When You Feel Like Turning Back

when you feel like turning back
Photo by Joanna Nix - Unsplash

I know what it feels like when you’re looking back at what it all once was. When you feel like turning back.

It almost makes you want to run right back into the arms of familiarity, where you didn’t feel so lost and alone as you do now. You might be tempted to mute the pain you felt during that time. To silence the voices in your head reminding you why you needed to navigate out of there in the first place.

It’s easy to let your heart be lured into that bed of thorns. But let me remind you that sooner or later, they will prick you, again.

When we’re tempted to go back, what we’re seeking is familiarity. But more importantly, we’re looking for a way out of the loneliness that has engulfed us. We’re willing to press the easy button that will trick our mind into believing that we’re still loved and wanted and cared for. Just as long as we can escape the reality of what’s happening inside, and around us.

We may be good at loving people, but sometimes they don’t know how to receive the love we have to give.

So they reciprocate in different ways. Or maybe we were the ones who couldn’t love them in the way that they needed to be loved. Either way, when a relationship falls apart, it’s for a reason. And loneliness has a way of fogging up that reason, not allowing us to see clearly what it is we really need.

As difficult and painful as it may seem, the only way to make it to the other side is to embrace the emotions of the moment. There’ll be deafening voices that lure us into temporary happiness. But before we know it, they’ll dissipate into thin air as quickly as they appeared, leaving us feeling more lost than before.

It’s easy to run back to what once was, and it can be quite tempting at times. Especially with voices telling us that we could have done better. Been better. Said something more, something else, or even changed ourselves a little.

It’s understandable to want to turn back and try to fix things with a new approach. And in moments like these, it’s difficult to remember why things didn’t work out in the first place.

But whatever you did, or plan to do, might never be enough.

Sadness, loneliness, anxiety and everything else we feel when we’re at the end of something is not meant to attack us, or leave us feeling defenceless. Those emotions exist for a reason. To teach us about ourselves.

How capable we are of loving someone. How much we’re willing to risk our hearts for another. And how far we’re willing to go to comfort another soul. Even at the expense of losing some parts of our own.

But they also serve to show us how much more we deserve. To love and to be loved in return. Just how resilient our hearts are, how much quiet courage we possess.

Failures and losses bring us down, momentarily, but they also help us rise up and return to ourselves. They remind us to re-invest in the most important and steady relationship we will experience: the one we have with our own selves.

The aftermath of a relationship can be devastating. But it can also be devastatingly beautiful, if we choose for it to be that way.

We can slowly piece together the person we are becoming, in our own time. We can learn to give ourselves the love that we’re craving from the world. And we can question and doubt and figure out what we really want our life to look like, and begin cultivating it for ourselves.

Without needing someone else to do it for us.

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