Ok, let me begin by saying that I am absolutely devoted to Melody Beattie and everything she stands for. In case you’re unfamiliar with the name, Melody Beattie is the author of fifteen books including Codependent No More and The Language of Letting Go. She is an unstoppable force of good and healing, and her message of hope and change through self-awareness expands ceaselessly in all directions. Melody Beattie is a one woman revolution. Having said all that, I still feel like I haven’t come close to doing her justice in describing what she’s single-handedly done to help those who are lost.
The following is adapted from The Language of Letting Go (Hazelden Meditation Series), by Melody Beattie:
It takes courage and honesty to end a relationship- with friends, loved ones, or even a work relationship. Sometimes it may appear easier to let the relationship die from a lack of attention, rather than risk ending it. Sometimes, it may appear easier to let the other person take responsibility for ending the relationship. We may be tempted to take a passive approach. Instead of saying how we feel, what we want or don’t want, or what we intend to do; we may begin sabotaging the relationship, hoping to force the other person to do the difficult work. Sometimes this is unconscious behavior we “do,” without getting in touch with our feelings.
Yes, those are ways to end relationships, but they are not the cleanest, easiest, or most loving ways. As we walk this path of self-care, we learn that when it is time to end a relationship, the easiest way is one of honesty and directness. We are not being gentle, loving or kind by avoiding the truth, if we know the truth. We are not sparing the other person’s feelings by sabotaging the relationship instead of accepting the end or the change, and in doing something about it. We are prolonging and increasing the pain and discomfort- for the other person and for ourselves.
If we don’t know, if we are on the fence, it is more loving to say that. If we know it is time to terminate a relationship, say that. How often do we consider the fact that the change in relationship might also be for the other’s Highest Good and end up giving them more awareness and a deeper love in another relationship? Could it be possible that the “ending,” instead of being something terrible for them, is really a gift and a brighter beginning for them?
Haven’t we all, at some point, ended a relationship so badly that the guilt of how we parted lingered long past the pain of why we parted? Perhaps we have never done it correctly, or even witnessed such a thing. We have been taught that letting go has “bad’ consequences-it’s akin to quitting. All our lives we’ve been told to “hang in there,” or “don’t give up now,” or “stay loyal to the bitter end.” We’ve never thought to ask, “Or what?” Could it be that we’ve been missing the obvious? Letting go isn’t surrender, it’s victory. It’s time we re-educated ourselves. Letting go is courageous, loving, and affirming. It’s not something we “do” to someone, it’s something we do for ourselves, as well as others. It is a precious gift, when given well. How do we do that? By being honest, open, direct, and timely. Melody Beattie got it right. As the 1st Century Roman Philosopher Seneca wisely said, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”
I think it’s important to note that Melody Beattie comes by all this wisdom and insight through experiencing great personal tragedy. According to Wikipedia, during Melody’s childhood she was abandoned by her father, abducted by a stranger, and sexually abused by a neighbor. As an adolescent she was a junkie who robbed pharmacies to get drugs. As an adult, she married an alcoholic. She even had a child who died in an accident. Yet she survived. As she puts it, “I wanted to die, but I kept waking up alive.” Fortunately for all of us, Ms. Beattie was able to reach deep within herself and find the will to THRIVE. Not only that, she was able to find the voice to teach others what she had learned through her experiences. I am reminded of one of my all time favorite quotes: “The lesson which I pass on by this means is worth all the trouble it has cost me.” It is from the novella, The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
If this blog has caused you to think about some things that you’ve been pushing to the corners of your mind, allow yourself the freedom to bring those thoughts to the forefront. Examining our thoughts and feelings can be quite painful, yet ultimately transcending. After all, this kind of processing of our inner worlds is exactly what makes us human. I encourage you to pick up any one of Melody Beattie’s beautiful books. If you’d like to discuss with someone what I’ve been writing about today, please feel free to give us a call at Life Skills Resource Group in Orlando. 407-355-7378 -Kim
To Contact: TherapistKimMurphy@gmail.com