Growth swoops in, knocks you off your feet, quite literally, and often times takes with it some of your greatest loves and relationships. Those losses alone are enough to leave you reeling with growing pains that make you think who in the fuck would ever want growth?!
Yet there is a source of grief and mourning that comes with growing that doesn’t really seem to get talked about. A loss that is a little more squirrelly and hard to put your finger on. And that is the loss of your past self, the you that once was. The you before you grew into a bigger version of yourself, before you grew into the person for whom those past loves and relationships were no longer a fit. You’re not that same person anymore and there is a part of you left wondering, what happened to them? Where are they? How could they do this to me? Leave me this way? Let me turn into a version of myself that no longer fits the loves and relationships which I once held so dear? How dare they?
With these realizations you’ll start feeling angry. Afraid and confused. Like the loss of the old you is the source of your grief and your current self the culmination of it. And like somehow all of it is all of your fault. You just had to go and grow. You no longer fit the skin you’re in and often if you’re coupled, the love you’re in.
These changes are enough to leave anyone’s head spinning and you’ll have an urge to go back to who you once were only to realize it is no longer possible. The skin has been shed, the love has been lost.
You’ll remember the old you. You loved them, you love them still, though in some ways their memory makes you cringe, with their naivety and more limited way of looking at the world.
You are no longer them. You are now this new person who you do not know so well and at the same time know better than ever and who you love more than that other person and who loves like that other person never could. Can you imagine the kind of love and relationships this new you will have? This will help you to cope, provide you with solace and allow you to start to revel in the new you rather than long for who you once were.
You’ll further start to realize that allowing the clearing out of those once great loves and relationships will provide the space to usher in a deep love and relationship with yourself. The beginning of what is undoubtedly the greatest and wildest of love affairs.
As I discussed these ideas with a dear friend, he asked, “Well, if the old you served as a foundation that you have built upon, have you really lost? Is their anything to grieve over? That person still is and will always be with you.”
As his words hit me, it dawned on me that too wrapped up in my own thoughts and grief, this was something that I hadn’t considered and maybe there isn’t so much to grieve over after all. Your past self is still there, they have just moved on to a different form, to serve a different purpose. They are now the base of the pillar that is the new you and as the support to who you are now. Your past self lives on.
(And can we just give a quick shout-out to the value of getting out of your head and conversations with great friends! Manny, I love you.)
So let’s continue to build, friends, falling in love with our pillars and honoring our bases. Our love lives and the world need it.