The Art of Closure

Closure is a term that implies finality. It marks the ending of an important part of your life; a relationship, a job, a stage, or an addiction. It may be a very painful to move on and come to terms with the closing of a chapter in life. Reaching closure is hard because you need to obtain the knowledge, satisfactory conclusion and peace of mind to put the experience behind you. Usually, when we can’t easily resolve whatever the issue might be, we are clouded by ambiguity and uncertainty, thus we have to seek the conclusion on our own, often having to rewrite the ending so we can let go of the past.

Why do we need or seek closure?

If we don’t know the reason for or are unable to conclude an episode in our lives, we feel incomplete. We are left in a kind of limbo, not being able to move on because the chapter was left, on our side at least, open, with loose ends. What this does is keep us stuck in the pain of loss and unable to move on, hanging on by revisiting the event over and over again in our minds. We have to accept what has happened on our own terms to find closure and let go.

If our questions of why something came to an end go unanswered, we will not let go of the person or event, in the same way we seek to know the dramatic conclusion of a novel or movie. We have to be able to say; this is what happened, and this is how it ended, just like the plot line of our favorite thriller. When we can’t do this, the ghosts of doubt and “what if’s” come to haunt us.

When we can’t find closure with the help of the other party involved, we have to find a way to heal the wound, find the best conclusion that suits us and close that chapter of our life. We are then free to choose the one ending that makes us feel more at peace with the outcome. What is essential is that we can move on with no regrets or hatred if we feel we were wronged or taken advantage of.

Rewriting your side of the story

There are always to two sides of a story but, for closure, we must focus on our own. We must try to understand our side and forget about trying to understand the other, coming to terms with what we did right or wrong. We also have to forgive ourselves and then give ourselves congratulations for having tried our best. Because indeed, that is what we do whether we believe it or not. We act with the knowledge and understanding we have at the moment and we can’t change any of it after the fact, we only have the power to change how we feel about it.

How to find closure on our own so we can heal and move on;

  1. Give it time and grieve the loss. Slowly, whatever happened, will become dimmer in your memory and the anger or hurt will be diluted. You will then be able to be more objective when thinking about it.
  2. Don’t obsess about it too much. Of course, you will think about it often, but as soon as you catch yourself obsessing, take your mind off of it. This will become your automatic response with practice.
  3. Don’t try to pry the conclusion from someone involved. Whether they’re gone from your life due to death or a painful parting of ways, you might find it too upsetting to bring the old hurt back. You don’t want to repeat the cycle.
  4. Go over your story by writing it down. Since you have been left on your own to figure it out, find the most positive closing act.
  5. Forgive the other party. You have to, in order to let go. It does take time, but if you try to see the other as human with his faults as well as his attributes, you will be able to dull the ill feelings.
  6. Perform a ritual. All around the world, there are cultures getting rid of the old by setting it on fire! You don’t have to be that drastic, of course, but you can (and should) collect those reminders when you are ready, and do away with them, ceremoniously.

I am told I’m too forgiving, excusing many bad behaviors, and while sometimes this might work against me, it does help me find my peace. Letting go is hard, but staying stuck in the past is like a life sentence you give to yourself. So why not try to work on rewriting the ending of the story, your story, to get on with the next thing; called life!

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