Dumping Out the Dirty Water

Has this ever happened to you? You have to make a really tough decision about whether to stay in a relationship or leave? Or whether to keep the same job or strike out on a new career path? Or you have to decide if you should end a friendship?

It can be agonizing to have to decide whether to let go of something you’ve held so long, especially if you anticipate there being emotional pain from leaving the situation.

Many of the people I read for come to me wanting to know what will happen if they stay in the current situation or leave. Usually they are experiencing some pain in the current situation but they anticipate that leaving will cause greater pain.

Some examples:
“I’m not in love with my partner anymore, but if we separate I’m afraid I won’t be able to support myself.”

“This friend is very needy and takes up a lot of my time and energy, but I’m afraid if I cut her off she will kill herself.”

“I hate my job and I hate my boss, but I’m afraid if I leave then I won’t find anything better.”

“My partner abuses me sometimes and yells at me all the time, but I’m afraid if I leave him I’ll be alone the rest of my life.”

The common factor in most of these scenarios is fear of the unknown. Fear that the new situation will somehow be worse than the current one. Fear that you’re going from the frying pan into the fire. That fear is probably keeping you in that bad situation.

But in my experience, letting go of something that is hurting you will bring a huge sense of relief. With that relief comes new energy, new power, new ideas, and new strength. And you use that energy, power, and strength to generate the ideas that allow you to begin walking a new path in life.

Sometimes you cannot get to the new destination until you have completely released the old one. So if you’re trying to figure out where you’re going to end up, it may not be possible while you are still walking the old path.

To use an analogy, if your bucket is full of dirty of water you’ve got to dump it out, and yes the bucket will be empty all of a sudden, but then you can fill it with new, clean water. Most people try to add clean water to the dirty water, hoping it will make the dirty water more palatable. But it doesn’t, does it? Same bad situation with small moments of hope or sunshine.

When you find yourself in a bad situation, you must gather your courage and say “This is not what I want and I won’t tolerate it any longer. I may not know what the future holds but at least I know I’m done with this particular situation. I am allowed to have joy in my life, and anything that is holding me down or holding me back can be released.”

It’s normal to feel fear when you let go of something you’re used to. But when you actually let go, you’re going to feel relief. It’s your body’s way of telling you that you made the right decision.

Then take a deep breath, release that old energy, and wait a minute. Wait for guidance, wait for an inspired idea, wait for the energy to take new action. It will come because now the bucket is free of the dirty water.

You can also plan your “escape” ahead of time if you want. You can line up a new job to replace the one you hate. You can figure out how you will earn your own money before you get divorced. You can begin spending less time with people who bring your energy down.

But the main thing you need to know is that you deserve to live a life you love; a life of joy, a life of your choosing. And if you find yourself in a situation that has become untenable, unendurable, it’s absolutely okay to let it go.

With change comes renewed energy, new focus, and more personal power. Use it to create a better life. Don’t wait.

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