When Letting Go Hurts Too Much: 13 Ways to Let Go of the Pain

Nothing prepares you for the anguish of having to let go.

If you are struggling with the pain of a broken heart, or if you are still grieving the loss of a loved one and can’t let go, please read on.  The following tips may help you get back on your feet:

Embrace your feelings. A common myth is that “If you ignore the pain, it will go away”. The pain is like the monster in the closet, waiting for the moment to strike when you least expect it, and ignoring it will make it worse.

During this time, give yourself permission to relish on the memories of the past. Remember the good and the bad. How you felt, the great moments, and the ones that made you sad.

Put them in a box. Next, imagine if you could hold these memories in your hands for a moment. Then put them in a special place in your room where they will be kept contained. It can be an old shoe box or a locket.

You are not running away from them. You have acknowledged them already, and now you will keeping them in a place where they can’t interfere with your life.

Walk away. Then take a deep breath,  turn around and slowly walk away from them; with each step the feelings of hurt and loss subside one number. When you reach 0, give yourself permission to move on.

Repeat these steps as needed.

Put your name on a bracelet. Honor you and the day you decided to move on. Include the date when the loss happened to remind you that on that day, you survived and became a stronger person.

Rise above the need to make everyone happy. Your life is yours, not theirs. Not everyone is going to be happy with your life choices. Oh, well.

Give every life challenge a new name. Imagine that your problems are stones the size of your hand blocking your way. Give them a unique name to each. Think of funny names that make you smile. Then, move them aside gently, one by one, opening a small pathway. They are still there, but they are no longer keeping you from moving on to new things.

Paint the world with your colors. Give yourself permission to do the things you’ve always wanted to do. If you’ve always dreamed of going to that special place (e., that amazing trip to the Machu Picchu in Peru; the Niagara waterfalls) , do it. If you always wanted to be a painter, pick up a brush.

The world is your canvas. Paint it with your colors.

Remember the promises you made to yourself when you were a child. This is the time to follow through with them. Don’t let that child down.

Touch someone’s heart. If someone you know is hurting, bring some food just to let them know you are looking out for them. Or surprise them with a small card and an invitation to go to the next baseball game.

You can join a not-for-profit foundation that helps others, or start your own. There is no better time than now.

Reach out to lost acquaintances. Write down a list of people or friends that you haven’t spoken to in a while, and write them a short letter thanking them for being a part of your life, and let them know how much you value them.

Dreaming is part of the healing process. You know your mind won’t let you off the hook while you sleep. Some of the dreams will be bad and some maybe not as much. Expect them. Accept them. And move on.

Be a little dumb and have fun. Start slowly and quietly, and then go from there. Write a letter to the president if you’d like, even if it never gets to its destination. Just have fun and don’t take life too seriously; it has a sense of humor too, even if it’s cruel sometimes.

Author: Alejandro Adrian LeMon, Ph.D., LMHC

A little about me... I'm a licensed mental health counselor in the state of Florida and the founder of Psychology One. I am also a former college instructor of sociology and I have worked at several not-for-profit agencies & EAP organizations. I currently live with my fiancee and our three cats.

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