The Unstoppable Power of Letting Go | Jill Sherer Murray | TEDxWilmingtonWomen

Translator: Phuong Cao
Reviewer: Peter van de Ven Letting go can make you unstoppable. I know because I let go
of a relationship and reclaimed my life. And I know that letting go
can create the best of change for each and everyone of you. Let me tell you a story. When I was 41, the death of a relationship
showed me how to truly let go of what wasn’t working. See, up until that time,
I didn’t really think about the future. I kind of lived my life like a dog – moment to moment. I chased balls, I ate
whatever I could find on the ground. (Laughter) And life was good. I had a great job, great friends,
a great apartment, a great actual dog, and a great boyfriend. Well, sort of. See, Hector didn’t have any skin
in the game, and I felt that. He danced around
the very idea of marriage, and after 12 years,
we didn’t even live together. Still, he gave me hope. Well, sometimes. More like living in a situation
that had no hope just felt normal. Don’t get me wrong. I stayed because Hector was a good looking, smart,
reliable, and sensitive guy who cared, and while our relationship
wasn’t perfect, it worked in theory. Until a wake-up call from a friend
changed everything. So my realtor friend called
to tell me about a condo coming up for sale
in my Chicago neighborhood. She knew that I was looking
for Hector to commit and thought, ”Well, maybe this could inspire
a little forward motion.” Still, my first inclination was to say,
“We’re not ready. Not yet.” Haha, “Not yet.” That was Hector’s favorite catchphrase. I would say, ”I want to get married.” He’d say, ”Not yet.” I’d say, ”Let’s live together.” “Not yet.” ”Not yet” was a hair
I couldn’t get out of my eye and a bad song
I couldn’t get out of my head. So you could imagine my surprise
when he said “Sure” to meeting me at the condo at noon. Now, I arrived early and eager. But Hector? Haha, well that was another story. 12:15 came. 12:30. 12:45. 1:00 pm. No Hector. Eventually, he called,
something had come up. So we agreed to reconvene at three,
but Hector was a no-show again. It was in that moment that I decided, after 12 years, it was time to let go. See, I had to let go of Hector
and of the idea of marrying him or anybody because at 41, my options were scary. I could either stay with a man
who couldn’t commit, but was great on
all the holidays and birthdays, or I could break up with him and be alone. Not that letting go of a good man
I truly loved was easy. No, no. I had to survive
the consequences of my epiphany, and that’s when the pain stage kicked in. “You and Hector
won’t be together forever. You won’t be his person. In fact, he’ll probably
meet somebody else fast, marry her, and she’ll be his person. And then you’re going to have to live
with the fact that you made a mistake.” I ugly cried, ate a lot of pizza,
listened to a lot of Joni Mitchell. (Laughter) And then, when I couldn’t rub
my eyes anymore without hitting bone or imagine Hector in a wedding photo
with another woman, probably in a size-6 dress, I brushed myself off. See, I let go of the fear
that I would grow old and die alone, that my friends would use me
as a cautionary tale, that it was too late for me. No, no. In that moment, I had to finally admit
what I really wanted, which was more. You see, Hector not showing up, that was a gift, and that it gave me freedom
because let’s face it, I’d been chasing that ball for 12 years. No, no. It was time to move on,
even if I risked rejection. So I made a plan, one that got clearer with every step. Of course, Hector had an excuse
for his no-show. But by then, it didn’t matter. I told him it was over. I quit my job, I hugged my friends, I sold my beautiful condo
in the same neighborhood that delivered me
that life-changing epiphany. I let go of everything to start a whole
new life in New Hope, Pennsylvania. To which he said,
”Don’t go, we’ll get married.” To which I said, ”You had twelve years.” To which he said, ”I’ll come visit.” To which I said, ”Not yet.” (Laughter) Was it hard? Ha ha, you bet. Was it worth it? Within a year of leaving,
I met my husband Dan online. (Laughter) I knew when he showed up
for our first date, in the most wrinkled shirt
I have ever seen, (Laughter) with a rain hat to keep me dry
walking from the restaurant to the car, that this was my guy. (Laughter) You see, umbrellas were for people
who wanted distance. Too heavy a wind, you know,
turned them inside out, and even the best of them
only lasted so long. But a rain hat, you know, the kind with a string,
and you tie it under your chin, (Laughter) Now, that’s personal. And after four dates, it turned to love. Finally, I understood
why I had to wait so long. Dan was handsome and wise
and soulful and kind, and he made me feel
like I could do and be anything. We could. And we got married a year later. (Sigh) When I turned 50, Hector died of cancer. And as you can imagine,
I grieved for a very long time. But his death reaffirmed for me the promise I made
to myself when I was 41: that I would never
take time for granted again. Instead, I would use it
to let go, to create space for the things I really wanted
and for what mattered most. Here are five ways
to let go I know work because I still use them every single day. One. Let go of taking things personally. I spent a lot of time wondering why Hector
didn’t love me enough to marry me until I realized that his inability
to commit had less to do with me and more to do
with his duty to his family. Now, I’m not saying that was not
a hard pill to swallow, but there was a lot of peace in knowing that it was his issue
and not some defect in me. If people aren’t giving you what you want,
or if they’re just behaving badly, most times, that’s their problem, not yours. Two. Let go of what other people think. So after my husband and I
dated for a couple of months, I took him home to meet my parents. (Laughter) ”He’s very good-looking,”
my mother said. ”You know, Ted Bundy
is very good looking.” (Laughter) Now, I could’ve let this
influence my actions, (Laughter) could have let my imagination run wild with thoughts of my new beau
stabbing me while I slept. (Laughter) But instead, I just
chalked it up to my mother. There is a rule in business that states: Whenever you are putting
something out there, 10% of people will hate it, 80% will be indifferent, and 10% will be your raving fans. And raving fans are awesome, but if somebody’s not a raving fan,
let that be okay too. Three. Let go of trying
to be something you’re not. Now, I have this crazy big personality
that I actually call “the Big.” Some people really like the Big. (Laughter) Some people are fascinated by it, kind of the way they are
fascinated by jugglers. (Laughter) And others just run away. But it’s who I am. I have tried to turn down
the current on the Big, but hard as I try, there it is. There are some things
we just can’t change about ourselves, and that’s a good thing. Four. Let go of the need to be perfect. Many years ago, I wrote
a column for Shape Magazine, and I got a lot of mail from readers, including a very sad letter
from this teenage girl asking for my advice
on how to improve herself after her absolutely horrid boyfriend
had her strip down so he could critique her body. This is a true story. I said, ”Dump him immediately, and never let anybody
make you feel bad about yourself again.” But we all know that feeling
the need for perfection is not just about our weight. It’s also about keeping the house clean
and the dogs groomed and the kids healthy
and the bosses happy and all the balls in the air. It’s even about keeping our youth intact. And yet, who wants to be friends
with someone who’s perfect? Think about that. And lastly, five – my favorite! Let go of ”Not yet.” You know, when I left Chicago,
my life was pretty good, it just wasn’t good enough. If there is something you want to do,
make a plan and act, but don’t wait. I still grieve for Hector, you know,
it just comes in waves now. But it’s the phone call I can’t make that reminds me to make every day count. And I encourage you all to do the same. Whatever that is, I say,
”Let go for it.” Thank you. (Applause)

About the author


  1. amazingggggg ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

  2. I soo needed this. Hector sounds like my son dad. Iโ€™m glad I found ted talks and was able to let go

  3. I'm currently in a situation that I need to let go of. It's really hard to let go of something so passionate and so strong especially when the circumstances are out of both your control. I wish I was good at this skill. Seems so helpful in life.

  4. I havent watched the video yet. My gf left me suddenly and broke our relationship. I gave my 100% and she gave me nothing. Sometimes i indeed screwed up but i always made up for it. But now she left me, and im heartbroken af. I hope this video helps me in finding relief from this pain and agony. I disnt wanted her to leave me, but she did anyways.

  5. EXCELLENT…..make everyday count never let someoneโ€™s inability to see you , love you, commit to keep you from living YOUR LIFE… at 41 I allowed a man to come into my life and completely rearrange my life drag me down and damn near destroy me all because I dint want to be alone but when LET GO my life changed completely and now Iโ€™m better than I was

  6. I've been struggling a lot for the past five months and then I listened to this: "I will never take time for granted again, instead I will use it to let go, to create space for the things I really wanted and for what matter most".

  7. This story brought tears to my eyes…I related to this story and it helped me to make a very important decision

  8. I have to let go of someone who doesn't even care if I'm in their life anymore. I'm just holding onto memories now. I have to let go so that I can move on and breathe again. I have to do it for me. Thank you for this wonderful TED talk, Jill ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Thank you for this! It's been about 2 months of going back & forth asking myself if I should or shouldn't let someone go. Finally after this video, I decided to let him go. It's a little hard but definitely necessary. One of many things I learned from my previous relationship, was that I had to decide what was more important, loosing him or loosing myself in a relationship that no longer makes me happy & fulfilled. In the end, I choose to loose him instead. I'm currently in the path of getting to know myself & loving every part of me, so that when the right one comes, he will learn to love & value me as I do.

  10. Jill I just read n I m so happy that the talk show was best by letting go of the past it hurts but it gives relief to ur heart by thinking there is something better then this thanks.

  11. letting go means s. with one guy – leave him – then s. with another guy – leave him – then s. with next guy … ad infinitum

  12. Youโ€™re truly inspiring! Thank you… this video is very important.. the message is life changing…

  13. I recently lost my friendship with my best friend of 13years she was the sister I never had she met a man on Facebook and needless today I become invisible sheโ€™s gonna marry him and move out of state complicated situation I canโ€™t move on Iโ€™ve tried I cry everyday I lock myself in my bathroom at home or work I canโ€™t get past the memories the tears the laughter the loneliness empty ness the hurt the betrayal I feel soo lost and alone itโ€™s been 6months I still feel very depressed and suicidal despite counseling and therapy I really donโ€™t see any hope for me I donโ€™t care about anything anymore my heart is broke into a million pieces please help me ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐ŸŒง๐ŸŒง๐ŸŒง๐ŸŒง๐ŸŒง๐ŸŒง๐ŸŒง๐ŸŒง๐ŸŒง๐ŸŒง๐ŸŒง

  14. This is more than money! Right on time! Learning to stop holding on to things that dont or no longer serve/aid me & my progression!!!!!

  15. This video keeps popping up on my recommended and I still do not have the strength to begin to watch it. I am not yet ready to let go of my ex. I am still holding on, I cry almost every day, I think about him all the time, I cannot concentrate or focus on any tasks for too long at all, and with all this I still donโ€™t feel like Iโ€™m ready or strong enough to let go. The thought of moving on and living the rest of my life without the man I thought Iโ€™d live the rest of my life with terrifies me. So, my goal is to gain the strength to be able to watch this video and videos like this sooner than later.

  16. Sad that he died Iโ€™ve lost a partner too. 4 years later I think Iโ€™ve found another partner. Life is tough but we carry on , work on ourselves and things can always get better.

  17. You didn't let go of Mr. Hector, as you never HAD him. Don't live for another and don't ask or expect another to do so for you.

  18. Thank you. I'm in the post break up phase of 9 months relationship that I thought it was going great; until he said it in my face, " oh, I even told my mom, my job always comes first!!". Well, I cut it for good, really painful, and I'm still crying, but I know my life is going to be much better without him

  19. I had let go of someone who I really loved with every cell in my body. But the memories are still there.

  20. It's very unsettling to hear this right now. My fiance's name is Hector, he is also very close with his family. I am the same as her, I want to get married and live together but away from where I've lived my whole life. Hector wants to stay where he is, probably forever. I'm wondering how I should approach my situation, since he's now suggested we take a 2 week break with no talking or seeing each other. I'm in no way ready to let go, but hearing this talk really makes me think I should. I'm so confused right now. โ˜น

  21. "In the end only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you"

  22. Its very inspiring. ..i think this vedo is given by jesus to me bcz i really need that…thnks..hevenly father..i m doing let go of every things which makes me sad about my self๐Ÿ˜Š

  23. I let go of a bunch of toxic friends and family who have been making me sick for years with their meanness and emotional torture. Its hard. I sometimes feel very alone but I know better things are on the way. I'm sure of it.

  24. Glad you found your happy place ! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ’•

  25. I tried marriage twice.
    I came to realize I cannot live with anyone.
    I need my space.
    Now, I am content in being alone.
    Alone and lonely are two different things.
    Lonely is realizing you are part of an impossible equation.

  26. Great speech. Reminded me of the idea of "Arbol rojo" by Martin G Spataro, to whom I got randomly on Youtube (and still canยดt believe why it isn't popular yet): There's this guy walking barefoot, dressed in a suit, dragging a supermarket trolley all around the town, seeking for a way out or something, all the time kind of determined to go for something transcendental, or so I interpreted. After letting go of the empty trolley itself, he finally finds out that his dream, goal, whatever (shown as a red tree, "arbol rojo"), can be easily reached by simply walking free, after a train passes by in reverse, like a metaphor of the whole big machine of social life and routines, or the past itself too. Well, just to say that I felt actually touched by that video, by the idea it is able to communicate in only a couple of minutes. Highly recommended. Shockingly unpopular too.

  27. I love this Clip , It make me looking for future make me care of myself and try get better than yesterday . I cant wait for anyone that dont love me . My life have to move on โค๏ธ

  28. Thank you so much! After letting go of my X he killed him self, itโ€™s been so hard for me to โ€œreally let goโ€ since then.

  29. I randomly happened to watch this….and yes it's totally.
    I was in an extremely crazy relation and suddenly life took another turn…i let go of that suffering and moved to another country. Within months i was in love again….but this time i was too confused. However we married a year later (15months to be precise).
    Just few months ago i gotta know that my ex is no more i grief the loss but now when i look back it all makes sense.

  30. Thats exactly what I needed right now on my first way to the gym in the morning at 5am AT NIGHT! Fingers crossed guys! ๐Ÿคž
    Keep it going girl!

  31. I feel so different from everyone here. She was so perfect for me and we were perfect. And then she left me with no reason. We were long distance and she couldnโ€™t love me enough to keep it going. No warning and damn it hurts.

  32. She had me until, a year later I met my husband…I had horrible dating luck before my five year relationship, I got a โ€œHectorโ€, I left for the same reasons she did and felt all liberated and started a new life which looks absolutely incredible on the outside? Six years later Iโ€™m so lonely and feel like such a misfit at other peopleโ€™s family functions that itโ€™s almost unbearable. Iโ€™d give anything to be comfortable again. Just a heads up, leaving your comfort zone does not guarantee your dreams will come true, in fact, you may be worse off in the long run.

  33. Love has so many variations I could easily make a speech saying the exact opposite, life is tough folks and sometimes you just gotta do what you think/feel is right so listen to yourself and not everyone else, listen to advice sure but do what you think/feel is right for you

  34. No joke, this talk just changed my life. Thank you cannot express how thankful I am and how happy this has made me. She's amazing โค.

  35. 'Not yet' lets you believe there is still hope. Its like, "i dont want this relationship-" the door shuts "-yet" that door opens up a little bit. Its crazy

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