One of the hardest parts about life, about being human, is that we all have to let someone go eventually. Whether that be a partner, a friend, or a family member, learning how to let go of someone can be one of the hardest experiences we will ever go through.
We at Best Ever wanted to make sure that you are not alone when you go through this. We have all had to experience this in one way or another. We are sure that there are many people out there who have had to let go of someone and wished that they had a support network or guide to help get them through it.
That’s where we come in. we wanted to make sure that there was a way we could be here for all of you if you ever had to go through the heartache of letting someone go. It is for this reason that we have decided to compile a handy, heartfelt guide, detailing the ways to let go of someone.
We will be exploring some of the things that have helped us, as well as going into detail about some proven and researched methods for letting go of people. We have dedicated hours of our time to hunt out the best journal articles and research papers that look at the psychology of letting someone go, and have shared with you some of these proven ways.
Even if you are not currently experiencing this, maybe you know someone with who you can share it, or perhaps you want to bookmark it as a ‘just in case’ for the future. Because what we do know is that letting someone go is hard, and anything that can be a helping hand through that process has got to be a good thing.
Lots of articles out there dedicate their guides to letting go of a romantic relationship. However, here at Best Ever, we acknowledge that it is not just romantic relationships that can cut you deep. Sometimes a friendship break-up, or the breakdown of a relationship with a toxic family member, can be just as hard. That is why we are going to be using examples from all of these important relationships.
We would hate for anyone to feel that they were not worthy of help by just focussing on one aspect of letting go. It should, of course, be acknowledged that it can be far harder to properly let go of a family member if your family is otherwise very close.
If you have a sibling relationship breakdown, for example, it is likely you will at some point come into contact with one another again. For this reason, not all of our trusted methods may be appropriate, but there are certainly ways you can ‘let go’ of them mentally.
How to Let Go of Someone
So, with all this in mind, we suggest that you begin making yourself comfortable, grabbing a hot drink to calm you, and maybe even some tissues. This may be an emotional read, and we are sending you strenth and grace as you go through this time in your life. We hope you can use some of these methods to guide you through letting go, and that you feel stronger and more you with time.
Allow yourself some closure and grieve if you need to
One of the worst ways to let go of someone is to do it ‘cold turkey’ so to speak. By this, we mean just cutting them out of your life with no piece of final closure. It’s a good idea to get some final closure if you can. This could come in the form of a ‘goodbye’ conversation with them if you feel safe and comfortable enough to do that. The idea of needing closure was coined by a psychologist in 1996.
Arie Kruglanski thought of closure as the need for definite knowledge on a situation and wrote a study on it. Getting closure can come in many forms. If you have a conversation with the person you are letting go of, the closure may come from answers they give you about why they treated you badly.
It may come from an agreement between the two of you that letting go of each other is for the best. It may even come in the form of an agreement that you will never contact each other again. Whatever suits you, and them, the most.
Another excellent way of letting go of someone is by writing them a letter. This letter never needs to be sent to them or seen by anyone else. It could be a pirate letter only seen by you. In the letter, it is a good idea to write to the person you are letting go of about why you are doing so. You could ask them all the questions you want to know the answers to but don’t feel comfortable saying to their face.
There are no right or wrong answers about what you can put inside the letter. It is meant to be a way of helping you to receive closure without forcing you into a conversation with a person. This is also a good method to use if, for whatever reason, having an actual conversation with them is very difficult or if the person in question is no longer with us. For this reason, grief counselors often use it, too.
After receiving that closure, or even before, you may find yourself ‘grieving’ for the person they are, were, or the relationship you once had together. Grieving does not necessarily happen only when someone dies.
You can grieve the loss of a relationship even when the person is still very much alive. Allow yourself to do this. It can come as a huge emotional shock to lose someone, whether they be a friend, romantic partner, or family member, especially if the reason for losing them is because the two of you can no longer get along.
You should not feel guilty for needing grieving time from a person if they are still alive. When we experience any kind of loss, the brain goes through an adjustment period. Where we once may have depended on that person for everything, they are suddenly not there. The self can feel this as strongly as if a person has died.
Delete them from your life
If you are trying to let go of someone, it goes without saying that you should not meet up with them anymore or see them physically. However, you should also consider virtually deleting them from your life. By this we mean deleting their contact number from your mobile phone, removing them from your social media friends list, and unfollowing them on any sites.
This reassures you that you won’t feel the urge to send them a quick message to see how they are doing or sadly scroll through their social media.
This is not to say that deleting them from social media and your phone contact will make the loss any easier, but it does mean that due to the constant reminder of them being taken away, you have more time to breathe and forget about them, focussing on other things.
Because of the amount of time we spend glued to our various electronic devices if you still have ways of ‘seeing them’ virtually, it will be harder to let go of them.
Of course, for many people, this will not be all that straightforward. Family members, for example, are very hard to ‘delete’ permanently from your life, especially if all of your other family members are still in contact with them. In this case, you should, perhaps, limit your contact with them, keeping any meetings to a minimum and not contacting one another on any form of social media.
There have been instances where relationships have broken down between siblings, which, as you can imagine, is very hard if your family is otherwise close. However, it can be done successfully, allowing you to ‘let go’ of them whilst still allowing for civilness between both parties when needed.
Put your trust in time
“Time, mystical time, cutting me open then healing me fine” – Taylor Swift ‘Invisible String’
Singers and songwriters have reminisced about the importance of time for us long as time has been a concept, but still, we cannot stress enough the healing powers of it. It would be foolish to think that letting go of someone is going to be quick. It cannot be guaranteed that you will ever feel ‘over’ someone completely. However, in time, things get easier. In time, you will be able to say “I have let go of them”.
Sure, you will always have memories of them, but the feelings you feel now may not always be present. All it takes is some time for you to heal yourself. Take it day by day and let yourself feel the emotions as they come. You should find, in time, that sad days will happen less often, and when they do happen they will be less intense.
Giving yourself time can also help you to make sense of what happened in the relationship (be that a romantic one or otherwise) to cause it to break down. This can, in turn, help you to grow as a person. The main way it does this is by allowing you time to identify any areas of the relationship that you struggled with.
You will be able to look at the relationship a little clearer now that you are out of it, letting you see where you went wrong. This will, in turn, allow you to make any changes within yourself. For example, perhaps you found that you often got jealous or lost your temper in that relationship. Having time to look back on your relationship can help to make sense of these things.
Many studies have found that this growth can come in many different ways. Some people may find that after letting go of someone, they become more independent and self confident. This is especially true if the relationship they were in was particularly toxic. This is generally found in romantic relationship breakups where the partner had been oppressive or stopped the person from being who they truly were.
Focus on you
Often, when we have been in a toxic friendship or relationship, we can slowly feel ourselves turning into someone toxic, too. We make no time for ourselves, and anything we enjoy doing just gets forgotten about. It is for this reason that, to let go of someone, we must focus on ourselves. By this we mean, spend some time getting to know yourself again.
Make time for the hobbies and activities you enjoy doing. Not only will you begin to feel more like ‘you’ again, but they will also provide you with something else to focus on. As part of this, consider making self-care a priority. Self -care can come in many forms and varies from person to person. However, there are some sure-fire ways to fit self-care into any lifestyle that most people will enjoy. Some of our favorite methods of self-care include:
- Making time to call a loved one or meet them for a catch up
- Having a long soak in the bathtub with some relaxing products
- Baking your favorite comfort food dessert
- Having a ‘pamper’ night with facemasks and a self-massage
- Watching your favorite ‘laugh out loud’ movie
- Going for a long walk in nature
- Write in a journal about how you are feeling
- Meditation exercises
- Getting a good rest
Self-care goes hand in hand with self-love and boosting our self-esteem. After going through a difficult breakdown of a relationship, we can be left feeling deflated and may even blame ourselves even if we know that letting go of someone is the best choice.
Ensuring you make time for yourself will make you feel better about yourself, in turn helping you begin to love yourself. The activities that involve looking after your physical appearance can also help our self-esteem as we will look better as well as feel better.
Build your support bubble
It is likely that you will have at least one person that you can always rely on for cheering up. Whether that be a family member, best friend, or even a colleague, if you look around you hard enough you will surely find some support. Consider building up a bubble of people who make you feel good.
This support bubble will be the people you go to when you are having a particularly difficult day and are really missing the person you are letting go of. You know that saying ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’? Well, there is certainly some truth to that. It is thought that sharing a problem with outers can lighten the load on ourselves, and whilst it may not make the problem go away, sharing how you feel can make you feel a million times better.
Make sure you spend time with the people who are there to support you. If you feel comfortable doing so, perhaps you can share the reasons you have decided to let go of the person in question and talk over the decision with them.
This can help if you are having doubts about the choice (which we all get). Ultimately, they are not there to convince you you are wrong or right – they should be neutral if possible and just act as a support for you and your feelings.
If you are letting go of someone who has caused you harm in any way it is likely that you feel a lot of resentment toward them. It’s perfectly normal to feel that you are holding a grudge toward someone, especially if their behavior was toxic and had an effect on you.
However, holding a grudge makes letting go of someone very difficult. Now, this is easier said than done as it takes a lot of personal strength, but if you can find it in yourself to practice forgiveness, you will likely find that letting go of that person will become far easier.
There are, of course, situations where this may seem nearly impossible. This is why it is important to start small. You could start by visualizing the person that you are letting go of and repeating this small mantra: “I forgive you”.
Over time, practicing this daily will allow you to truly feel as though you can let go. You will begin to let go of the grudge you once held as well as the person. In contrast, to be in a perpetual state of unforgiveness is to be negative.it can consume all of your thoughts and time, making you bitter and angry at the world, instead of just the one person who caused you to feel this way.
What should be clear by now at the end of the article is that letting go of someone is not easy. There is no easy way to do it, and there is certainly no right or wrong way. What we mean by this is that different things work for different people. This is because different people will react to letting go of someone in different ways. For some people, they may not feel that they need closure.
Others may go through a whole grieving process, this is equally fine. The methods above have all been tried and trusted when learning how to let go of someone. They will certainly give you a helping hand along the way in your journey to letting go, whether that be of a romantic relationship, a toxic friendship, or a family member.
The last thing we would like to make clear, again, is the fact that time will be your best friend, above all else. You should trust the power of time, along with all the other methods we have listed. We encourage you to try all of the methods we have listed above to ensure that you can let go of the person in question successfully. As we mentioned, some of the methods may not apply to everyone.
If you are learning to let go of a toxic family member, for example, you may not be able to permanently ‘delete them’ from your life as our method suggests. However, there will be some steps you can take to ensure that your contact will be kept to a minimum.
Don’t underestimate the power of any of the methods we have listed. Allowing yourself to ‘grieve’ can be integral in letting go of how relationships once were. Likewise, even if the person is still very much alive, it is perfectly normal to grieve for the space they once held in your life.
Making time for yourself for self-care and seeking support from others should be a given for any tough time that we go through. Ensure you utilize support and take steps towards learning to love yourself by making time for what makes you happy.
We hope, more than anything, that this article has been of use to you in such a difficult period in your life. Remember, healing is never straightforward and linear. You will have good days and bad days. Eventually, you will start to feel like you again, and we hope that our article will be helpful in getting you there.
Thank you for taking the time to read our article. Go easy on yourself.