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Ask Karan About... Lessons Learned From Broken Friendships

[Sassa's question]: Have you ever had a broken friendship, and what are the lessons you learned from it?

[Karan's answer]: As I've been on this planet for a quite a while I've had many friendships that have ended. Some have seen us just drift apart like ripples on the water, some have fizzled like a damp firework, whilst others have exploded before they ever got into orbit, despite the promise I once thought possible. There was one that even tried it's level best to destroy me, which sounds overly dramatic now, but that's how it felt at the time.

The single thing they all have in common is that I am eternally grateful for each and every one of them. Yes, even the one that tried their hardest to destroy my life. In fact, especially the one that tried to destroy my life. Why?

Well, here come a couple of cliches for you: 1) What doesn't kill you makes you stronger and, 2) People are sent to you for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Cliches these may be but, in my experience, they're still true.

Whilst standing in the smoldering wreckage of a newly terminated friendship, it's often difficult to see the lessons and blessings contained within such a hurtful experience, because the pain can blind and numb you there for a while. It may even render you a little gun-shy, until you fully regain your composure of course. But all things must pass (cliche #3), and when the fog of pain lifts - and it will lift - clarity brings with it an entirely new dawn.

This is when you begin to see where, when, why, and just how much you have grown as a result of living through your experiences; and you'll eventually be so glad you didn't crawl up into a ball and quit. You will be amazed to discover all the strength and skill you've had residing inside all along; never truly grasping it was yours to play with and enjoy. Now your true character is revealing itself to you for the first time in forever, and you're likely to love and respect yourself for not having just endured your pain, but for having transformed and optimised it into a triumph of your own making. Don't believe me?


Then I urge you to write down all of the major friendships which have painfully combusted or imploded in your lifetime. Next to each name write down all the ways in which your life has been made better for simply having known them. Detail all the things, and all the ways in which you have gained somehow - however large or small. Clarify in your own mind how you have achieved a level of personal growth and development, which simply wouldn't have been possible without having known them first. How have these individuals proved to be a catalyst for change in your life, however unknowingly on their part? Be brave and be honest. Don't let any residual hurt or animosity colour the truthfulness of your answers. In fact, lose the animosity altogether because you're only cheating yourself. Anger is an acid which does more harm to the vessel in which it's contained, than to anything onto which it's poured.

I'm willing to bet something resembling a family tree or mind map will begin to emerge on your page, as consequence after consequence attaches itself to whatever was written directly before it. Before too long you'll be gazing at the page, completely in awe of the perfectly clear pattern that's been revealed to you; before smiling and giving thanks for having had them in your life.

Everyone brings something into your world, but how long each individual stays in your world depends on whether they're there for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Imagine walking along a path which, from time-to-time converges and diverges with other paths, as people come into and out of your life. The overall lesson is to accept them all, and the gifts they bring for you, and to equally let them go when you must. Admittedly this can be excruciatingly painful, I won't lie to you, but it's essential nonetheless. Not only will it build character and reveal hidden reserves of strength in you, but their departure will also make way for who's next; for who you need in your next chapter.

The great Napoleon Hill teaches us in his book Think & Grow Rich that anything/anyone taken from you, will be replaced by something/someone of equal or greater value. From my own experience, I hold this theory to be true.

I shall now close by quoting the wonderful Dr Suess:

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened


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