If You Love Something, Set It Free – What Does It Mean?

What does it mean to set something free if you love it, especially in relationships? Let’s decipher this somewhat confusing quote.

By Jenny Dsouza ~

If you Love something set it free

We’ve been raised to believe that fundamentally, there isn't enough to go around. It's either you or me. Not you and me. We are constantly competing for wealth, resources, status, position, etc. We are trying to climb the ladder and get up by pushing someone else down. Because that’s what we’ve been led to believe. That if you don’t fight and take what's yours, you will never get it.

However, that is not true. If we truly understand and believe in deep, unconditional love, we will never believe in universal not-enoughness. The universe (or the lord) is abundant beyond measure. Everything we desire is a possibility in this realm if we choose to believe so to bring that into our consciousness.

Love is not quantifiable in the first place. While the ability to quantify the world around us helps in a myriad of ways, it's not applicable to love. As a result, when you look at the world through the lens of love, there is always abundance.

We tend to hold on to someone or something when we are convinced of its not enoughness to some degree. This feeling manifests itself in our lives and in our relationships as gaps of insecurity. And no matter how much we try, we always tend to lose our footing even on the right path. This is often the root of many problems and issues in our lives if we take a moment to trace it.

With the above concept in mind, let’s look at the quote in question:

“If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it's yours forever. If it doesn’t, then it was never meant to be.”
– Unknown

It rings true, doesn't it? It sounds accurate and we are able to understand it immediately. I do however feel that depending on where you are in your relationship, the quote does have a slightly more nuanced meaning than the version we discussed above. Let’s walk through a few scenarios:

Rejection in a relationship

When we’ve been explicitly (or even implicitly) rejected in a relationship, we are dealing with a loss of choice. The person we love does not feel the same way about us. No matter what we do or how we feel, we are forced to accept the hand we’ve been dealt. In many ways, this hurts us more because we are in a position of vulnerability. We failed to understand the relationship we were in and overestimated how someone felt about us.

The pain we experience, however, is not a result of the happy memories of the past, but our inability to hold on to that relationship and experience in the future. Also, rejection in a relationship almost feels personal because we open ourselves to the person and truly show them who we are.

When we are rejected in a relationship, nothing good will come from holding on to the person. It’s best for you as well as for them to let them go. Sometimes time and distance are also good. Sometimes, it may feel like we have invested a lot in the relationship. But it’s best to cut your losses (so to speak) now and let it go instead of investing more when you already know there is nothing there.

And if you truly, unconditionally love this person, let them go. The best gift you can give them is the freedom to live the life they truly want.

Crossroad in a relationship

If the relationship is at a crossroads, it’s important to dig deeper and continue the conversation about where it's going. Online couples therapy is also a great idea if you are struggling with deeper issues that have been unresolved for years.

Letting go in this situation probably applies to letting go of the conditions we’ve set on love and working together to resolve that. It can also mean letting go of the past and starting anew.

If the conclusion of the conversation is a break in the relationship, then letting go can also mean goodbye. Why continue something that is causing tremendous strain and pain in your life?

Facing challenges in an otherwise great relationship

First off, challenges are a part of all relationships. A great relationship in itself is a wonderful place to be. Letting go in a situation like this likely means forgiving and forgetting any small misunderstandings and letting go of the blame game.

Revisiting old memories, thinking back to what brought you together in the first place, talking through issues honestly, and acknowledging your partner are all great ways to let go.

At a wonderful place in a relationship

All relationships go through ups and downs. Being in a wonderful relationship is gratifying beyond measure. So how can we interpret, “if you love someone, set them free” in this context?

In simple terms, give them the space they need to be themselves. Support their vision of what they want in their lives. Help each other reach the greatest potential and realize life’s purpose. Don’t hold each other back under the weight of commitment and responsibility.

Why should we let go?

  1. We can't change anyone’s mind or feelings. No matter how much we try, we can only control how we feel and create our lives from there.
  2. If we let go of what's not working, we can give ourselves the lives we truly deserve. We can start on the path of healing and recovery and work on ourselves to realize our life’s purpose.
  3. Letting go gives people we love the opportunity to be who they genuinely want to be in their life. If it means not spending it with us, so be it. If we genuinely love them, we want what makes them happy. Not just want makes us happy.
  4. By letting go, we also let go of the insecurities that arise from that relationship. Or at least we can try. Each relationship comes with its own joy and baggage, maybe it's time to let go of the baggage.
  5. By letting go, we conclude a chapter of our lives. It may have been a major chapter, but for some of us, it may seem like the whole book. But wheatear you are willing to accept it or not, your book is not complete. You can only complete it if you are willing to close a chapter. Learn from its lessons. And then move on to the more interesting version of the life that is waiting for you.

There are so many truths in this quote. And so many ways to interpret it. I also think the core meaning of the phrase, “if you love someone, set them free” lies in truly cherishing the present moment. None of us know how much time we have and who we will be spending it with. We may as well make the most of it while we are here, right now.

If the relationship has ceased for whatever reason, there are so many wonderful memories you likely have, to cherish for a lifetime. And as difficult as it may seem, it is now time to create new ones.

How does this quote make you feel? What has been your personal experience? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear from you.


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