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Letting Go Is Not Giving up, It’s Taking the First Step to Taking Back Control

Letting Go Is Not Giving up, It’s Taking the First Step to Taking Back Control

Letting go can sometimes feel a lot like giving up. You may feel that you are betraying the part of yourself that believes you can still make things work. But by dragging out the inevitable until it’s tattered and torn, you are only betraying yourself. That’s why you need to love yourself more, put yourself first, cut your losses, and move on.

Forgetting an ex is exactly like kicking an addiction.

Turning your back on something that you still want can be one of the most emotionally exhausting endeavors that you can hope to endure. And although you feel that you’re amidst a groundbreaking existential crisis, what you are experiencing is actually purely chemical. During a breakup, your brain generates dopamine in excess. Dopamine [1] is what causes you to obsess and over-analyze your circumstances. You’re literally addicted to your ex. But like all addictions, this too can be kicked to the curb.

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Regardless of the good times, it’s time to move forward.

I’m sure your ex was great “if you got to know them.” But you’re a better, stronger person without them and soon all of these bad feelings will be a thing of the past.

The Process of Letting Go

As with any loss, there is a grieving process that you need to go through to get all of the negativity out of your system and avoid a relapse somewhere down the line. Most of us are guilty of reaching out to an ex in a moment of weakness. The healing process is difficult and different for everyone. You may experience these emotions in a different sequence, or revisit some of the steps [2]. The important thing is that you are working through it.

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1. Denial

Perhaps you don’t want to believe that it’s really over. You keep checking your phone to see if their name pops up. Maybe tomorrow they’ll change their tune and things will go right back to normal. Although you know that it’s over, you can’t help but entertain scenarios where it somehow works out. Your entire world is turned on its side, completely unbalanced without your “other half.” During this phase you need to refrain from reaching out. Your attempt to fix things could just be adding insult to injury.

2. Anger

It’s finally starting to set in. This is real. It’s really over. You’re starting to overwhelm yourself with bad memories, all of the times that they did you wrong. You start placing blame, resenting them for ruining something beautiful. Or perhaps you’re angry with yourself. You’re struggling with some underlying guilt that maybe you’re the reason that this had to end. Whether or not you feel justified by your animosity, you can’t hang on to that. Whatever they did to you, whatever you did to them, you need to forgive. Forgive them, forgive yourself. We all make mistakes. And if it goes deeper than a simple mistake, where vindictiveness and a lack of respect come into play, all more reason to move on.

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3. Bargaining

This is a bit of a relapse period- you were bound to have one. This is the phase where you try to get your ex back by any means possible. You may make promises to change, threaten their well-being or reputation, or inform them that they are hurting others by their decision not to be with you. You’ll negotiate huge life changes in order to facilitate the failing relationship. Some people even take it a step farther by getting friends and family involved, or even spiritual mediums like visits with psychics or prayer. Perhaps this could save your relationship- but the chances aren’t likely. Just be sure you’re not sacrificing your self worth in an effort to get them back. You always need to love yourself more.

4. Depression

At this point, you’ve probably completely convinced yourself that you’ll never find love again. All feels lost, and you don’t feel like yourself anymore. Depression takes on many different forms, rearing its ugly head when we’re at our most vulnerable. You may find it hard to get out of bed, or a lack of motivation to do anything at all. You feel alone in a crowded room. You experience a loss of appetite, inability to sleep; or just the opposite, you sleep too much. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You’re not pathetic for feeling so low. But you need to pick yourself back up. Use baby steps. Practice some self care. Run yourself a nice bubble bath, create a playlist of all of your favorite songs, grab a batch of your favorite ice cream, put on your favorite chick flick that you can blubber to and just veg out. Give yourself this time to ground yourself so that you can spring up once again, as strong and vibrant as ever.

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5. Acceptance

Phew. We made it! I mean, you made it. You’ve avoided all of the trips and traps of falling back into the motions of your inevitably ending relationship. You’ve crashed, you’ve burned, and made some mistakes. But all is well, and you’re still breathing. And every breath you take is yours. Every step you take can lead you in whichever direction you wish. You’re stronger and wiser now, and have a better on grasp on what you’re willing to accept in a relationship from this point on. Take this time to really get to know yourself, and what you want out of life. Realize that you don’t need anyone to complete you; you are already complete. You will find love again, so don’t worry. Fall back in love with yourself. Your radiance will attract suitable partners who will compliment and balance you.

Reference

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Jenn Beach

Traveling vagabond, writer, & plant-based food enthusiast.

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Last Updated on September 11, 2020

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

No one wants to suffer. As a general rule, people like to avoid hurt and pain as much as possible. As a species, humans want a painless existence so much that scientists make a living trying to create it.

People can now choose “pain-free” labor for babies, and remedies to cure back pain, headaches, body-pains and even mental pains are a dime a dozen. Beyond medicine, we also work hard to experience little pain even when it comes to loss; often times we believe a breakup won’t hurt as much if we are the ones to call it off.

But would a world without pain truly be painless? It’s unlikely. In fact, it would probably be painful exactly for that reason.

If people never experienced hurt, they wouldn’t know what it was. On the surface level, that seems like a blessing, but think for a moment: if we didn’t know pain, how would we know peace? If you don’t know you’ve hurt or been hurt, how would you know that you need to heal? Imagine someone only knowing they have an incurable cancer at the final stage because no obvious symptoms have appeared at early stages.

Without the feeling of pain, people won’t be aware of dangerous situations—what should or shouldn’t do for survival.

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Pain Is Our Guardian

Pain serves to protect human beings from harmful actions. It’s the same reason parents teach babies that fire equals hot, and that hot equals hurt. Should the baby still place its hand in a fire or on a stove, the intense pain remains so memorable, that the child is certain never to repeat that action.

In the same way, pain within human bodies can serve as a warning that something is not right. Because you know what it is to feel “well,” you know what it is to feel poorly.[1]

Along with serving as a teacher of what not to do, pain also teaches you what you are made of in terms of what you can handle as an individual.

While the cliche, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a tired term, it’s used excessively for a reason: it’s true. Pain helps you learn to cope with life’s inevitable difficulties and sadnesses— to develop the grit it takes to push past hardships and carry on.

Whether it’s a shattering pain, like the loss of a loved one or a debilitating accident, pain affects everyone differently. But it still affects everyone. Take a breakup as an example, anyone who has experienced it knows it can hurt to the point of feeling physical. Especially the first breakup. At a young age, it feels like the loss of the only love you’ll ever know. As you grow and learn, you realize you’re more resilient with every ended relationship.

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No Pain, No Happiness

You only know happiness when you have known pain. While the idea of constant happiness sounds nice, there is little chance it would be. Without the comparison to happiness, there’s no reason to be grateful for it. That is to say, without ever knowing sadness or pain, you would have no reason to be grateful for happiness.

In reality, there is always something missing, or something unpleasant, but it is only through those realizations that you know to be grateful when you feel you have it all. Read more about why happiness and pain have to exist together: Chasing Happiness Won’t Make You Happy

In a somewhat counter-intuitive finding, researchers found one of the things that brings about the most happiness is challenge. When people are tested, they experience a greater sense of accomplishment and happiness when they are successful. It is largely for this reason that low-income individuals can often feel happier than those who have a sense of wealth.[2]

This is a great thing to remember the next time you feel you would be happier if you just had a little more cash.

Avoiding Pain Leads to More Suffering

Pain is inevitable, embrace it positively. Anyone who strives to have a painless life is striving for perfectionism; and perfectionism guarantees sadness because nothing will ever be perfect.

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This isn’t a bleak outlook, but rather a truthful one. The messy moments in life tend to create the best memories and gratitude. Pain often serves as a reminder of lessons learned, much like physical scars on the body.

Pain will always be painful, but it’s the hurt feelings that help wiser decisions be made.

Allow Room for the Inevitable

Learning how to tolerate pain, especially the emotional kind, is a valuable lesson.

Accepting and feeling pain makes you human. There is no weakness in that. Weakness only comes when you try to blame your own pain on someone else, expecting the blame to alleviate your hurting. There’s a saying,

“Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die.”

Think back to the last time you were really angry with someone. Maybe you were hurt because you got laid off from a job. You felt angry and that anger caused so much pain that you could feel it in a physical way. Being angry and blaming your ex boss for that pain didn’t affect him or her in any way; you’re the only one who lost sleep over it.

The healthier thing to do in a situation like that is acknowledge your pain and the anger along with it. Accept it and explore it in an introspective way. How can you learn and grow? What is at the root of that pain? Are you truly hurting and angry about being laid off, or is the pain more a correlation to you feeling like you failed?

While uncomfortable, exploring your pain is a way to raise your self-awareness. By understanding more about yourself, you know how to deal with similar situations in the future. You can never expect to be numb to difficult situations, but you will learn to better prepare financially for the loss of a job and be grateful for an income since you now know nothing is promised (no matter how much you work or how deserving you may feel).

Pain Hurts, but Numbness Would Be Worse

Pain does not feel good, but the bad feeling of it will help you learn and grow. It makes the sweet moments in life even sweeter and the gratitude more sincere.

To have a happier and more successful life, you don’t learn from success or accomplishment, but through pain and failures. For it is in those moments that you learn how to do better in the future or at least cope a little more easily.

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You are the strong person you are today because of the hardships this life has presented to you. While you may have felt out of control when those hard times came, the one thing you will always have control over is how you choose to react to things. The next time you hurt or you’re angry or sad, acknowledge it and allow yourself to ruminate in it. Then take a deep breath and start learning from that pain. You’ve got this!

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

[1] University of Calgary: Why is Pain Important?
[2] Greater Good Magazine: The Importance of Pain

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