As part of my overall intention to live a balanced life, I made it a goal this month to reach out, forgive, purge and let go of past grievances, mementos, and memories I’ve hung on to from my previous relationships. After all, it’s hard to keep moving forward when you’re still hanging on to pieces of the past. I initially decided to take on this project because I felt that to truly love my singlehood and embrace my independence, I needed to take the time to nurture my health, especially in mind and spirit, and address the angst, stress, and unhappiness I sometimes feel about the fact that I am single (dating is kind of scary).
I was perhaps a little naïve in how I thought I would react to the process of sifting through old letters and photos I’ve hung onto for years. I had hoped the process would be cathartic and in fact, I actually thought I would feel indifferent to the inanimate objects I clung to. I figured enough time had passed that I would almost feel a sense of nostalgia going through everything, but I was wrong. I actually feel like I opened up old wounds and I ended up making myself cry – a lot. For a moment, I truly felt the unhappiness of my happiness project and that by deciding to dig deep I was the very instrument of my own heart ache.
It’s very easy to stick something on a shelf or in a file cabinet and forget about its existence. I should know. I’ve operated on an out of sight, out of mind mindset for years now. All I can say is it only delays the inevitable. At some point, you need to sit with whatever it is you feel and truly feel it. In this instance, I felt the anger and the hurt but I also felt the love. And by letting myself feel the love I had for them, I also began to accept it. There is an exact moment in my emotional break down where I admitted that if I were honest with myself, I would say I sometimes miss these people and that sometimes I still want them. Each of these people have shaped me in remarkably positive ways and while I appreciate their existence in my life I am ultimately grateful to them for their exit from it. Because, as Liz told me, “Sometimes you have to think beyond what you want and start considering what you deserve.”