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Letting go of the unloving ways

Mimi Zhu

March 26th, 2024

Each year begins with renewed energy and commitment to the mystery that is love.

Welcome to another year of Ask Mimi Anything. I am excited to begin a new year with you, with renewed energy and even more commitment to the mystery that is love. Each year I feel like I come closer to understanding this puzzle, but I’m noticing now that there are infinitely more layers to learn. I learn a new one every year. 

It is the beginning of the Lunar New Year and the year of the wood dragon has dawned upon us. I’ve read a lot about transformative change, the end of cycles and the start of new beginnings. With the power of that manifestation, in this edition, I will be focusing on the topics of letting go of the old ways. We are in a crucial global time of doing so, of shedding old ways of thinking and dominating. We are shedding a lot, shedding light on accurate histories and demanding change. As I write about love, relearning ways of loving is always present. It is political, it is urgent, it is necessary. Let it infuse into your movement work, into your everyday life, into your commitment to community. 

Love is not trivial. It is eternal, and it is the driving force of immense change. What you can apply to your personal relationships you can reverberate outwards in the flowing waters of history. 

I love your book! It changed my life! Do you have any advice on letting go of attachment to an ex-partner after a breakup? I have been having a hard time letting go.

After a breakup it is easy to idealize your ex-partner as the best person you will ever have, because they became so familiar to you. Your attachment is not just to this person, though I am sure you deeply miss them, but also to the familiarity of the habits you created together. It is normal, it is natural. 

But what you are gifted with right now is the beauty of seeing what else is possible for you. What else you can do, how you can romance yourself, how you can see and understand the world without feeling responsible to this same partner. Feel all that you must feel, but always keep in mind that there are beams of light shining through. What awaits you after the storm of your grief is so deeply aligned with your styles and language of loving.

Write as you must, release all the energy in your heart, admit to yourself how difficult this is (as you are), but always make space for the knowledge that new pathways and connections are emerging.

A month ago I left an 8 year relationship with someone who is amazing—fun, patient, resilient, chemistry, love, communication, best friendship, aligned futures. However, we’ve had many ups and downs over the years and I was never completely sure. I quieted my inner knowing. I am deeply emotional and always needed someone with more natural empathy and emotional capacity than this person has. I’m grieving of course, and struggling with thoughts that I’m “too much,” that it’s too much to have this core need. How do I trust myself? How do I trust that following a quiet knowing is okay, and true, and that there is more out there?

Your inner knowing is not quiet, it is in fact very loud. Despite being able to see the beauty in your ex-partner, you are no longer forcing yourself to remain in an attachment that may not have been compatible for you, especially for your emotional needs.

Knowing your emotional needs is a loving act for yourself, and perhaps your love for your ex-partner shifted in shapes, as I’m sure the both of you have too. It is okay to need more, and while it is unkind to expect perfection from someone, it is also courageous to admit when something may no longer feel like it is in the right alignment. 

It is a time for you to enact that change, to also, like the reader above, courageously enter a new phase of unfamiliarity, in which you are firm with your needs. You are not too much, and you deserve to be with someone who does not make you feel that way.

I think you already trust yourself deeply, and you transitioning out of that relationship is evidence of that. While you may not know what is possible just yet, you have been courageous enough to step into the unknowing. I assure you, the love you require will come. It has already blossomed from within. 

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