We’ve all been through this – bad relationships, horrible jobs, toxic friends – and yet sometimes we hang on for all the wrong reasons.
What does it take to leave something that clearly makes you miserable?
Why do we wait to make the changes we desire? Well, a good first step is to ask yourself that question even though the answers are not simple.
Take a job, for instance. You can’t just walk away if you need the income to sustain and support yourself and/or your family. It takes time to find new employment, and many considerations to make the change happen: income, benefits, location etc.
What about relationships? You may not be able to walk away from an unsatisfying relationship for reasons that are intricately complex and unique to each and every one of us. If there are children involved, it gets even more complicated (but not impossible).
And toxic friendships? I don’t know what to tell you there other than perhaps that’s the one that you can practice first. There must be other people out there whom you can form a healthy friendship with…(I’ve dropped some, and gained some new ones. It’s not really that difficult.)
I came across an article on medium that breaks this topic down into 7 signs. I thought I’d delve a little further and investigate some of them:
The first sign why you might stay when you should go is, to me at least, the most important one to grasp. It says that you spend too much time living in the past. You hang on to the person you used to be, rather than be the person you are today, in the present.
This might resonate with many of us. We evolve as we grow and (hopefully) mature, and our desires change. But change can be scary. There is something comforting about the comfort zone. And herein lays the challenge.
The main thing for me that has changed is the idea of living further out in the country. This was something I wouldn’t have minded when the kids were younger, but now, I have almost no desire to make a move into a small town or acquire a lot of property. My partner however desires this and so we find ourselves at an impasse.
Note – it’s too complicated to uproot the kids from their highschool environment right now. Plus, they put a lot of time and effort into French education over the years; it would be impractical and unfortunate to pull the rug from under them at such a crucial time. Never mind the pandemic – things are difficult enough as it is without covid dictating our every move. To incur a major lifestyle change now is definitely not something I’m willing to consider.
The fourth point in the article focuses on forward propulsion. If you’ve been reading here a while you know I mention this at times, usually in reference to writing. But forward propulsion applies to other aspects in life, including career and relationships.
For those who are dating, finding a partner who does not hold you back, who will grow with you, it’s an ongoing dilemma for many. For those who are stuck in stale marriages or long-term relationships, there are important questions you should be asking both of yourself and your partner. If you feel like you’re being held back, it’s time to contemplate how to navigate that forward propulsion you’re seeking. I’m not suggesting this will be simple, especially not if a whole family plays a part, but try not to let yourself get pushed into the background (yes, I’m talking to myself here too…) 😉
The fifth point talks about being burnt out or drained. Ask yourself this:
Are you the one who is constantly initiating conversations? Are you the one making all the effort in the hopes there will be a response, any response, but hopefully the desired response? Does any of this make you emotionally exhausted, and inevitably disappointed when the response remains elusive, or doesn’t reach your expectations?
These are questions that you need to answer honestly before you make a decision about cutting someone, or something, loose from your life.
The article also mentions the settling concept. How many of us have settled in jobs, in careers, in family situations, in relationships? Doing this is inevitable and part of growing up, but eventually you must (force yourself to) realize that continuing to settle will end up making you doubt your worth. Instead, we must find a way to setting standards for ourselves and aiming at achieving them.
Finally, there’s the whole thing about losing interest. Leaving things as is (there it is again, the pesky comfort zone) because you can’t be bothered or aren’t interested in it anymore doesn’t exactly evoke encouraging behaviour or conceive positivity in terms of caring for yourself or your environment and relationships. People feign interest all the time; is this a healthy way to approach things?
Do you really have to wait for something bad to happen before you take action?
The short answer is no. The long answer is more complicated (but includes no as part of the action plan).
The article touches on other topics I haven’t addressed here, so if you’re interested, head on over there and have a read (link above). I will conclude this post with a question:
What are we waiting for?*
See you in the comments.
*This last question is rhetorical.