In their book: “It’s So Hard to Love You”, Bill Klatte and Kate Thompson provide us with some ideas as to how to “let go” in a loving way. Some of their suggestions are:
1. Let go of the fantasy that you can change someone else
You can’t change your difficult loved one regardless of how hard you try, how much you care or how right you are. They need to change themselves. Giving up this fantasy will greatly reduce your sense of responsibility and your stress.
2. Love yourself
You might do so much for others that you lose sight of your own needs. If others try to blame you for their mistakes, don’t fall for it. Put yourself first more often and take good care of yourself.
3. Don’t take other people’s actions personally
Don’t blame yourself for your loved one’s actions. Stop suffering for decisions and choices made by your loved one.
4. Don’t work harder at helping your difficult loved one than he does
Pay attention to who’s consistently working on your loved one’s problems. If it’s you, you’re doing too much. Spending more time, money and energy will lead to your burnout and create dependency in your loved one.
5. Aim for improvement, not perfection
Don’t pressure yourself or others to be perfect. Aim for improvement over time. Everyone makes poor decisions, says the wrong thing at times, changes their mind and feels unsure. Do not punish yourself or others for being imperfect.
6. Appreciate small improvements
Temper your expectations: by definition, your loved one will make the same mistakes over and over. Appreciating small improvements will help you stay optimistic even when changes are less than you hoped.
7. Remember your own mistakes
When you get frustrated with your loved one’s actions, remember foolish, irresponsible or hurtful things you’ve done. Remind yourself that you turned out OK and presume your loved one may also. Try to be less judgmental and afraid for your troubled loved one.
8. Ask for help when you need it
Going it alone limits your effectiveness and adds to your emotional suffering. Accept help and support from positive people you can trust.
9. Get your emotional needs met elsewhere
Enjoyable adult relationships and activities recharge your batteries when drained by difficult loved ones. Connect with emotionally mature adults you don’t have to worry over, take care of or try to save from themselves. Have fun!
10. Act “as if”
When talking with your difficult loved one, act as if they are listening and care what you think. Don’t weaken your message because you fear they’ll laugh at you or ignore you. Be respectful how you say it, but tell your truth.
11. Make your own choices
Decide for yourself what you’ll do. Do NOT let your loved one make your choices for you. Don’t be bullied, guilt-tripped or manipulated.
12. Decide for yourself what meaning to give life events
Your emotional state stems from your attitude about life. Your happiness is not about what happens in your life but how you interpret events in your life. Don’t let your troubled loved one (or anyone else) decide what your life events mean to you.
Source: It’s So Hard to Love You. Bill Klatte, Kate Thompson