The art of letting go

I’m historically terrible at letting go. As a kid, I sobbed over every balloon that accidentally slipped through my fingers and into the sky. I’d watch them in horror as they’d float further from view, eventually becoming a speck before vanishing altogether.

When I was six I met a young Australian girl on a flight from Boston to Florida. She sat behind me and we talked and giggled for the whole flight. For just shy of 3 hours, this girl was my best friend. When we landed in Tampa, our parents said their goodbyes and so did we. I remember the weight of realizing that I was never going to see that girl again. We’d only shared a few hours with one another, but it felt unfair that that was all the time we’d ever have together.

I’ve only gotten slightly better with coping over time and it doesn’t seem like loss becomes easier the more it happens to me. It’s always seemed more comfortable to salvage relations with people, even when relationships have run their course, for the sake of the good times or the potential for the future.

But sometimes personal growth or happiness comes at the cost of losing people. Friends and lovers come and go for various reasons. Sometimes you need to shed certain energy from your life to move forward. Sometimes people in your life need to let you go, too. This is all okay and part of being human. But just because it’s okay doesn’t mean it’s not difficult.

Here are a few mantras I’ve learned to say to myself to make letting go of people in my life a little easier.

This is for the best.

The first step to letting go is acknowledging that letting this person go is for the better. Whatever kind of energy this person brought into your life when they entered the picture was welcomed and needed for some reason. In the same way, them leaving will bring new lessons and create space for new energy in your life. The first step in letting go is accepting that letting go of this person is for the better.

I’m grateful for the good memories.

Sometimes the thing that makes losing someone the most painful is that you have so many positive memories to look back on. It’s easy to remember a good time you shared with someone and convince yourself that by continuing a relationship with them, you’re promising yourself more times like those you cherish from the past in the future.

I’m grateful for the things I’ve learned.

One of the most powerful life lessons I’ve learned is that every negative experience teaches you something. Being mistreated is never enjoyable but it always shows you something. If nothing else, it shows you how not to treat other people.

I accept everything that’s happened.

There’s no way to erase the past or return to it to make different choices. What’s happened has happened. You can either accept what’s passed, or dwell on it. One choice will create space in your life, the other will prolong your pain. There is no reason to dwell on the past, it can’t be repeated or redeemed.

I wish you the best.

The final stage to letting go is being able to wish someone well with a complete understanding that you are no longer a part of their life. This is often difficult to do. It’s sometimes more natural for us focus your energy on seeking revenge or wishing for negativity in the other person’s life. It takes more of a conscious effort to wish well on those who’ve wronged you.

 

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