Grief

Getting Closure

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Sometimes it can sound a little cliche when we hear someone say they need to get closure. Maybe we’ve seen one too many romantic comedies. But closure is a prerequisite for being able to move on and be fully invested in life and relationships, so we discount it at our own peril.

What the need to get closure really signifies is that you currently have an open relationship with a person who can no longer contribute to it, due to death, separation, or some other cause. You are investing yourself emotionally and mentally the same way now as you did before but the relationship has changed.

Closure is the final goodbye, and it’s filled with grief because it means closing a door forever, which is why so many people are so afraid to go near that door and instead just keep holding on to the way things were, daily tormented by their feelings of life being incomplete.

Saying goodbye forever to someone you really care about, in addition to being the epitome of human tragedy, is scary because you are trading certainty and familiarity for the unknown, accepting that all things change. It is this fear of being all alone that keeps you from meeting the very people who could help dissipate your loneliness.

One way to add positivity to the process of closure is by making a gratitude list, where you write down the various ways that you are a better person because of your loved one. As you read over this list you can realize that saying goodbye does not mean forgetting because you carry qualities around that are the living embodiment of the person who is no longer with you.

When you think in these terms you will feel more motivated to turn towards life and continue your journey of growth because shrinking into yourself and disengaging from the world would discount the precious gifts the person you have lost has bestowed upon you.

If you want closure you first have to accept that you are grieving, a fact that many fail to recognize when their loss entails separation but not death, like a failed romantic relationship. The mechanics are the same as in the case of death though, because you still must come to terms with changed parameters where someone who used to contribute no longer does. Their voice is deathly silent except for in your memories. They no longer add anything new.

By accepting that your relationship needs to change because the situation has changed, you make room for new possibilities. We can’t be happy unless we feel intimately connected to others through living relationships that have the potential to grow and change. Getting closure really means opening yourself up to something new and different, which is scary but also holds great promise.

Greetings I'm Michael, the owner of Evolution Counseling and the author of all the articles on this site. I got my master's degree from Seattle University in community mental heath counseling and have committed myself to advancing my knowledge of psychology and to evolving my own philosophical system ever since. In addition to the content on this site I offer online coaching using Skype. If you'd like to learn more about it click on the online coaching tab or if you think you'd like to set up a session send me an email at evolve@evolutioncounseling.com.

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