BY ED ROBINSON
Very few people are meant to take the full journey with you in life. Sometimes you outgrow people, lose the interpersonal connection and/or leave them behind. Instead of regretting the loss, cherish the time you had together and keep it as a fond memory. I’ve written before how I believe that everyone’s life is a novel and sometimes new chapters require new characters.
It is all part of the process of growing, learning (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning) and evolving as a human being. Most every transitional point in our life involves bridging a chasm of some sort and other people are usually the means by which we cross over. However, they don’t all make the same crossing with us.
I sincerely hope that you have a close personal relationship with a lifelong romantic partner and best friend if that is what you wish. While periods of aloneness are to be expected, a lifetime of being single can be difficult and lonely. I also hope that if you are fortunate enough to have children that you have a strong enduring bond with them. However, even these long-term relationships,change and end at some point. Inevitably, someone will have to learn to carry one without the other person. Unfortunately, the loss of people we love is a part of life.
You will encounter interesting, fun, caring and happy people along the way who make your life more meaningful and abundant. This can happen in large or small doses. Sometimes a small moment in time can make all the difference in influencing the person you become. You will have the good fortune stumble across amazing mentors (if you are paying attention) who offer sage advice and model behavior you end up wanting to emulate. You will also have to deal with individuals who are difficult to like or work with, but you’ll have to navigate these relationships anyway and make the most of the experience (or not). There is always something to be learned from adversity and conflict.
We all go through stages in our life where our worldview changes. Beliefs we once held firm begin to crumble. Social circles form, break apart and reform differently. People who were critical at some periods end up less important during others. We can build and lose connections based on convenience, what we are doing, what we value, where we choose to live, our work/life circumstances, partner compatibility and our standard of living. Sometimes ending something or allowing it to diminish is the wisest choice we can make. Accept this reality as the natural course of events and don’t judge the other person or yourself too harshly when it happens.
There is certainly something powerful about the concept of loyalty and keeping lifelong connections, but for most people it is the exception not the rule especially with non-family members. Moreover, the intensity of any given connection should be expected to wax and wane. You can only go so deep with so many people at any given time. Some changes to relationships are abrupt and unforeseen while others wither gradually right before your eyes. It’s okay to decide that a particular relationship has run its course. All you can do is be the best person you possibly can be in all your close interactions. We all must all continually strive to seek out others who are good for us rather than a negative influence.
In all life throws at me I choose to be an optimist. I believe all people you come in contact with at a certain level are there for a reason. They hold a mirror up to your own soul and exist to help you become a better person one way or another. When it comes to interacting with another human being there is only so much we can control in terms of the relationship. All we can do is make the best of it whatever it is and be open to new people and new lessons along the way. Don’t hold on to your past at the expense of your future.