It’s literally a question as old as time: How do we let go of things, even when we don’t want to?
I would suppose that boundaries are a good preemptive measure. But who—at any age or emotional maturity level—is actually an expert at setting and maintaining all their boundaries? (If you are one of those people, hmu, I would love to know your secret)
If, however, you are like me and find yourself consistently having to reclaim ground that you let slip away in the name of codependency, then maybe this blog post is for you.
Personally, I’ve decided to fully accept the cliched adage that there is an art form to letting go. There’s no real right way to do it, as everyone’s process will be different. But one thing that I have recognized as necessary for not just letting go, but keeping things gone, is grief.
I can already feel you internally cringing. No one wants to grieve. There’s nothing particularly fun or sexy about grief, yet it’s important all the same. But grieving the possibility of what could’ve been when you’re the one to let go of something or someone sounds almost selfish doesn’t it?
‘’If I’m the one letting go, then why do I get to grieve?”
Because you were looking forward to something too.
Maybe you’re saying goodbye to a relationship—whether it was toxic or just not right for you now, is beside the point. Almost all relationships at least start out good. There’s that sweet spot at the beginning of hope and possibility. Some even make it pretty far down the line, where you start planning for a future with that person. So of course your heart is going to need time to catch up to your head.
Or maybe you’re saying goodbye to a job or career. You’ve been feeling unfulfilled for a while now and you finally have the courage (and/or savings) to let go. As with any big life change, there’s apprehension and anxiety surrounding every decision you make, and also probably a level sadness about the fact that what you thought you wanted didn’t pan out.
Its ok to feel sad when things don’t work out, even when you’re the one ending them. No one goes into a situation thinking that it will end; if they did, no one would do anything that involves putting themselves out there.
What’s important in order to move forward from the grief is finding a new hope. The biggest different between just surviving and actually living life are the things that we look forward to. The moments and the people that we let into out hearts and give the power to change our lives.
Letting go is always hard and scary, so allow yourself to feel all that comes with it. And then get up, dust yourself off, and start looking forward to what else the world has to offer. It’s a great big life out there just waiting for you to live it.