“Ugh things aren’t working out, maybe I should just break up with them.”
How many times have we heard a friend or family member in a struggling relationship say those exact words? During the course of our lives, I can guarantee that you’ve probably heard a friend say something like that on more than one occasion. As a woman, I feel like I had conversations like this every few weeks in college with girl and guy friends alike. What’s interesting to me, though, is how this same conversation doesn’t happen more often – not regarding significant others, though, but in reference to the job you hate, the place you dislike living, or really anything that isn’t making you happy or adding fulfillment to your life.
Being in a bad relationship takes its toll on anyone – think about your past – were there any relationships that were suffocating? When the moment you finally “broke up”, it was as if a wave of relief washed over you and a weight was lifted from your shoulders? Now, think about your current daily life. Are there areas of your life that you need to “break up” with?
It took a major life change for me to realize that we should “break up” with the areas of our life that are adding stress, unhappiness, or even emotional discomfort. I considered my last job one of “dream” status. And because of that, I relentlessly worked at it, determined not to give up and quit, despite being really unhappy. Because of the societal pressures around me, and what I thought my friends and family would say if I “gave up”, I kept myself in an unhappy and stressful situation for much too long – so long, that I began to make myself physically ill!
One thing I’ve learned this past year, is to really listen to my body and soul. Believe me, it will tell you what the right decision is. When my job functions changed several months into my new position, not only did my stress level increase while my job satisfaction decreased, I started to become physically ill, the stomach issues that I’d had all along flared up like nobody’s business. Why? Because I kept plugging along, ignoring the fact that I started hating going to work every morning, ignoring the growing discomfort in my gut, and fought the urge to quit with, “You can make this work, Melissa, it’s your ‘dream job'”.
Although I wasn’t the one to make the move to leave, looking back, being let go from my position was the best thing to ever happen to me. Similar to failed relationships in the past, once the sting of it being over had passed, it was as if a wave of relief washed over me. Instead of being upset when seeing pictures of my old coworkers having fun, jealous that I was no longer there to partake, my feelings soon changed to those of relief and joyousness. I was now happy to see my old coworkers enjoying their jobs – with activities that I no longer had to plan! It was incredible to be on the outside looking in, and the feeling of being free was unlike any other.
Now, although we’ve had to adjust our budget and lifestyle to adapt to my current unemployment, we’re gearing up to take on wonderful, new endeavors. My unemployment came at the perfect time to focus on my health, and without the outside stress of a job I didn’t enjoy, I began healing rapidly. My vigor for every day life started to rekindle now that I didn’t need to force myself to get out of bed to go to a job I hated. It was as if all the feelings I’d experienced post-break-up with ex-boyfriends were present, but multiplied! I felt freer than I ever had before!
There is never a good time to “break up”. We all know from prior experience, that it usually takes an argument of epic proportions, something dramatic happening, or a meeting with our ‘whits end’, to pull the bandaid off and do the breaking up. But why let it get to that point? Why not break up with the discomfort in your life today? There will never be the perfect time to do it, believe me, I contemplated the idea of leaving my job for months before I was finally let go. Next time I won’t make the same mistake of waiting so long.