By Rachel Puryear
There’s an old saying: “Some people come into your life for a reason. Others come in for a season. A few last for a lifetime.”
There’s a lot of truth to this, whether or not you attach any spiritual significance to it. So, what does it mean, exactly; and how can it help people cope with the loss of close relationships and friendships that ended?
Having worked with a lot of people who were going through difficult life changes – including divorces, I have observed that many people have a difficult time accepting where a relationship that they once expected to last for their whole lives, instead ends with them parting ways. They often feel like failures during these moments.
However, it can nonetheless be helpful to view a broken relationship as still having had value and meaning, even if people eventually split up. This is true for romantic relationships, and also for friendships and other close relationships.
One of my best friends from childhood – someone I knew for almost thirty years, and who I at one time thought would be my friend until one of us passed away in old age – I ended up parting ways with a couple years ago. Losing a relationship of that duration is always very painful; and looking back, I think we held onto it far past the point where it was still a healthy friendship, just because of how painful we both knew it would be to let it go.
However, looking back now, and having recovered from the grief of ending that friendship; I have zero regrets. I know that it was the right thing to do, and that ultimately I am better off for it.
Nonetheless, I don’t regret having the friendship in the first place. Even though it’s over; there are still memories, lessons, and meaning from it. Just because there were reasons we grew apart in the end, does not mean that the good times we once had were any less real. Because the friendship was no longer right for either of us anymore after a certain point in life, does not invalidate the fact that for a long time; the friendship was right at a point in time, and that we each once benefited from it.
Furthermore, a wonderful – albeit unexpected – benefit to the aforementioned friendship ending is that since then, I have gained so many more new friendships into my life. The newer friendships are so much more supportive and satisfying than the old friendship I let go. That’s not a coincidence – letting my old friend go made room in my life for better things, and freed me to pursue fulfilling close friendships.
So, when you let go of a relationship or friendship that is not working and where the other person is no longer interested in making it work; the benefit to breaking it off sooner rather than later is twofold – you get out of a relationship or friendship that is no longer good for you, and you gain the opportunity to find new relationships and friendships that are what you need and deserve. Letting go is very hard at first, but the gains later on make it totally worthwhile – and it will get better.
Thank you, dear readers, for reading, following, and sharing. Here’s to honoring important relationships whether they were for life or not, and to appreciating even more deeply the specialness of those which are for life. If you enjoyed this content and want to see more of it, please hit “like” and subscribe, if you have not done so already. xoxo