“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.”
— C.S. Lewis
This morning, I received a long email from a reader named Evan who is struggling with letting go of a failed relationship. In his email he explains, in rather vivid detail, the signs and symptoms of a toxic relationship that has been heading south for many years. He admits that he needs to let go, but he struggles with it, because doing so means he must finally face reality, which requires him to let go of the idea in his head about how his life and relationship were suppose to be.
One particular line from his email really summed it up well: “I’m learning the hard way that the hardest thing in life is simply letting go of what you thought was real.”
Isn’t that the truth – for all of us, in all walks of life. We all have an idea in our heads about how things are, or how they’re supposed to be, and sadly this is what often messes us up and stresses us out the most. Realize this. Sometimes life doesn’t give you what you WANT because you NEED something else. And what you need often comes when you’re not looking for it. You won’t always understand it and that’s OK. Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does. And then just when you think it can’t get any better, it does.
The key is detachment – letting go of the life you expected, so you can make the best of the life that’s waiting for you. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. Here are some strategies for making this happen:
- Create some healthy space for yourself. – Sometimes you are just too close to the puzzle to see the big picture. You need to take a few steps back to gain clarity on the situation. The best way to do this is to simply take a short break – a breather – a vacation – and explore something else for a little while. Why? So you can return to where you started and see things with a new set of eyes. And the people there may see you differently too. Returning where you started is entirely different than never leaving.
- Accept the truth and practice being grateful for what is. – To let go is to be grateful for the experiences that made you laugh, made you cry, and helped you learn and grow. It’s the acceptance of everything you have, everything you once had, and the possibilities that lie ahead. It’s all about finding the strength to embrace life’s challenges and changes, to trust your intuition, to learn as you go, to realize that every experience has value, and to continue taking positive steps forward. (Read The Untethered Soul.)
- Say less and breathe more when you’re angry. – Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret. True story. When you’re infuriated with someone, take a few deep breaths, sit quietly and think for a moment. Acknowledge the true source of your anger. Anger always bleeds from the inside out. Remember that we need to fix ourselves first before we attempt to fix or influence others. Trying to change others is a common recipe for prolonging the suffering. Taking responsibility for changing yourself, and how you deal with the actions of others, is a recipe for growth, freedom and happiness.
- Forgive with all your heart, as often as necessary. – Forgiveness is a constant attitude of choosing happiness over hurt – acceptance over resistance. It’s about acknowledging that we’re all mistaken sometimes; sometimes even the best of us do foolish things – things that have severe consequences. But it doesn’t mean we are evil and unforgiveable, or that we can’t be trusted ever again. Know this. Sit with it. It might take time to forgive, because it takes strength to forgive. Because when you forgive, you love with all your might. And when you love like this, a heavenly, healing light shines upon you. This forgiveness – true forgiveness – brings you to a place where you can sincerely say, “Thank you for that experience,” and mean it with all your heart.
- Concentrate only on what can be changed. – Realize that not everything in life is meant to be modified or perfectly understood. Live, let go, learn what you can and don’t waste energy worrying about the things you can’t change. Focus exclusively on what you can change. And if you can’t change something that’s upsetting you, change the way you think about it. Review your options and then re-frame what you don’t like into a starting point for achieving something different in your life. (Read Loving What Is.)
- Make the NOW your primary focus. – Now is the moment. The past is just a memory. The future is a mental projection. You can choose to dwell back in the past for learning and joyous reflection. You can choose to dwell in the future for visualization and practical planning. However, any time your awareness floats away to the past or future frequently for negative purposes, you are suffocating your ability to thrive in the only moment you ever have – the NOW. Past and future literally do not exist right now; feel the freedom in this truth.
- Embrace your quirks, your mistakes, and the fact that life is a lesson. – Life is a ride. Things change, people change, but you will always be YOU; so stay true to yourself and never sacrifice who you are for anyone or anything. You have to dare to be yourself, in this moment, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be. It’s about realizing that even on your weakest days you get a little bit stronger, if you’re willing to learn. Which is why, sometimes the greatest thing to come out of all your trouble and hard work isn’t what you get, but who you become.
- Nurture your self-worth. – Sometimes the hardest part of the journey is simply believing you’re worthy of the trip. And you are! You are worth it. Tattoo that right onto your brain… Seriously! The world starts to respond when you believe that about yourself. It doesn’t always look like you thought it would, but positive shifts begin to take place when you start to recognize and acknowledge your own self-worth. So watch your thoughts and stop any self-deprecating thoughts dead in their tracks. Remind yourself that once upon a time, in an unguarded, honest moment, you recognized yourself as a worthy friend.
- Pay less attention to people’s judgments. – Most people hasten to judge in a desperate attempt to not be judged themselves. In other words, their judgments are shallow and based on their own insecurities, and thus not worth worrying about. And honestly, no one has the right to judge you anyway. People may have heard your stories, and they may think they know you, but they can’t feel what you are going through; they aren’t living YOUR life. So forget what they think and say about you. Let it GO. Focus on how you feel about yourself, and keep walking the path that feels best under your feet. (Marc and I discuss this in detail in the “Self-Love” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
- Do everything with a touch of kindness. – Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is… you guessed it… to be kind. Whatever can be done, can be done more effectively when you add kindness. Whatever words are spoken, will always be more compelling when expressed with kindness. The kind deeds you exert in just one moment can have a positive impact that lasts a lifetime. Your days will be brighter and your years fuller when you add kindness to your purpose. Choose to be kind every day, and you’re truly choosing to live in a world with less stress and more happiness.
- Savor life’s goodness. – Life is a bowl of fruit; some fruit are rotten while others are good for you. It’s your duty to sort through it, toss out the rotten ones and forget about them, while you enjoy eating the good ones. Don’t be confused by others who seem to be doing the exact opposite. Ultimately you will realize there are two kinds of people in this world: those who choose to disregard the good fruit and wallow in all the rotten ones, and those who, like you, choose to toss out the rotten ones and savor all the good ones.
Letting go is not giving up. Letting go is surrendering any obsessive attachment to particular people, outcomes and situations. Surrender means showing up every day in your life with the intention to be your best self, and to do the best you know how, without expecting life to go a certain way. Have goals, have dreams, aspire and take purposeful action and build great relationships, but detach from what life must look like.
The energy of someone aspiring to create something wonderful, teamed with this kind of surrender, is far more powerful and rewarding than someone determined to create outcomes with a desperate ‘must have’ mentality. Surrender brings inner peace and joy, and lest we forget that our outer lives are a reflection of our inner state of being.
The floor is yours…
What do you need to let go of? What thoughts, habits and attachments are creating unnecessary stress in your life? Leave a comment below and let us know what you intend to do about it.
Photo by: Salvatore Iovene
I totally relate to what Evan is going through. Facing reality is very challenging. Your brain just wants to go to that spot of “how it should be” but in my situation it never was that way and it never will be that way. It is articles like these that really help me. It is hard work to let go, sometimes, but I believe I am heading in the right direction. I used to think positive affirmations were kind of corny, now I do not. I have written a few and illustrated them and hung them in my bathroom where I will see them everyday. I also am trying to be kinder to myself. I am kind to everyone else, but not always kind to me and part of being kind to me, is facing the reality that my toxic relationship was not good for me. Thank you for your site, I have pinned many things from it on Pinterest and I hope other people see them and it helps them, too.
Ben Pruett says
In situations where I feel like I’ve been let down by someone else, I used to think about what I would’ve done differently if I was in their situation. However, that’s a pretty useless exercise as it just adds to my stress and frustration.
I’ve found that for letting go it’s important to remember that if I literally WAS the other person, I would have acted the exact same way.
This helps me put myself in the other person’s reality so I can act out of compassion instead of frustration.
Great thoughts Angel, keep them coming.
Thank you for your wonderful insights. I look forward to your emails and articles every week.
For me, it’s time to let go of the anxiety/fight or flight state I needed to endure a very challenging childhood. Now, as a father, all of the angst, and sadness I couldn’t feel as a child surfaced as a grown man, triggered by my past.
I’ve been working on letting go, so I can live in the now, and enjoy all of the wonderful things I have – which is a lot.
It’s challenging because these defense mechanisms have been habitualized over three decades, but I’ve made much progress in the past year, in part thanks to your emails, articles and audiobook, which I’ve used for daily positive reminders.
With so much negative energy out there these days, both in our real life social circles as well as online, it’s nice to be reminded of some best practices for letting it all go and refocusing on what’s truly important. We should all remember to be kinder to ourselves and let go of the needless stress factors that make us unhappy.
As I have in the past, I want to share a relevant quote from your book, which continues to push me in the right direction:
“Oftentimes letting go has nothing to do with weakness, and everything to do with strength. We let go and walk away not because we want the universe to realize our worth, but because we finally realize our own worth.”
And as for me, right now I too can relate to Evan. I need to let go of an old wound from a failed friendship that’s really been bringing me down when I think about it (which is far too often).
I just wanted to let you know that this article has really helped me deal with a problem I’ve been really struggling with. The teachers at my sons school won’t listen to me about his ADHD and are now referring my husband and I to the Education Welfare Officers due to his lateness. Your 11 steps are helping me let go of so much anger I have about the way we are being treated due to their lack of understanding so thank-you both very much.
Janice Taylor says
“Say less and breathe more when you’re angry. “- such powerful advice. It is important to be able to let go and move on when neccessary.
Great advice… I wonder how many people out there have exes who are still good friends. My ex thinks we can and should be friends. He cheated and lied to me over the course of a 24 year marriage — why would I want to be friends with that kind of person? He doesn’t do much for the kids, minimal presents, rarely calls. I am cordial, but beyond that I don’t feel I owe him anything. He is mad because he thinks I should be friends with him. He says a lot of people divorce and remain friends… I say I haven’t met one yet.
Your articles help me through times when I am unsure about my future. They have kept me sane for approximately 6 months and I will continue to read them until I believe in my self worth and understand that letting go is a part of life that we must do this to restore peace within. I’m currently going through a relationship break up that has been prolonged over 8 months. Neither of us are letting go and we have tried various attempts to heal and mend what was originally broken. Part of the problem now is the realisation that I have self- reflected and am ever-changing and I’m currently trying to let go and face my past. Unfortunately my partner hasn’t self-reflected in regards to our relationship and takes no steps forward in trying to communicate and resolve our conflicts. I am in a no win situation. I know that,yet, I’m finding it extremely difficult to let go. I understand we cannot make others make choices or decisions, hence I have had to walk away from the person whom I love with all my heart and soul. I understand I need to move forward and let go step by step. So I thank you for your articles, they keep me strong.
This was good read! I am trying to let go what I imagined my life to be. I am trying to let go the loss of my son, Conner who lost oxygen after birth and eventually passed. He was one of a twin. Ryan is the surviving twin. It has been four years.
tall sam says
Oh my! If followed properly, point number nine here is enough to give me peace and happiness. To know my self-worth! Thank you Angel and Marc. God bless you for taking your time to change my life for better through your blog posts, book and emails.
This was an awesome summary, Angel. Thank you.
It reminds me of a quote I like to keep handy in my mind’s repertoire: “The key to happiness is accepting things as they are, not as you think they should be.”
Often we continue toward the goal of ‘what should be’, when the best strategy is to understand that ‘What is…is.”
Letting go (acceptance) of a situation/relationship/etc. is rarely easy, but always worth it. =)
“Forgive with all your heart, as often as necessary.” Love this.
I have made some mistakes at work that are now beginning to catch up with me because of my fear of telling someone at work what was going on. It has come to light in the past few days, and my boss my was pretty nice about it. And we talked about how to straighten it out, which I am doing but will take time. Meanwhile, I am fretting more now than before. Sigh.
It’s hard for me to admit mistakes. Confrontation is hard. Getting criticized is hard. Keep your head down and try not to be noticed. This is what I learned. It continues to be a downfall.
This article is timely, and I’m very grateful for the thought you’ve given it and for the feedback from others with similar challenges. I have found it impossible (so far) to let go of a relationship that ended in January, one that had incredible promise but never developed into anything substantial.
One acute fear I have is that letting go of this will trivialize the relationship and validate her (the woman in question) decision to not go forward with me. I fear it will demonstrate a lack of resolve and will be tantamount to surrender or failure. This is personally humiliating.
I’m also convinced that I will never find anyone like this person again, so the act of letting go is also an acceptance of a life of compromise and “settling” for a lesser match, a muted solution. I am not new to this, and have had many relationships in over two decades as a social, outgoing guy, but this one feels different to me, and I’ve never found anyone remotely as great, both on paper and in terms of chemistry. So to let this go either means I am convinced lighting will strike twice in the same place, or that I will just take “the best of what’s left,” and hope that the new woman isn’t offended when she realizes I consider her a compromise or a lesser match. That seems unfair to everyone involved.
My friends, including one who will likely read this comment, are frustrated with my stubborn post-relationship commitment to a woman who ultimately was unwilling to commit to me, and I feel guilty for wearing them out about this. But I do not know how anyone in my shoes even finds it possible to “let it go.” Even if I confidently stood up right now and said “I’m moving forward!” it would be a theatrical demonstration, because my heart would scoff at this and continue doing what it does. I cannot command my emotions to just stop and change course. It is a wound that cannot heal, regardless of the medicine used.
I know this is an old post and I’m not sure if you get notifications when somebody replies, but I need to ask. It has been a while for you now and you said you know you can’t feel the same for somebody else. Have you managed to move on and meet anyone? The reason I am asking, is that I’m probably a similar age, if not older and I also, have just experienced something with someone that I never knew could exist between two people. I am faced with the fact that I HAVE to move on, but am stuck, also on the fact, that like you I don’t believe that lightening can strike twice. Basically, for me, I have to now live with a feeling of being shown something I didn’t even know existed and move on from it and try and believe that it’s possible to find something even remotely similar. My age means that I KNOW I’ve now got a life that is monochrome to look forward to and that nothing is ever going to compare. Have you moved on? Have you found anything similar?
David Rapp says
I, too, am REALLY struggling with a family issue that I need to let go of quickly. It bothers me greatly because it involves my son, and its taken me 24 hours to finally calm down enough to think clearly about it. I am re-reminding myself that the other folks in this situation probably will not change, and nothing I do (or do not do) can force them to change.
But the true bottom line is that I am not happy. Not happy about the past or the future. And definitely not happy about the present as a result.
But I have a one big, overarching question that I cannot resolve:
“How you can actively engage in life and be detached from the outcomes?”
serenity pratt says
I just love what you both write. The information is so important and relevant to my life. Sometimes I feel like you’re writing this specifically for me. Can’t wait to receive your book and have a secondary source of your content too.
I approached my neighbor first in May. I was interested to talk to him months before I got the nerve to speak to him. I was the one who walked up to Him AND every time I saw him and I talked/dropped hints. It blew up in my face last week when he introduced me to his girlfriend. I gained nothing. I Just felt sad about a guy I approached months ago and I was happy I tried first. I give myself credit for walking up to a guy to make conversation. What did I learn from this? I feel so stupid approaching a guy that had a girlfriend. Now I never knew he was in a relationship when we talked. False hope… I wish I knew the first time we talked that he had a girlfriend. I wish I had let go enough to ask. Would have made things a lot easier.
This submission comes at a time where I too am obsessing over the “what ifs” and the “could have beens.” I am a 25 year old, single graduate student. I am still living at home and I am fully happy with my goals and what I am doing to achieve them, but I can’t seem to let go of the fact that I am single. I obsess over a 4 year relationship that ended nearly three years ago and I think about meeting a man who may be my husband every day. This is partly because I listen to others judgements (e.g. “When are you going to get married and have kids? Your biological clock is ticking”) and partly because I truly would love to have a loving partner. After having read this post I will make it my business to let go of that obsession and live my days happy to be alive and happy that I am working toward my life goals. Thank you Marc and Angel.
Melissa Wilson says
Letting go can be so difficult. The thought of letting go can definitely make you feel like you are giving up. The important thing is to realize that this is not the case. We can’t change the things that have happened to us. All we can do is learn from them, let go and finally move on. The sooner we realize this the better we are for it.
I can relate with Paul. How do you let go and have hope at the same time? I feel like I’ve done all I can to have a relationship but the universe just isn’t with me. Since there is one person that I love but can’t have, I feel I will never find anyone; that my time is over. Is this a self full-filing prophecy? Maybe, but I can’t refute the facts.
@Paul: I am in exactly the same situation as you, I feel your pain and the feeling of never finding anyone as amazing as them. Everything fit like a glove, the friendship, humor, outlook on life, goals… everything. As you I have never had this connection with anyone else.
I tell myself every day, “today is a better day, I am stronger and eventually I will let go.” I do wonder thou, if telling myself this time and time again will eventually set in and i am able to let go. I find my heart and soul is still so connected and am always heading off to dreamland thinking about him, and hope one day I find peace within myself and let go.
Until then, what a hard journey this has been for me and I often wonder, why would someone so amazing be sent to me for heartache at the end?
So uplifting and encouraging to me today. Thank you. I think #10 creates a clear mental picture of what a toxic person acts like. Those who choose to wallow in rotten fruit are toxic. Thank you for this.
Daniel Sitoabasi says
I don’t want to say much but i have to confess this article just changed my life in a small way.
Thanks to both Kay and Juddles for the heartfelt responses, and I hope you feel some small comfort that you have company in this!
There is one thing a friend mentioned that I think all of us, the community of the heartbroken, should keep in mind: There was a time when we didn’t know the person for whom we still carry a torch, and we likely couldn’t imagine the kind of feelings that would develop for this yet-unknown person. So as convinced as we are that nothing ahead of us will undo this pain or match what we have lost, we must at least admit that we had no idea what was in our future at one point.
I’m not saying that this message has convinced the deep, emotional part of me, and I’m still working hard to believe that I’ll have another shot with the one who has walked away. But we should all remember that Romeo was completely heartbroken by Rosaline, and only in trying to sneak a glance at her did he happen to run into Juliet.
Thank you for these wonderful thoughts. They really do help.
I am working for an organisation that has recently been taken over and I am finding it difficult. I find their ways difficult to work with, quite often brutal.
I need to let go but life says that I can’t – I need them to let me go and then I can take another journey.
I can’t sell my soul to them which is what they expect. I then speak whilst angry and this come out wrong. I will breathe more allowing me to respond calmly but still strongly.
Thank you again for everything.
I have your audio book and before a difficult meeting, I listen to relevant chapters which help.
Thank you for these wonderful thoughts and insights very inspiring on down days. I look forward to reading them every week.
@Paul & Juddles – I do find comfort in knowing I am not the only one with these deep pains. I work with the person that I love and see him quite often. So I’m preparing to leave that job which is probably a good thing. Paul your point about how at one time we did not know the person we thought was so right for us is a little bit of a balm. Thank you. It makes me long for the me that was !!! And maybe that is what I can add….what if we started looking at our lives through the eyes of our selves before we met them? I got this idea after reading the book “What Alice Forgot” ( a really great read).
victoria m. says
Self-forgiveness for sure… I think often times I find myself going into tangents of anger at past events in which I felt wronged. I usually bring myself back to the present moment as soon as I notice but I am only putting a band-aid over a gushing wound… and self-forgiveness and self-worth are honestly the way to go with that 🙂
Thanks for sharing your fab insights!!
@ Kay & Paul, wow….our stories are very similar, i too work in close proximity with this person, this is how we met. I too are looking for another job, as the constant reminder of my broken heart and “what could have been, if he just followed his heart” is to much pain to bare with most days.
I take comfort in knowing that my hardest times are shared by complete strangers, but yet bound by broken dreams, words and love.
I believe that one day, not now, not in a year, but our paths will cross again, i feel our journey is not over.
Paul i love your saying “But we should all remember that Romeo was completely heartbroken by Rosaline, and only in trying to sneak a glance at her did he happen to run into Juliet”
Thank you. May our broken hearts mend and the scars left behind teach us in someway. 🙂
Yes, family issues can be painful, especially when an in-law is stuck in a mode of falsely projecting every problem that has ever arisen on me and one other in-law on another side of the family. (I guess I have the honor of being a scapegoat, and the issues are never clearly articulated, except the part that I contribute to every problem.)
Others don’t understand it because I am honest, do the right thing, and am kind to everyone including him, and have never harmed him, despite his comments. The abusive outbursts and narcissistic behavior borders on bullying, filled with delusional tirades that seem to put him at the center of every occasion as the martyr, even with the gatherings have nothing to do with him. Trying to confront his comments only results in an explosion of language & rage, which I am ok to stand up to him, except that resulting stress apparently “ruins such gatherings” for everyone else. Emotionally, I’ll move on every time, but it is a an event that happens over and over again. I ‘m obviously not able to divorce myself from an in-law, but I can choose to avoid occasion which he attends, which means I am cut off from other family members that I love in his family.
He is not a happy person, but clearly he enjoys bringing me and others into his toil. There are days like today, though, I’ll admit that the situation is getting quite old.
Thanks for the great post Angel. It’s very helpful that I can choose NOT to be upset over events and behavior which are clearly out of my control. I’m trying to proactively focus on all the great things in my life, which are virtually everything and everybody else!
First, I’d like to thank you both for creating this blog, it’s been my ray of sunshine over this difficult time in my life, and I am so grateful to be able to read this at the end of my day, everyday. Over the past year, so much has happened: growth/learning/improvements, and I have to say number 10 is spot on. People that are kind, are happy! They don’t talk or surround themselves with negativity, and they are nice to everyone. I practice trying to be the best person I can be, and that’s been helping me to be more kind to everyone including myself.
As for Paul- I had to reread your comment three times. Maybe that person is your soul mate? I am in the same boat. We can’t be together, but I see him all the time. I see him on my way to work, when I take runs, out to dinner, we randomly got apartments in the same city after living an hour apart. I just feel like the connection is so deep we just keep getting thrown at eachother.
Leo Soderman says
For me, a difficulty in letting go has come from how I have measured my self-worth. My (very) recent break-up was with someone who just wasn’t ready for a committed relationship. But I had fallen very much in love with this person.
I had let myself believe that my passion, my love would be enough to to overcome her fears of another relationship. I was dead wrong.
It was not her fault – I created castles in the air and while seeing the signs, had somehow decided that I could overpower her fears with love. Of course, that isn’t possible.
So what I have been struggling with is how I measure myself in the aftermath. Am I not good enough? Am I not worth the effort? These questions come not from her decision, but from my perception of myselF and the situation. And they are entirely of my own creation.
I think the difficulty in letting go is often the fear of facing those questions about ourselves, and what the answers might be.
Sebastian Aiden Daniels says
Paying less attention to people’s judgments is so key to becoming less stressful. It is a huge burden to carry around their judgments and one’s own projections onto others about their self-judgment. It is also wise to recognize when you are judging yourself even though you think it is someone else who is judging you.
Saying less while angry is also important advice. Don’t make rash decisions or say things you will later regret when not angry. Breathe and take the time to calm down. Amen to that for sure .
Captain Kirk says
You have a flair for creative writing….and a gift of offering inspirational words of wisdom.
In today’s post, “Make the NOW your primary focus” (number 6), this is similar to a phrase from my growing collection of memorable and motivational moments.
Learn from the PAST
LIVE in the PRESENT
Look to the FUTURE
During the information revolution, my humble observation is that most people do not live in the moment, in the NOW. For example, engaged listeners (without distraction) are rare…priceless, and honorable – in the 21st Century.
We can improve in our “face time” vs “screen time” encounters, and polish our communication, interpersonal, and social skills (living in the present). Clearly, our hearts yearn and burn for someone to simply LISTEN to us…….to be in the moment….in the NOW!………and NOW is the time to practice this in daily life. This lifestyle change will crown our relationships with unselfish love, heartfelt compassion, and lifelong experiences.
Also, when we live in the PRESENT, in the NOW, we can absorb all of the vibrations that surround us:
Feel the NOW!…..and…enjoy the symphony of life!
Thank you to everyone in our community – for your inspirational, motivational, empowering, and heart-warming comments, experiences, and passionate expressions.
Angel Chernoff says
@All: It’s so inspiring to see many of you finding common ground. Honestly, so many of us struggle with similar issues, and yet we often feel alone. The key is to realize that we are not alone in feeling alone.
Anyway, as always, thank you for sharing a piece of your story with us. Marc and I truly appreciate you. 🙂
Yes, I am lost. I have been to Marc and Angel’s site many, many times, reading everything I can. My marriage is all but over (she decided six years ago to unilaterally remove certain elements of the marital bond…..just ‘no’..). With the collapse of intimacy came to collapse of everything else. The point is, I have now been screaming inside my head for years now to get out and find a new, fulfilling life. However, I am absolutely paralyzed with fear to speak up. If SHE were to start the conversation, I would have no problem. NONE. It’s just an abject fear, I guess, of being ‘the initiator’. She doesn’t care – talks about the future all the time, doing stuff, etc — utterly blind to my pain and anguish……even a few months of suicidal thoughts I fought hard to shake, and did. How can she be so oblivious? I need to go……..but I am frozen…….just grinding out day after killing day, unable to speak. It’s killing me. I cannot see a therapist. I feel like I’m two people…….one that is angry and wants to go….and then the outer shell that just keeps grinding, afraid to speak. I hate this. I hate what she has done to me with her thoughtlessness (even suggesting I can go see a prostitute if I need sex)……..just kills me. What kind of wife says this? And yet she goes on as if everything is hunky dory. “Maybe we could go back to Cabo next summer!” WTF??!! I do NOT understand this at all. Please help me, somebody. How do I finally let go and open my mouth?????
@Paul: I’m in the same situation about everyone telling me to let go…with my spouse for over 23 years and he got up one day and walked out. We haven’t moved forward with divorce and everything has been dragged out. It’s now 1 year and 8 months. I just want my life back and I can’t see a bigger picture.
My fav. line was: “You are worth it… Tattoo that into your head!” I love reading different viewpoints on happiness.
I’m a bit of a cynic and don’t usually buy into self-help jargon. But I really enjoy your website and especially this article. I tend to be very goal-oriented; give me a list and I’m happy! As my fortieth birthday approaches, I’m struggling with the difference between what my life was ‘supposed’ to be at this point vs. the way things actually turned out. The two are not even remotely similar. It’s difficult to accept that I have not accomplished a single thing I set out to do, largely because of a serious and chronic illness. It was really helpful to read your common-sense reminders (presented in a list!). As I meditate on them and try to apply them to my situation, I think they will help me accept what my life is and create a new vision for my future.
@David Rapp, I understand because I am in the same boat. Maybe when you find a working solution, you can pass it on to me? I personally don’t believe the situation will ever resolve when the my pain is brought on by someone that is morally supposed to care, but doesn’t. How do you make it through abandonment from your child when you have given everything you had to them? Your career is gone because of a bankrupt employer, you’re over 50 and unemployable, your savings was given to your child, you have now become bankrupt… and your child is off to new plans without looking back except to say, “what’s your problem? stop feeling depressed, get over it, and I don’t have time for this!”
This is good stuff! Great quality inspiration and encouragement!
Thank you : )
I’ve been reading comments from other readers, and I wanted to point out that in addition to letting go of what we need to let go of, we also have to trust that life has better plans for us. Yes, it will not be exactly the same person that you fell in love with before, but it will be someone unique and special that you will fall in love with again. We have to believe that there is a reason why things happened the way it happened, and trust that life has something else planned that is meant to happen for you in the future.
Thanks for the post. Everytime I’m feeling down, I come and read this post. Letting go of what u thought was real is one of the hardest and most painful events in my life. I pray and ask God everyday to help me through the pain. It’s hard to let go of someone that u thought was your soulmate. I’ve learned so much from your posts and I would just like to say thanks again and God bless.
Anonymous girl says
I have been with the same situation as you Leo, but with a man. He had too, many unresolved issues of his chilhood and was not ready for an enduring relationship or too be completely open-hearted with me. The problem was that, I was completely opened to him..
He has been dating tons of girls ever since, I am not sure if that´s ok or not, but it makes me really upset to see him moving on already. But it has already been an year and some months since we broke up, and I´m still unable to let go. I am better than I was a year ago, though. But still not ready… I hope its just a matter of continuing to work with my thoughts and being open to trusting again.
I miss him terribly…
(sorry for venting here, guys. Great post, btw.)
Marissa Ikui-Peni says
I thank your site for helping me to learn to let go. I agree with all your 11 tips. I have been struggling to let go off my marriage for 19 years. During those 19years, my husband was very unfaithful to me. He had other relationship out of our marriage and I knew about them but held onto make it look better thus, eventully in 2011 he decided to move on with a woman 20 year younger than him. since then I’ve been trying to take off the kids, the house loan, school fees and almost everything and has been battling with all sorts in my mind. I in fact, eneded up at the phyco clinic as well but thank God I came out of it. I thank your site for helping me to let go off the past and dwell on health and do everything within the tips given so thank you for your site.
Thank you, this blog is an indication that I’m well on my way to healing and living abundantly and being more successful as a result. Just yesterday I posted: ‘I’m not used to devoting so little energy to stress by other ppl!’, so yeah it feels good and with the guidance of coaches like you. I’ve learned a lot that has led me to where I am now… Thank U
My weakness in life is when I fall in love…I surrender my everything for him…and the moment he broke my heart it’s definitely a huge problem for me to recover…I even wanted to end my life…the moment I’m alone I search for any site to help me about my problems…thanks to this site when I read your article it enlightened me…and for now I’m trying to work it out for a new me..hopefully the outcome will be good changes
I really relate to your experience. I have found that my pain will pass, and I need to lean on my good friends during such times, to remind myself how worthy and precious I am.
Oh, how I love your articles! They touch me and they sometimes make my eyes water!
What do I need to let go of? The self-deprecating thoughts. I don’t know where they come from….but I love the idea of putting a tattoo on my brain that I AM WORTHY. I am. I just am. I was born worthy.
When I was in treatment (28 years ago) for bulimia, they had us recite every day: “I am a precious, worthy, fallible child of God.” Isn’t that beautiful?
In fact, my dear friend from 12 step programs taught me that God loves me so much He can’t take His eyes off me. (I hope not to offend anyone with the God word. It still works if you’d rather say The Universe”)
Lots and lots of love to you, and thank you for your exquisite articles!