We spend a large part of our lives searching
Not knowing what we are searching for
But for a while we believe in perfect endings
Labels and definitions get us into trouble, especially when it comes to other people. We assign them a label and fit them into a category in our life. When circumstances change and the label no longer fits, we are unable to adapt. We struggle to prevent relationships from evolving. A childhood best friend develops new interests and connects with new friends. Our paths diverge and the relationship evolves. Instead of preserving the friendship we react with jealousy and anger. We were not ready for this change. We want things the way the used to be. Our friend has betrayed us. We put a dam in the river because we don't want the water to change directions. Sometimes the water needs to change directions. We can find new roles within each other's orbits. We are more likely to break orbit and achieve separation.
"Can we still be friends?"
For many people, that particular remark, coupled with the ending of a romantic involvement, stings like a motherfucker. One person in the relationship needs to move on, but the other is not ready to accept the change. It feels like a cold slap in the face. Everything registers at a personal level. When people move on it isn't because we failed them. Failure is relative. Relationships evolve quickly, but we spend so much time swimming against the tide. People go into counseling and take medication in a vanity driven attempt to keep change from happening. Nothing is static. We try to force oddly shaped pegs into oddly shaped holes. Then we try to keep them there.
Let change come
Swim with the tide of your life
We make plans. Often we make these plans early on in life. We define our standards for success and set off to pursue the perceived means to anticipated ends. We decide we want things and that these things are essential to our lives. Some of these things we want for ourselves. Some of these things we want because we have learned they are desired goals in life. We want to be accepted and fit in somewhere. We are afraid to end up alone and with nothing. Sometimes it is too hard to let go of things we believe we need. Sometimes you hem yourself into the dress you are trying to wear.
And when people don't acquiesce to the roles we have defined for them...
We are building dams
Waves are crashing
Here comes the undertow
And we go
So far from where we started. So far from where we wanted, or expected, to be. We penalize ourselves for this. Expectations and dreams need to change every day. They need to evolve and become stronger. This is necessary. The course we try to draw up for ourselves is generally very different from the course we are meant to take. Two streams meet in the soul and pour into one another and the river that results has trouble remembering.
The undertow takes elements out of our life we fought too hard to keep from changing. The lost love, the close friend, the family member, the mentor and the muse. We tend to fear change, and so if a relationship changes, we think something is wrong. Most of the time nothing is wrong. If we don't let go and allow it to take a new direction, the relationship becomes marked by jealousy, mistrust, envy, anger and sometimes violence. The end result is regret. We are sorry, but a lot of waves have crashed under that bridge and we have forgotten how to cross it. Things changed without us rather than with us.
Where do we go now?
The problem with not accepting change within people we are close to is that we damage the future of the relationship. The fight to preserve what was ends up bloody and confused. We say things we do not mean and do things we later regret. If we were instead to accept change and support the people we claim to love, perhaps we would continue to be part of their evolution and not an unhappy backstory. Sometimes the change in the relationship is too painful and difficult. It is important to leave room for reconciliation and re-interpretation.
Sometimes the problem lies within our own interpretation. When our input is limited, we limit our conclusions. We listen to the same voice, saying the same things, giving the same instructions. We reach out to those we think can reinforce our beliefs, rather than looking for those who can challenge them. Surrounding ourselves with those who think and act in the same manner causes us to become more comfortable being a mirror. We become reflections of our influences rather than shining out from within ourselves.
It doesn't mean you have to go very far. Sometimes it means just stepping away from the familiar patterns. Those who support us and believe in the same things we believe in aren't always the best conduits for growth. If we do not travel, we stagnate. We never think and grow if we always reject alternative opinions and new ideas. It is safe within the same familiar thoughts and feelings. Even when they leave us depressed and empty, they give us the comfort of familiarity. Seek out the unfamiliar. Attempt to understand that which hasn't already taken up residence in your mind. Allow yourself to listen. Sometimes we are too quick to reject what doesn't compute with existing data.
Letting go doesn't mean saying goodbye
It means that we want to understand
And that we'll try to always be there
No one said it would be easy
Let the river flow
Love is more than this
It was never meant to be a commandment