Who has never lost a person in their whole life? Show me one such person and I will give you a million dollars (or any other currency, take your pick.)
At some point in time, we all have had to let go of someone, or have been let go by someone. It may have been a friend, partner, relative, sibling, or some other important person. At the end of it, though, we have that person-shaped hole in our life to fill; those memories to avoid—at least until it stops to draw blood, it stops stinging at least a little.
It is said that the process of getting over something or someone has multiple stages – denial, anger, bitterness, sorrow and finally acceptance. But what after that? You still have that hole. It never goes away, does it?
So what do you do? You learn to live with the hole. You try not to go near the edge, lest you fall over, open the wounds raw once again and then have to crawl back bleeding to reality. It is a constant effort, one that takes time to master.
Since these are times of listicles, let me jot down some other activities you can undertake to help yourself.
We all are trying to figure out what is best for us. I too am. These helped me at various times in life, and I hope they work for you. Or if you have a better alternative, you can share it in the comments.
1) Explore the regions… of your heart: Imagine a room, which suddenly developed a huge gaping hole in one corner. You will then look at the other parts of the room right (before calling someone to fix it, of course). Exactly the same way, there are other people in your life and heart—friends, family, co-workers, pets, your favourite Barista, take your pick. It always feels better when you know you have someone. So, concentrate on this part of your life—the good stuff. Meet that friend or person who realises that you are loved. Spend time with your co-workers who make you feel useful at work. Count your blessings today. It may not work right away. But slowly, over time, you will realise your own self-worth. And this, my dear, will be your first step.
2) Work: If you happen to be one of those lucky few who like their work, engross yourself in it. Work so hard that it pays. And this payoff will be sweeter. Not just monetarily, but also in terms of your self-esteem. Because not every boss is mean and not every co-worker is trying to put you down. Some are genuinely appreciative. It helps perk your spirits up further.
3) Go artsy: “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls,” said Pablo Picasso. I don’t know if he really did say that, but those words sure feel wonderful. And it is true, too! Have you ever gotten so caught up in a book, poetry, writing, painting, music or movie that you forgot time existed? This may sound clichéd, but it is true. I have first-hand experience. Time is not your friend when you are trying to forget someone. And it is this time that we are trying to spend by dipping into art. The best part is that your soul comes out refreshed after those timeless moments.
4) Learn something new: It is sad that we stop learning new things after getting out of school or college. And even then, we were trying to study only to make a career. How many of us really had the light of curiosity in our hearts that trudged even after the exams ended? Who says a Physics or Commerce student can never want to learn about Psychology or Literature, or an Arts student would not want to learn computing? Take up something new today. It may not exactly come handy in your life or career, but you are increasing your knowledge. Most importantly, it helps eat time.
5) Take up a hobby: Yes, it is fairly clichéd, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it does help. There is a reason why you like doing something—it gives you joy! At a time like this, joy is what we need the most! So go spread your wings and take up your hobby again.
6) Travel somewhere far: Life is a journey. You have to put things behind you and start walking. Moving on is the term. It may help to take this literally too. Put some real distance between you and the person. Travel to a new place. Get yourself lost in the wonders of a new place. It is always refreshing to face new experiences.
7) Play some mind-games: Your mind is in your control. ‘Mind over matter’ is my mantra. Here is an exercise for you: Close your eyes. Think of your kitchen. But don’t think about the vegetable cutter, the blender, the grinder. You imagine precisely the kitchen. In life, when we notice someone’s absence from our life, we tend to look at things that we miss. Those essentially make you think of things that probably make you feel whole. Now, how were you before you met the person? You were still happy. Your happiness was not dependent on them. You are the same now. Now, think of abundance. Count on things what you have and what makes you happy. Then, slowly, they will show up.
8) Live a lie until it turns into the truth: Do you know who is the best liar? A person who manages to believe the lie so much that it is the truth for him or her. If you start believing in it, your body will rarely give away your lies. Similarly, start telling yourself you are living a good life, a happy life; you have enough people in your life who care about you; you are happy. Keep chanting this mantra. Wear a wide grin in your face. Try to bring a skip in your step. Make people believe that you are happy and bubbly. Slowly, as time slips away, your lie will become your truth.
At the end of the day, it is easy to wallow in self-pity and live in distress. It is bitter-sweet, the feeling. You want to relive the moments again and again in your head, playing different scenarios. This is the part of you that doesn’t want to let go—of the beautiful thing you shared. But the truth is: you have to let go!
How time works its way into our lives. There was a time when we were strangers. Then we became friends. Then best of friends. And then like every empire, which reaches its peak and declines, our friendship too had its downfall.
There was a time when not an hour went by without speaking, sharing, and laughing. There was a time when the days we didn’t meet were rare as a dime. There were days when we were thick, so much that people asked one for the other’s whereabouts. We spoke in the plural. The ‘I’ lost in the ocean of words. We were an open book to each other, a book that wasn’t shared with the world.
Soon, we reached the grey area that separates friendship and love. The place where the platonic and non-platonic meet. We strived to draw boundaries. But who has managed to draw lines in the sand and kept it safe from the waves? The lines had to be blurred. Sometimes I would overstep, sometimes you would. And then we would reassure ourselves that we would make it through, that we wouldn’t let it spoil.
It did, though, didn’t it?
Somewhere along the way, silences took over the words. Distance filled the spaces, which were once masked by hugs and kisses. Eye contact got replaced by far-away looks and hidden glances.
Once, we congratulated ourselves on our maturity to handle life situations. Then, life tested us of our capacities to handle hurt and difference of opinions. And we failed. It is easier to handle hurt inflicted by strangers and those we loved, but remotely so. But hurt caused by our own mirrors? Our own friends, those we considered more important than anyone or anything in the world? That’s the hurt that can undo most. And you were that for me, my friend. And I for you. Probably more.
And so here we are, left with nothing but memories of the laughter; the moments we whiled away with naught a thought of anything material; moments which were an impromptu celebration of life over a small cup of hot tea at the corner of a road; moments where our eyes lit up with love, joy and laughter; innocent moments which now stand like shards of glass in the long road of the past.
Moments, which we cannot touch without drawing blood.
I wish it weren’t so. Yet, here we are, dear friend. Here we are.
Today, we are together only in our shared hurt. That is all that binds us together.
Amazing how love can mutate into anger and hurt so easily. Don’t you think, friend?
And that said, there are days when I almost convince myself all is well. That some day, we can still get back our friendship. Some days, I can manage to spend shuffling through the pages of the past without a heavy heart. Some days, I laugh with the memories without drawing tears.
Today, though, is not that day. Today, I wish my friend were here, creating new memories. Today, I am only accompanied by the hollow space you left in my life.