Things are not always as they appear to be. This is true of just about everything in life; opportunities, situations, relationships… you get the drift. People and objects might look nice and shiny from the outside, but getting deeper into the details is a totally different story. Take an onion for example; peeling back the layers is a challenge and tends to make you cry. People are no different and they don’t like exposing their inner layers. If we do find someone who is worthy of all that wet-eyed turmoil and can learn to let our guards down, it’s so easy to feel vulnerable with that person. It’s also easy to feel taken advantage of if something goes wrong, which means we go through the rest of our lives with a guard up until the next time someone else wants to dig into your onion’s layers. What I am trying to say is that most of us HATE rejection and fear it with every fiber of our being so through these experiences, especially the ones that hurt, we learn to stonewall against it. While these dances with vulnerability and letting other people in to our introspective worlds (only to watch them run away as a result) aren’t always a series pleasant experiences, they are a necessary part of life.
I know it sucks to lose anything; whether it’s a job, a friend, or a significant other, it usually hurts like hell. Sometimes though, that loss can actually be a blessing in disguise and it’s easier to just pack up your pride and move on. I am of the strong opinion that this is especially true of relationships. There are a lot of theories about the people you surround yourself with. For example, I’ve often heard that you are the sum of your 5 closest friends. That may be true and I can’t speak for everyone, but my Top 5 tends to only last for small periods of time before someone else is alternated in and the weakest link gets the peace sign. I think finding who you want your Top 5 to be is an integral part of a #TwentySomething‘s existence. We have to find our tribe and ditch the ones who don’t fit the profile. I hate to be so frank about this and I surely don’t mean that to be negative, I just also subscribe to another theory of friendship that says relationships end when they have served a certain purpose. Kanye couldn’t have phrased in better than he did in his 2005 song Hear Em Say:
I feel like it’s important to remember that you are not always the same person. As we move throughout life, our goals change, our aspirations differ and our interests shift to match the place we are at in life. Not all of our relationships can outlast these stages of change and in fact, many won’t. Sometimes the strain on the relationship is subtle and you simply lose touch, but other times it can be nothing short of Shakespeare-worthy drama. It really all depends on the relationship and how much it meant to you. But just because it is gone, doesn’t mean it didn’t serve you well while it lasted. Never take those people and the lessons they may have provided you for granted.
Personally, I have gone through loss a few times in my fairly short existence and relationships that once surrounded me have ended more times than I would like to admit. Some of the deepest friendships I have ever had have fizzled into nothing, some have ended in the most dramatic of fashions and some of those relationships, by choice, were just plain necessary to drop like a bad habit. No matter how it ends, there is always a lingering feeling of loss. I always wonder what I could have done differently and sometimes I can drive myself crazy over what influenced the outcome, but that can get exhausting. As Drake would say,
“don’t think about it too much.”
Obsessing over loss is not healthy. The best way I have learned to deal with losing someone or something that once had a significant role in my life is to remind myself that as my life changes, so must my scenery. I will not always be the same person and consequently, I will not always attract the same people to my life. Everyone you encounter deserves a certain space in time, but not everyone deserves to stay. Some people stay for long periods, some are just momentary acquaintances, and regardless of how much or how little of an influence they had on your life, always remember that everyone is brought into your world for a reason. Even when I could feel the hurt of the loss to my core, I knew it was never worth harboring ill will (long term; even though there were a few times that hate seemed much easier to do immediately following the situations that occured). As I have gotten older and somewhat wiser, I have adopted a little mantra about relationships that I can thank my generation’s Queen of Rap, Nikki Minaj for:
“I rock with people for how they make me feel, not what they give me. Even the ones that hurt me the most, I still show forgiveness.”
I know it’s not exactly fair to compare one situation to another because they can never be identical, but going through a few of these tough situations in regards to friendships, situations, and opportunities has made me realize that these varying degrees of loss in my life won’t end my world. They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. That’s a tad bit dramatic right? Maybe. But it’s worked for me. And the lessons I have learned have empowered me with the knowledge to avoid the same situations, opportunities and relationships in the future. George W. Bush once said “Fool me once, you can’t get fooled again.” So for those who try to take advantage, shame on you. For those who I let in after they have shown their true colors, shame on me. But best believe I won’t make the same mistake more than twice. Should there by a strike 3, the only response you will hear from me is,
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