For me, moving on has often felt like failure. When I think about the times I have had to move on from broken friendships, failed relationships, and missed opportunities it feels like I have given up. As if, somehow, clinging onto something painful and broken will magically fix the situation. Should I have been a better person? Should I have attempted to be more like them? Should I have worked harder and longer?
Whilst the answers to the above questions are debatable; I still find myself painfully pondering them into the small hours of the night. Who needs sleep when you can have bitter disappointment and crushing loneliness instead? The thing is – I have always felt like this before I moved on. Once I eventually managed to move on, I felt this overwhelming sense of freedom. It was like I had been forcing myself to cling on to broken shards of glass and the relief of letting go was wonderful. It could still be painful sure, but it was a lot less painful than it had been. I also wasn’t adding to the damage done.
Perhaps failure is purely about perspective. If we gain something – knowledge of experience – is that really a failure? If we can use what we have learned in the past to better our future, then isn’t that something bittersweet? Sometimes, we draw upon past knowledge without even knowing it. Which can often make us feel as though we haven’t learned something from a bad experience – even when we have.
Moving on can often feel like accepting that something bad has happened, which in a way, it is. If we can cling to it then often we feel as though we can change the outcome, or even prevent it from happening. Which, unfortunately, isn’t true. What’s done is done, and whilst our actions can impact the future, they cannot impact the past.
When I was younger, I often wished to somehow be sent back in time to redo High School – to somehow navigate school without being taunted, spat on, or ignored. Accepting that I had been bullied and that I couldn’t change that fact bothered me for so many years. I didn’t want to be a victim, I didn’t want to have this anxiety and depression follow me for years.
Unfortunately, no time traveling device is ever going to come into my life and let me turn my High School years into something more successful. I can not go back and change my grades, or how I was treated by others. Over the years, I have come to realise that this isn’t a bad thing.
I am not going to pretend that being bullied made me more intellectual, compassionate, or a hero capable of preventing it from happening to others. I would much rather be anxiety and depression free than slowly building myself up from being completely broken as a person.
There is nothing beautiful in being broken, which is why clinging on to the past is so toxic and harmful. All we can do is move on. Let go of the past, and prevent it from being so painful. Accept that we haven’t had the perfect start to life – that no-one has. I accept that for a lot of people, that that is easier said than done.
As much as I wish I could, I can not guide you through letting go. I am not an expert, and providing you with a simple step-by-step solution would be of no use to you. We forge our own paths in life, we all cope with things in different ways. Just have faith that moving on, no matter how painful, can benefit you so much in the long run. I have helplines provided at the bottom of this post who can help you go through this process, as well as help you with any other issue you are experiencing.
Think about what advice and support you would give to someone you care about, if they were in a similar position to you. Would you offer them different advice to what you are currently doing?
I also have a blog post on resources that can help if you are ever feeling stressed or anxious. Visit it here: The Top 5 Online Resources for Relaxation
What are your tips for moving on or coping with disappointment? What helplines have you used in the past? Share them below, I would love to hear them!