One of the hardest things I had to do was let go of someone I did not want to release.
I was not ready to have this person leave my life, but they no longer wanted me in theirs. I am not talking about a loss such as divorce or death.
Sometimes people just shut us out.
There might be an obvious reason for the disconnect: argument, betrayal, disrespect, etc. But there might also be a time when someone stops acknowledging us due to no reason at all. At least not one known to us.
The fact there is no defined cause for the break or clear moment to reflect on makes the estrangement that much harder to understand.
Our first instinct is to question our role. What did we say? What did we do? Did we let them down? Hurt them somehow? Where did we fail? What grievous error did we make? What unknown line did we cross?
Why would this person simply let us go without warning?
It is natural to believe we are to blame. Though this might indeed be the case, more often people do things and make decisions that have absolutely nothing to do with us. Maybe they are making big changes or following a new path. Perhaps they are caught in the trappings of daily life.
We may not be the intended target but simply collateral damage.
Once we determine we have not done anything wrong, we can experience a varying range of emotions. We might feel relief if the relationship was toxic or damaging. But if it was someone we care deeply about (a dear friend) or love (a family member), the hurt can run deep and wide.
As with any loss, overcoming the pain can take time. And for some, moving on becomes impossible. The constant wonder of what happened can stall any progress or enlightenment. And in the worst instances, it leaves the person feeling so rejected, they find it difficult to trust or become close to another.
If someone you value no longer cares to connect, there are different ways to approach it:
- Be friendly but uncommitted. Politely participate in interactions (no matter how big or small) whenever paths cross. There is no malice or resentment in this approach but little attempt is made to pursue a deeper relationship.
- Choose to take the high road. This option is particularly helpful in family or social situations where avoidance is not possible. Interactions with some people are inevitable, and it is unfair to subject others to any falling out. Be present and thoughtful.
- Seek to find an answer. This is best handled in a careful manner and environment where no one feels ambushed or attacked. The primary goal? Discover what caused the break. Perhaps it can be mended or maybe it is beyond repair, but at least it is known.
- Simply move on. Some people come into our lives for a specific purpose but are not meant to stay forever. Appreciate the time shared together. Look for the lesson. Learn from it. And use the knowledge to create better days and more meaningful connections.
Relationships should not be uncomfortable or forced. And while someone might make us feel unwanted, it may be the universe sending a gentle reminder: focus on those who fulfill our lives and bring us joy.
We may never truly understand the reason someone shuts us out, but perhaps we are not meant to. Sometimes life is simply about letting go of one thing so we can grab onto something else.
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~Inspired ME, Joyful BE
Photo by George Bonev @ Unsplash