Long after the love is gone, the rejection letter is in the trash, or the friend’s number is deleted from your phone, the lingering stench of regret and remorse linger. It’s suffocating.
When things don’t go according to our plans and we miss out on something or lose someone, a tension is created between what cannot be changed and our potential for moving forward. It’s the ugly grey zone between spilled milk and a brand new jug. Most of us would rather stare at the spilled milk than carry the burden of starting again.
Letting go is a difficult, but necessary, work on the soul and mind.
You must first name and claim that whatever or whoever is no longer with you is gone.
It’s not lingering in the waiting area for you to find it. It’s not tucked under a rock calling your name. It is gone. It is over. It is finished. Even if the memories are still haunting you at night and even if you rehearse it a thousand times, your healing won’t begin until you recognize that this chapter is over. Instead of convincing yourself that there is something you could have done that would send you back in time and reverse what’s already taken place, stop and recognize the space you are in now. If it hurts, let it hurt. If it makes you angry, be angry. But only stay that way for a little while. Eventually you must move from there to a point of being able to say, “This is done.”
Acknowledging it is done and gone, whatever “it” is, is only the first step. There are some emotions attached to whatever has left you. To let go you must heal. Guilt, shame, resentment, hurt, anger, disappointment are likely whispering to you at night as you hold tight to memories. There will come a point where you can remember without the emotional assault but for now you’ll have to process through all those emotional daggers. Write it down, seek counsel from a friend or a professional, pray, meditate, work out or whatever else you need to do to heal, not just escape or numb the pain. Many times we can’t let go because our emotions, not just the person or the situation, are holding us hostage. Find your peace in spite of the circumstance and then you can move forward.
Now you must try to hope again for the future.
Letting go is hard because we think that what is behind us, what left us, is the final answer. We believe that what left has no possibility of returning again. That was the love of your life but he/she is gone now. That was the job of your dreams and it’s over. But if you keep living long enough, you’ll get to the other side of someday and find that love, jobs, friendships and more always come back to you in a new way. You don’t have to keep looking back regretting what’s gone because you never know what’s coming down the road, even when it looks like nothing is happening. Life has a funny way of restoring our losses just like Spring after a long winter.
Remember, always, that you are worth it.
Nothing that left you is tied to your destiny (word to TD Jakes) so it’s up to you to remember that you are worth peace, you are worth a future, and you are worth moving forward. Save your sanity and stop trying to put the spilled milk back in the glass. You may have relapses but it’s important that you remember to keep getting up and fighting everyday to move on. It’s not as hard as you make it out to be. Do whatever you need to do so that you stop giving yourself excuses to dwell and become stagnant.
As Toni Morrison says, “You wanna fly, you got to give up the sh*t that weighs you down.”
Freedom from your past looks good on you. You should wear it more often and learn the beautiful art of letting go.
Dee Rene is the creator of Laugh.Cry.Cuss. (http://laughcrycuss.com) @deerene_ @laughcrycuss