Sometimes you get to a place where you have to let go of a person who you thought you loved or thought loved you, a group of friends, a family member, you name it….it’s got an expiration date. All things end. But endings don’t get easier. Goodbyes are hard because by the time you have to say them, usually, you have built memories, discovered more about yourself in and because of the person or place that you are leaving. You’ve grown together, but you are at an impasse now and you both feel it. You can’t grow much more together anymore. You know it’s time, but it’s still hard. Goodbyes are inevitable, but they still can get us by surprise from time to time and have always had the potential to break our hearts. Letting go emotionally after someone has left or a season has ended can be hard for various reasons. Here are five real reasons why letting go emotionally is not as easy as you want it to be.
1. You may not feel safe to let go– what if this is your best?
Letting go brings about questions like none other. It brings about so many uncertainties about the next steps. But just think, what kind of adventure would life be if we all knew? Besides, what is safe anyway? Every decision is a complete risk, just different kinds of risk potentials. Moving on without the person or people that you thought you would always need is not easy, but on the occasion that you wake up and realize that you are still breathing after the loss of what you couldn’t imagine living without, your perspective shifts– most times for the better. However, it still takes time. We accept letting things go better in doses.
2. It was announced in public, but dissolved in private
Social media, your friend groups, the talk of the town, you name it…word got around. And now the said person is no longer around. When you were together, you celebrated publicly. There were not enough photos, videos, and statuses. And now you are left re-reading bits and pieces of your happiest days unable to process how you got here. In a place not knowing how to transition. It’s hard enough letting go in your own world, but the comments and the questions in your inbox/phone from people who knew about you guys before it all ended, don’t help. Just know that you don’t have to share what you don’t want to and if you are not ready. Take a breather. Find your steady rhythm of air. Come back only when you are ready.
3. You still see it the way you imagine, not the way it is
You replay the scenes so many times in your mind from start to finish. You are looking for clues that things were heading south. You wonder what could have changed. What you could have done differently. It breaks your heart but you wonder if it was your fault in any way. You still see what could have been. You keep hoping for what you are imagining to be what you are experiencing instead of the reality. Please, pinch yourself. You are awake. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you will be able to process this and heal.
4. You are still processing it as a failure and not part of the process
When things end, you can be tempted to see it as you failing to keep things going. You can become very focused on how you could have been better and seeing the other person as being in the right all the time. You need to know that both parties are human. You are not a failure and you have not failed just because you need to say goodbye. Relationships don’t all last forever the way we want to say they do and will. Sometimes good people stop seeing eye to eye; sometimes it’s just time to let go. It does not mean that it gets easier, but it would benefit you to see how it is just a part of the process of living. Highs and lows are what mountains and life are made of.
5. You are gripping tighter because you know it’s over
Sometimes, you are forced to let go before you are ready and there is no follow-up conversation, there are no last words, there is no clearing the air. Maybe you knew it was coming, maybe you didn’t. Either way, it hurts. You do have to let go of who this person has been and what they have contributed to your life and you still want them to stay. You don’t want to have to process. You still think you can change their mind. So you hold on. You keep texting, you keep praying, you keep hoping, and you keep hurting. You know you have to let go, but it’s almost like acknowledging it makes you hold on tighter. Teach yourself to breathe, and to release slowly. Let them go because they want to go. Real love is never forced. You know this. Choose to trust the process.
Healing is rarely pain-free or quick. Lean into what you are experiencing, and then take steps beyond what you are feeling. Because you can’t live there. And if there’s anything we need you to do, it’s the keep living. Keep breathing. Let go, slow and steady. One day, the pain of the memory will fade… though the memory never will. You will notice that you haven’t faded with the pain. You will see that you are made of more than you have ever known. Keep breathing.