Nance was asked by Upjourney how to let go of someone you love and move on. Having a lot of experience with this in her family, as well as intimate partner relationships, she shared her three top tips:
- Observe how you feel around your relationship with this person. If you are anything less than the best version of yourself most of the time, this is not a good situation for you. It’s okay to have occasional disagreements and challenges, but if you find yourself tensing up before you see them* (gender neutral), your body and mind are trying to tell you that this is not compatible with who you are, what you want, and what is available to you. This does not mean that they are bad; you don’t have to demonize them or hate them. But you are better-suited for something and someone else. It took me awhile to discover this, too, but you can be in relationships that are mutually loving and supportive. Love really is unconditional. You can have relationships without control, manipulation, strings attached to gifts, neglect, and other abuses. It can be easy, fun, and free. Allow yourself the opening to have that.
- Explore all the reasons you are lovable. Yes, you are lovable. You don’t have to demand it. Look around you, at the relationships that make you feel most alive and loved. Consider the commonalities. Are they obligated to love you? (No one is, not even a parent.) Have they stood by you when you’ve made mistakes and forgiven you? Do they tell you what they think you need to hear, so you can grow into your power, or do they tell you what they think you want to hear? Do they stand for your greatness, or do they pull you down whenever you try to improve yourself? You are lovable and have unconditional love somewhere. Identify it and model your relationships after the ones that push you to be your best, yet catch you when you fall, understanding that we all fall.
- Understand that letting go doesn’t mean they are dead to you. It’s okay to still love someone you’ve parted ways with. You can wish them well and want the best for them, without being in their lives everyday. If you find yourself pining for them or wanting to withhold your well wishes because you’re not still close to them, look within. Your love might have been conditional. Identify the conditions you put on it and why. Did you think they would provide you an escape from something in your life? Were you forcing a relationship you weren’t sure you needed but tried because others wanted you to have it? Did you try because you thought you should? Again, the struggles in the relationship might be more about compatibility of values, goals, and timing than the quality of the people in it. You can both be lovable, even if you don’t love being together. Love them from afar, and get to work at creating the love-filled life you want. You can have it, and you deserve it.
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Nance L. Schick, Esq. is a New York City attorney, mediator, and conflict resolution coach who focuses on keeping people out of court and building their conflict resolution skills. She is author of DIY Conflict Resolution: Seven Choices and Five Actions of a Master and ounder of the new Third Ear Conflict Resolution online school, where we build students’ conflict resolution skills. She is also the survivor of abuse, crime, and suicide. She has written extensively on her challenging relationship with her abuser and how she let go of the relationship when the emotional abuse continued into adulthood.