How to Let Go of Emotional Attachments When “It’s Over!”
“You can’t possibly embrace that new relationship, that new companion, that new career, that new friendship, or that new life you want, while you’re still holding on to the baggage of the last one. Let go… and allow yourself to embrace what is waiting for you right at your feet.” ~ Steve Maraboli
Out of the blue, Lisa’s significant other announced, “I’m leaving you.” She was thunderstruck. She didn’t see it coming and she felt totally shattered. What was she going to do? How could she carry on? She’d made this man her life for the past six years, and now he says, “It’s over!” How can this be happening to her?
This scenario occurs all too often today. Perhaps you yourself have lived through a similar situation. If so, I am so very sorry for your loss. Please accept that you will get through this.
It’s natural to form emotional attachments to people and things, because they help us feel connected. That vase your grandmother gave you is priceless, because it reminds you of her. Your job is important because it gives you a sense of belonging and purpose. You love your sporty red convertible because it reminds you that you’re a success. You’re proud of your handsome partner, because he makes you feel needed and loved.
When the vase breaks, the job ends, the car dies, or your romantic partner calls it quits, you feel so much shock and pain! Your strong emotional attachments cause you to go through stages of mourning — including denial, anger, blame, and depression. In the case of the romantic partner, it can be worse, because he’s choosing to leave. It’s a personal rejection that cuts deeply.
The final stage of mourning that some people never achieve is acceptance. Because they never find the answers to questions like, “Why did it happen? What’s wrong with me?” they get stuck in not knowing, not understanding. And they just can’t move on.
How do you carry on as if you’re life isn’t shattered? How do you get out of bed and get through another day? While it takes time, there are some things that can make this transition less painful. I’d like to share with you today five ways to process emotional attachments that are ending…
It happens to everyone. You may never find the answers you’re seeking. If you can find closure from believing, “There’s a higher purpose for everything” or “It was meant to be”, then do so. Be mindful that you are not alone and that others have gone through the same thing, kept moving forward, and have rebuilt their lives. If they can do it, so can you!
You have the right to feel what you feel. No one can tell you what you feel and when you should feel it. Be compassionate with yourself and don’t try to suppress your feelings. Let them out! Some people find that writing a letter (but not sending it) to the party who has left is very therapeutic. Journaling or talking with a trusted friend can also help.
Give yourself and the other person space. We live in a world that wants instant results. But this is the time for patience! Forcing a confrontation will often result in more harm than good. Being needy or demanding can push a person further away. If you feel you need to reach out to the one who has left, do so in a calm and dignified manner. If they refuse to respond, that’s on them, not you. Give it some time, get on with your life, and try again later, if you so desire.
Don’t let it consume you. As much as you might hate to hear it, life does go on and you’ve got to get on with your life. Keeping busy will get your mind off of the situation and allow your emotions time to heal.
Avoid being a victim and internalizing it. Just because one person chooses to leave, doesn’t make you an unlovable person. Perhaps there were things you could have done better. Now you have time to become that better version of yourself.
Since strong emotional attachments can lead to so much pain, isn’t it better to close down and not let anyone get close to you ever again?
Not at all! We need intimate friendships, platonic and romantic, to survive and thrive. It may take time to trust again, and you may need some professional help in overcoming self-doubt, but you are worthy of love. You don’t have to harden yourself to survive. You don’t have to let it shake your sense of self-worth. As you practice mindful awareness, acceptance and resilience, you’ll know what you can change and what you can’t. And you’ll be okay with that.
It’s easy to carry emotional attachments to people and things that are no longer useful. I urge you to subscribe to the Neways News, so you regularly receive encouragement and self-leadership training that will help you navigate to the live you’ve always wanted.