The end of something causes us a lot of pain. The loss of a loved one, the end of a relationship, being made unemployed, these are things that cause a seismic change in your life, and it can make you question your whole belief system when something that important to you is gone forever.

Achieving closure means finally letting go of whatever was keeping you from developing past this event, and it helps you to gain an understanding of how to move on with your life, into a bright and hopeful new future. So, how can you do this?

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The first step is to really take a look in the mirror and ask some honest questions about your situation. Are you holding onto something needlessly, and if so, why? Are you clinging onto something in the hope that it will come back again, which spares you the emotional pain that comes with change? What are you afraid of? There are so many answers that can bring up new and scary feelings, and it is never a good feeling to confront these things. But this is an essential step in the right direction. While the hurt or anger or pain you feel right now doesn’t feel nice, it is the step you need to go through to start looking towards the future.
The second step is to really grieve the loss. Whether it is a pet, a job, or a significant other, we all have our own ways of grieving. There are people who put off the grieving process because they feel they have other things that are taking priority, such as the kids or work, but by not giving yourself the time and space to experience these feelings you cannot begin to process it properly. People are too quick to say “get over it” but these people don’t have the perspective on the situation. It takes as long as it takes, but if it goes on for years, this is clinging onto the past in an unhealthy way, and you might consider counseling or therapy to help you move on.
The third step is to focus on you for once. There are so many people that are eager to please that they have left any sense of self behind. Take time to highlight your attributes and look at where you can make changes in your life for the positive. Surround yourself with friends who bring out the best in you, not the ones that make you feel inferior. What do you enjoy doing? Going for a workout or going to the movies? Enjoy yourself, you’ve earned it, and set in stone what you are able to do right now to make positive steps in the right direction. They always say that there is no time like the present, and you don’t need to make drastic changes, but you can certainly look at what little things can be altered to make life more interesting and fruitful for you now.
The fourth step is to plan for the future. Once you are pleased that you are starting to feel less off-kilter, make a plan for the immediate future. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, but it could be a break away, or it could be something that helps you throughout the process. Depending on the situation and what your intentions are, you may wish to seek professional advice on making a claim, or speak to the police or an injury lawyer to get an understanding of what your rights are based on the situation. If you underwent a traumatic experience, it can be overwhelming to speak to professionals who may sound very blasé about something that was clearly very serious for you. But if you feel that this is the next step you need to take, then it is your choice. Redemption is a big thing for many, and we see in the news that families who have gone through a horrible time with a murdered relative will state that it is only after the court case or the verdict was read out that they can finally get on with their lives. However you see fit, make a plan for the immediate future that benefits you. You may need to reorganize your priorities to make your immediate plans fit, which may help you to examine new possibilities.
The fifth step is to create a ritual. Much like the funeral is a ceremony for loved ones we have lost, you can make a “ceremony” to help gain official closure. You can use this to bypass the logical part of your mind, and this event becomes a symbol for closure in itself. It’s a cliché that burning old love letters is a way to finally get over that relationship, but the act itself signals a sense of finality, which will help you to move on in a much healthier way. It doesn’t need to be a big event, but whatever you think will help you to say goodbye to the situation and put a full stop to whatever it was that was keeping you in the past.
Gaining closure is a massive step to regaining a sense of who you are and what your life was about before the event. The important thing to remember is that these things take time, and we are all different. What works for one person may not work for another, and we all process things differently. Achieving the feeling of closure may light up like a bulb one day when you wake up, or you may just be able to see everything a bit more clearly than before. However it happens, it’s important to take stock and realize how far you have come through this. When we experience a loss or the end of something it can feel like a definite end, and although everyone says that life goes on, it only does so when you are ready. But you cannot be ready until you have gone through the right processes.