Note: This post has gone through multiple edits within the past four weeks. It’s amazing how you can write something in one state of mind and then read it through a completely different perspective. I’m sure it will still sound a bit all over the place but here it is:
A lot has happened in my life so far in 2014. I got to travel to cities I had been wanting to visit for the longest time (HK and Taipei: amazing)… I left a job and started a new one in a different industry… I moved into a new neighborhood with new roommates…. Even with all of these (good) changes, possibilities and responsibilities (even jet lag at one point!) I could not fully embrace and enjoy the transition and newness. Changes usually bring excitement and jitters but instead, I found myself held back and bogged down by the thoughts of this one person. Simply put, I could not get this one guy out of my mind. I was distracted. He consumed my mind for weeks and I had to do something about it for it was dragging me down and for far too long.
What do you do when you love but have to let go?
It is not the question that I’m sure you’re familiar with: “is it better to have loved and lost or never loved at all?” but rather, it’s
What do you do when you love but have to let go?
I mean when you love and/or let yourself be loved…. then you have to let go. willingly. Not because something bad happened, but because you could and really should, because it’s the mature and healthy thing to do.
It’s not everyday that someone/something comes into our lives and we like it immediately, right? That feeling when you are captivated, instantly attracted and even better, connected. When that happens, the feeling is electric-kind of like a defibrillator sending a shock through what was a numb system. The timing of this is always impeccable because it usually happens when you least expect it. Funny how life works, huh? Just when you accept yourself and are completely fine and happy doing your own thing, this person captures your heart and attention, turns your world upside down and makes you question how your life was before he/she/it ever came along. You got what you asked for. You said you were ready for it and he/she/it came. (Just for the sake of simplicity, we’ll call this person/thing E).
For the next few weeks you make E a priority. E becomes the skip in your step. E puts that sparkle in your eye. E becomes your baby. You spend every spare moment with E and E is both the madness and sanity in your world. You look forward to E at the end of a long day. You learn so much from each other and grow a lot together. Then… the comfort and safe haven that made you both inseparable and untouchable is faced with a reality. The reality of distance and/or time.
You know full well that you need to go your separate ways. To hold onto memories of the past… to cling onto something familiar and to look behind not ahead of you… will only start to drain you and have you running in circles. What used to energize and carry you will only tire and burden you. E no longer fits into your life, yet you insist on grasping onto it because it makes you feel safe.
After a while and in due time, you outgrow E. It is time for you to let go.
So when something like E enters your life, do you let yourself love and be loved although it will end? If given the opportunity do you let yourself fall and feel deeply? Do you choose to stay the same and be miserable or let go, move on, be free and start again?
You’d be surprised how many of us have that power everyday and choose not to use it. We choose to stay stuck. We choose to stay with the familiar. Sometimes we can’t help it but most of the time we can and it’s in times like these that we must do the harder- but more mature and healthy-thing.
It will hurt. It will suck. It will be hard. You will miss and yearn for E. It will feel like you lost a little bit of yourself.
So why do people come into our lives only to leave? Why do people who we get along with and care for, leave and go- not just away but to the opposite side of the world? Why do we find things we love so much only for it to not work out? Why are things short but sweet? Why do we have to love and eventually let go?
My theory: This happens not to tease us or test us (or maybe it does) but really to show us that it exists.
There is hope. It is real. It happened once it can happen again. There are things that can make you feel and think despite how uninspired or numb you might have been.
It is out there.
There is something to look forward to.
Now that it has happened it has come, faded and gone- you understand what it feels like to have an instant connection. How it feels to really feel strongly about something. You now know how to identify what it is you are looking for. You know exactly what you do and don’t like. You’ll know when what you have in front of you is good or bad. You’ll chuckle when you see how what you’ve been working towards falls right into your lap. You won’t want to settle for less. Your standards will be higher than ever before, even if your expectations stay low. You’ll know exactly what you want and what you’re looking for.
You’ll be ready for next time.
This only happens after you go through a period of regret, hurt and loss. You might deem that everything was a waste of time but if you’re smart… and you’re strong (and stay strong)… then you’ll realize it is better to be happy that it happened and that it took exactly that length of time. It doesn’t matter if it was short. The connection was real. The feelings were powerful. The memories were sweet.
In business and life, you’ll love and let go of a lot of things. It might be a first draft/prototype/project. First experience. First attempt. First business. First relationship. Whatever it is, you’ll spend a lot of time on and with it. You’ll start it, build it, love it, learn from it and then…. you’ll have to let go. Don’t be afraid to fall as long as you pick yourself up. If you need to stay down a bit then fine. As long as you get up eventually. Giving up and moving on are very different things. Moving on is a part of growth. In fact, there is strength in letting go, not holding on. Letting go is usually a statement of personal power, not defeat. There is so much out there for you to explore, build and discover. All it takes it for you to make the decision to free yourself, your schedule and mind.
So continue to love. Be loved. Be excited and inspired and feel. Let go when you have to. Repeat.
Such is the process of life. A process of creation. A process of growth.
(You’ll thank me later).
There is no remedy for love but to love more.– David Henry Thoreau