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The art of walking away is a learned skill.
It happens when we start to feel secure in our self and are able to take actions we trust without the need for approval from others.
As I have been reflecting on my life as the seasons change, I came to the realization that I allow myself to walk away from things now—from toxic relationships, from jobs (that I enjoyed or didn’t), from friendships, from money, from family, from a creative project, from everything and anything—woah, what a wild journey it has been to get me to where I am today.
It definitely didn’t come naturally to me, and I know I am not alone in this. Walking away from something just sounds like failure, like admitting we have to give up, surrender and that we were unable to succeed in this endeavour.
I am here to tell you that it is quite the opposite.
Walking away from something means that you are walking toward yourself. You are coming back home to a big piece of yourself.
We have a tendency to see walking away as only necessary when faced with a toxic/harmful situation. We forget that sometimes it is walking away from that job, that home, that relationship that so many see as amazing, a gift, ideal. When we choose to walk away from anything, we are activating our free will, our discernment, and acknowledging growth, and that is not a bad thing.
Sometimes we walk away because we have grown so much that something simply does not fit any longer. I will use the example of a healthy, long-term relationship with a partner: you may not understand why you no longer feel sustained in the relationship, and you probably still have a good relationship with your partner, but something is just not the same. You sit with it for a while, you probably ask a friend or five, you put yourself through hell and back trying to figure out why it isn’t working.
The reality is, the relationship has provided you with growth, with healthy foundations (especially if it’s your first grounded and healthy relationship after abusive and codependent ones), and it has shown you so much about your abilities. It may even indicate that you want to spend time alone and discover who you are now. Does it not make sense that it may be time to shift gears again?
Not every relationship is “the one” and we have to normalize that. We have to normalize healthy breakups even though they are hard on many levels. Walking away from something you have invested time into can be a challenge to wrap your head around—hello, art of nonattachment—but it is not time wasted at all. It is time spent with someone you care about and who cares about you. It is time spent learning about life and how to use life to your advantage. It is not time wasted. It is time spent.
If you hold onto things because of how much time you have invested in something, you will never let anything go.
This is one example. We can apply the same thing when we look at jobs, friendships, living in one place, a project we have begun and do not finish. When we learn to walk away, we learn to let things go and not take everything so personally. When we choose to walk away because we know it is the right thing, we are empowering ourselves to trust that we do know what is best for us and we make room for a beautiful new creation to come into our life.
Now, I get it—don’t think I am talking out of my ass. I spent the majority of my preteens to mid-20s in super unhealthy relationships where I was unable to walk away. This includes the relationship with one side of my family, friendships, romantic relationships, alcoholism, and a dash of workaholism. I spent all of my energy trying to fix the situations in front of me instead of removing myself from the situations.
Why do we punish ourselves for things not working out? Why do we take it all so personally? Why can’t we recognize that…
1. failure is inevitable to a certain degree, it is normal;
2. not everything is meant to last forever;
3. walking away is not a failure;
4. choosing to give up is a choice, not a weakness;
5. and force is not the answer—you cannot force yourself to want something no matter how much you try. You will always end up resenting that to which you stay attached, and you will resent yourself, which causes increased levels of self-doubt.
Don’t sabotage yourself by staying in a good or harmful situation because you believe it will be harder on the other side. Of course, there will be challenges. Just as there will be challenges if you don’t walk away.
People will tell you to stay or to leave, but it is you who has to choose. Just as addiction, you have to be the one to want to get sober, you have to be the one willing to walk away no matter how confusing it may feel.
I would like to add, after being in abusive relationships of every kind, a stable and grounded relationship can feel odd; please make sure you are not shooting yourself in the foot because you’re addicted to chaos. I know I was. I spent a long time deconstructing my habits in relationships with my current partner, and I am so happy I stayed.
The art of walking away is one of deep self-trust, of reverence for your soul, and your highest respect.
Respect yourself and respect the situation by giving it the respect it deserves. Choose to walk away when it is time.
Let’s normalize walking away from painful situations, from good situations that we have outgrown, from toxic family members, from undervaluing ourselves, and from habits that are easy but harmful, from crossing other’s boundaries, from not having our own boundaries.
Let’s normalize healthy endings so that we can collectively heal our trauma and abandonment wounds. Walking away is an art, and it takes effort and practice.
I know it is hard to walk away, to change. So many of us have trauma surrounding unsteady changes (root chakra) that we must go forth with compassion and understanding.
Every time you walk away, you break the cycle and step into growth.
Every time you walk away you are choosing yourself! And that is a movement I can get behind.
As I say to so many of you, you cannot look forward while looking back at the same time.
Let go. Walk away. In reality, you’re walking toward yourself.
What are you choosing to walk away from?