If you’re anything like me, letting go is a long and arduous process. And I’m not talking about five stages of grief, a bit of self-destructive behaviour, or a few unfortunate Saturday nights finding some solace in strangers. I’m talking months, even years, of regret and isolation—finding it near to impossible to connect with others because you put all of your heart into your last relationship, and despite everything you gave it, look where that got you.
You are left wondering how it could all be really worth the trouble—how enduring countless excruciatingly awkward dates, long cold nights of lacklustre chemistry and waves of rejection and disappointment all in the tireless search to find somebody fresh you connect with could possibly be a sensible allocation of your time and efforts when you have already formed an extraordinary connection in the relationship you shared with your Ex-partner. Wouldn’t it be better to instead direct that energy to winning them back, to mending the chasm of love lost between you and prove once and for all that you are who they are supposed to end up with?
What I have begun to recognise in myself and others is that, more often than not, the fear of letting go isn’t really that at all, but a fear of trying again — it’s not really about the person you have left, but all of the uncertainty and possible disappointment that now lies on the road ahead of you. We find it so difficult to locate and form true connections that letting them go seems unthinkable to us, and discovering one again, a frightening prospect at best.
We hit pause on our lives while we standby indefinitely feeling sorry for ourselves.
So, as futile as it is, we hold on tightly to the small hope our wayward loves might yet still come home. And in the meantime, we withdraw from the world and keep to ourselves, completely disinterested or oblivious of any new potential love interests that come our way. We hit pause on our lives while we standby indefinitely feeling sorry for ourselves.
Well, to hell with that, we deserve better. We must work to shed ourselves of all the longing and sorrow and learn to recognise that our hearts need clearing out from time to time too. That the old adage, “there’s plenty of fish in the sea,” is a cliché precisely because it is true — the world is rich and teeming with deeply fascinating, warm-hearted people, and though you mightn’t always reel in precisely what you’re looking for, much joy and enjoyment can be found in the process. We must come to understand that the people who tear our hearts to pieces do not have the power to put them back together, not even if they wanted to—that only we have the tools, care, and understanding that are necessary to make them strong and whole again.
The most valuable change I have implemented this year is to stop allowing old loves and regrets to linger in me and prevent me from welcoming good things into my life. I made the decision to stop dwelling sorrowfully on the past and instead set my eyes toward the future.
The rewards for my efforts have been vast and instantaneous. I finally see that just because true connection is precious and rare doesn’t mean it is singular. I see that the number of great loves you experience in a lifetime can be as limitless as you make it. There is a whole wide wild world out there at your doorstep, full of deeply passionate and powerful connections, and it is up to you to find the courage to claim them.
So leave your number with that cute stranger in the coffee shop, or respond to that invitation to dinner you’ve been quietly ignoring, tidy yourself up, slip into your finest suit or dress, and get yourself back in the game. Let them go, and be yours again.