In life, there are times when we need to close doors. Put an end to chapters that have lost their reason for being. It’s not always easy. The resistance to change, the attachment to the known and the fear to get out of your comfort zone are very heavy burdens that tie you to the past, even if that past damages you. However, these endings are necessary, sometimes even essential to protect our psychological integrity. The fact of closing doors, however, doesn’t mean slamming them.
Slamming doors, the expression of incapacity to manage the situation with maturity
Slamming, figuratively speaking – although sometimes it can also be literal – is an unequivocal sign that the situation has overwhelmed us. A slam – real or psychological – implies that we’re victims of an emotional hijacking, that anger and frustration have taken over. And each time that happens, our ability to think rationally is “turned off”.
Slamming is, in the end, the expression of the inability to deal with the situation in a more mature way. It implies that we don’t have the psychological resources necessary to deal with the circumstances in a more assertive manner. It’s like returning to our reactive infantile “ego”, an “ego” that doesn’t think but merely responds to stimuli in the hope that this attack of rage will lighten some of the emotional pressure.
Slamming also means that, even if we have closed that door, we’re still stuck in the room. If we continue to feed hatred and resentment, these feelings will turn against us, making us their captives.
Ending a relationship hating a person doesn’t mean we’ve cut with him/her, in fact we’re still in his/her hands, we remain entangled in that emotional web, at least until we are free of the influence he/she exerts on us. We must remember that the strongest ties are precisely those invisible.
Slamming doors can hurt
There are also slammed doors that hurt. Although we need to close chapters of our lives, it doesn’t mean we should harm other people. In some cases – for whatever reasons – our path may differ from that of the others and we need to say goodbye to those people.
We must be aware that separations are painful enough on their own to add an extra dose of suffering in form of angry words or confrontational attitudes that serve only to create deep emotional wounds.
Therefore, before closing doors, it is convenient that we put ourselves for a moment in the skin of the other person and try to understand what he/she could feel. That doesn’t mean staying tied to a place or a relationship that has lost its meaning and no longer satisfies us, we have the right – and almost the obligation – to move forward, but we must try to make that closure harm as little as possible the others.
Close doors gently
The Dalai Lama once explained that anger is like that annoying family member that we cannot avoid. When we know him, we realize how difficult it is to deal with him and how much he can influence our mood. Since we cannot avoid him completely, we prepare ourselves psychologically for each encounter: we take the necessary precautions so that his words and attitudes influence us the minimum. We can do the same with anger: when we stop to manage it, we stop being in its hands and we regain control. When anger disappears or diminishes, we can gently close the door.
To achieve this, we probably need to get out of the role of victims and forgive. It doesn’t mean we have not been victims, but that we have decided not to embody that role anymore, that we have chosen not to identify ourselves with the role of the one who suffers and supports anymore and, instead, we decided to start from scratch. Neither does it mean we’ve not been hurt, but that we have consciously decided to forgive so we can move forward, not because that other person deserves forgiveness, but because we deserve it to find inner peace.
Why is it so difficult?
Closing doors gently is usually difficult because we wait too long to put the final point. We wait for fear of the uncertainty generated by important decisions or because we feed the illusion that everything will change without changing anything. Thus, problems, conflicts and wounds accumulate, generating an enormous emotional load that ends up exploding and translates into a psychological slamming.
However, it’s never too late to make peace with ourselves and with the situation we experienced. From that peace comes the serenity and strength needed to close a door gently. Because it takes more courage and inner strength to close a door gently tan to slam it.