How to Let Go: Learning to Deal with Loss

Letting go of someone, something, or a role you've been accustomed to is difficult. But this guide will help you get over it.

As much as we’d like to have healthy, fulfilling, and empowering relationships, the reality is mostly different from our expectations. Sometimes, real life uncovers or creates things about the person you hold dear that you can’t put up with.

But whether you end the relationship on your terms or the breakup wasn’t exactly your decision, it can be tough to get the person or their actions out of your psyche.

So, why is it difficult to let go of the person we once deemed our lifetime partner, even if you’re confident they’re not good for us?

Well, it’s a natural instinct to hold on to your favorite human, but it also stops us from achieving our goals. Ultimately, it’ll be impossible to hit your true potential.      

Understandably, Letting Go Isn’t Easy

We’re inclined to hold on primarily because the situations, things, and people we stick to satisfy our need for certainty, one of the six human needs driving all our decisions. By letting go, you’ll deal with lots of uncertainty. Even if the relationship doesn’t make you happy, this uncertainty can make it difficult to determine the right time to leave.

Letting of loss isn’t easy

Your past could also explain your decision to stick. Those instances when you faced rejection from potential mates could make you hold on to a nasty partner. The bad memories justify everything for you, becoming part of your story and working against you.

Sometimes, you genuinely want to stay, but they want to leave. It can be difficult to let go when your feelings for them are intact. But always remember that you enter a relationship to give, not to receive. And sometimes, the best you can offer your partner is freedom.  

Signs That It’s Time to Let Go

It’s not easy to leave. But holding on to someone who shouldn’t be by your side isn’t healthy either. Leaving the relationship at an opportune time could make all the difference.

Prepare for your exit when you notice these telltale signs:

  • You’re never yourself in the company of your partner
  • You’re genuinely unhappy
  • You want something different
  • You experience fear
  • You’re mostly lonely
  • The good times and passion have faded
  • You’re barely appreciated and constantly criticized
  • You compromise a lot and try too hard
  • Your partner keeps giving justifications and excuses for their unwarranted behavior
  • Your constantly fighting
  • You feel like the relationship is draining your energy
  • You’re suffocated and burdened

Any of these signs could indicate that it’s time you exit the relationship, and multiple of them signify that you should do so immediately. But how do you let go? Read on to get enlightened.

How to Finally Let Go

Letting go of someone or something you’re used to is easier said than done. But these steps will simplify the process for you:

Decide Whether the Relationship Is Worth It

The first step to letting go involves alleviating relationship anxiety by having an honest debate with yourself. Is it worth it?

This isn’t a simple question, nor one you can take lightly. At the end of the day, you want to find out if this is the right person for you.

As you think through, remember that we are all human, and no partner is perfect. That’s okay. But it isn’t a question of whether they’re perfect, but whether you’re good for each other. 

Every relationship differs. But if you notice some gaslighting, it could be time to move on.  

Have A Conversation

After determining whether the relationship isn’t worth it – maybe even creating a good old pros and cons list – it’ll be meaningful to discuss with your partner.

Often, a lack of communication is the primary cause of relationship disconnections. So find time to sit with them and ask some uncomfortable questions. How they’ll receive and address your concerns will inform your next move.

If they listen and accept to work through the snarls, you can change your decision to let go. But if they dismiss, deflect, or become too defensive, then you know what to do.

Detach Your Emotional Energy

I’ll demonstrate this with a simple exercise visualizing the process of letting go. First, close your eyes, then picture yourself at the center of concentric circles.

Those you trust the most are in the middle section, those you trust less are in the outer ones, and the ones you have no trust in are on the furthest end.

Now, visualize the person you want to leave far enough that you can’t feel them in your inner circle or energy. It may seem impossible, but you’ll notice a difference with practice.

Doing this will create an emotional distance comparable to detachment. Imagining that you’re away from your energy can help you recover your energy.

You’re not punishing them by sending them to the moon. You’re simply finding some relief.   

Be Direct Yet Compassionate

When breaking up, you must compassionately and clearly explain your intention to part ways to your partner. Be sure to provide some concrete explanations of what feels off.

Ideally, take ownership of the things that don’t work whenever possible through “I” or “me” statements such as,

“Our fights make me feel on edge, and we’ve been arguing so much that I’m no longer at peace.” Or,

“I’ve noticed I need to be with someone who shares the same vision of living overseas.”

This prevents drawing out the separation or unnecessarily hurting them. You don’t have to mention the excruciating details – just stick to the big picture.

Practice Releasing Regrets

Once the relationship concludes, it can be tempting to dwell on your mistakes or what you could have done better. This may seem productive as it can help you change some attributes, but it’s unhealthy. Dwelling on regrets can cause post-break-up suffering.

Whenever you start revisiting the past, pull yourself into the moment. Pay attention to good things and people in your current situation: the lessons you’ve learned from the experience, and the friends and family who are there for you.

While it’s okay to vent and express your feelings occasionally, you should avoid drowning in them.

Cut Off Contact

It’ll be impossible to heal if you keep your former lover close to you, especially if they’re toxic.

So unfollow them on social media and get rid of their contact details. This will be particularly helpful if you’re tempted to reach out to them during those low (or drunk) moments.

Feel The Grief of Letting Go.

Feeling the loss is arguably the most challenging part of letting go. This pain also leads to other losses, and you can only complete the lesson the relationship was meant to offer by honoring the pain.

Sad woman lying on the sofa at home.

So dedicate several minutes each day to allow your feelings to bubble. Usually, the breakup pain takes a short time to surface, but a good cry can go a long way in releasing the stress.

The five stages of grief include:

Denial – Inability to understand your loss

Bargaining – Trying to change the outcome or fix things

Anger – Rage because the relationship didn’t work out

Sadness – Feeling the loss and regretting the past

Acceptance – Being at peace with the result

This isn’t a smooth process, but you’ll learn to accept it.

Remind Yourself Why It Didn’t Work Out.

Moving on is a process, and it’s possible to romanticize the past occasionally. But when you encounter such moments, it’s always important to remember why things failed to work out.

Avoid idealizing the person you miss because they were unable to offer the meanings you attached to the relationship.  

Practice Lots of Self-Care

Finally, you must dedicate lots of time and energy to yourself after the breakup. After spending lots of time with someone, and then you part ways, you’ll encounter immense challenges.

Changes are mostly uncomfortable, and the best way to navigate the new era is by practicing lots of self-care.  

If It’s Not Worth It, Just Let Go

Relationships aid our well-being and play a crucial role in life and letting go of a loved one can break your heart, to say the least.

But when caught up in unfavorable dynamics that don’t serve your best interests, you only limit yourself by staying. The best course of action is to let go.

The exit process is complex, but the above tips can make it easier to move on and work towards a better future.