No matter how long the movie is, it always has an ending. No matter how old a person gets, he’ll face death sooner or later. They say there’s nothing constant in this world but change. And with change, come endings. And no matter how hard we try to deny it, ending something, may it be a relationship, a marriage, business, or career, is never easy.
Endings are necessary
Most people look at endings in a sadder, more negative way. When a relationship ends, it makes one feel disappointed, regretful and desperate. When an executive, who spent half of his life running an organisation, is kicked off from his job, the initial reaction is to get mad and discouraged. Few people realise the fact that endings are necessary, and that they are beneficial too, in some ways. Just like trees and plants. Gardeners prune shrubs so they grow more beautiful and healthy. Even the sturdiest trees are trimmed too. This way, they could grow more branches and bloom more leaves. Meanwhile, gardeners have to remove some plants to give way for others to grow.
Just like in life, endings are necessary to uncover new possibilities and opportunities. Every year, there are hundreds of couples who get divorced. But for some of them, ending their relationship isn’t a bad idea at all because they’re able to find freedom and happiness.
Steve Jobs, the man behind Apple, was thrown out from his own company. He experienced the biggest downfall in his life. His career with Apple ended. But it didn’t end his success. He started over again, forming another company, Pixar, which has launched Toy Story, and now the number one animation studio in the world. Later, Apple hired him again.
See, endings don’t always mean failure. They don’t always mean sadness, broken dreams, and loss. But putting an end to something, whether it is a career or a relationship, could be the biggest challenge we have to deal with. Many of us are scared to say goodbye because we don’t think we could carry on with the consequences. According to clinical psychologist Barry Lubetkin, author of Bailing Out: The Healthy Way to Get Out of a Bad Relationship and Survive, part of our evolutionary development is to become fearful of endings, that even ending a meal could be blanketed with some anxiety.
So how do you find the exit point? How do you know it’s time to depart? How do you know that the no-turning-back time is the best option available?
The key is to understand that part of ending is uncovering a learning opportunity. The challenge here, explains psychologist Steven Hayes, is to face what you are about to lose. People have a tendency to rush through endings and get away from the pain instead of savouring the rich soup of emotions that come along with it, he explained.
As the day ends, tomorrow starts
Instead of finding the shortest possible exit route, going through every bit of emotion, feeling, and learning is necessary. Here are some ways to easily get over a part of your life that need to end:
▪ Understand that ending is a natural process. Remember that seasons come, seasons pass. There’s nothing in this world that’s temporary. By accepting this fact, moving on becomes smooth and easy.
▪ Savour the emotions, no matter how painful they may be. Whenever you have to let go of something, what do you feel? What are your fears? To what extent do they hurt? Sometimes, the best lessons in life are learned through painful experiences.
▪ Stop blaming yourself. One of the things that keep us from moving on is our tendency to blame ourselves for unhappy endings. We keep saying, “Why did this happen?”, “I could have prevented it from happening”, “I wish I haven’t done that”, etc. Perhaps you could have done something to prevent that ending, perhaps not. Either way, you can’t do anything about the situation but to move forward.
Don’t forget, as the day ends, tomorrow starts. Yes, you just lost a job that you’ve worked so hard to get, or a relationship that you’ve valued for many, many years. But, remember the need to prune the trees? When you let go of an important part of your life, you do it because you need to grow and uncover more opportunities that are waiting for you. Just like fairytales, there are always “happy endings”.