Letting go is an art.
It’s a skill, a talent that most of us lack and many of us can only dream to one day perfect. It doesn’t matter what it is that you have to set free or that life is demanding back off you; a habit, an object or someone you love. The pain can still often be soul destroying.
Of course, there will be those that argue that it can only hurt you as much as you allow it to and I guess in a sense that is true. But life is never quite that simple and if we really were in control of how we let pain shape us or exactly how much we allow it to affect us, then we wouldn’t fall prey to it as often as we do, would we?
It has been my observation that the most frequent thing we are required to give up in life, unfortunately, is a loved one. We can lose them to death before which we are powerless but some we lose because our paths are no longer intertwined and we are forced apart by circumstances. Then there are those we push away, not to mention those who flee from us willingly. Even they are hard to let go off sometimes.
So, what is the complication? Why can’t we hack this letting go business?
There is no uncomplicated answer to this question. I certainly don’t have one. What I do have is what any of us does; theories, a lot of them. One of them is as follows.
We meet so many people in life and we select a few that we keep in our inner circle. The closer we get to them the more we come to place them on a pedestal thus emphasising their importance in our existence. We give them so much access into our lives and, in return, expect a free pass into theirs. We involve them in our decisions and base ours on theirs. We make inane promises under the influence of emotion we have every intention of keeping but no real knowledge that we will actually be able to do so, all the while expecting the same commitment from them.
There’s no point denying it, whether we are aware of it or not, many of us do tend to do this and not just with someone we are involved with romantically as is often perceived, it can be a friend, a parent, a sibling, a neighbour and basically anyone we care about immensely.
Ultimately, when our paths interchange, much like the Hogwarts staircases, and life ejects this person out of our existence, it becomes almost impossible for our heart and mind to let them go. How can we, when we have unknowingly come to associate their presence in our life with sheer happiness? We sit and mourn their loss and forget that it was us that gave them the power to make us feel the misery deep within our souls. That’s not so say the other party is necessarily always pleased to cause this pain. Some people are just more skilled at moving on than others. There’s nothing wrong with that, I would gladly take lessons from them.
The point is that’s why we can’t let go. Because we constantly tell our system that the person we love is crucial for our survival. When you emotionally distance yourself from situations like this and try and think as clearly and rationally as possible, like I did, or tried to, you come to realise that these are huge and slightly unfair expectations to place on the shoulders of someone who, essentially, is as weak, helpless and prone to making mistakes as yourself.
You don’t need anyone to survive; technically all you need is air, water and food. Most of us are blessed with all three and still feel void. The more of life I see and the more people I meet the more I realise that it really is to do with the association we form.
Love is as wonderful as it is painful. Without it we wouldn’t have companionship, friendship, family or memories and who would want to live in an environment so devoid of feeling? This ‘rant’, if you like, is definitely not about telling people not to love for I think love is just one of those unavoidable guests, it comes into your life uninvited whether you like it or not.
It is more about saying look after yourself because no one will look after you like you. We really must begin to trust that we, given the opportunity, can make ourselves feel happy and enriched. Having people around to share that with is beautiful but let us not unload the responsibility of our wellbeing onto them. Let us not become solely dependent on the romanticised shoulder we are constantly encouraged to lean on. Let us not deny ourselves the authority to be powerful and in control of our contentment.
Instead of wishing that life had a delete button for all the distress we feel when we lose someone, let us cry and some days let us even allow ourselves to miss the person in question until it physically hurts but then let us try to progress to the next chapter of our life. Some of us will get there fast and some will take longer, much longer but eventually we will get there because we simply must… because it is all about self preservation.