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Letting go and Moving on
Do you ever find yourself feeling stuck? Maybe you feel stuck in a relationship or in a behavior. Maybe it's as simple as being stuck in a thought pattern that is bringing you down, rather than lifting you up.
I am familiar with that feeling of being stuck. It is a very unpleasant feeling and one that most of us work quite hard at avoiding. It can also be an excellent motivation to do something about it!
These stuck places seem to crop up from time to time throughout our life span. I think rather than viewing these situations as awful, we can embrace what they are helping us to see and grow from them. Allow these stuck places to be catalysts for change.
I have had several times in my life that I have felt stuck. Stuck in a marriage or stuck in a job that was punishing me. I have also been stuck in a relationship with a family member where I have had to let go even though it has broken my heart.
What about you? Are there times you have been in a relationship with somebody whom you have loved with all of your heart, but no matter how much love there is, you are no longer happy? Maybe you've felt stuck in your job, or in a bad living arrangement? It can be so difficult to let go of the ideal you had when you started your relationship, job or living situation. You may feel like you can't go on if you leave your job or relationship. Or that life will no longer be worth living if you make a change.
I encourage you to recognize that these are very valid feelings; but they are feelings and not realities. We create our reality with our own minds, attitudes and feelings. We can learn with effort that to hold on is actually to hold ourselves back! We deserve to have the fullness of life in our relationships, thoughts and behaviors; not to feel rejected, ashamed or stuck in them.
Let me share some situations where I found letting go to be very liberating.
1) Ending a marriage that no longer worked.
I was married quite young. I believed that it was forever. I wanted that reality to come true very much. But I knew in very short order that this marriage was not good for me. It probably was not good for my husband either. Yet, we spent 5 years of staying together; two very different people who were not so much in love as "committed" to seeing it through. I must say that the choice to see a marriage through, as though it were a poor choice of meal in a restaurant was quite ludicrous. Marriage is a huge commitment not to be taken lightly. But, to stay in this commitment in spite of being miserable was foolish. When I finally made the decision to move on with my own life, it was not easy but it did get easier. I set myself free to start a new direction in my life and I also set my husband free to live his life as well. I do not regret the choice to divorce; I only wish we had given each other permission to disengage sooner for our own sakes.
2) Leaving a job that is no longer serving your needs.
I was a nurse for over 30 years before I retired. I had been in my last position for over 20 years. The final four years of the job had broken me down. I was more than burnt out; I was depressed, lost my self esteem, exhausted and doubtful of my worth as a nurse. It was so difficult to make the decision to retire and move on. I held on for a year longer than I wanted to because of those nagging voices in my head telling me it was a mistake, or I was doomed if I left. Finally, the pain of staying became much greater than any fear I had of letting go and making the decision to retire. I did retire and actually moved to a foreign country to live. I have not once regretted my decision to retire, for I regained my sense of self worth, recovered from my depression and burn out and started an entirely new career.
3) Letting go of a friend or family member who has let go of you. This one is the hardest. At least it is for me. I have suffered tears, rejection, pain and disillusionment but have come to the conclusion that the healthiest thing that I can do is to let go. But having said that, I mean that I must let go with love. We all, at one time or another, have had a person in our family or a friend whom we love dearly; somebody we would give our right arm to help and wish to spend any free time with. But for whatever reason, this person though they may still care for you, just can't participate any more. They make excuses to not get together, or simply reject your overtures to spend time together. I have pushed and pushed, only to realize that I was pushing them away. Then I tried to just be indifferent and stay my distance, which came off as being petty or having an attitude. I am learning it is best to let go...with love.
Letting go with love. I do appreciate this concept. It resonates with me. It is so much different than just letting go and walking away; never to look back. It is a thoughtful process that respects yourself and the other person involved.
To me it is saying "I love you and want nothing more than for us to be like we used to be. But, that just doesn't seem possible. So, in order to spare myself the pain of rejection and causing you pain by having to reject me, I choose to let you go on your way; without me." I think this is the sincerest way to let go of someone you love. You have respected their desire to move on in their lives without you in it, and by doing it this way, you have freed yourself.
You have also lovingly freed them.
The old saying was "If you love something, set it free" and it may sound cliché or trite but I like it. I think there is wisdom in this. I think it will only work if one is sincere in loving the other person and not just throwing down a gauntlet; or secretly hoping that this choice will have them come running back. There is no room for game playing when love is sincere.
In summary, what I have learned in the past few years is that life is best when it is in balance. A balance of work, fun, love, good health, spirituality and relationships. It is that belief that brings me to this realization that letting go and moving on is creating balance in my life. And by letting go of persons or things that aren't bringing us what we want, we are creating room for those persons and things that will bring us joy, balance and love.