How do you walk away from someone that can’t be a part of your world anymore?
Part of our journey is finding “the new”, making new friends, getting new jobs, buying new homes, new things. But as much of our journey is about leaving behind, saying goodbye, letting go. How you treat people you are moving away from, whether it’s your choice to move from them or not, says far, far more about you than how you embrace new friends and new experiences.
Even if you cannot change the other person’s interactions, you DO have the power to change your steps in that dance. End your business with others carefully and considerately. Don’t spend your time getting last words in, or finding ways to hurt back when you’ve been hurt. It doesn’t relieve your hurt, it only creates a deeper wound that takes longer to heal.
I am not saying you should not feel your emotions fully. Flush out the wounds with your tears, find ways to understand and resolve what you’re feeling. Don’t shove it under the carpet or quickly move onto something else to avoid your pain. Look inward and outward; it’s never a one-sided story.
Treat people with respect when you say goodbye or when they say goodbye to you. It’s not easy to do when the other person is striking out. When someone treats you like an enemy, it is difficult not to become one. The dissolution is frequently because of unresolved conflict that’s become intricately intertwined with resentment.
What if you could find a way to realize the other person isn’t really an enemy. Can you accept instead that regardless of the reasons or the pain, this connection is simply no longer a fit for your lives? If it were, it wouldn’t have come to this.
What if you were able to keep in mind, in the middle of your hurt and resentment, in the face of being struck at, how you’d like to be spoken to, treated, interacted with when your connection to someone is changing. What if you could find a way to treat the person you are moving on from like you’d treat someone new you were welcoming.
If you need to express your side, express it with respect. Consider writing it out or recording it and putting it aside until later. But wait to share it with the person you’re moving away from. Remember that often the reason for the dissolution was an inability to see the other side. Now, perhaps more than ever, you’ll want to be heard. You want your ache to have voice, traction, impact. But while you’re in the midst of a break, both sides can be profoundly deaf to anything but their own loud story. You’ll only create a mudslide that can’t do anything but make the slide downhill faster and messier.
Building a wall against the world and blaming it all on the one you’ve moved on from causes more damage to you than anyone else. Find a way instead to learn and grow positively from the experience. Who were you being, how were you walking through that journey? Why did you choose to interact with this person? It served a need in you. What can you do differently in the future when choosing a connection? How can you modify how you behave while you’re in it, and how you leave if things are not a fit?
And more than anything, remember that person you’re moving on from was once someone you embraced as new. Even though your need to vilify them may be strong, they weren’t all bad or you would have never connected. They were in your life for a reason, and having them there meant something to you for awhile. Honor that memory and those moments. And in that honor, find a way to appreciate and respect who that person was to you in those moments.
Each time something reminds you, makes you ache, makes you smile, make a note of it. Don’t shove it away. Don’t be afraid it will swallow you. It is a moment, and it will pass. Instead, assemble it, refine it, produce it, process it.
Time will fade the acuteness of the angst from the break. And if you’ve found a way to move on with respect for yourself and the other person, instead of being haunted by unresolved pain, perhaps you can look back on that part of your journey to find treasures in both the connection, and in respectfully walking away from it.