Love is a tricky thing if we find ourselves standing on the giving, but not receiving side of it. Sometimes it feels as though someone is literally cutting us into pieces when we are stuck loving someone who has moved on. This emotion can truly consume a person. Every thought, every action or inaction, and every moment is taking up precious life as we try to hold on to those who have walked away. Think of it like a giant boulder that is tied to your leg. You cannot move forward easily as you drag that boulder behind you. If you do happen to get an inch ahead that boulder is still tied to you. It becomes a giant conversation piece when you wish that it would become invisible. Cutting the ties to that boulder is the only way that it will ever become invisible. It seems like such a simple thing, but anyone who has ever had that boulder tied to them knows the real struggle of letting go. It is that struggle that makes the final release feel so freeing, so life-affirming, and it is what makes us stronger.
If we do not learn to let go then we are asking for trouble. Holding on to someone that has let us go is unhealthy. This behavior is not only mentally unhealthy but can be physically unhealthy as well. Stress is the silent poison that sneaks up on even the strongest of persons and breaks them down into a sick pile of goo. Holding on to someone that has let us go puts our bodies in a constant state of stress, which leaves us vulnerable to every creepy, crawling germ out there.
There are many different psychological theories on why we are all resistant to change and this also means resistant to letting go. One theory that is brought up in Behavioral Psychology is the resistance to extinction. This simply means that even though a person that we love is no longer in the picture we still refuse to give up the behavior of loving them. Something is still hanging on in us that reinforces that type of behavior. This reinforcement could come from old photographs or even old text messages that we know we should delete but for the purpose of holding on to the one we love, we keep them. Keeping this type of reinforcement hinders a person’s ability to move forward in life.
Fear of letting go and moving forward is another problem that many of us encounter even if we are not aware of it. We are creatures of comfort that comes from a habit that has been built over time, and undoing that habit is frightening as it takes us out of our comfort zone. In reality that zone is not that comforting and in fact it can be very painful. Facing reality is just one step to letting go and healing. There are a few tried and true methods that help to get over the fear barrier and face reality. Therapy is one of those methods that will work for facing any obstacle that we may encounter in life. In therapy we get to talk to a person about our problems confidentially and this person even has unbiased help to offer us. Writing things down is another common practice that people use to help them break through barriers. Writing down goals that do not include self-delusions of getting the other person back or changing certain things about us for that other person are helpful. Of course replacing one not so comfortable habit with a healthier habit is also helpful in moving on in life. Our bodies would love us if we suddenly dropped down to do sit-ups each time that other person entered our heads.
The old saying that life is short is undeniably true. We can either spend our lives being miserable, holding on to poisonous ideas and notions, or make this life one that has been lived to the fullest. Taking the time to work through the barriers that keep us tied to someone who has turned away from us is one step in creating a life that has been well lived. Making goals, short term and long, can give us direction. Replacing the old habit of loving someone who does not return the emotion with a habit that is beneficial to our health and our lives is an excellent way to recover from the heartbreak. Be strong, be vigilant, and one day you will wake up and you will be happy. You will find a calming peace within yourself, the moment that you do let go. Your time and life will be your very own to do absolutely anything that you put your minds to, once you leave the poisonous thoughts that consume behind.
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