FINISHED BUSINESS. As rewarding as it is painful, learning to let go will prove to be helpful not only for yourself, but for your future relationship(s) as well
Proclaiming that you “have officially moved on” from past relationships is truly one of the greatest achievements in life. Question is, can you really mean it? If you still find yourself over-analyzing even the most insignificant memories and conversations or fantasizing over the relationship that could have been, chances are you haven’t truly moved on.
The sad fact is, letting go of a past relationship is a long and painful process. Whether you want to go through it or not, it is not really a choice. It’s how you conduct yourself through the mourning process that will allow you to retain a bit of your self-control. And you never know: After you’ve successfully let go of your past, you might discover a lot of things about yourself and what you need to be happy in future relationships.
The Thousand Mile Journey
But before we cross that bridge, understand first that it takes time to let go of the past. While this is such a clichéd suggestion, you’d be surprised how many people out there are so eager to “just get over it,” as the ever-popular saying goes. This, hands down, is impossible and won’t benefit you in any way. By shutting those feelings down, you are easily buying a one way ticket to Depression Island that you can’t get out of. So, understand that it takes time to mourn and grieve the death of a relationship; to feel sad, scared and even angry. These are real emotions that needs to be wholly felt in order for it to be let out.
There is really no timetable for how long you should stay grieving. Some people may need weeks, months or even years to finally begin to accept that a relationship is over. Though, if you want to speed it up, try to avoid things that remind you of that person. Get rid of the things that awaken memories of your relationship together. If you lived together, then give your space a bit of a makeover.
A Cure for Wellness
Basically, what you are trying to do is refocusing the energy around you towards yourself. This can mean a lot of things. Don’t stalk your ex (or exes) on social media, let alone in real life. And don’t try to be “just friends” with your ex immediately after a breakup. Pushing for a platonic relationship just then is way too much, too soon. And let’s face it, no human being can turn their emotion on or off. So, it’s better to keep away to avoid repeating the cycle again. After all, hope is bad if it keeps you in the past.
When thoughts of getting back to your ex resurfaces in your mind, simply remind yourself of the reasons that you had to separate. What most people don’t realize about the pain of letting someone go is that it has nothing to do with the relationship itself. Instead, it’s the fantasy of what it could have been. But here’s the truth: That fantasy is not real. It’s just your mind trying to soothe your broken heart by feeding it with happy memories. Be careful, as this can be harmful to your recovery. You can idealize a person so much that you forget who they really are.
“What most people don’t realize about the pain of letting go is that it has nothing to do with the relationship itself; it’s the fantasy of what it could have been”
A general rule of thumb here is to erase “should have” and “wished I” from your vocabulary. Or, better yet, recount the painful memories. Some people even go as far as to write down all the negative traits their ex has. But you should remember the goal here is not for you to hate them; it’s for you to understand, with full clarity, why the relationship had to end. Yes, you can get mad at them during the early stages of your “let it all out” phase, but as you move on to accept that the relationship has ended, don’t hold on to the anger and spite. If you do, you’ll take them with you as you move on. Including when you finally move on to new relationships. Remember that forgiveness is not always about the other person, it’s about your emotional freedom as well.
The Wonderful Goodbye
The only way you can fully let go is for you to embrace your past, not hate it. Not only does this mean letting go of the resentment fir your past relationships, but also realizing that you should take responsibility for your part and use it to learn. Practicing to acknowledge and release your regrets can provide a wonderful release and make you more emotionally intelligent in future relationships. Eventually, you would want to enter the dating field without the baggage of past relationships. So, if you manage to grow as a person and learn something to move your life forward, then you might just find the beauty of letting go.