The art of letting go

“Just let them go” are four words I’m sure that almost everyone has heard. Whether you’re saying them or hearing them, it’s easier said than done. That person or relationship that you once had probably did not stick around forever — very few things in life do. 

After things end abruptly, messily, or you’re not completely sure why –– you are left wondering how you can pick up the pieces in order to repair what once was. I’m sorry to report that more often than not, there is not much you can really do to bring them back. 

However, I think that it’s for the best. 

Letting something extremely meaningful go is no easy task, but once it is done, there is something beautiful about that release.

Ariana Lim | Graphic Artist

Think of it like this: There’s a tree in the ground, and it fosters the growth of branches and leaves. As it endures the colder seasons, its leaves begin to fall. While the branch remains intact, the leaves break from the branch’s bond and fall to the ground. The spot where a leaf falls stays empty until the spring when leaves begin to grow again, and the tree becomes stronger. 

If you haven’t guessed by now, you’re the tree. As you go through your own seasons, people and relationships will begin to fall away. 

As those leaves wither away from your life, you’re left with a branch — the memories of what once was. However, you’re left with that newly open area, where new experiences can flourish. 

Now, you have two options: You can either choose to focus on how empty your life feels without that leaf and sit with that sadness of wishing that person/relationship back into your life, or you can choose to appreciate the time when the leaf was a part of your life. Appreciate it for what it was, move forward and grow a new leaf. 

Letting go is not forgetting. It’s placing that person or relationship in the back of your mind, and deliberately choosing not to give it power anymore. You don’t have to completely erase everything about this person in your mind. We should still try to learn from those experiences with them. Instead, try to not let it consume your being. 

Do not allow yourself to give it space in your life any longer. 

Letting go is also not completely disregarding their being either. While you can still care for them, you also must start focusing on how you can better take care of yourself. Just because they are not in your life does not mean you cannot care about them at all ––that care just has to look a bit different moving forward. 

This reminds me of a poet on TikTok who I came across a little while ago. In a short slideshow, she includes a quote that says, “I hope you get everything you’ve ever wanted & I hope I never hear a thing about it.” This is to say that you can still wish the absolute world for a person, though what’s best  for you is to distance yourself.

But like I said earlier, it is so much easier said than done. 

There have been people and experiences that I personally have had so much trouble letting go of. Sometimes, I made these decisions because I was never really sure why they weren’t in my life anymore and some that I wish played out better than they really did. But ultimately, I realized that I can’t control their actions. I can only control my reactions. 

While I still miss some of these people and everything that they once were to me, I know that our paths crossed at one time, but it is probably for the best that our paths aren’t crossing again. 

The people you choose to surround yourself with in your life should contribute something to it, not take anything away. If someone is causing you stress, making you feel bad about yourself, or just isn’t adding to your own happiness, know that you deserve someone that will do better for you. 

Letting go is its own closure and forgiveness that you can give to yourself, which is often more than what people get. 

Once you learn to forgive for yourself, you can feel that weight being lifted off your shoulders. You can breathe a little better, the sun will shine a bit brighter and life will become faintly sweeter.

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