How to Let Go of Someone

Sad woman.

Martin-Dm/E+/Getty Images 

Letting go of someone is never easy, especially if this person played a large and meaningful role in your life. For example, you may still care deeply about an ex and just can't seem to get him or her out of your mind, or you may feel deeply wronged by a past partner and are unable to let go of all the hurt and pain that he or she caused. No matter the circumstances, when it comes to letting go, there are five essential steps that you can take to move forward with your life and finally unburden yourself from this person’s long-lasting impact.

1. Make Peace With What Happened Between the Two of You

Letting go of someone means facing and accepting the reality of what transpired between the two of you, no matter how hard or challenging that may seem. Whether this person broke your heart, betrayed your trust, or simply wasn’t right for you in the end, letting go means admitting the truth to yourself regarding your relationship with this person. You may still need time to grieve the loss of this person or mourn his or her absence from your life. But rather than suppressing these feelings or denying that you’re hurting inside, a key step in letting go means experiencing the whirlwind of emotions caused by this person and working your way out to the other side. If you want to let go of someone, you have to let yourself go through the process of dealing with what happened between the two of you and accepting the truth of how things are now.

2. Don’t Look at His or Her Social Media

How often do you check this person’s Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter? A crucial part of letting go of someone means that you have to remove this person from your life—even digitally. By continuing to follow this person on social media and constantly checking to see what he or she’s up, you’re still letting this person influence your behavior and keep a lingering presence in your daily life.

In many cases, his or her posts, pictures, and tweets will only leave you feeling sad or upset and cause you even more pain. If you want to move on, you have to stop letting this person maintain a lasting impact on you and take the lead on unfollowing him or her.

3. Look for Ways to Improve Your Own Life

If you decide to let someone go, you should think of it as the perfect opportunity to let something else into your life, whatever that may be. Rather than spending your time thinking about this person and replaying in your mind every conversation you had with one another, you should shift your focus to something more productive. For instance, rather than being weighed down by the fact that this person broke up with you, why not lift weights at the gym and break a personal record? By taking the energy that you were going to spend mulling over this person and redirecting it toward something truly beneficial and worthwhile, you're able to let go by saying hello to something far more positive. 

4. Recognize That You’re Not Alone

When you're trying to let go of someone, it's not uncommon to feel an overwhelming sense of loneliness and isolation. However, by reaching out to friends, family, or a trained professional, you can overcome these kinds of feelings not only through the sheer presence of others around you, but also through their unwavering support, guidance, and advice as well.

Not only can those around you offer words of wisdom as well as a shoulder on which to cry, they may in fact have their own stories of letting go and moving on that can help you recognize that your experience is more common than you think—and more importantly, that you will get through this. By surrounding yourself with positive people who have your back, you're taking a real step forward in letting go for good.

5. Have High Hopes for the Future

Despite how challenging it may seem, you should resolve to never give up on finding new love in the future. For instance, while your ex may have disappointed you, hurt you, or left you brokenhearted, it's especially imperative in times like these to remember how strong you are. Letting go of someone is an act of real courage and strength, as you're proving to yourself that there's someone else out there who's more worthy of your love, affection, and attention.

When you recognize that you deserve better, you're opening yourself up to the possibility of falling in love again and making space in your heart for another person. The very act of letting go means that you'll be ready to let someone else into your life in the future.