Let It Go
Friendships. They are precious relationships that so many of us often neglect to foster – perhaps we are caught up with our careers, kept busy with our children, trying to meet the demands of our romantic relationships, dealing with personal strifes, or juggling the every-day-mundane requirements of life – there are so many reasons as to why we may neglect our friendships, and as valid as those reasons are, it is so important to remember that these relationships exist, and that we have to work at maintaining and nurturing these remarkable and wonderful relationships; and sometimes we must also regrettably learn to let some of them go.
Quite recently I had the pleasure of meeting up with two very dear friends whom I hadn’t visited with in [yikes] three years! Three years?! We live in the same city, within 15-20 minutes of each other, and yet it took us three years to get-together. I’m dumbfounded by this realization and I’m a little saddened. How did I allow so much time to pass? How has it taken me three years to meet for a long-overdue visit with them? I mean, I know my answers to these questions – thyroid cancer, breast cancer, recovery, motherhood, marriage, and work all kept me busy … but these do not feel like suitable answers to me. With all that has gone on with me, I have unintentionally neglected my friendships; however, although years have passed us by, the moment we sat down and started talking it felt as though we were in a time-warp – a vacuum – and we simply picked up from where we left off. It felt natural and comfortable. Thankfully this is the relationship we have built and that we continue to share – a genuine love, respect, and understanding of each other. I am fortunate enough to admit that I have several of these wonderful kinds of friendships with people that I have met throughout my life – my childhood friends, my school friends, my adult-life friends – they span the globe and the decades. Sometimes it is years before I get an opportunity to see them; and though we are aged and battle-scarred, time has not altered our genuine love for each other. They feel like family; and I consider myself to be a very lucky person because I’ve met such remarkable and lovely people throughout the course of my life, and I am honoured to call them my friend.
But, as I have pointed out, friendships are relationships. So what happens when that relationship becomes toxic? What do you do when you can no longer understand each other, are unable to relate to one another, or even provide support to each other within that relationship? What do you do when one friend is detached and removed, the conversation strained, and a visible unhappiness present? And what if, in the limited ways that you know how, you’ve struggled with helping her/him? You’ve listened, you’ve encouraged, you’ve consoled, but to absolutely no avail. Nothing alters, and the friendship begins to falter. Then, the gloom that surrounds that relationship begins to seep into all elements of your own life. You begin to question your own happiness and focus on the negative elements and struggles that you are personally enduring. And what if you – yourself – are encountering a difficult time but are trying to keep your chin up and are fighting through the murky feelings, only to come crashing down because the friendship you endeavour to hold onto is not enriching or supportive, but is simply discouraging and wearisome? How does one handle the friendship when – quite clearly – it has become a sinking ship? I am not proud to admit it, but I have found myself in this situation at various times in my life, and the guilt, regret, and shame that accompanied my feelings to abandon [friend]ship were remarkably intense. I felt like I failed my friend, the relationship we shared, and inevitably myself. I felt like a failure. And I felt that way because I am a fighter. I fight for what I believe in, I fight for the people I love, I fight for my relationships, and I struggle with letting go, I struggle with defeat. But sometimes you are simply just that – defeated and therefore depleted. You will give all that you have to give and it just won’t be enough. I wasn’t enough.
I am absolutely certain that past friends have released me from their lives. Sometimes the personal strifes that I have faced within my life were just too much for some of my friends to accept; and it hurt when that support network dissolved. I remember distinctly one friend that I dearly loved said [whilst I was talking on the phone to her] “I’ll call you right back”. She never did. Regardless of my attempts to connect, I never did hear from her. I finally accepted that she released me from her life. I was hurt and I felt betrayed. There is never an easy way to handle a friendship break-up, but sometimes it is necessary. Sometimes the friendship is causing more damage than benefit to both parties involved. It is dispiriting. I would hope that the individual finds a kindred spirit that is able to help them along, guide them, support them, and uplift them in the ways that I quite obviously could not. And sometimes it is important to remember that some friendships really are not meant to last forever. Sometimes those fleeting friendships are meant to nurture the immediate needs of both parties within the time of encounter, but then life’s journey may alter the needs as well as the person, taking them along a different path that the other cannot traverse upon. And so they are at an impasse; and so one may depart from the friendship. And I think that’s okay. It hurts. It hurts a hell of a lot, but truly it is okay. It doesn’t mean you – or s/he – doesn’t still care, it simply means that your journey together is complete.
The beauty of relationships/friendships/people you will encounter throughout your life is that you never truly know if the journey you take together will be continuous or momentary. What you do know is that the relationship is serving an immediate purpose for you both. Together you create an intimacy – a bond – that you share. Within that time you will provide each other with fulfillment, laughter, support, and kindness. You will build memories – and if the friendship does not last a lifetime, the memories you created together will. Those are moments to cherish. It is these encounters, whether life-long or brief, that helps shape and define the person you are and the person you become. So if letting go of something toxic is best for your vulnerable soul, then let it go. Let it go with love and blessings; and let it go without guilt. You never know … by letting go it may come back bigger, stronger, and more wonderful than ever before.
Let It Go. Published by: Crystal Joy Hall