This might come as a surprise, but I’ve never considered myself someone who is “good” at relationships. Throughout my life I’ve had many falling outs with girlfriends, really rocky break-ups with boyfriends, and uncomfortable dysfunction with family.
I can vividly picture myself every time a relationship went sour, wondering what I had done wrong, trying to figure out why the relationship didn’t last, and writing crazy stories about what it meant about me, as a human. I thought it reflected something really subpar in myself, such as I was unworthy of having healthy relationships. I wondered if I was too difficult, high maintenance, or weird to be loved in the way that I felt I should be.
Somewhere along the way in my life, I picked up the belief that a sure sign of someone who is “successful” in relationships is the quantity of longstanding relationships a person has. Meaning, I watched too much Babysitters’ Club, and I read too many memes from Pinterest that made me believe that functional humans maintain the same relationships and the same dynamics, forever. You are suppose to have the same group of girlfriends your whole life, if you’re a normal person, right?
I recently had to come face to face with this belief when a longstanding, important friendship hit a very large bump in the road. I was devastated, uncomfortable, angry and confused. But oddly enough, I was also embarrassed.
What did it mean about me, if yet again, I was sorting through another relationship that hadn’t lasted like I expected it to? I sat with myself questioning everything. I wondered what I had done wrong? Why did it seem I was so difficult to love? How did I seem to be in this situation so often?
In all of my introspection and reflection on the topic, I realized something that I wished I had known so many years ago:
It’s okay for a friendship (or a relationship) to end.
I felt such relief even typing that sentence again. It’s truly okay if a relationship is no longer. Similarly, it’s okay if a relationship takes a pause. It’s okay if a relationship changes form and dynamic. It’s okay for relationships to unfold differently than you expected them to.
The truth about relationships is that they are in a constant state of flux. We are all always changing. We are being influenced by life, its circumstances, and our own unique paths. Sometimes life will bring people into your life, and sometimes it will remove them.
When I finally realized and owned within my soul, that the way a relationship plays out, does not equate to my worthiness or ability to be loved, I felt a sense of peace and freedom not felt in this area in a long, long time.
I replaced the fear of losing people with the belief that life would always present the perfect people for me in each moment of my life. My shame and sadness about relationship failures of the past, has now been replaced with curious optimism about what new relationships will bloom in my future.
I really do think it’s true what they say, that relationships can come into your life for a reason or a season or a lifetime. Some relationships come to teach us powerful lessons, some will bring stories, memories, heartache and love, and some truly are here for the long haul.
It isn’t up to us to decide how a relationship will unfold, and it isn’t constructive for us to place our self-worth in how our relationships workout. What we can control and what is our responsibility is how we show up, how to stay true to who we are, how we honor ourselves and our values. Trust that life will continue to present the right people, at the right time.
Michelle is Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life's Creative Director and resident writer. She has a degree in Journalism from Indiana University and is also a certified holistic health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and registered yoga teacher with trainings with Anuttara Yoga Shala and Strala Yoga. Michelle has a deep desire to help people find happiness in all areas of their lives, and truly believes the Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life movement will bring lasting change to the world. Michelle splits her time between Florida and New York City and loves connecting with people from all over the world. If you'd like to contact her, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org