the closure myth.

We all have them. Those things in our lives that have gone unfinished. The things that ended abruptly or without explanation. The relationships, the opportunities, and the dreams that we once pursued but lost by the wayside. I can think of at least five in my own life as I write this.

They are the things that you do your best to not even acknowledge because the loose ends bother you too much. You don’t even attempt to seek closure with those things because, well, how would you get it? So much of what we desire closure from are based on circumstances outside of our control, so why even go there?

Recently, I’ve learned that that is a lie I had believed for far too long. There’s this myth that something has to happen TO you in order for closure to take place.

An apology from someone.
An explanation from someone.
Something happening that causes it all to suddenly “make sense.”
Something that assures you you’re better off.

Here’s the thing about closure, though. Closure isn’t about something happening TO you, it’s about something happening WITHIN you.

Right now I should probably dedicate this post to my best friend Jessi, who helped me come to this realization earlier this year. I can’t imagine how much she listened to me whine and complain about “well if just this happened I would be fine.” She gave me the tough love I needed to hear – that the closure I was so desperately seeking had nothing to do with my circumstances, other people, etc. Instead, it had everything to do with a) taking responsibility for my own life and b) working it out with God and God alone.

What I’m trying to say is this. Sure – you could go on in your life and just try to forget or be in denial about your unfinished business. Or you can use those experiences to grow as a person, strengthen your trust in God, and learn from it for the future.

With that being said, I DO think it’s important to impart closure when necessary. When the ball is in your court, give closure where closure is due. For example, if you decide to leave a job, a church, or a relationship, I believe that having integrity and making your intentions clearly known is the important and respectable thing to do.

When you don’t receive that in return, though, don’t let it make you bitter. That’s where the importance of forgiveness comes in – forgiving others and forgiving yourself. But we’ll save that for another post…

**********

What are your thoughts on this? In what area(s) of your life do you need closure?

20 comments to the closure myth.

  • Sara

    Hi,
    Ok, I am going through tough time in my life. I truly don’t understand how can I trust God when everything I want is not coming true?! I do want to trust Him but how? I am not sure if I should stop trying to achieve anything cuz every time I want something it just simply doesn’t happen. Don’t get me wrong i am grateful for all what I have in my life, but it is hard sometimes to see your life is going into a different direction which you hate so much.
    Sara

    • Hey Sara,
      I think those are questions we all ask ourselves, and certainly not easy ones to answer. I know it’s something I deal with on a daily basis. I think that’s where faith comes in – trusting God beyond the circumstances we’re currently in, and trusting that He loves us more than we can even imagine. It’s not always easy to believe that God has the best plan for our lives (especially when they don’t line up with our own plans), but for me that’s when I turn to scripture and the promises God makes us (Jeremiah 29:11, to name one of many!).

      Here’s a really great message I think you should listen to – it’s called “By Faith, Not Sight” – http://vimeo.com/72241681

      Feel free to email me too if you want to chat more :) gracie(at)girlmeetslife(dot)com. xoxo

  • Love this! Your posts are always so reassuring and insightful, without being trite. I’ve been reading your blog for a few months (gah, so creepy!) and have been meaning to comment for a long time. Thanks for adding a little inspiration and happiness to my life every day. :)

  • Ivette

    Well said, and I totally agree. I wish I had learned this lesson several years ago, but all in due time I suppose:)

  • I love this perspective. While I am not a practicing Christian, I have developed my own sense of faith, in myself, and that things will work out in the end (or it’s not the end). Like Sara, above, I went through a time a few years back where nothing seemed to make sense or go right. I was dealing with overwhelming lack of understanding or direction with my life and career, an eating disorder, anxiety, a breakup with the man I thought I’d marry, and struggling with finally facing the pain of my childhood circumstances and loss of my mother at age 5. As much as that time, well, sucked, it made me so much stronger, and eventually, as I worked through all of those things, things did seem to make more sense. I am now back together with the man I thought I lost– we have a house and a dog. I have overcome my eating disorder, my anxiety, and the weight of my past. My father died after battling with cancer. I don’t think, without the struggle of all that a few years back, that I would have been able to be so strong for him during his treatment, or not have fallen apart after he passed. I could feel sorry for myself, and for all the crap I’ve been through, but as the saying goes, you have to accept the apology you never received. Life is not perfect, but it could be worse, and I will be grateful for what I have, and how far I’ve come.

    • Cassie, thank you so much for this comment. Your story is so powerful – you are such an inspiration! It seems strange to be thankful for hardships in life (especially when in the midst of them), but it really is true that those hardships are what grow and strengthen us most. And then there’s also that sense that we have to *choose* to let them do so (which you clearly did). Thanks again for sharing this <3

  • Britni

    The timing of this post could not be more perfect. The second quote describes exactly what I’m going through right now, and this entire post is just what I needed. Thank you.

  • Wonderfully stated. I like how you said it had to do with “a) taking responsibility for my own life and b) working it out with God and God alone.” I know that I am personally wrestling with an issue that has been on my mind for over half a year now, and I realize now I need to find closure within myself. Thanks so much for this post.

  • This is the year in which I’ve faced things from my past. Closure is for me, from me. I choose whether to let my demons control my life or to stand up for myself. It’s taken me a very long time to learn this, but I have. You can wrap yourself up in what you think you want, but life will always have other plans for you. Take chances, love yourself and things will always work out!

    I recently quit my job because I hated it! I’m taking a break, which I’m able to do with some creative financing, and I’m working on making my physical self match my emotional self. It starts on Saturday and I’m so excited!

  • Yes! Jeremiah 29:11…one of my favorite scriptures. Thanks for posting this. I’m going to marinate on it. :-)

  • So true! Such a great reminder that it’s between us and God… and the rest doesn’t define us!

  • Savannah Smith

    This is an awesome post and I can relate on so many levels! Do you recommend any christian self help/personal growth/devotionals you have read?

  • Love this post! Probably one of my favorites from you. It is so true, and something that people need to hear. I used to say, “If only I had closure.” Well, what. If I had closure would it make the hurt sting any less? Probably not. I think about closure as me wanting to keep the past alive, wishful thinking. It’s so much better to look at it as a way to learn from the experience. Learn from what happened, and move on.

  • So true, but so hard to admit to ourselves. When my best friend dropped me to start hanging out with her new boyfriend earlier this year, I was so frustrated and angry. It took some conviction from another close friend to realize that I was seeking for her to do everything, instead of asking God and finding satisfaction in His plans for me!

  • I think at the end of the day closure is always within our self. You could have a convo with the ex that broke your heart and still feel unsettled. Closure comes with acceptance over the situation and no matter what happened or who hurt who, you have no control over the other person and their actions..only your own. Great post!

  • Jess

    I can’t tell you how much this post means to me this week. A year ago I had a sudden and hurtful fallout with one of my very closest friends. A whole year later, I still miss her and cannot find peace with the situation. In this year I also walked away from an unhealthy relationship, that I know I will never get answers for or a proper apology. The two people I was most honest and “myself” with, suddenly gone. I’m dating a great guy now and I’ve met some incredible new friends. I hope I find it within me to let the past go and focus on my relationships with the great people in my life now.

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I'm the girl, Gracie Gordon. Here at GML you can follow my journey of dreaming, working, eating, loving, and blogging my way through life in NYC.

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