“Always burn your bridges behind you. You never know who might be trying to follow.”
-Paul Dooley as Enabran Tain
Anybody who knows what it’s like to be in bad situations knows that it really isn’t all that easy to get out of them. What’s even worse is that they very often find a way to come back and bite you in the ass. It’s sad; however, true aspect of the learning process.
Probably the worst part about figuring out what belongs and what doesn’t is how to get rid of the things that don’t. Sure, it’s easy to keep the things we want around or deem necessary; however, we use that same ease to keep the things that are unhealthy or unnecessary.
Everything that we give importance, relevance, or power that works in our favor can also be made to work opposite of that. Anybody who has had a “crazy” ex or circumstances that tested your moral or ethical fortitude can attest to this. But, the lessons learned through those challenges couldn’t have been all bad, right? After all, you wouldn’t have been in them to begin with if there wasn’t something to be gained. Well, at least I hope that someone in their right mind wouldn’t do so willingly.
Part of our nature is seeing things for what they could be. We are ever optimistic by design. We feel that a reason, no matter how small or insignificant, is reason enough to do something. It’s a big reason why we hold onto things when all of our collected knowledge and wisdom knows that it’s over. I don’t think that there’s necessarily a problem with that. I just see it as a huge gamble. Some of the time, it pays off. However, a lot of the time it doesn’t and we get left holding the stick. I think I can speak for everyone when I say that I’d rather not want to be in that situation. There’s a chance for too much wasted time and wasted feelings to have a willingness to reinvest. Failure is a pretty strong reason to not want to continue to maintain that connection. As someone who has suffered numerous and massive failures, I can personally attest to that.
I’m also the type of person that occasionally knows when to quit. However, it’s very rare that I quit while I’m ahead, so to speak. I tend to wait until I’ve just gone too far and cutting the line just short of losing the reel, so to speak. If anyone who happens to be a fisherman read this, you’ll know what I mean by that. We’re a lot like this too. We hold on even when we know the battle is long since over.
There’s nothing wrong with admitting that you’re in over your head. As a matter of fact, it’s a sign of superior intellect to know when you’re overwhelmed. First things first, if you can’t recognize there is a problem, the situation will probably get out of hand. However, we are all definitely the type to hold out until every avenue has been exhausted. Especially if what we stand to lose is important to us.
As important as those things are to us, it is also important to recognize that it may not be in the best interest to actually keep them. Especially if we know that these things are creating more problems than they solve. I’m guilty of keeping people around or staying in a position where those things hurt more than they help. Just as I’m sure that everyone else has a similar point of view or personal experience. Some of those things are just plain toxic. By that, I mean that they place undue stress and strain on an otherwise functional balance. Like the saying goes, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” Doesn’t that apply to all of us? Sure, I’m guilty of it. I keep negative things in my life more than I should. Mainly because it would upset anything else that I had going because I believed that it was necessary. Personally, I don’t believe that purging negativity actually serves a purpose. By that logic, we’d have no objectivity or criticism that would offer insight into how we could be better people. I sure as hell didn’t learn anything by getting affirmed of what I knew or by being praised for what I did right. Antagonism is normal. As much as I hate to say it…
I didn’t say negativity. I said antagonism was normal. If that antagonism just feeds negativity, then that isn’t necessary to keep. It’s hard to distinguish between the two and I’ve had continuing problems in doing so. It really is dependent on listening. I know… listening is such a hard skill. I am being a little bit facetious in saying that but it’s true. It can be surprisingly easy or possess an intangible level of difficulty. However, I’ve found that being intentional with receiving antagonism, or criticism as most commonly used, is quite healthy. If you know that drugs are bad and that they are ruining your life, then you’ll be more receptive to a critique because you realize the damage it causes instead of just feeling like your peers are being unduly harsh and just want to impede on your life choices because they don’t agree with them.
Speaking of life choices, not everything has a permanent place. Change is an essential process. I guess that’s really the main theme through all of this. Not everything we once held in such high esteem is meant to stick with us. Not that it’s detrimental or perhaps even toxic, we just tend to outgrow them. Nothing wrong with growing past your favorite pair of shoes or the shirt that goes with everything. It just means that we’re beyond a stage that where things that served us in the past may not serve us now. It’s usually a sign of getting wiser. Not necessarily older, however.
But, whatever the case may be that we decide that it isn’t for us to keep these things around anymore, it’s just as important to be intentional with leaving them behind us. If we’ve outgrown them, it undermines whatever we had gained by leaving an opening for us to fall back into those things. It’s a battle, for sure. However, it’s one that we just have to have the mentality of “take no prisoners.” If we do, it just creates an opportunity for others to take advantage. I would hope that there is just enough willpower to override compassion in this case.
I’m not saying to not give a damn. What I am saying is that there really isn’t much of a choice between you and them. Especially when they would rather you be unhappy for their sake instead of you being happy for your own.
Choices… choices… choices…