If I could name one thing in life at which I possess absolutely no talent for, it would be letting other people go. I have always held on, even when I find myself drowning in a toxic pool of despair and pain, I am still hoping desperately that a golden strand of hope will appear and pull me out. This is exactly how I approach situations with people. It never matters how completely necessary it is to let go, my hands will form tight fists around them, my body clinging on to them without a shred of dignity and dragged across the floor as the person tries to flee.
But today is about taking that huge step and making that huge leap and finally accepting that sometimes in life, you just have to let go of a person.
I think first it’s a good idea to really try and look at why I hold on to people. What am I clinging to? What do I perceive as necessary to keep hold of? This can be answered in different ways, for different people. For example, I would say that I fluctuate in my relationship with my family, which is sometimes destructive, because I am clinging onto the idea of family itself. Conversely, I desperately cling to partners in my relationships because I crave love and companionship, and so I hold on to people who are not interested in the same things.
Realising this about yourself feels truly gut wrenching, like someone kicked you in the stomach with a steel boot and you can feel all of your organs trying to reassemble themselves. It is a heart breaking burden filling me with tears, shame and fear because now what?
When I have decided that it is finally time to let someone go, I go through a bit of a spring clean with my devices and possessions. This is simple; if something reminds me of a person then it has to go. Now this method is absolutely not for everyone and in no way do I condone everyone doing this unless they have truly thought it through. However, I am personally incapable of moving forward if say, my phone is filled with 800 pictures of someone I don’t want to think about. So, I purge. And this helps me.
Next is the hard part. Telling the other person, but mostly telling yourself that you don’t want any contact with them. Now I know this isn’t true. I know I want that person around every day, telling me all the major and minute details of their day, but that simply isn’t going to work for me anymore. The situation has become too complex and is affecting my health negatively. So as painful as it is, no contact has to happen. I will confess I have tried going back and forth more times than I can count talking to the person and not talking to them, but the end conclusion is always the same. It is better for now, to be alone.
Furthermore, it is always important to remember that you can only know your own thoughts. It’s really hard in these scenarios where you are saying goodbye to someone you have loved, someone who knows you better than anyone, and naturally you want to pick their brain too. But just remember that you chose to let them go for a reason and letting go of their thoughts and opinions is just as important for your health as letting the person go in the physical sense is.
I believe that the most difficult and crippling part of letting someone go is the initial stage and that is because all your memories of that person are fresh in your mind. So, cutting them out feels like you’ve cut away part of yourself and opened up a wound that will never heal over. But I’ve said in a few blogs that time makes everything better and that’s because it does. It might hurt for a long time, and it might feel like there is nothing positive going on in life. But we all have friends and family to support us and as time goes on, things will become more bearable. And finally, a day appears where you wake up and suddenly, you’re incredibly grateful that you chose to say goodbye.
We can do this.
*The contents of the blog are not to be used in lieu of authentic mental health treatment. Please contact an emergency or medical professional if you are having dangerous thoughts.