How to release and let go with love
Letting go is hard because it means feeling the pain and heartbreak that comes from leaving behind everything you once held precious. But when you let go of everything that prevents your true self from being free and alive, the veil of entanglement slowly lifts before your eyes and you begin to see yourself and the whole world through the eyes of light and love.
While it is painful to see how self-destructive our loved ones are, detachment allows us to enjoy our lives despite another person’s problems and behavior.
Bonding and caring are normal. It’s healthy to become attached to someone we love and care about, but dependent attachment causes us pain and problems in relationships. We become overly clingy – not because we love so much, but because we need so much.
We need someone who is and behaves in a way that makes us feel good. Managing and controlling, reacting and worrying, and obsessing are counterproductive patterns of dependency. We can get too involved. The antidote is to detach and let go.
What is letting go?
Detachment means neutrality. Detachment is a way to loosen the unhealthy emotional glue that still holds us together in a relationship.
What detachment is not
It doesn’t mean withdrawing physically. Nor is it emotional withdrawal, such as being distant, disinterested, emotionally closed, or ignoring someone.
Separating does not mean neglecting family responsibilities or leaving someone. While physical distance or separation can be useful for setting boundaries and centering yourself, it doesn’t mean withdrawing. For example, some people choose not to have contact with someone because the relationship is too painful.
Physical proximity is irrelevant. In fact, some divorced couples are more emotionally attached and responsive to each other than most married couples. One phone call from someone far away can drive us so mad that we think about the conversation for days—or even if there wasn’t one! Detachment is about reorienting ourselves and taking responsibility for ourselves.
The key ingredients of detachment
It’s about letting go of our expectations and entanglements with other people’s problems and issues. We stop reacting to the things they say and do and worrying about things. We take control of our feelings and thoughts and mind our own business.
This does not take away our feelings and worries, but directs them in a healthy way. In practice, this is more compassionate and loving than dependent attachment.
There are four key concepts to letting go:
1. Set appropriate boundaries
2. Accept reality
3. Be in the present, not the past or future
4. Take responsibility for our feelings and needs
Letting go means letting go with love
When they learn to detach, they often turn off their feelings or wall themselves in to avoid becoming dependent. But with perseverance, understanding and compassion, they manage to let go with love.
Gradually we can be compassionate and encourage others instead of changing or controlling them. We have no need to argue or persuade others but are curious about different viewpoints. This shows respect and respects borders and boundaries. Instead of manipulating people to be like us, we risk being authentic.
For example, we can say, “I get sad when I see you depressed.” Instead of trying to change someone’s need for space or quiet, we enjoy our time alone or with someone else. It may sound impossible, but it pays off.
Are you too involved?
When we worry, it is a sign that we are committed to a specific outcome. When we’re frustrated with someone, it’s because we’re attached to them not being who they are and because we accept their weaknesses. When we give unsolicited advice, we cross a line and assume a superior position. We all do this sometimes, but addicts do it excessively.
Instead of two people with separate thoughts and independent feelings, the lines are blurred. Does that apply to you too?
- Do your moods and happiness depend on someone else?
- Do you have strong emotional reactions to the opinions, thoughts, feelings, and judgments of others?
- Do you spend a lot of time worrying and thinking about other people’s problems?
- Do you analyze the motives or feelings of others?
- Do you think about what someone else does, doesn’t do, thinks, or feels?
- Are you neglecting your career, hobbies, activities, or friends because of a relationship?
- Do you skip other activities when someone else disagrees or disapproves?
- Do you make someone happy because you’re afraid of being rejected?
- Do you get anxious when you do things alone?
If we are too involved, we are short-sighted. Others become extensions of us. We try to control their opinions, feelings, and actions to get what we need and feel good about ourselves. We try to manage them so as not to witness their suffering. We try to impress them and please them. We try to persuade them to agree with us or to do what we want. Then we react hurt or angry when they don’t want it. When you’re in a relationship, you learn why breaking up is helpful.
Benefits of Letting Go
Letting go brings us great benefits, not only in a relationship but also for our personal growth, inner peace and all areas of our lives.
- we learn to love you
- We gain peace, freedom and strength
- We gain time for ourselves
- We become more resilient to losses
- We learn independence and personal responsibility
- We encourage that in others
We are responsible for our thoughts, feelings, actions and the consequences of those actions. Other people are responsible for theirs. Cheering someone up every once in a while or giving him or her more attention is not addictive. A good marriage is characterized by the spouses supporting each other when one of them is down, but it is not dependent care and is mutual.
Conversely, when we constantly try to change someone’s mood or solve their problems, we become their caregiver, mistakenly believing that we can control what is causing their pain. We take the responsibility they have, not us.
Sometimes dependent couples unconsciously agree that one spouse has a duty to make the other happy. This is an impossible task and leads to mutual dissatisfaction, anger and resentment. The cheerleader keeps failing and frustrated, and the receiver feels embarrassed and upset. Whatever we try, it will not be right or sufficient.
How to detach
Detachment begins with understanding, but it takes time for the heart to truly accept that we are ultimately powerless over others and that our efforts to change someone are unhelpful and potentially harmful to us, the other person, and the relationship.
Follow these steps to practice detaching:
- Ask yourself whether you live in reality or deny it.
- Check if your expectations of the other person are reasonable.
- Honestly examine your motives. Are they selfish?
- Practice allowing and accepting reality in all areas of your life.
- allow your feelings
- Practice meditation to show more attachment and less reaction.
- Practice compassion for the other person.
- Be authentic. Make “I” statements about your real feelings instead of giving advice.
- Practice the letting go practices in the “14 Letting Go Tips” on my website.
- Attend Al-Anon or CoDA meetings. Read and do the exercises in Codependency for Dummies.
If you answered “yes” to several of the above questions, you should consider learning more about letting go and seeking support. It can be very difficult to resolve on your own.