Except for the things that stay the same
In an earlier article, I mentioned having a conversation with a friend whose heart was breaking because a relationship ended. If you recall, as I was trying to console this person they told me repeatedly that I just didn't know. But I did know, and in this situation I knew exactly what was going through their head.
Many years ago, I had a very strong relationship with a girl who I thought was the love of my life. Now I was maybe 23 at the time, had already divorced once, and thought I knew everything there is to know about relationships and people. I'm sure you realize that this couldn't be farther from the truth.
As you might imagine, I did some very stupid things to change my surroundings and days later, hundreds of miles from home, I was broke and still broken hearted. Everything changes except for the things that stay the same. It was then and for the first time in my young life that I realized this cold hard fact. You can change your surroundings, you can change the place you work, the car you drive, and even the friends you hang out with. But no matter what you change, everything inside you stays the same.
Obviously I lived through that time in my life, but it was during this painful time in my life that I learned 2 valuable lessons so profound that they began to change my life and the way I would forever look at relationships. The sad thing is, some people never learn these lessons. And if they do, it's much later in life.
Many of my friends aren't very excepting of this first lesson. They find it condescending and negative. I really shouldn't call it a lesson, it's actually more of a concept. There is really only one way I can put this.
This is true of everyone in our lives. The most important thing you learn from this simple but absolutely true concept is acceptance. Nothing in life is really permanent and the sooner we can grasp the reality of this statement, the easier it is to accept these kinds of changes. Once you realize this sad fact, you also learn to be less dependent on those around you who have not yet left.
This is true of someone who can't accept the fact that Everyone Leaves. I had to travel hundreds of miles away, waste thousands of dollars, and upset everyone else in my life to learn this: Without being able to accept the signifiant changes in our lives, we stay exactly the same. The fact is, we can only change ourselves, our initial reactions to changes in our lives, and how we cope over time with the changes in daily routine when someone that is significant in our lives is suddenly gone.
I realize that today is Valentines day, and I picked this topic today for a reason. There are people, even friends of mine out there who suffer through the loss of a loved one even as I write this article. And today this suffering is magnified. But if they somehow get to read this article, maybe, just maybe they might begin to find peace from it's words.
Your life is yours, and regardless if the people closest to you leave or not, you are still responsible for your own life and wellbeing. My simple instruction to you is to learn to live independently because eventually, everyone leaves. And finally, learn that change comes from within, not from changes to your surroundings.
Without learning to loosen your dependance on other people in your life, and realizing that the only change that matters is the change that comes from within, someday you'll be left alone and and without coping skills.
I've touched very briefly here on two topics that will certainly generate a significant amount of discussion. I look forward to hearing everyone's thoughts as I prepare to expand on the topic for my upcoming book.
Thank you for sticking with me for this controversial view on the demise of relationships. I hope that learning these two concepts will somehow help you at times of loss, and prepare you for future loss.
Whether we like it or not, everyone leaves.