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Hope Forward: Surviving and Thriving through Emotional Pain: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

And: Do I know enough about myself to make a good decision?  For anyone in emotional pain inside and in a difficult situation outside, these are essential questions. 

But sometimes we get too caught up in the first question to really delve into the second one.  And the second one is usually what informs the first one.

I'm not just talking about difficult marriages, though most often this is where the first question comes up.  But also jobs, communities, housing situations, friendships, houses of worship, therapy. When we are thinking of making a change, and we start to wonder more deeply about what is bothering us, we have to go beyond the externals.  If we focus only on what is wrong with the other person, people, environment, situation, we miss out on a lot of good information about our own character, needs and tendencies - information that can help us live better and make changes with a deeper degree of inner peace and certainty.

It usually means unpacking the hurts, the angers, the invisible bricks in the wall that separate us from feeling the connection that we need.  Most always there are external factors, mistakes, personality issues, actions of others that contribute to our bad feelings, our ambivalence, but the more we know about our own history, loyalties, needs, beliefs and feelings, the better chance we have of making changes that serve us well.

Often, it takes a little while to understand the complex set of feelings we bring into our decisions.  And sometimes, we want to get away from the bad feelings, not the person, or the situation.  In those instances, it  is especially valuable to learn whether or not the feelings can be resolved or transformed before we make a change, especially if we are feeling urgent (unless we are in real danger).

Sometimes change is the solution, but sometimes, no matter where we go (or who we are with) we will eventually bump into the same bad feelings.  When we think that there is even a small possibility of this being true, we have to slow down and answer the second question more fully in order to do a good job with the first.

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