What does it truly mean to miss someone? And why do we miss them? Was it their smile? The drama they brought into your life? Or some other, indefinable quality?
I think what it really boils down to is the way they made us feel.
Emotions are not only integral to the human experience, they also mirror it, changing all the time just as we change all the time. Our circumstances, personalities, beliefs and experiences evolve. The way you and I interacted before may not be how we interact now, or how we will in the future, yet we expect that it will be. The way I felt, thought, and looked 7, or 5, or even 2 years ago is not the same as how I feel, think, and look now.
Change Is Always Occuring
Truthfully, change occurs on every level of our being, right down to our cells. Things are constantly in flux; it’s the nature of reality. Pain comes and goes. People live and die. The sun rises and sets. Our individual evolutions promote changes in others’ lives, and sometimes we learn that people aren’t who we thought they were, or they aren’t that person any longer. And that’s fine. People change and relationships end. Period.
I found myself quite friendless in my first year of university, which was a new experience for me, having had many friends in high school. I was prom queen, student council president, and played all sorts of sports, so when I realized I had no one to call up and go to a pub night with or even eat lunch with between classes, I was pretty sad. There was definitely personal growth taking place, but it sucked.
Then I met a friend in one of my philosophy classes. We hit it off right away after she asked to borrow a pen. We chatted and found there were common interests shared. As time went on, we started hanging out more and more and she introduced me to a wider group of friends, a few of which I still keep in contact with.
It was like no other friendship I had had before because, up until that point, I’d never had someone in my life that I considered a ‘best friend.’ That term was reserved for a very special person that would never, ever let me down — a definition I’ve come to recognize was a complete fantasy, of course. I’ve learned that when ‘never’ or ‘always’ come up in my beliefs, I need to reevaluate them. These absolutes don’t exist in the real world, for perfectly imperfect beings like ourselves, and expecting them to just sets yourself up for inevitable disappointment.
There were things I really admired about her, like her ability to strike up a conversation with just about anyone, the way she applied her makeup, the way she was so ‘ride or die’ with her friends. Later, I realized the latter was a blessing and a curse because it led her to some altercations that she really didn’t need to get involved in. But we had quite a few fun adventures that were worth all the heartache.
There were times in our friendship when I questioned my own identity, and things took a turn for the worse. Feelings of jealousy and anger emerged, and she definitely hurt me. But she was my friend, she knew things about me, things at the time no one else did. Aren’t I big enough to let things go and just forgive?, I thought. The answer was yes, but there are only so many times and signs one can ignore before saying enough is enough.
We had a falling out, then reconnected again after some time. I was pretty hesitant at first, but I thought to myself, people change. Later that night, things fell apart once again in a text message battle. There was yet another attempt at connection after a few years, but in the end it just didn’t work.
Some Relationships.. Just End
Ending relationships isn’t easy, particularly since it’s rare that both parties are ready and willing to let go. Having enough courage to be true to yourself and being brave in the face of fear will set you apart from those ‘stuck’ in relationships that have run their course. We are creatures of habit and familiarity. Being terrified of the unknown keeps us bound in circumstances our heart knows ended a long time ago, and the stress and anxiety we feel is usually the result of this disconnect between our heart and our mind.
I learned a lot from that friendship, but the biggest takeaway came when she reached out again and I just didn’t respond. Some may find that cold or harsh but I say it was the biggest lesson for me because I came to a deep understanding that this person is not meant to be in my life and it’s better that way. Saying no is okay. We serve neither ourselves nor others by holding on to stagnant or unfulfilling relationships.
People come into our lives for a season, a reason, or a lifetime. Honouring, understanding, and accepting that will truly set humanity on the path of collective evolution in the love/relationship realm.
Relationships come and go in and out of our lives. Some stay longer than others but I’m coming to the profound recognition that the greatest relationship I will ever have in my entire lifetime is — you guessed it — with myself. And that’s a totally different article.