For the simps
Sydni Brooks | Tuesday, October 13, 2020
So you got played. Whether it was by a friend, a family member or a lover, things hit the fan, and the fan obliterated whatever the thing was. You’ve been trying to put the pieces back together to formulate some resemblance of what things were to salvage the relationship you had, but half of the pieces are missing. The smart, healthy and responsible thing to is to learn and grow from the situation and move on from this experience.
However, no one said we were smart, healthy or reasonable in this situation.
My blessing and curse as an overly compassionate person is my ability to look outside myself and advocate for the prosperity of other people before giving myself the time of day. I will preach, “Girl, you don’t need him!” and, “You deserve better people around you, queen!” to anyone and everyone suffering from losing a meaningful relationship, but when those same words grace my ears, my brain deliberately choses not to process them.
I have always thought the best way to show someone you love and care for them is to fight through the differences and fight for the relationship, but it is astronomically clear that isn’t necessarily the best option in all cases. Yet while I can detail that to others around me, I can never comprehend that message for myself.
Those cliché messages I regurgitate to anyone needing to hear them sometimes don’t actually connect to the root of the frustration of letting someone go. I can recognize that I don’t need another person to survive; I survived up until I met them by myself, and I will continue to survive without them in my life. I can acknowledge when someone treats me poorly, and I can actively chose to only involve myself with people that treat me with respect.
The tightest knots unwilling to unravel themselves in these situations are the emotional bonds we never thought we would have to let go of. It isn’t necessarily the act of letting that significant person go that causes so much pain — it is the concept you never thought you would have to let them go that hurts the most.
Letting go of a relationship or friendship that no longer benefits us forces us to take responsibility for our well-being, but it isn’t the most desired method of self-care. Recognizing the lessons learned from a relationship or friendship is one thing, but taking accountability for the actions we must take to better ourselves is another. The self control in not checking social media updates or asking for closure for the fourth time can feel agonizing and unfullfilling, but sometimes the back and forth of holding on is much more painful.
Removing ourselves from a relationship or friendship sometimes feels like we are giving up on the person, which feels problematic because we would hate for someone to give up on us. However, we don’t recognize we aren’t giving up anything. The relationship has already ended, and we are still holding up our end of the bargain by ourselves. It is exhausting reliving the positive moments with the people we once loved to try and remind ourselves why the bad moments are worth sticking around for. It is so punishing riding an emotional rollercoaster with a person only to verbalize you have fought in a battle you know you are going to lose. It is absurd to be this tired over other people in our twenties. Most of us haven’t legally consumed alcohol yet — why are we so pressed?
We are pressed because we care, and sometimes we care too much, or we don’t have the same magnitude of care for ourselves. We are so focused on what our life will look like at the end of the story of our relationship, we forget we are presently living in our own story in which we are the main character.
While I do believe that letting go of a negative relationship makes room for more valuable ones to foster, I want to stress the importance of letting yourself foster. Sure, there are plenty of fish in the sea, but what about our fins? What about our gills? We can waste time trying comprehend why the energy we put into saving our relationship rendered fruitless, or we can value the efforts we made while stepping back from it for our own improvement. Letting go might leave a hole where the other person’s value once resided, but it creates the opportunity to fill that hole with our own self love and reflection.
Sometimes we save room at the table for someone who already told us they weren’t coming to dinner. As we demand our peers to see themselves through our eyes by letting their toxic relationship or friendship go, we have to start articulating that same message to ourselves. We hear the clichés, “You’ll be better off without them” and, “They’ll be jealous watching you thrive,” but letting go of a relationship or friendship that isn’t serving us isn’t necessarily about the other person’s feelings. It is about our own health and well-being. It is about regaining our own internal balance after pouring out so much of ourselves to someone who isn’t able to reciprocate it.
Sydni Brooks is junior at Notre Dame majoring in English with a supplemental major in pre-health and a minor in Africana Studies. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, she has made Flaherty Hall her campus home. She aspires to be a gynecologist to serve women from all backgrounds in the medical field. Sydni can be reached at [email protected] or @sydnimaree22 on Twitter.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.