A counseling perspective on Closure by Bhavana Nissima.
Closure is a term that has found resonance with several people to describe the feeling of something left incomplete in their experience of Other.
- I want to hear his side of the story
- I want him/her to know I suffered
- S/he has to apologize
- I want to know why s/he did that
- I want him/her to compensate for my pain
- I wish I could forgive him/her for that
- I want him/her to know I cared and didn’t want it to end this way
So on and so forth.
A sense that the experience did not complete; that unless it completes, a part of us exists in the past, troubled, annoyed, angry, sad.
A desire, a yearning to let go and move on. And unable to.
Because of a condition—the experience has to complete in certain ways.
Some consider “closure” as a real condition for completion of a life experience. That unless you receive closure, you cannot move on.
Others reframe it as “acceptance” of how a relationship ended.
Here is the thing: You do what works.
If you find it easy to reframe closure as radical acceptance, “Everything is as it should be”—please do it.
We cannot force others to sit with us, say the things we want them to say, perceive themselves as we perceive them nor do things we want them to do.
Each of us is a fabulous main protagonist in the stories we make about us and the world.
To attain the state of acceptance, you may choose to step in the form of Universal Consciousness, the Deity of your choice, or an oxygen atom moving through every living being.
It is easier to feel acceptance when your identity is larger than the limited social identity you hold.
If you are unable to attain the state of acceptance, no issues. Below are two possible ways to gain closure:
First is an actual ritual for closure. You invite the other party on a certain date/time in a neutral setting. Food, music and serene setting helps. Select an appropriate date. Plan well. Please avoid doing it impulsively. Give the ritual the respect and time required to set it up.
We want closure because a relationship was important for us. You may want to acknowledge that openly.
What do you appreciate in the other person? How did s/he contribute to your growth, wisdom?
Next, let them know how and where it hurt. Say this in a neutral tone. Not for them to accept and acknowledge your pain. But for you to have a platform to say it. The healing is for you, not the other.
Next, invite the other person to imagine how the relationship could have been if you both had taken different decisions or behaved differently.
Invite them to step into future journeys together.
Appreciate the learnings. Wish them well for their journey ahead.
After the ritual meeting, please do not contact them anymore. You may experience sadness for sometime. It will ease out quickly.
If you are unable to do a face-to-face ritual because you sense an overwhelm of feelings or you fear you will be triggered or you are afraid you will return to a dysfunctional relationship or you are afraid to meet in-person, no worries. This second process will help you.
Our central nervous system (CNS) is a great friend. What you cannot do in reality, you can always imagine.
For this, please follow through these steps:
- Please check you truly desire closure and you want to move on.
- Please plan the day you intend to do the closure ritual in your mind. This is important.
- Find an appropriate setting and make the intention.
- On the day of the ritual, imagine you are going to watch a movie.In your mind, step into a movie hall reserved only for you. Find a seat that is comfortable. Imagine you have your favourite movie snacks with you. On the screen, (assuming your name is Gita) please watch the movie, “Gita’s Great Revenge.” Create a movie script with you as the Hero correcting injustice around you. Ensure the other party suffers or accepts their wrongdoing in this movie. You can use any method to get this state from the other party. Please know—you don’t have to pretend to be socially polite or a Buddha or some such identity. Do what you have to in your mind. End the movie only when you feel pity or indifference for the other person. The closure ritual cannot start until your emotions have decreased.Everyone can succeed in completing the process.
5. Next, check how you feel about the Other person or persons connected to the relationship. As you feel, where do you feel it? Heart? Stomach? Head? Hand? Focus on the location of the feeling.
6. Next, as you stay focused on the location of the feeling, where do you see the image of the person? Front? Right? Left? Close? Far-away? Please note, this is not eliciting a memory of when you last saw the person. Rather, in the current moment of doing the ritual, where do you see him/her?
7. This image is a personification of the person. The personification may have some characteristics: size, eye gaze, or some special attributes you recognize. You may sense the personification has a mind of its own—has emotions, reactions etc.
8. Enter into a dialogue with this personification. Say what you have to say. Appreciate first. Then express where it hurts or the sadness.
9. When you have finished your part, sense the other is talking to you or giving you something.
10. Listen. Accept what is given.
11. Do steps from 8-10 as many times as required.
12. When it is done, say a firm “Thank you”, express gratitude for the conversation, wish them well, and complete with a “Good Bye” or “Fare Well.”
13. Take few deep breaths. Drink water. Ensure you have a good night’s rest after this ritual.
14. You will sense a difference soon.
I have used all the above in my life experiences. I increasingly use acceptance as a method for closure. I have done in-person closure rituals in close relationships and it has been a deeply moving experience. However for such a ritual, the other person was also open and willing to dialogue.
In cases, where this was not possible, I use my CNS to imagine dialogue stories. My reaction after such mind rituals has been varied: I have felt tickled, amused, relieved and mostly powerful.
Maybe you will love it too.
Give it a go.
Much love and light from a sister in this Universe.
Dr Bhavana Nissima is also known as The Lightweaver. She works in the intersection of NLP, MSP and creativity. She is a trainer, coach and writer. She can be reached on her website thelightweavernlp.com for more info or her email: firstname.lastname@example.org.