First, let me start with you deserve to be happy.
Second, people will leave you. People who are important to you will leave. People you never thought would leave you, will leave you. Life will not stop. Life will not care that you were unprepared.
When someone leaves, there will be an inevitable period of sadness. You will mourn the loss of the person who once held a spot in your life and you’ll relive every memory you have with them. Somewhere in between the grief and the confusion, you will feel that person’s absence. You will try to ignore it, but it will appear in a song you both loved, a joke you both laughed at, or a date you used to share. Loss without the acknowledgment of absence is just denial. Although it might seem like you’ve already gotten through the worst parts of your emotional rebuild, the worst is yet to come. Michelle K once wrote that “nostalgia is a dirty liar that insists things were better than they seemed.”
Nostalgia is where you get stuck.
I am convinced that it is a part of the human condition to romanticize every single memory we’ve had with someone we once loved and this effect is multiplied ten fold when that person is no longer a part of our lives. If you were in a toxic relationship that has come to an abrupt end, there is no doubt that you’ve relived every laugh the two of you shared, every sickeningly adorable kiss, every inside joke, multiple times. If you’ve lost a best friend, suddenly the only memories you have of them are the times they picked you up off of the bathroom floor to wipe your tears. This is a trap. Don’t fall into it.
Memory is important. Remembering the people who were once dear to our hearts is how we build a life. But how we move on when those people leave us is how we build our character and a love lost is often a lesson learned.
It is so easy to get stuck remembering all the good times you had with someone who is no longer yours. In fact, it is so easy that you can almost completely erase the bad memories you had with them. In the nostalgia trap, you’re rarely stuck on the memory of the late night screaming matches over insignificant arguments, you seem to forget all about the times your friend left you for better plans. Despite what your heart might tell you, the bad memories are every bit as real as the good ones.
Suffering is an option and after a while, it can become a habit. When people leave your life, cherish the memories you have with them, but file them away. Do not let your habitual nostalgic suffering trick you into thinking that you don’t deserve to be happy. You do. The unfortunate truth is that people will leave and that really sucks. But the good news is that you will be okay. When someone exits your life, make sure you don’t end up punishing yourself for staying put.
You deserve to be happy.