Knowing when it is time to quit
Julia Barnickle shared this image on Facebook today and it was one of those right message at the right time moments for me. A recent online interaction brought this message forcibly home to me, when I found myself brooding over words that were written and getting really upset, (probably out of all proportion to what was meant by the words!). My first thought was that I was in the wrong and I needed to explain my position; my second thought was that they were the ones in the wrong and I shouldn’t have to justify myself, and now finally I realize a week later, neither of us were in the wrong, but the situation which brought this about is wrong for me. Excuse the cryptic nature of this example, but I don’t think the actual facts matter as I am sure many of us can think of other people and things in our lives which makes us feel this way.
After two days of going back and forth with my thoughts and feelings about the situation, I confided in a friend, who quite simply asked why not remove yourself from the situation? Can you believe that never occurred to me? I thought my choices were to defend my position, or just pretend I didn’t notice or care about what was said. That’s what a lifetime of an upbringing based on being a people pleaser/not wanting to hurt other’s feelings/thinking I must be to blame/not being a quitter can do for you!
I did make the decision to remove myself from the group because it was making me increasingly unhappy to be part of it, but I had no intention of writing this post today until I saw the quote above and a discussion started around it. I loved what Julia had to say:
I think that’s why it’s so important to recognise when it’s time to “quit” – or move on. I suppose, when you think about it, everyone is out for themselves anyway – me included, if I’m totally honest about it. So you have to always choose what’s right for YOU, not for anyone else. And sometimes it can be hard, if you think it’s going to hurt people’s feelings. But then again, you might find that they’ve been having doubts about the situation too. I know that’s been the case for me, in the past.
This doesn’t come easily to me, but from now on I resolve to ask myself if the people and things in my life make me feel empowered and good about myself or make me feel small. Ultimately we have to take responsibility for our own thoughts and feelings, and not blame others for how we feel, but perhaps part of that responsibility is knowing when to walk away?