Adults often warned “Don’t burn your bridges. You never know when you need people”. The older the people, the more successful they appeared, the longer they knew the family, and the higher their place in society meant the safer their bridges were from being burnt.
As a child I felt uncomfortable with the notion, and as I grew older I confirmed that it was unbalanced and unfair, since different rules applied at different ends of the bridge and the weight of keeping the bridge intact was placed on me.
I noticed that the bridge was a one way street. While some of us were called on not to burn it, persons at the other end often crossed the bridge and dumped stuff on our side. I also noted that I was behaving nicely for the probability of a yet-to-come, just-in-case favor.
As I grew more confident, I rebelled against the notion. I determined that persons who repeatedly crossed my boundaries, or demonstrated an unwillingness to treat me as I desired did not have a place in my life and therefore I could burn the bridge. This was not always a logical and rational decision, sometimes it was made from a position of self protection, sadness or pain.
When I burn a bridge I am liberated. I make a choice that serves me and I courageously face the consequences. The brightness of the fire lights the way forward and shows me other paths. The ashen remains are reminders that I have no regrets.
Over time some bridges have been mended with each party sharing maintenance responsibility, but most remain burnt.
These burnt bridges have not prevented me from doing what I want or getting to where I needed to be. Where there is no bridge I happily take the long way around.
Any relationship or situation that does not work for me, I am free to burn the bridge.
What bridges do you need to burn?