How Did We Get Here?
"Maybe we just weren’t quite ready to be in each others lives until now"- Shannon Watson.
Shannon is one of my best friends. But as she recently reminded me, although it feels like we've known each other forever, we only met at the start of this year. Before that, we were practically strangers. She also reminded me that who I am right now, isn't the person that I have always been.
True story: I have a best friend that I didn’t talk to for two years.
One day we got in a fight, and both of us — stubborn as bulls — never brought it upon ourselves to give in and apologise. In different classes and living separate lives, it felt easy to avoid each other. Like children with divorced parents, our friends spent time with us separately. For two years it went on like this. On my end, I know that every time I thought about the fight, I felt justified and in the right. I didn’t think that I needed to apologise. But every time I thought about HER and not the fight, I secretly hoped she was doing well. I felt horrible inside at the thought that we weren’t still friends. It was a waste of a good friendship, and not to mention, the ability to look someone in the eye and really know each other.
So one day, I texted her. I didn’t even bring up the fight. I simply said that what had happened was in the past, and that I hoped she was doing well. She felt exactly the same, and from there, we slid back into our old roles with far too much ease. It felt good to be around someone who — despite the years gone by — knew me so well. It went to show that life can go on and things can happen, but ultimately, your spirit remains the same. It is what makes you you, and it’s why when you connect to someone on a spiritual level as opposed to circumstantial level, you will find friendship that lasts a lifetime. The whole situation was my first blatant lesson in forgiveness. It really changed my outlook, and in a way, I’m thankful that it happened simply for what it taught me. I learned a lot from those years, and the years that have followed, and I wanted to share those lessons with you.
Forgiveness means letting go...The act of forgiveness doesn’t involve pointing fingers. It’s not about rehashing what happened. It’s about letting go. You might not even feel ready to forgive, but I encourage you to ignore all the back and forth in your head, and just do it. I’ll fully admit that I still held apprehensions when I texted my friend to make up. I had no idea what came next, whether we were going to be friends or simply civil. That wasn’t what was important though. The minute I reached out, there was an overwhelming sensation of letting go and a strong sense of relief. Reach out, have that conversation, and you can always decide later what will come next.
Things will change forever, for the better... As I write this article, today marks two years since I reached out. And still, two years on, it never ceases to amaze me how daily, things about the world just seem to be making more and more sense to me. For instance, this quote two-and-a-bit years ago would have seemed like another hippie-esque cliché …but hindsight is a beautiful thing.
“The flower that blooms in adversity, is the rarest and most beautiful of all.”
You see, friendship is one of the most important, beautiful and rewarding things. I always fell a sharp pang of shame when I say I am grateful for that fight– but had I not suffered such a tremendous loss, I would not appreciate nearly as much the amazing friends I have right now, or have the positive outlook on life that I seem to have these days.
You don’t realise what you’re missing... Holding onto negative energy makes you blind. It’s really hard to acknowledge how your actions are affecting those around you, as well as how they inhibit your relationship with everyone involved. Our petty separation caused a tear in our group of friends so much so that we couldn’t even remember how strong we were as a whole. Sometimes our friends would avoid us both because they didn’t want to choose one over the other. It sent us all in separate directions. But once the we healed the scar, we were able to be a group again. The amount of support and love that came from that blew me away. Neither of us had any idea what we were missing.
Nothing is as big as it seems... Problems begin to disappear, because in comparison to what you have just experienced, trivial issues like being late or missing the train are put in true perspective. The hardest thing during those two years wasn't only that my best friend was gone from my life, but knowing she was out there living a life that no longer included me. So suddenly being late or forgetting something, became minor, if not irrelevant speed bumps in the grand scheme of things. Things I will forever take more lovingly in my stride.
Love never leaves you...Loss is never easy. It creeps up on you and disguises itself, buried deep within those fleeting moments when something doesn’t quite feel right. It can also pop up during times of bliss and joy – it seems so crazy to cry when you are laughing, but the extreme range of emotions sometimes crossover. When you lose someone, especially over a stupid fight, you lose a piece of yourself, and it feels as if nothing will ever quite be the same. I remember times when a situation would fit perfectly an inside joke of ours, and the sadness that crept in when I no longer had someone who understood it. Jokes like that aren't as funny when the other person isn't there, and wishing she was with me became an all too common feeling.
You will learn to speak your tongue... Unfortunately for us humans, there is something that seems to holds us back in critical emotional moments. Those moments when your soul is aching for you to verbally express your love and affection toward somebody, but the fear of rejection or sounding silly makes us bite our tongue. Having the courage to do something is never easy, but when you've lost someone so important, you find a tremendous amount of courage to let the love flow. And it will keep flowing as life goes on. Suddenly you've little or no reservations about expressing emotion, happy or sad.
Sometimes, you have to forgive yourself... We’re all human. You don’t always look back on your actions and feel proud. I was honestly embarrassed that it took us so long to forgive each other, but I had to get past that. In order to allow everything to come full circle, you also have to forgive yourself. Everyone takes life in their own time, and some of us move to a different rhythm than others. Accept that about yourself, and ultimately, move on.