Limbo is defined as a certain period of time of awaiting a decision or resolution. This can often be the most difficult place to be. In transitional times, we may find ourselves in a state of limbo. We are no longer the old version of ourselves but not yet the person we wish to be. We have healed many wounds but have more to fully close. We no longer pine for someone who we know in our hearts is not for us, yet we are still not ready to fully let them go. This, at best, can be extremely frustrating. You have conquered the mountain, but have yet to reach the summit.
It would be easy to give up. But that’s the beauty of the in-between. We can become so fixated on reaching our end goal—getting over an ex, becoming the person we have strived to be. When we focus solely on reaching the end, we lose sight of the means TO the end. The in-between is where we begin. It is where we begin to fully let go of that person. It is the place where we learn things about ourselves we never thought possible and begin to apply them. In works of fiction, without the middle, how would we learn that the main character was able to conquer their inner demons and become the hero they were destined to be? You are the main character in your life.
It is often in this period that we begin to have an understanding of the things we truly want in our life—who we strive to be, the type of partner we desire, the job we actually want. The in-between is a period of reflection we have been granted that otherwise might not have been possible. Instead of looking at it from a place of frustration because we have not reached the end, look at it as the opportunity to learn more, to grow more. There is an infinite amount of possibilities for you at this moment, take this time to reflect and expand, attempt and fail, live and let go. This is all part of the means to reaching that end goal. It’s always been about the journey, not the destination.
In heartbreak, we often strive to move on as quickly as possible from the person who has our heart. Humans aren’t designed for this kind of discomfort. So we distract ourselves from it. That could be through partying, new relationships, or even denying the reality of the break up itself. This is our brain’s way of convincing ourselves we have quickly gotten to the end. We’ve let go. We’ve moved on. But by doing so, we have completely missed all of the beautiful lessons during the in-between. We deny ourselves the opportunity to mourn the loss of that person and to appreciate the love we had for them. We cease to understand and learn the lessons the relationship was meant to teach us and to garner a deeper sense of who we once were and who we wish to be. Without this, we are doomed to repeat similar mistakes not only within our next relationships but also within ourselves.
There is a scene from the television show Louie (Season 4, episode 10) where the main character, Louie, is sharing his recent heartbreak with Dr. Bigelow in which he says:
Dr. Bigelow: “This is love. Missing her. Wanting to die. You’re so lucky, you’re like a walking poem. Would you rather some kind of fantasy? A Disney ride? Is that what you want? Don’t you see this is the good part? This is what you’ve been digging for all this time, now you finally have in your hand, this sweet nugget of love, sweet sad love and you want to throw it away?”
Louie: I thought this was the bad part?
Dr. Bigelow: Nooooo… The bad part is when you forget her, when you don’t care about her. When you don’t care about anything. So enjoy the heartbreak while you can.
It is only in the in-between that we can truly learn what we need in order for us to heal, grow, transform, and let go. It is when those feelings fade, the aching of your heart dulls and the memories become just that, distant memories, that we truly begin to appreciate all of our efforts. If we simply began at the start and skipped right to the finish, we would miss the beautiful things the in-between carries—the hurt, the lessons and the resiliency we often find within ourselves when we least expect it. When you feel stuck in limbo, remember to enjoy it while you can, because nothing ever truly lasts forever and you might reach your destination sooner than you may think.