Closure. What Is It and Why Do We Want It So Badly?
I've said to myself over and over, "If only I could have closure, then I could move on." But what exactly does closure mean to me and why do I think I need it in order to move on? Why am I putting my life in someone else's hands? Am I waiting for someone else to give me permission to let it go? Why do I think I need to do that? I am my own person, before I am anyone else's. I can let go without waiting for someone else to give me the okay to do so. Right?
Sometimes there is no closure. We can only control ourselves and our thoughts and feelings. When we expect to get closure from someone else, we are setting ourselves up for failure. We can't control what other people do or think or even feel.
One kind of closure is wanting to know why a relationship expired. You know, the relationship where you didn't feel like you got to say what you wanted or you didn't receive the response you wanted. The one where you didn't get the explanation you thought you needed. You read and re-read past emails or text messages, wondering if you missed something. The thing is, we can't control what anyone else thinks or feels; or even how they act. And that is not about us. That is on the other person. The fact that we may feel slighted or let down is a reflection of our feelings. The other person may have a completely different opinion of how things happened. While we sit and wait for someone else to validate our feelings, we are missing out on the present.
Why should we give someone else power over our lives? It's not up to anyone else to make us feel happy or accepted. It's up to us. We have the power within ourselves to let go. We can let go of the expectations we put on others to give us the closure we think we need. We don't need them to give us closure, we can do that on our own, knowing that our worth isn't tied to anyone else's thoughts or opinions of us.
We can choose to stay stuck, running on the hamster wheel of trying to figure out why someone else did or said something, or we can choose to let it go, knowing that we are enough as we are. We don't need to wait for someone else to give us their version of the truth, we know our own truth and that is more than enough.
Another type of closure comes with deep heartbreak. This pain is so deep, no matter what anyone says or does, it can't heal the pain you feel. I am talking about my own experience when I write these next lines. I lost my mom to cancer when I was 21 years old. She was 46. She was too young. In two years, I will be 46 and I can't imagine leaving my children to grow up without me. I can’t imagine not being there for their weddings, and to see and hold my grandchildren. There's no type of closure that "I'm sorries" can give you. There are no explanations good enough to help you accept that. Or is there?
My mom lived by these words, "Everything happens for a reason, sometimes we won't know the reason for many years and sometimes we will never know." She said, "We have to be okay with that. Okay with knowing that there is a bigger power at work for our good and we have to trust in that." She always wanted to live a life of quality and not quantity. So when it came down to her last days and hours, she made that choice for herself, so that we didn't have to. She knew we loved her and the time we spent with her was more precious than anything we'd ever known. She'd done her job here and it was time for her to watch over us from another place. She wasn't bitter, she was at peace.
While losing her was the hardest thing I've ever been through, I know she wouldn't have wanted me to sit in heartbreak. She wanted us to live our lives to the fullest, knowing tomorrow is never guaranteed and we need to live and love completely and not sit in the depths of sorrow. I know she is with me every minute of every day. I may have lost her physical presence, but I haven't lost her connection with me. I see it every day in the eyes of my children, and the faint scent that is hers alone. I hear it in the morning when the doves sing and in the breeze as the wind chimes play their song. I will never get closure from her death, but I do not need it for she is with me all of the time.
Closure is such a hard thing to grasp. We all want it for different reasons; we all tell ourselves if we have closure we can move on with our lives. We often forget life is moving on, with or without us. Not having closure isn't going to stop life from happening, but it will stop us from letting life happen for us. While we sit and try to find our own types of closure, we are missing out on the magic that is happening all around us. Closure happens when we accept that we can't control what happens around us. We can only control our thoughts and actions and we get to decide how we want to move on.
Need help finding the closure you need to move on? Check out the Catalyst Coaching Intensive to learn skills to help you deal with closure that may or may not come to fruition in your life.
You can also book a session with Coach Christa McDermott to talk about specific situations in your life where closure is holding you back and determine techniques to move forward.