I love reading biographies. Ever since I was a little kid, reading the biographies of men like Thomas Edison, Wild Bill, the Wright Brothers and of course.. William Hershey. Later in life I’ve gone on to read more about men like Jesus, Martin Luther, Jim Morrison, Michaelangelo, Da Vinci and.. Ernest Hemingway. From each I’ve tried to learn something they spent their life observing or practicing, and it was from Hemingway that I have had the following words engraved into my psyche;
“Always remember a woman as she was on her very best day.” –E.Hemingway
Perhaps similar to your own experiences, I’ve had my share of having “loved and lost”. Met some really wonderful women, fallen in love and for a variety of reasons.. just didn’t work out and we went our separate ways. Plenty of my buddies have gone through the same as perhaps you have. This is what I’ve observed.
After breaking up, there’s this need to sort of ‘re-define’ our image of that person in terms of how we recall them or our memories with them. I believe it’s at this point we see what it is we’re actually made of. I once read the saying, “Any man can show kindness to his friends.. it is how a man deals with his enemies where we see his mercy put to the test.” People meet, they fall in love and even in good relationships people still get hurt.
Some people, after breaking up, choose to take a very harsh turn on their former beloved. The only things coming out of the heart and mouth are “..all the times they hurt me, let me down, disappointed me… etc.”. The temptation is there. I know, I myself too easily have dwelt on how “so and so did this or that, how unjust! how unkind! blah, blah, blah..”. It runs through the mental theater like an intruding picture show. But then what? You walk around filled with angst, hurt, a sense of injustice and bitterness that entertains no one nor does anything to help you grow as a person. Wigging out for a couple days is understandable, but it’s not to be a lifetime occupation, this twisted bitterness that shows up on your doorstep the moment hurt strikes you deep.
No, there’s another way. I’ve found it much less painful and so much better for my relationships with others in the future. It’s called ‘forgiveness’. Okay, so somebody lied to you, left you for someone else, used you, led you on… it happens. But remember you too have hurt others in some way or another and perhaps without even giving it much thought. None of us are perfect or blameless… well, except for those conceited people who are just impossible to be around.
If you could remember one moment, one day, when you saw the very best of your former love… remember that. And when you remember the wrong they did at a later time in your relationship, remember that you’ve forgiven them and it’s a finished issue. They’ve gone their way, you’ve gone yours. Perhaps they’ll change with someone else, perhaps not. But either way, even if it were in your power or at your disposal to see them pay for what they did… remember that in mercy you’d not want such punishment be brought on them, because you forgive them.
This is where we have to look at ourselves and take a hard look at what we’re made of. When we said, “I love you.”, was that a conditional statement or did we extend that love freely? Do we only love those who love us in return? Even the most selfish of persons can pull off that trick. We need not pine or long for a former lover, that would be unhealthy.. got to move on towards the future and leave the past behind. But we can still extend that love that does not wish any harm upon those we once loved closely.
Some might say it’s impossible for their particular situation. I say that for any situation it can be hard at times, but not impossible. After a while, it actually becomes a joy. To just kind of shrug your shoulders, let out a heavy sigh and wish your former beloved all goodness in their travels as you relieve them of any obligation to any wrongs they brought upon you. Then you commit yourself to remember them… “as they were, on their very best day.”
Henry Velez is a writer, traveler and vlogger currently living in the Philippines. He has written extensively on social issues, relationships and travel.