by Darrin Schenck


by Darrin Schenck


…of something you don’t even want?

This sounds like a crazy idea when you first look at it, but believe me there are plenty examples of this in the world.  We all stay in bad relationships longer than we should, work at jobs we hate, or live in places we don’t want to live.  Isn’t it funny how we prefer the comfort of known, despite how bad it may be, over the unknown?  Well, maybe…

Then again, think about what that does to you and your psyche.  If you are in a bad relationship, it will wear on you day and night.  In some cases people live in fear of being hurt, both physically or mentally, and this is like walking on eggshells all the time.  You strive not to upset the other person and have to deal with the consequences.  You strive for perfection, by their definition, just to avoid the conflict that could ensure if you don’t.  This is not a healthy way to live, and that is very obvious.  But in many cases the “offender” in this example has set things up so that you feel trapped, like you have no other options.  This is by design, of course, and it helps to keep you where you are.  If you find yourself in this situation, it is time to plan a jailbreak.

Sometimes it is just a bad relationship, one that started out great but the two of you grew apart.  You are now roommates instead of lovers, and you are friendly at best to one another.  The flame has faded and all that is left if a memory of what once was.  It is empty, devoid of the emotions we as humans need and crave.  It is a financial partnership at best.  Time to move on.  If your relationship has reached this point, you need to start planning a way out.  It is okay to throw in the towel, to admit that this is no longer good for you, or both of you, and move on.  I’ll give you an example…

I have a family member who, for as long as I can remember, complained about their marriage.  It was a long list, not just one thing: No sex, constant bickering and fighting, disagreement on how to raise the kids, etc.  One of the traveled for work, so the separation on a nearly weekly basis was the only thing keeping this rocky marriage from blowing apart.  I don’t have evidence of this, but the idea that there was infidelity on at least one of their part’s is not a big leap.  They were both unhappy.  But here is the strange twist, when one of them finally made a decision to leave, the other fought tooth and nail to avoid this.  I was a kid at the time, not understanding the big picture of this whole situation, but I asked an honest question:  If you aren’t happy, why are you fighting this?  I got a long blank stare, and then finally an answer that I didn’t understand:  It may be miserable, but it’s MY misery and it feels familiar.

Think about that response.

I am so afraid of the unknown, that I would rather stay put and suffer.  Instead of taking a chance at happiness, having faith that things could eventually get better elsewhere, I am going to stay here and wallow in my misery.  

It is easy to stand on the outside and point fingers at these type of things, but the idea that you’re comfortable in misery simply because you know what to expect versus the unknown of how things could be is crazy to me.  OR…because of this “teaching moment”, I vowed to never have this mindset.  I hope that is the case, that even at an early age in life I recognized how detrimental this and swore I wouldn’t fall into this mindset.  Looking back, I am not sure which it is, but I do believe, based on my life choices since then, that maybe I did actually draw that line in my mind that I would never allow myself to cross.  I guess I have to thank my parents for instilling enough self belief in me that I had the courage to take a stand and be ready to turn and walk when things no longer served me.  I don’t mean that in a callous way, but rather that I had limits in my relationships, and when things reached an unhealthy emotional state, that I would leave that situation.  I had the faith that I would be okay on my own for a while, for a long while if necessary, but at some point I would find happiness myself again.  THEN I could be open for blending that happy life with someone else.

In another example from early on in life, one of the first jobs I had was working in sales at Radio Shack .  I hated my boss after only a short time there.  He was ex military, and religious fanatic, and did not seem to like me very much.  I remember buying $600 worth of dress clothes to work at that job and making about 2/3s of that during the brief time I worked there.  I was let go right after Christmas, despite being promised this was not a seasonal position.  They lied to me, and I was mad at first when it happened.  I was devastated actually, having put a lot of effort into that job and getting canned anyway.  I started to feel slighted and wronged, and grew resentful over the next few days.  But then I noticed something…I was happier without that job.  I hated wearing a tie, I didn’t like standing in my uncomfortable dress shoes for hours at a time, and I certainly didn’t want to spend any more time than necessary with my boss.  They did me a favor by letting me go, I just didn’t realize it until a few days later.

As a side bar, the dress clothes part of this job may be one of the main reasons why I hate dress clothes in general.  Even now I do not like to wear a tie or suit, and luckily for me my job(s) do not require this of me.  Funny how stuff like this scars you for life…

Now, please don’t get e wrong, I am not suggesting that a soon as something gets difficult, or your relationship has a few bumpy parts to it, that you should exercise your option to exit.  This is not healthy either, and you need to expect your relationship to have some difficult spots on occasion.  But if the rough patches are anywhere close in number to the good times, it is likely time to go.  I understand that I am generalizing, and everyone’s situation is different.  But what I am advocating for is this:  WHEN your time comes, get out.  Be willing to take the leap of faith and get the eff out of a bad situation.  We all have different tolerance levels, but don’t make it a point of pride to put up with more than a reasonable amount of crap before you decide to change your circumstances.

Yes…it will be scary and there will be a bunch of things you don’t have answers to just yet.  But in some way, shape or form, you have been in this situation before, and you survived.  Maybe after this round of it, you will be on your way to thriving.  I certainly hope so.  But there is only one way to improve your life, and that is solely in your hands.  And that is to ensure you take a leap of faith.  Grab your nuts and jump.  Bet on yourself; in some cases there is no one else to bet on.

I wish luck in your endeavors, and a soft landing when you make that jump.


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