When I was a kid, I would always order chicken parm at steakhouses and then exclaim to my mom that it wasn’t really that good. I just always ordered chicken parm wherever I went because I was scared to try anything else on the menu. Now, as an adult, I’ve come to realize I do the exact same thing with people.
Many people come and go in our lives. For me, the “going” has usually been a result of moving, growing apart, or just withering contact until the person becomes a stranger to me. This isn’t sad to me, and it’s nothing personal – this is natural. However, something I have always struggled with is actively letting go of someone that is knowingly or unknowingly causing me pain by being around them.
Using my food analogy, I want to emphasize that these people are not necessarily bad people, they just aren’t the type of people I have the right taste for. Those steakhouses I went to probably made bomb steaks, but I just wanted to eat my chicken parm.
What I’m saying is I should have picked a different restaurant.
This behavior in itself is harmful. It’s something that has been difficult for me to notice. It’s kind of like every time I hang around someone that ultimately is no good for me, I inject a little bit of snake venom into myself. Just a little, not enough to kill me, just enough to cause an annoying yet ignorable pain.
I know I have to forgive myself for how long it has taken me to figure this out but the important thing is I am aware of it now and will be for the rest of my life.
It’s all good and well to say “this isn’t good for me I should walk away” but the fact of the matter is that is so damn hard.
Even though you know it’s what’s best for you, it’s still hard. And why is that? Why is it so hard to abandon something that causes us pain? Are we stupid? Crazy? No, I don’t think so.
I don’t think it’s even so much that we need to let go of the person. That’s probably already been done subconsciously and manifests in the form of self-doubting, not wanting to come across a certain way, walking on eggshells around them, or knowing that an end is inevitable and just clinging to something that was never ours.
What we need to do is to let go of our reasoning for holding on to this person. For the most part this is fear. Being afraid of being alone, being afraid of failing as a lover or a friend, being afraid of losing the comfort that person provides. Excuse me, let me rephrase – losing the comfort of knowing what to expect from that person even though it’s not always good. I know I get so hung up on “it’s always been this way” or “this person has been in my life so long there’s no way I can just let them go.” But the thing is, I can. And I’m not doing anything wrong for it.
We have to break our painful addictions that come in the form of other people. If we never do that, we’ll never find the ones we’re meant to be with. We have to let go of numbness disguised as comfort in order to experience love and friendship in its purest state.
In order to find the things in this life worth holding onto, we must first master the art of letting go.