This last year has been one full of changes, starting with getting married and moving right at the beginning. And it has continued to be full of changes ever since. Change is not something I enjoy. Even “good” change can result in tough adjustments and anxiety for me. As a result I often stay in places longer then I should because sometimes the even the sucky known seems to be a better alternative to the unknown.
It is hard to move on from people, places, and even attitudes that aren’t a good fit for you anymore. It could mean leaving a friendship behind, finding a new job, or moving to a place you’ve never lived before. And sometimes that is way scary. So, how do you know when it is time to move on?
Is it affecting your emotional health?
Does it feel like you are constantly on a emotional roller coaster? Do you feel like you are just going through the motions? Do you avoid seeing a certain person or make up excuses to not do something that you used to enjoy because you just don’t want to deal with the crap that goes along with it anymore? Recently, we had to make the difficult decision to leave the church we have been going to for a number of years because of the emotional toll it was taking on our lives. This decision was made for a number of reasons, but a key one was because of the feeling that we were in constant emotional flux. We had the expectation of some level of stability that wasn’t being met, and as a result was causing unrest in not only our faith experience, but by extension our personal lives and marriage. Because when there is stress and emotional turmoil in one area of your life, it quickly begins to affect other parts.
Is it affecting your physical health?
Stress and anxiety can affect us in very physical ways. I have experienced stomach issues (no further elaboration needed), headaches, eczema, jaw pain, widespread pain, and fatigue as a result of being in extremely stressful and emotionally trying situations. Unfortunately, to some degree stress is a part of life. But long-term, ongoing stress that is causing very physical symptoms should cause alarm. I knew when I began to wake up every morning for weeks on end feeling nauseous and many days with no appetite because of my negative work environment that something needed to change.
Is there no longer a foundation of trust?
In any relationship, whether between friends, an employee and boss, or an organization’s leader(s) and it’s participants, trust is crucial. If that trust is damaged through a pattern of lying, two-facedness, or simply being unable to know where a person stands, that relationship is damaged as well. Yes, it is possible to rebuild trust, but if there is a pattern of broken trust, it might be time to rethink whether the rebuilding is worth it on your part. Likely part of the problem is that the other party has no interest in actively working towards regaining your trust even though you keep giving them more chances.
Are your values in conflict?
Obviously, you are never going to agree with anyone 100%. It is actually healthy and beneficial to spend time with people that think differently then you about things. But if you begin to realize that your core values are very different, this can start to cause conflict, both externally and internally. I have had this happen in the workplace, when I felt that I could no longer stay someplace that had a pattern of treating employees with disrespect and making decisions that were driven by finances to the detriment of everything and everyone else. It started with just bothering me, then evolved into something that was eating away at me every day I continued to work there, because I began to wonder if by staying I was validating those values.
Are you the only one putting in the effort?
A friendship in which you are constantly the only one reaching out, making plans, or it may seem like, even caring, isn’t really a friendship, is it? This can be a really hurtful conclusion to come to, especially for a friendship that has continued for a number of years. But when you are the only one that seems to be truly invested in a relationship, it may be time to take a step back. I’ve had to do this with at least one friendship this year. It may be that the friendship has just changed over time. Or perhaps the truth is that this friend has been and will always be a crappy friend. Perhaps they also are insensitive, rude, or are just dragging you down all the time. And you really don’t need people like that in your life, do you?
What is something that you don’t want to take into the new year with you?