You’ve gone through every article on the first three pages of hits off Google and even though you’re not scoring 100% on every check list, there’s no doubt about it: you know you have to move on. You’ve done the homework about the how-to, too: call a friend, write a letter, cry, watch a movie, treat yourself, sign up for something new…but for reasons you don’t understand, you’re stuck.
The short answer to why is simple: deep down, you’re not 100% convinced that this is it. And no, 99.99% isn’t good enough.
That’s the thing about humans and their hearts – if there’s even a sliver of hope that something could work out, we amplify it to the point where it outshines all the odds that are stacked against us. This is the only reason why people even try to fight adversity and why we feel good when we hear about random strangers overcoming obstacles: the heart likes to be reminded that there is hope.
That’s just human.
That’s also why, when we’re struggling to let go, the way forward is holding on even tighter.
Call the friend who doesn’t have time to reply to your texts; call every day. Sit down with the lover you’ve fought with a hundred times for another talk. Take up the initiative and call her to go for that movie you think you’d both enjoy. Make him his favorite dinner, even if you doubt he’ll appreciate it. If they don’t reciprocate today, try tomorrow. And the day after. And keep doing it until one of two things happens:
You break through and something changes. 0.01 outweighs 99.99. For a change, she calls you first instead. One day, he cracks and tells you about how much stress he’s been under, about how he’s really wanted this to work out but hasn’t seen how. Or the both of you fall apart together and your tears wash away all those irreconcilable differences that would have spelt The End. Shaken and fragile as you are, you emerge from the woods.
You break down and everything changes. 0.01 completes the 99.99. Perhaps he says the exact words you needed to hear to know for sure. Maybe one morning she tells you something that gives you a new perspective you’d been blind to thus far. Or the conversation both of you have brings you to a mutual agreement that there’s no turning back and your tears clean muddied glass to let you see the way forward. Shattered and broken as you are, it’s Game Over and you can finally leave the woods.
It’s like being stuck with an ailing puppy – by holding on, you’re either able to nurse it back to health, or find the strength to put it down. What the heart doesn’t allow for is walking away without an answer to ‘what ifs’.