Closure doesn’t always happen.
Some people disappear without any notice and leave conversations unfinished. We fight to see them again, so we can vent—there are words we need to get off our chests, problems we want to address, and solutions we wish to discuss. We spend sleepless nights trying to understand what that person might be thinking or feeling.
But solace doesn’t necessarily come to us when we need it the most.
And when that happens, the only solution we’re left with is to resolve the issue alone.
We can’t force closure. We can’t push people to talk. Trust me, I know this feeling all too well. And maybe because there are still a few situations in my life in which I haven’t received closure, I recognize how important it is to find it for myself.
People change, and we can never really know what pushed them to change or leave. If we think about it, we may have left relationships or friendships without giving the other person closure. I know I have—and every time I did, I had my reasons. I was either too weak to face this person, or I made a choice to take my relationship for granted.
So, how can we resolve an issue or find closure on our own when we feel like it should be solved with the other person involved?
First, we need to figure out what closure means to us. To me, closure is a feeling of comfort that overwhelms my chest. It gives me the chance to move forward and carve a new path. It’s akin to closing an old chapter and being ready to open a new one.
Closure doesn’t always mean the end of whatever exists between two individuals—be it family, friends, or lovers. A whole new beginning may start with the person involved, but closure gives a new direction to the situation. We can choose to start a new journey together or go our separate ways, but closure brings forth more certainty and less confusion.
Next, we must understand why we’re keen to get closure. Once we solve this dilemma, we can figure out how to get it from within.
To learn why we crave closure, we need to understand our minds, which don’t naturally like to keep things suspended in the unknown. We like to know the outcome of situations and delve into certainty. This is why moving past situations we don’t quite comprehend becomes a challenge.
It can feel impossible to make a decision to move on when we don’t fully understand what happened, or when we believe someone owes us an apology or an explanation.
As humans, answers matter to us so much that their absence can keep us stuck for years. And time keeps us stuck even longer. We live in a psychological mindset defined by past, present, and future, and we need closure in order to move on from the past and exist solely in the present.
Closure satisfies a mind that needs reassurance, validation, explanation, and a concrete version of time. So, if closure is based in the mind, then we can only find it by dealing with our own minds.
Knowing this, we start to take responsibility for our thoughts because the solution lies in them.
Being responsible for our thinking patterns requires not going back, mentally, to the situation that is causing us anxiety or uncertainty and repeating it. While we commonly do so for the sake of finding an answer, the fact is that the more we analyze a situation, the less we may understand it. And understanding the other person is even more challenging. So we need to stop ourselves from revisiting the past.
Instead of thinking about what might have happened, we need to recognize that all things in life come to an end—and not all are meant to be resolved. If our relationship ended, it was never meant to be ours. Nothing you or the other person could have done would’ve changed the outcome.
As Jamyang Khyentse says, “Even if we pray that the egg won’t cook, it will be cooked.” Change is inevitable, and we can’t keep it at bay.
We also need to understand that closure doesn’t come by blaming the other person. Instead, send them loving-kindness. Maybe they didn’t want to hurt you, or they struggled with vulnerability, or they were too weak to face you. We all have issues, but some of us don’t know how to resolve them.
Instead of focusing on what died, create space for what is about to grow. Life is a cycle of birth and death. When something ends, something else is born. We must learn from the troubles in our lives and shift the focus toward the lessons in store.
Instead of sectioning our lives into past, present, and future, we should focus on the only moment that exists—the now. It’s all we have. Anything else is just a creation of our minds.
By focusing on my own thoughts, I’ve proven to myself, more than once, that real closure comes from within. We can’t change people or wait for them to come back, but we can certainly change our perception of the issues that are causing us pain.
Author: Elyane Youssef
Image: Lesly B. Juarez/Unsplash
Editor: Nicole Cameron
Copy Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Social Editor: Taia Butler