Letting go of a love can feel like torture.
There are a lot of reasons why we might have to say goodbye to someone we love.
It might be a romantic relationship that’s run its course.
It might be a family relationship that we’ve finally decided to put limits on, because of its toxicity.
It might be a death.
Whatever the reason we have to say goodbye, however, letting go is famously one of the toughest things we humans have to do.
It’s so difficult, in fact, that many of us will do psychological and emotional backflips to keep from having to do it.
We will live in denial for months or years.
We will actively try to convince ourselves that we don’t need to say goodbye, that things are just FINE…and even if they’re not, we will try to tell ourselves that no matter how bad a situation is, it HAS to be better than letting go.
Backflips, we’ll do. Somersaults. Cartwheels.
All to avoid the necessity of letting go.
The thing is, those backflips and somersaults and cartwheels only ever delay the inevitable.
They feed the illusion that we might not have to let go after all.
After all, you’re not beaten until you quit, right? And many people truly view a relationship that needs to end as nothing more than a battle they’ll inevitably win if they just refuse to quit.
I wish it worked like that.
But letting go of someone we love, and moving on to the next phase of our lives, is an experience that cannot be circumvented.
When the relationship has run its course…the relationship has run its course.
This holds true even when we’re dealing with a death.
Often there’s a part of us that truly thinks that, if we refuse to accept the necessity of letting go, then a person isn’t really gone.
We know it doesn’t make sense. But part of us believes it anyway. Hoping against hope that somehow, some way, we can be the exception to the one rule that has applied across the board, to every human being who has ever lived: everything ends.
Letting go is a process that can’t be rushed.
But it’s also a process that can’t be avoided.
Our only hope to remain sane and stable when we’re faced with letting go of a love, is to approach the project with overwhelming compassion for ourselves.
We didn’t ask for this pain.
We’re not born knowing how to let go.
Almost everybody struggles with it— no matter how smart, how tough, how wise, or how stable they are.
Virtually nobody is immune to the pain of having to let go of a love.
There are a lot of people who think they’re numb to much of the pain of the world, because they’ve been through so much— and on the outside, they may put up a good front. You may never know they are suffering.
But they are.
Willingness to sit with your feelings— even those feelings that re complex and contradictory.
Those are the keys to getting through it.
Don’t try to rush grief. That creates more problems than it solves.
Remember that, no matter what happens next, you still have worth and you still have potential.
We are not our relationships.
We do not end when our relationships end.
But when a chapter is out of words, the chapter is over.
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