necessary loss

135477

The concept of “necessary loss” has been revolutionary to me recently. Loss is rarely present without a web of complexity–in not only the grief, but the other emotions that arise, depending on the kind of loss you’re experiencing.

This is not to say all losses are necessary. Losses cannot be generalized that way. But, there are some kinds of loss that may end up falling in the “necessary” category.

I’m reflecting on this, because my life this year has had the overarching theme of “loss.” I did not only lose my romantic partner; I am losing my two current jobs in lieu of a new full-time job I will be starting in two weeks. I am losing clients I have worked with for at least 2-3 years as a result of my leaving. On a personal front, I have been losing all kinds of friends, and even parts of myself.

This is where the necessary part comes in.

When the loss of my ex first started everything off, I was feeling anxious and depressed, in addition to grief. When more losses rolled in, I felt overwhelmed. But now that I am at the end of the year and at a place where I can see all of this more clearly,  I realize that despite the turmoil and struggle, some of those losses were/are needed.

My ex? He was narcissistic and emotionally abusive. My job? Toxic environment and I’ve hated working there the past 10 months. My best friend? He’s been MIA the entire year, and it’s not too much to ask to want a best friend who is present more than 20% of the time. My other best friend? She’s more concerned with getting emotional support than giving it. Other friends and acquaintances I’ve chosen to not engage with anymore? More concerned with meeting their own selfish needs. The part of me that feels compelled to give at the expense of herself, making herself invisible in order to make space for others? Well, it’s because of that part I got into the aforementioned mess in the first place. It’s no longer serving a good purpose–in actuality, that part of myself is harming me a great deal more than helping.

My therapist brought up the term “blessed subtractions,” and I think it’s very fitting for my current life’s circumstances. It’s a blessing that I am no longer in an abusive relationship with a narcissist. It’s a blessing that I found a new job, even if it means building a new normal. It’s possibly a blessing that my clients will be getting a new therapist–that new person may give them something I may not have been able to give. It’s a blessing that I’m losing the friends I’m losing, because I need friends who can reciprocate support, love, and care–and not expect me to do all the work. It’s my responsibility to give myself what I need, and to trim out what’s not working.

Letting go has never been easy for me. It could be because I lost my father when I was fifteen, or the fact that I grew up never given emotional support from my family. Maybe both. I’ve been fearful of the grief and being consumed by it. But learning to let go is an essential skill of life… I’m only now just learning. Because there are fates worse than grief–like being stuck in a life of perpetual gray and unhappiness, or settling for abuse and emotional starvation. Grief and loss are tough, I know all too well. But all feelings pass. No exceptions.

And perhaps you’ll find that once you’ve let go of some of the unnecessary sacks you’ve been carrying, you’re free to pick up something new. Something better. I put my hopes in that.

 

lifetime of friends

0622

When I was young, I remember all the glittery “friends forever” stickers and notes and talk of how my friends and I would always be “the best of friends.” I genuinely believed in BFFLs and the everlasting support of “girl power.”

Maybe it’s all those Spice Girls songs I listened to.

I think many of us still think that way today, especially with those friends who we develop a very strong bond with. But one thing that I’ve learned in this life as I’ve grown up (and still growing) is what one of my friends told me: friendships don’t last forever. At first, I found myself objecting to this idea, but then soon realized that he was right. Our friendships have a lifetime… ideally, it may be upon our death or theirs. But 90% of the time, it usually ends much earlier. It’s something I’ve talked to about with my fellow therapists and supervisor, so I know I am not alone in this experience.

From middle school up until college and graduate school, I thought the friends I made would be friends for life. As the Spice Girls once sang, “Friendship never ends.” But then after we all graduated or moved onto different places and continued on in our journeys, it became very difficult to keep in touch. Soon we stopped talking completely. Sometimes there’s the occasional “like” or comment on Facebook or Instagram, but that’s hardly anything to prop up a strong friendship. Even with the friends I made in the past two years and developed strong bonds with, I’ve come find now that some aren’t as strong as they used to be. I’m changing, they’re changing, and we’re not clicking the way we used to.

So this is the conclusion I’m coming to. As we go on in our self-growth, it is a guarantee that we won’t remain the same. So as a result, we may not connect to the same people the same way. Sometimes we might find that certain bonds grow strong, and others grow weaker. But that’s okay. Perhaps that’s the beauty and fun of life.

Before, I put a lot of work into making my friendships “last forever,” and feeling burnt out because of it. We weren’t as close as we used to be, and they weren’t putting in the effort that I was. But now I think that maybe it’s okay if the friendship slowly dies out. Or it’s even expected. If I go in with the mindset that friendships don’t last forever, it actually releases a lot of pressure. Maybe that person made a significant impact during a part of my life journey, but they don’t have to stay if they don’t want to. Many times our paths splinter apart and we go our separate ways. That doesn’t mean that their presence was any less significant, just because they aren’t here with us now. Those friends were there when we needed them and gave color to our experiences. We will always cherish and carry those memories with us. It’s hard to let those friendships pass, but it seems better to look forward to the new friendships ahead, than to keep mourning for the ones we lost.

So rather than fight against the mortality of friendships, we could instead embrace that we will cross path with many others in our lives who will contribute to our growth and augment our joy. It doesn’t have to only be your middle school best friend or college roommate. If anything, the diverse touches we experience from others throughout our lives can shape us much more than the hands of one person.

Regardless of how the chips fall, I am and will always be grateful. I’m grateful for the friends of my past who gave me love and support, for the friends of my present who continue on that tradition, and for the friends of my future who I have yet to meet, but know that they too will touch my heart just as all those before them.

practicing self-love

                159742

I never make New Years’ resolutions, because I believe that you can take on the battle of change toward life and growth at any moment of your life, regardless of human constructs of time.

But this year I did make a resolution, as my new commitment fell along with the coming of the new year. My commitment: practice self-love and self-acceptance at every moment and turn. Even when I make mistakes, fail, or fall short… I will love and accept myself as I am. Always.

As I begun to take on this heavy endeavor, I soon started to realize the severity of how critically I viewed myself, cut myself up, for anything and everything. For not doing something right, not speaking as eloquently as someone else, not being stick-skinny, hating my reflection in the mirror, my eyes, my lips, the fact I suck at math, my own tendency to be so critical, even with myself. This list could go on, but of course it could, because when you want to hate something or someone, you will always find something to hate. Yet the same goes with love. If you view through the lens of “I will love this person,” you’ll then start to see the beauty they hold. It boils down to what lens you wish to put on when you look.

So I’ve been trying to re-orient my mind, my perspective, which is a constant effort, as I’ve become quite adapt at being critical with myself. But in doing this, a feeling of liberation has been easing its way into my being, little by little. Maybe I’m made this way for a reason, for a purpose. God is using every bit of me for His good, to be an encouragement to others. I used to hate myself for being “too sensitive” or being “so emotional” with people or situations, because that was what I was often criticized for. But yesterday, I came to a huge discovery: what if being sensitive, or having a deeply caring heart is my nature? What if my purpose is to feel deeply? And thus all of this time, I’ve been letting others get to me and subsequently letting myself deny my true nature?

Loving yourself for who you are is a huge act to take on, one that I cannot break down in a simple post. Perhaps I may in future blog posts. But one of the lessons I am learning so far is that loving yourself fully means allowing you to be you. Even if you’re not where you want to be now, allow yourself to be in this moment and this space, and accept yourself for who and where you are. Because being you as you are could very well be your nature, and in that, you can effect such wonderful good and light in this world. I believe we should always strive toward change and growth, but in the same hand, allow ourselves to be in the present, whichever stage we are at. Because there are great things to be done, wherever we may stand in our path to self-actualization.