Sometimes Acceptance is All the Closure You’re Going to Get

No one ever asks life to knock them down. You’re not going to hear anyone say, “Things are pretty good. I hope life throws a huge monkey wrench into my world. Maybe my husband will suddenly announce he has a girlfriend and leave! Or I’ll lose my job. Or something I never could have seen coming will bring me to my knees and break my heart wide open.” We don’t ask for these things, but sometimes these are the kind of challenges we have to face. Or worse.

Not everything in life is positive, and there are some lessons no one will ever appreciate. You might grow, strengthen or reach new levels of compassion or insight, but there are some heartbreaks that are so knifing, no one would ever say, “Thank you for this.” As a result, you’ll never hear me say, “Everything happens for a reason.” I used to say things along those lines, and maybe everything does, or maybe it’s all random, but I think spiritual sound-bytes like that are an attempt to wrap life up into a neat little package, and I think they’re incredibly alienating to people who are devastated. When you cannot recognize your life, when everything falls apart and you have nothing but the shards of glass that used to be your home in a pile around you, and old photographs and a sweater that still smells like what was, you really don’t want to hear it’s happened for some reason that will make sense to you some day. Some things will never, ever make sense, and some things will never be okay. Recognizing that is the only way you can conceive of moving forward. Sometimes acceptance is all the closure you’re going to get.

When you find yourself in a state like this, move slowly and have compassion for yourself. If you know someone who’s been knocked down, show up and make them dinner, but don’t tell them how to grieve or that it’s time to snap out of it. People mourn in their own way, whether it’s over the loss of a person, a relationship, a job or a way of being. There’s a huge difference between being there for someone and enabling self-destruction, so please don’t misunderstand me here. I’m simply saying when a person is trying to put the pieces of their life back together, they need love, not a whip. Because although no one would ask for everything to fall apart around them, when that happens there is the potential for something strong, beautiful and powerful to emerge. A new way of being, of seeing, of understanding. It takes time to birth those things, and it’s a very painful process, but when I look back at the most devastating things that have happened in my own life, I can recognize that I grew from them. That I would not be where I am now if I had not been where I was then.

There are a couple of experiences I’d give back gladly. I’d say, “No thank you, not this. Not this.” But I can see how those moments opened me, and turned me into the kind of person who cares deeply when a stranger sends a message about a loss. A broken relationship. A dark time. And I can appreciate that. I can be grateful for that. Hopefully we can all care more about each other without having to personally suffer too much. Maybe I needed those times to open me. I wouldn’t want to be closed. I say this to you in case you’re going through one of those devastating times. I’d never ask you to be grateful, but I would say you have the choice to allow it to soften you and open you, or to close you and harden you. Opening feels a lot better.

Sending you love and a hug,

Ally Hamilton

If the posts are helpful, you can find my books here, and my yoga classes and courses here.

9 thoughts on “Sometimes Acceptance is All the Closure You’re Going to Get”

  1. So perfectly spoken. Thank you. I especially love that you included that it might not just be a broken relationship or dark time but also the letting go of a way of life.

  2. sending a heaping helping of love to u and your family,hope to see u soon love,Juliet and Thank you Thank you Thank you for your beautiful helpful letters!

  3. Ally, this post is really resonating with me today. They all do, but I’m going through the tug of war to accept the silence as the closure or ask for the closure. I know you understand the two. There’s a story I’d like to share with you, but need to write you privately about it. Can’t seem to locate your e-mail….how can I reach you?

  4. Wonderful, as always! You have such an eloquent way of articulating many things that I think about sometimes, but don’t manage to form into words. I, too, used to believe that everything happens for a reason, but eventually came to realize that making that assumption is just a way of not having to face the reality that life is always unpredictable, and sometimes in a very unpleasant way. A few years ago, my life suddenly turned upside down in a very unpredictable and unpleasant way, due to chronic illness. The life I knew was leveled to the ground but I am grateful, in retrospect, because that life would have killed me eventually if I had not been forced to change course. I no longer believe “things happen for a reason,” but I do believe that – in almost all situations – we have more flexibility than we may be aware of to choose what we learn and how we grow (or don’t) as a result of our experience. While I wouldn’t have ever wished for debilitating illness and the resulting financial ruin and social isolation, I can’t imagine that I would have ever found the courage to make the changes I needed to make if I hadn’t done so out of necessity. I am now a much happier, more grounded, emotionally and spiritually healthier person than I was before my illness. I am truly grateful. Adversity, I have learned, is a great mentor. It will teach me anything I am willing to learn.

  5. Laura, this is such a beautiful message, thank you. I’m sorry you’ve been dealing with a debilitating illness, and all the heartache that’s gone along with it. That’s not at all easy, and it’s even more challenging to find gratitude for an experience like this. I agree about adversity; it teaches us who we are, and where we’re at if we let it. Sounds like you’ve been letting it. That requires a lot of bravery and strength. Peace to you, and hopes for your good health. Lots of love.

Leave a Reply