I never truly understood the meaning of this phrase when I was a child. It was always applied in movies where the child star found a stray dog and brought it home, and his parents told him to set it back in the wild, and when the dog came back it meant that it was supposed to be with the family all along and that it truly loved the child as much as the child loved it. As I grew older, however, I learned that loving doesn't necessarily mean letting others go but rather letting oneself go.
I have had the privilege to love someone in my life and to be loved by that person. In order to fully grow in that relationship, I had to let a lot of things go. I had to understand that loving meant letting go. Loving means loving unconditionally and putting aside any conditions that may stop you from loving.
What I mean by putting aside conditions is weeding out what has stopped you from loving, whether that be a doubt, fear, or simply the unknown and tossing it to the side. Out the window. Putting aside a condition means letting your walls down and just accepting the love another gives to you, and giving it back in return, unconditionally.
I believe that when you love someone you automatically let go, both of yourself and of things within yourself that initially prevented you from fully falling for someone. Even when the person you love slips up, or lets you down, you are able to overlook it because you've let go of trying to protect yourself and you simply love them through their flaws, because they would do the same for you.
Letting go is the best feeling in the world. I believe that the things that scare us most in life are, in reality, life's biggest thrills. Sometimes love is a blind faith. It is jumping into the deep end with your eyes closed and hoping you don't hit the bottom. It is taking down your floodgates and letting your love rush over another as if the dam is broken. It's softening your edges and showing warm, boundless acceptance by opening your arms wide to another.
And although that is hard, loving by letting go always pays off. Letting go is an essential part of growing. The more you grow into another, the more you will trust him or her, and the easier it will be to love like there is nothing to lose, because you've already let everything go.
I also believe that letting go is an essential aspect of every part of life, whether that be loving another or loving yourself and your life. You have to let go of certain conditions that stopped you from loving yourself in order to fully accept yourself. You have to make terms with how you felt a certain way in the past and make terms with the fact that that part of you is over now. You have to learn to be happy with who you are in the present, and who you want to be in the future. You have to know what your best is and you have to be okay with your best, even if no one else is.
In order to love your lives fully, you also have to let go of the ideals you hold of your own life. Often, especially as adolescents, we romanticize our lives and what we think they should look like, and then feel disappointed or confused when they don't turn out exactly how we pictured them. Living that way is always going to result in disappointment, because no life has ever gone exactly as planned.
In order to love life to the fullest and truly embrace with all your heart the life that you are living, it is essential to let go of who or where you think you should be in life and what you hoped your life would look like by now and accept it for what it is. Accepting your life only leaves room for gratitude which will eventually give way to boundless, compassionate love for your life and everyone and everything in it.
Therefore, if you love something, let it go. If you want to love another fully, and if you trust that person, let go of yourself in order to love him or her fully. If you want to love yourself, let go of the qualms you hold within yourself and love all parts of you, good and bad. If you want to love your life, let go of what you think it should be and just start loving it for what it is.
Eventually, you'll find that loving by letting go isn't really letting go at all. It's making room for everything you've ever loved to come back to you and to love you in return.