I’m not usually a big believer in burning bridges.
What’s the point? And what if you needed to get back across? What then?
I’ve gotten better over the years at holding back all the things I want to say at the time I most want to say them. I contribute that to maturation and some really good meds. Still, it’s a struggle for me sometimes, when the wounds go deep, to not open my little box of matches and burn that proverbial mother to ashes.
It’s one of the reasons I left Facebook. Tensions were always so high, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get completely away from the type of thing that made my fingers itch to strike a match. And so, like that adult that I have to be (begrudgingly at times), I simply walked away.
There are times, though, when things need to be said. Voices need to be heard. Bridges need to be burned. Because sometimes, it’s the only way to NOT go back, but to continually move forward. A forced trajectory, if you will.
Sometimes, the thing we fear most is exactly what we need to do to become the next version of our best self in this progression we call “life”.
Burning bridges usually requires some form of confrontation; something I’m pretty good at, yet don’t particularly enjoy. But it was a huge part of my young adult life in my first marriage and is now part of my everyday career.
When I threaten to repossess someone’s car, and they beg me to give them an extra week, I typically do it. Once. If you lie to me, you won’t get another chance.
If you hurt my child, I might forgive you. Once. If you do it twice…..striiiiiike. (And that only applies to certain types of hurts. Depending on the nature of the offense, I might be hunting you down with more than matches…)
If I have put forth more effort than you in a relationship, and am the only one contributing, I might give you multiple chances. But, eventually, if you won’t reciprocate…
I definitely believe that love is the answer to so many of the ills in this world. But I also believe that there are times for making declarations, calling out lies, standing by uncomfortable truths, even if it means never being able to go back.
Back to the way things were.
Back to who you used to be.
And I believe that these two ideas – love and burning bridges – are not necessarily mutually exclusive. I believe they can co-exist, side by side. I believe that they can both make positive differences in our lives when applied correctly.
Because, sometimes, the person you need to love most is the one setting fire to the bridge.