Sometimes Things Fall Apart So Something Better Comes Together

Photo: Nicoleta Ionescu / Shutterstock
woman looking at ocean sunset

Things fall apart. Whether wonderful or horrible, everything comes to an end eventually, which is a relief or a disaster depending on how much the life of the thing was treasured.

When we find something we deeply loved crashing down around us, it’s easy to feel like it’s the end of the world. But the truth is that sometimes losing something great is essential to moving forward to something better.

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I know. It sounds like those bullsh*t “Everything happens for a reason!” lines friends try to feed you when you’re sobbing your eyes out after a breakup.

Charlotte was the most insufferable character on Sex and the City, but nobody seemed to want to punch her more than when she started blinking those Bambi eyes and starting in about how going through a divorce was necessary to getting engaged to her divorce lawyer some five minutes after Carrie had been dumped via Post-It Note.

(Times were tough before text message breakups, kids. Don’t let anyone tell you any different.)

However, as much as I hate to admit it, that WASPy, whiny, superficial, materialistic, pre-feminist nightmare wasn’t wrong.

We had to lose Destiny’s Child in order to get Beyoncé's solo career. If (whatever conspiracy theory you subscribe to) hadn’t taken Kurt Cobain from us, we might never have found out what an amazing frontman Dave Grohl is.

Elizabeth Taylor had to steal Debbie Reynolds’ husband so Carrie Fisher could have the chaotic childhood that turned her into a badass storyteller with endless source material.

This phenomenon isn’t just limited to the pop culture world, by the way. It happens to us normal people every single day.

Because of the frequency of terrible things that happen to us, it’s human nature to cling to great things.

We savor the golden ages of our lives and we all create these beliefs that the best people in our worlds are somehow immortal.

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It only makes sense that we feel that the end of something special means we will lose our chance to be uniquely happy like that ever again.

Anyone who has lost a relative or friend who seemed like they were made of magic knows the feeling of irreplaceable loss and the ongoing heartache that haunts us afterward.

Attempting positivity when things fall apart usually feels like you’re lying to yourself outright. Looking at the demise of something you loved and saying, “Well, maybe something better is on the way! When God shuts a door, somewhere he opens a window!” feels naïve at best — idiotic at worst.

We all know that a lot of the time the end of something good marks the beginning of something awful — all I’m saying is that it doesn’t have to.

I could sit here all day listing more examples from celebrities but honestly, there are tons of examples of ordinary, everyday people losing something beloved and creating or finding something better afterward. 

I encourage you to look at your life, think of a time you lost something you treasured and thoroughly enjoyed but were able to replace with something better.

Take your time. Really think about how both gifts made you feel when you had them and why you wouldn’t trade the exchange for anything. It can be anything: a romance, a job loss, or even a favorite restaurant closing down forever that was replaced by the one you like better.

Just find one example in your life that proves that the loss of a great thing can facilitate the genesis of a new one.

And then, the next time you find yourself in one of life’s inevitable storms when you feel like you are losing everything you love, pull out this memory, see it as truth, and let it be your beacon of hope to move you forward.

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Liz Pardue-Schultz is a writer and activist sharing her journey through mental illness, recovery, and parenting. Her words have appeared on Huffington Post, Time, Ravishly, and ThoughtCatalog.