In This New Year, Resolve to ‘Let it Go’

By Gwenn Voelckers

Are you convinced you’ll never find love again? Or regret the way you behaved in your marriage? Still angry at your ex? Or yourself?

Holding on to past hurts, slights, negative thinking or lost opportunities can compromise your sense of well-being and ability to be alone and content. Whereas “letting go” can be the catalyst for a fulfilling and enriching solo journey.

As someone who’s walked this path, I’ve discovered that letting go isn’t just a phrase; it’s a powerful resolution, especially for those navigating life alone after a divorce or the loss of a spouse or partner.

And it isn’t about erasing the past; letting go is about releasing the grip of memories, fears and limiting beliefs that keep us from leading our best lives.

In contemplation of this column, I reached out to several divorced and widowed friends and asked what keeps them stuck in unwelcome thought patterns and behaviors.

Below, I’ve shared their very personal and, in some cases, heart-tugging issues, many of which I’ve struggled with myself.

As uncomfortable as it can be, I’ve found that sitting with and reflecting on my issues has been liberating and life-giving. Under each issue, you’ll find some probing questions that may help you move through the letting go process.

It might be euphoric recall, but I can’t let go of memories of my past family life when we were all together. I worry I’ll never feel that joy again.

• Are you idealizing those past times or not allowing room for new, different kinds of joy in your current life?

• What specific qualities or experiences in that former family life do you miss the most?

• What new activities, connections and traditions could you create in your present situation that would bring you similar joy?

I can’t let go of feelings of insecurity about making big life decisions on my own, decisions such as whether to move or buy a new car or renovate my kitchen.

• What positive experiences have you had in making decisions on your own? Your past experiences can point to successful outcomes!

• Are there resources and experts you can consult when making significant life decisions?

• Can you embrace the freedom and empowerment that come with making decisions independently?

I’m having a hard time letting go of the anger I feel toward my spouse for his betrayal and the upending of our life together.

• How does holding onto this anger impact your mood, your relationships and your quality of life?

• Have you been able to express your anger in healthy ways, either through therapy, writing or other outlets?

• Can forgiveness, for your own peace, be part of your healing journey?

Where did my courage go? I love to travel, but the idea of traveling alone scares me to pieces. I can’t let go of that fear.

• What exactly are you afraid of — is it the logistics of travel? Safety? Social concerns?

• Would talking with or reading articles or blogs from solo travelers help you reframe solo travel as an opportunity for personal growth and discovery?

• Can you start small, maybe with a day trip or weekend trip alone to test the waters and build your confidence? Do it; pack your bags!

I live in constant fear of the future, especially when it comes to money matters. My husband (rest his soul) took care of everything.

• What is the source of your financial insecurity? Is it lack of experience or knowledge or is it more about your own self-doubt?

• Could you ask advice from a friend in a similar situation who has successfully managed her finances alone?

• How about seeking the advice of a financial adviser? Your friend may be able to recommend someone.

I fear I will be forgotten. I live alone now. Who will be here to care for me if I get sick or feel lonely?

• What can you do to build a support network or community that you can rely on in times of need?

• How can you cultivate meaningful connections and relationships that transcend your fear of being forgotten?

• What steps can you take to maintain your health and well-being, such as exercise and a healthy diet, to reduce the likelihood of needing extra care?

I’m consumed with regrets. Should I have worked harder to save my marriage? Why didn’t I see trouble brewing? Why did I let myself go? Help!

• How does dwelling on your regrets hinder your ability to move forward?

• Are there any steps you can take to forgive yourself for past mistakes or regrets, such as acknowledging that you were doing the best you could at the time?

• Can you reframe past experiences as life lessons that have shaped who you are today and offer the promise of a fulfilling future?

I worry I’ll never find love again, especially at my age. Negative beliefs about myself and my aging body have taken up permanent residence in my head.

• Do you have any examples of older people in your circle of friends who have found love later in life? It could be helpful to chat with them about their experiences.

• What qualities and strengths do you possess that you believe are attractive to others, regardless of age?

• Would you consider affirmations or a meditation practice to help you cultivate self-love and acceptance? You’re worth it!

Letting go isn’t a one-time event; it’s a continuous process of self-reflection, growth, and liberation. By probing these personal issues and asking ourselves these tough but empowering questions, we can pave the way for a life and a future filled with purpose, joy, and connections.

I wish you and all my readers a Happy New Year. Let it go . . . and let the party begin!

Gwenn Voelckers is the founder and facilitator of Alone and Content empowerment workshops for women (now on hiatus) and the author of “Alone and Content: Inspiring, empowering essays to help divorced and widowed women feel whole and complete on their own” To contact Voelckers or purchase her book, visit