Letting go. What does that really mean? Does it mean that you lose something? Or gain something? Perhaps a little bit of both. There are probably many things (and people) in your life you should probably let go. It could be difficult people, your past, your stagnant job, your adult children, or your unrealized expectations for your life. But how do you know when – or if – the time is right? Here are eight things to remember when you think you might need to let go:

1. A person’s words and actions don’t match

So you thought you met the perfect romantic partner or the perfect friend. He or she might have “appeared” to be perfect for quite some time. But then somewhere along the way, you noticed his or her “perfect” facade was crumbling. He or she says one thing, but does something else. You can’t count on him or her. He or she exhausts and frustrates you. And he or she eventually becomes an “Energy Vampire” who sucks the life out of you. If this has happened to you with any people in your life, then it might be time to let them go.

2. Someone always expects you to be someone you are not

Maybe your friend always wants you to go out and party with him or her, but you are more of a homebody. And if you are always doing what they want you to do, then you are repressing who you really are. Or maybe the guy you are dating expects you to be a stay-at-home mom if you get married, but you are more of a career woman. If you try to become something just because other people want you to live up to their expectations, then you won’t be happy. Stay true to yourself. Have conversations with them about it, but if you can’t come to a mutually satisfying agreement, then it could be time to let go.

3. You always feel like a victim

People who have a “victim-mentality” think life happens to them and they don’t have any personal power to change things. This could not be farther from the truth. There is always something you can do to make your life better – you just have to believe it. Even if it’s changing your viewpoint about the situation, that will change how you feel. But if you are in a situation or a relationship in which you are always feeling like a victim, then you are not in a supportive environment. And it might be time to let go.

4. You are stuck too firmly in your comfort zone

Not everyone is an adrenaline-junkie. In fact, many people prefer to stay safe and sound in their comfort zone. It’s familiar, easy and doesn’t take much effort. But staying in your comfort zone leads to stagnation. Just like a pond that doesn’t move and grows algae because of it, so does your life. So if you see metaphorical algae growing in your life, then it might be time to move on. There is no growth in stagnation.

5. You constantly judge yourself or others for what happened in the past

You might be in a relationship or a situation in which one or more people wronged the other. If you keep holding on to resentment because of it, you are staying in a toxic environment. First, try to remove the resentment and judgement. But if you can’t seem to find a way to do that, then maybe it’s best to remove yourself from the situation altogether.

6. You are not growing and changing for the better

This is similar to #4 and #5, but slightly different. If you pair up your comfort zone (habit) with a toxic situation, then you are not growing and changing for the better. The only thing worse than being stagnant is moving backwards and becoming a worse person. If you have turned into a person even you don’t like, then get out. Find a relationship or situation that brings out the best in you… not the worst in you.

7. You don’t like any current situation

There are many people who are literally addicted to their pain. It’s almost like it has become their identity and they would be lost without it. But that is no way to live. Life is meant to be happy. So if you’re not enjoying your current situation, then it is alright to let go! It’s okay to leave. Really, it is. You don’t have to stay for any reason (unless you are a parent, because then you need to stay for your child). But most other scenarios in life are optional.

8. You are carrying around resentment

Carrying around resentment is like drinking poison hoping the other person will die. In other words, we think that not forgiving someone is going to “teach them a lesson.” So people hang on to their anger in hopes that other people will apologize and change their ways. But many times, the person who wronged you doesn’t even know you’re carrying around resentment. Or if they do, they may not care. So the only person you are really hurting is yourself. So it’s time to let go not only of the resentment, but the person or situation as well.

Letting go isn’t easy, but if you want to be happy, sometimes it’s necessary. So do yourself a favor – love yourself enough to let go. You will be better because of it.

Love this article? Share it with your friends on Facebook