The final step in letting go and moving on is the most difficult.
I was stuck in the step for much too long, reading Vishnu’s blog and trying to do the letting go and moving on work.
Everything I read made sense from day one. I knew what I should be doing but I too was stuck in the last stage of letting go. Time made little difference either for moving on.
If you asked me what got me to finally move, I just got so sick of being stuck and things not changing in my life. I realized he hurt me then, but I was the one keeping myself stuck in it. He had moved on and I hadn’t. I came to understand that I was the only person who could change things.
I realized that I was so busy being stuck in the past and missing it, I hadn’t acknowledged that I actually didn’t want to be with him in the present, or the future. That was a big light bulb moment. I was ruminating and reminiscing in the past that I enjoyed but I fully came to accept that I didn’t want him now or in the future! That was what helped me finally in the letting go and moving on.
These are the final steps that helped me end this letting go and moving on journey.
The final step to letting go and moving on
Honestly, it had a lot to do with self-love.
I started with self-love because it felt hugely uncomfortable and that meant it needed addressing.
Because I’d read every self-help book going and nothing had shifted and I realized that while it was all great advice the real truth for me, and all of us, lies within, because we are all unique and we all know our own truth, we just have to listen to it.
Once I started loving and investing in myself, I knew that I deserved better. Better than someone who left me and also better than the life I was leading, where I was stuck and miserable and going nowhere. I got sick of living in that place.
I realized he hurt me at the time, but I was hurting myself now and I had a choice and only I had the power to make that stop.
So, I invested the love I had for him and our relationship, in myself.
I started to stop being horrible to myself and to treat myself as my own best friend and constantly asked myself if my thoughts and wallowing were helpful to me and the answer was always no.
I realized that I hated the present as I was stuck in the past. I realized to change my present I had to start looking forwards instead of back at the past. I was stuck in old habits so I simply forced myself to stop whenever my head went back to the past.
I made my head visualize a ‘best’ future, instead of always going back to the past.
I got an app for positive affirmation reminders.
I wrote a closure letter with everything I wanted to say to him and burnt it and I also wrote about our relationship from a different perspective and without the rose-tinted glasses on.
I had been so stuck feeling I was lacking without him, that I didn’t see any of the reasons I had to be grateful. There was a lot and I made a conscious effort to notice and acknowledge them repeatedly.
I spent so long thinking that a life without him was a loss, my loss, but gratitude showed me a new way of thinking.
What if it was actually his loss and not mine? He’d lost someone loyal, committed and he’d lost me, the person I was beginning to recognize as worthy, from all that self-loving I’d begun.
The reality was I’d lost a man who walked away, who (wrongly) accused me of cheating, who disappeared and walked out on our long term relationship with barely a backward glance. That’s not a loss, that’s again, a lucky escape and the universe guiding me towards something better.
Another light-bulb moment, this wasn’t something to be sad about, it was something else to be grateful for and a huge factor in me finally letting go and moving on.
In tandem with the beginnings of feeling better about myself, I genuinely had no time for being stuck and miserable anymore. I had no desire to be with a man who left me and hurt me and feeling this meant it, finally, didn’t hurt so badly anymore.
I now want more for myself.
4. Finding your own happiness
I realized I hurt so very badly over our break up because I’d put all my happiness in his pocket.
Ultimately, our happiness has to be in our own pocket (a partner is lovely, but it’s an added bonus) and the only way we can achieve that is through self-love like I mentioned above.
When you cultivate self-love, it then breeds self-respect and boundaries and then you realize that you no longer want a person who caused you pain and turned their back on you and walked away.
Acknowledge that if you had to write a list of attributes you’d like, and you truly deserve, in a partner, your ex wouldn’t even make it to a date, let alone putting your life on hold for and being constantly miserable over.
All these things make you finally realize that you just have a small scar and not an open wound anymore 🙂
After cultivating self-love, gratitude, seeing the future, and finding my own happiness, I was able to let go. I’m here to tell you that letting go and moving on is possible and I say that as someone who was stuck for a long time and never believed it was actually possible for her.
My message to everyone reading is simply: take all the advice you can get from others (definitely read Vishnu’s blog) and take comfort in that you’re not alone, or weak, for how you feel, but also look within and trust that you already have all the answers you need.
Most importantly, even though it’s the last thing you feel like doing when your heart is broken, love and invest in yourself, and one day it will stop feeling ridiculous and become the reason you finally let go.
Katie is a long-time UK reader who has let go and moved on with her life. She is still single, but finally open to the possibility (but not necessity) of finding love again. She is currently thriving in a new career, which never would have been possible without either the heartbreak or taking that final step in letting go and moving on.
These are wonderful qualities in life and terrible qualities in love!
Normal people treat relationships like they treat books and movies. Some are good and some are going to be so terrible that you walk out half way or stop reading.
All of here reading, including yours truly, treat relationships like the sword we are going to die on.
We are going to go down for love.
We are going to be prisoners of war in this battle.
We are going to spend way too much of our lives and our time doing the right thing.
What is that right thing?
Believing in love.
Dying for love.
Holding onto hope that love will work out and staying faithful for years on end.
It may not matter that our ex remarried and moved on to live their best life.
We are going to stay in this place, waiting and hoping that they come back into our lives!
I did this for years of mine.
I didn’t date.
I didn’t move on.
I just waited and hoped that my person would come back into my life. It would be similar to someone waiting for Santa Claus to show up on Christmas eve and introduce himself.
The sad news is that she didn’t show up.
(Neither did Santa now that I think about it but I’m holding onto hope.)
Well, maybe she did show up years later but we both decided that we were not the right people for each. We had different lives, interests, values and were different people who wanted different things.
I mean I should have known that in the 7 plus years we were married but better late than never I guess.
Now, your turn.
Has your ex moved on?
Are they dating and living their best life?
Are you still waiting, hoping and praying your ex comes back and chooses you again?
Instead of holding onto hope for your ex, move on and cope with the sadness and grief of it being over.
You know the relationship didn’t work and hasn’t worked for years.
There are too many unresolved issues between both of you to try again.
It’s time to get off the “hoping your ex comes back” train and hop along to the partner who is waiting for you.
6 Steps to Give Up on Hope On Your Relationship Working Out and Move On With Your Life
1. Choose to see things as they are, not how you want them to be.
Look at the relationship for what it was and what it is today.
Look at the situation as objectively and realistically as possible. Avoid possibility thinking of what it could be today or dreamy thinking of what it was in your dreams!
2. Don’t over-romanticize the past.
Evaluate the situation like a regular human being, not like you’re writing a Shakespearean play or like you’re writing a screenplay similar to the Titanic.
Don’t add dramatic music and recall overly-sentimental scenes from your past relationship.
3. Don’t focus on the length of time you were together.
Know that the length of time has nothing to do with the quality of that past relationship. Being together 20 years is not a sign that your ex is your soulmate and you were destined to be together.
It could simply be a sign that you made the wrong decision for a long time! You were together much longer than what was healthy for both of you and moving on is the best way to preserve all those life events that you did share with your ex.
4. Don’t focus on your ex’s strengths and good qualities.
They may seem like the world’s great husband or world’s greatest human today but it’s really unfair to overlook all the hardships and struggles of the past. You can paint them as the saint they weren’t or choose to remember them as the people they were. They had good qualities, bad qualities and qualities that were not a fit for you. Don’t stay fixed to their positive qualities.
5. Bring yourself to the present moment.
Know that you can live through grief, pain and uncertainty of the present moment.
Often, we like to take ourselves to the future so we don’t have to live in the present moment.
The present moment might contains grief and heartbreak. It can contain sadness and pain so you’d rather hold onto the future of hope of possibilities of tomorrow.
Bring yourself back to right now. You’ll get through this as hard as it may be. The more you let go of the false promises of the future and live for today, the easier it will become to move on from that past relationship.
6. They are not the ONLY one.
You might be holding on to them for dear life because you feel like you won’t find someone like that again. They are so good that you can’t risk finding someone lesser or finding no one at all.
This is another mind trick that makes you believe you’re not good enough. It creates scarcity for you and tells you that the only person who could possibly love you doesn’t want you anymore. It tells you that if not them, then no one. Your mind makes you believe that you only have one soulmate and they were it.
Contrary to the poets and writers of our time, you can have more than one soulmate in your life. There’s not just one person for you in this lifetime no matter what Hollywood says. You’re compatible with many people. You just have to do the hard work of meeting many people to find them.
I’m sad to confess my favorite song of all time is a song about being stuck in the past, called Nobody Knows.
I’m even sadder that nobody knows of this song.
It was a song that I played over and over and over in my life before I ever felt a pang of heartbreak.
It’s a song by a profoundly sad Tony Rich (at least I like to think so) regretting his broken love for a woman that he regrets not having in his life. He sings about how nobody knows the pain of his breakup except him.
You can watch the song here to know the depth of his pain and know what kind of a weirdo I am.
You might find this weird only because I had listened to this song thousands of times in college. It was the one song on repeat. The one song I played over and over and over again.
I listened to this song while I was up at night studying for finals. I listened to this song while I was sleeping. While I ate. While I talked about the meaning of life with my roomie James. What was even odder was that this was his go-to song as well.
Yet this post isn’t about what two single college-aged men were doing sitting around listening to a profoundly sad love song by another sad man.
Instead, it’s about putting something on repeat and listening to it over and over again.
You hear something, you like something and you choose that repeatedly instead of turning off the song and listening to something else.
Unfortunately, I came to find out a few years later in my life, as someone who was going through a divorce that I also tended to do this in another area of my life.
Since the marriage was over and the relationship no long existed, I fell into this sweet longing and remembrance of the past marriage.
I stayed stuck for years by continuing to repeat what had happened in the previous marriage.
I also reflected on the sadness and pain of the heartbreak and I enjoyed being in that place.
See, a powerful habit forms when we go through heartbreak that keeps us stuck.
You have these negative painful feelings of the past that over time become familiar and comfortable.
You become attached to the these feelings in the past and continue to ruminate on them.
Becoming familiar, comfortable and used to the pain of heartbreak can keep you stuck for months and years.
Holding onto past pain can keep you stuck and stop you from letting of the past relationship.
Pain can actually become addictive if it makes you feel good because it is a known and familiar feeling.
The habit of ruminating on past pain can become a habit that keeps you stuck for years.
You just want to hold on to this thing that is unpleasant (pain) but also feels good (familiar and known pain).
You feel connection and familiarity.
You feel familiar emotions.
You put it on repeat, turn it into a habit and become stuck in this place for years of your life.
The solution out is to acknowledge that this is in fact what your mind is doing.
To let go of the past, you have to be willing to let go of the known and the familiar.
Once you realize that you keep going back and taking comfort in the pain of the past, it’s time to break this habit.
To release the addictive habit of holding on to the past pain:
1) Acknowledge that your mind is replaying the past repeatedly.
2) Pin-point the thoughts that are creating these addictive feelings of pain and sorrow in your life.
3) Get clear on the underlying story about your past relationship that you’re telling yourself.
4) Work on changing the story you’re telling yourself about the past relationship.
5) Re-frame the past or generate new thoughts about the past that are healthier for you and cultivate more positive feelings.
6) Practice immersing yourself in new and unfamiliar feelings of peace and happiness.
If you’re addicted to past hurtful feelings, you might have no idea what healthier emotions and feelings may feel like.
I’m suggesting you try those on ahead of time, feel those feelings even if you’re not quite there yet.
If you’re good at feeling bad feelings of the past, it was because you’ve practiced it for years.
If you want to break free and move on from years of feeling bad and feeling stuck, try on a new set of feelings. Explore, experiment and try out something you’re not used to.
If you need some support in letting go and working through the insurmountable negativity of the past, I’d be happy to support you in this process.
The book details these spiritual steps to let go of the past. It explains each step in detail and helps you apply these principles to your daily life so you, too, can let go of the past that is no longer serving you and, instead, embrace the life awaiting you.
Here are 12 steps to let go of the past from my latest book, The Sacred Art of Letting Go.
Step 1 – the Step of Acceptance. You cannot move on until you acknowledge and accept what happened to you. In this step, Eckhart Tolle reminds us to allow life to just be; we should not judge it as good or bad. When you take away the heavy emotions of your past relationship and view the events objectively, you’re better able to accept what happened.
Step 2 – the Step of Releasing your feelings. In this chapter, both Pema Chodron and Ram Dass suggest ways to become curious and inquisitive about the strong feelings you’re experiencing. You can move on only when you find a way to process the emotional storm you’re feeling.
Steps 3 – the Step of Melting Anger. This walks you through ways to release anger towards – and resentment of – your ex. It gives you a myriad of ways to use the power of forgiveness to wash away the anger you carried with you when you left the relationship.
Step 4 – the Step of Choice. You’ll see how much is truly in your control and how you can take charge of the process of letting go. You are not a wind in the storm. You can proactively work on your healing. You have the power of choice. Use the power of reframing to see your situation and circumstances differently.
Step 5 – the Step of Learning. You’ll see how to turn your relationship and the past into learning. You’ll learn how to find wisdom in your pain and use this wisdom in your future relationships. Learn how to turn your ex from a soul enemy into a heart teacher.
Step 6 – the Step of Connectedness. You notice how your ego causes separation between you and your ex. You start to realize that if you saw people and relationships differently, as your ego wants you to see them, you’ll find yourself in conflict and resentment. If you apply this principle to your life, you can put yourself in other people’s shoes and let go of the pain sooner.
Step 7 – the Step of This Moment. I talk about ways to stop living in the past that no longer exists and, instead, to bring yourself into the present moment. I show you that no pain or conflict exists in this moment in front of you and I reveal why you should strive to be in this place. I provide exercises that help you live in the present moments of your life.
Step 8 – the Step of Going Within. You’ll learn the power of doing the inner work necessary to move on. This step helps you drop all outside pretenses and get more clarity on who you are. As you get to know yourself better, you’ll have a stronger ability to let go of past hurts and move on.
Step 9 – the Step of Soul Awakening. You learn how to remove the mask of the ego and get clearer on yourself. This is the process of burning or stripping away all those things you’re not so that you become more of who you are in a spiritual sense. This is the step of opening your soul. It’s about getting curious, discovering your soul’s calling and arriving at your essence.
Step 10 – the Step of Compassion. Here, you’ll learn how to radiate empathy and compassion for yourself and others. The longer you beat up yourself or blame your ex, the longer you’ll remain in the past. The sooner you figure out how to put yourself in other people’s shoes, extend compassion to yourself and others, and see your relationship in a new light, the sooner you’ll move on.
Step 11 – the Step of Strength. You will see how to use your weakest and lowest life experience, heartbreak and loss to your advantage. This step shows you how to use past experiences and loss to build your resiliency muscle. It also shows you how to use the power of your friendships and inner circle to get through the tough times.
Step 12 – the Step of Trust. Discover how to trust the process of letting go. This step reminds you that you can get through this but you’ll have to trust yourself and the process. It shows you that others have walked a similar path. It asks you to believe that letting go is possible and to take a leap of faith into a better place.
If you enjoyed learning about these principles, please consider checking out the book, which describes these steps in more detail and gives you concrete steps for letting go of the past and moving on.