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“One of the most courageous decisions you’ll ever make is to finally let go of what is hurting your heart and soul.” ~ Brigitte Nicole
I’ve walked away from things both big and small in my life.
The big things included a marriage that annihilated any sense of trust, safety, and self-worth I had.
The smaller things were relationships and friendships that took up way too much energy or felt one-sided.
Recently, I decided to walk away from a job I’ve been at for over 20 years—with no plan, no other job to go to, and two young children to support.
One year after the acquisition of my company, I was one of the few people who hadn’t been laid off. Yet, here I was voluntarily walking away from my job at a time the market is flooded with unemployed people. Some people may say I’m crazy, and maybe even a bit irresponsible for taking this risk.
But you know what? Most people have told me I’m brave.
And, I believe I’m brave. Because I’ve learned that it’s more important to me in life to honor my heart and be true to my soul than to live in fear and complacency.
Many of us have that “suck it up” mentality. We aren’t quitters. We stay in relationships, marriages, jobs, business partnerships, financial investments, and even friendships because we convince ourselves it’s not that bad. Things will get better. We have no other option. We won’t survive financially if we leave. We can’t raise our children alone. It’s a paycheck. I need the benefits.
“What if I don’t find something better?”
I don’t believe this. We can’t attract something better until we let go of what’s not working in our lives. The choice to walk away may seem daunting or have consequences we’re not ready to yet face, but we don’t ever have to stay in something that’s making us miserable, disempowering us, or hurting our hearts.
People often ask me, “What made you walk away? How did you know it was time?” after every big thing I’ve walked away from or let go.
Listen, it’s different for everyone. We all have varying levels of tolerance, circumstances that force us to stay in things much longer than we want, and reasons we hold onto things. But these, for me, were some clear, tell-tale signs that it was time to let go:
1. Our body starts shutting down.
Our bodies are the number one indicator that something isn’t right and our internal warning system that things need to change. Low levels of energy, chronic fatigue, migraines, an upset stomach, mini panic attacks, or low levels of depression are the most common and biggest indicators that we need to make changes in our life.
2. Unexplained mood swings.
Your once optimistic and cheery personality has turned to one of anger, bitterness, and pessimism. Little things set you off. You have no patience. You start overreacting to things you used to be able to let go. You cry at the drop of a hat.
This doesn’t mean that you’re crazy, overreacting, or unjustified in feeling what you feel—especially if you’re in a relationship that consistently makes you feel this way. It means the person has probably crossed your boundaries far too many times, and you’re done. So be done.
3. We feel disrespected and not appreciated.
For every person in our life who doesn’t value us or appreciate what we bring to the table—trust me, there are at least 10 other people in their place who will. The problem is we get comfortable and think there’s nothing better out there, or we just get used to feeling this way and accept that it’s the norm.
The first thing we always need to do is have a conversation with the other person about how we’re feeling and give them an opportunity to hear us, respond, and try to fix things if they’re able to understand our feelings. If we’ve had this conversation with them multiple times, and things still don’t change—or the person continues to behave in the same ways we’ve told them hurt us—then there’s nothing left to be said, and we have to decide whether it’s worth it to stay and have the sh*t kicked out of us emotionally.
4. The universe starts giving us signs.
A few months ago, I took a freelance job on top of my full time job. I knew I already needed time off because I was beyond exhausted—but I’m a “suck it up” kind of gal, so I kept pushing forward and kept both jobs since I’d committed.
First, I got sick. Really sick. Then, my computer broke, and I was forced to take a break from the freelance project for two weeks until it was fixed. Then, my typing hand got tendinitis, and the doctor told me I couldn’t type or use the computer for two weeks. I couldn’t deny that the universe was telling me to just stop and let it go. I wasn’t thrilled with this message, but I finally relented and let my full time job go.
5. Other opportunities start showing up.
I’ve had friends tell me that when they seriously considered leaving a relationship, they started noticing other men or women expressing interest in them. Or, when they gave serious thought to leaving their job, they were approached by a headhunter or a friend at another company asking if they’d consider an opportunity that was coming up.
These, again, are clear signs from the universe that it’s time. It’s the universe’s way of telling us we’re safe, and that if we take the chance, we will be held and supported because there’s something better out there.
Heed the signs. Intuitively, we all know when it’s time to walk away from something. Don’t let fear stop you. Don’t let the “what ifs” stop you. Don’t let what’s happened in the past stop you. Just walk. Don’t look back in the rearview mirror.
If it’s meant to come back around at a later date, it will. Trust that. But listen to your body, your heart, and the other signposts and synchronicities showing up in your life. They are all trying to tell you something.
The first step toward anything great in my life came with my willingness to be fearless in the face of being scared. I just learned to surrender and trust myself. Because at the end of the day, the only person we can always trust to tell us the truth is ourselves.
“You cannot always be happy. But you can be brave. And that is the beginning of everything.” ~ Ariana Dancu
Author: Dina Strada
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Copy Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Social Editor: Danielle Beutell