What You Need To Understand About Holding On And Letting Go

Photo: Korawat photo shoot / shutterstock
woman letting go of the hand she was holding onto

By Samantha Walisundara

“One of the hardest lessons in life is letting go. Whether it’s guilt, anger, love, loss or betrayal. Change is never easy. We fight to hold on and we fight to let go.”

Matters of the heart always seem to be so complicated. But are these matters inherently complicated, or do we simply make them out to be that way?

Sometimes the hardest truth to accept is that we deserve better. That one bad experience doesn’t define who we are.

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We’ve all promised ourselves that there wouldn’t be a next time, that we’ll find the strength to walk away from that toxic relationship, that we won’t let ourselves fall for the wrong person ever again. And just as quickly as those promises are made, we find ourselves breaking them in a flash.

We convince ourselves that he is different from the others. That we’ve finally met the nice guy we’ve always wanted. The one we’ve always imagined ending up with. That one.

You find yourself lingering on his words, seeing them from different perspectives. Reading into his every gesture and facial expression. And like a song stuck on repeat, you keep replaying the moments, the conversations, and the smiles you share.

Thinking back, you remember the first time you met him. His eyes were blue, but not the ordinary type of blue. Not the blue of the sky, but blue like the ocean. Crystal clear blue, shimmering, crashing, and churning.

Looking into his eyes, you could almost hear the waves crashing on the shore, the foam spraying everywhere. His eyes were the intense blue of the sky in the evenings, right before the sun set, painting the sky with flecks of bright colors.

His eyes reminding you of a warm cashmere sweater. Soft, comfortable, familiar. His eyes were that kind of blue. The captivating eyes were paired with a boyish grin that framed a strong and sharp jawline. And muscular arms that enveloped you in a hug like no other.

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Anxiety sets in as you wonder if he’ll text you back, or if you should text him. You spend hours wondering if you’ll run into him as your mind draws up different scenarios. You become restless but force yourself to suppress your anxiety and fake a smile, despite the feeling that your insides are tearing.

And it is here that the problem lies. We are so afraid of embarrassing ourselves that we end up lying to those around us. But worst, we end up lying to ourselves.

We fail to realize that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being honest about our feelings. That it is our honesty and genuine heart that make us so incredibly special.

So why is it that we are told to hide how we feel? To play games and try to be something we are not?

When you first fall for someone, you are most times unaware of the liking that is secretly seeping into your mind. Taking over your thoughts and making you grin like a fool. And slowly these feelings become stronger, each moment your mind wanders back to them, to your last conversation, to the last way they looked at you, to your last intimate moment.

Despite having so much to do, you can’t help but feel content just daydreaming and reminiscing. We try to dress a little nicer, in hopes of running into them. Stand a little taller, hoping they’ll notice you. We giggle more and try to do all the things that we read about to let the guy know we are interested.

We mold ourselves into what we think they want, many times forgetting that a guy should fall for all of us, not just parts of us.

And one day you realize that you have been played. He played the game so perfectly that you didn’t realize, by letting yourself drown in his illusion you became too selfless, sacrificing your self worth, just to gain his affection.

Like an orchestra, your heart aches quietly, and the violins begin to play louder as you sink into sadness, and when it rises to crescendo, anguish shouts from you chest.

And so you do what you’ve always been taught to do. You pick yourself up and let go, because there is nothing really left to keep you involved anymore.

Slowly the liking slips away, just like a setting sun, bit by bit. When you wake up in the mornings, they aren’t your first thought. Days turn into weeks, and weeks into months, months into years, and everything seems okay again.

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You learn to live on your own terms again, making the same promises as before, but this time with more determination and will. Deep down you’ve always known you deserve better.

Every relationship teaches us something, and this one is just like the others. And in the relationships to come, you will remember these lessons. And to abide by these lessons.

Despite the relationship, we should always be true to ourselves. Always mean what you say and be genuine with how you feel. Be proud that you are brave enough to admit the vulnerability that lies in falling for someone.

Life is too short for games, too precious for toxic relationships, and too wonderful to be spent with someone who doesn’t respect or accept you for who you are.

Our deepest fear in life when it comes to relationships is rejection. Exposing ourselves to someone is terrifying. Letting them in close enough to know all the dark places in our life that we hide from the world, is far from easy.

But if we never take that risk of letting someone in, how will we ever know if they’re the one for you?

This doesn’t necessarily mean that we tell everyone we meet every intimate detail of our lives, but it does mean being okay with sometimes wearing your heart on your sleeve. Being okay with putting yourself out there and not taking it to heart if things don’t work out.

Sometimes things just aren’t meant to be. Living life means experiencing. And experiencing is not limited to only the good ones.

Experience heartbreak, loss, happiness, relationships, love, and everything in between. Learn to courageously let go of the branches that are holding you as a prisoner.

Let go of what is, for what could be. And see how much more worthwhile and exhilarating life can be.

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Samantha Walisundara is a writer and contributor to Unwritten. Her work focuses on heartbreak, lifestyle, and family topics.

This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.