In life, everything comes to an inevitable end. When it does, it is healthy and important that there is proper closure.
How? Let go
The first step to closure is letting go. What does it mean to let go? Letting go does not mean forgetting someone or something. Nor does it mean no longer caring for someone. It means caring in another way and on another level. It just means being at peace with the parting or a particular outcome or decision.
Why is it difficult to let go?
Truly letting go is one of the hardest things to do in the world. Often sadness, fear of separation and especially changes, discomfort in venturing outside of one’s comfort zone, anxiety and guilt (especially when it makes one feel that one is forgetting that particular episode or person); all make it tough to truly let go. Bizarre as it may sound, but sometimes holding on to something or reliving one’s suffering may seem easier than letting go. This is because letting go requires courage – the courage to cease control.
What happens when one let go?
When one lets go, it means that one has overcome that particular life episode. In the process, one has drawn lessons from it and grew as a result. Contrary to what others think, when one can truly let go, it means that one has cherished the experience. Only then can one be at peace with the outcome; accepting change, especially when it is inevitable. With this, you set yourself free at last!
Why? Allows one to move on
Only when one lets go of the past can one move on to the next chapter in life. Closure allows one to clear the path and open the next door. When one cycle ends, another begins. To cling on to something old is to deny the new cycle from beginning and to deny oneself from receiving the gifts of this new cycle. Life is a constant flux and one needs to learn to find the strength to keep moving on.
What happens during closure?
Closure is a time set aside for grieving. The loss or end of anything deserves enough grieving in order for a fitting closure to take place. When there is proper closure, one feels satisfied even though there is a sense of loss. This is when acceptance finally sets in.
How? Have a ‘closing ceremony’
So how does one achieve closure? Performing a ritual of some kind is the easiest way to do so. Basically, it is a symbolic gesture that marks the end of something. This could include burning old letters or photos from a past relationship or simply keeping them shut in a box; taking a picture of an object before parting with it; writing a poem/story/play/song on something/someone that one separates with; painting/drawing a picture of the departed object/person; toasting the end of a particular cycle. For some kind of relationship, e.g., mentoring or group programs, pre-planning the closure allows one to be better prepared for the final departure. All these let one bid farewell in a proper manner, providing a fitting ‘closing ceremony’.
When one can’t find an answer, how to close?
Sometimes one finds it hard to achieve closure when one remains puzzled or can’t find a reasonable answer to a sudden end of any kind of relations. Often, this happens in a relationship, especially when a partner leaves abruptly without any particular reason. It can happen when a friend ends a friendship out of the blue too. In life, occasionally there are no easy answers and one has to learn to find a way to rationalize these occurrences which are out of our control. In short, find closure in one’s own way.
This is arguably one of those things that are ‘easier said than done’. Perhaps one way to rationalize it is to take a philosophical approach, like getting ourselves to think that everyone appears and disappears in our lives for a reason even if we may not know why. Tough as it may be, you just need to let go and let God; instead of going in circles, trying to find an answer.
Don’t bleed to death, close it!
When there is no closure, it is like having a gaping wound where one could bleed to death eventually. Hence, it is imperative to close a ‘case’ well. We need to recognize that everything comes to an inevitable end in life. There is a Chinese proverb that illustrates this well – “There is no feast that does not come to an end.” So when the end comes, close it with a ‘Bang!”
Note: This article first appeared in www.bizymoms.com under “Expert Advice” at: http://www.bizymoms.com/expert-advice/Article/The-importance-of-closure-and-how-to-achieve-one/6473