Can you let go?


 I think we hold on to ex boyfriends (or girlfriends) so tightly and for so long, long after they’re gone,  because we consider them a part of who we are. Like an arm or a leg. Like a family member.  We compartmentalize them and arrange our lives around their memory. They may even be like a lifeline to something that bears connection to something much bigger than ourselves.

For me, I kept journals all my life. Each journal was literally devoted to a different GUY. The eras of my life were broken into who I was dating at the time. It was how I categorized and moved through my entire history. There’s the G era, the R era, the D era, the other D era, the P era and so….Trying to get rid of this kind of ingrained classification system is almost like trying to erase big chunks of your history. It’s  impossible unless you are willing to train your brain to think differently. Instead of associating huge tracts of my life with some man, I have started to associate other things within that timeframe: school, travel, work…And it helped. 1989 is no longer the H era, but the Paris days. 2008 was not the S year, but the year my Uncle died, and the year I got serious about my recovery.  But even when I try to redefine my history, those pesky exs keep popping back into my memory and with good cause. That is who I was. That is how I lived my life for so long. I cannot erase my history.

Also, I used to hold on to old letters and memorabilia from ex bfs. Boxes upon boxes of letters from inconsequential guys telling me, “you’re hot,” or “I love you.” I saved them because I envisioned others finding these letters when I was dead and gone. They would read the letters and think, “Wow! She was truly loved by so many…” But what silliness!

More realistically, my great-grandchildren would find those letters they’d think, “Grandma sure did get around.”

Definitely not the legacy I want to leave behind.

So now, it’s all about slash and burn. I no longer feel validated by those letters. They no longer define my worth. If anything, they burdened me, and so they all got tossed. Interestingly, I used to feel such a deep sense of loss at the thought of throwing the stuff out that I never did it. But now I feel as though the empty space is more of a gain. I feel free.

So…how do you hang on and how do you plan to let go? Write it out. Talk about it. Do you physically hold on to memories, or do you hold on emotionally. What do you think will happen to you if you let go? What are you afraid of?

11 thoughts on “Can you let go?

  1. This is a good one and very relevant to me…I am now starting to look for a new path and this would be very cleansing to do…I have started with getting rid of stuff and clutter and I have all these old ex journals stashed with card memorabilia…I will start the emotional work to let them go too…I have the sense of freedom that you talk about and intuitively I know i will gain more through this process….thanks for being spot on this morning for me!….p

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  2. Wow….I also remember my past in terms of who I was with at the time. That really was my whole identity….who I was dating. Thank goodness I got rid of all the stuff from ex-boyfriends when I got engaged; I wish I could have gotten rid of the memories as easily!

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  3. Unfortunately, there’s no device or wacky mind-erasing tool (well, unless you get a lobotomy) to help erase bad memories, or memories we no longer wish to cling to. And I really find it difficult to figure out what the point is in having a head filled with irrelevant junk. That’s why I spend so much time NOW trying to fill my brain with relevant stuff that matters. Hopefully, it’ll push the old stuff out 🙂

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  4. So much sense, why did I never consider this before. Funnily enough I look at photographs of myself through the years and can tell you what weight I was in each of them. Never happy with the way I looked because men were always so critcal and I have allowed this to shape my world, to the point that at times I have not gone to social events because I was afriad of being judged because I had gained weight. I have missed so much of my life due to this . Time to change, time to declutter, time to move on.

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  5. You are trully brilliant. I’ve never thought of turning my journaling into a productive cause because I thought it was lame and victimizing. Yet here I am finally feeling like I found someone I can trully relate to. I am considering starting one of my own. I am still very deep into addiction and hope that I can somehow follow your footsteps and find recovery. I’ll keep reading. And thank you! P.s If you can share a
    General outline of how you achieves recovery that’s be awesome! ❤

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    1. Hi Yup! You’re off to a good start. Reading and learning about yourself is the first step. And reaching out is courageous. You are probably much stronger than you think! I actually have an outline of my recovery somewhere here. I will post it as soon as I can find it. ANd thanks for the compliment! I appreciate it.

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    1. Thank you so much for responding and posting so quickly. I actually found your reading list earlier and went shopping for some of your recommendations. It was a great help. I’ve done some reading of my own in the past but I it’s comforting to have a selection from somebody in recovery (proof they’re good reads 🙂 ). Thanks again and keep posting! -You’re changing lives. Love-em

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