By Priyanka Hardikar
When something good or bad in our life comes to an end, it can feel like starting a game of pool or looking at a Jackson Pollock painting: all of our messy, difficult emotions spattering in every direction on the canvas that is our life. Simply put, it can feel like too much.
It is important to understand that endings are going to hurt. Even if we chose them. Even if we know they are the right next step. Even if we saw them coming. Whether it is the ending of a job, an experience, or a relationship, we are letting go of something we loved or had grown attached to, and that is anything but easy.
When something ends, we are faced with the impetus to change, to move on a different path before we are ready. So, how do we learn to embrace endings with a little less resistance and a little more ease?
1. Take time to understand, accept & reflect on the ending
When something in our life ends, it is to make room for something new â€“ something better. But it won’t feel that way right away, and that’s completely normal. At first, we may not even understand why our relationship or job has ended, and our instinct may be to press rewind and to remain in the comfort and familiarity of our past, or to zoom ahead to the future and to disregard our ending altogether. There is nothing wrong with either of those responses, except that they are forms of denial, and it is hard to move past something without confronting it.
Take the time you need to really understand your situation. By taking the time to process your emotions, you can get rid of some of the “stuck energy” in your body, and that may be just what you need to make a mental breakthrough. Give yourself the space â€“ and the permission â€“ to be full-out angry or upset and to release those emotions in any way you need, whether that is:
- Ugly-crying in the shower
- Journaling what you need to say and don’t know how to say out loud â€“ no judgment
- Going on a run â€“ setting free of everything that has ever held you back
- Dancing in your room like no one is watching
- Flowing to your favorite music
- Calling your best friend
- Releasing tension through yoga
2. Allow Yourself to Feel
There is no “right way to feel.” So often, we tell ourselves we need to “get over it” â€“ and we will â€“ but it doesn’t have to happen instantaneously. Moving on isn’t a race, and if something we cared about â€“ that took up space in our hearts â€“ is ending, it is going to hurt. We can’t avoid the pain. It is okay to let ourselves temporarily fall apart (cue Paloma Faith’s song “Only Love Can Hurt Like This”). There is no shame in falling apart. Rather, it is a necessary part of the process of moving on and healing.
Like Pema ChÃ¶drÃ¶n says in her book, When Things Fall Apart:
“Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing. We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.”
3. Make space for the new
Approach this new stage of life with an open heart and an open mind. As clichÃ© as it â€“ endings do make way for new beginnings, and we need them to truly evolve. “Just as every sunset brings the promise of a new dawn,” the ending of one experience, relationship, or job invites another.
Create space for the new by celebrating and honoring each ending. It is hard to let go when we really don’t want to. So, maybe we don’t have to let go â€“ completely and all at once. Maybe it is enough to loosen our grip a little more each day. Because letting go is more than getting rid of something. It is as much about making space for the new and welcoming opportunities â€“ whatever they may be.