I like nice clean endings.
I like the kind of endings where, at the end of a relationship, everyone recognizes their part in it, makes apologies, finds forgiveness, and moves forward happily.
It is a Pollyanna way of thinking, but, like many, I hate conflict and discord among those I love or have loved. I want to be liked and I don’t want anyone to think ill of me.
This pervasive need to be the “good girl” has often backfired.
It’s okay to be a good person, but never anyone’s doormat. Never at the expense of our personal well-being.
Endings often rest on a foundation of rejection. Rejection of a circumstance, event, situation or person.
Even if it’s mutually accepted or one person walks away, rejection, at its core, leaves us questioning. Questioning our value or that of the other person. Questioning our involvement in that outcome or if we did our absolute best.
Even when we chose to walk away, the element of rejection is there.
Even when I walked away from my last relationship, knowing that it was not healthy and that it was not nourishing me, I still felt the thorns of rejection. The thorns in my heart whispered to me, “You are not good enough. You will never find love. You will grow old alone. You should have been thinner, smarter, funnier, trendier. Blah, blah, blah.”
My ex-husband died four years ago, and in many ways we had come to an amicable place because of our son. Years later, he would often stop in for coffee. We never talked about our relationship, or the past, or anything that required intimate conversation.
I yearned to know why.
Why didn’t he love me? Why was he often cruel? Why, why, why?
I never got answers. We never had a conversation that was anything but superficial.
He got sick rather quickly, and when he was hospitalized I had no opportunity to go see him. I never thought he would not come out of the hospital, and I cried desperately knowing that I didn’t say goodbye.
I regretted that I didn’t get to say I was sorry for our broken relationship, that he never told me why, that he died, and that it was final and I would not have the neat closure I so wanted.
I have stayed friends with other exes. I feel happy when there is no discord, even if we never speak or see each other again. But it’s not always pretty, it’s not always pleasant, it’s not always forgiving, and it’s not always a happy goodbye.
I have often wanted to scream in frustration looking for answers where there were none.
This is the only way I have found peace when there seems to be no closure:
>> Meditation. Taking time to meditate clears the heart and head. All we need is 10 minutes in the morning.
>> Yoga. Through breathing and conscious movement, the mind centers itself on the present. Breathing also helps regulate the heart and nervous system.
>> Nature. Walking or hiking in open space often brings clarity of mind and freedom from oppressive thoughts.
>> Prayer. Regardless of our faith, there is healing power in prayer. Turning over our sorrow to God, or whatever we believe in, releases our burden and brings peace.
>> Reading. Beginning our mornings with a devotional passage or quote is a small way to encourage a happy peaceful day.
>> Starting and ending my day with gratitude. We all have something to be grateful for. Whether it’s a warm bed, food on our table, a child who loves us, someone we love, friends, simply waking up in the morning able to start a new day, we can all find one small thing that makes life worth it. We can do this before we get out of bed and when we crawl into it at the end of the day.
Relationships are complex, and humans are complex. Sometimes, we enter a relationship with the best of intentions and hopes, but it doesn’t work and people suffer and it falls apart. And no matter how much we want to put it all together, the cracks will always be there.
These cracks are what human frailty is about. These cracks are the healed parts of us—an astounding and loving reassurance that we are strong and able to heal.
Often, we just don’t get the answers we seek. Relationships end, hearts break, and sometimes all we can do is seek our own peace of mind.
There is no one answer. There’s no easy goodbye.
Time is the only thing we have. Time to heal, time to reflect and time to grow.
No one’s words or actions are an indication of who we are; they are an indication of who they are. How we deal with those things is a reflection of ourselves. So, we can hang on to it, or we can set it free—and, in doing so, set our own selves free.
Rejection, sometimes, clears the way for something better, stronger and healthier in our lives.
Author: Maria Arroyo Fazio
Image: Daniela Brown/Flickr
Editor: Toby Israel