As we kick off a new year, full of renewed hope and goals, often we focus on what more we need in our life. However, I have realized that just as important in our lives is what we may need to get rid of – or let go of – in order to truly move on.
Letting go after divorce was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. For 22 years, I had a partner, a lover, a best friend, a husband. He was my everything. We were high school sweethearts and started dating when we were 15. We married after college. He supported me during law school. During my breast cancer. I never doubted his love for me and trusted him completely. I loved being married. I loved having a partner to share it all with. I loved falling to sleep in his arms and waking up next to him every morning. All of that was shattered when he left me for my very dear friend and neighbor. He just simply walked out.
But even after he walked out, I didn’t want to let him go. And I admit that there were times during this process when I wasn’t graceful. There were times when I begged and pleaded with him to stay. There were times when I called, texted, emailed and wrote heartfelt letters – all on deaf ears – but I did it anyway. There were times, as crazy as it sounds, when I would have done anything, and I mean anything, to have him stay, even when I knew he didn’t love me and wanted to be with my ex-friend. However, in the end, I realized that you can’t make someone else love you and for my own sake, I had to let go and move on.
What I learned was that letting go is hard.
- Letting go of someone you loved with all of your heart – even when he didn’t love you back. That was hard.
- Letting go of your husband when you didn’t want your marriage to end. That was hard.
- Letting go of the dreams you had for your family. That was hard.
- Letting go of that image you had in your head of what a family was supposed to be. That was hard.
- Letting go of the anger. That was hard.
- Letting go of the sadness and helplessness. That was hard.
- Letting go of the why and how and what could you could have done differently. That was hard.
- Letting go of your own insecurities as a mom. As a wife. That was hard.
- Letting go of the future you had imagined. And recreating and reinventing a new future instead. That was hard.
- Letting go of your past – so that you could reinvent a new future you never imagined. That was hard.
The reality is that life is hard. We all face our own challenges. It’s up to us on whether we learn to let go and learn from our past so that we can recreate and reinvent a life that works for us, on our terms. Goodbyes are never easy, but when people can walk away from you, let them walk. Don’t run after them. Don’t go chasing them. Don’t plead or beg. You can’t make them stay and you most certainly can’t make them love you.
For me, I just had to be willing to let go of the past and open the door to happiness once again. In doing so, I was able to open my heart again and have a second chance at love. I learned that letting go and saying goodbye was truly a gift – so that I could move on.
When did you realize it was time to say goodbye?
- Forgiveness: An Attribute Of The Strong
- Healing From Divorce: One-Liners And Powerful Words
- The Art Of Detachment And “Letting Go”
- On The Courthouse Steps: The Day I Settled With Myself