There’s a person in your life or your ex-life that you just can’t shake. A person that is missed so much that whatever drove you apart sits on your back like a bag of bricks. Perhaps you’ve tried to set that bag down and leave it without unpacking the contents but by some weird irony it’s still attached to your weight slumped shoulders from the burden of things left unsaid.
Is that relationship toxic? If so, then perhaps reading this article will help you set those bricks down and walk away.
However, if that relationship is not toxic, but instead requires your attention to make reparations like this article demonstrates:
Then how do you go about making that happen? How do you go from no contact to tentative conversation when time has elapsed and perhaps caused a Grand Canyon sized hole in your heart? It can be done with time, patience, compassion, and forgiveness.
- Admit you started the fire to burn the bridge: One of the hardest things is to admit to yourself is when you’ve done somebody wrong. It’s easy to lay the blame at their feet because after all they’re the ones that caused your anger and your release of the relationship in the first place. But sometimes that’s a lie we tell ourselves to keep from being responsible for our own actions. It’s a reflection of our not so shining moments. Try it on. I made a mistake that wrecked a relationship. Take responsibility for your error.
- Build a new bridge: Reach out to the person via text, email, phone call, sky-writing, blog post or any other way to let them know you’re willing to speak with them (I asked my brother to mediate). If they are receptive, apologize for what you did or said wrong. Leave expectations on the floor because sometimes the wound you’ve caused can run so deeply that there may be rejection or disbelief of your intentions. Remember to not just speak the words but act appropriately. You’re asking for a new relationship which means you’re approaching them not as the former person, but as you are right now.
- Compassion for yourself and the new relationship: The old wounds will be there. They may be scabbed over or even scarred, but they will be there. Realize that when you look at those with compassion in your heart, they fade after time. Think of it as falling in love with that person’s current self and from the point you’ve come to in the realization that this relationship is worth it. History can’t be changed, only the right now is important. Be gentle with yourself and their feelings.
- Dissolve anger, pride, and resentment: Holding on to anger is that bag of bricks that weighs your spirit down. Realize that you reacted or acted in a very human manner. Your feelings of resentment about their prompting actions or because of their absence from your life because of your choice have no place in the new relationship you’re attempting to re-establish. The pride that kept you from making the reconnection before needs to find the humbleness of release. Feel the emotions, but don’t hold them. Allow them to dissipate.
- Evolve your view of the person you harmed: Are you the same person you were when you cut the relationship from your life? Of course not. They aren’t either. Meet them as if for the first time, because technically, you are. Get to know their current self because what you remember may (or truthfully, may not) be accurate. Anger changes the color of memories to murky depths instead of embracing the current vibrancy of now. This is a new day and a new relationship based on time passing. Let them be who they are now, not how you remember them.
- Forgive yourself and the other person: This one can prove difficult depending on the circumstances of the separation. By setting down your feelings from the past and allowing things to be as they are, forgiveness is not far behind. Forgiveness helps us to see things clearly again. It wipes the slate clean even if the faint outline of the transgression can still be seen, it’s no longer the focus of the relationship. The focus shifts to rebuilding instead of rehashing.
- Give love willingly: What if the person you’re reaching out to rejects your attempt at reconciliation? What if they don’t want anything to do with you or your efforts to rebuild? Love them anyway. Just because you’re ready to re-establish a relationship doesn’t mean they are or ever will be. Love them anyway. If they are willing, then don’t be afraid to let them get to know you as you are now. Your personal growth has brought you to a point where you realize the value of what you’ve been missing. Let them see that. Allow the vulnerability of love to fill in those parts, whether rejected or accepted. Love them. Love yourself. Let it be organically grown from your heart no matter their response.
- Healthy Communication: Be honest with yourself and the person you’re re-establishing a relationship with. Speak from your heart while listening to their spirit. There is nothing more satisfying than accepting one another exactly as you and they are. You don’t have to be a “Yes, ma’am/Yes, sir” kind of person when you disagree with them, but allowing yourself to communicate your own wants and needs, you’re establishing grounds for them to do the same. It builds trust, balance, and reinforces your sincerity.
Great things can take time to build or rebuild. The patience you offer while putting the relationship back in order pays off by giving you what you seek should they be willing. At the very least it will give you closure, understanding, or a clear picture of what could have been. But it can also give you the opportunity to forgive your younger self of the follies of poor choices. Although there is no guarantee that the other person will be receptive to your outreach, discovering that you can set down that bag of bricks is totally worth it.