“Saudade: a nostalgic longing to be near again to someone or something that is distant, or that has been loved and then lost; the love that remains.” ~ Unknown
When it comes to matters of the heart, it doesn’t matter whether we have known someone for just a few moments or for many years.
Love knows not of time or distance, as Kahlil Gibran explains: “It is wrong to think that love comes from long companionship and persevering courtship. Love is the offspring of spiritual affinity, and unless that affinity is created in a moment, it will not be created for years or even generations.”
Therefore, when we have that affinity and an indescribable, indefinable soul connection with someone, it can be almost impossible to forget how it once felt—or to try to pretend that it didn’t, or doesn’t still, exist.
This is why, with certain people, as much as our head tells us that it is time to move on and let go, our heart simply refuses to agree. The reason for this is that whether we like to admit it or not, we all crave a deep, intimate connection, because there is nothing more healing and nourishing for our soul than being immersed in energy that dances intimately and harmoniously with our own.
Just like a drug, we will always crave the sensational highs that came with the deepest sense of connection we have ever experienced. Whether it is mutual love or not, if someone evokes feelings that shake every fiber of our being, it can be extremely difficult to continue on without that person playing a significant part in our lives.
This can seem tragic at times, and for some people, it may mean they place themselves in a position in which they could be treated poorly; it may lead to being taken advantage of or being treated callously.
However, for others, it is a journey that takes them through limitless lessons—and even when there is pain or separation, the heart continues loving, learning, stretching, growing, and opening wider despite a strong temptation to permanently slam it shut.
When we are in this kind of dynamic, we may tell ourselves over and over just to “let it go” and move onward, far from all the memories. However, the reality is that when we focus so much energy on letting go, we actually achieve the opposite and create a stronger magnetism to the person.
To let anything go, we must surrender to what is. We must understand what is, and we must accept our fated circumstances without attempting to push or pull them out of sync.
“When we stop struggling, we float. It is law.” ~ Unknown
It may sound crazy to some, but many of us will even grasp tightly to people we know are bad for us—people who cause us turmoil and trauma—and yet, we still can’t figure out why we want (and feel like we need) them around so badly.
Loving unconditionally is a tragically beautiful condition of the human heart. Despite how often we speak of “unconditional love,” it is a rare occurrence, which makes it so utterly addictive when it is found.
We can read every book on the planet and listen to every piece of advice that good friends offer, but our fingers will not uncurl from the grip of someone we love until our heart fully understands that we can never lose someone who is simply not ours to begin with. No person ever belongs to another person, even when they have made marital commitments, so no one needs to hold on to those they love.
The very essence of love is that it is fluid and ever flowing—and it cannot be controlled, stopped, or restarted simply through determination and will.
We long for someone because we want them near, and that is perfectly natural—however, we cause ourselves so much anguish and pain when we believe that just because we love them, we also need to have them physically close to us and playing a daily part in all that we do.
It is okay to exist in this world without being physically present in the lives of those we love. It is okay to love from a distance. It is okay to accept that not everyone who deeply connects will forge a life with one another. It is okay to feel grief and sadness as we feel the one we love silently slip away.
However, we do not need to worry our minds and hearts with the “hows” and “whys” of letting go of anyone. All we need to do is remind ourselves that love cannot be trapped; it requires space and freedom. The highest form of love is to continue loving despite the circumstances not turning out as we might have hoped, dreamed, or wished for.
Unconditional love is not for the faint-hearted—neither is it a choice that anyone makes. It just is, or it is not—and it can be both pleasant and unpleasant; therefore, when we find it, it can feel like both a blessing and a curse. Regardless, it is something we have to come to terms with if we want to live in peace, as the nature of unconditional love is that it will continue to exist with tenderness and forgiveness lying at its roots.
The very notion of “letting go” is entirely an illusion. Truly, we don’t need to let anyone or anything go, as we aren’t actually holding on to anything tangible. All we need to do is vulnerably love and accept the other person as they are, whether near or far—and most importantly, without demands or expectations.
Surrendering to love is the most powerfully healing and transformational thing we can do, and sometimes it is our only option—because, whether we like it or not, when love is true, it lingers on.
Author: Alex Myles
Image: Unsplash/Felix Russell-Saw
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Copy editor: Nicole Cameron
Social editor: Waylon Lewis