The most difficult lessons to learn
are also the most valuable.

There is the simple "good-bye" that one person says to another at the end of the day or at the conclusion of a meeting. Then there is the powerful "good-bye" that is capable of changing the nature of human relationships. The value and power of this "good-bye" was a lesson I learned long ago, and strive to remember. Sometimes it is final. Other times it is merely the representation of finality that causes a change.

"You have to be able to say good-bye.
Otherwise other people will always be able to control you.
If you can't say good-bye then they know no matter what they do, you'll be there.
You become a punching bag."
--The Muse

Willingness to say good-bye and to walk away may be a cynical approach to human relationships, but the other side of the coin tells us something about being unable to say good-bye. Mental, emotional and physical abuse are enabled when you refuse to walk away. If someone knows they can beat you down or smack you in the head with a tire iron and you'll still be there in the morning, it increases the chances that they will do just that.

Sometimes we consider it critical to keep people in our lives. Friends, lovers and on a more difficult level, family members, are seen as essential. They may provide a great number of positive additions to our lives, but at the same time there may be a darker side.

"He just hits me when he's angry.
Deep down he really loves me and he's so sweet most of the time."

The power of "good-bye" can change the nature of things because it takes the power to control the relationship out of one person's hands, places it temporarily in the hands of the other, and with the development of mutual respect lands them on equal terms. If you are afraid to lose someone from your life and they are perfectly willing to walk away, then who is sitting in the driver's seat? A healthy relationship on any level requires mutual respect, and it is hard to respect anyone who is willing to swallow your bullshit and ask for more.

Love and friendship and all the rest of life's little sherbets aren't supposed to be a power struggle. Respect, however, is earned and rarely given out as freely as cell phones at the mall. Respect is key to any relationship, and this is where the struggle occurs. You deserve better than to be abused and taken for granted, but if you let it happen, by shrinking and being unable to say "good-bye" then you deflate your self-respect and become a target for those who would use you as a punching bag. If you are willing to say "good-bye" and to walk away, you could lose someone, but if they are worth keeping around, they will come back, and understand the power of your "good-bye." And you'll earn some respect in the process...

From the other person, yes
but more importantly, for yourself.

Good`-by", Good`-bye" (?), n. ∨ interj. [A contraction of God be with ye (God be w&icr; ye, God bw' ye, God bwye).]

Farewell; a form of address used at parting. See the last Note under By, prep.


© Webster 1913.

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