When People Leave… (and How To Save Yourself a Lot of Pain)

People weave in and out of our lives. Whether because of job relocation, offense, or plain old growing apart, relationships change. Sometimes the change is a relief, and other times we don’t want to say goodbye. It can be hard, but often make it harder…

Before I tell you how, let me share a quick story.

One of my favorite relationships in life lasted only two years, after which we parted quickly and permanently. During this friendship, I learned much, growing spiritually and emotionally. It changed my life. I am a different person because of our time together. Every time we met, I left encouraged and motivated. After two years, job relocation ended it abruptly. It never resumed. I think we both would have enjoyed continuing, but also knew it was time for the mentorship to conclude.

I mourned that relationship for months. I thought every day about our conversations, and missed my mentor terribly. I ached to have the friendship again. I remember reaching a point of decision though – I had to choose between staying fixated on the past, and moving forward glad for the time that was.

I chose to move forward with gladness. That choice has saved me a great deal of pain.
I’ve seen people wrecked over the choice to stay fixated on the past. If only this, and I wish that. The biggest mistake we make in the midst of sadness, is staying in it too long.

Healthy sorrow, with enough time, rots to become discontentment.

Mourning is valid – essential actually. But even mourning runs its course. After that, it become toxic, blinding us to the present. Suddenly all the relationships, health and possessions we have are not enough. The future looks bleak and lonely, and our face can no longer support a smile. We become discontent, and can find no joy.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

If you’ve held on to mourning to the point of toxicity, you need to know there is joy waiting for you. Kiss the past goodbye, appreciating it for what it was. Then (and only then) will you be available to enjoy what’s right in front of you. Let go to grab on to something new.

Do you find joy in the job, health, and relationships you have right now?
If not, rancid sorrow may be why.


How have you found this to be true in your own life? How did letting go of the past help you embrace – and enjoy – the present? I’d love to hear about it.





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