Knowing when to walk away from a situation, a relationship, a job, or really anything in life, can be one of the most difficult and time consuming decisions that you will ever make. The reason that these choices can take so long to make is mainly dictated by fear. Fear of being alone, fear of failing, and fear of what other people may think.
Recently I’ve seen a lot of people close to me struggle with trying to make relationships with toxic people work. They try time and time again to keep the peace, only to have things promptly (and predictably) blow up in their faces. I know this cycle so intimately as it is one that I too had been in for many years.
I finally came to the conclusion to end a toxic family relationship that I had been in for most of my life this year, and I wont lie, it was, and still is, a challenge. I feel so blessed to have a very strong support network, but even with all of the support in the world, knowing when to walk away can be an incredibly complex decision.
I will discuss the core process and my personal advice that enabled me to finally make this choice, and I hope that it can be useful for you too.
First of all, ask yourself: is whatever choice you are making, to stay or to walk away, being made out of love and respect for yourself, or fear?
A shortcut to what is ultimately the right choice will be whatever the option is that shows the most love and respect for yourself.
At the end of the day, you need to take care of YOU, because no one else will be able to do it the way that you can. We are all the stars of our own lives, the key character, so it is absolutely absurd to place responsibility on anything or anyone else to make the correct choices for you. You need to learn how to master that skill from the drivers seat.
So, pertaining to whatever relationship dilemma you are having in your life, ask yourself:
Am I staying our of love and respect for myself?
Or am I afraid to go?
Ultimately, whether it be a partner, sibling, friend, parent, or your employer, it is up to you to decide whether the relationship you have with them is moving your forward, or holding you back.
We grow in infinite ways across our lifespan, and unless people are able to respect that about you, and ultimately grow with you, how can you have a relationship that will help to propel you forward?
Now, when making a big change in life, no matter how sure you are of it, fear will generally always be along for the ride. The trick to make decisions out of love and not fear does not mean that you wont still feel scared sometimes. It is more of a tool to be sure that you are making the right choice, one that is not being dictated by fear. So when you make a big choice that you know is right for you, don’t be shocked when fear hops into the passenger seat. Better yet, be kind to the fear. The quickest way to disarm fear is through, you guessed it, showing it love. Acknowledge the part of yourself that is scared, and allow the space to feel that feeling. Don’t be afraid of it, don’t try to kick it out of the car, but never, under any circumstances, allow it to be in the drivers seat again.
By making the choice to remove someone from your life who has been harmful to you, you are making it very clear to both yourself and to others that you know the value of your life, your time, and your love. You are setting an essential boundary that says “No, I’ve had enough. This is not the way that I deserve to be treated”. It allows you to exercise your ability to surround yourself with people who are growing with you, not trying to keep you as a mould of your former self, or as a pawn in their greater game of life.
Never allow someone to hold on to you so tightly that you lose yourself.
Just as people pick flowers in an ill fated attempt to admire their beauty, to hold on to something tightly will never allow growth, and will only bring decay. We must allow things, and people, to grow to their full potential. Allow them the space to bloom without the need to make them yours, and allow yourself the same grace too. To grow freely, and to be steadfast in your knowledge that you will not allow someone to pull you from your space of happiness and bloom. People that truly love and respect you will never make you feel invalid, unloved or small. They will only watch in awe as you soar, and give you a leg up on the way if you need it, just as you would for them.
Surround yourself with your chosen family, and as always, choose love over fear.