What Does it Mean When Something is “Meant to Be”?

his is going to be a pretty literal description of my experience regarding one of the most uncomfortable experiences known to man – breaking up.  It’s a very cliché thing for me to write about, being that I recently went through one myself. However, what I’ve gone through has made me think constantly about how we believe some things are supposed to be permanent, whether it’s a relationship or something else, and how we react when they end up only being temporary.  I’ve learned a lot about myself and thought often about the ways I’d like to change after going through all of this. So, if you’re reading this, my dear ex-boyfriend, this one’s for you (and me).

    But I promise I’m not going to make this a hate speech toward you.

    I promise this isn’t an “open letter to the one who could’ve had me forever but f*cked it all up and never truly cared about me.”

    Not even close, because I know that isn’t true.  People can have a change of heart and make decisions to better their own lives, even if it means unintentionally hurting their loved ones.  I get it. It hurts, but life is confusing and unfortunate sometimes, and I think that in the end, maybe we were meant to be – but only for a little while.

    There are a lot of terms that have become synonymous with the concept of “forever”.  When we say that a couple is “made for each other,” we associate that with the assumption that they will get married and have a future together ‘til death do them part.  If someone is hired at a new job they really wanted, we tell them they are “meant to be” there, with the assumption that they’ve accomplished all of their goals and will never feel the need to leave until retirement.  While there are cases in both situations that do truly last a lifetime, the amount of pressure to stay committed to something even though we maybe don’t feel like it anymore is a lot to handle and can be pretty damaging.  At the same time, if a commitment doesn’t work out – maybe a married couple divorces or someone is let go from their job – we have feelings of defeat, and like we failed our loved ones and ourselves. We have a lot of thoughts and opinions about how things are supposed to be, but I’m convinced that when some things don’t last forever, that’s probably exactly how it’s supposed to be.

    When situations like a breakup or a falling out happen where we thought the relationship was supposed to last longer, we sometimes say that the two weren’t “meant to be”.  I don’t have any particular issues with saying that, but I think maybe it’s time we start thinking differently about what that phrase means and how it affects our well-being.  At the risk of sounding too preachy and all-knowing about everyone’s relationships, I want to offer this thought: maybe you and your ex-significant other were absolutely meant to be, just not for forever.  Maybe at the time and place in your lives that you started seeing each other, it was necessary for yours or their growth as a human being. Maybe it was meant to be that you were only with each other for a little while to prepare you for the next journey in your life, whether said journey involves a relationship, a job, both, or none of the above.  

    Don’t get me wrong – right now, I’m still pretty upset about my own relationship ending.  I don’t mean to throw myself a pity party, but I truly am still feeling fairly angry, depressed, and confused.  I want so badly to be none of these things, and to pick up where I left off my life before all of the hardship happened, as a happy and self-assured young woman. I want to be able to move forward and accept that our ending as a couple was probably meant to be for us.  I wish I could say that I’ve learned how to be more independent – that I’ve truly found my self-confidence again, and that I’ll be able to pick myself back up in no time, but that isn’t entirely true. Healing doesn’t happen overnight.

    With that being said, I’m just trying to struggle as productive as possible right now.  Every day is a new battle of replacing thoughts of regret and frustration with thankfulness and gratitude.  I’m truly thankful that have met not just one person, but a perfect handful of people that made me feel such immense happiness and admiration for them that it hurts this much when they are no longer meant to be in my life the way I want them to be.  I’m the luckiest girl in the world to be able to experience all of the beautiful things I have, even if those experiences weren’t meant to continue forever. I want to be able to look back on my past relationships fondly, with an open mind and a grateful heart.  I don’t want to be bitter for the rest of my days, but right now, I don’t think I want to be the badass independent woman either. I just want to reflect and feel appreciative for the adventures I once had, but also a little defeated because things just didn’t work out, because to be frank, it’s a bummer.

    I’d like to start telling myself that the phrase “meant to be” doesn’t always mean “meant to be forever”.  I think it’s a little more gratifying and a little less of a letdown when we tell ourselves that something was truly supposed to be in our lives than to feel like we failed at something.  So, the next time a commitment doesn’t work out for you – a job loss, a breakup, an attempt at something that didn’t go the way you thought it would – don’t assume that it wasn’t meant for you at all.  While we don’t always have to look on the bright side, and every feeling you encounter is valid, it doesn’t hurt to try to reframe your way of thinking into something a little more positive.