When People Leave us

by | Sep 12, 2022 | Insights

“When someone leaves, it’s because someone else is about to arrive.” ― Paulo Coelho, The Zahir

Our lives are tapestries of intertwining threads. As we move through life, we continue to weave this tapestry through experience, effort, the brave act of living – and others? Well, they help us too. They bring their own needles and threads, each with different colors. They make their unique mark on our design, just as we do to theirs.

And sometimes, the thread runs out.

This happens when we quit jobs, move house, or change life direction. While we’d like to think that those we surround ourselves with will be there forever. Sometimes, they run out of thread too.

And usually, when the thread is gone – it’s gone. There is nothing that can be done to replenish it. Maybe the person will return at some later time with a fresh spool of string, but until then, we’re left to contend with the disappearance.

Depending on our relation to this person, their absence can be accepted or heart-stopping. And it leaves us asking …

What does it Mean when Someone Leaves your Life?

Not too overuse the tapestry metaphor, but never at any time do two tapestries join together. People are free to leave your life whenever, just as you’re free to leave theirs.

For some, leaving is as simple as making a decision one day.

Attachment styles

While not a guaranteed answer, attachment styles can go a long way toward explaining people’s staying power in relationships. Formed during our developmental years, largely depending on how our caregivers treated us – attachment styles can affect our relationships throughout the rest of our lives.

Those with an avoidant attachment style prefer to leave instead of being left. Those with anxious attachment styles may leave and return in a sort of push-and-pull cycle. So, while attachment style isn’t always to blame, it’s certainly worth looking in to.

The relationship has run its course

There’s a belief that people leave our lives when they’ve taught us everything they can. They have enriched our lives and can do no further.

The aftermath of being left

Understanding why people leave often does nothing to alleviate the pain of their absence. Instead, it just gives us closure, which can help in the long term. But the shorter anguish of absence stings nonetheless.

Learning how to cope with absence can help.

How to Heal After Someone Leaves

Don’t Take it Personally

When someone shakes their fist at you from within their car or scoffs as you walk past them, it’s very often a them problem. Since we reside inside our own minds, it can be easy to think the onus of their feelings is on us. But really, we can’t control how others feel, think and act.

Show compassion to both yourself and the other

Often, there are whole worlds inside people’s minds that we are unaware of. Someone’s choice to depart from your life could have nothing to do with you, and entirely depend upon what they’re facing in their life and mind.

That considered, this is a hard time for everyone involved. So, take a policy of kindness towards yourself and them, don’t try to place blame and move toward forgiveness so that you can feel lighter and move forward with your life.

What do you do when Someone Leaves your Life?

It’s healthy to reflect on relationships once they’ve ended. Endings aren’t always your fault. Sometimes they just happen, and that’s okay. When a hole appears in your life, you choose how to replenish it – it gives you room for growth. And you can choose what seed to plant in that empty plot. Be it a new friend, partner or a hobby, time spent with family, self-discovery – the choice is all yours.

For me, there’s one beautiful quote by Paulo Coelho that elegantly sums up this belief, “When faced with a loss, it is no use trying to recover what has gone. On the other hand, a great space has been opened up in your life – there it lies, empty, waiting to be filled with something new. At the moment of one’s loss, contradictory as this might seem, one is being given a large slice of freedom.” And that’s the truth.

Finally …

By changing our mindset toward the situation at hand, we can take their absence as a chance to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and life as a whole. We can grow in the space they have left, becoming a better version of ourselves.

I’ve also learned not to get attached to people, things, or circumstances. I welcome everything in my life, however, every event comes with an expiration date, so I enjoy every single moment, and when the time arrives and things start changing, I just don’t resist them, and I let life take its course.

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