As I drove home from work recently, I became aware of an internal shift. I thought of a blog post I wrote about a year ago on my struggle to let go of past relationships. Even as little as four months ago, this was something I was still grappling with.
In that moment, though, I realized that I was no longer holding onto the past. Maybe this shift was the result of my upcoming marriage, or maybe it was a result of personal growth in the last year.
In that post, I wrote, “The exits of these men from my life underscore my understanding of the impermanence of relationships. Someone can be present in your life one day and not the next. It seems unfair that we aren’t guaranteed more than the present moment with anyone.”
This a reality that I’m now at peace with. I’m more comfortable recognizing that people may impact us in one or more ways, but that doesn’t mean they will forever be a constant source of learning for us. We have to be able to adapt to the new reality we face when relationships end.
I wrote: “Maybe I’d maxed out on what I could learn from my exes.”
Whether or not that’s true doesn’t matter. I’ve realized that if you seek learning, you will find it. Wishing I could continue to learn from them was limiting me from focusing on people in front of me from whom I could learn from. They were not the sole people I’d ever learned from. There were many others, and there will be many in the future as well.
Just because someone once had a great impact on my life doesn’t mean they always should or will. One thing I struggled with about ending those relationships is the dramatic shift having a person as a best friend to then not being in communication at all. It’s a shock to the system.
While painful and difficult, it’s also a reality of life which highlights the benefits of having balance in relationships. There’s no guarantee how long a person will be in our lives.
I wrote: “I can look back on both the good and the bad times with an appreciation for the lessons I learned. I am a better person for knowing them, and it’s absolutely a loss that I’m unable to learn from either of them anymore.”
While I feel gratitude for what I learned, I no longer feel a loss without them. In fact, I’ve experienced even more personal transformation since those relationships have ended. I don’t need them to continue to growing or learning.
It’s funny how clear that is to me now.
In that post, I referenced this Buddha quote: “In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.”
At the time, I wasn’t gracefully letting go. I’m there now.
This experience has highlighted just how much of a process life is. We grow and shift and adapt and change. We are malleable beings.
When I look back on the last year and how much has changed, I am truly in awe of how I continue to grow and evolve. More than ever before, I am leaning into honesty, authenticity, and vulnerability with myself and others.
One of the things I love so much about writing is that I am able to document my personal evolution process. It’s so rewarding to be able to see how I’ve grown.
I’ve also realized that I don’t want to be stagnant. I want to evolve, and learning from different people and having experiences since those relationships have given me the space and opportunity to grow in new ways.
What’s your experience with letting of people in your past? I’d love to hear your thoughts!