Respectfully Walking Away

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.

2011.01.13

This entry was posted in Essay, Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Respectfully Walking Away

  1. Abigail Eldred says:

    Very well said, and not often addressed directly. It is hard not to become the enemy when you’re being treated like one. Thanks for your words.

    • cjromb says:

      Of course this is absolutely a message I need to hear myself. I try my best to respectfully say “not a fit” or interact in a way I won’t regret doing or wouldn’t want done to me when I’m leaving. It’s hard when you’re being struck out at, not to strike in return. It’s also hard to remember good times and positive things about the person in those moments. But I think it’s the healthy thing to do for ourselves. After all, if the connection is breaking, we’re moving on with ourselves, not the other. I don’t want to move on with someone I’m pissed at, especially if that person I’m pissed at is me. 🙂

      I’ve also got a serious life experience of the benefit of NOT striking out in anger and hate and burning a bridge beyond repair. I love, love a wonderful part of my life that I only have BECAUSE I didn’t do this.

      Thanx for reading, Abi. 🙂 You’re definitely one of my new treasured connections.

  2. Christine says:

    There is so much beauty and wisdom in your words. The world is so much richer from your presence.

    • cjromb says:

      Thank you for your comments and for sharing it on your page on Facebook, too. 🙂 I’m glad it makes a difference when I share.

  3. Kevin S says:

    So very true CJ.
    There is so much wisdom contained within this, on several levels.

  4. Hs says:

    Thank you for this. These are the words I needed to hear today.

  5. B J Smith says:

    CJ I read your posting and devoured each word and felt deep respect for you as you wrote this and felt what you were saying was meant for us as a lesson in self respect and self esteem for all of us to learn from. From your writing it is obvious that you are a woman of great morals and feelings not only for yourself , but for others in your life also. I want to say that I am very happy and delighted to have become one of your f/b friends and will always respect you and your opinions. Much truth and wisdon was spoken in your words. Thank You for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *