I’d figure I’d come to you considering I feel like you would be the one to give me words of wisdom and quite honestly I do not know who else I could even talk to about this. I just wanted to know… how do you get yourself to let go of someone when you truly know it’s time to? As in when you know a relationship is just not meant to work out anymore? No matter how many years it’s been with that person, how do you come to terms with letting go?- Maria A.
This message from you is now seven months old. It’s sat squished on the bottom on an inbox under the weight of other questions, ponderings and inquiries. I hope that by now the person you are writing about is no longer in your life, at least not in a romantic sense. I hope that you were able to follow that fiery feeling in your gut and end things for good. And more than anything, I’m so sorry to have kept you waiting.
You see, I was avoiding this particular question because to answer it felt hypocritical. To be honest, I’m not sure I am the best person to ask. There are things I know a thing or two about, like healing a broken heart (time), or getting over an ex (hot other men), and even finding and following your inner voice (helps to sing along to girl anthems). But when it comes to leaving someone who’s not right for you… I kind of suck.
For months I stuck around in a relationship that I knew, deep down, was not right for me. At the end of the night when I went to bed and I could no longer distract myself with excuses it was blindingly evident: I needed to walk away. But I couldn’t. Knowing was one thing, acting was another entirely.
It’s like standing on a ledge, the tips of your shoes pooling in clouds, and you have no idea what will happen if you take that step. Behind you are all the familiarities of a somewhat broken home. There are cracks in the floors and leaks in the ceiling, but hey, there were good memories there too, and at least you know what to expect – you can see to the end of the road.
Looking back I wish someone had told me just how fine I would really be if I let it all go. I wish I could reach back through time and show myself all of the ways I would soon grow and strengthen, how my life would evolve into something that I was so proud to call my own, and the new and amazing people I would meet and come to care for. If I had known what was waiting for me on the other side I would never have hung on so tightly.
But that’s the kicker. In the moment you don’t know. You don’t know what lies ahead and, scarier yet, you don’t know who you will become. You won’t get paid a visit from you future self showing you Snapchats of your awesome life in a few months time. No, you will never be able to see into the future or reach into the past, and so letting go requires a truly daring and courageous act: Letting go requires having faith in yourself.
Faith in your ability to recreate yourself and the world around you. Faith that you can and will attract into your life the things that will nourish you. Faith that there is so much more out there for you that will bring you joy. Faith that you still have more to learn about yourself. Faith in yourself to build the life you deserve.
And just because this person isn’t right for you doesn’t mean it should be easy letting go. When we bid adieu to the bad in the same swift kick we shove out the good. You lose the whole person, not just their shitty parts. And that sucks, but you’ve got to make space for what’s next. People are not all meant to last in each other’s lives forever. If you have outgrown the space someone has carved for you then you need to move on to a place where you can spread out and breathe deep.
By now you may have moved on and this could all be old news, but my feeling is there might be someone else out there standing on a ledge, shoes pooling in clouds, asking herself what will happen if she takes the leap.
And to that I just say:
“There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask “What if I fall?”
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?”
― Erin Hanson