It’s 2015, the beginning of a new year! For some of us we were happy to see the end of 2014 and for others, we go into the new year with trepidation for the unknown to come. With this in mind I thought I’d write a bit on endings today. For without endings, beginnings can’t happen.
The basic definition of ‘ending’ is an end or final part of something. We often have difficulty ending things. How many of you have known that a relationship needs to end, but can’t communicate this with your partner. Maybe you do something that will make them so angry that they end the relationship. Or maybe you continue on because it is easier than ending it. I think as a whole humans have difficulty with endings. We all want the “happy ending” but life often hands us a mess. Sometimes the people we want to love us, don’t love us back. Our dear friends and family members may get sick and sometimes people we love die. At times endings can be brutal and heart wrenching. However, I’m suggesting that difficult endings can give us feedback and information on how to move forward.
I’m not talking about platitudes here. I’m not a fan of platitudes, those statements meant to subdue emotional unease. You’ve heard some (or said some) yourself: things will get better; God only gives you what you can handle; he/she is in a better place. These words are used to try to ease pain, but I’m suggesting we need to get better at letting people be in their pain. Learning to sit with ourselves and others in these dark, lonely moments. That doesn’t mean letting people become suicidal or clinically depressed….but letting them feel the ending, the loss. Some of the most profound moments in my life involved endings and through that pain and that mess, my beginnings showed up.
As a therapist I often talk with clients about really embracing and being with the ending in all it’s emotions. When we sit with this and give it some space and time, we find that we can grieve the ending and this opens up the possibility of something new…a beginning. Rachel Naomi Remen in her book Kitchen Table Wisdom, writes about creating a new word endbeginnings as a way to capture how intertwined these two words are.
So as we head into the new year may you honor the endings you have experienced and will continue to experience so that you can move into the beginnings with new insight and knowledge!