.
This post was challenging for me to write as it has been quite a while since I have written something for this blog and it is never easy to write something that puts you in a position to call attention to a failure you have experienced.
Still, I wrote this as my entrance into 2017 because I wanted to give you some insight into my last eight months. Losing this friend is but one example of how difficult these months have been, and while I do not intend to be an example of darkness, I want to champion authenticity.
Losing someone you love is never easy but writing about your experience is helpful in the healing process. This post was done while a little broken, with the location of my wound in the general area of my broken pride. I am healing and I am changing. Happy Monday, y'all! I am back!