New relationships add to our life, while also coming with a cost. Our souls are expanded and experience loss at the same time.
For instance, a new friend allows us to discover new parts of ourselves previously unknown. Each friend brings out a side of us we would not experience otherwise. And this is part of what makes grieving so difficult – we lose a part of our very selves and not just an external reality.
But another grief also takes place as we expand our souls, though perhaps more in a practical sense.
We’re finite beings and we have natural limitations on the time and attention we’re able to offer to others. As such, spending time in a new relationship means there’s less time available for previous ones. And this makes new relationships bittersweet as they also come with degrees of loss.
Yet even here our losses are not zero-sum. While we have to deal with the natural constraints of our time and relational currency, we also get more of each other as our relationships expand. Just as we discover different sides of ourselves in new relationships, we get to experience our old relationships in new ways as these different sides come out in others as well.
For example, a couple might have less time for each other once they start having kids, but this also allows them to discover each other anew as parents.
A new friend to our group means things won’t be the same again. And it also opens the door for many new adventures with our friends we would not have had otherwise.
Likewise, there are often losses and gains with a new work colleague as well.
In the end, we rob ourselves of relational depth and complexity when we don’t allow both of these processes to take place.
Grieve your losses as you also allow yourself to be expanded through new relationships.
Photo by Seth Reese on Unsplash