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Monday, June 29, 2015

Letting go of painful relationships with gratitude

Many of us have experienced some degree of an unhealthy romantic relationship at least once in life. I attended a wedding last month which started me thinking about a particular ex, our relationship and the pain that came along with it. This suffering was due in large part to my reluctance to accept the reality of the situation at the time and let go.

Half of the time we had together was the most fun I've ever had with another human being and the other half of the time it was the most painful. The dichotomy in the relationship proved more than I could handle, however I kept trying to make it work - hoping the some attention and effort could change things. I created much unhappiness for myself by having an attachment to that relationship being something other than the reality of what it was (will of the ego vs. acceptance).

In retrospect I learned much from that experience and over the years since our split have become grateful for these lessons. The main gift from the relationship was the gift of learning to let go. He was a soul mate whose purpose in my life was to teach me this. Soul mate relationships are not always hearts and flowers, sometimes they exist for the purpose of helping us grow then we are to keep moving ahead.

A few tips I have found helpful in letting go process:

1. Take off those rose colored glasses and look at the reality of the situation - the good, the bad and the ugly. Acceptance goes a long way in helping us to move forward.

2.  Understand why you're still holding on. It may be fear of being alone, fear of change, or perhaps it's an attachment to a desired outcome that did not come to fruition. Is holding on to that attachment meeting your desires any more than the unhealthy relationship did?...

3. Our homes are an outward reflection of how we are feeling internally. Clearing your living space and rearranging it can be a supportive physical aspect of a new phase of life.

4. Focus on taking care of yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually. Nourish your body and get proper nutrition and sleep. Make a list of things you would enjoy and go do them, reach out to some friends and invite them along. Take time to incorporate your personal spiritual practices into your daily schedule as well.

5. Offer compassion to yourself  and forgive the other person, this is an integral part of letting go. Forgiving doesn't condone the hurtful actions of another or mean we have to subject ourselves to them again; rather it's an intentional releasing of the burden of carrying that pain, anger or resentment. Forgiving does not mean we have to speak to the other person, it is a gift we give ourselves to restore our own peace of mind.

6. Determine what lessons came from the relationships and have gratitude for receiving them. These lessons will help create a healthier relationship in the future (provided we embrace them). When we consider those lessons a gift that supports our growth and wisdom it's much easier to let go.

Here's to moving forward with gratitude, grace and compassion!