Letting go of someone you love can be one of the most challenging things you can do. However, if it is in your own best interest that you let go, then it is what it is.
Admittedly, there are valid reasons that would have driven you to this final step or you may even still be considering it. Sometimes, the people we choose to love aren’t always good for us.
Things such as betrayal, being taken for granted and being constantly abused is enough to drive the last nail into the relationship coffin.
This is going to be an in-depth guide on letting go of someone you love, so sit back, hang tight and get a notebook cause you are going to need to take down some notes!
A guide to letting go of someone you love
Know when to walk away
Can you still love someone and let them go?
Absolutely, but to do this you need to know when to let go of someone you love. Be honest with yourself about the situation. Take an inventory of your relationship with them. I call it the compare and contrast.
Write out the things you absolutely hate about this person or the red flags that you chose to ignore that kept popping back up and compare them with the good.
Once you’ve been able to identify the pros and cons of this relationship. It’s time to decide if holding on to them is worth it. You will need some self love, a sprinkle of discernment, some tired of being tired and a realisation of your self worth to know that you deserve better!
If they are taking more than they give, if they cause you to cry more than they make you laugh, or give you more confusion than clarity, then the relationship isn’t adding any value to your life. Love yourself enough to leave. Know your worth.
Do not internalise what they did to you
When people hurt us they can stir up or even confirm some deep seated shame we feel about ourselves.
But when we don’t identify with the hurt they cause, we separate our self and remind ourselves of our worth, we become detached, we no longer take things personally.
We stop judging others and ourselves for the things they have done to us. It doesn’t shift your worth and you are still valuable despite how they treat you.
This is something I still deal with, but I’m learning that if someone eles’s behaviour can provoke a strong emotional reaction in me, there is usually some insecurity, fear or shame behind that which needs my attention.
To figure out what brings the most shame, observe the secret thoughts you have of yourself and your triggers.
“No one can hurt you without your consent”Eleanor Roosevelt
Recognise your true value and let go of people that can’t love you in the way that you need – stop trying to get validation from the people that keep hurting you.
Let go of the victim story
Change the story that society has conditioned you with. Make up your new identity. This involves leaving the past behind and focusing on the present and your future. It can be hard to let go of our story because what then becomes of the narrative that we’ve become accustomed to.
Without this story who then are we?
If you are always the victim – ask yourself what you gain by replaying the victim story – attention, relief, validation, not taking responsibility? These are just distractions that prevent you from focusing on what you really want.
We hold on to our story as a form of defensive mechanism to avoid getting hurt but it is counter productive as we are the ones hurting ourselves.
“You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep reading the old one”Unknown
We are so used the impenetrable walls built around us that even the brave can’t get through, we are used to the complaining and drama that if we don’t have chaos in our lives we feel empty or we self sabotage to restore life’s balance again.
We don’t allow ourselves be happy, even if we say it’s what we want. Our beliefs and actions don’t match up to what we want. It can be changed once you change your story.
Forgive yourself for the mistakes you made and forgive them too. If you knew better you would have done better and vice versa.
Forgiveness is for you and not for others. Don’t let them win twice by hurting you and stealing your joy too. You know if you have really forgiven someone if they don’t bring out any emotional reaction within you, when you see them, think of them.
Don’t wait for an apology, closure, karmic justice before moving on. Do not let them win by allowing them to stay and live in your head rent free.
‘Everything you did to me, already done to you’Celie from the movie The Colour Purple
Forgiveness will require that we live in the present and relieve ourselves of the past. It is about acceptance. Without forgiveness you can’t heal and if you don’t heal you will keep repeating.
Accept the situation for what it is
Give yourself time. Letting go of someone you love involves mourning the loss of what you thought the relationship could be, the dreams and hopes you had for the future with them.
Face the reality of what their behaviour is exhibiting and allow enough time to let go of the person you thought you knew, the potential that you saw in them that was just an idealised projection. Let go of the idea that they sold you, the illusion that you believed to be true.
“When people show you who they are, believe them the first time”Maya Angelou
Give yourself time to grieve
Write a letter to address the pain and the emotions you may be going through, with no intention of sending it to them. Take your anger out on something inanimate, cry if you want to, punch a pillow, smash things.
The only thing you can control is moving on from a situation that has continued to prove detrimental to your wellbeing.
Come to terms with acknowledging that they are now a part of your past and what was once real to you is now dead and gone. No waiting for them to come back. Or wishing for an apology. Don’t hold out false hope that you may some day have a happy ending as that might never come.
Whatever you do, do not do rebounds as that only prolongs the pain.
Learn to detach emotionally
Let go of the idea that you can change the other person. Let go of your ego that is adamant on winning.
Sometimes the best response is no response, there is no point in engaging with people who are committed to misunderstanding you, who will never see eye to eye with you so instead of getting them to see where you are coming from, communicate your boundaries that you no longer wish to engage with them.
Energy vampires want nothing more than to know they can get an emotional reaction out of you. It takes two to tango and the moment you stop playing their game, it gets boring and they go bother someone else leaving you off the hook.
It might even come as shock to them because they are used to you behaving in a certain way, so don’t be surprised if they amp up the volume on the abuse to test your limits. Keep your boundaries firm and unshakable so they know you are serious about it.
Trust the process
When all is said and done, the most important and probably the most difficult part next to forgiveness is trusting the process.
Trusting that the universe, (God /Motherlode/Spirit guides whatever you refer to God as or what you believe in) has got your back and everything will align for your own good and who you are destined to be.
Seeing challenges and difficulties as a part of the process to letting someone you love go helps keep an open mind. Some people are not meant to be with us till the end of our story, nevertheless they were just a lesson for you to learn so you to be your best self.
Challenging times can often help us to take a hard look at ourselves and deal with things we would rather ignore with distractions.
Trusting that you will be okay, you will be protected, you will find love again, you will get another opportunity, makes the process easier. It relieves you of the overwhelm of trying to control the outcome or even the scarcity mindset that may be influencing your decision to let go.
Trust that everything will be okay.
You will be okay.
Be mindful of your triggers
Delete their pictures. Unfollow them on social media. Block their number. Tell friends to stop bringing them up in conversations. Stop watching countless videos on Youtube about them.
Holding on to your triggers associated with a past experience is doing nothing but harming you and others. It stops you from living your life in the present. You have to be very intentional with what you watch, listen to and what you internalise because that can hinder your healing process.
Certain things that could potentially trigger you may cause you to reactivate the pain, making it difficult for that wound to heal.
You wouldn’t keep poking a wound until it heals, so why would you continue to engage in things that trigger your wound right? If you want to be the best version of yourself, the woman of your dreams, then you have to find peace by avoiding triggers.
There’s nothing worse than wasting all this time, and years down the line, you are still angry, bitter or worse depressed over something that happened 10 years ago. Its time to take your power back!
Repeat after me
I choose to let this go
I deserve peace
Look for good distractions
Find healthy coping mechanisms or just activities that bring you joy. Start enjoying your own company. Discover who you are and what your life is without that person. The possibilities are endless as there is no one holding you back.
Try new things you never even saw yourself doing. Bake a cake. Work out to release endorphins. Travel to that island. Learn to laugh again. Start taking up art again. Try salsa. Go for the yoga class. Take that interview.
Your new chapter awaits you what are you going to do with it?
Letting go of someone you love
People who hurt us in the past shape up our lives some way, and leave parts of them with us. They are a part of our story and without them we wouldn’t be who we are today.
Be grateful for the experience because without it, you wouldn’t have had to learn to love yourself.
It comes with the opportunity to re-discover yourself. To meet with your soulmate or your tribe. To develop a deeper relationship with your intuition. These experiences often come with growth and healing.
To recap, letting go of someone you love that hurt you will require you to :
- Know when to walk away
- To not internalise what they did to you
- Let go of the victim story
- Forgive yourself
- Accept the situation for what it is
- Give yourself time to grieve
- Learn to detach emotionally
- Trust the process
- Be mindful of your triggers
- Look for good distractions