The Process of Letting Go

We all must have experienced a circumstance in life, where we have to let go of something. Our dreams, people we love the most, our feelings, our pet, our favorite piece of clothing, or anything we’re attached to. Letting go is not an easy task to do. Some people took a hell lot of time, some others can never really let go. Yet one thing is certain: if we want to let go of something, we have to make the effort.

As an Industrial Engineer, I am familiar with depicting a process. Process is something that occurs in between input and output. We go in broken and we will come out stronger, better than who we were. The process of letting go consists of several phases: denial, acceptance, forgiving, moving on, and forgetting. They all are equally important in the process of making us stronger as you can read below.

Denial phase. Sudden loss causes human being to feel shocked. It’s very normal that we try to deny the bad news. For several days, we wish that the bad news will eventually turn into a good news. Often in this phase, we make some efforts to change the situation. I’m not going to say that the effort won’t make any difference because in some cases it does. The thing is, since the very moment we lose something, we have to keep reminding ourselves that anything in this life is not ours to possess. So there should be a balance between trying to fix the situation and trying to accept it. The turning point of this phase could be anything, really. And it’s different from one person to another. This phase, I believe, to be the hardest. As life surprises us in many different ways, we’re not sure of what’s going to happen next. And we’re never sure whether to let go or to keep the hope alive.

Acceptance phase. This is the phase where we feel so relieved, finally. Accepting the life as it is will bring more joy and peace in our hearts. Once we accept the loss, we realize that it is for the best. We got to let go of things that are not meant to be ours. The hope we hold fades away and we stop making any effort to win the battle between our ego and the fate.

Forgiving phase. Most people may not agree with how I arrange these phases in an order. Some people may not be able to forgive until forever. But to me, forgiving is a crucial phase. It helps us to move on to the next phases. The term forgiving doesn’t only apply to other people. More importantly, we have to forgive ourselves. Often we blame ourselves for our failure, for our inability to make a different – a better – decision in the past, and so on. There’s no one to blame for any loss that we experience. People we met, things we did, decision we chose, our past are the ones that shape who we are right now. Embrace them. And forgive them. Forgive ourselves, too.

Moving On phase. Isn’t it the dream of everyone? To move on? Moving on means continue living with a bold intention to live in a better way. To get back on track after the disaster. Moving on equals to leaving the past behind and focusing on the present and the future. See why the forgiving phase is important and should be put before this and the last phase? Because to move on, we need to make peace with the past. And to make peace, we ought to forgive.

Forgetting phase. When we move on, we begin a brand new life. We start getting busy with our new routine, our new positive habits, etc. Eventually, we forget about the loss. Not literally forget what had happened in the past but more to forget how sad it was and how it destroyed us. We only remember how we’ve grown since that moment occurred. The loss becomes a casual moment that is insignificant to the present.

In letting go, there’s no phase of meeting new person, finding new opportunity, getting a brand new stuff, or anything similar to a replacement. For some people, they need a replacement before they let go of the past. But, it shouldn’t be the replacement that makes us successfully let go of our loss. It’s not a new lover, not a new job hire, not a new car that enables us to let go. It should be ourselves. Cause what if the replacement never comes? Are we gonna cling to the past forever?

I’ve been repeating the same thing to myself throughout the whole phase: when you forgive, you heal. When you let go, you grow.

I hope you come out stronger 🙂


♥ Atiqah Zulfa Nadia


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