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Now That You've Stopped Blaming Yourself For People Leaving You, What's Next?

Por: Andrea Mejía 13 de septiembre de 2017

I bet at some point in your life you've felt as if someone left you because of something you did. I guess most of us feel like that many times throughout our lives, especially when we end a relationship. You must have thought at some point of your life, “What did I do wrong for X person to leave me?”, “This is not the first time someone leaves me. There must be something wrong with me,” or, “What can I do so people don't leave me?”

The simplest piece of advice I can give you is to stop blaming yourself when someone decides to leave. I could say that you're not the problem, that it's the other person, and that they don’t know what they’ve lost because you’re amazing and no one deserves you. But I’m afraid things aren’t that simple or that dramatic. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure you're an amazing person, and there are many people who love your originality and believe no one could ever replace you. However, just stop for a moment and think about this for a second: just as you are irreplaceable, there are millions of people out there with unique stories of their own, different ways of processing things, and different reasons why they’ve left or been left behind. And in all the relationships you've ended, with all the people who have left you ––and the complex stories each one of them brings––, the common denominator is still you.

Now, if you haven’t said by now, “this is b**llsh*t,” and decided to stop reading this, you might be asking yourself, “so you’re actually saying it’s my fault they’ve left?” And here I’ll tell you to pay attention to the words you’re using, particularly the word “fault” (or “blame” if you went for other wording). Let me ask you something: Is there really someone to blame? Why should you blame yourself if someone else leaves? Why should anyone be blamed at all for their decision? That was their choice, and it might have hurt you, but if you really want to solve this, if you’re really willing to move on from the fact that someone didn't want to stay with you, you must understand that they had a reason to leave.

Even if you’ve known someone for years, you’ll never know for sure what is going on in their mind or in their heart. As I said before, everyone is unique, and so is their story and the things they experience. Perhaps when you first met that person, you had similar plans, ideas, sense of humor, and you were willing to get to know each other. However, even if you share your life with this person for a while, you still have different backgrounds, you go through different experiences and are constantly changing in the way you see the world and what you want for your life. And maybe with all that changing and growing (or regressing in some cases), the distance between your paths starts growing more and more, until it’s better to let go of the other person. Of course, saying goodbye to someone you care about isn't easy, but blaming them or yourself for leaving won’t solve anything or bring healing. In fact, it’s more likely that, if you keep looking at your relationships under that lens, the story will repeat itself again and again.

“Then, how do I move on?” you might ask. Well, first thing: break that blaming cycle. Accept that you cannot control others’ decisions, and if they decide to leave, that’s their choice. They had their reasons, and there’s nothing you can or should do to change their mind. Here you might say, “But I’m tired of going through this. It’s not fair. I’ve been the best [insert relationship status here], and people still leave me!”

And now the hardest part… If you’re really tired of people leaving you, you need to sit down and do an honest self-analysis to see what you're doing that makes people leave. Were you too jealous or controlling? Did you say something that offended them? Were you demanding something from your partner that they couldn’t give you? Did they tell you why they decided to end the relationship? Do you keep fighting with every new partner about the same things you fought with your exes? Are you always in toxic relationships? When I say this is the hardest part, I mean it. It’s not easy to accept you might have hurt the other person or that you’re doing something that pushes people away.

Breaking the blame cycle is also related to this. You’ve realized you’re doing something that makes people leave. But wallowing in self-pity or directing all your anger to the author of this text isn't going to get you anywhere. Now that you know what you did, it’s time for you to make a decision: are you going to change, or are you going to stay the same? Just remember that not everyone will agree with X thing you do, X opinion you defend, or X quirk you have, but that doesn’t make you less worthy of love. There will be people who won’t care and will accept you and love you for who you are. Be true to yourself, and you’ll know which option to choose.

In case you’ve decided to change, congratulations for being honest with yourself. Now, be patient with yourself and with others. The important changes won’t happen quickly. You have to break with behaviors you’ve had for a long time, or stop seeing the world and yourself the way you always have. It is, to a certain degree, like being born again. It’s very probable that you’ll repeat these mistakes, but the point is that you'll be aware. That’s part of learning and evolving.

And one last point: remember nothing lasts forever. If you’ve finally found someone to be with, consider they won’t be there forever, and not necessarily because of something you did. Life is strange, so anything can happen. No matter what happens, cherish the moments you spend together and don’t think of them as time wasted that’ll mean nothing once they leave. And if you feel like you’re alone, I repeat, nothing lasts forever, not even loneliness.

If after all this self-analysis you’re still convinced you haven’t done anything wrong, and that you’ve dealt with a bunch of jerks that don’t appreciate you and keep leaving you, you’re not responsible nor entitled to decide what they do with their lives; that’s up to them. Do what you can for the only person you can actually transform: yourself.

Photos by Allef Vinicius

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