Make space for love by letting go

Is there anything you need to let go of in order to make space for love? Is there something that’s taking up room in your head or heart and blocking you from moving forwards into a new relationship?

These questions seem relevant as the Lenten season of letting go draws to a close and as Easter offers the opportunity for new beginnings.

Letting go, in my experience, doesn’t happen overnight. It can be a slow, gradual process. We might have to let go of something or somebody a number of times before we feel truly free.

Letting go can also be challenging. Sometimes we hold onto things or to people because they feel safe and familiar and because the opposite is scary and unknown.

But I believe that if we can find the courage to let go, despite our fears, we’ll create room in our lives for wonderful things to happen.

So what might we need to let go of?

Perhaps we need to let go of an ex-partner who is taking up space in our heads and hearts and stopping us from being open to a new relationship. Maybe we need to let go of an image of the kind of man or woman we think we should be with so that we can become open to different types. Perhaps we need to let go of an unhealthy behaviour or belief system that is preventing us from living to our potential or from recognising our true value and worth.

We are all unique. We all have our own stories. We all need to let go of different things. If you’re not sure what you need to let go of, maybe my letting go journey will help you to think it through.

I’ve had to let go of many things in order to create space in my life for happiness, fulfilment and a healthy and loving relationship.

Many years ago now, I had to let go of a compulsive behaviour that was damaging my self-esteem. I had a binge eating disorder – I overate to manage painful emotions and to numb unwelcome feelings. The excess weight I was carrying and the fact that I was self-harming with food undermined my confidence and dented my self-worth, severely impacting my ability to date or have romantic relationships. I had to learn both to love myself and to deal with my feelings in healthy ways. As I did so, my weight normalised and my self-esteem grew.

I had to let go of my yearning for status and external validation, which masked my deep-rooted low self-esteem. I had to let go of a job title that made people say ‘wow’ but that was making me miserable and, most probably, keeping me single because I had no time to date.

I had to let go of the image of perfection and togetherness I’d been so keen to present to the world. When I got signed off my high-flying role as a political journalist with depression, anxiety and stress, I initially felt ashamed. But my newfound vulnerability, and my ability to share that vulnerability with others through my writing, changed my life for the better.

I had to let go of the fantasy I had created in my mind about how my life would turn out. I had to let go of the idea that I would be married by 40 with a few small children. I am now 47 and happily engaged but I don’t have children. That is something I’ll probably be letting go of for the rest of my life. But the more I can let go of the fantasy and embrace the reality of my life, the more content I feel.

I had to let go of my expectation of the kind of man I should be with. The idea that I should date and marry an alpha male with a high-flying career similar to the one that had consumed me for years kept me single for a long time. Once I let go of that ideal and became open to other types, I was able to fall in love with the man I was meant to be with, rather than the man I thought I should be with.

I had to let go of patterns of behaviour that were leading me into dead-end or unhealthy relationships. I had an attraction to unavailable men, which I later realised was because I was scared of love and commitment myself. I also had a pattern of running away from available men who wanted to be with me, again because I was scared of intimacy. Ultimately, I had to let go of my fear and trust that it was safe to love.

Along the way, I also had to let go of ex-boyfriends who were taking up space in my head or heart. Sometimes I had to stop seeing them as friends or remove them from my Facebook feed. I had to do what I could to let go of the fantasy that some day it might work out with them. I had to let go of the old to make space for the new.

So what would you like to let go of? Who do you need to let go of? Is there anything that’s standing in your way as you seek a loving relationship? Or is there someone who’s taking up space in your heart?

Remember, letting go isn’t easy. You may need some support. But the rewards are incredible.

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