Reflection on the Friendships Throughout Your Journey•
Posted on November 18 2020
Edited by: Julia Giordano
The friendships that have come and gone throughout our lives should never be taken for granted. Friends are essential pieces of our life, as well as our journey. Some friends will be with you for a lifetime, while others will come and go. Regardless of the duration of time, each friend enters our life to teach us a lesson. It is up to us to be able to accept each relationship for what it is and open ourselves up enough to learn the lesson it’s meant to teach us - that way, regardless of the outcome, each friendship can always serve a purpose in our lives, one that will last even if the friendship itself doesn’t.
I like to think of my friendships as a part of chapters within my life. I have friends who have starred in certain chapters and friends who have been absent in others. Friends who have been in just a few chapters and friends who have been and will be in almost every chapter. I had a friend who was a consistent part of my story, and as of recently, no longer is. Losing a friend, especially one who has a familial connection to you, can be very hurtful. I’ve felt this pain and I am currently learning how to move forward with it after losing a friendship that I thought would last a lifetime. This is a pain that needs to be grieved, but I know that in time it will heal and I will be able to carry the memories of our friendship with me throughout my life. I want you to allow yourself to do the same.
Just because someone leaves a chapter of your life does not mean that they won’t come back. Sometimes, separation is what’s needed for you or them to grow as an individual, and into a better person. It may be you who has to work on being a better person, for yourself and others. The best friendships tend to come when you’re in the best place with your own self. When you have a healthy relationship with yourself, the more likely you are to prioritize the friendships that build you up, rather than the ones that bring you down. The best friend you can be and the best friend you can have is one who will always support the journey of self discovery and growth.
I encourage you to think of yourself like a tree. Sometimes, people can break you down the way that storms can cause branches to fall. Others fill you with joy and enlighten your soul, the same way that water revives a tree's roots, allowing it to grow strong and stable. Taking this metaphor a step further, the same way that trees experience changes with each season, our lives are often the same way - sometimes our friendships change like the leaves do. There are times that a person can be toxic for you and the best thing you can do is shed them from your life, like a browning leaf from a tree, which will put you in the position you need to be in to grow stronger and healthier.
Sometimes it takes a lot to let someone go, even if you know it’s what’s right for you, but the important thing to remember is that with each friendship you have, there’s a lesson to be learned. All relationships offer real experiences throughout our journey, try to avoid questioning why they come and go when they do and instead allow yourself to open to the potential of learning whatever it is it was meant to teach you. Sometimes even an upsetting outcome can lead you towards a path you’ve needed to embark on.
The end to a friendship can be extremely difficult, and can leave a deep scar. Sometimes losing a friend will never make sense to us, but we need to remember that we’re not walking in their shoes. We must learn not to take all relational experiences personally, but instead learn to let people follow their own journey. This is something we must always keep in mind when being a friend - the ability to readily offer support without pushing too hard can be a thin line to tread. A true friend will open their arms to you without judgement, but will also encourage you to make positive decisions for yourself. Being this kind of friend and prioritizing these friendships will offer mutual progression in your journeys.
Although, it is just as important to know your boundaries. There are times when a relationship can become toxic, and needs to be let go of for the sake of your own energy and well-being. The most meaningful and reliable relationships we can have in our lives are ones with equal balance of give and take. If you are getting less than you are receiving, that relationship is not moving you forward in your journey, which you must remember to prioritize. It is so important to know when to separate yourself from someone who is not allowing you to be the best version of yourself. This solution can be incredibly difficult to accept and incredibly painful to execute but it will always benefit you in the long run.
The hurdles we deal with throughout the relationships in our lives can leave lingering traumas. They may suppress themselves for some time, but are triggered whenever someone new to your life and the potential for you to feel the pain of loss again is brought with them. These exact triggers have caused me to put walls up to friends who were trying to enter my life. It was hard for me to believe that I would ever feel a friendship as true as the one that I’d lost ever again. But I can tell you from experience, being closed off is very lonely. I gave my fear of being hurt, and someone not being able to love me if they learned the darkness of my past enough power to hurt me on its own. Once I started to heal, I was able to open myself up enough to develop amazing new friendships.
Never stop yourself from opening up, you never know what you can teach someone or what they can teach you. Sometimes you’ll meet someone and just know that there’s a connection between you - almost as if you’ve walked another life together. Never let the pain of your past hold you back from living a life with fulfilling relationships. The right friendships are going to continue your journey in a positive way - they’ll support you and encourage you to take the personal steps towards growth that you need. There are many special people in my life who have helped me along my journey and I thank you- you know who you are and you know how much I love you.
People come into your life at the right time - be open to that - and don’t let the fear of getting hurt close you down. Work on looking back to see the lessons each relationship has taught you. Not everyone is brought into your life to stay a lifetime and it can be difficult to cope with chapters of your life ending without certain people, but a friend is never gone forever.
To close this reflection on friendship, I invite you to: hold on to moments of joy, remind yourself to be the kind of friend that you wish to have yourself, and live with enough vulnerability to let new relationships enter your life.
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