Instead Of Fighting For Someone To Stay In Your Life, Let Them Leave

Nathan Congleton
Nathan Congleton

Why is it that we have such a hard time letting go of things that aren’t good for us?

We’ve all been there. We know something is terrible for us and we know that it will do more harm than good, but we still hold on to it. “Hold” may be too light of a term. We cling. We cling to things that will ultimately leave us worse for wear – and it’s ridiculous.

Usually, this is the case with relationships. We stay in less than stellar relationships well past the expiry date. Like spoiled milk, curdling in the fridge, these toxic relationships taint everything around them with their shittiness. Yet, we’re hesitant to get rid of them. Thus begins a vicious cycle. We allow ourselves to sacrifice time, dignity, energy and self-esteem and, in the end, we’re left looking back at the mess wondering how we allowed ourselves to become that desperate person.

Everyone says hindsight is 20/20. The expression, while essentially useless since it changes nothing, nevertheless holds true. When you think about past situations, you wonder how you didn’t realize sooner that you had a one way ticket to nowhere. If you knew then what you know now, perhaps you would have handled certain situations differently. Unfortunately, not many of us can boast about seeing the future or having the ability to alter the past. All we have is the present.

In knowing this, the concept of desperately clinging to something becomes even more absurd. Life is short, our days are numbered, and the clichés go on. So, if we know that nothing is certain and everything can change in an instant, why spend one second of life focusing on something that is not making us happy?

We can’t all be masochists, hell bent on remaining in a constant state of suffering – can we?

Maybe we find it hard to let go of relationships because we believe something can be salvaged. We’re reluctant to leave because we believe something can still come out of it. After all, every good relationship requires effort. We start to think that if we try a little harder, or hold on a little longer, everything will work out for the best. In some cases, this may be true. You put in effort and you see results. Usually though, if you open your eyes to it, you’re able to see when a certain situation is well-past salvaging. The majority of us are not contortionists. We can only bend over backwards for so long to trying to make something work.

Perhaps it’s the aversion to change and the “unknown” that keeps us rooted in the same spot. Giving up on a relationship means essentially belly flopping back into the dating pool – a messy place, to say the least. People cling to someone that no longer serves to make them happy simply because they are afraid of what will happen if they’re alone. Like a dysfunctional, human life raft, people rely on others to stay afloat, not realizing they’re only prolonging the drowning process.

Or maybe it’s just that we don’t want to deal with the truth. The truth is that you will not be enough for everyone, and in that same note, not everyone will be enough for you. Sometimes it’s necessary to let people go, accepting the fact that you ultimately couldn’t make each other happy.

It sounds like a no-brainer. When there’s more bad times than good times, the obvious answer is to pack your bags and get the hell out of Dodge. We go through life thinking we have some kind of claim on people – as if they owe us something. At some point, we started to believe that we need someone else in our lives to make us whole. It’s time to learn that sometimes, instead of making us whole, trying to keep people in our lives who aren’t meant to be there only breaks us.

When the time comes to let go – you’ll know when it arrives – do so gracefully. Instead of romanticizing negative people and relationships in our lives, take things for what they really are. Instead of fighting to remain in someone’s life, let them leave. Instead of settling for less than what you deserve, start recognizing your worth. Letting go of the negative situations in your life has no feasible repercussions. You’ll be lighter, freer and happier. With nothing to lose, what’s stopping you? Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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