How do I know when to try harder or when to walk away?
Should I quit my job? Should I change careers?
How do I know when to walk away from what I love?
Is it okay to cut this person out of my life?
There are many times in your life when you will have to answer these questions for yourself. Mary Oliver put it beautifully:
"To live in this world, you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go."
But how do you let it go?
How do you honestly let go of something that you have been holding onto so tightly?
For better and worse, this is one of my strongest skills. I'm really good at walking away.
I walked away from a full time job with benefits that was in the field of my college degree. I left music when I realized that it could not give me the lifestyle I truly wanted. I've stopped talking to friends who repeatedly overstepped boundaries. I left my hometown to travel around the country for two months with no set destination or plan for afterwards.
Oh, and I'm killer at dipping out of the bar early while everyone else is drunk and not paying attention haha anyone else do the Irish Goodbye?
Sometimes being skilled at leaving isn't a good thing, but overall, I think it is. I really believe the universe rewards people who take risks and let go of things no longer meant for them or serving them.
Like most skills, I didn't pop out of the womb knowing how to let go.
Life has taught me this lesson in some very difficult ways. Being bullied throughout my school years, the passing of people I've loved, separating from a partner I thought I would spend my life with - all of these forced me to learn how to let go.
In each of these, I had to learn how to heal and realign. What good comes from letting go doesn't make up for the hurt that also exists, but it does help you move forward.
When you let go, you make room for new life to come in.
Because of all of these lessons, I've been able to walk away from toxic people, jobs that no longer served me, and passions that didn't quite fit.
Here are 5 truths I've learned along the way to help you walk away from a job, relationship, or passion that is no longer serving you.
1. You are replaceable.
I know. This is probably a bit triggering at first, but if you stay with me you'll see it's actually a relief. If you were to die today, they would probably replace you within 6 months. Stop overstating your importance at your job. Yes, you are valuable. Yes, you are talented and have much to offer. But if you want freedom, that worth has to come from yourself because being irreplaceable does not come with freedom.
2. Enabling someone's toxic behavior is not loving, kind, or helpful.
This is something we learn as teachers. Of course no one actually wants to discipline students - but you learn fast that if there are not consequences for bad decisions, the students will continue to make bad decisions. In your friendships, there have to be consequences for crossing boundaries or mistreating you, and you must enforce them. You don't have to be mean. But you have to walk away when it's time. Just remember, you are making space for them to learn that their circumstances are not an excuse for how they treat others.
3. You may be holding you OR someone else back from their next chapter.
After I quit my first job, a husband and father of two was able to take my place. He had been dreaming of finding a job in that town for years so that he could be closer to his family and in a better school district. That may not have happened if I had not walked away. And once I quit my job, I made room for a whole new chapter of life I didn't think I could ever have.
4. There are always ways to make more money, and no ways to make more time
You will die someday and the things you are worried about won't even matter. You may wake up sick tomorrow, or you may not wake up at all. But if you're running short on money, it may come with a sacrifice but there really are ways to make more.
5. Nature is the best teacher of letting go.
Animals sense when it is time to move on from a place that is no longer serving them. The land adjusts to the weather as it changes throughout the seasons. Forest fires may be devastating, but they also make room for new and richer life to come through. In nature, death always makes room for new life. Spending time in the wild or with plants will be very healing medicine to teach you to let go.
6. You must visualize the life you actually want.
Before you walk away, you may need to decide on which direction to walk. I believe it is best to walk toward rather than run away from. A lot of times, we just pick a career that sounds nice and don't think about the implications of that work life. Instead, think about the lifestyle you want. Close your eyes and think about what would make you the happiest: Working from home? Teaching in a classroom? Having a nice office with colleagues? You can be as vague or detailed as you want, as long as you remember to let go and trust the universe to work with you while you work towards it.
I'll be writing a post that goes into much deeper detail about the power of visualization.
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If you liked anything from this post, please share on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and let me know: What have you let go of? What do you have to let go of? What have you learned about letting go?