How to walk away—even if it’s hard

Walking away can make you happier in the long run

Separating yourself from harmful situations can be challenging.

Think of your favourite chocolate. You love it; you can’t get enough of it, though there’s no denying its unhealthy nature. You know that while you love such things, taking it out of your lifestyle may improve your overall health.

Sometimes you need to make difficult decisions to do what’s best for you. Sometimes, as hard as walking away can be, it’s necessary.

No matter the relationship—friends, family, romantic relationships—there can be complications: disputes, fall-outs, breakups. These conflicts are obviously undesirable, and overall upsetting. Individuals who’ve made you happy are now the same people making you cry, angry, and negatively impacting your mental well-being.

As hard as this is, walking away from these hurtful people and situations is better for you in the long run. Here’s why.

First, you have standards. You have a way you want to be treated, and a way you shouldbe treated. If you can recognize your partner, parent, or friend is not treating you the way you want, your choice not to settle or drop your standards is for the best.

Staying in situations in which you’re constantly working to uphold a relationship that’s not giving you the treatment you deserve or require will harm you. You may want to stay because of your love for a person, but over time, you’ll grow tired of putting your all into people who don’t do the same for you.

At the end of the day, you shouldn’t need to fight for someone to stay in your life. You shouldn’t fight for someone who doesn’t fight for you.

Second: you have limited energy, so pick and choose your battles.

For some, every disagreement or argument needs to be fought and dismantled until both parties have gotten their side out. Others take the brunt of disagreements and arguments because they don’t want to make a bad situation worse. Both extremes are harmful.

Constantly fighting every battle is exhausting and unnecessary. There’s always going to be someone that will disagree with you, no matter the situation. Picking every battle is going to burn you out, and frankly, it might make you bitter. Sometimes picking and choosing your battles is the best thing for your mental health.

Never expressing dissent or opposition to things that make you upset is also harmful. Silence is complacency and if you never stand up for yourself, the things that make you upset will continue to occur. There are times when you need to fight and not choose flight.

This can be hard to do. No one likes confronting people they don’t want to upset, but you can’t continue to hold back out of fear for hurting others when you’re the one getting hurt. Remaining idle in harmful situations is not going to help you in the long run.

My point: walking away from hurtful situations—situations where, deep down, you know you deserve better, and situations involving the people you love—is incredibly challenging. In doing so, however, you’re doing what's best for you and will grow as a person because of it.

In walking away, you’re also walking toward new people who will fight for you.

It’s not easy to cut off your favourite chocolate, but your body will feel a lot better when you walk away from it. Maybe you’ll even find a fruit you love a lot more. 

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