Life is a balance of holding on and letting go. We strive to make the right choices, but how do we know when it is truly time to let go of a relationship and move on? Knowing when to let go is key to ensuring we don’t stay in relationships or situations that no longer serve us.
I have a friend who is in a negative situation, and he’s hanging on for dear life because he wants to be brave and tough it out. “Giving up is not an option,” he told me, which so many of us believe. But when holding onto something hurts our health and potential to be happy, we have to look closely at why we’re choosing to stay.
[Read: “Why People Stay in Bad Relationships.”]
Romantic relationships, jobs, and even places we live carry no lifetime guarantee. But sometimes we hold onto things that aren’t working out of fear we won’t find something better. Perhaps our greatest fear is the unknown, which is why so many of us grasp, hold onto, and manipulate our situations, trying to control our surroundings. Holding onto a relationship that has expired can hurt each person involved because the outcome is always the same: more pain, immense frustration, and enormous guilt and blame.
Of course, leaving a loved one, job, or living situation can be tough. When it comes time to finally let go, we’re left with wide-open uncertainty—and though it may not seem like it at the outset, this can be a gift.
To work through feelings of uncertainty, mental health experts suggest focusing on self-empowering activities like journaling, nature walks, and practicing mindfulness. One tool that has helped me stay sane has been repeating specific words or affirmations that can be used to aid in meditation aloud every day. Here are some go-to selections from my book Find Your Happy Daily Mantras. After you say each affirmation, repeat the words that follow for comfort.
- Setbacks do not define me; they nudge me into new awareness. I am peaceful. I am not attached to the outcome or situation in my life. I feel connected to my purpose and see how everything works together. The setbacks in my life are actually opportunities for me to realign with my values and true worth. I am always being nudged into a new awareness of self. I am connected to my life, and I focus forward with love.
- I listen to my feelings. I release the pain that I am holding in my heart. I let go of the anger, judgment, and fear. My internal angst is a reflection of unhealed issues that need more love. As I seek inward to take comfort in my pain, I feel what I need to as I move through my emotional journey. I feel what needs to come up and be present with what is. As I feel, I heal.
- I don’t overthink my situation. I give myself a mental makeover by dropping from my head to my heart. I am connected to my source energy, which is love and light. I choose to feel my answer and proceed with clarity. There is nothing to analyze or do but to feel my answer. My heart will lead me to clarity, and I trust its wisdom.
- I am gentle with myself in transition. I am kind and compassionate with myself through all phases of my life. When I am in transition, I pay extra attention to my needs, and I serve myself by listening to my inner voice. When I fall into fear, I return back to my own true self, which will show me the next right action to take. Transitions can be peaceful experiences, as I know I am growing and becoming more of who I am supposed to be.
- I take it one day at a time. I let go of what I can’t change and accept what is. My heart will guide the way to happiness and health.
- I let go of what I can’t change. I release control of things I cannot accept. Instead of trying to force situations to go a certain way, I trust the universe is working on my behalf. I see that everything in life has its own time and place, and I allow all to be as it is. I let go.
- Gratitude is the life force of everything. I am thankful for all I am and all I have. My life is a perfect reflection of all I desire, and things I want flow to me naturally. My life is in perfect balance as I turn my attention to what I appreciate most.
Where are you on the relationship path? For further exploration, read “When Friends Break Up.”