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How to Let Go: Learning to Deal with Loss

https://markmanson.net/how-to-let-go

markmanson.net

How to Let Go: Learning to Deal with Loss
And then it does. A night that you only get to experience maybe a couple times in your life, if you're lucky. And with that realization, to my surprise, I began to experience a faint sort of sadness. I grieved over a tiny loss of myself-that cocky, self-assured 27-year-old who walked into that restaurant having no idea what lay before him.

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Change and the unchangeable

Change and the unchangeable
We like to think that things can be changed. That we are in control somehow.  That's why “never” hurts, because never means that it can’t be changed. “Never” means it’s over. It’s gone. And that’s really hard to bear.

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Meaning and relationships

Meaning and relationships
  • We generate meaning through relationships. And meaning is the fuel of our minds. 
  • Our relationships also define our understanding of ourselves. And when one of these relationships is destroyed, that part of our identity is destroyed along with it. 

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Depression vs. sadness

Depression vs. sadness
  • Sadness occurs when something feels bad. 
  • Depression occurs when something feels meaningless. 

When something feels bad, at least it has meaning. In depression, everything becomes a big blank void. 

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2 ways we react to loss

2 ways we react to loss
  • The healthy response to loss is to slowly construct new relationships and bring new meaning into one’s life.
  • The unhealthy response to loss is to refuse to accept it. It’s to cling to the past and desperately try to recover it or relive it in some way. 

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Toxic vs. healthy relationships

Toxic vs. healthy relationships
  • A toxic relationship: people are emotionally dependent on each other -  they use drama and use each other for the approval and respect they are unable to give themselves.
  • A healthy relationship: people are emotionally interdependent with each other -  they approve of and respect each other because they approve of and respect themselves.

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Getting better at accepting loss

Getting better at accepting loss
  • Understand that our memories lie to us and convince us that everything was awesome in the past.
  • Surround yourself with people who love and appreciate you for who you are.
  • Invest in your relationship with yourself and do whatever you want.

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Emotional agility

Exercising emotional agility is one of the most useful ways to let go of past events that are stopping you from moving on. It consists of:

  • Connection. Talking it out with someone you feel safe around. Share your experience and your feelings.
  • Contribution. Help others who have gone through a similar experience.
  • Compassion. Be kind to yourself. Make sure you are making progress, but don’t rush it. It’s not a race.

Letting go of the illusion of control

We need to give control to get control.

This means giving people (the people you love, your employees, even yourself) the flexibility to experience with the rules. Instead of a rigid framework, define one with key principles.

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Dropping “Hints”

It shows that you two are not comfortable communicating openly and clearly with one another. 

State your feelings and desires openly. And make it clear that the other person is not ne...

Holding the Relationship Hostage

For example, if someone feels like you’ve been cold to them, instead of saying, “I feel like you’re being cold sometimes,” they will say, “I can’t date someone who is cold to me." 

It’s crucial for both people in a relationship to know that negative thoughts and feelings can be communicated safely to one another without it threatening the relationship itself. 

Blaming Your Partner

... for your own emotions. This is a subtle form of selfishness and a classic example of the poor maintenance of personal boundaries. Take responsibility for your own emotions and expect your partner to be responsible for theirs. 

When lifelong dreams crumble

When lifelong dreams crumble

All of us have hopes and dreams for the future that become part of our identity. But then reality gets in the way. Your passion may fade, or the obstacles to realising the dream ma...

Come to terms with your decision

As you let go of your dream, you may fear you're making a mistake.

  • There's no calculus for knowing when to give up. If pursuing your dream comes at great personal cost to your relationships and other goals in life (which is different from a 'harmonious passion'), that would suggest it was wise to give it up.
  • Success is not all or nothing. You may not have fulfilled your dream, but you likely learned much along the way, giving you a chance to redirect your energy and passions in new ways.

Goal adjustment capacity

Psychologists see goal adjustment capacity as a beneficial form of 'self-regulation' or 'self-management.'

It contains two parts:

  1. The ability to disengage from fruitless goals
  2. The ability to know when and how to change to new, more productive goals.

Those who are flexible and adaptable are generally happier, perform better. They often get promoted. If you are thinking of giving up your dream, it suggests you have a healthy willingness to adjust and adapt.