Can we stop glorifying our past relationships now? Our almost relationships, our attempts at a relationship that failed?
Can we stop pretending like there is a lesson? Fate? Some reason why two people fell together but fell apart and that it was meant to be because it was a beautiful tragedy?
I used to tell myself that maybe we just met at the wrong time. Maybe in another universe, or maybe just a few years from now, or a few years before, we could’ve worked. That maybe our love could’ve been the most epic of stories if I had just hung on, or if I could’ve been in a different place.
Now I realize a few things.
We live in a world where we stop calling things as they are, because we feel badly about ourselves when we do. We feel bad for saying we wasted a lot of time with someone who we never fully committed to. We feel bad to say we gave a large part of ourselves to another person, only to have it end in heartbreak. We try to cope with our mistakes the best we know how, and that’s normal.
The problem is this-we stopped looking at them as mistakes and started looking at them as glorious lessons.
Instead, we tell the stories in ways that made them sound majestic, that made them sound worth the pain and heartbreak we suffered. You may have had some great experiences, but if we are truthful, it turned out to be a mistake.
It’s funny, isn’t it? I say mistake, and it sounds so negative, so harsh. To think of a person you once loved or cared for so strongly, as a mistake? It’s hard to believe that. No, they weren’t a mistake… they were a beautiful disaster. That sounds poetic, right? It sounds more like what you felt about them. Whether you knew they were the wrong person or not, you felt something with them that can only be explained in prose. It didn’t work out, but they weren’t a mistake, they were a lesson. You were MEANT for this to happen so you could learn.
No. I refuse to accept that. I refuse to accept that I had to go through this in order to learn. There were so many ways I could’ve learned. To say you taught me something about myself? No. That I see things differently because of you? No. That I became a better person because of you? No.
That’s not the way this works.
I could’ve went on an adventure to learn new things about myself. I could’ve made friends with people of many different perspectives to see a new point of view. I could become a better person in so many ways-whether I volunteer, discover faith, or in general just be a kind person to people.
We all go through things. We have feelings, we have desires, we make choices. Sometimes those choices don’t pan out. They don’t take you where you planned to go, and you wake up one day to find that out. We all make mistakes, but few of us want to own up to them.
So we paint them, reword them, rearrange the memories until they make a beautiful montage. We highlight the good, and hold filters over the bad to find more good. To find bad in something you once loved makes you seem foolish for choosing them, and make them seem terrible in some way.
That’s not what calling something a mistake means. It’s honestly defined as “to be wrong about something.” You thought that this person would be your everything, or your future spouse, or your escape, and it didn’t turn out that way. You were wrong. It’s okay to admit that your past was a mistake. It’s not a bad thing. It’s a real thing. An honest thing.
There were other ways, countless ones. You just didn’t seem them. You saw him.
When we stop owning up to our own mistakes, we don’t hold others to their mistakes either. We look past it or we find beauty in it. When we stop admitting we did the wrong things, or that we needed the wrong things to find the right things, we lose the part of ourselves that says we can’t learn without tragedy.
Tragedy will happen. And yes, good things have happened in spite of a bad situation. Good things and bad things live together in this confusing world, where few things are truly clear.
Tragedy is a part of life, and yes it is unavoidable. But when you say you NEED it, you discredit the real beauty in life for what it is. If we stop remembering things as mistakes, it will be even harder to see the good things.