Howdy, dear readers, and welcome to today’s discussion on a topic I know all too well – letting go of relationships. It’s hard. It’s painful. It’s sad. But at certain points, it’s necessary. Learning to let go of the past and move on is difficult, especially in high school when it can seem so hard emotionally. With relationships in particular, the guilt can be enormous. Today, we’ll be looking at the emotional pain of ending relationships, and how you can work to move on over time.
At one point during freshman year, I had a good friend who was struggling. We both shared intimate details of our lives and relied on each other for emotional support. Until she began to send me texts that made me concerned. Cryptic messages and statements that made me worry for her safety. I knew at that point that I couldn’t help her on my own, so I elected to show them to a trusted teacher who referred her to the school counselor. Though she got the immediate help that she needed, she struggled to trust me again. Our friendship ended shortly after.
In another, more recent situation, a friendship developed between me and a guy that was remarkably toxic. He would initiate arguments and then cut me off before I’d have a chance to respond. He’d say something concerning and would retract it before I could ask if he was okay. He’d tell me to excommunicate myself from his life and would initiate conversations with me days later. It became apparent that our friendship was no longer sustainable for me. I found myself having to be his therapist, his peer, and his rival simultaneously, and in the end, I couldn’t do it anymore.
Both situations, though very different, ended the same way. With me losing a friend I cared deeply about, and having to let go. And let me tell you, I’m awful at letting go. Of anything. I still have worksheets from fifth grade littering my desk. How can anyone expect me to successfully cope with ending longterm friendships when I struggle to throw away my old coloring books?
“You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy” – C. Joybell C.
When I heard this quote, I immediately grabbed a pen and scribbled it onto my arm. I knew I’d need to remember this one. As a weightlifter and a high school student with an extremely heavy backpack, I know from experience that you can only carry so much before your shoulders give out. No one expects you to carry more than you can hold physically. Why should it be any different mentally? If you find yourself carrying another’s burden in a way that’s wearing you down, let it go. Know that it isn’t your job to carry it for them. You have your own burden anyway.
Part of practicing mindfulness is being aware. Recognizing when things get to be too much is key. And know that you do not have to be everything for everybody. You can be a friend and emotionally support someone without taking on their troubles.
When I recognize that a relationship has become hard for me to sustain, I weigh the pain of cutting ties with the pain the relationship is causing. And if I get to the point where that comparison is made, I already know the answer.
If a relationship is more painful to continue, it’s okay to let go. Even needed. Tell them that you need some space, that you can no longer support them in the way you once did. Let them know that it’s not their fault, but the friendship has become too much for you to handle. Try to end it on good terms. Be truthful; to the person, and to yourself.
You have to be okay before you can help others get there. You have to love yourself before you can love other people. And if constantly having to support others is preventing you from being able to focus on yourself, that reason is valid enough. Because at the end of the day, when the rest of your world is winding down and your mind is the only thing remaining, you need to have enough strength left over for you.
I hope you are all safe and well during this difficult time.
Your fellow crusader