In the spirit of clearing space in my life I have been reassessing a couple of network groups that I belong to, and working out if I should continue with them or not. I have become increasingly irritated with one and a bit “fed up” with the other. I feel like I am holding back, agreeing to things I do not really believe in, and not being my best or truest self.
These are not easy decisions: both include people who I like and respect; both have involved investment of time and money to join or set up; both are quite fun once I get there; both take up time out of my working week; both have value in different ways. To step away now would be walking away from an investment, but it would mean I would have more time and money to put into something else. I am just not sure right now what that might be.
However I am also more than sure that I do not want to have commitments in my life that have just become obligations, serving the old parts of me: the people pleaser, the confrontation avoider, the good girl who would go along with the rules rather than cause a fuss.
I can spend hours stuck on these sorts of decisions: should I stay or should I go? Is this the right time to make a change? Am I just going because something frustrates me and I don’t want to face up to the task of requesting it change? If I just ride it out will things just get better……. I don’t know, by magic?
There is often no one reason for leaving a job, a relationship or group that no longer serves your best interests – by that I mean it is no longer in line with your authentic self. However one reason not to stay is because you cannot answer the question: If I am not doing this, what else should I do?
Fear of the unknown is no reason to stay in a place or doing something that no longer feels authentic: that is you feel constricted, uncomfortable, suppressed or irritated. Just as you would not wear a jumper that was tight or scratchy, do not put up with an ill-fitting role in life just because you do not know right now what would fill that space.
Change sometimes means a leap into the unknown. Change that is guided by a part of us that has long been shrouded in old and limiting beliefs can be especially frightening. After all, this is the part of me that I have ignored and left behind in my quest to “get ahead”.
However it is also the part of us that will make itself known if we continue to ignore it: through indirect and unpleasant ways, undermining our relationships with others and our self.
So maybe the ultimate test is if this obligation or commitment is getting in the way of these relationships: is it at the cause of some anger or upset? Is it limiting my willingness to give, to be seen? Is it holding me back in some way?
When I apply that test to my commitment to these groups I feel that it is time to let one go. I feel a bit sad saying that as I will miss the company of people there, and I will have to say goodbye. However in the moment of making the decision to leave I feel lighter, more open, more energised. The metaphorical weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I know what to do.
With the other I feel I should stay, and see what happens next. This is an opportunity for me to give up control and live in the moment. I can give up being worried, judgemental, resentful, fearful, and just let whatever needs to happen, be. It is a leap of faith, but I have faith that I have “done enough” and can let go, trusting that there is enough support and commitment from others.
Unless you are being harassed or abused there is no easy answer to when is the right time to leave any relationship: professional, social or personal. However it is valuable to understand your internal cues for change so you do not spend too much time where you really no longer need to be.
If you do decide to go, end your relationships as cleanly and powerfully as possible. Show appreciation, acknowledge the reason for parting, say farewell. Be honest but do not blame. It is your choice to move on, so do it with dignity and respect.
And if you decide to stay, honour the commitment as fully as you can.