Some people see this as quitting, but with the right circumstances I think throwing in the towel and preserving yourself and your sanity is actually the healthy move. The problem is we sometimes tend to take things really personally- I know I do. It's helpful for me to look at it from this perspective- the things not meant for me.
I remember when I was first starting out in the field there was a situation at work that became intolerable for me. I was promised a position and did all the work to live up to that future position, and when it came time for my boss to actually make good on her word she walked her promise back. For those of you who have nightmare work situations with a boss you understand what I mean when I say it took a huge hit to my self esteem and self worth. I was having lunch with a mentor of mine later that month and she said "Molly, this is nothing more and nothing less than a relationship that didn't work out, I think you need a change". At first I felt like I just wasn't being understood, didn't you hear how unfair my situation was? But the more I thought about it the more free I began to feel. It was like magic. I was able to see this discord as a function of the relationship between two co-workers and not a reflection of me as a person. But first I had to choose to let go of the injustice and indignant rage, and decide to see it this other way. Once I did- it was so simple after that. I walked away from that place and never looked back. I landed in the exact right job with the right team and it felt wonderful.
Sometimes I think back to the turmoil of that time- I jumped through hoops to make a situation work and in the end it never could because it wasn't a good match. How beaten down would I have been if I continued to try to make things work there? I think of this piece of advice years later, and it helps me to take the personal hurt feelings out of it- not everything is meant for us, is a good match for us, or is built to work out. Be proud of yourself when you recognize that and have the courage to turn around and find something that does.
I'd like to add an amendment to this one- you also aren't defined by the worst thing that's ever happened to you.
I'm not sure how many times I need to learn this lesson; apparently it hasn't sunk in completely. I was talking to someone the other day, someone who years ago I recognized was not an emotionally safe person- not for me anyway. It took a while but I learned that this person was incapable of engaging in a vulnerable relationship with me without putting up serious defenses that always ended up hurting me in in the end.
I decided I could keep this person in my life but I put serious boundaries in place. I kept it light and relatively neutral in their presence, and to my great surprise over time the relationship was able to grow and become fun again. I accepted it for what it was, instead of brooding over what it could never be. I had recently given myself some pats on the back for navigating the relationship so well, for not creating a cut off and abandoning it completely.
This should have been a sign- but I was too busy congratulating myself and I got comfortable. I allowed myself to get sucked into a conversation with this person that felt warm, engaging, and honest. And as quick as it came on a shift occurred and all the defenses came back up with renewed vigor and might. Dammit. I know better. What was I thinking? I had to remind myself "This person is not safe for you Molly". I was upset about the situation, but mostly upset with myself for forgetting what I know to be true about this relationship.
I thought back to this very Maya Angelou quote. This is a person and a relationship that has to have boundaries in my life in order to stay in it, I learned that a long time ago. Learned it the hard way. Banged my head against a brick wall for years learning it- you get the idea. That warmth and glow I was experiencing lately was the results of a relationship with boundaries doing well. Because after all, this is a good person, someone I choose to still keep in my life- it should be good. But it can only be good with those boundaries. Even when things look like they've made a turn and you might be out of the woods; it's really important to remember what you know to be true. Unless there is a big honest discussion and you've seen consistent and measurable change, by and large people still are who they are. Enjoy them as much as you can but never abandon the lesson's you've learned.
I absolutely adore Kacey Musgraves in general, but when this song popped up on my iPhone the other day on a long drive it really gave me the life I needed to finally get home. As I danced and sang along in the car I thought about all the people I know who need to hear this message, including myself. The song is fun and non-threatening while delivering a message we all learn as small children but often forget.
Whether it's your kids with behavioral problems, the in-laws who insult your weight, the circular fights with your spouse, the dead end job you hate, the depression, anxiety, or substance abuse issues- we all have stuff going on. Gossip worthy stuff. I think many people talk about and focus on other's peoples stuff as a means of avoiding their own. We could all benefit from remembering this when we're sitting on our high horse talking about other peoples troubles. Own what you got going on in your own life, we all have quite enough in just that to keep us plenty busy.
Evaluate the company you keep. Know what kind of energy you take on. Not everyone will recognize and appreciate where you're going. That's totally fine, they're not on that road. But you didn't end up here by accident. Trust your journey. They don't need to leave your life, but they do need to step aside and let you get shit done.
I love this one because so often at the end of the year we look back and feel our time was somehow wasted. But when we decide to look at it in this light, it feels like no matter how the year went, it was still productive, and it connected to all the other years of our lives.
This blog is less about my writing, and more about sharing inspiration. I'll post pictures, articles, and videos that I find interesting, moving, or just funny (funny being a loose term here as my humor is generally of the nerdy psychoanalytic variety).