Few things will cause you as much emotional turmoil as letting go of someone you love, that person you thought was going to be the end of the road for you. But sometimes it’s the right and necessary thing to do even when just the thought of it leaves you shaking in your bones. Even though it’s easier said than done, there are practical things you can do to make letting go much easier.
Accept that it’s okay to love a person and not be with them.
The tricky thing about love is how you don’t have to be over it to realize that it’s not working. We want to believe that if we just hold on a little while longer, we will get everything our heart wants, but the painful truth is love doesn’t always conquer all. Maybe the timing wasn’t right or you wanted different things. Whatever it is, you need to come to terms with the reality that sometimes we just can’t be with the people we love.
Put some distance between you and them.
It makes sense to want to keep them close because you still love them right? While this might be nice, it could make it a lot harder and hurtful for you to let go. What you need is physical and emotional space away from them. It doesn’t have to last forever, but at least until you can sort out your feelings. Delete numbers, block them on social media, avoid the places they usually go to, and throw away stuff that reminds you too much of them.
Take stock of the relationship.
Letting go is not about focusing on all the things that went wrong in the relationship. Take an objective look at the good relationship signs and the bad. You might find that things weren’t exactly as rosy as you imagined, and you would come away with an understanding of what worked and what didn’t. There’s always something to be learned from the past that can help with future relationships.
Forgive what happened or didn’t happen.
When I ended things with my ex, the hardest part to get used to—even more than them not being a part of my life anymore—was all the memories we weren’t going to make together. In order for you to let go, you need to forgive the mistakes that you made and those your ex made as well. You need to let go of the future you had imagined them. Obsessing over how things could have gone differently would not change anything.
Allow yourself to feel whatever you’re feeling.
Letting go of someone you love is a huge loss. You don’t have to pretend to be okay with it. Sit with your grief, your anger, your pain, your sadness, and just let it wash over you. Dealing with the loss will not get easier when you bottle it up. Let yourself have a good cry, let the emotions bubble up, acknowledge that you’re hurting. Take as long as you need to move on, healing is not a contest.
Talk about it.
Simply airing your thoughts about how you’re feeling to someone who will just listen and not shower you with platitudes can actually help with letting go. Expressing how we feel about something is a great way to process what you’re going through. If you don’t have someone who can be an impartial listening ear, consider talking it over with a professional.
Accept that some things are beyond your control.
If someone can’t give you what you want, there’s hardly anything you can do about it. All the love in the world won’t make a person love you back or right if they’re not willing to. Stop trying to control things you have no power over. Instead, focus on yourself. Put you first and just be content on your own for a while.
Be gentle with yourself.
Even though it seems like there will be no end to the cycle of pain or the feeling of emptiness when you let go of someone you love, understand that it’s only temporary. There’s no need to beat yourself up, there’s no pressure for you to be okay right away. Be kind and gentle with yourself, and do what’s best for you.
Put down the negative emotions.
If you’re really interested in letting go, then it’s time to stop the blame game, the accusations, the regrets, even the anger. Whether the way things turned out was your fault or theirs doesn’t matter. What matters is moving on, getting a fresh start, making your way to the next good thing.
Try to get back out there.
Letting go is never easy, but the process would go a lot faster if you went on with life as before. Go out with your friends or alone, travel if you can afford to, meet new people, socialize. It’ll help you realize that there’s a whole world of people out there and you could just fall in love with them or them with you.
There’s a time for sitting in your pajamas, listening to Taylor Swift Songs, and rewatching your favorite romantic comedies over and over, and just wallowing in your sorrow. But after that is done, you need to get back to living. Do things that remind you how wonderful life is, practice self-care, and nurture yourself. It’s easier to let go when you’re not neglecting your well-being.
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