How To Let Go Of People Who Refused To Stay

grayscale photo of man standing beside car
Romain Lours / Unsplash

Most of us aren’t very good at saying goodbye. Although, having said that, most of us rarely have the opportunity, when it comes to fading friendships, failed relationships or distanced relatives, to actually close the door and say goodbye.

In the literal sense of going up to someone and telling them you’re leaving, or you can’t hurt to have them in your life anymore, I can’t really help. I’m bad at it. I form attachments quickly and easily and, more than often, the goodbye is not my choice.

However, if we’re talking in the figurative sense, then I might be able to help you. The truth is, holding on for that ‘literal’ goodbye, or a sign in the stars to tell you its time is, generally speaking, a flawed hope. Knowing how to let go and free the mind from toxicity and attachment is essential in our journey towards growth.

It’s hard, I get it. I am one of those unfortunate souls with a tendency for wearing my heart on my sleeve and then throwing that sleeve at everyone that shows me kindness. I put everything into my friendships and if I find a select few people who make me so uncontrollably happy, I will put all my effort into returning that happiness. It’s not always as simple as that, though. It’s not just love and mutual love, happiness for happiness and both parties giving equal effort. Sometimes life springs surprises on you, when you least expect it, or when you do expect it, and have a sickly feeling in your stomach, but it happens to someone or with someone you never thought it would. Life brings us heartbreak, and we rarely know how to deal with it. The only real way of dealing with it, is to do just that… deal with it. Not in the outdated macho sense of the classic ‘man up’ or ‘get over it’ ‘don’t be a wuss’ or ‘stop being such a p***y’, but in accepting it.

Mourn it. Cry, be angry and hurt, but understand that at some point, your mind, your body, your soul, your heart needs that door to close. If it’s a person, miss them. Miss the way they showed you love when there was no-one else to trust, miss the happiness and all the laughter, miss the things you knew about each other that no-one else did, miss the late night conversations that stopped those midnight thoughts from swallowing you whole. If its a moment, indulge in the nostalgia. Remember when your stomach fluttered in the presence of a crush, remember the feeling of freshly baked bread in the ovens of France that-one-time, remember the freedom of hearing the school bell and running to the doors. Miss them, indulge in it, and then before you obsess over the little things, say goodbye, look back and say goodbye.

If it’s a person, say goodbye to the times they refused to see how they were hurting you, how they left you at the wrong time, say goodbye to the times they made you feel small, made you think you were not worthy of them. If it’s a moment, say hello to your new life, even it’s going to take a while to feel better, or to love yourself, say hello to the possibility.

No, it’s not about pretending like someone is a bad person. It’s not about shutting out the past altogether. It’s about taking everything, compiling it into one emotional visual mixtape, if you will, and watching it from start to finish. Sitting, with the dent in your soul, as the curtains draw, and the tape burns out, understanding that once the pain leaves, you are going to find something and someone far better.

After all, you already have you, and even if you don’t see it right now, that is everything you need, the rest is just a bonus. Close the door. Move on. Get better. TC mark

Liam’s 3rd Book of Poetry, ‘How Love Begins’ is out September ’21

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