You cannot force yourself to let go, no matter how much you know you want to.
You cannot force something out of your brain space, no matter how much you don’t want it to be there.
You cannot just simply loosen your grip and relax a little and will yourself to stop thinking entirely about something around which your entire world used to orbit.
This is not how it goes.
You are not going to let go the moment someone tells you to “move on,” the day you realize you have to admit certain defeat, the heart-dropping second it occurs to you that hope is, indeed, futile.
You do not let go by simply willing yourself not to care anymore. This is something that people who have never been really, really hung up on something think. This is something that people who have never been deeply attached to something for a sense of safety and security and love and their future believe.
There is nothing wrong with you because you almost get angry when people tell you to just “let go” so nonchalantly, as though they couldn’t fathom the storms in your head and heart.
How can you become so passive about something you have spent so much of your time, and your life, actively working to maintain and restore?
You start to let go the day you take one step toward building a new life, and then let yourself lay and stare at the ceiling and cry for as many hours as you need.
You start to let go the day you realize that you cannot continue to revolve around a missing gap in your life, and going on as you were before will simply not be an option.
You start to let go the moment you realize that this is the impetus, this is the catalyst, this is that moment the movies are made about and the books are written around and songs are inspired by.
This is the moment you realize that you will never find peace standing in the ruins of what you used to be.
You can only move on if you start building something new.
You let go when you build a new life so immersive and engaging and exciting, you slowly, over time, forget about the past.
When we try to force ourselves to “let go” of something, we grip onto it tighter, and harder, and more passionately than ever before. It’s like if someone tells you to not think of a white elephant; that’s the only thing you’ll be able to focus on.
Our hearts work the same way as our minds in this regard. As long as we are telling ourselves that we must let go, the more deeply we feel attached.
So don’t tell yourself to let go.
Instead, tell yourself that you can cry for as long as you need. That you can fall to pieces and be a mess and let your life collapse and crumble. Tell yourself that you can let your foundation fall through.
What you will realize is that you are still standing.
What you build in the wake and the aftermath of loss will be so profound, so stunning, you will realize that maybe, the loss was part of the plan. Maybe it awakened a part of you that would have remained dormant had you not been pushed the way you were.
If you are certain that you cannot let go of what is hurting you, then don’t.
But take one step today, and then another tomorrow, to rebuild a new life for yourself. Piece by piece, day by day.
Because sooner or later, you’re going to go an hour and realize you didn’t think about them, or it. Then a day, then a week… and then years and swaths of your life drift by and everything you thought would break you becomes a distant memory, something you look back at and smile.
Everything you lose becomes something you are profoundly grateful for. With time, you see that it was not the path. It was what was standing in your way.