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Opening Up To Letting Go

Opening Up To Letting Go

ďWe need in love to practice only this: letting each other go. For holding on comes easilyĖwe do not need to learn it.Ē ~Rainer Maria Rilke

My parentís marriage ended when my mother told my father she didnít love him anymore and that she was not sure she ever did. Years later, after all of the ugliness of the divorce was done, something at my fatherís core was never the same again.† His belief in love was soured and distilled into an experience of abandonment that morphed to fit every ending that followed. Over the years of my loveology practice, I have heard many versions of this traumatic end-of-love story and have witnessed the wreckage of families and lives left in its wake. I know how the residual shame turns to suffering and sticks in us as an abandoned child long after the end of love. These stories have always left me wondering where does the love go?† How does love end up disappearing from a heart so completely that you canít be sure it ever existed at all? Is it really possible to lose your capacity to feel the love you have lived and shared?

I know that love is an action verb that weakens when we take it for granted and we donít nourish it with our time and attention.† I have seen love erode with unkind words; even those uttered in the form of a sarcastic joke.† I have witnessed love wither in proportion to the breaking of promises and lack of truth in words.† We know that love is fragile and is ultimately breakable, and when it breaks, everyone is in on it. Both people let go of loveís hold and the proclamation of loveís end is understood and mutually recognized.† In fact, it often comes as a relief with the permission to finally let go.† Releasing relationships that are done is painful for what is lost, but honest endings do not provoke shame.

The proclamation of love ended has less to do with the state of the relationship, than the person leaving.† These breaks catch us off guard and shatter our faith in our ability to trust our reality and how we relate. †When we endure personal failures, it is easy to feel cut off from ourselves and to lose our ability to love ourselves.† Rather than tending to our inner brokenness, we blame the relationships closest to us.† Our internal abandonment spreads like a contagion to everyone we have loved.† We deny the good around us as a way to balance the awful weight inside of us.† When our internal connections shred, we are unable to remember how to love.

Lacking emotional intelligence is the norm in our culture and it is common behavior to hold our relationships hostage to our internal dissatisfaction and unhappiness. Tragically it is too easy to buy into rejection and accept the blame. The shock of being told we are not loved, makes us believe we are not loveable, too flawed to be worthy of love.† We get too lost in our pain to see the story for what it is,† a projection of a broken spirit and an inability to feel our own heart.† We donít have the insight to decipher our own abandonment from that of our loved one, and we lack the language to call things by their true name.

Lucky for us, author Laura Munson, a new friend I had the privilege to interview, had the courage to face this end of love story in her own life and named it accurately and compassionately, This Is Not The Story You Think It Is…: A Season of Unlikely Happiness.† After years of writing rejections and the loss of her father, taught her how to not rely on outer circumstances for her happiness.† When her husband proclaimed his disaffection for her, she had the guts to let go of the story line. This allowed her to understand her husbandís pronouncement for the real inner pain that it was.

Listen to the interview here: The Courage of Letting Go

Letting each other go through our own dark night of the soul without taking on the story line that we use to protect and defend ourselves is the height of courage in love.† We simultaneously have to embrace the groundlessness that comes with surrendering to not knowing the outcome, while holding onto our own internal center of trusting our capacity to love and be loved.† It is odd that we are more willing to hang onto a story line, even one that we donít want, than give ourselves over to the freedom and possibilities that can only happen moment by moment.

This practice of surrendering our idea of controlling the outcome in life, as in love is both terrifying and exhilarating because it is a true portal of gratitude.† It is a practice that works by simply letting life be what it is, which is the only place where we are open enough to forgive, to let go, and to receive the goodness right in front of us.

Read more: Blogs, Making Love Sustainable, Self-Help, Spirit, , , ,

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Wendy Strgar

Wendy Strgar, founder and CEO of Good Clean Love, is a loveologist who writes and lectures on Making Love Sustainable, a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love, intimacy and family.† In her new book, Love that Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy,† she tackles the challenging issues of sustaining relationships and healthy intimacy with an authentic and disarming style and simple yet innovative advice.†It has been called "the essential guide for relationships." †The book is available on ebook.† Wendy has been married for 27 years to her husband, a psychiatrist, and lives with their four children ages 13- 22 in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.


+ add your own
12:10AM PDT on Apr 28, 2013


6:18AM PST on Feb 17, 2013

Thank you

12:26PM PDT on Sep 13, 2012

thanks for sharing

12:00PM PDT on Jun 4, 2012

a little too wordy for me, but

11:55PM PDT on May 23, 2012

Thank-You, Soooo much for your article. I am beginning the healing journey and will hold on to what you said, "The shock of being told we are not loved makes us believe we are not loveable" I really needed that and will hold on to it during the up coming hard times

1:48PM PDT on May 22, 2012


7:14AM PDT on May 21, 2012

thank you

11:27PM PDT on May 20, 2012

I don't feel like commenting on this article which I enjoyed after reading all the advertising for by Halima.
I hope that's the last of her - abusing Care2's membership !

5:18PM PDT on May 20, 2012


1:42PM PDT on May 20, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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