Why can’t you let go?


Dear Rat Brain,

Here’s something I know sends you spinning — the prospect of having to let go of someone. An ex-friend, an ex-partner, an ex-random-person-you-spoke-to-for-a-few-days-years-ago-and-got-overly-invested-in; they all collect like dust in the corner of your cage. Sometimes you might think about cleaning it away, but –

What if?  What if there’s more to learn here? What if they realise the error of their ways and they want to be in my life again? What if letting go means I forget what I’ve learned about boundaries, and I hurt someone else or get hurt again? What if letting go means I must face my real emotions, and I won’t like what I see —

Even more egregious is when you scurry around, flipping out whenever a thought or feeling comes up, in case you’re not letting go:

What if? What if I’m letting go in the wrong way? What if I’m just digging everything up again by talking about it? Am I boring or annoying other people?

Why am I not over [insert thing that happened to me years ago?] They’re over it, surely. How pathetic, how childish —

Get off the wheel, Rat Brain.

There’s no right way to grieve, or let go. There’s no way to force yourself to accept that something is over; trying to do so, ironically, is the opposite of acceptance.

You don’t have to talk about it X amount of times, with Y amount of people, for Z amount of time.

You don’t have to rake the Trauma Leaves into a neat pile in order to make it easy to process.

You don’t need to do compulsions (you know the ones) to deal with ‘bad’ emotions, like sadness or anger or anxiety. There aren’t any; only things you’ve been taught are unacceptable to feel.

You don’t have to find the moral of the story; there is none.

You don’t have to have a carefully curated list of what someone did wrong, in order to feel justified in letting someone go. It is enough to simply want to let them go.

But first, you have to want to.


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