Coming to terms with the loss of a friendship or relationship is not an easy path in life.
We often end up questioning so much about ourselves as we grieve the ending, wondering what went wrong, how we could have prevented it or changed things. We focus in on our own perceived failing as a person, as a human, shouldering all of the weight of our emotional baggage, because surely if we can’t maintain this friendship, no one else will want to listen to us or help us navigate these stormy seas and stick by us at the end.
I’ve been in this mental headspace many times throughout my life. I’ve lost many friends and have lost relationships that I had thought, in the moment, would stand the test of time. I struggled to accept the endings, holding myself accountable, deeming myself unworthy. I spent my days, months, years with a cloud of shame hanging over my head, a cloud only I could see.
I recently revisited the most recent ending as part of a book project I contributed to. And as I went back and forth on whether or not I wanted to share the story that I chose to share, something clicked in my mind. I realized I was no longer grieving the end of that friendship. As I outlined and wrote out the story, I realized that, after the amazing amount of mindset work that I’ve done over the last two years, I didn’t feel the shame cloud hovering over me.
I didn’t feel as though I hadn’t tried hard enough, as though I was a complete failure.
I began to realize that it was a friendship I had outgrown. It was a friendship that made me feel as though I couldn’t live as my true self, as though I couldn’t live my true values.
And as I wrote my chapter, and as I think back on the endings of other friendships from years past, I’ve realized that the situations were very similar, if not the same.
I had been squashing who I truly was to try to fit in. I wasn’t living in my true self, for fear that no one would want to be friends with the real me. Because after all, who wants to be friends with the weird, nerdy girl?
As I’ve grown and worked on my mindset, on really embracing myself and finding self-belonging, I’ve come to recognize that I’ve had and belonged to certain friends unconditionally.
And as I embrace my own self-belonging, I’m much more easily finding a community of amazing, strong, courageous, and supportive women.
So, take the time to ask yourself – are you holding onto a cloud of shame? Are you refusing to grieve the endings, refusing to embrace your own self-belonging?
If you would like to read more about my processing the end of a friendship, I would love for you to check out the book, Being and Belonging
– one of three books in the Art of Flourishing book series. I hope you find something to help you on your journey in it.