How to Face the Pain of Growing Apart
What do I do when I feel my friends are not as true as I thought they were? They make plans without me and when we talk it does not feel the same. I am afraid we might be growing apart.
Growing apart from people and things is inevitable as we grow ourselves. While some people will be by our side a lifetime, others are only meant to be with us temporarily. Sometimes we have no say in which category a relationship falls under. If someone decides to leave, we cannot force them to stay. We cannot turn a relationship, or anything for that matter, back into what it no longer wants to be.
When relationships fade, our only ‘real’ choice is to keep going. We must keep living and keep trying. We must keep our hearts open to the serendipity that has yet to fall our way. There is still so much for us to discover. The ending of one chapter is always the start of another.
In my own life, I have had to grapple with the disappointment of growing apart from friends, sometimes even best friends. Before starting Pool House, I was a lawyer and I quit to start the journey I am now on. I had an unshakeable feeling I was meant to do something else. However, this transition was not easy and it meant I had to change a lot of things, both personally and professionally. I realized I was no longer the person I used to be. I realized I enjoyed waking up early to read and to watch the sunrise, instead of spending nights going out to bars and parties. I realized I fundamentally wanted something different from my life; something I had been neglecting for too long.
Understandably, this meant I was going to have to turn down certain invitations. Eventually, I no longer had to turn anything down. The invitations slowly stopped coming. No longer being invited hurt; it made me realize that some of the people I held dear were drifting away.
If we are living our lives genuinely and wholeheartedly, we will inevitably grow apart from people and things we once held close. These are called growing pains. To become the people we are destined to be, we must accept the transitory nature of our lives. We must accept that not everyone or everything will stay. By accepting impermanence, we give ourselves room to blossom. We give ourselves the opportunity to shed our cocoons for a life that is larger and more lovely than before.
Often, the first step of growth is lonely. When we shed our old skin, we expose ourselves to a new and unfamiliar world. Usually, we are alone when entering this new world and this can make us feel alienated. We may feel like we have been abandoned by the people we love, or loved, and we may question the path we are on. At this stage, we must give ourselves permission to re-imagine our lives. We must set aside the false fear that we will forever be alone and we must remember that this an opportunity to reshape our lives in a more authentic way. It is an opportunity to stop telling the same old story so we can write a new one; a story where we seize the next tide that comes our way.
Growth can be heartbreaking, especially when it involves saying goodbye to people and things we love. There is no real way to get around this pain. We have to let ourselves feel whatever arises. Unless we do, we may never open our hearts again.
To have a beautiful life, we must keep our hearts beating. This means we must let our hearts break when they get hurt. If we turn off our hearts or try to overly shield them from future pain, there is a risk they will never beat again. There is a risk we will start to prefer a life with less discomfort. But to avoid disappointment and heartbreak is to avoid life itself; it is to shelter ourselves from all of the people and things that make this life worth living. Disappointment and heartbreak are simply signs that we were genuine in our pursuit of life; they mean we cared, and still do.
The realization we are moving on from a chapter of our lives can be frightening. It can be painful leaving the home we have known and are comfortable with for another. The only solace on this lonely yet worthwhile road is remembering we still have so much ahead. There are still beautiful people we have yet to meet and marvelous place we have yet to explore. To encounter these people and to discover these places, we must let go of who and what is already gone. We must let go of the people and things we were always destined to say goodbye to. We must let go so we can make room for someone new inside of us; someone who is already here and who is looking for us too.
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