Whether you’ve just been dumped or are suffering through the pain of unreturned love, sometimes humans get mired in attachment. We need to move on – but we feel stuck.
Our culture celebrates a “never give up, never say die,” attitude, and generally regards quitting as a personal failure.
But we’ve got it wrong. Sticking to the course you are on is often much easier than truly letting go – which may be the hardest thing you’ve ever done in your life.
If you’re stuck on the wrong person, you probably already know that you need to move on. You just don’t know how. Start with some deep thinking. Identify your reasons for being stuck, and you will discover how to un-stick yourself and move on.
1. You are focused on extrinsic qualities. “Good on paper” is how women describe men who possess every characteristic on their checklist – but something is missing. Men get wrapped up in the appearance of a woman, letting a pretty face and hot bod trump everything else – and then wonder why they’re miserable.
Instead: Ask yourself: if no one could ever know I was dating this person, would I still date them? Make a list of the internal characteristics that you value in a mate – like kindness, strength and loyalty – to help you come to terms with the fact that “good on paper” is not good enough for you.
2. You’re a perfectionist. You hate to fail, and you really hate the feeling of losing control. You’re determined to win her back, to prove yourself right and gain back control.
Instead: Think about what you’ve already learned from the relationship, so that you can view it as a beneficial experience – not a failure.
3. You believe that you have one soulmate. Believing in soulmates (plural) is fine – but deciding that there is only one person on the planet who is your perfect match is a recipe for disaster. Life isn’t a Hollywood rom com, and you aren’t 15 – so ditch the idea that you have a singular soulmate.
Instead: Focus on your relationships with good friends and family members. Aren’t they your soul mates too? Enhancing your connections will broaden your definition of love.
4. You’ve invested so much time. You’ve spent countless hours pining over this person or wooing them, and to step away would feel like a loss on your investment. It would be. But continuing on your path will only cause you to spend even more time and energy on a losing deal.
Instead, focus on the future. If you tend to have obsessive thoughts, meditation can be a power tool for learning how to control your mind.
5. You think you need closure to move on. If you’re waiting for the grand apology or a sign from above, you may be waiting a long time.
Instead: Just as we create meaning in our lives, we can also create closure. Make closure happen on your own. Burn a picture, rip up a letter, or get a new hairstyle.