We’ve all been in situations where we’ve had to let go of negative life situations and move on, whether it’s away from a bad romantic relationship, an unsatisfactory job or a harmful family interaction. The idea of moving on and letting go is never easy, even if your common-sense dictates that it is the right decision for you. There are many things that hold us back to toxic situations, leaving us hanging and unhappy. We often stay back out of obligation, or guilt. Or, maybe fear of repercussion, or fear of the unknown. And sometimes, we are so embroiled in the present situation, that we are unable to clear our minds and think about the harm that we are suffering or to strive for change.
What are some ways to break the habit and to give us the confidence to instill positive change in our lives?
- Make the decision to let it go. Realize that things typically will not improve on their own. An abusive partner will rarely wake up and treat you well. A career that makes you unhappy will probably not change overnight. It is you that needs to make the commitment to yourself to let it go. Realizing that you can actually make a choice to get out in a seemingly helpless situation is in itself an act of empowerment. If need be, tell yourself over and over again that you will break up, or move out, or start looking for new jobs, until you actually start to take charge of your own life and start taking the steps towards change.
- Stop thinking about your investment of time, money and energy over your present circumstances. You’ve probably worked really hard to get to where you are, whether in terms of your relationship or a career, or your social network around you. And now you’re considering leaving it all for a future – which is not guaranteed happiness either. That is a scary proposition and one that fuels our inertia to change. Although it makes sense to reflect on the losses of making a change away from a negative life situation, it is imperative that you focus on the prospects of the future rather than thinking about all your investments. Think about being with a new person who may make you happy, a new job where your boss will appreciate you or a new place with better opportunities.
- Be realistic about the consequences of your decision to change your situation. While being optimistic, do not fool yourself into thinking that making a big life change will be easy. Being single may be terrifying at first, or entering a financially unstable phase in your life by quitting your job may be debilitating. Realize the weight of the decision you are about to make and its consequences, whether physical or emotional. Instead of letting it scare you, plan carefully and arrange contingencies. Pool all your resources together and gather together your social network, to make sure you make the change in the healthiest and safest way possible.
As humans, we generally tend to settle into “comfort” zones even if they aren’t always the most comfortable or happiest option in life for us. However, that need not be the case. Try to figure out what will bring happiness and meaning into your life, learn lessons from your past and allow yourself the opportunity to experience new and better phases of life.