Have you ever been in one of those situations that makes you think that all you need to do is get out of it, then everything will be OK? It may be a difficult relationship. Or a challenging job. Or where you live.
Most of us go through times like this. And sometimes getting out of the situation is the very best thing to do.
Wherever You Go, There You Are
But the problem with that strategy is that wherever you go, there you are. The problems you brought into the situation you didn’t like are the problems you will bring into the next situation. You might have escaped an environment but you can’t escape youself.
The Inconvenient Truth
Because you haven’t addressed how you may have contributed to the problem, no matter how small and seemingly inconsequential, that is what you will bring to the new scenario and you are in danger either of attracting that situation again or even creating it.
I know some people will not like that last paragraph one bit. Some people would read it as blame. But I see it as empowerment. Because if we need outside of us to be OK, to feel OK inside, we are forever vulnerable.
The Empowering Truth
If, instead, we seek to look at our own contribution to a problem, however innocently it was done, we then have power to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Let me explain with an example. Sarah was in a relationship where her partner constantly made arrangements to see her and let her down at the last minute.
There was always a “good excuse”: something came up at work; his mother needed his help on something; he was “tired”. He let her down far more times than he ever fulfilled on a commitment and she was often left disappointed, waiting and at a loose end. Yet she felt it would be unreasonable to pick him up on this. She wanted to be the perfect girlfriend and, after all, if he was tired, wasn’t it right that he should rest? If his mum needed him, shouldn't he be there? If something came up at work, shouldn't he do the decent thing? But he rarely did the decent thing by her. She was always bottom of the list.
At the same time, she was in a job where she was contracted to work 9-5 but would get in early every day, work over her lunch and she couldn’t remember the last time she left the office before 6pm. It was just that there was so much to do. Her boss’s lack of organisation meant that she was given urgent work at the last minute and, if she didn’t do it, the company would be in trouble with a customer. So she just had to do it, didn’t she? Well, no, she didn’t. But she certainly felt that she had no alternative.
Except one. To leave. Leave the job. Leave the relationship. Then, and only then, did she feel she would have peace of mind and her life back on track.
Why Things Happen
I like to think that everything we are going through now is preparing us for what we are hoping for. Sarah’s situation is calling for her to create boundaries, both with work and her boyfriend; to stand up for herself; to break free of being the perfect partner/employee in the face of others not stepping up to their role. Yes, that means having uncomfortable conversations but without those the discomfort resides inside us. Others continue to mistreat us because we allow them to. So Sarah can move on, perhaps that is the best thing (or not), but certainly not before she learns the lesson of setting and keeping boundaries.
Whatever you do, when you leave a person, or a situation, make sure you don’t also leave behind the lesson.
And, as always, if you need any help, do get in touch to find out how I can support you moving on in a way that empowers you.
PS If you haven't already, why not check out my How to Manage Stress YouTube Channel? Full of interested interviews about how you can better manage stress in your life. Or, if you prefer, the content is available on my new podcast. Sign up so you don't miss out on content which might make all the difference to how well you live your life. And, if you have any suggestions for content, do let me know.