Letting Go Is More Than Moving On

Individual Counseling Insights From Westlake Village-Based Patricia McTague-Loft 

If we’re being honest with ourselves, we probably have to admit that we don’t like change. Change is scary; things can go wrong. The problem is that change is necessary and good, even if it is somewhat frightening at times. Author Gail Sheehy once said: “If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.”

Releasing a butterfly

This overwhelming human tendency to avoid or resist change may play a part in your acceptance — or non-acceptance — of the end of a relationship. Moving on, accepting the end, is scary because the future is uncertain. Indeed, uncertainty is an oft-neglected cousin to a fear of change. Writing for TonyRobbins.com, Team Tony says, “Why do we have so much trouble learning how to let go of someone we love? We like to hold on to things, situations and especially people because they fulfill our need for certainty. Certainty is one of the Six Human Needs that drive every decision we make. Letting go and moving on from a relationship often entails a large amount of uncertainty. Even if your relationship has reached its conclusion or one or both of you are unhappy, there is still an amount of certainty there that can make it hard to know when to let go of a relationship.”

Moving on from a relationship is one thing. You may sever ties completely, never seeing or talking to your ex, and maybe not even talking about them to a friend. But there’s more to letting go of a relationship than simply moving on. Red flags include finding yourself thinking about the other person very often, tracking them on social media or talking about them incessantly with your friends. Even more to the point, if thoughts about your ex bring up negative feelings, then you have not truly let go.

Letting go is true acceptance. If you’ve genuinely let go of a relationship, you won’t think about your ex very often, rarely talk about them and above all you’ll be calm and relaxed when you think or talk about them, with only positive feelings associated with pleasant memories. In fact, you’ll feel a sense of freedom and an awareness that you are in control of creating your future.

If that’s a state you’d like to achieve — if you’d like to really let go — you may need a loose road map to get where you’re trying to go. I recently covered a few tips for moving on in a recent blog post.

Team Tony has a few more tips to “help you discover how to move on once and for all.” They include:

“Recognize When It’s Time.” This may not only be the first step in letting go of a relationship, it may also be the hardest. Doubts about finding another person with whom you’re compatible may creep into mind. Memories of good times past might hold you back from seeing the total picture. Team Tony, though, sums it up nicely by saying, “Though each relationship is different, most find it’s time to end things when the relationship causes them more pain than pleasure or when trust has eroded to the point where the romance cannot be rekindled.”

“Identify Limiting Beliefs.” Let’s go back to that lingering doubt I just mentioned: not being able to find another partner who really loves you. This thought pattern is loosely categorized as a “limiting belief.” It might not actually be a belief — it might be more of a non-verbalized thought. But it has power nonetheless. “Understand that these [beliefs] are not facts,” writes Team Tony.” “They are limiting beliefs, and while beliefs have the power to create your world, you have the power to transform them.” Start to overcome limiting beliefs by writing down positive affirmations. Start each day with a little time stressing your affirmations to yourself.

“Talk To Someone You Trust.” There is a reason that Talk Therapy is so widely practiced: it works. Simply talking to a trusted friend may do wonders for your outlook and your feelings about the future — a changed future. If you’d rather talk to a therapist in confidence, give me a call. It may be your first step in unconditionally letting go and creating the vibrant future you deserve. Read more of Team Tony’s tips for letting go here.