“If you love something, set it free.”- Abraham Lincoln
This quote by Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States hasn’t lost its charm even after so many years have passed. It is still often thrown away as ‘relationship advice’ from friends, family, etc. The idea of setting a loved individual free has inspired several brilliant minds to dwell deeper on this particular matter resulting in equally magnificent quotes and immaculate pieces of writing.
The inspirational and widely known American author Richard Bach puts forward the same idea as “if you love someone, set them free. If they come back they’re yours; if they don’t they were.”
And remarkably similar words have been written by the celebrated Brazilian lyricist and novelist Paulo Coelho, “If you love someone, you must be prepared to set them free”, in his bestseller ‘The Winner Stands Alone. But how does it apply to the modern world and couples living in it?
The meaning of these marvelous words can be interpreted differently by people from different walks of life. For someone, it could simply mean to give space to your partner and draw out necessary and healthy boundaries. For others, it could be associated with the trust they put in their partners. To let them soar high without the fear of keeping them close just so they would not leave them. Or to give the partner generic freedom to choose what is right for them.
The Significance Of Letting Go
Letting someone go does not necessarily mean casting them out of your life or cutting down all ties. On the contrary, it signifies the importance someone holds in your life as letting a loved one go isn’t always an easy thing to do. It can be all about enabling someone from unnecessary expectations. You work against your human instincts while doing it. As humans holding on to someone or something comes naturally to us but letting go takes a lot of strength and awareness. But as arduous as it may be, it’s important as well. Especially for the individual growth of the persons involved in the relationships as well as the relationship itself. And setting the loved one free can be all the difference between a loving relationship and a forced one. You give the people you love a chance to grow, be free and live life to the fullest.
And it is something much more than just plainly ‘moving on. It can be about acceptance and respect for your partner’s life or career preference even for the ones you don’t agree with. This act of ‘letting go’ can be inspired by the will to do the right thing, the idea of giving space to the partner, changes in priorities or shared goals or simply to take a break and explore yourself. In conclusion, the idea of setting a loved one free or letting them go follows the principles of selflessness and love.
Sometimes Holding On Too Tight Does More Damage
Our basic instincts as humans are to hold on to people or things that bring us joy and love. But this act goes against the very idea of love, which is easier to forget when we are enabled to choose between doing the right thing and something that will bring us immediate pleasure. Also, we learn early on to keep fighting for the ones we love which is the right thing to do. But it is also extremely important to consider how the relationship affects both the parties as individuals. And if you’re causing more agony to each other than joy, maybe it’s time to part ways to grow individually and find your respective happiness.
Holding on can often be taken as a sign of strength. Don’t let yourself be caught up in this because this notion does not apply to every other scenario. And it can end up doing more damage to you as an individual as well as the relationship.
Priorities and shared goals can change over time, you may fall out of love or even outgrow the relationship itself and it is much more common than you might surmise. When all this happens and you still try to ‘fix things’ because you think that you’ve invested too much to step back, you’re setting yourself up for suffering.
Signs It’s Time To Let Go
- Living in the past more than the present: Do not worry about the past. You make mistakes and you cannot change them. Think of good times in your life, not bad ones. Try to keep things in perspective by looking ahead rather than behind.
- The relationship causes more pain than happiness: You may be in a toxic relationship if your friends and family often say that you are treated badly, but you keep doing it. If your relationship is causing more pain than happiness, even though it hurts you and other people, then it is time to leave.
- Not feeling heard or respected enough: If your partner doesn’t listen to you, it is important to create a dialogue or speak up. When your opinions are not respected or heard, the relationship often becomes unhealthy and one-sided.
- Feeling like they’re always right: If things never go your way, this can be draining for both parties involved. It is essential that you feel like you’ve heard and respected. If you always feel like you’re wrong, or your voice is never valid, it’s time to find a new partner; someone who values your opinion as much as their own.
- Your long-term goals don’t match anymore: If your future goals don’t match anymore, this may be a sign of something gone wrong. If you want to live in a different city than your partner, it could lead to an unhealthy relationship or even end it. It might be time to find someone that has the same life vision as you.
- Being in a dead-end job: It is never easy to start over. You will have to leave behind what you’ve already worked hard for. It can be good, but it’s hard. If your relationship is preventing you from doing new things, start over.
- Feeling judged: You are with your partner because you love them, but you do not let anyone judge them. If you fear what your friends or family think of your significant other, it might be time to find someone else.
- Always being the one to reach out: Not being able to keep in touch makes a relationship toxic. If one person is always reaching out to start a conversation or hang out, the other partner is probably not putting in enough effort.
- Insecurity: Insecurity can lead to lower self-esteem and is often related to jealousy. It’s healthy for a relationship if a person feels that they are loved and wanted by their significant other, but insecurity can also be very toxic for you both.
- You’re in love with the idea of them: You might be in love with an idea of someone, rather than reality. Don’t think that they are perfect because no one is. Fall in love with the person, not the notion of who they could be for you.
- No individual growth: When two people grow in different ways, healthy communication is key. If you feel like you aren’t growing as a person, or your partner isn’t either, it might be time to let go of the relationship.
- Lying: Lying can be toxic for a relationship. Trust and honesty are essential when building a healthy future with someone else. Lying can lead to distrust, which destroys the future you could have had together.
- Being emotionally unavailable: Emotions are an important part of life. The closer two people get, the more sensitive feelings become. If your partner is unable to be emotionally available for you or others, they might not be the best person for you right now.
- Feeling exhausted all the time: Sometimes a relationship is hard work, but feeling emotionally drained is never healthy. If you always feel exhausted after being with your partner, it might be time to reevaluate your relationship and how it’s making you feel.
How To Cope When Someone Lets You Go?
Look at the bright side
Keeping an optimistic outlook regarding what happened in life can help you truly understand the positive impact this decision might have in your life. And also because happier people feel healthier. Keeping a positive attitude towards life can do a lot of good to your mental and emotional health. It has multiple other benefits such as reduced anxieties, lower levels of stress, decreased risk of cardiovascular diseases, etc.
Practice self-love and gratitude
Gratitude means to be thankful for what you have in life. And it encourages you to appreciate every blessing you have in life no matter how small. In this particular scenario, you can be grateful for the good memories or the learning experiences you have had or perhaps both.
You just have to make a small shift in your perspective and in the manner you see things in life.
Seek professional support
Talking to a professional can go a long way in coping with a loss of a relationship. A few sessions with a trained professional can help you process and manage emotions better. They can assist you in developing healthy coping strategies. A rough breakup may introduce new triggers into your life or revive the old ones and a relationship counselor can help you work through this scenario.
Allow yourself to grieve
Your feelings are valid. And you’re allowed to cry and feel bad or hurt for your loss. Don’t let yourself believe that you must feel a certain way. Everyone is unique and you can grieve for your loss in whichever way you want. Grief is a natural human reaction to loss. You may feel angry, hurt, lost, etc. and it is essential to process all those emotions for a better future.
Nurture other relationships
It’s not easy to go out and approach people when dealing with the loss of an important relationship but it is possible to reach out to friends and family for support or to simply have a good talk. Strong social support is very crucial and in this particular scenario, it can be a rejuvenating thing to do. Loneliness can throw you into a vicious spiral of overthinking about the past so it is a wise thing to spend your time amidst the company of loving and supportive friends and family.
Reconnect with yourself
This can be your time to reconnect with yourself. You can take this time for introspection and reflection on the life that you’ve lived and set up for the future. You can develop a new hobby or take up a new skill to make the most of this time and use it for getting in touch with yourself again. Yoga and meditation can be very helpful tools in this journey. Find time for the things that bring you pure joy and happiness. Practice self-compassion and pay attention to your feelings and thoughts without being judgmental about them.
Don’t indulge in substance use
While it may seem a very obvious thing to do, it has negative long-term benefits. And indulging in substance abuse while dealing with a loss of a relationship can be labeled as an unhealthy coping mechanism that may lead to addiction to the particular substance or even multiple substances. So make a note to stay away from substance while dealing with an unhappy life situation. And understand that this is not the solution.
Take care of your body
Focus on what your body needs. Make sure to indulge in physical exercise. Eat a healthy and balanced diet and provide your body with much-needed nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Getting enough sleep is another popular way to take care of your body. Keep yourself hydrated throughout the day. Pamper yourself.
Be patient with the healing process
Healing is not a linear process. And it takes time to heal the wounds that come with losing a relationship. Understand that healing certainly takes time and allow yourself to be completely open towards it. Treat yourself with the utmost love and care especially during this period.
Reassess your priorities
Reassessing your priorities can be all about your relationship with yourself. It can also be about taking back control of every aspect of your life. Ask yourself questions like, ‘ What does success look like for me?’, ‘How can I fulfill my life goals while staying true to myself?’
We can help you find out how to let go so that you are able to love again. Have you tried any of these neuroscience principles? The power of letting go is not just for the one who needs it, but also for those around them. Forgiveness and acceptance will lead you down a new path towards happiness. Let us know if we can be there with support as your partner on this journey or give guidance along the way!
For more information, please contact MantraCare. Relationships are an essential part of human life. It is the connection between people, and it helps us to form social bonds, understand and empathize with others. If you have any queries regarding Online Relationship Counseling experienced therapists at MantraCare can help: Book a trial therapy session