I’ve found myself doing it a lot this week.
Last night, for instance, I scrolled through years of messages and images on my Facebook feed. The night before that, I had a dream involving an old college friend I no longer speak to.
In short, I’ve been in a nostalgia spiral, of sorts.
I’ve been thinking of past relationships and friendships, the minutiae of which is lost in the mists of time. The gist of it, though, is this: I’ve been mourning people and relationships no longer in my life. And it hurts.
What Could Have Been
Maybe this is you, too?
Maybe you hold onto past relationships longer than you should, living in the past and regretting what could have been.
For me, the hardest relationships to let go of are the ones where there has been an abundance of shared history.
New friendships absolutely have their merit, but there’s a magical, hard-to-replicate quality of an old, been-there-through-everything friendship.
The friend who was there during a bad breakup, the one who you endured your freshman year of college with, the one who held your train as you walked down the aisle. No matter how close you get to a new friend, they weren’t part of these life-altering, milestone events that made you who you are.
So where does that leave you when you’re holding the pieces of a shattered relationship?
This morning, I went for a long walk and committed these words to memory:
“Your worth does not depend on someone else’s choices.” -Connor Beaton
And, of course, it’s true.
It’s hard to admit, but this sentiment seems to be at the core of my recent nostalgia for relationships lost. If they didn’t want to continue the friendship, I think to myself, it must be because I’m not worthy of their time and effort.
It’s a lie, of course, but it’s more prevalent than we’d like to admit to.
Our worthiness simply does not depend on a relationship ending, an invite that doesn’t come, or being pass over for an opportunity.
Read that again and let the truth of it sink in. Your worth and mine doesn’t depend one iota on another person’s opinion.
It never has and never will. There’s great freedom in recognizing that.
It’s all well and good to say this, of course, but how do you really commit this idea deep in your marrow and lean into it?
Let it be said, I’m not writing this because I have all the answers. I’m writing to figure it out alongside you, but I have a few ideas that may help.
Acknowledge it. We can’t heal from what we don’t acknowledge.
Recognizing that you are hurting as a result of these lost relationships and opportunities is hard, but crucial. Understanding that we feel less worthy, less deserving as a result of these snubs is the first step towards healing.
Bring yourself back to the present. When you find yourself in a nostalgia spiral, dwelling needlessly on relationships in the past, gently bring yourself back to the present.
Acknowledge the loss, but recognize it’s painful, not helpful, to continue down that path. Without judgement, focus on something in the present. A project, a friendship, a deep breath, a moment of gratitude are all good options for refocusing your attention.
Recognize the gift. Not all opportunities are right for you in this particular moment and not all relationships are meant for forever.
I’m learning that friendships evolve and not everyone who’s a part of your journey is meant to stick around until the end.
Each friendship has gifts and lessons to impart, and when it’s time to let go, it’s the sign of the inception of something new. Not necessarily something better, but something that will help you grow and evolve a little more into your true self.
When you’re passed over for an opportunity, it’s helpful to remember this: every “yes” to something means a “no” to something else. What can you now focus on and prioritize because you didn’t get that must-have opportunity?
None of this is easy, but I definitely believe it’s work worth doing.
Untangling your worthiness from the opinion or choice of someone else can take time, but there’s great freedom on the other side.
Let’s work to uncover our true value. And then celebrate it.
Because you’re always worth it.