One of my favorite Brit-coms is “Coupling,” a story about six characters and their past and present relationships with one another. If you’ve never seen an episode, the
American TV shows “Friends” and “Seinfeld” are similar.
Forming and ending relationships is a significant part of life. When a relationship ends, we must uncouple from our expectations about that relationship and from our dreams for our role in it. Jon Mertz, over at Thin Difference talks about living an unlife life. By that, he means leaving in the past those parts that need to stay there so that we can continue on our life’s journey. Uncoupling is necessary for us to continue on our own journey through life.
Chances are you have experienced uncoupling due to one of these six major life events:
- Death of a spouse or a child
- Being fired or laid off from a job
- Being passed-over for a coveted promotion
- Change in financial security
- Loss of health or physical ability
Making Peace with Your Past
Until we make peace with a loss, we cannot discover the promise of the life ahead. Note, I am not suggesting that we bury our feelings. We must make peace with the part of ourselves that struggles against the new reality of our lives. Knowing this, when I struggle to uncouple, I remind myself:
- Despair and rage are the muck that keep me mired in problems and drain my energy to move forward.
- The only way to move forward is to let go of the anger that keeps me focused on the past.
- When I walk through the gate of understanding, I leave resentment safely fenced in behind me.
- When I forget what is gone and appreciate what remains, I can look forward to what’s next.
- I can ask, ‘why me?’ or I can move forward by asking, ‘what can I learn from this experience?’
- I can be thankful for those who make my life better, and for the ability to leave behind those who do not.
- No matter how great the view behind me, I can only see it by turning my back on what’s ahead.
- I can never get the past back, I can only move forward to the future.
- Every step forward, no matter how small, leads me closer to where I want to be.
None of these statements change the past, of course, but they do help me keep it in perspective. They keep me focused on what is ahead and on the things I can control. They remind me to trust that I will not always feel the loss as acutely as I do right now.
Life Is Honest, Open and True: How do you uncouple from your past? If you are stuck in the past, can you make the commitment to yourself to uncouple from it? Write and let me know what holds you back and how you cope with it.