I need room to grow.
In that relationship, I didn’t have space and freedom to explore myself—my thoughts, feelings, and beliefs—and it was stifling. When I had a new idea, I usually received harsh criticism and derision.
Understanding ourselves, and what we stand for, is vitally important to our happiness, and we need room to figure those things out.
Relationships need to be elastic. When we stretch past the boundaries of what we know in the relationship, those boundaries either expand to hold the new ideas or they crack and fall apart.
I was stretching, and the relationship was trying to restrict me. Eventually it couldn’t take the strain.
I had to let go.
Letting go of that relationship meant letting go of people’s expectations about what my life should be (including my own). It was so hard, and it felt like everything I knew was falling apart—like the world was crumbling around me.
But there is so much possibility without those expectations. Starting over gave me an opportunity to craft a new life for myself in ways I had never imagined.
Yes, it was hard. Yes, it was scary. I hope I never have to start from scratch again, but now I know that I have a choice.
We all have choices. We can choose our direction, every single day.
Letting go sometimes means letting it all go.
We talked about remaining friends (and I know some of my friends have made that work), but honestly, we couldn’t remain friends and still move on. I left it all behind and started fresh.
When you rebuild a house that has been damaged by a fire or other disaster, you don’t just start building on top of what is there. If you do, it will quickly fall apart again. First, you have to remove the debris and get back down to the most solid foundation.
The solid foundation in my life is me. Always. I had to let go so that I could find myself.
These lessons are relevant for any relationship.
Whether it’s a romance, a friendship, or even family relationship, sometimes you have to take a hard look and make a hard choice. Even if the choice is to stick it out and not let go.
When you take the time to really know yourself—know your values, know your beliefs, know what is important to you—you can make the right choice, even when it’s hard.