I was 16 years old when I experienced my first break-up phone call.
Yes, a phone call.
I was lying in bed, looking up at the crumbles of my ceiling as I listened to him plant the seeds to end our relationship.
I listened to the tone of his voice evolve from guilt to sadness, disappointment to aggravation, and finally, anger to his breaking point as I begged him to reconsider. I watched him battle between choosing his personal freedom and happiness and choosing to save me from destroying myself, completely.
I remember hearing the desperation in his voice asking me to let go, but I didn’t.
Instead, I chose to spend hours turning tables, questioning his reasons, guilting with louder cries, and hopelessly pleading him to stay.
Then finally, a 17-year-old boy asked me the question that would forever change the way I perceive my relationships: “Do you really love me, or the idea of me?”
I remember feeling the room get smaller, my breaths shorter, and the phone slipping away from my face through the combination of my sweaty palms and my tears.
I couldn’t see the difference between him or the idea, so I said what was simplest: him. I could feel the words silhouette my lips but slowly heard my mind drift to the thoughts of being judged by friends, fear of losing someone, and lastly, the fear that everything would soon, change.
We stayed on the line for just a little while longer, until I finally surrendered.
My first breakup call lasted 9-hours, but I’m grateful for the timeless lessons.
Every once in a while, I’ll reflect back to that day and find myself asking his question before leaving a relationship, or exuding the energy to fight for one.
Today, I’m a disciple of letting go of people who no longer serve a purpose in one’s life. From toxic family members to dead-weight friends, employees that surrendered their drive or clients that can’t value a business owner’s passions, and finally, lovers that recognize there are conditions to love.
Through lessons and experiences that paved me to a place of positivity and ongoing success, below are my 7 pieces of advice for letting go of relationships that no longer serve your purpose:
1. Build a positive relationship with, ‘change.’
I know too many people that stay in destructive relationships simply because they’d rather not face the vibrations of ‘change.’ They all share a common limited-belief that life doesn’t get better than the world of predictability they created for themselves.
I’m not saying it’s wrong. Mediocrity is a safe haven for many. But it’s not right.
Learning to build a positive relationship with ‘change’ will only attract more noteworthy experiences and people into your life.
You see, my fascinations to evolving is what I’ve been inhaling to experience the constant success of my outcomes being exhaled into the world.
Every year, I look forward to getting to know my new higher-self, and I get acquainted with my newer appeal, values, wisdom, and achievements.
And through accepting my greater self, I attract greater minds while also gaining a higher clarity of the people that no longer elevate me to my next journey. It’s then, my decision of letting go comes pretty naturally.
2. Recognize that Love is a choice, not a feeling.
Meeting someone new is an event outside of our control — a perfect gift from the universe, I like to say.
However, investing the time and energy to building and keeping the relationship is a decision you’re making every day.
The ‘one’ I choose to commit to is the person that’s deserving of my journey, and I, in theirs.
Recognizing that it’s your eventual choice to stay or depart is the answer. It’s all you need to know to let go of a repetitive and competitive relationship, emotionally dragging vampires, and abusive or toxic relationships.
For better or for worse, it’s ultimately your decision to spend time with someone great or ditch someone purposeless.
You’re the power.
3. Leave the Grey Area.
I have so many friends that have held on to exes and flings for 3 – 5 + years, just because.
Because they waited for a sign from the universe, or because they caught themselves in a season of loneliness. Or, they mustered a small dose of courage to date someone new all to find out it wasn’t the ‘same,’ so they ran back, just because.
Because they needed a crutch, someone to tell great or poor news to, and my favorite, because of the selfish attention they needed to keep them cozy through winter.
Don’t be a trapped soul, stuck in the world of the In-Between.
Commit to a side – a side of being “all in”, or “all out.” Make that commitment for yourself, and stick to it. It doesn’t have to be forever, but it has to be for the time being.
It’s the only way to find yourself in a space of certainty while journeying through the temporary world unpredictability.
4. It’s not what you’re ending, it’s how you’re ending it.
When I fired my first toxic client, I gave no shits about the money I’d lose, or how much time I invested in her wedding plans. All I cared about was removing her negative ass energy from my company before it spread like a plague.
The most challenging part of letting her go was not the impact it’d make on the company, but it was finding the perfect way to communicate my plans to withdraw my services.
You see, I believe you can say just about anything, to just about anyone, to get what you want, but it’s how you’re communicating the plan of execution that’ll determine their reactions and acceptance to your departing proposal.
Recognize that you’re ending a journey with someone new and different every new time that you do, and every new person will require a unique and tailored method of communication to be designed for them.
Many won’t be accepting of it, but that’s not your problem – it’s theirs. All you can do is communicate your reasoning to the best of your ability, and make sure you say it in a way that won’t leave regrets.
5. There’s never a perfect time or place for letting go of someone toxic.
A few years back, I have committed to the first, and last, romantic toxic relationship. We dated on-and-off for a year, and I finally hit my breaking point.
I wanted to wait a week till he’d return from his San Diego trip to end it in-person, but every hour that passed was an hour I was choosing to let myself suffer.
So I did the unthinkable: I texted him a breakup text in three short sentences. I told him I couldn’t do it anymore and said I’d write him a letter when I’m ready to explain myself, and wished him well.
I never wrote him that letter.
When you shatter a glass or cup, you don’t find yourself waiting to throw away the pieces. Personally, I won’t wait a second later to clean up the shatters. Why? Because I want to avoid the potential pain and danger it can cause me or my loved ones in the future.
When there’s someone in your life that no longer ‘works,’ why would you risk years or a lifetime for them to hurt you, or others around you?
Listen, I’m not saying to give up on someone that has potential to change and become a greater partner for you. I’m advising you to dispose of the ‘ones’ that bring toxic influences into your life.
If it doesn’t feel right to officially, “let go” that’s fine. However, compartmentalizing toxic people into a distant category is necessary to keep your energy safe. That way, you’ll have space in your heart to reserve the spark for the ‘one’ that is deserving of your perfect source of energy.
6. Let go of the thoughts and judgment from your inner or outer circle.
Many times we don’t want to let go of a relationship simply because we’re afraid of what people will say or think. It’ll be the talk of the century, and we swear that the world will take the news with them to their graves.
It’s not surprising how our small but aggressive thoughts can create such a grand version of every impaction of our problems.
However, your thoughts are not your reality.
You see, people will perceive, what you let them perceive. And if you loathe in being in pain, and stay deep in it, the world will keep you there and shine a light on all your faults.
Instead, if you’re like me, you’ll leverage the pain and the losses to build a future large enough for you, and beam a light bright enough for the world to see your new gains and profits.
7. End it the way you started it – with love.
Today, I’m beyond grateful to say that every last boyfriend, lover, and even fuck boy out there is sending positive thoughts when they think of Jenny Chang.
Vice versa, boys.
Through every man in my past, there’s never any love lost, and that’s always been my choice.
I believe the way my relationships end should stay cohesive to how they’ve begun — open-armed, adventurous and loving with kind intentions.
And even though the times, I’ve been wronged, I still chose to walk the path of forgiveness, peace and an open mind and heart to friendship.
When I end a journey that no longer serves its purpose, I make a mindful exit and intention to selfishly choose me.
I’m not choosing myself for revenge or because I want to post a sexy photo to make him feel some type of way. I’ll post a sexy photo of myself because I’m unapologetically sexy.
I choose myself because I deserve to be free because choosing to stay angry and discouraged is more work than I want to take on.
I choose myself because I look prettier when my energy is free vs. trapped resistance.
I choose myself because I want to be on the winning team of happiness.
And now finally, I’m free.