February 19, 2015 by The Girl Made of Words
Closure happens when we assign meaning to an experience and recognize that purpose as having been fulfilled. That means that you don’t have to have all of the offending parties in your mind (whoever created your emotional wounds) present to find closure. Your job is to comb through your past memories and use them as tools for growth. You have to make each moment a stepping stone that has brought you where you are today.
So an example might be that one day I got a new dress and decided to take myself out to lunch. I was sat at a table outside in the sunlight and I could just feel my own beauty soaking in the sun’s warmth and radiating it back outward as if they were one and the same. But then, I began to hear giggling behind me, and pretty soon I could hear the table of teenagers that were sitting on the other edge of the court mocking me. I was angry, I was hurt. Everything inside me that had just been riding a wave of pure bliss had so quickly evaporated in a matter of seconds. How is that even possible?
Now that is, of course, a fictional scenario, but the feelings attached to it are all too real to me. Shame is an emotion that I have a very intimate relationship with. So, if something like that did happen in my ‘physical reality’ I’m likely to be trapped in an ongoing loop in my mind for days on end, obsessing over my own self worth. Everyone knows that behavior is unhealthy, but sometimes it feels almost impossible to escape. This is why the process of closure is so important. Until your brain feels like it has solved the puzzle of why that happened, it won’t stop asking for your input.
I’ve learned that closure doesn’t have to be me sitting down with those metaphorical teenagers and giving them a piece of my mind. Closure is something that each person must find for themselves, from within themselves.
It means taking a look at things from a different point of view.
‘What would my intent have been when I was that age? They probably haven’t even developed the emotional maturity to see me as a person yet, so it’s doubtful that their attack on my personal style was personal at all.’
‘And people that tear others down, generally tear themselves down even more and they are probably just attempting to lighten their own load by turning that inner voice on someone else for a change.’
Whether these evaluations of them are correct or not is somewhat irrelevant. The key is to look past my own pain and attach a full circle view to that memory. Once I have done that, I can begin to look at what the experience could teach me. I tell myself that it happened for a reason, every stone I cross on my spiritual journey is worth examining; the smooth ones carry no more weight in my heart than the jagged ones. They each lead me onward.
So, once a considerable amount of time has passed, if I have done my soul searching in earnest, the next time I stumble over that memory I won’t find myself covered in shame, anger, and regret. I’ll look at it with eyes of compassion and understanding, and possibly even gratitude as it led me to a greater level of love for my fellow man than I might not have previously had access to.
If we give our memories meaning, if we allow each moment to be a teaching point, then the wounds become ways to adapt and evolve instead of prison cells of the mind. It’s up to us to consciously seek that eternal truth. It’s our job to find the hidden treasure buried in every stretch of life.
So, let go of the fear.
Say goodbye to the anger.
And clothe yourself in the freedom of knowing
That you will never be a slave to your past,