You can never truly know how to let go of someone until you lose them. Be it from a breakup, divorce or death, there’s only so much you can do to prepare for it.
After experiencing some significant breakups and loss in my life, I have picked up some important tips on how to let go of someone you love.
I just wish I knew these things earlier because it could have saved me years of suffering. Years of my life I can never get back. But there’s little to be gained from crying over spilled milk. If anything, we must focus on the present, piece ourselves back together and strive to live a wholesome life.
Before we get into these tips, we should establish why it’s so difficult to let go of someone.
When we go through a breakup, divorce or loss, we experience a number of different feelings and we go through the stages of grief.
- You experience regret.
- You feel grief and yearn for that which has passed.
- You may go through separation anxiety.
- You may experience shock.
- You feel depressed and a loss of drive.
Of particular importance are the stages of grief. We experience this from different types of loss in our lives.
The five stages of grief are as follows:
- Depression and
This can take a toll on anyone, even the strongest of minds. The 5 stages of grief are what we must all experience to learn how to live with the loss of a loved one.
The 5 stages of grief can last from anywhere between 6 months to 4 years. That’s a long time. Be that as it may, the time will pass anyway so we should not fret the journey ahead.
My hope for this article is to share as much advice and tips on how to let go of someone you love dearly and regain some control over yourself and your life.
I promise you that it is possible to let go and move on with your life. Let’s get into it.
1. Spend time alone
It’s tempting to avoid pain by immersing ourselves with people and activities that distract us from what we have lost.
As valuable as that may be, I believe it to be a step we should take after being alone.
Well, for as long as you try to run away from your pain, it will continue to fester inside you until it explodes.
I know this from experience and it is awful.
You can never outrun your own heartache. Eventually, it will catch up to you. It’s better to tackle it head on by choice than have it creep up on you unexpectedly.
In the past, I was someone who internalized stress and pain to the point of it making me ill.
Changing that has been extremely difficult but I’ve learned how to be alone and express myself through activities like:
- Emotional expression (A.K.A. crying).
A lot is accomplished during time alone. Sure it might be difficult to face those feelings and thoughts we are most afraid of. But we are resilient. These tough times make us tough people.
Once you can find peace with yourself and work through the stages of grief, that’s when you rediscover a thirst for living again.
More importantly, you are forced to feel everything you are afraid of feeling.
And that’s how you begin to heal and conquer those demons.
2. Cut contact
Whenever someone reaches out to me for help pertaining to a breakup, I always advise them to initiate no contact if they have been dumped.
It seems counter-intuitive to them at first because they just want to win back their ex or end the suffering.
What they don’t realize is that the greatest form of control is self control. Being able to exercise your right to walk away from someone who changes the terms of your relationship is a power move.
I’ve talked about this before but no contact has a number of benefits that can serve you well in letting go of someone you love.
- It prevents you from chasing him or her.
- You gain some power and control over the situation.
- It facilitates acceptance.
- It prevents you from making rash decisions or embarrassing choices.
More often than not, people who initiate no contact after the loss of a friendship or relationship end up moving on completely and happily or winning back the person they lost.
At its core, the no contact rule is a tool to help people move on from the end of a relationship.
3. Let go of the past
Easier said than done, right? I get it. It’s not like we can flip a switch and just forget about everything that hurts us.
However, we can detach ourselves from that which has passed. By that I mean we should not allow our lives to be dictated by the feelings caused by the past.
Every time you find yourself not wanting to do something positive in your life because of the past, make a conscious decision to do it.
When you remove the power of control the past has over your decisions, it will be far easier to let go of the past altogether.
Another obvious but underrated way of letting go of the past and in essence, letting go of someone, is to focus on the future.
- Set short term goals and objectives.
- Plan the next 5 years of your life.
- Try new things and make new memories.
- Change your routine.
These simple activities can make a significant impact on your mindset and overall happiness.
Whenever you find yourself tied down by the past or overwhelmed by loss, remind yourself of everything good that is ahead of you.
A quick tip: Draw up a vision board for your life so that you can actually see and visualize a happier and better future during those low moments.
4. Practice forgiveness
I’ve come to realize that hatred and resentment lend nothing to happiness. If anything, they suck the joy out of living and place you into a dark hole called the comfort zone.
We can’t change the past but we sure as hell can change the future by letting go of the past.
That can only be done by forgiving others but more importantly, forgiving ourselves.
We all have made mistakes in our lives. That regret may eat away at you but it doesn’t help you or the people still in your life.
Forgive yourself so that you can improve and become better.
Also, you may have to forgive someone who left or hurt you even if they don’t apologize.
You may never get the answers you are looking for but that’s okay. Part of being a strong person is to forgive irrespective of what the other person thinks, says or does.
This does not mean you should forget or accept behavior that is toxic to your happiness.
Forgiveness frees you from the pain, anger, resentment, hate and shackles of the past and those who are no longer a part of your life.
5. Avoid fantasizing
I am incredibly guilty of fantasizing. It’s something I have done every day of my life since a kid.
At first, it was dreams and fantasies about being great. Puberty hit and that changed to being great in the eyes of girls. As time has gone on, even with maturity, I still find myself fantasizing but just not in a healthy way.
Fantasizing about redoing the past or getting back with your ex is not productive or healthy because it keeps you chained to the past.
You can’t control how other people behave or the choices they make. In our fantasies, we can. And that is dangerous because it creates expectations.
Which in turn, sets you up for massive disappointment, embarrassment and pain.
They say that it is possible to control the way we feel by controlling our thoughts. I’ve pondered about this for a lot of time and despite resistance, I have trained myself to change my thought process.
Whenever I fantasize and think about the past or someone who is no longer a fixture in my life, I verbally say ‘Scratch that’ as a way of removing it from my mind.
This little trick breaks my train of thought and allows my mind to reset.
It has almost become second nature to me now and is a tool I use during bad days when my mind is racing and is launching self-defeating thoughts at me.
Scratch that! Thanks to Ed Mylett for this neat little trick.
6. Meet new people
If there’s one thing I learned after going through lockdown, it’s that the value of social interaction is vastly underrated.
It reminds me of a time when I isolated myself from people and just allowed myself to miss someone who had left. That goes down in my top 5 worst phases of my life. I was grossly unhappy and lost my passion for life.
Thankfully, I had loved ones who intervened and coached me back out into society again.
And it was the best thing I could do at the time because it reminded me of how much life has to offer.
I went on to meet a ton of amazing new people and overcame the pain of losing someone I loved.
Meeting new people taught me to be more compassionate, empathetic and mature in my way of thinking.
I started to understand myself on a deeper level and that has translated in more than one area of my life.
After you have spent time alone, embrace life again. Meet new people, go out on some casual dates and reconnect with people who make you feel happy and understood.
They will provide you with a great sense of comfort when you find yourself falling into a pit of sadness or depression.
More tips to help you let go of someone
For the most part, the advice above can help you navigate through the 5 stages of grief as well as add balance to your life.
However, I want to share some miscellaneous tips on how to let go of someone that is practical and easy to do.
- Go to new places.
- Avoid listening to specific songs that remind you of that person or phase.
- Rekindle your love for hobbies and passion projects.
- Focus on your career to build some confidence.
- Read books on self-development that provide you with a change in perspective.
- Test yourself with hard challenges regularly to callus your mind (courtesy of David Goggins – Can’t hurt me).
- Draw up a list of reasons why that relationship or person was not perfect. Also, draw up a list of traits you want in a new partner.
Like most things in life, consistency is the recipe for success. Try all of these tips for a consistent amount of time and I’m more than certain that you will let go of someone you lost.
It may not be easy at first but nothing good in life comes easily.
If I could pull myself out of such a terrible situation, I’m more than certain you can.
Hang in there and let time work it’s magic. When things feel too overwhelming, take a step back and surround yourself with positive people who remind you of all the good things in life.
This phase will pass and you will rediscover happiness again.
That’s my personal guarantee to you!
With that being said, I hope you enjoyed this article on how to let go of someone and found some practical advice relevant to your situation. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.