I believe that there’s so much to grow and learn from gifted by the people who are presented to us in life. Some people come into our experience for a hot second and others are here to stay for the long haul. My logical mind understands that some relationships are only in our lives for a limited time. Meaning, the relationship teaches us a lesson or two and then exits. Sometimes we're easily able to accept the come and go of a particular relationship and other times it’s difficult to let go and get beyond the disappointment of the loss. (This article is more geared toward the loss of a relationship that exits because of a loss of connection, not a death.)
People coming in and out of our lives is a reality, but what do we do when the exit of a specific someone causes a lot of pain, confusion and discomfort?
I can speak for myself with saying that letting go of relationships, whether it be friendships or intimate love, and moving forward has been a challenge for me. Simply said, when I love and let someone in, I love hard and it hurts to let go. I've had relationships that have touched me to my core that are no longer in my life. This has lead to confusion, questions, pain and stagnation at points of my life. Learning to let go and allow a connection to exit our lives in a healthy way can be a challenge for some of us. As I mentioned earlier, I know it has been for me.
This begs the question of, “How Do I Move On and Let Go?” Here are some suggestions on where to start looking in order to find more acceptance around the loss of a significant connection.
Look to Your Childhood
We learned how to cope with loss and pain in our younger years, for better or worse. Meaning, we either learned healthy or unhealthy ways to deal with loss. Learning to move forward and gain acceptance around break ups and lost connections can benefit us greatly. Needless to say, some of us didn’t learn how to do this and it remains to hold us up in our adult lives. A sign that there's some work to do around this can be identified by feeling stuck in the past or ruminating about a particular person or relationship to the point of unhealthy. Regardless of where you stand with this, you can recreate and form a healthy relationship with letting go if you have the desire to do so.
Questions for self reflection:
What did you learn about love and letting go from the relationships you had with your parents? What did your parents model in regards to love and letting go?
Point the Finger Back to You
When a relationship ends, its common for pain and discomfort to come up, especially if it was a strong connection. Although, when pain continues to linger in a way that borders unhealthy, it’s important to start looking inward.
In this space, where pain and hurt are coming up surrounding a loss, it’s important to realize that it’s not really about the other person. This is shocking, right? After all, it feels SO about them and the lack of their unique presence in our life. I get it. I’ve been there, so let me explain further.
Obviously, to an extent, it is about them. However, that’s the surface issue. If you dig deeper, the intense pain that we feel is more about what we learned or didn’t learn about letting go and moving forward in our past. Our extreme pain or stagnation can also be stemming from an unhealthy level of self love. When we don't love ourselves it's a "go to" to focus on someone outside of ourselves. Taking the focus off the person who left and shifting it back our way to do some inward work is a required step in order to begin building a healthy way of coping with loss.
Gain a New Perspective Around Letting Go
Getting caught in a negative perspective around letting go can keep us from genuinely connecting and allowing in connection.
Putting energy toward forming a new perspective around letting go can cause a significant shift with how we experience people moving in and out of our lives. For example, trusting the timing of which people come in and exit, whether we agree with it or not, can help us feel more settled. Generally, putting more trust in the natural ebb and flow of people entering and leaving our lives can unleash us from thinking something should be different. Letting go can still cause discomfort, that's a given to some extent. Although, when we can find acceptance and positive perspective around a loss, it can help to cushion the blow.
The past connections that moved and taught us can never be taken away from us. Simply said; What happened happened. Our past and the people who played roles in our lives have played a part in who we have become. Generally speaking, in life, when we learn to let go before we can see what is ahead of us, something really interesting happens. Life hooks us up and opens doors for the new. New experiences, connections, people and places. This is not to take away from what was. Rather, it’s to be “in addiction to” the cool story of our lives that is continually unfolding.
* The above image was taken by Amy Bjornson, San Diego Photographer.