We know in our heart when it is time to let go of a relationship whether a friend, relation or colleague. When things don’t work out it is time to let go yet most of us find it hard to walk away and move on.
There is always a sense of loss and grief which is perhaps why we tend to hang on too long in some instances. It sounds self-serving to say that once either party stops bringing something of value to the relationship it is an indicator that common ground may no longer exist and therefore time to let go.
Too many times in the past I have been reluctant to let go of a relationship that was emotionally draining or damaging. These days it is easier to let go of something that is no longer ‘working’. I think there is a relief in being free of a burden of obligation or expectation. One of the greatest benefits of letting go is that one is no longer emotionally attached and consequently less impacted by the other person’s behaviours and gossip.
It is a lesson I wish I’d taken hold of earlier in my life but I am grateful that I have learned to let go of certain people in my life whether or not they have let go of me. In a particularly rough time of life I read a book about people who are by default a part of your life therefore you had no choice but to spend time with them. The author called such folk ‘irregular people’. The ones with whom there is tension regardless of how much effort goes into trying to make the relationship work. The ones where you leave feeling like things are going well, only to discover from another family member that things aren’t what you thought they were. It’s time to let go.
Today I am grateful for the serendipity of finding that book at that time. I am also grateful to be able to let go of relationships to which I can add little or from which little is received. As we grow it becomes easier to have fewer and more meaningful relationships. Letting go certainly makes the time spent with those who enrich our lives – and to whom we can bring value – very special.
I am also grateful that once I have let go, resolve steps up to stop me being drawn back into the cycle. The best part of letting go is the becoming aware of an unhealthy bond and the impact it is having on me. How often do we tenaciously hang in there because we feel obliged to, or we fear hurting the other person’s feelings. I know I have hung on hoping things would change; telling myself if I was just this, or did that, or simply agreed with everything that was said, and didn’t get upset when gossip made its way back to me. Sometimes I have stayed longer than was healthy because I feared the consequences or the loneliness I might experience.
So many fears, so much self-doubt.