Have you ever been there?
You got to your goal, to the end (or just about at the end) of whatever it was you’d been working so hard for, and looked around and thought, “This is it??? This is what I’ve been working my ass off for?”
That feeling of defeat. Like someone let the wind out of your sails. A big punch in the gut.
There are SO MANY times I’ve gotten to the end, or almost to the end, and decided it wasn’t right for me anymore. Jobs, relationships, homes, countries.
I went to grad school for ONE DAY, and then dropped out. Intuitively I knew it wasn’t for me. My parents were ridiculously disappointed, to put it nicely. I was going to be the first doctor (of psychology) in the family!
I spent THREE YEARS in a relationship with a man who had my heart and soul. For the first time ever I saw a future with someone; marriage, kids, all of it. The trouble was, his mistress (alcohol) was always in the way. So I left. Heartbroken and shattered.
I went to beauty school and made my way to the top salon in Seattle, only to become a stylist and subsequently the most miserable I’ve ever been at a job. I managed to get fired two weeks before I put in my notice.
In 2011, I had my apartment packed up, furniture sold, a new job as a hairstylist in San Diego, and at the last minute I changed my mind. I quit the job before I started and unpacked my boxes. Something didn’t feel right.
In 2013, I had lived in Seattle for 12 years before I finally had enough courage to leave in April of that year. I was moving back down to San Diego where my entire family was.
But yet again, something felt “off.” I couldn’t name it or put my finger on it, but something inside me told me that it wasn’t a good decision.
And then “randomly” (there’s really no such thing) the opportunity to move to the Cayman Islands came...
My family was crushed. I hadn’t lived in Southern California for 16 years and they were looking forward to having me close again.
Part of me felt awful. The other part felt relieved.
So many times I felt like a “failure.” I’ve felt judged and guilty.
I stayed in relationships too long because I was ashamed that it wasn’t working out... again.
I thought, “If I just hold out a little longer, it’ll get better.” And then a few years went by and I was STILL miserable.
Divorced at 23. The shame!! Single again at 25. And again at 30. (Am I going to die alone??) Single again at 32.
It wasn’t until I stopped looking to others for validation that I started to see what I was really doing.
I already *knew* the answer, but I didn’t like it. I’d ask everybody around me what they thought I should do, and then I’d to that, because it was typically the opposite of what my body, my intuition, was telling me.
I was completely dismissing any and all intuition that I had, because it was uncomfortable and at times the hardest thing I was about to do.
And then it hit me like a ton of bricks...
I wasn’t failing. I wasn’t a failure.
In fact, it was the complete opposite. I was bold. I was brave.
I had the courage to walk away from things that were no longer serving me. I was listening to my intuition, even if it took me years to acknowledge, that things felt ‘off’ and weren’t going to get better, because I wasn’t in the right place anymore.
Sure, there was a point when whatever I was doing was the path I was supposed to be on. I mean, everything I’ve done has led me to where I am today, so it all worked out, right? They were all “right” decisions at one point, even if I later changed my mind.
I kept checking in with other people, rather than checking in with myself. OF COURSE people were going to tell me to stay in grad school. I was on track to become a Doctor!!! But there was this “thing” inside me that told me to get out, FAST.
(And thank Goddess I did, because the school ended up shutting down abruptly and there were students left with $200,000 in loans and no diploma!! Can you imagine!!!???)
And the relationships that I’ve left, that have left me broken-hearted and sobbing for months. All part of the plan. Even though I was hurting, I knew I was never going to become who I wanted to be if I stayed in them.
None of it was failing. All of it was re-assessing the situation and re-positioning the direction of my life.
If someone wants to look at my choices and tell me I’ve failed because I dropped out of school, got fired from a prestigious salon, left men that were perfect on paper but bored the daylights out of me, then please, call me a failure. That’s more of a reflection of them than it is of me.
I don’t look to them for approval anymore.
I am a warrior. I am a fighter. I am brave. I am bold. I am powerful. I am a survivor. I am an empowered woman. And I do what I want.
What do you need to walk away from? What in your life is no longer serving you?
Your job? Your relationship? Your friendships? Your religion? Your home? Your drug use? Your bottle of wine after a long day at work? Your bullshit story that’s keeping you from following your dreams?
What feels like an itchy, ill-fitting wool sweater that you can’t wait to get out of?
How Do You Know When It’s Time to Walk Away?
When you get quiet and there’s a deep knowing that the direction you’re going no longer feels aligned with your greater good.
When what you’re doing is no longer fun and you dread the very thought of whatever it is. Work. Home. A relationship or friendship.
When you do whatever you can to avoid it.
When all you think about is how to get away from it.
When you’re physically ill from the anxiety and depression caused by the situation.
When you spend all of your time complaining to yourself and others about your life.
When you look in the mirror and say to yourself, “I can’t believe this is my life. I can’t believe this is it. How did I get here?”
When you read articles like this and you feel like you got punched in the gut.
Give yourself permission to walk away from what is no longer serving you. Your next level Self will thank you. The woman/man you’re stepping into will welcome you with open arms, and say, “There you are. I’ve been waiting for you!!”