“When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we took so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened up for us.”  – Helen Kellerlife

Happiness can mean different things to all of us.  It might include a fulfilling marriage, kids, a dream job, a sunny day, a paycheck, a vacation, good health, and friends, to name a few.  During life, this quote comes alive for me each and every day.  Through the years, I have learned that God shuts a door in my life and opens a window and that there is a time and a season for everything, including relationships. Through the years, I have seen many people come and go, and I always took the ending personally.  I always thought, “What is wrong with me? What did I do to end this friendship? Was I not good enough?” When a friendship would end, I never let the cloud pass.  I continued to dwell on and beat myself up over the losses, as I thought that life could not go on without that individual in my life.  I remained miserable for years, not knowing how all this relationship stuff worked.   The Helen Keller quote above is a reflection of how I lived my life for so many years.  I missed out on so much, dwelling on the past of broken relationships and other hardships, that I failed to see the open doors of new opportunities  that life had to offer.

After being taught the difference between a healthy and a toxic relationship, I have been amazed at how much easier it is to close the door of  a broken relationship and walk through a newly opened door right in front of me.  As we all know, it is inevitable that we are going to go through difficult circumstances, along with relationships that come and go, but it is how we deal with those situations that allows us to grow and move beyond them.

Relationships often lack commitment and the ability to overcome disagreements, hard times, and/or problems.  Communication seems to be a lost art. Instead, people often shut down and run from conflict instead of facing it head-on. It baffles my mind at how many relationships in my own life have ended that way.  It seems easier to bail when disagreements occur rather than expending the effort to work through them. Other relationships end abruptly when we make mistakes. Then when we seek forgiveness, which is not an option no matter how much we apologize and attempt to work through the issue.  Yet, only God is perfect.  We are all going to make mistakes and say words we will regret.  In addition, putting high expectations on people is arguably the worst thing anyone can do in a relationship, bringing about failure and disappointment.  We should never have to walk on egg shells in a relationship, but sadly, many of us do.

In order for friendships to succeed, both parties must put forth 100 percent.  Someone once told me that relationships should be like a marriage.  In an ideal marriage,  each spouse gives every effort to help, love, and support their spouse.  Like marriage, all relationships require nurturing and unconditional love to overcome all the storms that life brings into them.  Through experience, I have learned that not everyone views relationships as I do, and I should never pour all my happiness into them.  My significance should come from God, and if that is how I live each day,  then I will be able to allow the door to close when it’s time and move forward through the open one in front of me.

Here are a few things to know when starting a new relationship:

  • If you cannot be yourself or express yourself openly, then you do not need the relationship.
  • First impressions are important.  Go with your gut. Who that person is and what they do when you first meet them is most likely who they are always going to be. You can’t change another person. So, start slow.
  • If you are more frustrated than not in a friendship, be honest and attempt to work through the issues. If the problems are not mutually resolved, that is a sign of an unhealthy relationship, and it’s time to consider closing the door.

With all this said, no matter if it is a relationship or anything else, let the door close when it’s time. Amazing opportunities and new journeys are around the corner when you allow a new door to open.