The hardest part of loving is letting go. It is hard, because love makes us want to hold on. Well actually, it is not the love that makes us hold on, it is the fear of losing it.
When we love someone, or something, that presence in our lives makes us happy. We never want it to go away. However, nothing is permanent, so eventually we must deal with the changes that time brings.
As parents, we wish our children would not grow up so fast. For the most part, this is because when they are little, they are so cute and adorable. Another, perhaps more unsettling reason is that when they grow up, we get older! Eventually they will leave us, and an important part of life will be behind us.
Eventually they may be physically more separate, but their love can still be with us. We have to let them go, and we cannot demand to be a part of their lives. If it happens, its wonderful, but the love we hold for them should not depend on how much they do for us, or how much time they spend with us.
We let go of the child, but not the love. Sometimes, in friendships and relationships, the love does go away. Things change, and the feelings are not the same. This is when letting go gets really difficult.
If you are the one who still wants the relationship, you feel the pain of rejection and abandonment. If you are the one who needs to let it go, then you may carry the burden of responsibility for the pain of the other.
The irony is that if we truly love another human being, we must release him or her when it is time for them to go. We must do this whether they are moving on within this world, or beyond it. We really have little control over the itinerary of another soul’s journey.
We may promise to love forever, or never to leave, but life sometimes has a way of changing our plans. We would be so much better off if we assumed that children, friends or partners will not always be with us. We would probably value them more, be more individually self-sufficient and be less devastated when the happily- ever- after fantasy ends.
In a sense we are like flowers in a garden: we are born, we blossom, and ultimately die, all in our own time. We share a journey in space and time. We can neither stand still, nor hold another still for more than a fleeting moment.
That is why we must celebrate the moments, both painful and joyful. The only way to avoid pain is not to feel. But that would be to never know love. When we let go, we are empty handed, but an empty hand is one ready to receive. And so it goes.
Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.
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When Relationships Break Down
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Trust and Fidelity
Codependency and Projection