Self-care is one of the most important things that we need to incorporate into our…
If you love something, set it free is not something you’re hearing for the first time. Your mom or dad said it when you wanted a pet earthworm. Your friends said it when you had a crush on that mysterious hottie.
But, setting something you truly love free is easier said than done.
The reality of letting someone you love go so that they can find happiness goes against pretty much every instinct we have as humans. We tend to hold on to the things that grant us happiness and love because we don’t want to be miserable.
But, there is a reason this saying is so famous and well-known. It is true.
What does it mean to love something?
Being able to look in the mirror and tell yourself that setting someone free is the right thing to do is not an easy. But it is sometimes necessary in order for them and for you to find happiness.
Loving something means you want what’s best for it, even if it doesn’t seem like it is what’s best for you.
This is something that not a lot of people are capable of doing. It takes so much strength to release something you’ve been holding onto so tightly.
It is also difficult to move forward when you don’t know what moving on looks like. Because of that, you tend to grasp what you know. You hold onto the past because the future is unknown.
Letting someone go means letting them move on, which hurts your ego. And it means you have to move on, which is scary.
But for the person you love to find true happiness, sometimes you have to do the right thing, not the easy thing.
Why you need to set it free
If you love something, set it free. This isn’t just a saying. This is a piece of advice that goes back ages.
Holding onto something that isn’t working is painful. Sure, letting it go is a different kind of painful, but it pushes you forward instead of puling you back.
If you love your partner and it isn’t working out, sticking it out so that you don’t get hurt or hurt them is not solving the problem. It is stretching the problem for longer.
If you can’t move on from your ex and desperately want them back, that isn’t love. Love is reciprocated. If they don’t love you back or want to be in the relationship, it is you and your ego holding and denying the rejection. It isn’t your unimaginable amount of love telling you it is meant to be.
You need to set it free for them and you. They deserve to move on without you anchoring yourself to their leg. And it would help if you moved on to something that has a future too. If you don’t, you will be holding both of you back indefinitely.
If you love something set it free, but how?
Although it will be hard, and you’ll go through periods of time when you wish you wouldn’t have let them go, it will get easier. You won’t always feel the hurt that sets in when you initially let them go.
Sure, you miss them, but that is okay. You miss the ease and freedom of childhood and you’ve dealt with that. You miss not having to pay bills and taking midday naps, but you’re okay.
It may not feel like it right now, but loving something and letting it go will work out. You didn’t think you’d survive on your own as an adult either, did you? Yet, here you are.
The truth is that after some time, you’ll learn to be happy with your decision and even have days where you don’t think about it. Until that day, however, you’ll probably feel pretty crappy.
12 Steps To Change Your Life and Find Happiness
To make this all a bit easier, this is how you love something and set it free.
1. Remember why you did it
People get so caught up in regretting their decision, and how miserable they feel about it, that they often forget why they made that choice in the first place. They beat themselves up. However, given the chance to do things over again, they actually wouldn’t change a thing.
For instance, after a break up, you might feel regret. You miss the good times. But that is because you aren’t with them. When you were together it wasn’t working, what would change things now? Nothing.
Remembering why you set them free can help you come to terms with the fact that it was the right move.
2. Know that it was the right decision
Ultimately, you have to realize that the choice you made was the right one. If you truly loved them, and want them to find happiness *and know it couldn’t be with you*, then you had to set them free.
For example, if you’re with someone who wants to travel the world and find adventure, but you want to settle down into a simpler life – that’s not going to work. For them to live a happy life and for you to do the same, you have to let them go.
3. Find joy in their happiness
It’s so easy to get caught up in the pain that you’re feeling from letting go of something you truly love. But you can find joy in knowing that because of you, they can be truly happy.
Maybe you were holding them back or had trust issues you took out on them. They couldn’t be happy with you, but they have a chance now. This doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you. It just means you aren’t right for each other.
Try focus not on the pain, but on the joy you are both finding from this.
4. Keep busy with your own life
The best way to handle this kind of situation is to just be busy. Don’t sit at home alone and wallow in your own self-pity. Get out there and have a life of your own.
Go to the movies, visit with friends, and get involved with new people and activities. Distancing yourself from any situation that may leave you feeling lonely and regretful will do wonders in helping you deal with this. The more people you meet and things you do, the less you’ll be thinking about what you miss.
5. Give yourself time to get over it
Most people get frustrated and even more upset about the fact that they can’t get over the pain right away. Don’t think like this. Pain isn’t something you just get over. Let yourself feel sad for a while. You are grieving a loss. Yes, you loved them or even still love them, so it will take a lot of time to move on.
You have to give yourself time to just be sad. Know that you will move on, but just not this second or tomorrow.
6. Keep tabs on their accomplishments
You may think that it seems counterproductive to keep tabs on the person that you let go in order for them to be able to find their own happiness, but it’s actually very gratifying.
If you love them and have to set them free for their own good, seeing their successes can often help you feel justified in your decision. Seeing them move on in a new relationship or with a promotion will offer proof you made the right choice. You may not want to do this immediately, but a few months after saying goodbye, it will help you come to terms.
7. Don’t dwell on what could have been
Another thing that a lot of people do after setting something they love free to is dwell on what could have happened. They think so much about what “what ifs” that they don’t let themselves move on.
Don’t think about the future you could have had. Focus on the future that you can make for yourself. You may have thought you’d get married and have kids. You planned all of this. But most plans don’t work out. You miss the potential or this fantasy. Now you have so many more options. That mindset can help you handle the reality of letting someone go that you really love.
8. Find something – or someone – to occupy your mind
There are so many ways you can distract yourself from how you’re feeling, and finding something new or someone new is one of the best.
If you get out there and try a new hobby or meet someone that excites you, they will occupy your mind, and you won’t even think about the person you’re letting go of anymore. If you find something that thrills you, you’ll be able to deal with this a lot easier. I wouldn’t jump into the dating pool because you may want to replace the focus of your emotions, but hang out with people.
9. Get support from friends or family
If you’re having a really difficult time, talking about how you feel with close friends or family can help you feel a lot better. They can give you insight, and even talk about a time when they had to go through the same thing.
Confiding in trusted loved ones helps you get those feelings out in the open so you can move on instead of holding onto them.
10. Love yourself more
Love yourself more than you love them. When you love someone set them free, means you are doing this solely for them. That isn’t the case. Setting them free will probably help you a lot more than you realize.
At this moment, it feels like they are the only thing that will make you happy, but that isn’t true. Love yourself more than you love them.
11. Stop forcing it
Often, when you need to set someone free, it is because you were holding too tight. Just like Lennie in Of Mice and Men, you don’t want to squeeze too tight, or you’ll kill it. Trying too hard and forcing something that isn’t working sucks.
It doesn’t feel good to have to force a relationship to work. Just stop. Relax. This relationship did not define your life, and it doesn’t now.
Have control over your thoughts. It is easier said than done, but it is possible. You don’t have to let this take you over. You can set them free physically and emotionally. Whether they have already moved on or not, it is your turn now.
13. You didn’t fail
Remember that letting someone go doesn’t mean you failed. Sure, you gave up, but with dysfunctional relationships that is the best thing you can do.
It can be hard to accept that things didn’t work out. But accepting that this is just how things worked out will remind you it isn’t your fault. You didn’t fail. You made a smart choice for both of you.
14. If you can’t do it, why are you with them?
Do you love them enough to set them free? If you don’t, you shouldn’t be with them. When you know that ending things and moving on is best for them because you’re a difficult partner or they asked for a breakup, you need to let them go.
If you love them and care for them, you need to be willing to do what’s best for them. If you’re not, is the relationship even worth it? Probably not. This is best for them and will be best for you in the long run.
15. Accept your decision and move forward with your life
The best way to handle the reality that comes with the phrase, “if you love something, set it free,” is to accept it as true.
This is something that can give your mind peace. If you choose to accept it and accept the fate that comes along with it, you’ll be able to handle it with grace and understanding. Things get difficult for those who fight their own choice and put themselves down about it.
The cold, hard truth that comes with the phrase, “if you love something, set it free” is that it’s a complicated thing to do. However, if you do let them go, and they come back to you, you know it’s meant to be.