Sometimes, the people we love the most leave.
When people don’t stay, a wave of negative emotions washes over us. Love turns to hate in a matter of days. However, we don’t hate the person for who they are—we hate them for leaving.
Because dealing with the absence of a loved one is painful, we find it arduous not to blame or be resentful. In the past, I’ve felt resentment toward lovers or friends who chose to leave. Although I could understand my own intentions if I wanted to leave someone, I chose not to understand the people who left me. My inability to forgive them stemmed from my inability to accept my new reality.
As the years elapsed, acceptance and forgiveness came to me naturally. The sequence of events in my life now makes me realize that some people have to leave so others can stay. I beheld this chain of events and realized that everything is interdependent. If I were to take one event out of my years—good or bad—my life wouldn’t have taken shape the way it has.
I’m convinced now that the resentment I felt toward the people who left my life was completely futile. I’ve come to understand that the reason why people leave goes beyond our mental constructions.
People leave for a variety of reasons. If we wish to understand, it’s valuable to reflect on the times we’ve left other people. Leaving doesn’t make us bad people, and it doesn’t make the person who’s left any less lovable or “good.” The fact is that sometimes our conditions and emotions are beyond our control, and we’re left with no choice but to leave.
It’s difficult to comprehend those notions when we’re the ones who are left behind. Our desire to keep our loved ones gives birth to resentment, which we can’t keep at bay. However, we can choose not to nourish it.
We need to understand that real love can’t simply turn into hate in a matter of days. If it does, then we need to question if it was really love in the first place. Genuinely loving other people starts with sincerely trying to understand them. Even if we don’t know the reasons that have led them to leave, we need to understand that they too have conditions and emotions that go beyond their control.
In this way, real love extends to being capable of letting the person we love go. The term “let go” is often understood as getting rid of someone or something physically—but letting go means setting the other person free emotionally and mentally. It means to let them be, and let them choose what is best for them. And sometimes, what is best for ourselves is not the best thing for someone else.
It might seem too idealistic to believe in a love that doesn’t require physical presence. By all means, love that’s experienced within a relationship is entirely different than love that’s experienced across distance. But distance doesn’t make love trivial. Distance shouldn’t stop us from wishing the other person happiness—and working toward achieving our own. No matter how much pain someone might inflict on us, we can always find ways to attempt to understand why they hurt us or left us behind.
Beneath our bruised ego lies a wide range of mindful ways that can help us with this endeavor.
My heart aches when I think of who left (or is about to leave) my life. Nonetheless, I must remember that there’s nothing I can do. Instead of finding solutions, I now understand that not finding a solution is, in itself, a solution. Not finding a solution is freeing, and it helps me understand that I can’t simply sink my claws into the person I love.
Just as I love the people who choose to stay in my life, I’m also learning to love the people who choose to leave. I know for a fact that every person who leaves my life is making space for someone new to enter. And for this, I should never hate them for leaving.
Author: Elyane Youssef
Image: Author’s own
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Supervising Editor 1: Callie Rushton
Supervising Editor 2: Callie Rushton