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Letting Go Of Others; Give The Same Space You Would Want

And again alone, but still green...
Creative Commons License photo credit: HAMED MASOUMI

Think about all of the people who have come and gone from your life.  (It’s a lot, isn’t it?)  Have you ever tried to stop an important person in your life from going?  Maybe your best friend at work has accepted a new job and you are worried that you will be lonely.  Or, your long-distance boyfriend or girlfriend has decided that the distance has become too much and they want to end the relationship even though their feelings for you haven’t changed.

When we feel the need for growth in our lives, this sometimes distances us (in a variety of ways) from our current relationships.  It’s not that we want to get away from these people, it’s just that the growth we are looking for requires us to go.

Just as you need space in your life to grow, so do others.  Instead of resisting the loss of people in your life, understand that just as you have a desire to go new places and have new experiences so do they.  Learn to let go of others when it’s their time to go.

We Expect The World To Conform To Us

We often expect that the external world (including the people in our life) will conform to us.  When it doesn’t, we get upset.  This is a silly way to think, but we do it anyways because we don’t like the uncertainty that it brings.

Instead of expecting the world to conform to you, try adapting yourself to the world.  This includes the relationships in your life.  When someone does something that you don’t like, remember that it’s not all about you.  Let that person do what they need to do.  You would appreciate the same from someone else.  This simply means to grant your unconditional support to this person’s needs and wants, even when (especially when) it’s something that affects you.

Growth Requires A Journey

You need to take your journey, and others need to take theirs.  It’s inevitable that growing into a sense of self will require change at certain points.  Don’t stand in the way of other’s journeys.  How would you feel if someone tried to block your own journey?  In fact, you probably already know what this feels like.

Let Others Be As They Are

In our relationships, we often try to control the characteristics of the other person.  Have you been in a relationship where someone wanted to change who you were?  Have you been in a relationship where you wanted to change someone else?  Almost everyone will agree that this almost never works and feels terrible.  When you acknowledge that another person always has the free choice to be who they are – wherever that takes them – you give them a gift.

When you let someone be as they are, the gratitude this person feels towards you will never be replaced.  You have allowed this person to be what they need to be, and acknowledged their inherent value as they are.

Last Thoughts…

It’s sad when others leave us.  But, remember, just as people leave our lives, others enter it.  You don’t have to be afraid of your own growth, and you don’t have to be afraid of other people’s growth.

{ 21 comments… add one }
  • Bonnie November 11, 2008, 10:54 am

    I just cannot believe how timely this post is for me today. I need to let go of a relationship that is not working and it is sad, but it is also important to know when to let go.

  • Doug Rosbury November 11, 2008, 11:39 am

    Yes, attachment is the same as wanting control.
    The only real power we have is the power to control our own lives. However, we can forget our own growth
    problems by assisting others with their needs in life and guess what? by doing so, our own growth
    happens more efficiently and without stress and strain. But don’t make the mistake of doing for others what they must do for themselves. Lend your support and do what is productive but know when that
    has gone far enough. This method will bring forth
    from you, qualities which will transform you.—Doug

  • Doug Rosbury November 11, 2008, 11:43 am

    This is how Jesus worked. by traveling around and
    contributing his skills and ideas, He enlightened others in how they could make their lives more
    productive.——Doug

  • Lance November 11, 2008, 12:21 pm

    Amanda, what a wonderful post and reminder. It is natural to want to hold onto those that are dear to us – and yet, in holding on when they need to spread their own wings and fly – is not good for anyone. As a parent, I think of my children, and as they grow up and will be ready to move on (luckily that’s a ways off yet!) – it will be hard to begin the process of letting go. And yet, it is so important in their growth to expand and move on. Great stuff here Amanda!

  • Amanda Linehan November 11, 2008, 6:33 pm

    Bonnie – Yeah, knowing when to let go is tough, but tougher still to do it.

    Doug – I agree, supporting others can also be an important part of our own growth.

    Lance – Yes, I would imagine that this concept would especially apply to children!

  • Amber November 12, 2008, 1:58 am

    Oh so true. I recently realized after 4 1/2 yrs with my boyfriend that we were only impeding on each others success. Same thing occurred with a new relationship where the guy was leaving for several months to travel and no matter how great things were, he was still going. People definitely need to do what they need to do in life. I am slowly learning that timing is everything and that if it’s meant to be it will happen. Far too often we put our goals on hold or loose who we are in order to be with someone. Thanks for the fantastic reminder!

  • Doug Rosbury November 12, 2008, 10:56 am

    How many people are there in this world? We can only fall in love with one at a time. So when the one you fall in love with has to leave you, just
    learn that your own company is always present and
    available and that giving away your power to be happy is not the best way to be an example of friendship to another person. Attachment and the attendant control will not endear you to anyone.
    Become appreciative of your own company so that when
    someone does come along, you can be an example of strength and wisdom to the relationship and choose
    a person who is such an example so that the two
    of you together will be an example for all to observe. There is no way to happiness. Happiness
    IS the way.——Doug

  • Louise Kaelin November 12, 2008, 11:16 am

    QUOTE: When you let someone be as they are, the gratitude this person feels towards you will never be replaced. You have allowed this person to be what they need to be, and acknowledged their inherent value as they are.

    What a powerful statement! I know how true it is from being on the receiving end of that acceptance and I believe I am giving that gift back to all I meet. I certainly know it’s a goal of mine. One of the principles I live by is “I recognize God in everyone”. Sometimes I have to search, but when I find it, it is a joyous experience and I find I can revel in their uniqueness. Recognizing when it’s time to let them proceed on their separate path with grace is an art form!

    Wonderful post.

  • Jayme November 12, 2008, 12:10 pm

    Thank you Amanda.

  • wordpress November 12, 2008, 11:19 pm

    Wow, what a great reminder of our need to give others space as we would hope they would do so for us. Growth often requires changes, and sometimes that change requires space. We shouldn t fight this.

  • Amanda Linehan November 13, 2008, 12:19 am

    Amber – Relationships are certainly important, but losing who we are as a person can be a high price to pay, I agree.

    Louise – It’s certainly great to feel accepted for exactly who we are. I think “looking for God in everyone” is a great way to remind ourselves to let others do what they need to do.

    Jayme – Your welcome!

    Wordpress – Agreed!

  • Doug Rosbury November 13, 2008, 10:52 am

    Each relationship contains a wealth of instruction
    regarding the work we are here to do. Attend to that instruction with the same intent you would
    apply if you were attending classes toward a degree.
    ——Doug

  • Steve G November 15, 2008, 10:46 pm

    Very timely!

    I too fell victim to the “want to hold on to” type of thinking. Afraid of the sadness i would have but knowing I should let go.
    Holding on to someone who wants space is never going to do anyone any good. I am finding this out tonight.
    It hurts but it will only get worse as you try and protest, yet….in the end..they will leave anyway. All the tears and please will be in vain. It is just a matter of will it be a friendly parting or a hostile one.

  • PJ_Normz December 4, 2008, 4:54 pm

    It all comes down to dealing with change. Whether people, places, pets, jobs, or whatever, it is always a tough adjustment.

    But just like this wonderful post says…

    ‘just as people leave our lives, others enter it.’

    I think it’s important to remember that concept in everything we do. When one journey ends, it only means that another must begin, and each time, you are more prepared for the next journey then the last.

  • Joanne February 2, 2009, 2:10 pm

    Thank you for this writing. It’s been an insightful read. It reminds me that I’ve been in situations where letting go of a relationship with a long-time friend turned out to be the only way we both could grow. There’s always sadness, and the love and memories never go away, but sometimes you just have to move on.

    Joanne’s last blog post..Earl Nightingale – Don’t Follow The Follower

  • Amanda Linehan February 2, 2009, 9:39 pm

    Joanne – Thanks for your comment! Yes, it’s always difficult to let someone go, but, just as we want the best for ourselves, we also want the best for our loved ones.

  • shri May 18, 2011, 2:48 am

    ur article is great. It really helped me. I m terrible in understanding people n relationship and often am in a foot in the mouth situation..do write more such articles….

    god bless u

  • Doug Rosbury May 18, 2011, 12:29 pm

    Remember who you are. don’t be fooled by your inabilities, your limitations. You are an offspring of the great spirit experiencing these limitations for the purpose of practicing compassion. You are in training
    for greater responsibilities. this earth life is intended to be for you, a
    training school to allow you to become like your heavenly father. there
    are other realms of life after this one awaiting you. Look forward to them.
    There is so much that you will experience that will make this life seem
    like a long ago dream.

  • Doug Rosbury May 18, 2011, 8:26 pm

    Look upon each other with the greatest respect and compassion as you would dream of being looked upon. This is our best way toward a better
    world and the quickest way to achieve social harmony. O ur way of waiting on god to “answer prayers” is much too slow. We( are)”God”
    and are expected to act in our own behalf.——————————-
    Doug Rosbury

  • emma daniels June 22, 2011, 4:33 pm

    I thought I had exhausted my research on ‘letting go’ to no avail until I read your post. You’ve introduced me to a new and exciting perspective that makes ‘letting someone grow’ a lot easier and a lot less hurtful than just ‘letting go’ of someone you care about. Thank you.

  • Amanda Linehan June 22, 2011, 5:57 pm

    Hi Emma – Glad this article was helpful. 🙂

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