When relationships end, everyone walks away with a story.
Each person has their version of why it happened, who did what, what their motivations were, who was a good heart and who wasn’t. Each person has their own Truth.
And if you’re a people pleaser (as most women have been socialized to be) and you’ve discovered that the other person thinks you were the problem, you’ll probably be tempted to do everything in your power to change their story.
We want their story to approve of our choices.
We want their story to be nice to us.
But here’s the hurt, love:
We have to let other people have whatever story they want.
Trying to control their perspective by reminding them of that conversation, pointing out the contradictions, or showing them any kind of ‘evidence’ that proves we were a good person, that we have deep integrity, that we were honest… Usually, it’s totally futile.
They believe what they believe. They’ve chosen what they’ve chosen.
And beyond the futility, trying to manage their story also reinforces the belief that we’re not good enough, kind enough, smart enough, desirable enough, ____________________ enough, unless other people say so.
And that’ll just keep us locked in a cycle of more and more people pleasing — which sucks, and you know it.
But maybe the biggest reason to stop trying to change someone else’s story is this:
You can never know the purposefulness of their story FOR THEM.
You can’t see inside their heart. You can’t know what gears are shifting in their mind. Maybe the story they’ve chosen to define you isn’t really about you at all. Maybe it’s about THEM.
Believing you’re “too much” might help him avoid shame.
Her anger at you might jumpstart her hustle at work.
Assuming the moral high ground might stabilize her through sadness.
We don’t know the role that their story of us plays in their life. Maybe thinking of us with heavy words and darkness helps them move into another kind of light. We can never know.
SIDENOTE: I’m not suggesting that you softly smile at acts of slander or negligence. There are times to raise your voice and throw down some fire. But most of the time, a bad breakup doesn’t call for that kind of indignation.
Endings are hard for everyone and if they are processing their part of the hardness by telling an unflattering story about you, consider the possibility that they need that version of events; they need that story to cope.
Choose your peace over their approval.
Choose your future and release the past.
Choose your story instead of theirs.