Turning the page isn’t easy. Often times we get stuck on the same page, the story that brought us so many moments of joy and love. Staying on the same page is the hope and longing that maybe they will come back, maybe things will turn out differently, maybe they will change their minds. The truth is, by continuing to stay there we miss out on the stories around us that have the potential to be as life changing as the ones we experienced. Sometimes God brings people into our lives and just like that, similar to a wind pushing them from behind, God briskly takes them away. All we can do is trust, and have faith that God is opening a new chapter in our life that is even more beautiful.
I wrote that recently after a heartbreak and one of the most difficult things in life is losing someone you truly love.
If there’s a kind of heartbreak that has been universally felt by countless people across all cultures in the world, it is the heartbreak of a breakup. There’s nothing quite like the pain of the knowledge that the one you love is no longer yours. As impossible as it may seem, there’s nothing you can truly do but come to terms with the breakup, let go of the situation, and focus on healing, so that you can move on and become a stronger person through it all.
The process is not completely dependent on you, however. It can be easy to accept all the responsibility for your healing so that you have an excuse to wallow in self-pity for however long you want.
But the truth is that God is the only one who can fill the void you feel after a breakup. He is the one who repairs our souls, and we are just the vessels He uses to make that happen. Heather Lindsey advises, “Let not make any more excuses of ‘easier said than done.’ Let’s instead say, God—I trust you.”
Letting Go…We must do all we can to help facilitate our healing, while still relying wholly on God.
Here are five ways that, according to Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen, can help us to do just that:
1. Understand that the breakup may be the best thing for you.
Grief can often cloud our judgment so much that we can’t see the bigger picture unfolding in our lives. After all, how could something as terrible and emotionally draining as this possibly play a part in God’s plan for our lives? God has been using pain to yield glory since the beginning of time, and He continues to do so in our lives today.
Despair teaches us to hope. Suffering teaches us to rejoice. When we realize that our situations shape us in ways we cannot see, it becomes easier to accept the hurt now, if only to grow later.
2. Accept that you did the best you could in your relationship.
After a breakup, it can be tempting to pin the blame on the likeliest victim, even if it’s yourself. But this reaction solves nothing; it only stirs up all kinds of negativity and regrets that need to be resolved if you are ever to move on. The end of a relationship is not your fault; it was part of an uncontrollable series of events that, believe it or not, God is using to build you up in faith. The sooner you reach acceptance, the better.
3. Decide what needs to change in your life.
If we become self-absorbed in depression, we can become stagnant in our walk with Christ and in our lives in general. We may not even mean to; it is simply the natural effect of a life-altering event. It is more than okay to break down, to think about what happened, to feel, for lack of a better term, sad. But eventually, when you are ready to heal, you have to make a change. You have to shift your attention from the breakup to something much more enjoyable and fulfilling to engage in.
4. Accept your lack of control.
The most frustrating part to come to terms with is, without a doubt, the fact that all of this is happening, and you cannot control it. No matter how many texts you send, how many tears you shed, how many times you try to bargain with God, the damage has already been done. Even if you do manage to beg your love back, your heart cannot be as it was before. You can’t change what has already happened, and you cannot change someone else’s mind. Instead of trying, focus on things that you can change, like your own outlook on life and dependence on God.
5. Get spiritually refreshed.
Of course, the one thing that remains constant in every trial is the steadfast love of Jesus Christ. He is the remedy for every single aftershock of this massive earthquake called a breakup. He has experienced every struggle you can name; loneliness, frustration, sadness, betrayal, and even death. He knows that despite the trouble of this world, true joy can be found in following Him.
If you feel dead inside, chances are that you need to be spiritually refreshed. If you haven’t been going to church, why not get back in the habit? Read the Word, and pray constantly.
Table of contents
- 1 My Personal Experience:
- 2 How to Let Go of Someone You Love
- 3 What does letting go even mean?
- 4 So how do you start?
- 5 1. Start separating your emotional energy from theirs.
- 6 2. Examine how the relationship wasn’t working in order to learn from it.
- 7 3. Let yourself feel the grief associated with letting go.
- 8 Cycling through the five stages of grief:
- 9 4. Use writing to tell the story and put things in perspective.
- 10 5. Don’t assume their thoughts since you don’t know anyway.
- 11 6. Visualize their energy away from you and wish them well.
- 12 7. Get plenty of support or try Al-Anon for relationship help.
- 13 8. Focus on what you can control – yourself.
- 14 9. Increase self-care and lower expectations to keep centered.
- 15 10. Be gentle with yourself, healing is a process not a destination.
My Personal Experience:
When I moved out to California I did so for my ex-girlfriend. I loved her a lot, I had plans to marry her and I did my very best to make our relationship work but in the end it wasn’t enough. When she broke up with me for another guy, I was devastated.
I had no friends or support because all of my friends were basically her friends. I was honestly all alone. So what did I do?
Besides going through a storm of thoughts (What’s wrong with me? What did I do? What could I have done differently?) and emotions (sadness, fear, anger), I turned to the only one who I had, God. Over the next 6 months I decided to dedicate myself to the most important relationship we’ll ever know, our relationship with God.
As I look back now, I realize that it was during that time period that I have never felt closer to God. Despite the pain that would come and go and then come right back again, I also was filled with an unmistakeable peace and joy knowing that I wasn’t alone through this and that I could trust that God had a plan for me.
The truth is, sometimes relationships don’t work no matter how hard we try because God simply wants us to be closer to Him. Its not easy, its painful, its terrifying to let go but I can assure you that when you truly experience God’s peace in your life, when you take that first step or when your down on your knees and have nothing left to give, that is when God rescues us.
Freedom is found only in surrender. Jeanne Doyon puts it this way:
With that step of faith, he will reveal his power in us and through us to handle whatever comes our way.
What has your experiences been like with a break up? Has it helped you move closer to God?
Letting go of a relationship takes courage and strength. Here, you’ll learn how to let go of someone you love in healthy ways, heal your heart, and move forward in your life.
These tips are inspired by a reader who asked for help detaching and letting go of someone she cares about. “My husband of three years is planning to leave me without an explanation,” says Michelle on When You’re in Love With Someone Who is Scared of Love. “He is in a band and tours every now and then, but that has never been a problem till this tour. Within a week he started distancing himself. No calls, hardly any replies to my messages on Facebook. I want to know how to let go of someone you love because I believe he will leave me. How do I let go of him and start over? I don’t want to stay in this relationship because I know letting go is the best option for me. But I just don’t know how to start.”
Below I share what I’ve learned about letting go of someone you love. I focus on looking upwards and inwards, on re-establishing your self-identity and self-worth. I also share a portion or two of my “how to let go of someone you love” ebook – which I describe at the end of this article.
Giving up on a relationship doesn’t mean you are weak. Sometimes it means you are brave enough to let go.
How to Let Go of Someone You Love
It’s important to remember that letting go of someone you love isn’t something you do once and poof! You’re free, healed, and happy. Rather, letting go is a journey peppered with steps forward and steps backward, good days and bad days.
And, know that letting go of the man you love is like losing a piece of your identity.
“You hold on because you are holding on to something that keeps your sense of self intact,” writes Camilla Gibb in This is Happy. “You have come to know and understand yourself in relationship to this person. You can let go only when your sense of self, your cohesion, no longer depends upon the idea of them, an idea that remains for a long time inextricable from the very idea of yourself.”
If you truly want to let go of someone you love, then you need to change how you see yourself. You need to be aware of who you were in that relationship (a girlfriend, a wife, a lover) and accept that that season of your life is over.
When that relationship was alive, you were that person. But now that the relationship is over, you are someone new and different.
1. Consider the idea that this season of your life is right for you
You may feel unhappy, sad, wrong and lost when you’re struggling to learn how to let go of someone you love. You don’t feel loved, warm, centered, or right. Maybe you feel depressed and unworthy, alone and afraid.
But what if this breakup, separation, or divorce is actually the best thing for you? What if you knew what God knows about your life and future…can you imagine what it would feel like if you found out that letting go of this person you love is the best thing for you?
Learning how to let go of a relationship is painful. It hurts, and there is no way around the pain. Unless you allow yourself to entertain the idea that this really is the best way for your life to unfold. I’ve written about how my sister stopped talking to me, and how it was the most painful thing in my life. And recently I realized that learning how to let her go was one of the most important things I ever did. I found freedom, joy, and peace in accepting her decision and letting her go.
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2. Accept that you did the best you could in your relationship
Don’t waste your time or energy feeling guilty or bad about the choices you made in your relationship! I spent a couple of years wallowing in regret, self-recrimination, and low self-worth. And for what? It did no good at all. It was actually harmful because I was wrestling with unknowns. I didn’t know why I lost someone I loved deeply, I had no idea why she chose to leave me.
You did the best you could, you loved as much as you were able. No matter what you did or didn’t do in your relationship, it ended. If you want to be happy and healthy – which involves learning how to let go of someone you love – you need practice acceptance.
3. Decide what needs to change in your life
You have to actively decide you want to let go of someone you love. Who do you want to be? Where do you want to live, work, love, play, and laugh? Yes, you need to grieve the fact that you have to start over because your relationship ended. You need to go through the pain, process the loss, and work through the disappointment and broken dreams. This is active grieving, and it is so healthy! Actively grieving your loss is doing exactly what you’re doing: searching for tips on how to let go of someone you love, and actually applying those ideas to your life.
Avoid the temptation to focus on your lost relationship and the pain of letting go. Instead, take time to consider the possibilities and options. You are on the verge of a new beginning and fresh start in your life. This isn’t easy. I know. It’s painful in a variety of different circumstances, and it requires strength and courage. But encouraging yourself to focus on seasons ending and fresh new beginnings can help you learn how to let go of a loved one and move forward in hope, faith, and peace.
4. Accept your lack of control
To let go of someone you love, you need to accept that you can’t control many things in your life. You can’t control who loves you, who leaves you, who helps you, who betrays you. You can’t control your neighborhood, the traffic, the weather, or the economy. Of all the things you want to change in your life, remember that you can’t change people. You can sometimes change circumstances, and you can change your attitude and response to events and people but you can’t change your husband, children, coworkers, neighbors, or family members.
One of the hardest things about letting go of someone you love is not having closure in your relationship. Read
How to Get Over a Break Up When You Don’t Have Closure ” href=”https://howloveblossoms.com/how-to-heal-your-heart-without-relationship-closure/” data-bump-view=”tp”>How to Get Over a Break Up When You Don’t Have Closure.
5. Refresh yourself emotionally and spiritually
The happiest, healthiest people are in touch with their spiritual and emotional selves. Adding spirituality to your life not only makes you feel better emotionally, it improves your physical health.
“Being spiritual” doesn’t mean you need to go to church, synagogue, or mosque. Being in touch with your spiritual self is about dipping into the flow of God’s healing energy.
However you describe your Higher Power to be, step into that flow.
Tap into your soul by meditating, praying, taking time to really listen to your heart, reading Scripture or other soulful books, and talking to people about spiritual matters. The end of a relationship – when you’re trying to let go of someone you love – is a perfect time to start getting back into your spiritual life.
It’s important to remember that letting go of someone you cared deeply for is a process that takes time. Let yourself heal gradually, and grieve your loss. Don’t expect to be happy, healthy, healed overnight! It’ll take time and work, but if you take it slow and steady, you’ll find yourself coming out of the tunnel of darkness.
6. Get outside help
When you can’t let go of the past, you might consider a session or two with a life coach, counselor, financial adviser, or even a professional organizer (sometimes getting a divorce requires literally cleaning out your closets, attic, basement, garage, etc). An objective outsider can help you let go and move on.
Whether you should hire a life coach or talk to a counsellor depends on your situation. If you’re struggling with self-identity, major life changes, fear, anxiety, depression, or your marriage, then I encourage you to talk to a counselor or therapist. Get provide objective support, feedback and guidance that your friends and family can’t offer when you’re trying to let go of someone you love. If you have money problems, financial advisers can help you become financially independent. Professional organizers can help you declutter — which can improve your physical and mental health.
7. Learn from others who have let go of someone they loved
I wrote 75 How to Let Go of Someone You Love: 3 Powerful Secrets (and 75 Tips!) for Healing Your Heart because I needed to learn how to let go of my sister. Letting her go was the most painful and difficult thing I ever did, but I had no choice.
To write this ebook, I interviewed life coaches, counselors, and grief coaches on letting go. I know how shocking, confusing, and heart-wrenching it is when you’re letting go of a loved one. It’s devastating – and it changes how you see yourself. Learning how to let go of someone you love is about rediscovering your passion and identity.
Here’s what a reader recently emailed me about Letting Go of Someone You Love: “I gobbled the book down. Great help in putting things in perspective and in taking positive thoughtful action. Many thanks for sharing your wisdom and experiences.”
I hope these tips on how to let go of someone you love help you heal. Please feel free to share your story below. I can’t offer advice, but it often helps to write your thoughts and feelings about letting go of someone you’ve loved and lost. You may even find it helpful to read through the readers’ comments and experiences. You’ll see you’re not alone.
May you find health and faith – forgiveness and hope – as you move forward in your life. God didn’t promise days without pain, sun without rain…but He did promise strength for the day and light for the way.
You may also want to read How to Stop Thinking About Your Ex and Get on With Your Life.
No matter what, it’s always hard to let go, but there is nothing harder than letting go of someone you love. Whether it’s through death or separation, it doesn’t happen easily. You might avoid letting go because it’s too painful or you don’t know how.
This blog provides concrete tools to make the process of letting go more manageable.
What does letting go even mean?
Letting go is an intense, confusing process much like grief. You don’t know where it’s going and every day feels different. On a good day, you think it’s the right thing to do, but on a bad day the self-doubt can haunt you.
Being able to let go of someone (or something) often takes several tries before actually doing it. Some choose never to let go because anticipating the pain is unbearable. Some stay in abusive relationships because it’s less painful than being alone.
I am not advocating for anyone to stay in an abusive relationship. It’s an individual choice that you have to make for yourself. Letting go often triggers a fear of abandonment. This becomes a stuck point preventing you from being able to move forward.
So how do you start?
Here are some steps to guide you in how to let go.
1. Start separating your emotional energy from theirs.
A dear friend, Susan Espinosa, from Dream and Goal for It gave me this exercise that visualizes letting go. Close your eyes and imagine concentric circles around you with you in the center. The people you trust most are in the center. Then, put the people you trust less in the outer circles and the people you don’t trust in the circle furthest away from the center.
Now picture the person you’re trying to let go of far enough away that you no longer feel them in your energy or inner circle (this takes practice but you will see a difference if you keep at it).
Visualize them at the edge of your circles, outside your city or even on the other side of the world.
This creates an emotional distance much like detachment. You’re imagining their energy away from you which gives you your energy back.
It’s not punishment. You’re not sending them to the moon Alice (okay that really dates me).
2. Examine how the relationship wasn’t working in order to learn from it.
When a relationship ends, it’s an opportunity to take stock of what happened. Focusing on what the other person did is almost automatic but looking at your part helps you take those lessons with you in the next relationship.
Ask yourself, what worked and what didn’t?
Were there patterns in the relationship that you could learn from?
Was there any feedback that you could acknowledge as true?
Being able to learn from your mistakes creates emotional health in relationships. As painful as it is, accountability leads to healthier connections in the future.
3. Let yourself feel the grief associated with letting go.
The hardest part of ending a relationship is feeling the loss. The pain often brings up other losses. Honoring the pain is the only way to complete the lesson of what the relationship was meant to teach you.
Cycling through the five stages of grief:
Denial – being unable to comprehend the loss
Bargaining – trying to fix or change the outcome
Anger – feeling the anger and intensity of why the relationship didn’t last
Sadness – feeling the loss and regret of the past
Acceptance – experiencing each stage long enough to reach acceptance.
You may not like it but you can accept it. If you are struggling with letting go of control, people pleasing and setting boundaries check out my online course below.
4. Use writing to tell the story and put things in perspective.
Journal writing promotes healing. Telling your story creates a safe way to vent frustration and express private thoughts without worrying about feeling judged.
Writing helps change perspective as you see progress over time. Re-reading past entries shows growth. It’s also a way of getting to the root of the problem. As you keep writing, you’ll get to deeper levels and sometimes make connections to past events that need healing.
5. Don’t assume their thoughts since you don’t know anyway.
Mind-reading is an attempt to sort out what went wrong. You ruminate on how they must feel. Unfortunately, those assumptions create a victim story with you as the injured party. The story provides righteous anger at first but then becomes a downer with friends if over-used.
Most assumptions are rooted in personal history. In other words, these thoughts are more about you and your past than the person you’re obsessing over.
For instance, if you grew up being criticized and your partner gets mad at you, you might be afraid that they won’t love you because when you made a mistake as a child, the adults withdrew love.
6. Visualize their energy away from you and wish them well.
When you find yourself obsessing over the relationship, use your concentric circles to create separation. This also provides a way for you to get back to center.
Obsessing creates a type of tunnel vision where your attention is no longer focused on what you need to do, but on what you’d like the other person to change.
Instead, redirect your energy back to you. Imagine them on their way to a new life and wish them well. If you have to, fake it until you make it. It’s your intention that counts!
7. Get plenty of support or try Al-Anon for relationship help.
Having a solid support system makes letting go possible. Doing it in isolation makes the process much harder. Plus, it leads to depression, confusion and self-doubt. Use trusted friends to provide reality checks of why you’re letting go in the first place. Al-Anon is a free, support group for dysfunctional relationships.
If the pain is too great, consider professional counseling. If letting go is too difficult, there is something connected to it. It doesn’t mean that you’re weak or crazy.
8. Focus on what you can control – yourself.
The goal in letting go is to stop manipulating the outcome. Control provides a false sense of safety, and it depletes your personal power when attempts to change the outcome fail.
Attempts at control trigger the obsession to keep trying. It’s a vicious cycle. You cannot control what’s outside of you no matter how hard you try. If someone wants to leave, it’s futile to make them stay. It’s a painful life lesson that once learned gets easier. That’s why support is vital. In isolation, you tend to go back again and again hoping to change the end result.
9. Increase self-care and lower expectations to keep centered.
Letting go is a process that depletes your energy. Physically you may feel more tired, and less interested in fun activities. A mild depression is common so lowering your expectations is a great way to be kind to yourself.
Now is not the time to start new projects or make major changes. It’s a time to be nurturing to yourself. Make time for the grief by saying no to extra activities which promotes healing.
Giving yourself 10 minutes a day to cry can ironically improve functioning. You’re not going to fight the pain anymore, you’re going to honor it. Studies show that a good cry releases stress.
10. Be gentle with yourself, healing is a process not a destination.
This process is painful enough but when you beat yourself up, you double your own suffering. Letting go is a rollercoaster of intense emotions of grief, self-doubt and fear. The only way out is through the pain. With these steps and the right support, you eventually get closure and that’s where you’ll find peace.
Some related articles:
Five Simple Steps to Mastering Letting Go
When Letting Go Is Your Only Option
How to Start Recovering from Codependent Relationships
I’ve created a private resource library with more helpful tips like 20 Ways to Detach When You Need a Break and 15 Steps to Setting Healthy Boundaries and much more. Click the image below to get access!