Letting someone go, simply means that you relinquish your grip or hold, while setting them free to move and live as they insist. Giving up, on the other hand, means to abandon, make a mental or verbal declaration that the person or situation is incurable, insolvent, or hopeless. The two are definitely very different. So how do you put these matters into perspective? Let’s say that there is some one in your life who is simply not productive, basically they are not trying, won’t allow anyone to help them, or simply don’t believe that they have the fortitude to succeed. Maybe they are even self-destructive. Does this situation warrant you hanging in there with them, or should you walk away?
Officially giving up on someone you love is almost impossible to do. Why? Because even when you physically put distance between you and that person, in most cases, they are still occupying your mind, heart, and emotions. Therefore, in that case, you haven’t actually given up, but maybe you have let them go, which may be preferably in some cases. There are a very few (and I mean a few) very egregious situations where people really do give up on loved ones because a very fine and sensitive line has been crossed (especially the dangerous lines). Those are very different from the common and problematic situations or relationships mentioned here. Giving up is not easy, and it certainly should be the last line of defense with those you love and care about.
Letting people go, simply means that you step aside to allow that person to see who they really are, determine if they need and want your help, determine if they are capable of recovering without your help, and finally to determine if they want your assistance re-emerging themselves back to the productive citizen that they are capable of being. Letting go may also mean that your pain can be severe, but that pain is far less damaging than giving up altogether on someone who you really just want to let go for the purposes of helping them, and yourself. When faced with giving up, or letting go, you should understand that the nuances of each relationship are different, with possible damaging effects that only you can determine is in your best interest. Because every situation is so different, only you can determine if giving up, or letting go is a decision that you can live with while understanding that your mental, physical, and emotional safety is paramount.
Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure.
– George Edward Woodberry