Is there anything harder to do than letting go of a past love?
Do the memories of the happiness you felt in that relationship keep you from moving on with your life and being happy?
If your answer is yes, then you are like many people in the world, people who are crippled by their broken heart and unable to get past it.
I believe that letting go of a past love is crucial to your happiness here and now as well as your chances of being happy in the future.
#1 – Your sadness is holding you back.
One thing about sadness and depression is that it holds you back from living fully.
Do you find that you would rather stay home, feeling sad, waiting hopefully to hear from your person? Do your friends find you tiresome to be with because all you can do is talk about your ex and so they no longer invite you out? Do you find, if you are out, that you have a hard time having fun because you are pre-occupied by thoughts of your ex.
It is very hard to be happy, to live your life fully, if you are stuck in the past. Thoughts of what were and might have been keep you from looking at the life you are living right now, and to appreciate things, small and big, that are wonderful.
And, if you don’t notice the world around you, if you don’t engage in it fully, you can never find the happiness you seek.
#2 – That baggage is really heavy.
One of the most important reasons that letting go of a past love is crucial to your happiness is because of the weight of the baggage from that past love.
I have a client who is was in a 10 year relationship with someone who treated her horribly. He was an alcoholic who lied to her and cheated on her repeatedly. She hung on for 10 years, hoping it would all work out. But, in the end, she couldn’t hold on any longer. She had to leave him before she lost herself completely.
Unfortunately, the relationship had caused her a significant amount of damage. She no longer trusted anyone, she was very sensitive to other’s drinking, she felt easily abandoned and she didn’t feel worthy of love. She seemed like a functioning person in the world but she wasn’t.
So, when she got involved with a new guy she brought all of the baggage that she had from her previous relationship into her new one. She didn’t trust him at all, counted his drinks, was very sensitive to his absences and obsessed about how he could possibly love her.
We worked hard on identifying those triggers for her, to recognize that she was projecting the behaviors of the old guy onto the new one which was making her miserable and threatening to destroy her new relationship.
Only once she accepted and worked through the issues that were her baggage was she able to accept her new guy as he was and put her ex in the rearview mirror.
#3 – You will never find someone else.
Do you want to find someone to love who will love you completely? Are you struggling to find that person in spite of how much you would like to?
Unfortunately, it will be literally impossible to find someone new if you are obsessing about your ex. If you are spending all of your time staying home depressed or, when you are out, not picking up your head and seeing what is out there, then even if someone does come along you might not see them.
It is important that you put your energy out there as a single, available person in the world, not someone who is mired in misery because of a past break up.
I remember when I got together with my guy. I literally had my head in my hands on a bar, talking to a good friend. I was devastated at yet another break-up with my ex. The pattern was killing me. My friend reminded me of a friend of his who I had met and remarked upon a few months back and told me that this guy was attending his dance party that weekend. My head shot up out of my hands and I saw what could be my future instead of my past. I went to that dance party and the rest is history.
#4 – Extreme emotions are bad for you.
One thing I know about letting go of a past love is that it’s fraught with big emotions.
You feel angry, sadness, despair, hopelessness, self-loathing and insecurity. Those feelings can all coexist or come and go separately from each other. And those emotions can suck the life out of you.
Feeling extreme emotions can be very debilitating. The long term damage caused to your body, and mind, by anger and sadness are quite profound.
Many people don’t realize that your muscles absorb your emotions, especially if you are stuffing them down. This can lead to physical problems, such as a sore back or a frozen shoulder or worse. Your mind can get exhausted by the constant barrage of feelings and you could have a hard time concentrating. The thoughts in your head could keep you from sleeping, which isn’t good for anyone.
If your body, and mind, are in pain, consider the fact that letting go of a past love is the best thing that you can do for both your mental and physical health.
#5 – You can keep your friends.
When we are going through a break up, our friends are a valuable resource. They love us unconditionally and want to support us through our pain. They are willing to listen, to assure us that our exes are horrible people and remind us how amazing we are. Getting through break ups without friends is very difficult.
Unfortunately, sometimes there is a statute of limitations that our friends put on their willingness to support us through a break up. The threshold can change but sooner or later our friends might tell us to get over it and let it go, that it’s time to move on and live our lives.
And, when we don’t or can’t do that, they get sick of us and choose not to spend time with us. Not having your friends is a horrible thing in any situation and especially during a time we are feeling vulnerable from a break up.
So, an excellent reason that letting go of a past love is crucial is that you will keep your friendships intact. After all, your people were with you before your ex and will be with you long after. How lucky are you?